Looking for skillet that doesn't warp
I have a glass top range and the skillets I had so far are all bulging/warping on the bottom so they spin on the perfectly flat glass top on the slightest tap on the handle. I had a few expensive Calphalon skillets, they all did that. In contrast, I have an old german Silit skillet that is steel/enamel and has no non-stick coating, but it sits perfectly flat. Haven't seen anything like that with non-stick coating to buy here in California.
My only two requirements:
- No cast iron because this is too heavy to handle.
- Non-stick coated.
Thanks for any tips!
All-Clad cookware bottoms are, in my experience, flat as a pancake. May I suggest you pick one up from a local shop with the understanding that you can return it (without using it) if it doesn't rest flat on your range when you get it home. If All-Clad doesn't work for you try the same process with other brands until you find the product that suits your needs.
Cast iron IS your best bet. I know you say you find them heavy, but is this because you are tossing the contents? I don't have a lot of strength to pick up really heavy pots, but I use it all the time on my glass cooktop. It is virtually indestructible unless you are silly enough to put cold water in a hot pan, in which case it might just crack. Don't be afraid of scratching the cooktop. However ... if you want a lighter non-stick pan, here is my experience:
1) I have been disappointed too with my Calphalon skillets. They were spinning after just a few uses. I recently purchased the two-fer set that is being promoted and I really think they are unstable on my cooktop; 2) I have had great success with disk bottom stainless steel pans, some of which come with both non-stick and regular interiors, and I think I prefer those. The disk bottom pans seem to have the right amount of thickness so that warping is not an issue unless you put a hot pan into cold water. I think disk bottom pans are the best choice for a glass top range for this very reason. I have a non-stick skillet from an older line of Cuisinart that has disk bottom construction, and it works great after ten years of moderate use. 3) I have also used an inexpensive T-Fal for a long time until the coating wore out, and found this to be my favorite for things like eggs. In fact, after my disappointing experience with my new Calphalons, I am going to try to find another one.
I would avoid the All-Clad Limited, which contains anodized aluminum, since I have had to toss one of those pots due to warping just last year. I don't own an All-Clad stainless steel pan with a non-stick coating, but I have heard that they are good.
Swiss Diamond. Very flat bottoms, heavy cast aluminum coated in diamonds. You can use metal utensils in them and they will not scratch. Limited life time guarantee and great customer service. They are made to be used on all cooktop surfaces. I love mine and all of us in the shop use them. No warping and very even conductivity, no hot spots. Not inexpensive but worth the price.
I know you're in the biz, so maybe you know...
What IS the limited lifetime warranty? The reason I ask is that my SD skillet is rapidly losing its nonstick properties after about 6 years of light use. What will SD do?
PS: I have no problems with flatness or warping, and just a minor problem with handle loosening.
jfood has one of those concave Calphalon skillets as well. It was the result of the little jfoods cooking some eggs or grilled cheese and then placing under the faucet while still hot.
jfood bought a ~$20 Calphalon replacement about two years ago, instructed the family that they can leave the pan on a cool burner when finished and jfood will take care of that night. So far, 2 years later, still lookin' good.
So you may just want to try a NS Calphalon and leave to cool on an unused burner until it is cool to the touch before cleaning. If that puppy sizzles when you place under water, the warping will follow.
Does this mean it's not good to put frozen food (e.g., meat or veggies) or cold broth, soup, etc., into a preheated pan (stainless or CI)? It always sizzles when I do that.
I usually try to defrost my meat of course, but tried to fry some burger meat the other day straight from freezer and realized it might not be good for the pan.
It isn't a good idea to drop frozen solids in a pan, not because they will harm the pan, but because they won't cook properly. If frozen or very cold, when you put them in the pan, the temperature will drop. Also, the food won't begin to cook, but will begin to release water. So you will be almost boiling whatever you are trying to cook. You will end up with mush.