If you were to take a guess on what is the one thing all the cooks agree on, that would have to be how important a non-stick pan is. For cooking eggs, making pancakes or preparing a delicate fish, having a pan that does not stick is key. It matters greatly to be able to deliver a flawless result, but also not to spend hours cleaning.
Once you start searching for the best non-stick pans, you will discover a wide variety of products. If making a choice becomes a bit too complicated for you, let us give you a hand. We have a quick buying guide prepared below, to give you an idea of the most important features. Learn the differences between different types of non-stick coating available. And explore our top five, a selection of the most appealing and effective non-stick pans. Take your time to go through it all, so you do not feel your brain is getting fried with too much information at once. Ready for this?
The Perks Of Using A Non-Stick Pan
There is a series of advantages you can enjoy when using a non-stick pan in your kitchen. These include ease of use, easy cleaning, and healthier cooking. But let us detail them a bit.
You can be a total beginner in the kitchen or an experienced chef. A non-stick skillet is super-easy to use, so your fish fillet or eggs should come out looking great. You do not have to worry about precision in seasoning or overheating.
Once you finish cooking, leave aside the worry of endless scrubbing the pans. Non-stick cookware is very easy to clean, most of the pieces only needing a bit of soap and water. Make sure not to use any abrasive substances, as these can deteriorate the coating.
With a non-stick pan, you can cook healthier dishes as well. As these skillets do not require seasoning, you can reduce the amount of oil or grease that you put in your food. You can prepare delicious dishes, even while on a diet.
The Quirks Of Non-Stick Pans
Be aware of the wear and tear that will occur in time. Most of the time, the non-stick layer will wear out and your skillet will become prone to sticking food. As these pans have a shorter lifespan and are easily damaged, we recommend you get fewer pieces. Replacing just one or two worn out pans is less of a budget challenge than buying a whole set of non-stick cookware. Plus, this should be an expense that occurs only every few years, depending on how much you actually use your pan.
Also, if you have an induction cooktop at home, look for a non-stick pan made of magnetic materials. Most non-stick cookware is aluminum-based, which is not compatible with induction stovetops.
Introduction To Non-Stick Coatings
If you think there is just one type of non-stick cooking surface for all skillets, think again. To avoid making a decision a truly daunting process, we explain below some of the most common types. Worry not, we also shed some light on those enigmatic acronyms and hard to understand names.
This is the short name of polytetrafluoroethylene. This synthetic polymer is waterproof, heat-resistant and known to reduce friction. You will find it has many applications in the military and industrial fields as well. The most popular coating developed from the PTFE family is Teflon. Among the major producers of food-grade PTFE, we mention Whitford and Chemours. So, you may notice how many cookware brands use a coating from one of these two producers.
The concern associated with this type of coating is the impact on the environment. One of the polymers used to produce PTFE can cause cancer. PFOA, according to WHO (World Health Organization) is a possible carcinogen. While the amount that can reach our body by cooking in a PFOA-coated pan is not that risky, its production is. It seems that factories manufacturing PTFE are a hazard for the water sources around. Plus, the workers there are constantly exposed to health risks. Due to this worrying aspect, manufacturers have now eliminated PFOA. Instead, they use substances presumed to be less dangerous, called PFAS.
Well, this type of coating is actually silica-based, not really ceramic. Instead of polymers like PTFE, ceramic coatings involve something known as sol-gel. This stands for solution-gel and is, supposedly, more environment friendly than Teflon.
The drawback of ceramic-coated pans is their short lifespan. On average, buyers claim their sol-gel non-stick surface performed well for one year. After twelve months, you can either buy a new ceramic skillet or get a PTFE-based non-stick one (to last longer).
- Porcelain Enamel
This is typically used for cast iron cookware. Powdered glass fuses with the cast iron base at temperatures between 1,380 and 1,560° F.
As the glass melts, it covers the base. Once it cools off, it becomes a safe, inert, eco-friendly coating. No PFOA or PTFE concerns here. You get a durable, non-stick cooking surface, ideal even for iron-sensitive people. And it comes in a myriad of color options.
The only potential health hazard associated applies for low-quality enamel. This can leak cadmium or lead in your food. Another drawback of these pans is how heavy they can be (due to the cast iron) and sometimes, expensive. They also need to be carefully handled, to avoid chipping.
- Anodized Aluminum
Pure aluminum is reactive, which is why it requires processing in order to be safely used as cookware. Anodizing involves dipping aluminum in acid and charging it electrically. This aims to get a protective oxide layer, making it non-toxic, resistant to heat and passive. As one of the most accessible metals out there, this makes anodized aluminum easy to produce.
The less fun part of this type of coating is that it can still require some seasoning. Plus, being sensitive to scratches means it can also leach aluminum if poorly made or not well cared for.
