Non-wobbly 8" fry pans
So as not to hijack the topic by the new cook looking for fry pan advice, I'm making this a separate question.
I have a couple of 8" non-stick fry pans that I'm about to toss because I can't stand that they won't lay flat on my gas range burners until they have enough weight in them. (My 6" omelet pans never seem to have the same problem.) I'm guessing that the issue is the construction method and/or quality of these wobbly pans, so I'd appreciate some insight before I go and buy new ones. I'm talking inexpensive, daily-use non-stick pans here. I have a couple of All-Clad pans as well, but I don't use them every day because they are just too hard to keep looking good (at least for me). What would you suggest for decent quality basic, non-stick, under $20????? Possible?
Two possible problems:
- the pan material is too thin, and has warped.
- the handle is too large and heavy compared to the pan itself.
My most stable pans in this size are:
- cast iron skillet
- 22cm crepe pan (carbon steel)
- restaurant quality nonstick aluminum (SamsClub)
- induction-ready cast aluminum pan from TJMaxx
Under $20 is tough, at least to get the quality you want. On the other hand I have an 8" Scanpan classic, under $50 and with the heavy aluminum bottom it sits flat totally empty, and the "Green" nonstick coating seems to hold up well, although I'll admit it's weekend eggs, for the most part that's about all it sees. It's non-stick, sits flat, as is super easy to clean, super easy. Anything I've seen under $20 isn't any more likely to sit flat than what you already have. Even if a $20 pan was flat and sat steady when new, I can't imagine it would after a few uses, it's going to be thin and warp more easily.
There seems to be an inevitable tradeoff between cost and weight/construction quality, especially in non-stick pans.
I have a non-stick set (frying pans, saute pan, saucepans and stock pot) I'm very happy with - Dansk Master Series - that have lasted me close to ten years now, and are as good as the day I bought them. Not cheap but more cost-effective in the long run than buying cheap pan after cheap pan, and much more of a joy to use, day in and day out. They're everyday pans in the best sense of the term.
I don't remember what I paid but I got them at a Dansk outlet store (which dates them right there, Dansk no longer operates their own stores).
You probably can't find this exact set, but you could look for something similar - they are heavy anodized aluminum, with a Calphalon-lookalike grey exterior and remarkably robust non-stick coated interior. Granted, I treat them well - no metal utensils, let cool before hand-washing - but there's not a scratch on the non-stick surfaces after many years of daily use. Great investment.