Our Test Kitchen Found the Best Nonstick Cookware
We tested 8 top-rated nonstick skillets, and we've found the winners. These nonstick skillets make stuck-on food and hard-to-clean cookware a thing of the past.
Nonstick cookware is everywhere these days, and for good reason. Ever flip a pancake only for it to stick to the pan and tear mid-flip? It's time to try nonstick cookware. But with ambitious claims from a variety of nonstick manufacturers, how do you know which one to buy? Our test kitchen put the best nonstick skillets on the market through all sorts of tests, and we think we've found the best of the best. Read on for our picks of the best nonstick cookware, as well as tips on how to use and care for your nonstick cookware.
Best Nonstick Cookware at a Glance
How We Tested Each Nonstick Skillet
Although it's important to take precautions when using nonstick cookware, we know that nonstick cookware of any quality is going to be subject to some abuse. So we called on Test Kitchen Product Tester Adam Hickman to put the top-rated nonstick skillets on the market through rigorous testing. Here's how he did it:
- Each skillet was used to cook several thin crepes to monitor how evenly the pan heats and cooks.
- While we all know by now that you shouldn't use metal utensils on nonstick cookware or wash them in the dishwasher, we also know that we're all bound to break the rules sometimes. So Adam ran a metal spatula over the surface of each nonstick pan and washed them in the dishwasher to see how well they held up.
- Adam cooked a dozen over easy eggs in each pan to check for sticking.
Here are a few important characteristics Adam looked for:
- Durability: Is the skillet made to last with everyday wear and tear?
- Safety Features: Is the handle comfortable to the hand when the pan is hot?
- Functionality: How evenly does the skillet cook? Does food stick to the skillet?
- Overall Value: Is it worth the investment?
Adam's testing is complete, and we believe we've found the best nonstick cookware for home cooks. Click the link below each image to get some for yourself.
What to Consider When Buying Nonstick Cookware
Is Nonstick Cookware Safe?
First things first: is nonstick cookware safe? To a certain degree, you could say. The nonstick coating on traditional nonstick cookware is made from a chemical known as PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), commonly known as Teflon. However, health agencies raised concerns regarding the safety of a compound used to make Teflon known as PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). PFOA has been linked to health issues, including kidney and liver disease, as well as environmental concerns.
In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency reach an agreement with eight major companies to phase out PFOA completely by 2015. All of the pans reviewed in our testing are PFOA-free, helping to give you peace of mind when heating up your nonstick pans. However, you still have to be careful not to overheat nonstick pans, even those that are PFOA-free.
At temperatures above 570 degrees F, Teflon coatings on nonstick cookware can start to break down, causing toxic fumes to be released into the air. Inhaling these fumes can lead to a condition known as polymer fume fever. But don't fret! You can still enjoy the ease and convenience of your nonstick pans by taking some basic precautions:
- Never preheat an empty pan. Empty pans can quickly reach high temperatures.
- Never heat a nonstick pan on maximum heat. Many manufacturers recommend not going above medium heat with nonstick pans. Although, some newer nonstick cookware can withstand higher temperatures, so refer to your product's manual.
- Never use a nonstick pan to broil or sear meat. These methods require temperatures that are too high for nonstick pans, unless yours can withstand high temperatures.
While this information can be overwhelming, nonstick pans are still safe for everyday use. In fact, some of the nonstick cookware we tested are safe to heat at higher temperatures. If you're unclear about how to safely use your cookware, refer to the manufacturer's instructions.
Best Uses for Nonstick Cookware
Nonstick coating can be applied to a variety of cookware, but skillets tend to be some of the most popular. While a cast iron skillet does have a place in every kitchen, some jobs are best saved for a nonstick pan. Here are some of the best ways to put your new nonstick pan to use:
If you've ever tried to flip fish fillets, scallops, or shrimp on any other pan besides nonstick, you've experienced the frustration of trying to achieve a nice sear without the whole thing sticking to the pan. Nonstick pans allow you to easily flip seafood while still getting that restaurant-quality sear.
A nonstick pan keeps you from tearing your pancakes mid-flip. Use a little oil or butter and your pancakes will slide right off the skillet. You can also use nonstick pans for French toast and crepes.
Once you scramble eggs in a nonstick pan, you'll never go back. Forget about scrubbing burnt-on eggs from your stainless steel pans, nonstick pans allow you to slide the eggs straight from pan to plate. Use nonstick pans for other egg dishes too like omelettes and frittatas.
4. Cheese Dishes
Gooey, messy, and cheesy dishes like quesadillas and grilled cheese will slide right off your nonstick pans. Spill some cheese onto your pan? Unlike other pans, you can easily wipe it away when you’re done without worrying about a burnt-on mess.
