When friends and family ask for my advice on buying nonstick pans, I generally advise them not to spend a lot of money. Sure, this kitchen essential will fry eggs and flip pancakes with ease, but they’re generally not built to last. The pan’s slippery coating works well in the beginning, and it makes clean-up a breeze, but it also scratches easily. Without proper care, it’s easy to ruin these pans beyond repair.
So I’ve been surprised that so many expensive nonstick pans have popped up in the last few years. Many use the traditional PTFE coating over stainless steel or hard-anodized aluminum pans—like our top pick, OXO Good Grips 10-inch Non-Stick Pro Open Fry Pan(available at Amazon for $49.95), an affordable, high-quality nonstick pan that’s just right for the day-to-day kitchen tasks. Others feature ceramic or titanium coatings, which creates a gorgeous pan that looks like it's worth the extra money.
We wondered if these pans performed better than their inexpensive counterparts, so we selected some of the best products on the market and put them to the test. A trained cook (that’s me!) flipped dozens of eggs, cooked way too many omelets and pancakes, and came away with a ranked list of pans and a solid recommendation.
Our top pick also happens to be our best value pick. If budget isn’t an issue, upgrade to our number-two choice, the induction-capable All Clad’s 10-inch Non-Stick Fry Pan (available at Amazon), which features more even heating with its multi-clad stainless steel construction. Of course, if you prefer a ceramic pan, you won’t be disappointed by our best ceramic pick: Equal Parts 8-inch Non-Stick Frying Pan (available at Equal Parts).
These are the best nonstick pans we tested ranked, in order:
OXO Good Grips 10-inch
All-Clad 4110 NS R2 10-inch
Equal Parts 8-inch Non-Stick Frying Pan
Great Jones 10-1/4-inch Large Fry Pan
Caraway 10.5-inch Fry Pan
GreenPan SmartShape Ceramic
Hestan ProBond Forged Stainless Steel Nonstick Skillet - Medium
Gotham Steel Ti-Cerama 9.5-Inch
Scanpan Classic 9.5-Inch Fry Pan
Cuisinart 6422-24 10- Inch Contour Hard-Anodized Skillet
Abbio Large Nonstick Skillet
Calphalon Premier 10-Inch Hard-Anodized Nonstick Frying Pan
Anolon Advanced Home 10.25-inch Frying Pan
Our Place Always Pan
HexClad 10-inch Hexclad Hybrid pan
Tramontina Professional Restaurant 10-inch
T-Fal E93805 Professional Non-stick 10.25 Inch Fry Pan
OXO Non-Stick Pro 10 Inch Open Frypan
We were pleasantly surprised when one of the least expensive pans in the test group also received the highest scores on our tests. We’ve tested several OXO Good Grips products over the years, and their attention to detail rarely disappoints. This 10-inch Non-Stick Pro Open Fry Pan was a winner from the beginning. The long metal handle was smooth with an ergonomic design, and it made this medium-weight model comfortable to hold and balance.
When it came to performance, the OXO aced all our tests. The fried eggs moved freely around in the pan—even without any cooking oil—and the angle of its edges made it effortless to flip over-easy eggs with the flick of a wrist. The omelet we made was similarly impressive. It didn’t stick at all or leave any residue in the pan, and we ended up with a dish we’d be proud to serve at a restaurant. What's more, the handle stays cool while you use it.
The product heated quickly, and when we added room-temperature water to the pre-heated pan, it was one of the only pans to recover to its original temperature within one minute. That heat recovery was further evidenced by our pancake test, creating a light and fluffy pancake that had even browning on both sides.
When we put it all together, we had no problems naming this 3-layer PTFE, heavy-gauge anodized aluminum pan our choice for Best Overall. In fact, I ordered a set of 8- and 10-inch pans for my home kitchen right after testing it! The only flaw we could find is that it’s not induction-capable, so you’ll have to look elsewhere for induction cooktops.
Unlike most of the products in the test group, Equal Parts doesn’t offer a variety of sizes. We tested the 8-inch Non-Stick Frying Pan because their 10-inch Essential Pan doesn’t have the right shape with its tall, non-fluted sides. That means it’s not large enough to cook eggs for a crowd, but it was still big enough to cook a single omelet.
Despite its small size, this pan was the top nonstick pan without Teflon that we tested. It was my favorite pan for cooking eggs, creating effortless fried eggs that moved freely around the pan without any coaxing. We also love that it’s bonded with a stainless-steel plate, making it induction-capable.
