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nonstick surfaces: ceramic or anodized aluminum?

b
bellywizard Feb 19, 2008 04:28 AM

So I'm considering buying a new frying pan or two. I'd like to get away from Teflon. The two best options for nonstick surfaces seem to be either:
a) infused anodized aluminum, such as Calphalon One - see http://www.calphalon.com/calphalon/consumer/calone/calphalonOne.jhtml%22%3ECalphalon
b) ceramic, ceramic-coated aluminum, or porcelain - see http://shopping.msn.com/Reviews/shp/?...

Does anyone have any info about how these perform or compare? Any tips would be great!

  1. paulj Feb 19, 2008 09:23 AM

    Look at the fine print. If it says 'non-stick' it is still likely to have some form of Teflon, or a chemical equivalent (PTFE, a synthetic fluoropolymer). Calphalon's FAQ is a starting point for their products. Even their infused anodized has 'an advanced release polymer'.

    paulj

    3 Replies
    1. re: paulj
      b
      bellywizard Feb 19, 2008 09:34 AM

      The Calphalon One pans aren't "non-stick" - they're claimed to be "stick resistant". There's apparently no polymer involved.

      In any case, I'm wondering how these pans perform - and also how ceramic pans perform.

      1. re: bellywizard
        paulj Feb 19, 2008 10:21 AM

        This page has a graphic showing this 'advanced polymer'
        http://www.calphalon.com/calphalon/co...

        1. re: bellywizard
          b
          blondelle Feb 19, 2008 07:48 PM

          And just what do you think the Calphalon ONE is infused with? An advanced polymer. It is stick resistant, so they use less of what makes it nonstick. I called them to confirm that and yes, it does have stick resistant polymers infused into it with the same type chemicals as the nonstick.

      2. m
        mpalmer6c Feb 19, 2008 11:23 AM

        Judging from comments in Cook's Illustrated, Calphalon One is over hyped. The testers didn't seem to find it any more non-stick than an uncoated pan. If so, you can do as well for much less money.

        1. m
          masha Feb 19, 2008 01:42 PM

          I've got a Calphalon One "Simply Calphalon" sautee pan that I swear by. Conducts heat very well and nothing sticks -- not even latkes, which used to be my standard for judging non-stick-ness (if that's a word).

          1. w
            warneral Feb 19, 2008 02:30 PM

            I recently elminated teflon from the kitchen ('cept the waffle maker) and I chose cast iron. Lodge brand can be found at walmart and amazon and I really like it. No it is not nonstick, but I have been able to work with it nicely.

            1 Reply
            1. re: warneral
              Caroline1 Feb 19, 2008 04:12 PM

              Once cast iron is cured and then maintained well, it is non-stick. At least my three pet skillets and dutch oven are. Just expect to have to buy a hoist to lift them when you get old... '-)

            2. k
              Kelli2006 Feb 19, 2008 06:05 PM

              Have you ever considered Sitram's Cybernox technology? It isn't as non-stick as Teflon, but pans with this surface can go into the oven and under the broiler.

              It does not chip or abrade, and you can use your SS utensils w/o fear of damaging the surface. I have used it and I'm very impressed.

              1. t
                TomDel Feb 19, 2008 10:16 PM

                I’ve been switching over and using Circulon pans, which are anodized aluminum and have a “high/low” surface configuration that they claim promotes the non-stick properties. I think they’re great. They’re thick enough for good heat retention and distribution and they have flat bottoms. The latter is important to me since I have a glass top electric range and need maximum contact between the bottom of the pan and the stove top for even cooking. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to cook anything in a completely dry pan that didn’t exude some of its own fat, e.g., sausage, bacon, etc., but I’ve never had any sticking problems. In some cases, I’ve just wiped the pan out with a paper towel and cooked another item in it for the same meal. Another benefit is that they are relatively inexpensive.

                4 Replies
                1. re: TomDel
                  b
                  bellywizard Feb 20, 2008 11:07 AM

                  It seems that a few manufacturers all make similar products. Sitram Cybernox and Circulon both seem to be hard-anodized aluminum. It's confusing how some people have good results with them (fairly stick-resistant), but others find them 'sticky'. Maybe worth a try...?

