HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >


New Calphalon One pan woes

  • w

So we got a brand new set of Calphalon One pans. Please don't tell me about how great other pans are, we bought these and we are stuck with them now.

So, they tout the ability to sear and release, a happy medium between stick and non-stick. I haven't used them on every kind of food items yet, but I did try to pan-fry some orange roughy last weekened. My fish stuck like crazy. It create a nice sear, but since it won't release easily, most of my sear just got stuck to the pan and burnt.

I added oil after the pan was pre-heated. I'm not sure if there is any trick to working this type of pan. I've been using non-stick for so long that I probably forgot how to use a non-non-stick.

Any tips?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I don't know about the new Calphalon pans, but the old ones recommended you season them first (like cast iron). The info that came with the pans probably has instructions.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      the instruction just said to wash with hot soapy water, no seasoning mentioned. It also said it won't scratch, so we can even use metal utensils (not that I'm going to do that).

      I got them at Bed Bath and Beyond. I can probably return them if I want to. But we had a great deal on them. And my husband really likes them, thinks they look good :P Even though he doesn't do the cooking around the house.

      Maybe I need to test them on more things before I make up my mind.

      1. re: Wendy Lai

        Basically, I agree with everything Pupster said about not being able to use it for acidic foods, pitting, staining, etc. Mine was easy to gouge, too, but that was the "old" Calphalon, so maybe that's been improved. But as I said, I recently started transitioning all my cookware back to aluminum-clad stainless. Chino Wayne was right on when he said that the stickiness of the pan depends on how hot the pan was when you added the oil and a whole lot of factors, and that applies to stainless as well as anodized aluminum. But at least when stuff sticks to your stainless you don't have to worry about what you can't use to clean it!

        If your hubby likes the look, maybe you can get the ones with the stainless steel interior and the anodized aluminum cladding.

        I was thinking about what you said about getting a good deal, etc. When you consider how much you use your cookware, an extra $100, or even $200 isn't very much. You'd spend that much on one nice dinner out, why not spend it on cookware that will produce thousands of delicious dinners?

        Good cookware will outlive you, so it's really worth the investment. If you build up your collection over time -- starting with the basics and adding to it as your budget allows or as good deals arise -- you won't have to lay out a lot of money.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler
          Hungry Celeste

          I agree with the above 100%. I have a couple of caphalon pans that haven't worn worth a damn...terrible pitting, dinks, scratches, etc. I will eventually throw 'em out and plan to replace with All Clad's professional line (the outsides are matte, not shiny; don't know why this makes 'em professional). The All Clads are a breeze to clean, heat evenly, and look & function just as great as day 1. Of course, I'm also a fan of good ol' cast iron, too.

          1. re: Hungry Celeste

            I know that it's an investment. But somehow plunking down a thousand buck for as set of All Clad pro series pans just is a littel hard to do :)

            1. re: Wendy Lai
              Hungry Celeste

              That's why I only have a couple pans and not the whole set! Each time I try to justify the cost, it occurs to me that I can get a perfectly good piece of Lodge cast iron for less than the sales taxes on a comparable All Clad pot.

              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                I agree - get a few All Clad pans (pots) and several inexpensive cast-iron skillets.

                There are usually good sales on All Clad - stores often have a loss-leader deal on one pan to lure you into buying a set, but don't fall for that ploy. Instead, search many stores online and buy only the loss-leader pans. I've gotten small, medium, and large saucepans and a small roaster this way. As well as an All Clad skillet, but I don't use it because I like my cast iron skillets better.

                A seasoned cast iron pan is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. It makes perfectly seared fillets (fish, chicken, meat, whatever). There are many threads on this board with more info.

                I would save my cast iron pans if my house was on fire. The All Clad pans will have to fend for themselves.


                1. re: AnneInMpls
                  Hungry Celeste

                  If your house caught fire, you wouldn't need to save those pans--they would survive just fine. Willie Mae Seaton, 90 year old James Beard award winning cook, saved her ancient skillets from her namesake restaurant. Despite Katrina's floodwaters, those pans came through just fine (dirty, rusty, but worth saving).