The only thing we didn’t love about this product was its heat retention. The pancake was fluffy and light, but it did take longer to cook the second side than the rest of the pans.
The All-Clad brand is well-known for producing USA-made, bonded stainless-steel pans that top everyone’s performance list. They make our favorite stainless-steel skillet, so we weren’t surprised when they aced our tests. This pan features their renowned all-clad stainless-steel bottom with three layers of PFOA-free nonstick coating on top. Although we recommend hand-washing nonstick pans, the pan is also dishwasher-safe and oven-safe to up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Features aside, the induction-compatible All-Clad earned top marks on all our tests. Our French omelets slid easily on the surface, and the pancakes turned out light and fluffy. Of all the pans in our test group, the All-Clad was the quickest to warm up and provided the most even heating, browning both sides of the pancake nicely. It was one of the heaviest pans we tested, but the straight handle design created balance by putting the weight towards the far edge of the pan. While it was slightly too hefty to flip eggs comfortably, the nonstick coating still performed. The eggs released easily, and we could flip them with the flick of a spatula—even when we weren’t using any cooking oil.
Our only significant complaint is the lofty price tag. All-Clad does back their cookware with a limited lifetime guarantee, but they don’t cover normal wear and tear. Several Amazon reviewers note that the warranty does not back scratches to the nonstick surface, so you’ll want to take very good care of this expensive pan to avoid running into longevity issues.
Unlike the other pans on this list, the Mauviel M’Steel 12.5-inch Black Carbon Steel Fry Pan doesn’t contain a nonstick coating. Instead, carbon steel cookware is seasoned with a coating of oil (similar to the seasoning you’ll find on cast-iron skillets). That makes the pan naturally nonstick so it will last longer than coated pans, although it can’t be washed with soapy water.
When we tested the best carbon steel pans, the Mauviel M'Steel exceeded our expectations in almost every way. This French-made pan was easy to season and immediately obtained a nonstick coating. Our fried eggs and French omelet slid easily around the pan without sticking, making clean-up a breeze.
In addition to cooking eggs, this pan also heated up quickly and maintained that heat to create an even sear on both sides of a steak. It’s also oven-safe, and it excelled at cooking sauteed vegetables. We loved that it was one of the lightest carbon steel pans we tested at just over three pounds, and the straight, nine-inch handle balanced that weight perfectly to make it feel like an extension of our arm as we used it.
If we had one complaint, it’s that the handle is a little uncomfortable and the inside cooking area was a touch smaller than the other products we tested. That’s a small sacrifice to make for perfectly cooked food.
Hi, I’m Lindsay Mattison, a trained professional chef, and a big breakfast fan. I never skip this all-important meal, even though I spent several years waking up early to cook brunch for restaurant guests. I’ve flipped thousands of eggs and made more omelets and scrambles than I care to count. After all that time, I know exactly what to look for in a nonstick pan, and I’d love to help you find the perfect one for your kitchen.
We chose to test highly-rated products. Most were 10-inches—large enough to cook a three-egg omelet but not so big that you can’t fry a single egg—although some were smaller or larger depending on availability. Our primary tests focused on whether the pans were indeed nonstick and released food easily, but design and construction also factored into the score. It was important that the pans provided even heat distribution and were properly balanced and weighted for comfort.
The first set of tests involved eggs. We cooked two over-easy eggs in each pan without any cooking oil or cooking spray, flipping them with a flick of our wrists. The best pans were light enough to flip easily, demonstrating a good balance between the handle and the edge of the pan. If we needed to use a utensil to loosen the egg or had to flip it manually with a spatula, the pan lost points.
Then, we cleaned the pans and whisked up a three-egg French omelet. We cooked each omelet without adding any cooking oil to see how they were released from the pan. Smooth omelets passed; rough and jagged omelets not so much.
Of course, these pans aren’t just for eggs, so we made a batch of pancakes. Pancakes are a good measure of how evenly the pan conducts and retains heat. If the pan cooked the batter’s first side without sticking, was evenly cooked, and retained enough heat to brown the second side, it walked away with top marks.
Finally, we heated room-temperature water in each pan and measured the water temperature after one and two minutes. Products that heated quickly were awarded bonus points. We then removed the hot water and replaced it with new water, monitoring how quickly the pan could recover to its original temperature.
What You Should Know About Nonstick Pans
Why You Should Own a Nonstick Pan
Stainless steel and cast-iron pans are great for many uses. They can be used at high heat, making them ideal for searing meat and creating pan sauces. They’re also designed to last a long time, with heavy, tri-ply, or multi-clad construction and surfaces that won’t be easily scratched. That said, they can be a pain to clean, and they’re not the best for cooking delicate foods that stick easily.
