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Dec 15, 2007 08:32 PM

Non-stick but not teflon?

I'd like to buy my brother a decent all-purpose frying pan for Christmas, maybe spend no more than $70.

Can anyone recommend a particular brand of non-stick pan that is not teflon? I saw an ad on TV recently for a line that is coated in ceramic, but damned if I can remember the manufacturer.

He's not a frequent cook and has made it clear that he's not interested in the "maintenance" of cast iron (when I told him about seasoning the pan, he got freaked out).


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    1. re: jakew8

      This sounds about right; thanks very much. Now to see if I can find it (I'm in Canada and doesn't ship up here).


      1. re: Olivia

        check out if you are interested in scanpan or swiss diamond, they might ship to Canada.

        1. re: foodstorm

          There is a thread on Scanpan elsewhere on chowhound -

 Apparently it DOES contain teflon.

    2. See what you can find in Swiss Diamond. Amazon has a 11" and a 10'" UNCOVERED skillet in your price range. They are great pans and the4 non-stick coating is diamonds. Some people will argue that the process to make them is the same as Teflon but there are just tooo many other things to worry about like the sky falling. I love my Swiss Diamond and will be adding more. You can use metal utensils and not scratch them. There are no hot spots, the heat is very even. You could put it in the dishwasher but it cleans up so quickly and beautifully there is no need.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Candy

        All non-stick is Teflon or the chemical equivalent. What varies from manufacturer to manufacturer is how it is applied. Some like Swiss Diamond claim to use diamonds or ceramics to produce a harder, more adherent surface. But the non-stick properties comes from the common PTFE.

        If in doubt, go to a manufacturer's web site, and check things like the FAQs. They will admit to using PTFE.


        1. re: paulj

          How important is that in reality? By the time the pan is hot enough for the coating to begin to degrade, you've got serious problems anyway. Any oil you might have used is way above smoking point, the food is likely burning, (is that the smoke detector?), and you're probably going to pull the pan from the burner. Unless you've walked away and left it unattended. If it gets hot enough (660 F) to decompose, call 911 and wait outside. That was careless.
          In normal use by reasonable people, there's no reason to worry.

          1. re: MakingSense

            Excellent points. The one compelling -- and it's very compelling -- argument against teflon is if you have a bird as a pet. That one moment of carelessness, and it happens to us all, will kill your bird instantly. Talk to a vet. They see this all the time. If you have a bird as a pet, you absolutely want to get rid of all your teflon pans.

            That said, I've tried pretty much every alternative and nothing comes close for eggs. Obviously, omelettes predate teflon. But nothing else I've tried is even as remotely useful as a teflon pan.

            1. re: Chuckles the Clone

              I have an iron omelette pan. It's a slippery as a very slippery thing, without teflon. A decent pat of butter is all the non stick it needs.

              1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                Yes, but an enamelled iron pan also doesn't have any non-stick properties. Don't get me wrong, in my kitchen there's no non stick to be found except for the natural seasoning on my cast iron pans, but the original poster was looking for something for a person who's not a cook and has no aspirations to become one.

                I use a cast iron egg pan for nothing but eggs. Nine out of ten times I just wipe it out after work and that's that. I've got copper lined with stainless (I know, I know) for sears and heavy cast iron for braises.

                If you know what you're doing, and are willing to learn about cookware care, then non stick becomes superfluous.

          2. re: Candy

            I love my Swiss Diamond too - and it can go into the oven up to pretty high heat. Browns things beautifully.

          3. Anodized aluminum provides a non-stick surface without PTFE -

            2 Replies
            1. re: weinstein5

              In my experience anodized aluminum is low stick, no better than season case iron, maybe a bit worse. Not bad, but not my first choice for food that sticks like scrambled eggs.

              1. re: paulj

                Expensive anodized aluminum wears out and loses the anodization. I sent a bunch of Calphalon to the Good Will this year. I'll (non) stick with my Swiss Diamond and concern myself with real worries like the sky falling.

