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Dec 20, 2010 02:08 PM

Please recommend a nonstick-ish skillet for me!

I cook scrambled eggs for my one year old daughter and myself maybe five times a week. Due to the possible health concerns I would prefer to avoid the teflon type of nonstick pans.

Previously I used an old circulon skillet, but I disliked the ring pattern and I wasn't sure about the safety of it since it appeared that the finish had worn off due to being placed in the dishwasher. I then purchased one of those de buyer blue steel pans from world market, and it worked pretty well other than being a little larger and deeper than I needed. However, I'm pretty lazy and the pan was left in the sink for two days. When I went to clean it I found several spots where the finish had worn off plus it caused rust spots to form on a dish that was also in the sink with it. So clearly I am too lazy for any type of pan that requires special treatment. Cast iron is obviously out.

The magical skillet I'm looking for doesn't have to be super non-stick as I use a lot of butter, but I would like it to function better than my stainless steel pan. I can deal with hand washing, though dishwasher safe would be great. If possible I would like to avoid a chinese-made product. I'm looking for something around 8". Any ideas?

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  1. Kind of pricey, but a Silit Silargan frying pan would meet all your requirements. Ceramic coating, relatively nonstick, made in Germany, dishwasher safe, pretty much indestructible.

    PS. Circulon pans use DuPont Autograph nonstick coating, which is a high-grade Teflon coating. As is often the case, Circulon's webside is careful to avoid using the words Teflon or PTFE (the generic name for Teflon) in its descriptions.

    5 Replies
    1. re: tanuki soup

      Wow, didn't know about the ceramic coated pans - they seem like that elusive magic pan that meets all needs! What are the downsides or what would you NOT cook in it/what are they less good at, if anything?

      1. re: iyc_nyc

        Hi, iyc_nyc. I think the main downside of Silit Silargan pans (besides cost) is that they are not truly nonstick, they are just kind of nonstick, sort of like Le Creuset enameled cast iron. Of course, if you want a nice fond, that's not a downside at all. They are also kind of heavy. Finally, I'm not sure whether the plastic handle of the frypan is oven-proof. (I personally have the Fry N Serve pan with two steel loop handles, which I love.)

        Fry N Serve pan:

        More info on Silit Silargan can be found here:

        1. re: tanuki soup

          Thanks, Tanuki - these sounds great, though it's not like I need more pans at this point! :-)

          When would one use this vs. Le Creuset/Staub - or is it just personal preference? I know these can go into the D/W whereas not recommended for enameled cast iron, but are they otherwise functionally comparable?

          1. re: iyc_nyc

            IME, one of the main advantages of Silit Silargan over LC/Staub is that the ceramic coating can withstand very high temperatures, so it's good for high-temperature searing. You can also preheat it without worrying about damaging the surface.

            With regard to the original poster's requirements, other advantages are that it is dishwasher-safe (as you mentioned), it is almost impossible to chip, and the edges won't rust if it is left in the sink for a couple of days.

            Basically, I think that Silit Silargan has many of the advantages of LC but can be used (abused even) and cared for as easily as stainless steel cookware.

    2. I recommend cast iron- it's heavy but will last forever. Much less expensive than fancy imported cookware, mostly American-made (I think maybe it's so heavy that shipping from China isn't worth it!), and once seasoned, quite close to nonstick. Also has the benefit of being able to go from the stovetop to the oven, for those recipes which call for this. Distributes heat better than anything else, and can often be found on the cheap at garage/rummage sales or goodwill stores.

      For something lighter-weight, there's a coating called Silverstone that's tougher then teflon- might be by DuPont...

      You could also try boiling white vinegar in your stainless pan for about twenty seconds- this can render a normal pan nearly nonstick for a month or more. Given that you use plenty of butter, you might not need another pan at all!

      1 Reply
      1. re: eclecticsynergy

        FYI, Silverstone also contains PTFE (Teflon).

      2. Well, if cast iron and carbon steel require more attention than you can offer, then you obvious choices are narrowed down back to Teflon/PTFE pan. Your other best option is ceramic surface cookware like Tanuki Soup has mentioned. Beside Silit Silagran, you have other choices like Earth Pan ... etc:

        However, many of these ceramic surface based cookware have shorter lifetime than Telfon/PTFE cookware.

        1. You've eliminated the good, inexpensive choices for nonstick (PTFE, bare cast iron, and carbon steel) before even starting! And if you need a pan that does not require special treatment and you can DW, you've eliminated aluminum and tin-lined copper.

          That leaves SS-sandwichware (sticks badly), fully-enameled cast iron (sticks) , and the enameled steel stuff above (sticks). IMO, you leave yourself with a miserable choice.

