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Replacement for non-stick saute pan

JuniorBalloon Nov 2, 2011 07:44 AM

I have one last piece of non-stick, a Calphalon 12x3 satue pan. It is no longer truly non-stick and I rarely use it. Only at low temps and to mix sauce and pasta. I want to get rid of it and am looking for a replacement. I think I should get a stainless steel, but the price can be as high as $150. So before I plunk down that kind of cash I thought I'd ask the Hounders. What kind of pan should I get? As a guide I am never going to buy a new Le Creuset pan. I just can't see paying extra for a name.


  1. Chemicalkinetics Nov 2, 2011 08:52 AM

    Le Cresuset is good for Dutch Oven. I don't really think it is good for saute, assuming you are actually sauting.

    I think stainless steel cladded is a good choice, a balance choice really. You can go for hard anodized aluminum, carbon steel...They all thave their little advantages.

    What features do you want the most?

    "Only at low temps and to mix sauce and pasta"

    Wait do you mean all you will use your saute pan is to mix sauce and pasta? If so, the Le Cresuet enameled will work.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
      JuniorBalloon Nov 2, 2011 09:48 AM

      The Le Creuset comment was to help establish price range. I'm not looking for top of the line, just something decent.

      I have several carbon steel pans and they are great for searing and non-stick, not as good at dealing with acidic foods like tomatoes and for deglazing.

      I currently use the saute pan only for mixing pasta and sauce because it has long since lost it's non-stick properties, but more so than food sticking I am concerned with the whole teflon issue so am moving away from that.

      In the future I plan to use it for sauces, fish, vegetables and what ever else I learn works well in this style of pan.


      1. re: JuniorBalloon
        Chemicalkinetics Nov 2, 2011 10:54 AM

        stainless steel cladded is just a more "all around" choice. If you think you will do a wide arrange of things, then stainless steel is probably the way to go.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
          Chemicalkinetics Nov 2, 2011 03:01 PM


          Hard anodized aluminum is a reaonsable choice beside stainless steel cladded. From a pure cooking performance point of view, the hard anodized aluminum should be just as good if not better. Like you said, carbon steel is great, except for making sauces, so it may not be for you because of your need. Cast iron is too heavy and too slow and also same problem with acidic sauce. Enameled cast iron has relatively poor thermal respond and it is fragile for some of the sauting techniques.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
            JuniorBalloon Nov 3, 2011 07:48 AM

            I have heard aluminum pans can leach aluminum into your food. Does the anodizing process stop the leaching?


            1. re: JuniorBalloon
              Chemicalkinetics Nov 4, 2011 02:24 PM

              Opps, I forgot to answer this. I have seen it and I said to myself: "I will reply later.... "and then forgot.

              Yes, anodized aluminum is fairly inert. This is not to say it is as inert as stainless steel, but aluminum won't leach out like bare aluminum would in normal cooking condition.

    2. Jay F Nov 2, 2011 11:46 AM

      JB, if you're interested in buying a used 14" Calphalon saute pan, please e-mail me (address in profile). It's not non-stick, and never was non-stick, it's in excellent condition, and AFAIK, it's from their first retail line (gray pan, silver lid).

      2 Replies
      1. re: Jay F
        JuniorBalloon Nov 2, 2011 12:02 PM

        Thanks for the offer JF, but 14 is just too big. I have a 14" carbon steel pan and I need to have an army over to even bother pulling it out. Realize they do different things, but just the size is not very useful for me.


        1. re: JuniorBalloon
          Jay F Nov 2, 2011 01:00 PM

          It's too big for me, too, now. I used to use it when I was catering. It takes up two regular-sized home burners.

      2. Candy Nov 2, 2011 05:47 PM

        Swiss Diamond. The surface is industrial diamonds over a heavy cast aluminum surface. One benefit is that you can actually brown in it. Others are that they are oven proof, dishwasher safe and you can use metal in them. The co. stands behind their products 100% outside of abuse. Yes the coating is applied with POFAs and PTFEs. They are applied at such a high temp that except for minor ghosts they are burned off. So if you own a bird and are used to heating pans to over 850 F, don't put the bird near the hot pan unless you mean to cook it.

        1. John E. Nov 2, 2011 09:12 PM

          If it were me I'd buy a Tramontina 12" 18/10 TriPly-Clad Stainless Steel Jumbo Cooker. It's actually a 5 quart saute pan. I got lucky and bought ours in like-new condition for $20 at Goodwill.


          1. j
            jkling17 Nov 3, 2011 09:01 AM

            I LOVE my Calphalon saute pan - best thing EVER for eggs. It's lasted me darn near forever. If I were you ... I'd get another with the size that best suits your needs and cooking styles. I prefer the ones that are also oven safe - it just seems to me that they might be better made .. :-)

            1. JuniorBalloon Nov 4, 2011 01:58 PM

              I went with a Macy's Tools of the Trade, 5qt, stainless steel, tri play saute pan. Only $24.99. Couldn't pass it up. I also like that it has a glass lid. I like to watch.

              Thanks for the feedback.