Nonstick pans, on the other hand, are designed to release food without sticking, making them the ideal choice for eggs, pancakes, delicate fish, or crepes. The coating doesn’t just help with the cooking process, either; it also makes clean-up significantly easier.
While some products feature a stainless-steel base that can be used with induction burners, most are made from coated aluminum to make them more lightweight. Aluminum construction also helps the pan heat up faster, which is why I love nonstick pans for making quick dishes like grilled cheese, quesadillas, or reheating leftovers without a microwave.
PTFE Vs. Ceramic Coating
Nonstick pans once had a reputation for being cancer-causing, but they’re now safe to use. The chemical coating (containing the "forever chemicals" PFOAs) that was responsible for health concerns isn't used anymore. In fact, you’ll find the words “PFOA-free” on nearly every nonstick pan on the market. Today, there are two types of coating choices for nonstick pans: PTFE (commonly known as Teflon) and ceramic.
PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) is a synthetic chemical with friction-resistant properties, and it was once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s most slippery substance.
Some companies produce proprietary PTFE, like All-Clad’s non-reinforced PTFE or Scanpan’s titanium-reinforced PTFE. Regardless of the brand, these pans work because they’re sprayed with one or several layers of the nonstick coating, creating a layer similar to the coating that builds up over time on cast iron or carbon steel pans.
The base pan can be made from stainless steel, aluminum, anodized aluminum, or a combination. Over time, the coating can scratch or wear off, and it will no longer retain its nonstick properties. High heat also degrades PTFE, and the chemical breaks down at high temperatures exceeding 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ceramic pans have gained popularity because of their “green” status and safety concerns of chemical coatings. These pans are not actually made from ceramic material: Like PTFE pans, they feature a coating on top of a steel or aluminum base. Ceramic coating is made from sand that’s turned into sol-gel. When the pan is heated, the coating releases a silicon oil (different from synthetic silicone) that resists sticking. Like PTFE, the silicon layer degrades over time (especially when in contact with high heat), so the product has a limited nonstick lifetime.
Caring for Nonstick Pans
We picked a few models with PTFE and ceramic coatings to perform destructive tests designed to test the pan’s ability to hold up over time. We used steel wool and metal cutlery (which you should never use on a nonstick pan unless the manufacturer states otherwise) to get a sense of each pan’s durability.
Almost all of the pans scratched when we hacked at them with steel wool, and some did better than others when used with metal utensils. Many warped when we exposed them to thermal shock, dunking the pan in cold water after heating it on high heat. The destructive tests taught us that almost all of these pans can be damaged with little effort, so it’s important to take care when using coated pans!
To avoid damaging your pan, choose wooden, silicone, rubber, or nylon utensils instead of metal ones, and never use stainless-steel scrubbing brushes when cleaning. Always use gentle detergents, and you’ll prolong the life of your pans if you avoid the dishwasher—even if they say they’re dishwasher safe (I know, hand washing is such a pain!). When cooking, use low or medium heat settings instead of high heat, and it’s best to avoid using these pans in the oven (especially if they have plastic handles).
Finally, take care when storing nonstick pans. Stacking them on top of each other can damage the coating on the edges of the pan. If stacking is your only option, place a towel or cork trivet in between the pans for protection.
Other Nonstick Pans We Tested
Great Jones Large Fry - 10-1/4"
At first glance, we thought the handle on the Great Jones 10-1/4-inch Large Fry Pan was going to be a problem. We loved that the copper U-shaped handle was attached without any rivets on the inside—making clean-up that much easier—but we worried that the shape might be uncomfortable, especially when paired with the pan’s heavyweight. We stopped worrying when we used the pan.
The handle was surprisingly ergonomic, and it was easier than we thought to flip the eggs with one hand. The ceramic coating was fully nonstick, excelling at both eggs and pancakes, and we loved that the aluminum core fully clad stainless steel construction heated quickly.
Unfortunately, the product didn’t maintain heat as well as some of the other models, creating less color on the second side of the pancake. That said, we’d be happy to make pancakes in this pan any day; they cooked up fluffier than the ones made in the other pans and still tasted great.
Overall, we were very impressed with the Caraway 10.5-inch Fry Pan. We will say that the pan was very heavy—one of the heaviest in the test group—but the handle features a tiny bump on the bottom. It fits perfectly against your index finger, helping you position your hand in the ideal place to balance the weight. The weight can be attributed to the construction, which uses an aluminum and stainless steel base, but that also helps it heat up quickly and retain heat well.