          Given all that, if I were you, I'd find a fully-enameled (top and bottom) cast iron skillet with the black interior enamel intended for high heat--this enamel takes and holds a bit of "seasoning", and so would be the least sticky of the bunch. Throw it in the DW, and when the finish is sandblasted through, get another one.

          You should also read and understand:

          1. Why don't go one step lazier and not move the cast iron / carbon steel pan to the sink to start with LOL? Just leave it on the stove until you're ready to wash it. You know you love it, you just have to remember to not put it in the sink!

            If you use a lot butter already, well, maybe you can tell us what you don't like about cooking in stainless steel pans. I don't use a lot of oil and I don't find SS pans to be sticking.

            At proper cooking temperature, nothing should be sticking to the pan (CI, CS, or SS) that requires soaking in hot water for more than 10 mins.

            10 Replies
            1. re: cutipie721

              That is actually a very good point. I have left carbon steel and cast iron cookware on the stovetop and that is perfectly fine.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Actually, I have left my c.s. pan on the stove, after making omelettes, for several days to no damage at all. The fat just sat there until I could get to it (work calls, after all) and have had no problem with it rinsing clean with super hot water and a wipe with a paper towel for anything that won't pop off. Super heat on stove top and then store until next time.

                I guess the reason I actually turned on to c.s. is because I watched my husband fire up the charcoal grill one summer and, as usual he waited for the grills to get hot before brushing them off to cook on. They were good to go, sooo I thought well, maybe that ease of use will work for carbon steel. Right-o.

                This philosophy works for our pans, which I have many c.s. The benefits far outweigh any sort of maintenance issue - IMHO.

                1. re: breadchick

                  I`m new here:-)
                  Thanks for the good and useful topic and opinions. I am also trying to find a non-stick skillet/pan for my pancakes. Most important -healthy and reliable.
                  I have a Crepe-maker, most probably, with Teflon coating.unfortunately.
                  Now I am in a big search because I want to replace it .
                  And honestly, I`m lost in so many materials, non-stick coatings and so on.
                  I do not prefer cast iron.
                  Could someone recommend me something that is healthy- produced with no nano-technology, PFOA and PTFE free, as well as no organic compounds in the coating-no petroleum.
                  And also, no lead, no aluminum or other potentially toxic elements.....with long lasting warranty.
                  Also , I have a question about Silargan. Is Silit´s Silargan safe? Is it produced with no PTFE , or nano-technology?
                  Thanks a lot in advance!

                  1. re: realist

                    Can you explain why you don't like cast iron? Depending on your answer, then I will know if carbon steel is a good alternative (or not).

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Because it is made of iron and there is a real possibility to take some extra iron amounts .
                      Also, it seems difficult to maintain. Seasoning seems hard for me.
                      Also , possible rust .
                      Is there carbon non-sticking skillet/pans with no coating? Or healthy coating?
                      I liked several Brands, but not sure if the coating ( ceramic) is OK.

                      1. re: realist

                        In that case, carbon steel is definitely not what you want then. They are pretty much same as cast iron pans, except lighter and smoother. TanukiSoup would tell you that the Silit Silargan (ceramic) pans are excellent, but I have no real experience.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Thank you very much for answers! I really appreciate this!

                          As a matter of fact I do have Silargan saucepan. I cook there soups and dishes. Silit is one of the Brands that I have in my mind when it comes to choose a non- stick skillet/pan. However I am not sure if it is safe and reliable.

                          1. re: realist

                            Oh, so you have a Silargen already, I see. Well, TanukiSoup has been using his pan/skillet for a long time and he has no problem, but I should let me answer this question. I cannot say for safety, but there is nothing makes me think there is a problem.

                            I also agree with cannibal that glass cookware is known to be safe too -- less controversial. The issues with glassware come from performance. They are not good heat conductor so the performance is lacking. They are more fragile. Yes, I understand Vision and the old Pyrex make relatively tough glassware, but no glassware is going to be as tough as a metal cookware.

                        2. re: realist

                          that's a tough order to fill, I am thinking solid glass cookware. it might be hard to find but it's out there. I think Visions was a brand that produced some, but I have no experience with it. I don't know how nonstick it will be either.

                          1. re: cannibal

                            WOW....Visions look great!
                            Thank you so much for telling me about them!
                            Now I have to read thoroughly and to try to find a good Visions skillet:-).
                            As I am concerned about possible use of nano-particles , or lead, or cadmium, Do you know by any chance, do they use any?

                            Well, I have checked them yet....
                            It seems , they do not have non- stick skillets. Just Waffled Skillet Pan, suitable for water-based cooking ...