We Cooked 68 Omelets to Test the Best Nonstick Pans—These Are Our Favorites

The Zwilling Madura Plus is a culinary game-changer.

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Best Nonstick Pans

Food & Wine / David Hattan

Not all frying pans are created equally, and that fact is never more apparent than when you're making eggs. They're super slippery when raw, but they become the world's stickiest food when cooked—especially if you use the wrong type of pan. We love a good omelet, but nothing turns us off more than when silky eggs begin to coat the bottom of the pan, leaving that thin, crusty, flakey layer that's impossible to scrape off. That's where a quality nonstick pan comes in — it's an indispensable tool that every home cook needs, and there is no substitute.

Though multifunctional frying pans have their benefits, some tasks—like scrambling eggs and searing flakey fish—require a dedicated nonstick pan, and having one that you can rely on is essential. But with so many different brands to choose from, it can be hard to know where to find the best nonstick cookware.

To help you find the best nonstick pan, we put some of the leading models to the test. Overall, the Zwilling Madura Plus impressed us with its super-slick surface, and we love that its deep sides make it extra durable and versatile. Read on for more of our top picks.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Zwilling Madura Plus 11-inch Nonstick Deep Fry Pan

best nonstick pans
Courtesy of Zwilling

Pros: This sturdy pan was the slickest we tested and easily passed all of our tests. It's dishwasher-safe but is also easy to clean with a damp cloth between each use.

Cons: It's only oven-safe up to 300 degrees, so be mindful of what temperature you're cooking at when you transfer from stovetop to oven.

The deep sides of this sturdy, heavy-duty pan allow for braising and frying, which adds a layer of versatility that some other pans did not have. It's the perfect option for cooking up larger batches. In our tests, we found that pancakes slid around easily in the pan without the help of a spatula, and salmon seared beautifully without sticking. Even the melted marshmallows seared to golden brown rather than burning and sticking.

The handle felt surprisingly balanced considering how deep the cooking surface is, and it managed to stay cool even when using high heat. The PFOA-free coating is completely nonstick so food doesn't stick, and the pan itself is scratch-resistant and oven-safe up to 300 degrees.

Price at time of publish: $112

  • Size: 11 inches
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Oven-safe: Up to 300 degrees

Best Value: Nordic Ware 10.5-inch Sauté Pan

best nonstick pans
Courtesy of Nordic Ware

Pros: This affordable pan is one of the lightest and easiest-to-handle pans we tried.

Cons: This pan is not induction compatible, so be careful which type of stovetop you use it on.

We love this pan because it's delightfully light, easy to work with, and completely nonstick. It's also surprisingly affordable. It passed every test we put it through and was one of the most affordable options on the list. The silicone handle was easy to hold, slip-resistant, and stayed cool to the touch even when we used the pan on high heat. Most importantly, the PFOA-free coating was one of the slickest we tested. For a dedicated nonstick pan that you can use every day, you can't beat this sturdy 10.5-inch sauté pan from Nordic Ware.

Price at time of publish: $52

  • Size: 10.5 inches
  • Induction compatible: No
  • Oven-safe: Up to 400 degrees

Best Set: All-Clad Hard Anodized 2-piece Nonstick Cookware Set, 10-inch and 12-inch

best nonstick pans
Courtesy of All-Clad

Pros: This affordable set of versatile and sturdy pans is compatible with all stovetops and oven-safe up to 500 degrees.

Cons: The handle can get a bit hot, so be careful when using high heat or transferring to the oven.

This two-piece set is a fantastic way to add two high-quality pieces to your cookware set. Both pans were easy to hold and maneuver, and the nonstick coating passed all of our tests, as we found that the food did not stick. These pans are compatible with all cooktops and are oven-safe up to 500 degrees. Though they are dishwasher-safe, All-Clad recommends washing these PFOA-free pans by hand for the best results. This set scored a spot in our top five because both pans easily passed all of our tests and are an unbeatable bargain for the price.

Price at time of publish: $100

  • Size: 10 inches and 12 inches
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Oven-safe: Up to 500 degrees

Best Oven-Safe: Caraway 10.5-Inch Fry Pan

best nonstick pans
Courtesy of Caraway

Pros: This super-slick pan delivers even heat distribution and can handle high heat, so it's easy to transfer from stovetop to oven for a variety of cooking projects.

Cons: This pan should be hand-washed to maintain its nonstick coating.

This heavy-duty nonstick pan is perfect for whipping up large batches of scrambled eggs or braising Sunday sauce. The PTFE-free coating is super slick, it's safe to use on all types of stovetops, and is oven-safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. This sturdy pan is a kitchen workhorse that can easily be transferred from stovetop to oven. The tight-fitting lid is great for gently simmering, and the long handle makes it easy to maneuver. Overall, this is an exceptionally sturdy, non-toxic pan that is suitable for many types of cooking projects.

Price at time of publish: $95

  • Size: 10.5 inches
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Oven-safe: Up to 550 degrees

Related: The 8 Best Non-Toxic Cookware Buys for Home Cooks, According to Customers

Best Splurge: Le Creuset 11-inch Toughened Nonstick Pro Pan

best nonstick pans
Courtesy of Le Creuset

Pros: This pan is oven-safe, dishwasher-safe, induction compatible, and completely nonstick. The PFOA-free coating delivers even heat distribution, and food doesn't stick.

Cons: Though this pan is super slick and easy to use, it's one of the most expensive on the list.