            2. re: Hungry Celeste

              All-Clad. I sell them to people who want them, I own a piece of the LTD line. I hate the handles. They just don't fit mt hand comfortably. I'm a Swiss Diamond gal. For the money and ease of cleaning SD is tops in my book.

      2. When I sold Calphlon pans we were supposed to tout the "easy release" but in my experience using them, they were never that good. Further more, they pit, they scratch and they stain. I used them for years, then finally asked myself why I was using pans I hated and replaced them piece by piece.

        If you bought them from a reputable dealer you should be able to return them (or at least exchange them). You might consider that.

        1. A good friend registered for these pans, and as much as it pained me I bought what she wanted. That said, I am suspicious of Calphalon's need to replace their lines with new versions that have somehow been improved. The Original gave way to Commercial, then they broke out the Simply. Then came Contemporary. Now, Commercial is being phased out in order to introduce One.

          But guess what? They are all anodized aluminum. You are stuck with all the pro and the many cons (yeah, it sticks).

          I agree with Ruth -- return them (they are awfully expensive!!) if you can.

          On the bright side, another friend had two of his Calphalon pans break(?!) and he wrote to the company. He was able to exchange them for two brand new pans, with no hassles.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Pupster

            With the recent studies on the ills of non-stick and cancer causing agents that eventually comes off and are ingested, I was leaning towards a whole set of stainless stell stick pans.

            So maybe I just need to adjust my expectations?

            Why is Calphalon getting such a bad wrap? 'cus they stick?

            1. re: Wendy Lai

              Well, for me there are two issues: anodized aluminum as a cookware material and Calphalon as brand. I don't prefer anodized aluminum because of its limitations: discoloration with acidic foods, pocking, handwash only, the delicacy of non-stick without actually being non-stick, etc.

              Then Calphalon as a brand, I have a problem with what they charge for the quality of material and production. For the money, I think you can get better.

              But you (and your husband) are right: they look good. If that is your main criteria I understand why you bought them.

          2. I am just starting to build up my kitchen equipment inventory with Calaphone One Infused Anodyzed pans and I love them, I love the heft to them, I love the way they hold and distribute the heat, and I love how easy they are to clean (compared to stainless) when I do "encrust" them with food residue.

            Yes, sometimes food sticks, and other times it does not. I am chalking that up to my learning curve. One thing I have noticed is that with these pans I do not need to turn the flame up as high as I used to with my copper bottom, or cheap aluminum pans. I think it is a function of the amount of heat, the oil in the pan, putting the oil in the pan at the right time, and the food being cooked (remember, don't put protein in the pan right out of the refrigerator, let it come up to room temperature first), and how long it is in the pan.

            I plan to spend plenty of time "practicing" with these pans, I am not a professional chef who may use his various cooking utensils thousands and thousands of times a year, just a home cook who gets a lot of joy "practicing" preparing interesting, wonderful recipes.

            Link: http://www.indefatigable-indolence.or...

            4 Replies
            1. re: Chino Wayne

              So what is the right time to put in the oil? What have you learned so far you can share with me?

              1. re: Wendy Lai

                Never put oil in a cold pan, let the pan heat for a minute or so.

              2. re: Chino Wayne

                I agree with you totally. I have several Calphalon One pans and I love them. I don't understand why others are giving them a bad rap. I cook with them daily, and they have no pitting whatsoever. I often cook delicate fish in them, and have no problem with proper searing or with sticking. I get the pan very hot, splash in some evoo and a pat of butter and fry away. I agree that the fish should be close to room temp, and most importantly the fish should not be disturbed for at least a few minutes to allow for a good sear. Doing this, I find that there is little or no sticking. Calphalon One cleans easily...I like Barkeepers Friend and a sponge. It leaves the pans spotless. All of my Calphalon One is the regular variety (not non-stick) except for two non-sticks that I use exclusively for eggs or omelets. The only other pots I own are two Le Creuset dutch ovens which I use for braises, soups or stews. I love Calphalon One, and am at loss as to why other CH's are giving it a bum rap!

