EATING MY EMPIRE
A nonstick skillet is an under-appreciated kitchen hero. While neither as strong as a cast-iron workhorse nor as indestructible as stainless steel, the best nonstick pans are what we reach for when making eggs, crisping fish skin, or reheating leftovers. And you don’t need to spend a ton of money to get a good one—in fact, we wouldn’t recommend it, because even the most expensive nonstick pans will need to be replaced eventually. We’ve gathered some of our favorites, the ones Bon Appétit editors use in the test kitchen and at home, for every kind of cook and every budget.
There are many great contenders, but the very best nonstick pan in our book is the Zwilling Madura Plus. We love that it’s high-quality, versatile, and super convenient to use. While it’s often assumed that nonstick skillets shouldn’t be used with high heat and can’t achieve a good sear, we’ve found that isn’t the case with the Zwilling Madura Plus. Associate food editor Zaynab Issa uses it more often than any other pan and actually considers it her favorite pan, period. It sports a type of PTFE coating called DuraSlide, which Zwilling says is up to 40 times more durable than your standard PTFE-coated pan. It has an aluminum core, which means it heats up and cools down quickly and provides even heat distribution. Unlike some nonsticks, this one can be used in the oven up to 300 degrees, and it features a magnetic plate, making it compatible with induction stovetops. At around $70 it’s one of the best nonstick frying pans for the money and it’ll serve you well for years to come.
The All-Clad hard anodized nonstick frying pans are another top pick among BA staffers. They’re made with a heavy-gauge aluminum core for impeccable heat distribution and feature a stainless steel base, which makes them a lot more durable than their counterparts (and also induction compatible). These pans are designed with sides that are less sloped than other nonsticks, which provides greater surface area—and the 12-incher is equipped with a helper handle for easier maneuvering. Associate director of social media Urmila Ramakrishnan uses hers for everything from frying eggs to steaming broccoli. This set includes a 12-inch and a 10-inch fry pan for about $100. That’s a steal for one of the best cookware sets on the market.
Are you the kind of person who will only skim the "care and maintenance" section of this article? Do you know in your heart of hearts that you will use a metal fork on your pan's nonstick surface? Do you have a roommate or partner who will one hundo percent stack a random sauté pan on top of your new nonstick skillet? This Tramontina 10-incher is for you. It’s made from thick, heavy-duty aluminum, features a stainless steel handle that is secured with multiple rivets and covered in a removable silicone sheath, and can be used in the oven (up to 400 degrees). Most importantly, though: It's just $32. You can afford to replace this pan at the first sign of a scratch. Note that if you have an induction cooktop, this is not the pan for you unless you also own an induction converter disc.