When it came to nonstick properties, we loved that the omelet was released without sticking to the ceramic coating, and it ended up being one of our favorite pans to use for flipping eggs—despite the weight.
It’s also easily one of the most beautiful pans in the group, but the price tag is a little higher than we’d prefer.
GreenPan made the first ceramic nonstick pans to hit the market, and today they offer the most variety. You’ll find several different models in their catalog, allowing you to choose from stainless steel, hard-anodized aluminum, or aluminum coated with their Thermolon ceramic coating.
We tested the SmartShape Ceramic because of its high ratings and magneto base for induction. The pan performed admirably, allowing the fried eggs to move freely and flip with ease. The omelet left a tiny bit of pan residue, but it was released with a presentation-ready finish.
We also love that the pan doesn’t have any rivets on the inside, making clean-up a breeze. Our only major complaint was that it didn’t maintain heat well, and the pancake took longer than we’d like to brown on the second side.
Hestan ProBond Forged Stainless Steel Nonstick Skillet - Medium
The price on the Hestan ProBond Forged Stainless Steel Nonstick Skillet is high enough to take your breath away: $200 is a lot of money to spend on any pan, especially when we know that PTFE coating has a limited lifetime. That said, we can’t deny this pan is extremely well made.
It features an exclusive TITUM nonstick coating with three layers of PFOA-free nonstick reinforced with diamond particles that are anchored to the pan with durable titanium plasma technology. The pan is a little on the heavy side, but during testing, the eggs moved around freely, and it created one of the best omelets in the group. It also conducted heat very efficiently, heating quickly and maintaining its heat exceptionally well. If budget isn’t an issue, we have no hesitation in recommending this pan.
Considering its extremely low price tag, we were impressed with the Gotham Steel 9.5-Inch Nonstick Fry Pan. It was one of the lightest pans we tested, and its all-aluminum base helped it heat up very quickly.
The Ti-Cerama titanium-reinforced ceramic coating created a great cooking surface, and our omelet turned out the perfect color with no stick at all. It certainly rivaled more expensive pans when it came to performance, but the handle was very uncomfortable and it got hot after extended use.
The pan also had a few scratches after normal use, so we don’t expect it to last a lifetime.
This Danish-made product features a proprietary PFOA-free ceramic titanium, making it unique amongst the PTFE pans we tested. This type of nonstick coating is said to be safe for use with metal utensils, which is typically a big no-no.
Sure enough, the Scanpan Classic Fry Pan was one of the only pans to pass our scratch tests with flying colors. Visible marks were apparent after we scoured it with steel wool and scraped it with metal utensils, but none of the scratches penetrated the surface. However, it was the only pan we tested that warped when heated and placed in cold water
During testing, the pan felt light in my hands, and its short handle made it easy to maneuver—although the handle’s plastic material did get hot after extended use. It was one of the few pans we tested that didn’t have rivets connecting the handle to the inside of the pan, which made for easier cleaning. Unfortunately, the pan’s heavy base made it the slowest to preheat.
The Scanpan Classic Fry Pan is definitely an appealing purchase, thanks to its ease of cleaning and scratch resistance. This product could last a long time, so long as you’re careful not to expose it to extreme changes in temperature, like placing it in the sink while it’s still hot.
Cuisinart 6422-24 Contour Hard-Anodized 10 Inch Skillet
The Cuisinart Contour Hard Anodized Skillet is a favorite on Amazon, and it’s easy to see why. The pan’s heavyweight is well balanced by a contoured handle that angles up, so it’s really comfortable to hold and use. While the pan’s tall, sloped sides make it slightly harder to flip eggs, it performed well overall. It browned our pancakes a bit unevenly but returned quickly to its preheated temperature when we added room-temperature ingredients to the pan.
Overall, this pan is solidly constructed and gets the job done. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty, which won’t cover any damage you do to the nonstick surface but will cover the manufacturer’s defects.
The Abbio Large Nonstick Skillet was much larger than most of the products we tested (11.5-inches), so it’s not surprising it was heavier than most of the pans on the list, too. That made it difficult to flip eggs with ease. Although this product features four layers of PFOA-free coating, we found the eggs needed a little coaxing to release from the pan. Once they were free, though, they moved easily around the pan without sticking, and the omelet looked beautiful.
We were happy with the tri-ply steel and aluminum base, which heated quickly and maintained heat well enough to brown the pancake beautifully on both sides. Overall, this pan fell in the middle of the pack in performance, but it’s a little on the high end when it comes to price.
