cheap throwaway nonstick pan or expensive forever non-stickpan?

elizabeth10029June 17, 2011

Just threw away my very old non-stick frying pan. It served me well for reducing need for too much cooking fat. RIP.

I went to Bed Bath and Beyond to look for a replacement and was totally overwhelmed by the options. The many discussions on this forum seem to pre-date the new choices. Help.

What is the best option: cheap non-stick that will have to be replaced frequently or expensive pan that will last "forever". I cook over high heat on my 30 year old Garland stove--higher than is recommended by most pan manufacturers.

Can anyone help me make a reasoned choice and recommend some favorite brands. I might buy two pans if I understood the differences in performance. Thanks.

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Also post on the Cooking forum.

If you are doing a lot of high-heat cooking, you really should not even be using non-stick, but cast iron. But for eggs and some other minor things, I use the cheaper non-stick pans sold in sets of 2 or 3 at Costco for under $20.

But you'll get a lot of cooking pan advice on the Cooking Forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cooking forum

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 5:05PM
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There is NO nonstick pan that will last forever. Nonstick coatings wear off, or scratch, or simply lose their non-stick-ness in 2-3 years (less with hard use, more with light use). So don't spend your money on a "forever" nonstick--it's a contradiction in terms.

Also, you NEVER want to go too high a heat with a nonstick pan. That is what makes the nonstick coating emit dangerous fumes, and deteriorate. If you are cooking with high heat, and don't want things to stick, you should be using either a well-seasoned cast iron pan, or an enameled cast iron pan like Le Creuset. (BTW, if you are looking for a "forever" pan, the Le Creuset is it--guaranteed for a lifetime, but they cost $$$ and weigh a lot)

The last time I was at BB&B, I didn't like their selection of nonstick pans. For a nonstick pan on low-to-medium heat, your best bet is to buy mid-priced, not so cheap that it is light and/or thin. Look for tri-ply construction to conduct heat evenly and not burn things. Absolutely no need to spend the money for non-stick on All-Clad or similar price range. I myself like the JCPenny house brand "Cook's" fry pan. It is tri-ply construction, like the All-Clad, at a fraction of the cost.

I am not a fan of the hard-anodized aluminum "nonstick" pans. I've never found a hard-anodized aluminum pan that didn't stick.

Besides the Cook's tri-ply nonstick frypan, I also have a Scanpan pan that I use solely for eggs. The Scanpan is really slick and slippery, but the pan is quite shallow, and so it's best for eggs/omelets. I use the Cook's triply for things that splatter or need higher sides, and because the triply is a heavier weight, it can handle a higher heat (but not too high!).

Here is a link that might be useful: JCPenney Cook's Tri-ply Nonstick Fry Pans

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 1:34AM
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I guess I just have to give up high heat on my non-stick cookware--though a combination of impatience and liking to carmelize onions/veggies etc. will make that hard.

Maybe I'll skip the whole purchase. (My favorite spa uses throwaway non-stick pans and they preach medium heat but in cooking demos I swear they turn it up high to speed things along.)

I have plenty of LeCreuset and seasoned cast iron and a stainless that I use just for eggs. These were very helpful answers to remind me that I can't just use those non-stick as if they will help me stay healthy. No fat vs. toxic fumes -- what a choice.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 4:36PM
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