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Oct 26, 2009 07:48 AM

need to replace nonstick stir fry pan and don't know what to buy


For years, I've used an 11 inch analon stir fry pan. The interior has seen better days and I'd like to replace it, only I don't know what to replace it with. I use my stir fry pan mainly to cook ground meat or cut up beef and chicken along with veggies and sauce, usually a combination of chicken broth, olive oil, and tomato or an asian type sauce (different oils). I'm probably not using this pan as it was intended, as I hardly stir fry, but I love its size (about 3.5 qts), ease of use, and especially ease of clean up. It's my go to pan. Sometimes, I add pasta or rice that I've cooked in a separate pot just to coat with the sauce in the stir fry pan. Most other stir fry pans I've seen are a little smaller (10 inches) or too big for my ceramic stove top (12 inches plus). Also, I'm trying to get away from nonstick cookware. Any thoughts for a pan that will cook meat/chicken in sauces? After all these years, you'd think I would know what to buy, but there are so many choices, and good cookware being expensive, I'm a bit overwhelmed. I don't want to make a mistake. Thanks for your help.

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  1. Just to call out the assumptions.. are you trying to get away from NON-STICK or just teflon... I believe that anodized aluminum pans are pretty benign. And the dangers of teflon non-stick I thought were always tied to high heat - if you are just simmering stuff in a sauce, essentially steaming meat by cooking it in large batches, where its liquid steams off, you aren't going to get the pan that hot.

    Moving away from non-stick means cleanup is going to be harder - there is always a tradeoff.

    But to you request, Tramontina has a tri-ply stainless casserole pan and a jumbo cooker (a bit saute pan, but it is 12") that might work well.. this brand got a great Cooks Ill review, comparable to All-Clad. They are sold through Wal-mart right now. I have a chef's pan - basically a saucier - from Calphalon that I use a lot that has the curved edges useful for stir-frying...

    If you want to reduce sauces, you do want a larger pan to get a lot of surface area..

    And you'll get a lot of opions on cookware.. the only mistake is picking one not right for you - its heft, size, how it handles heat. Like knives, people have their favorite pans...

    Do a lot of research, hit BBB, Kohls, WalMart, Williams Sonoma, and figure out what works for you..

    1. HI Addicted2cake,

      At first, reading your title, I was going to recommend a carbon-steel wok because a carbon-steel wok can handle high heat and is almost nonstick. However, it appears that you enjoy cooking sauces with your ingredients, so this may be a low-to-medium heat cooking.

      Despite the fact that I like carbon-steel and cast iron cookware, I cannot honestly recommend these for you since you like to cook your foods in sauces and these materials are not suitable for cooking liquid for long peroid of time. So you are really left with stainless steel and anodized alumium. I would recommand stainless steel in this case because you can be rougher with stainless steel when you do a cleanup.

      You should have to spend way to much on a wok, unless you want to. Most cookware are expensive because they incorporate/clad with copper and aluminum to improve heat conduction, but a wok is not do that. In fact, a wok is meant to have local heat spot, so that the foods get to stir-fried at the bottom of the pan with minimal oil and minimal energy. Now, in your case, you do want some heat distriburtion because you cook with sauce. Still, you would only need the bottom to be heated evenly, not necessary all the way up to side. Consequenly, you only need the clad at the bottom of your wok and not a full clad wok.

      1. I love my Silit 11-inch "Fry N Serve" pan. The core is steel and the interior and exterior are coated with Silit Silargan ceramic. It cooks a lot like Le Creuset enamaled cast iron, but It's tougher and dishwasher safe.

        Last weekend, I made pork chops with sage and tomatoes Modena style from one of Marcella Hazan's cookbooks. The Fry N Serve pan was perfect for this recipe - nice sear on the pork chops at medium-high heat followed by a long, slow, even simmer in tomato sauce. Clean-up was also a snap. Just ran some warm water into the pan, and the crispy, browned-on residue around the edges slid right out with a little push from a silicone spatula.

        I think this pan may be exactly what you are looking for. It's available from Amazon.

        1. I'm not sure if you are looking for a non-stick or a non non-stick. I saw this at Costco the other day, inspected it and was impressed by the feel. I like the quality of NordicWare items and their pricing is not bad. I didn't buy it because I have too many pots and pans. My coworkers had to intervene. "Hello, my name is Malisa and I am addicted to pot...s"

          I want to recommend this 4 quart All-Clad saute/simmer pan. I have it and love it almost as much as my LC dutch ovens. It is great for stir-fries. I find that I reach for this pan more than my wok because I hate the carbon steel material of the wok. I rave about this pan to everyone. I even recommend it about every other day on many cooking/food forums. (I think WIlliams-Sonoma should give me a commission.)

            1. re: Soop

              I have a similar one, and a stainless steel one and a black iron wok. It is horses for courses. The anodized aluminium one works best IMHO, but my partner is anti-aluminium and prefers the stainless steel.

              The black iron wok is only used for very high heat applications.