Calphalon Premier Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10-Inch Frying Pan
We’ve tested Calphalon pans in the past, and we’ve generally been happy with their results. The Calphalon Premier 10-Inch Hard-Anodized Nonstick Frying Pan, however, missed the mark. The three-layer PTFE coating was nonstick in the center, creating a gorgeous omelet, but the pan has rounded edges instead of fluted ones.
That bowl-like shape made the fried eggs difficult to flip, and they stuck to the edges when they came in contact. The forked handle design also made the handle hot after extended use. It wasn’t the worst pan we tested, but it certainly wasn’t our favorite.
Anolon has been a long-standing name in nonstick cookware, so we weren’t surprised that the Anolon Advanced Home 10.25-inch Frying Pan performed well. The PTFE coating had no issues releasing eggs freely, and it created a beautiful pancake.
We had an issue with some of the design decisions, though. The hard-anodized aluminum was heavy, even when compared to other pans made from the same material. The edges are fluted strongly upward, too, so the cooking surface area is much smaller than pans of a similar size.
We also found small scratches around the edge of the pan after normal use, leading us to question the longevity of this product.
In general, we like the highly sought-after Our Place Always Pan. It’s designed to replace several pots and pans to streamline storage: It has a nonstick ceramic coating, deep walls for pan-frying, a large surface area for stir-frying, and a steamer basket insert, all wrapped up in a gorgeous package. But is it a proper replacement for a nonstick frying pan? We don’t think so.
The fried eggs stuck on both sides, and the pancake had patchy color. The water tests confirmed what we saw on the pancake: This pan might heat up quickly, but it doesn’t retain heat well. If you only have storage space for one pan, the Always Pan would work in a pinch, but it wouldn’t be our first choice for cooking eggs.
We weren’t super impressed with the Misen 10-inch Nonstick pan. For starters, it was one of the heavier pans we tested, with a five-ply stainless base. It went a long way to promote even heating and good heat recovery, but it was too heavy for comfort when flipping eggs. The handle is also longer than most of the pans in the test group, throwing off the balance of the already heavy pan.
Although the pancake cooked beautifully, both the fried eggs and omelet stuck to the pan despite the PTFE coating. Since the pan was also pretty slow to heat, it fell to the bottom of our list.
The HexClad 10-inch Hybrid pan had the worst nonstick surface in the group. To be fair, the instructions that come with the cookware instruct you to use oil when cooking eggs. Sure enough, that was a requirement. Without oil, the fried eggs stuck so badly that they didn’t release even when we coaxed them free with a rubber spatula, and the omelet was embarrassingly rugged. The pan performed better with the pancakes, easily releasing the pancake and browning both sides perfectly, demonstrating this pan’s ability to retain heat.
Overall, we were impressed with this pan’s quick and even heating, but we’re not impressed that it has to be seasoned—a process you don’t usually have to follow with nonstick pans. The pan might build up a more nonstick process over time, but it’s not nonstick out of the box. That said, you can use the HexClad with metal utensils and its unique laser-etched hexagon top makes it less likely to scratch than other nonstick pans.
Tramontina Professional Restaurant 10-in. Nonstick Frypan
The Tramontina Professional Restaurant Frypan has a long, rubber handle that is hard for me to love. While it did keep my hands away from the heat during testing, the balance and grip felt weird and uncomfortable to use.
On the flip (heh) side, the pan has an exceptional nonstick surface, producing a perfect omelet and fried eggs that flipped without clinging to the pan at all. Less sticking should mean quicker cleanup, but the handle has three rivets connecting it to the pan instead of the classic two-rivet system. While it’s not a deal-breaker, it does make the pan slightly harder to clean, forcing you to really dig your sponge into the sides.
T-Fal E93805 Professional Nonstick 10.25 Inch Fry Pan
From one of the most well-known names in inexpensive cookware, the T-Fal Professional Nonstick Fry Pan seemed poised to perform. The pan’s claim to fame is the Thermo-spot indicator, an area of the surface that displays a solid red spot when the pan is preheated, but unfortunately, this feature didn’t work well on my gas cooktop. While it did heat up quickly, T-Fal’s nonstick abilities paled in comparison to the other pans, producing the worst omelet of the group.
The contoured silicone handle provided a nice grip, with a shape that makes flipping motions easy. The silicone material on the handle extends all the way up to the base of the pan which causes the whole handle to heat up very quickly. While I liked the pan’s shape and compatibility with induction cooktops, its performance fell disappointingly short.
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