This Le Creuset nonstick pan is dishwasher-safe, oven-safe, scratch-proof, and safe for all stovetops, so it's a versatile pan that performed exceptionally well on all of our tests including delicate omelets, salmon, pancakes, and marshmallows. The PFOA-free coating created even heat distribution with a slick and completely nonstick cooking surface. This is a reliable, functional pan that will come in handy for a multitude of tasks in the kitchen.

Price at time of publish: $175

  • Size: 11 inches
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Oven-safe: Up to 500 degrees

Related: The Best Kitchen Tools and Appliances That Are Worth the Splurge

Our Favorite

Though we tested a ton of great pans, none matched the overall versatility and functionality of the Zwilling Madura Plus. This pan easily exceeded our expectations—the surface is super slick, the handle is balanced, slip-free, and easy to hold, and the deep sides mean it can be used to braise and deep fry.

Factors to Consider

Before selecting the best nonstick pan for your needs, you'll want to assess what type of material it's made of, how often you'll use it, what type of stovetop it's compatible with, and how you intend to clean and care for it. Other important factors to consider are its heat distribution, cooking surface, durability, and how easy to handle the pan is. A good nonstick pan should be durable, easy to maneuver, and distribute heat evenly without causing any food to stick.

Use and Care

Be mindful that cleaning and caring for a nonstick pan might be different than some of your other cookware. For example, many nonstick pans shouldn't be put in the dishwasher, and perform best when washed by hand with mild soap and water. Certain pans are oven-safe, while others can only be used on the stovetop. These pans can work wonders in the kitchen if you treat them correctly, but it's important to keep in mind that they're a bit sensitive, and preserving their nonstick surface means treating them with extra TLC.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Are nonstick pans oven safe?

    "This depends on the model. You will always want to check the oven safety and safe temperature range of your specific pans," says Bev Shaffer, a chef, culinary instructor, and food writer. "Most nonstick cookware is oven safe to at least a temperature of 350 degrees, provided that the handle is also an oven-safe material like metal."

  • How should you clean nonstick pans?

    "If the manufacturer says you can wash in the dishwasher, technically you can," says Shaffer. "But, understand that it will shorten the life of the pan." You will always get a longer life out of your nonstick cookware if you wash it by hand to prevent the dishwasher's high temperatures and harsh detergents from damaging the nonstick surface. Use any standard liquid dishwashing detergent and a soft cloth or soft-bristle brush to prevent damaging the surface.

  • When should you replace nonstick pans?

    There is no simple answer to this, but no nonstick cookware lasts a lifetime since the coating will start to degrade over time. Generally, experts advise replacing your nonstick pans about every three to five years "It depends on how good the initial quality of the pan is and how you treat it," says Shaffer. "Using wood, silicone, or plastic utensils will extend its life."

The Tests

Best Nonstick Pans
Courtesy of Laura Denby

After far too much time spent unsuccessfully scraping stainless steel pans, we did what any normal people would do: we cooked 68 omelets, 51 pancakes, and 48 ounces of salmon in 13 different pans to find the best nonstick pan. Then, we decided to make things even stickier and melted marshmallows in each pan.

We put the pans to work over the course of a month, where we assessed everything from weight to price to care and clean up. We're happy to report that we found a lot of great options. Most importantly, our quest reaffirmed what we already knew: if you treat it right, a nonstick pan is a culinary game-changer.

Functionality

We tested each pan to assess nonstick functionality by cooking the stickiest foods we could think of: French omelets, pancakes, salmon, and marshmallows. We used silicone tools for most, and used metal tools only if the brand designated its pan as "scratch-proof."

Look and Feel

For each pan, we noted the ease of handling and maneuverability. We also wanted to make sure that the handle and base of the pan felt balanced, so you don't strain your wrist when lifting it. Lastly, we assessed whether or not the handle stayed cool when using high heat, and if the grip felt sturdy or slippery.

Durability and Brand Promises

Each pan came with brand promises. For those that claimed to be dishwasher-safe, we ran it through a cycle and noted any changes in functionality. If a brand promised that the pan was scratch resistant, we made sure to test that claim by using metal spatulas and tongs.

Best Nonstick Pans
Courtesy of Laura Denby

What Didn't Make the List

Strong Contenders

  • Made In 10-inch Fry Pan ($120 at Made In)
  • OXO Good Grips Nonstick Pro Open Fry Pan ($50 at Amazon)
  • Great Jones Small Fry ($75 at Great Jones)
  • Misen 1-inch Nonstick ($65 at Misen)

Results Still Simmering

  • Sardel 10-inch Nonstick Skillet ($115 at Sardel)
  • Our Place Always Pan ($145 at Our Place)
  • Calphalon Classic 2-piece Nonstick Fry Pan ($55 at Amazon)

Low Performers

  • Anolon 10-inch Nonstick Frying Pan ($100 at Anolon)

Our Expertise

Every pan in this piece was fully tested by Product Reviews Food Writer Laura Denby. Laura is a writer and former professional chef, who has a degree in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education and experience cooking in kitchens in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Hamptons. For this piece, Laura performed competitive research to develop a comprehensive product set of the best nonstick pans available. She utilized her culinary experience to test each pan and assess functionality over the course of many months. You can find more of Laura's work in Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, FoodNetwork.com, Delish, and more.

This piece was also updated by Stacey Ballis, a freelance writer, recipe developer, and product reviewer. Stacey has been published on Food & Wine, Eating Well, Allrecipes, MyRecipes, Delish, and more.

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