                1. re: josephnl

                  I agree with you completely. Our Calphalon One 5 qt sautee pan is the most used pan in our kitchen ever since I bought it about 5 years ago. Only complaint is it cannot be put in the dishwasher, but that's just a convenience issue.

              3. I like the way Calphalon cooks, though I learned to use much more oil to sauté fish than I really thought was necessary. I find it easy to take care of. Staining has been no problem, nor has pitting from salt (because I take care to have the liquid come to the boil before adding the salt). Since it is anodized, it is inert and non-reactive, which makes it very versatile. It goes into the oven with no problem. That said, the large sauté pans always seem to warp after about 2 years, whether on gas or electic stove tops. I can't find another pan that I like as well (and I have All-Cald, too), so I use it until I can't stand the degree of warp any more (another 3 to 5 years), and then go buy another one.

                1. I don't think what people have said about not using these pans with acidic foods is correct. Plain old aluminum is reactive, so it is true you should use that to cook acidic foods. But anodized aluminum makes it effectively non-reactive from a cooking point of view. Tomatoes are fine.

                  As for the sticking, when I switched from non-stick to stainless (All-Clad) I found that I had to use a lot more oil than I was used too. Also, really delicate high-protein foods like thin fish fillets or eggs tend to stick or break apart half the time anyway. For delicate fish fillets, a quick dredge in flour in conjunction with lots of butter and/or oil helps. For eggs, I break out the nonstick.

                  1. Sorry to tell you this, but Calaphon One Pans, Nigerian Bank Transfers and Email Bank Card PIN Certification notices are all the same - SCAMS.
                    All a Calaphon 1 pan is a poor performing, hard to clean, replacement for good quality cast iron or heavy guage carbon steel at 4 to 5 time the price. They look good and.... well... that's about it.
                    Go to a commercial kitchen store and buy heavy guage saute pan or order a good quality (Lodge) cast iron pan, season them properly, NEVER USE SOAP, let them get good and ugly with a patina and enjoy them for 20, 30 or 40 years.

                    Link: http://www.bigsmoke.ca

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Adam

                      I have a small set of four All-Clad stainless pans and a Lodge cast-iron skillet -- all of which I use often and with great joy. That said, I also own six Calphalon One Infused pans which I love and consider overall my very best for cooking food, specifically meats, soup and sauces. When the pan is heated properly, food releases fairly easily compared to stainless (which takes even longer to heat or "prime" properly). The Infused Anodized aluminum also distributes heat far more evenly and more quickly than either stainless or the cast iron. Fish is tricky no matter what type of pan you use, which is why most professional chefs have turned to (gasp) nonstick pans for white flaky fishes (a good fish spatula also helps greatly). The Calphalon One creates a phenomenal fond, deglazes perfectly, and cleans up easier than anything except true nonstick coated pans. That said, I have tried the lesser Calphalon products -- including their stainless lines which are made in China -- and they don't cook anything like my All-Clad (duh!). Personally, I think Calphalon has cheapened their brand by offering too many lines of lesser quality. I was skeptical of the One line, but found that they cook great after all. So, my advice is, if you are looking for stainless with great overall design and quality, splurge on a few pieces and buy All-Clad. If you want the best heat distribution, go for Calphalon One (made in Toledo, OH). I also like cast iron for steaks, which HOLDS heat incredibly well, but can be a bit heavy for everyday use. Ultimately, different materials work well for different things and different occasions. I was pleased to find that the products I have the most success with are made in the USA. They may cost a bit more, but they cook better and provide people with real jobs. Good luck.

                      1. re: randallhank

                        I am feeling the need to amend this 5 1/2 years later. I still stand by the raw cooking properties of Calphalon One, but I have definitely seen some durability issues. Due to a job change and relocation, I was forced into having an electric "radiant ring" stovetop, and some of the limitations of this cookware began to show. Mainly, the pans exposed to higher heat (skillets and saute), had warped just a little bit. This did not make a difference when I was cooking over gas, but contact with the element is essential on electric.