              4 Replies
              1. re: JuniorBalloon
                Chemicalkinetics Nov 4, 2011 02:22 PM


                You really need to report this one. I have seen Tools of Trade cookware before, but I have never used it. They are very inexpensive. So inexpensive I worry. I have a set of Tools of Trade knives and they are bad. Not just "not so good", they are "bad". That said, cookwares are very different. I am very interest to know how this inexpensive cookware compare to others like Tramontina.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                  JuniorBalloon Nov 4, 2011 03:42 PM

                  It is so cheap that I have my doubts as well and I will report back how it goes.


                  1. re: JuniorBalloon
                    JuniorBalloon Nov 5, 2011 03:37 PM

                    Without ever using it on the stove it's headed back to the store. I picked it up by the handle and noticed it had quite a lot of wiggle. It wasn't loose, it was tightly rivetd in place, but the stainless was so thin the weight of the pan allowed a fair amount of movement. I placed my free hand in the middle of the pan and moved the handle up and down. There was at least a 1/4 of flex in the side wall of the pan.

                    I tested out some other models at the local BB&Beyond and none of them had that much movement. Oddly Emeril's stainless line had quite a bit of wiggle and were rather cheaply made, but nothing like these TOTT.

                    I would like to find a Tromontina and give it the wiggle test, but we don't have a Walmart near us. The pan I liked the most was $99 Calphalon. I'll test a few more, but it looks like I'll be spending upwards of $100.


                    1. re: JuniorBalloon
                      Chemicalkinetics Nov 5, 2011 03:43 PM


                      Thanks so much for your quick review. I believe you. I can see it being made with a low expectation. My understanding is that "Tramontina, Calphalon Triply and Cuisinart MultiClad" are the three inexpensive stainless steel triply cookware which are competitive to All Clad. Of the three, Tramontina is the least expensive. I have Calphalon Triply, and it is good and solid.

                      As for Tramontina, there are numerous good reviews, and I have seen my friend's one up and close, and it looked reasonably good. Still, I have never actually cooked with one.

              2. SanityRemoved Nov 5, 2011 03:48 PM

                Last Christmas I picked up this set for $149. I know they are higher priced now but may go on sale again. Not truly a fry pan nor a saute pan but work fine for both applications.


                4 Replies
                1. re: SanityRemoved
                  Chemicalkinetics Nov 5, 2011 03:51 PM

                  I like the fact that it has French toasts in the French frying pan :)

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                    SanityRemoved Nov 5, 2011 04:01 PM

                    Now someone will market a French Toast Pan :)

                    1. re: SanityRemoved
                      breadchick Nov 7, 2011 05:44 PM

                      Now I want French toast.

                      1. re: breadchick
                        Chemicalkinetics Nov 7, 2011 05:47 PM

                        To be honest, I was thinking about that just that yestersday.... until I said to myself.... not very healthy. :)

                        When I was young, my parents would make French Toast for me over the weekend from time to time. I love them.

                2. e
                  ellabee Nov 6, 2011 02:00 PM

                  A good saute [and roaster and shallow baker and braising pan] is this two-handled Matfer Excellence sauteuse, stainless steel with an aluminum disk base. It works on all cooking surfaces including induction: http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/m...

                  1. JuniorBalloon Nov 7, 2011 03:11 PM

                    Returned the pan and went to BB&Beyond to take another look at what they had. The 5qt Calphalon was sturdy and would have worked well, but it was really bigger than I wanted. The 3qt pans were all too small. Then I noticed a 4qt, but it was an Emeril's. I did the wiggle test and oddly it was very sturdy. The other 3qt one I'd tested before was the wiggly one. So after bad mouthing mr BAM I bought one of his pans.

                    Thanks for the input.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JuniorBalloon
                      Chemicalkinetics Nov 7, 2011 05:44 PM

                      I have seen the Emerilware and handle them in the stores, but I have never used one. Some people who had them like what they are (search the old CHOWHOUND posts). They are cheaper than the Calphalon I think..... Good luck, JB.

                    2. m
                      mpalmer6c Nov 8, 2011 09:53 PM

                      Marian Burros of the NY Timesthrew out her non-stick and ran
                      some tests. She settled on Le Creuset as best for her purposes.

                      Regarding LC as overpriced, I ran my own tests and settled
                      on aluminum for almost everything, with one French-made carbon
                      steel frying pan for blackened fish. For eggs and such I use a
                      saingle non-stick Duraceramic pan, which is fine after being
                      used for a year or so.

                      My saucepans are sare anodized aluminum. These I've used up
                      to 25 years with surface intact. The main advantage of stainless-clad
                      frying pans, in my experience is their nice appearance. At least until
                      you use them. After that it's really major woek to grid of the
                      infamous "little brown spots." Besides that, stainless is horribly
                      overpriced for what you get.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mpalmer6c
                        JuniorBalloon Nov 9, 2011 01:11 PM

                        Stainless may be more expensive, I paid $99 for the 4 qt Emeril pan, but it gives me what I want. No aluminum, no PFTE or PFOE or PFTP or what ever we call teflon these days and it doea a great job of carmelizing veggies. I have read about the spotting, but looks are not that important to me, just how well it works.


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