I Retired My Trusty All-Clad Nonstick Skillet for This Even Sturdier Pan from a Startup
My skillets do a lot of work. I have two and keep them on rotation — a large one for multiple servings or one-dish dinners, a smaller one for grilled cheese sandwiches and fried eggs. So while I've been cooking from home almost every day during the pandemic, these skillets have been getting a workout.
With a few years of use before stay-at-home orders came down, and then everyday use since then, my trusty All-Clad skillets were worn out. Foods were starting to stick, the surface was pretty beat up, and the handle was becoming a little wobbly. In short, it was time to see these pans into the scrap metal heap of my memory.
But instead of returning to my much-loved (but ever-so-slightly flawed) All-Clad skillets, I decided to branch out and look for new options that might fill some of the gaps those All-Clad skillets had left. After you cook with a pan for so long, you know intimately what you do and don't like. So for my new pan, I had a few items to check off.
My new pan needed:
- a PFOA-free nonstick surface
- to be oven-safe as high as possible
- to be smaller than 12 inches (12-inch pans are too unwieldy for me to handle)
- a comfortable handle that's cool to the touch when the pan is hot
- to handle a stray metal utensil or two
- stick-proof nonstick capabilities
- to not be very expensive
I did a bit of digging, consulted our list of best nonstick skillets, and came upon a new startup that is receiving laudatory reviews and major praise from customers, cooks, and critics alike. The company is called Abbio, and it's a family-born kitchenware company that's bringing top-of-the-line cookware direct to consumers, bypassing middlemen and their markups. That means you can get premium materials, high-end finishes, and fantastic cookware for less than you'd pay for similar quality pans elsewhere.
I was immediately drawn to the large nonstick skillet, which met all my criteria for my new pan and even managed to surprise me in one aspect: its size. Most skillets come in two-inch increments, from eight to 12 inches. The Abbio Large Nonstick Skillet is 11 inches, a size that fits all my pasta dinners (10-inch pans are often too small and are quickly crowded with ingredients) while not being so large I can't flip the skillet on its side to pour out sauces or scrape the pan (which is often the problem with 12-inch pans).
Not one to accept one good test run as a definitive proof of an appliance or cookware's mettle, I really gave this skillet a run for its money. First, I loaded it with a creamy one-dish pasta dinner that required browning chicken and vegetables, then simmering a sauce, then softening pasta in said sauce without over boiling or undercooking any one element of the dish. It passed with flying colors.
Then I cooked down a sticky-sweet pan sauce with pepper jelly to see if the pan could be beat by hot sugar — and it was not. The jelly slid right out of the pan, leaving no trace of goop behind.
Lastly, I cooked a ribeye. Most folks want their steaks cooked on a grill, but weekday time crunches do not currently allow me to drag that out, wait for it to preheat, and babysit it while the meat cooks. That's also ignoring the fact that, if cooked correctly, a ribeye cooked on the stove can be every bit as flavorful as one cooked on the grill. But can a nonstick skillet really stand up to a trusty cast iron skillet?
It sure did. I preheated the pan on medium (you should never turn a nonstick skillet to anything above that) for about three minutes. I gave the pan the water spritz test — if a drop of water sizzles, the pan is hot. Then I dropped the steak right onto the skillet. Instantly, the hiss and fizz of the searing steak sounded through the kitchen. I let the steak cook for four minutes, then flipped it. The steak was cooked beautifully with crispy brown bits. It was cooked evenly, thanks to the pan's tri-ply steel and aluminum body. After another few minutes of cooking, my medium-rare steak came off the stove and was juicy, evenly cooked, and every bit as good as anything I'd make in cast iron.
I've been using the pan for over two months now, nearly every day, and I have been impressed with every single use. Eggs crisp up spectacularly without sticking. My spills of shredded cheese don't turn into burnt on bits when they leak out of quesadillas. Zucchini fritters crisp to golden without sticking, getting a crispy crust in just minutes.
"I purchased this nonstick at the recommendation of a friend, and it truly has changed the way I think about using nonstick cookware. I cook about 10 times a week and use this pan about 90% of the time," one reviewer wrote about the large nonstick skillet.
If you like the eight-inch skillet size, which is perfect for eggs and sandwiches and small servings, Abbio's Small Nonstick Skillet is eight inches and just $67. I haven't personally cooked with this smaller version, but it appears to be made in an identical fashion, which means it should be every bit as good as the large one.