- Seasoned Cast Iron
A classical favorite, seasoned cast iron cookware does not need any coating. Regular seasoning is the secret behind its long-lasting non-stick surface and rust resistance. Under high heat, oil becomes a polymer that bonds with the surface of the pan and gives it a specific patina. Free from chemicals like PTFE, this cookware only poses a risk for people sensitive to iron. That is because cooking acidic foods may lead to iron leaks into the food. Cast iron is scratch-resistant and even in the seasoned version, it is easy to clean.
The downsides include the weight of these pans and the regular seasoning required. Being rather heavy, such a pan is not the best choice for weak wrists. Also, you have to ensure you season it well, periodically. Otherwise, you risk getting your food stuck or your pan rusty.
Beginner’s Guide To Non-Stick Pans
Now, that you have a better understanding of what a non-stick coating is, it is time for the next chapter. When you are on the lookout for the best non-stick pans, there are some important features to search for. Here comes our must-have list, with some important notes.
- Coating Type
Most options available on the market include ceramic or PTFE-coating. You can opt for a different non-stick coating, if you are more concerned about the environment. Consider how often you plan to cook and the budget you have available. You want to get a pan that is durable, safe and does not drain your wallet.
If you need a non-stick pan to fry some eggs on weekends, then a smaller size will do. Yet if you are the one cooking for the whole family, make sure your skillet can handle all your ingredients.
- Cooktop Compatibility
When buying a non-stick pan, keep in mind what kind of stovetop you have at home. Most skillets have an aluminum structure and that means they are not induction-compatible. If you tend to cook on a gas stove and use big flames, get a sturdy pan that can handle heat well. If you want to use your non-stick pan on an induction stove, get one with a magnetic construction.
Cast iron or stainless steel pans are rather heavy, but more durable. Aluminum pieces may feel too lightweight, but have a great heat conductivity. Copper is another great candidate, for the more generous budgets though. Pick your favorite depending on how often you will use it and what type of recipes you need it for.
- Heating Capacity
Check the specs for the maximum temperature that your chosen non-stick pan can face. If you want to try recipes that involve both the stovetop and the oven, opt for high-heat resistance. On average, these pans can handle well up to 400 degrees. Always verify the manufacturer’s advice before using your non-stick cookware in the oven.
The manufacturer’s promise of quality can put your mind at ease while cooking. Especially when you purchase a high-end non-stick cookware. Check the warranty conditions to see if it only applies to the non-stick coating or whole pan, for example. Take a look at other buyer reviews, to know more about how responsive customer service is, just in case.
Our 2021 Selection Of The Best Non-Stick Pans
Enough with the technical rigmarole, before your brain gets fried. Let’s see some real examples of cookware you could see yourself using in the kitchen. We have an exquisite selection of five best non-stick pans, carefully analyzed. Curious to know more? Scan the table below for a quick overview of their strengths. Or keep reading, to learn the secrets and drawbacks of each model.
|Product||Material||Coating||Size (inches)||Best Feature|
|Sensarte Nonstick Frying Pan Skillet||Cast aluminum||Swiss Granite (PFOA free)||9.5||High magnetic conductive stainless steel base|
|Tramontina 80114/535DS Professional Pan||Heavy-gauge aluminum||Eclipse reinforced coating by Whitford||10||Lifetime warranty; affordable top-quality product|
|Circulon Radiance Frying Pan Set||Heavy-gauge aluminum||Triple-layered anodized aluminum||8.5/10/
|Extra-layers of non-stick coating for improved durability|
|YIIFEEO Nonstick Frying Pan Set||Die-cast aluminum||Granite stone||8/ 9.5/ 11||100% PFOA-free, eco-friendly granite non-stick coating|
|Calphalon Classic Nonstick Frying Pan Set||Hard-anodized aluminum||PFOA-free 2-layer nonstick coating||8/10||Durable construction, most heat-resistant|
A great value for tight budgets, the Sensarte Nonstick Frying Pan Skillet can make your day. With a PFOA-free, Swiss granite coating, this pan promises to deliver healthy results. Cook a flawless omelette and clean your pan in no time. Thanks to its magnetic conductive base, this skillet works even on induction cooktops. Flat bottom, sturdy body and a cool-to-touch bakelite handle make cooking better.
- durable, sturdy cast aluminum structure
- PFOA-free non-stick surface (Swiss granite)
- cool-to-touch handle (bakelite)
- oven safe to 302°F
- induction stovetop compatible (high magnetic stainless steel base)
- budget friendly
- easy to clean and use.
- non-stick surface sensitive to scratches
- complaints about handle being unstable or falling off easily.
You can only say “wow” to what the Tramontina 80114/535DS Professional Fry Pan brings to your kitchen. Restaurant-worthy quality and performance comes in a very eye-pleasing shape.