                        Secondly, the pans over time developed microscopic little scars on the cooking surface (Calphalon replaced them under warranty). I did use a metal spatula to deglaze, but I am really not sure why this happened. The pans also ding up pretty easily, and some oil stains couldn't be completely removed even with bar keepers friend. I still have some of these, and honestly I haven't noticed an affect on either cooking or cleanup, so I guess it is really just a minor annoyance. If still had a gas stove I wouldn't have tried to replace them.

                        Now, with an electric range, I have completely revamped my cookware lineup. It is a much more eclectic collection. I also should mention that I became completely dissatisfied with All-Clad stainless. The aluminum was too thin to provide good conductivity and on the other hand the overall thickness was not sufficient to provide even heat. They are too expensive not to perform better at something! I do have one All-Clad copper core sauce pan which I am satisfied with. The rest of my cookware is a combination of 3 pieces of Michael Chiarello's Signature stainless set (clad, PLUS a copper clad base). I also have four sitram catering pans which are truly fantastic as everyday cookware (2mm copper base, relatively lightweight, yet indestructible, and no interior rivets), especially for electric. And I have a few smaller le creuset pieces. My overall philosophy of cookware has changed somewhat over the years in that I think you really need to customize your cookware to your cooking style and to your heat source. This last part is often overlooked (I would rather use two 10" skillets to cook a couple of steaks than one 13" skillet).


                    2. The common advice is to heat the pan before adding oil, but you already are doing that. There are many comments here about fish sticking, and (really!) I can't ever recall that happening no matter what the type of pan. But I have no idea what I do right.

                      But if this continues to be a problem, may I humbly suggest you get an inexpensive, aluminum non-stick pan from a mail-order, restaurant supply source such as Surfas or Restaurant Source. I have a 23-buck pan that I use only for eggs and crepes. If it wears down in a few years, it's cheap to replace.

                      BTW, please ignore the doom-sayers. My Calphalon saucepans date back 25 years and are in excellent shape. I don't use metal utensils, though. Good luck.

                      1. Aside from the moral issues of orange roughy, I would suggest making sure your fish is very dry. Water makes things stick. Also, I know there's the drop it in the pan and don't move it method, but you should give it a real quick shake immediately after you put it in the pan to make sure it hasn't literally adhered itself to the pan. For fish, I like using butter, not oil. I think it sticks less.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: HaagenDazs

                          I have had very good results with calphalon one pans over several years. They are not complete release pans like teflon or similar products. You must treat them like stainless steel or solid aluminum except the food almost always releases somewhat easier. The advantage over teflon is that you will not be eating plastic and they will last forever barring abuse. You will need to use some oil in saute applications but less than you would use with stainless steel, aluminum or cast iron. Don't add the food until the oil is hot. Moderate high heat works fine and lower or higher heat will not. Just as in the case of cast iron, copper or steel, a thicker pan and moderate heat is better!

                          1. re: briano52

                            Agree completely that the key is use of moderately high heat. I use my Calphalon One pans all the time and never have a problem with release. (Also, you must wash by hand so the surface does not get pitted.)

                            1. re: masha

                              I am looking to spend 100-200 hundred $ on a great wok...but I still not confident I know what to buy. I recently purchased a great KitchenAid gas stovetop with reversiblecast iron grate (which has pegs to hold a wok) burn 15k BTU will hold 12-14" wok. Usually I cook for my young family of 5 and small groups and occational large groups, stirfrying everyday using my regular pots and pan and the wide burners heats up the sides of the pots and burns and stains it (at this point I will be happy with a cheap wok but I am willing to spend alot more for a great one). Is All Clad typically 'better' than Calphalon? I think i would like my wok to have 2 side handles rather than 1 long handle, it will be easier to store and wash in my sink, Any thoughts on that? Although I regret missing the ability to shake the food though. Is a 14" rounded bottom big enough surface to cook on verses a flat bottom American style woks? Will All Clad or Calphalon rust in between us. My mom used to own a cheap metalwok which we had to oil before storing in between use. So if anyone can offer me any suggestions, that would make my day!!!

                              1. re: pvong

                                Mom was right -- get a good quality hand-hammered carbon steel wok for $20. Yeah, it must be oiled/seasoned and will rust if not dried before putting away. Like cast iron, it should just need a very light coat of oil for storing -- not dripping. It will typically have two loop handles -- maybe a wood hanle on one side.