Nonstick Cookware Care and Maintenance
One of the beauties of nonstick cookware is that cleanup is a breeze. You'll no longer spend time bent over the sink scrubbing away at burnt-on food residue. A simple wash with soap and warm water will slide any residue right off. Nonstick cookware can last decades with proper care. Follow these care and maintenance rules to extend the life of your nonstick cookware:
- Always use a little oil, margarine, or butter when cooking with nonstick cookware. Avoid using cooking spray, as some can have additives that can damage nonstick coating. Using a little oil before heating it will help the nonstick coating to last longer.
- Stick to hand washing. Dishwashing detergents can be too harsh for nonstick coating, although some newer nonstick coatings are dishwasher safe. But since cleaning nonstick requires minimal scrubbing, it's worth it to be cautious and hand wash your nonstick pans for longer life spans.
- Never use metal utensils. While some manufacturers claim their pans are safe for metal utensils, why risk it? Especially considering not all metal utensils are equal. A jagged utensil can easily lead to an unsightly scratch in the nonstick coating. Use wooden or heat-resistant silicone utensils instead.
Best Overall: Anolon Advanced Hard-Anodized Nonstick Skillet
Adam says this skillet just edged out the competition because of its general shape and comfort: "This skillet came in right in the middle of comfortable and hefty without being cumbersome."
Out of all the pans tested, this one heated the most evenly, having the smallest difference between the hottest and coldest spots on the pan. "The general shape of the pan was what you want in a skillet, not so deep that it traps steam, but high enough edges to be able to make a quick sauce in it without spilling," says Adam. "The nonstick finish on this pan is the best finish that is made by DuPont, which should be durable over the long term compared to cheaper finishes." On top of all this, the pan can be safely heated up to 500 degrees F.
The Anolon skillet was also the only nonstick skillet that didn't have significant losses in nonstick ability after being scraped with a metal spatula. The only downside to this pan is it won't work with induction burners and it's not dishwasher safe. Overall, this skillet is a great buy for its quality and durability if you can spring for it.
Buy It: Anolon Advanced Home Hard-Anodized Nonstick Skillet 10.25-inch, $120; Macy's
Runner Up: It's a Tie!
These pans are both American-made and similar in quality and features. We couldn't choose just one!
Made In Cookware Non Stick Frying Pan
Being American-made is not all this skillet has to brag about. Constructed from durable, high-quality nonstick, this pan can safely reach up to 500 degrees F and is induction ready. Not to mention, it's dishwasher safe.
The handle has a sleek matte finish with a large space to hang the skillet from. Made In Cookware say, "We triple-cure these non stick pans so they won't degrade over time and have shown to last 10 times longer than other premium brands'." Adam found it to have a durable and high-quality feel, making it a great, pro-consumer pick that will last for years.
Buy It: Made In Non Stick Frying Pan 10-inch, $85; Made In
American Kitchen Cookware Premium Nonstick Frying Pan
And tied with Made In Cookware, American Kitchen Cookware brings another high-quality, American-made skillet to the table. "Both pans are well constructed, durable and coated with a high-end nonstick. Both are safe up to 500 degrees F, induction ready, and right sized for everyday cooking," says Adam.
The one-piece design heats well and the comfortable handle feels good even with a bare hand, according to Adam. And like the Made In Cookware skillet, it's dishwasher safe.
Buy It: American Kitchen Cookware Premium Nonstick Frying Pan 10-inch, $92; Amazon
Other Nonstick Cookware We Tested
While these skillets weren't the standouts, some of them did perform well in Adam's testing. Keep reading to hear what Adam has to say about the rest of the nonstick cookware we tested.
OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Pro Open Frypan
Adam liked the easy grip handle on this skillet, however he found the metal to feel fairly thin and cheap. We doubt the durability on this skillet, but for the price it's a good option.
Buy It: OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Pro Open Frypan, $40; Amazon
TECHEF Onyx Frying Pan
This pan has a slightly deeper bowl than the other pans, which Adam found to slow down the browning process. The premium Teflon (PFOA-free) on this pan is marketed as long lasting, however when scratched with a metal utensil there was significant loss of the nonstick coating.
Buy It: TECHEF Onyx Frying Pan, $37; Amazon
Cuisinart 622-24 Chef’s Classic Nonstick Skillet
We had high hopes for this affordable skillet, but it just didn't shine above the others. The handles on this skillet had hard edges that made it uncomfortable to use. This pan also had significant losses in nonstick ability when scratched with a metal utensil.
Buy It: Cuisinart 622-24 Chef’s Classic Nonstick, $28; Amazon
KitchenAid Tri-Ply Nonstick Skillet
This skillet has a large, thick handle that's easy to grab. The skillet itself heated evenly, and the surface is made with Teflon platinum plus. Like others, this skillet didn't do well on the metal spatula test. But with gentle care, this is a well-made skillet at a great price-point.
Buy It: KitchenAid Tri-Ply Nonstick Skillet, $68; Amazon
All-Clad HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Frying Pan
Adam found the handle on this skillet to be fairly uncomfortable. The design is kind of clunky — it has a flat, wide base with thick metal walls. And unfortunately it was as scratch resistant as it claims to be.
Buy It: All-Clad HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Frying Pan, $80; Amazon