The heavy-gauge aluminum structure ensures even heat distribution and durability. Handle with ease, even in the oven, as even the cast stainless steel handle is safe. The lifetime warranty will give you the trust to keep cooking, day after day, with no concern. Have we mentioned this fry pan is dishwasher-safe? Perfect for any kitchen, we would say.
- heavy-gauge aluminum body
- easy cooking and cleaning
- riveted cast stainless steel handle
- NSF-certified cookware
- compatible with gas, electric and ceramic glass cooktops
- oven safe up to 400°F
- lifetime warranty.
- not suitable for induction cooktops
- not compatible with nonstick aerosol cooking sprays.
The Circulon Radiance Hard-Anodized Nonstick Frying Pan Set is hard to ignore. Simple, sleek design blends with durable materials, for added convenience. You know you can rely on any of the three pieces of this set. The hard-anodized pan bodies are twice as resistant as stainless steel. Add to that a non-stick coating in three layers, that promises to last 15 times more than the average. The Circulon Radiance cookware aims to make your life easier and it does. With its dishwasher-safe pans, you can save time and energy.
- highly-resistant hard-anodized aluminum construction
- three layers of non-stick coating (PFOA-free)
- dishwasher safe
- lifetime warranty
- oven safe to 350°F
- dual-riveted stainless steel handles.
- not induction-compatible
- no matching lids for the pans included
- smooth pan bottom prone to sliding.
Start cooking with more ease with the YIIFEEO Nonstick Frying Pan Set. This skillet set comes with an 100% PFOA-free, eco-friendly non-stick coating. The stone granite layer looks and feels like marble and keeps your dishes safe from sticking. The ergonomic bakelite handle ensures your comfort while flipping your pancakes. Get creative with meat, seafood, burgers or omelettes. These pans can handle plenty of recipes and still stay stick-free.
- durable heavy-duty die-cast aluminum
- eco-friendly, granite non-stick coating
- ergonomic bakelite handle
- 100% PFOA-free
- suitable for any cooktop
- not oven safe
- handle assembly required
- only 30 days warranty.
For a sample of reliable quality, trust the Calphalon Classic Nonstick Frying Pan Set. This manufacturer is well known for the top-performing cookware. Skillets are no exception, especially this pair, designed to reach omelette perfection. The hard-anodized aluminum structure ensures even heat distribution, for optimal cooking. Whether you plan to cook fish or pancakes, frying is a breeze with these pans. The double-layered non-stick coating provides easy food release and even easier cleaning.
- recognized Calphalon quality
- durable hard-anodized aluminum body
- double-layered non-stick surface (PFOA free)
- oven safe up to 450ºF
- sloped sides and flared edges
- lifetime warranty
- interior measuring marks
- cool-to-touch stainless steel handles.
- not suitable for dishwasher
- not compatible with induction cooktops
- handles get very hot if left on high heat settings.
Tips For Proper Maintenance Of Non-Stick Pans
You may know this from personal experience or heard it from friends. Non-stick pans are great, but at the same time, very sensitive to scratches. To say the least, the stick-proof coating on these pans is delicate. In order to preserve your skillet’s features for longer, check out these tips and tricks.
- Add a bit of grease/oil while the pan is still cold.
This will enhance the non-stick properties of your skillet. It is a recommended step for any type of pan, not just the cast iron models.
- Avoid using nonstick cooking spray.
It can build up on the cooking surface of your pan and make it sticky. And that is definitely the opposite of what you want.
- Hand wash your nonstick cookware.
Even though some models are dishwasher safe, we recommend you to opt for manual cleaning. This way, you avoid harsh detergents or accidental scratches. Even extreme temperature variations can deteriorate the coating. So let your pan cool down before you put water in it.
- Use silicone or plastic utensils.
Metal tools should not reach the cooking surface of a non-stick pan. They can cause irreversible damage. Rely on softer materials instead, as silicone or wood.
- Keep steel scrubbers away.
Unless you want to destroy the non-stick coating fast, only use gentle soap and soft sponges to clean.
- Cook at medium or low heat levels.
Overheating your pan can lead to a fast breakdown of the non-stick layer. Keep the flame/heat at a lower level, to protect the integrity of your skillet and food as well.
- Protect the coating during storage.
If your cabinets are tight on space and you need to stack your pans, add a protective layer. Place a towel or any soft material in between, to keep the non-stick coating safe from scratches.
When it comes to non-stick pans, there is a lot of information to take in, no doubt. If there is something that should stick with you is that there is a skillet out there for everyone. We hope today’s article helped you understand better the features and options available. Out of passion or comfort, you should consider adding a new element to your collection. Let us know in the comments which of our five best non-stick pans won your chef heart. And stay tuned for more cookware inspiration!