                                Calphalon and AlClad will look great and neither will rust, but they won't be very good woks either. I don't think the Calphalon or AlClad people are trying to swindle anybody -- it's just that this is one application that their products are not set up to handle. Aluminum and multi-ply stainless distribute the heat too well -- no hot and cold zones.

                                Personally, I would get as large a wok as my stove could handle safely -- a 16-inch would be ideal.

                                The stove output seems ample, but sounds like the burner spreads the flames out, instead of concentrating in the middle. That might be a source of grief whatever wok you get.

                                1. re: MikeB3542

                                  I can't really disagree with this post. Nonstick pans don't get hot enough, and stainless sticks too much. I will say, though, that the 10" inch Calphalon One stir fry does a pretty nice job. They were clever and made it with a thinner gauge than the other pans in the line, and with as well as anodized aluminum transmits heat you can get it really hot. Use medium heat for five minutes, prep the pan well with oil, then turn it to medium high before adding the ingredients and it's not a bad stir fry pan at all.

                                2. re: pvong

                                  i have several Great Woks and have never paid more than $25 for any of them.

                                3. re: masha

                                  I completely agree, moderately high heat is key.

                                  I have been using my Calphalon One pan for over a year now. It took me a while to figure out how best to use it after using cheap cookware for most of my adult life. Now, I can't imagine life without it and plan to add more as money permits. Heat the pan, add oil and give it a few seconds to come up to temp, too, and then add the meat you wish to sear. Do not try to move the meat until it creates a nice sear and releases. That last part was the hardest for me to learn! I have had problems with food sticking a few times but found that if I clean it with Barkeeper's Friend, I no longer have that problem for a while. I think a residue builds up and you have to remove it. I cook tomatoes and other acidic foods in mine often.

                                  I do know that different lines of Calphalon are not the same. The stuff you find at Kohls, Target, and the like are not made as well as the Calphalon One line. I buy mine at a Chef's Outlet near me.

                                  1. re: alliedawn_98

                                    You are right on. I love Calphalon One, have no problem browning, and use Barkeeper's Friend to clean it. Can't understand why so many CH's disagree.

                                    1. re: alliedawn_98

                                      I'm considering to buy the Calphalon One Everyday Pan. I'm interested in using it for risottos and paella. Have you used yours for this type of cooking?
                                      OK after reading

                                      Help! Commercial Calphalon Hard Anodized finish wearing off? posted 8/1/08

                                      I've decided to stay away from Calphalon One! Thanks for all the postings, it's like getting info from friends.

                                      1. re: summeronlakes

                                        I have had two Calphalon One nonstick fry pans for over a year now and think they are great. I always cook my fish on top of the stove and then finish in the oven and these pans brown extremely well and are good to 500 degrees in the oven. Got a smoking good deal on them and am very happy with them. Don't use non-stick very often, but these two fry pans are the best I've tried.

                              2. I use old commerical calphalon pans from long ago. They are the best surface for browning but you've got to be patient.

                                Regular calphalon will release as easily as nonstick but you must follow these guidelines.

                                Use cold oil in a hot pan (preheat the pan).

                                Dry off the fish, meat or product thoroughly before putting it in the pan, wet or damp product will stick and won't brown.

                                Be patient, don't try to force the product to release from the pan, it will release when it is browned. Most people try to get the food to release too soon.

                                1. I've used the Calphalon Karahi/Indian wok (which isn't offered anymore from what I understand) and as long as I heat the thing up and then coat it with a film of oil it works like a charm. It's the only Calphalon product I own - I bought it because it's a really deep wok and I can flip food easily.

                                  No pitting yet, and I use metal in it without a problem. BarKeeper's Friend keeps it in good condition.

                                  I've wondered why they stopped making this wok.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: breadchick

                                    The Kahari was a special promotion offered only at William Sonoma. I owned it briefly and I think it could be a serious collector's piece some day. What a beautiful pan! I ended up getting the 6 quart "perfect pan", which was the exact same piece (13") only with handles that flared out instead of up. I wanted to use the pan in the oven, as well as on the stovetop, and the upright handles of the Kahari were prohibitive with my oven racks.