            2. Why not get inexpensive stainless steel? Basically non-stick.

              11 Replies
              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                I have an All-Clad frying pan (gift) that I rarely use because I find everything sticks to it--chicken skin tears, beef fibers get left behind, and I wouldn't dare use it for fish.

                How do you use yours so that it's "basically non-stick"? If I could get more use out of mine, I'd be thrilled.

                1. re: Olivia

                  Sounds like you need to crank up the heat. With the proper heat and a little fat, those things should not happen.

                  1. re: Buckethead

                    But there are foods like scrambled eggs where you don't want to crank up the heat.

                    There are other items, like seared meat, where you actually want it to stick, and then release by itself.

                    1. re: paulj

                      Oh definitely, I think eggs are basically the only reason to own a nonstick pan. I was just addressing Olivia's question about meat sticking. It sounds like she needs to up the heat and let the meat sear, as you say, until it's ready to release by itself. Do you concur?

                      Oh, I also just remembered that Sitram makes a line of not-quite-nonstick stainless cookware called Cybernox. I've never used it, people who have say it's better than stainless, but not as good as Teflon for stick-resistance. Probably not good enough for scrambled eggs.

                      1. re: Buckethead

                        Agree with paulj and Buckethead: I have a non-stick for eggs, pancakes, and crepes, and for heating tortillas. Everything else, inexpensive stainless with proper heat and fat seems to work just fine.

                      2. re: paulj

                        Does a lot of this confusion come from people thinking that it's possible to scramble eggs without fat in a pan? You can do that in a teflon pan with no fat or a squirt of Pam, but in most pans you have to use some fat.

                        1. re: MakingSense

                          No Pam in a teflon pan please. You will wreck it. Been there done that and then read the directions. The propellants burn and adhere to the teflon. There is no getting it off and then you have a sticky pan.

                      3. re: Buckethead

                        Good tip, thanks. Next time I'll try higher heat (I think I usually use an adequate amount of fat, if not too much!).

                        1. re: Olivia

                          Eggs do not lie high heat, so keep it low. High heat makes them turn rubbery.

                    2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Hey, Sam, how ya doing? Always selcome your contributions. Amazing all the different experiences people have with cookware. I bought an All-Clad frypan and after using it a few times I threw it out (though I have an AC saucepan I like), After reading Marian Burros's article about discarding her Teflon pans, I did, too. In testing several types, Ms. Burros settled on enameled cast-iron (Le Creuset), I settled on high-carbon steel. It's worked great for everything, incuding scrambled eggs. But I have one cheap Teflon pan only for eggs with the yolks intact.

                      I digress. In reply to the OP, it, appears the only genuine non-stick surface is Teflon under one name or another, An enameled cast iron pan doesn't need to be seasoned.

                      1. re: mpalmer6c

                        Confession. I always keep one respectable teflon pan around here. That houseguests can't screw up if they get up before I do and "don't want to be a problem," so they fix their own breakfasts, or they sleep in until after I leave, or they cook their own lunch or snacks. So many people are used to these pans. Squirts of Pam. They don't take care of my good pans like I do, including putting things into the DW - horror of horrors! - so I leave it where they can easily find it. I even grab it sometimes for some things because it works well.

                        There are higher quality versions of these that might not be a bad choice for the OP's brother if he really doesn't cook, isn't interested in learning, wants to put things into the DW, etc.
                        With infrequent use, a good one should last for years. My guest pans do.

                    3. Americas Test Kitchen looked at 12" non-stick pans in the Fritada episode. I believe the
                      Farberware Millennium has repeatedly been their favorite (under $50). (please correct me if my memory is wrong about this recommendation).


                      As others have expressed, their philosophy is that while non-stick isn't the best for every use, there are things where it excels.

                      On the other hand, if the cook is going to use the pan for everything, and isn't inclined to be careful, it may be better to get a couple of the more expensive ceramic-PTFE pans (say an 8" and 12"), on the theory that the coating will stand up to harder use.