                  Calphalon seems unclear about how they manufacture their "One" line - a polymer may well be used. Does that make them just as bad as Teflon? Again, it's hard to tell how stick-resistant they really are.

                  Warneral - I share your love of cast iron. I plan to get a CI pan, but I see that as a different thing than a "Teflon-replacement" pan.

                  Still haven't decided what to replace my Teflon with!

                  1. re: bellywizard
                    Cpt Wafer Feb 20, 2008 12:44 PM

                    According to the maker Sitram Cybernox is 18/10 stainless steel.

                    http://www.sitramcookware.com/cybernox.htm

                    I wanted to try one out so I ordered this one the other day.

                    http://www.chefsresource.com/sitcyb10...

                    1. re: bellywizard
                      r
                      RunBe4UFly Feb 20, 2008 01:34 PM

                      Use Calphalon one as you use stainless steel. That's how 'non-stick' it is.

                      1. re: RunBe4UFly
                        e
                        embee Mar 1, 2008 09:51 AM

                        Yes, that is exactly true.

                  2. a
                    ajm1555 Feb 21, 2008 08:40 AM

                    I have a 12 inch Caphalon one infused anodized. With a little bit of oil this pan is as non stick as anything! And you can still sear and brown meat. Not to mention that clean up is a breeze. I've only had the pan for a few months so I don't know if the "infused" part will wear out, but calphalon does warrenty them for life so I have no real worries there.

                    Just wish my suate pans were Calphalon one and not tripoly stainless steel.

                    I love this pan and I swear by it!

                    1. k
                      KRS Feb 24, 2008 08:56 AM

                      I've tried a bunch of nonstick pans, including Calphalon and Sitram Cybernox, and nothing releases like Teflon. I worked hard at getting a Calphalon pan seasoned, but food always stuck, and I gave it away.

                      The science-based sources I've read (as opposed to the panic-based ones) say that outgassing from Teflon is non-existent, particularly if you don't get them blazing hot. However, even expensive Teflon pans (AllClad, WearEver) lose their nonstick properties in about a year, so I use the thin ones such as T-Fal, which is several steps up from the tin-foil discount store stuff but still inexpensive enough to buy new each year.

                      The alternative is really well seasoned cast iron.

                      When I cook meat, however, I want a fond, which Teflon pans don't produce, so for roasting red meat or chicken, I use an extra-heavy 14" aluminum WearEver frying pan (and no, I don't believe aluminum is poisonous, either). For pan-frying steaks, where I want all the fond I can get (to flame with a little cognac), I use the stainless-lined copper pan I gave myself for Christmas several years back.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: KRS
                        b
                        bellywizard Feb 24, 2008 12:22 PM

                        Original poster here.
                        I made the decision and bought a Calphalon One pan. My intent was to replace my teflon, and I think this is a decent solution. It's not non-stick, but it's stick-resistant enough to flip eggs without tearing them. I agree with KRS that teflon is probably safe at medium temperatures, but I wanted a pan that wouldn't need replacing every couple years.

                        Anodized aluminum feels like a bit of a cop-out to me, the same way teflon does... Both are designed to make things easier at home, but rarely produce 'professional' results.

                        So my expectations from anodized aluminum weren't very high, and the pan meets my needs. I'm happy that I'll be able to use this pan indefinitely.

                        Still need some cast iron!

                        1. re: bellywizard
                          t
                          TomDel Feb 26, 2008 09:40 AM

                          I respectively have to disagree with you and KRS regarding the inability of Teflon or anodized pans to produce fond. I think this is one of those cooking myths that are perpetuated on cooking shows like searing meat locks in the juices or never rinse mushrooms as they absorb water. I think Alton Brown once did a show debunking some of these recurring myths. I use a big old Teflon coated sauté pan and a number of smaller anodized aluminum (Circulon) pans to sauté and fry meat, poultry and fish. Provided the heat is high enough, they all brown very well and leave a sufficient amount of fond in the pan. I’ve made a number of different sauces and gravies in them that required deglazing the pan and dissolving or emulsifying the fond. They all turned out as good as any that I’ve made in the past with a SS pan. It may be that the fond doesn’t show up in a Teflon pan as well as in a SS pan since they are both dark in color, but I’m sure if you wiped the pan out with a paper towel you’d find plenty of evidence of its presence.