                                  2. I found this set of Unison Frittata pans at marshalls for $30 and picked them up.
                                    Figured it was a good deal on 2 non stick pans, and one of these days I'm going to attempt an actual frittata. We'll see how that turns out.
                                    In the meantime, I've had no issues just using a little pat of butter and they are good to go.


                                    From what I've read it seems the only major differences in the lines are the handles.. I may be wrong, but that's my impression as well.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: grnidkjun

                                      I am sure these pans will be great for many applications. I think they are slightly lighter, thinner than the one pans. I think Calphalon decided they were most successful making very good non-stick pans that are popular with today's pseudo "gourmets" who ultimately value ease of use and simple clean-up over truly good cooking. No doubt these are the very finest non-stick pans on the market and will produce better results than other non-stick competitors. That said, it's a shame they pulled the plug on their only true premium cookware line. The Calphalon One was truly a unique product for serious cooks. Aside from cooking eggs, they were a superior product for nearly every other application. Unfortunately, they suffered from poor marketing and gobs of consumers who don't know how to cook.

                                      1. re: randallhank

                                        I agree. The Calphalon One Infused Anodized (not nonstick) line is indeed unique and should not be discontinued. After using stainless steel pots and pans for many years, I switched to Calphalon One and own some 12 different sizes. They conduct heat so much better and are faster and easier to cook with for just about everything. I use nylon utensils and clean the pots/pans with the recommended scrubbing cleanser -- a little extra care keeps them in great condition. The Infused Anodized line filled a niche between stainless and nonstick. The new Unison line is just high-end nonstick cookware, and nonstick cookware is simply not as durable or as good to cook with.

                                    2. I have a few of the (now discontinued) Commerical Hard Anondized Calphalon (super clearance on Amazon years ago) that I absolutely love. I've never had a problem with sticking or wear. I adore them.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: kariface

                                        You're absolutely right. You have the original Calphalon pans of which I still have a few. They are great and I honestly think they are just as good as the newer Calphalon One pans which are also great.

                                        1. re: kariface

                                          I have some Calphalon pieces (frying pans and a grill pan) that date to a time just before anyone Smelled Teen Spirit. I can make out the word “Commercial” in a badge on the bottoms of two of the pans. These have been incredibly sturdy and reliable laborers for those two decades. Basically, they have evolved into quasi-cast iron cookware through all the seasoning (cleaned, for the most part, with only Bon Ami and a sponge). The 8” acts like a non-stick for making eggs and, in January, that griller and a hot oven mean meat can still taste good. Truth is, I have never had any significant problems with anything sticking, other than as a result of, shall we say, chef’s error.

                                          That being said, I have, over time, replaced the pots and saucepans with Le Creuset, much preferring the lids on those pieces (the exception being the ultra-massive pasta set – makes a damn fine vessel for boiling a few lobsters at a time). Recently, with a tinge of sadness, I had to replace one of the 12” frypans. The bottom had become a semi-sphere and I worried about it tipping whenever I took my hand off. I bought myself an All-Clad. I got it at a discount when I paid cash at a local restaurant supplier. I chose it in part because I liked the lid and in part because I still had one of the old Calphs left; it is a fine, fine pan.

                                          I don’t know about the newer products from the manufacturer, but I do know that I have no complaints about the cooking I’ve done in those Calphalon pans. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that they look so friggin’ cool hanging on the wall of my kitchen!

                                        2. Sounds frustrating. I also recently purchased Calphalon stainless steel pans without a nonstick surface. Had to relearn how to cook since I don't use oil for health reasons.

                                          Have you tried putting your raw food in the pan when the food is at room temperature and the pan is dry and hot? This has worked perfectly every time for me. When the pan starts to form a glaze on the bottom, add one Tbsp of vege broth or water at a time. You could also start with a warm pan and some oil if you use oil.

                                          I use Barkeepers Friend cleaner, which takes all stains off, so pans look like new. Don't give up, you have great pans!!