                          1. re: TomDel
                            b
                            bellywizard Feb 28, 2008 08:51 AM

                            Thanks for the debunking, Tom. But wouldn't the high heat you say is necessary (to produce fond in Teflon) potentially destabilize the Teflon?

                            1. re: TomDel
                              e
                              embee Mar 1, 2008 09:47 AM

                              I'll partially agree with you, but not completely.

                              I have some Jamie Oliver nonstick pans from Tefal that cook exceptionally well and produce lots of yummy fond. The coating on these seems really durable and they show no sign of wear or of losing their nonstick properties after a year and something of constant use. However, I have ignored the manufacturer's claim that metal utensils can be used safely and that they can go in a dishwasher.

                              I also have some Teflon lined stainless steel pans labeled "Sitram 97" that brown food well and produce fond. The coatings on these pans is not durable, though, and they must be handled very gently. They are still usable after about nine or so years, but now serve only as backups for the Jamie Oliver pans. They don't seem to be sold anymore - at least not in Canada.

                              Most other Teflon pans I have used personally have not browned food well or produced usable fond. Perhaps very high heat would have improved this performance, but the data now seems unequivocal that Teflon and high temperatures are a toxic combination.

                              I've never heard that anodized doesn't brown food. It browns foods very well, though I don't like using it for other reasons.

                            2. re: bellywizard
                              e
                              embee Mar 1, 2008 09:36 AM

                              Good luck! In my experience, the claims made for Calphalon One are a complete crock. It is fine if you view it as simple anodized aluminum, but the "stick and release" hype is nonsense. It doesn't "stick & release" any differently for any other anodized metal pan.

                              Note that the anodized coatings do not last indefinitely and require delicate handling. They can't withstand very high heat, can't be scrubbed, and can't go in a dishwasher.

                          2. j
                            Jack_ Mar 1, 2008 09:57 AM

                            I have Calphalon One Infused Anodized and Calphalon Commercial non-stick, The infused anodized is nice but nothing is as non stick as the Calphalon Commercial non-stick. Unfortunatly they don't make the Commercial line anymore but I see pieces of it floating around. I just picked up a brand new 12" omelet pan at TJ Max about 8 months ago.

                            However if you are going to only have one pan get the infused anodized. As someone else pointed out with a bit of oil the cleanup as well or almost as well as true non stick plus it will do a pretty good job of searing

                            1. e
                              embee Mar 1, 2008 09:58 AM

                              Just for the record, Henckel's makes genuinely nonstick cookware that is not lined with Teflon. You really can use metal utensils in it and nothing ever sticks. However, I can't recommend it.

                              This is very durable, heavy, expensive cookware, but it doesn't cook especially well. The handles continually come loose and must be tightened regularly for safety. It takes forever to heat, and its cooking performance doesn't compensate for the cost or the deficiencies.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: embee
                                paulj Mar 1, 2008 10:27 AM

                                This is another case where the fine print matters.

                                Henckel's still uses fluoropolymers, even if they are not made by Dupont. Their supplier is Whitford Corp (Excalibur)
                                http://int.jahenckels.com/index.php?v...

                                paulj

                                1. re: paulj
                                  e
                                  embee Mar 1, 2008 11:21 AM

                                  Good point. It does seem different, though, since you aren't likely to damage the surface without really trying. Even the top line Teflons don't seem this durable. Irrelevant, in the end, though, since you do NOT want this cookware.

                              2. j
                                jackie57 Oct 17, 2010 10:30 PM

                                cast iron- the old stuff only. not the new ones made in china. the old skillets get slick like nothing you have ever cooked on, last forever, and make your food taste great!

                                1. h
                                  hecdel Jun 1, 2011 08:08 AM

                                  We use a Scanpan and absolutely love it. The ceramic is truly indestructible and totally non-stick., and the pan is relatively lightweight. I have given these pans as wedding gifts - they are very affordable for something you'll never have to replace. Two thumbs up.

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