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10" nonstick skillet/frying pan

John Francis Jun 21, 2012 04:47 AM

My 10" nonstick skillet was losing its nonstick-ness - time to replace it. Going with a test review in Cooks Illustrated, which I've usually found reliable, I picked up the T-Fal Signature pan, partly because I was curious about that big red dot in the middle. And if it's good enough for Jamie Oliver, I suppose it should be good enough for me.

But maybe it isn't. After some online research, because T-Fal doesn't give the information in the packaging or promotion of its cookware, I found that the pattern in the red dot changes to solid red at 190° Celsius, which converts to 375° F. T-Fal says this is perfect for "sealing in the flavor of your food," but unless I'm searing some raw meat, which I wouldn't do in a nonstick pan anyway, it seems pretty hot.

Certainly it was too hot for the omelet I tried to make, without butter or oil, to test the pan's nonstick-ness. Not only did the eggs cook too fast, they stuck to the pan and had to be scraped off onto the plate as shapeless scrambled eggs. Same thing when I tried again, starting with a cold pan on a very low flame; as soon as the eggs started to harden, they clung to the pan and had to be scraped off.

So I guess I'm in the market again. Can anyone recommend a 10" skillet that's guaranteed nonstick and priced at no more than $30? I'm not inclined to pay much more for what in effect is disposable cookware.

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  1. Sid Post RE: John Francis Jun 21, 2012 05:10 AM

    John, where do you live (USA, Europe, East coast, West coast, etc.)?

    For ~$30 you are basically looking at another "teflon" pan from a big box store. I did pick up a "ceramic stone" thin aluminum skillet from my local "chain" grocery store on sale for $10 that works great for eggs and is pretty darn good for $10.

    1. k
      kseiverd RE: John Francis Jun 21, 2012 10:18 AM

      I'd recommend Calphalon. Places like BB&B usually have a 2 pices set of skillets for less than $50. And their return/replace policy is FABULOUS!! Had HEARD they were good, but have proof. Had 2 non-stick skillets that were starting to be a little non-non-stick & a frequently used sauce pan. Skillets... probably 5-6 years old and sauce pan older. None had be abused... wood, plastic, silicon tools only and never in dishwasher. At C's website, got a shipping label. Did cost me a few $ to send them out, but about a week or so later... got BRAND NEW replacements! Sauce pan was not an exact replacement... thinking no longer made... coulda been 15 yo?? Next I plan to return the smallish "stock pot" that came with original set... showing wear in bottom.

      Bought 2 "green pans" at a yard sale. One looked absolutely un-used and other gently used. Took a shot for $3... NOT worth it... stuff stuck after only a few uses.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kseiverd
        Robin Joy RE: kseiverd Jun 21, 2012 12:20 PM

        So BB&B replaced 5 year old pans with new, just because they were a bit worn out? That's amazing! Did they have a lifetime guarantee?

        1. re: Robin Joy
          iluvcookies RE: Robin Joy Jun 21, 2012 01:11 PM

          Calphalon has the return policy and does the replacement, not BB&B.

      2. Chemicalkinetics RE: John Francis Jun 21, 2012 10:32 AM

        I have good experience with Calphalon nonstick pan. I cannot say for sure that they are the best out there, but they were good enough for me.

        1. j
          janniecooks RE: John Francis Jun 22, 2012 01:36 AM

          I agree that nonstick pans are essentially disposable cookware. Still I try to treat mine with kindness, and couldn't be happier with the cheap aluminum non-stick skillet I purchased from Sam's Club several years ago. I use the skillet several times a week, wash it with care, and the non-stick coating is still intact and working as it was intended. I think I paid about $15 for the skillet at Sam's, in the restaurant supply aisle. I will happily purchase another when my current skillet needs replacing.

          6 Replies
          1. re: janniecooks
            John Francis RE: janniecooks Jun 22, 2012 03:55 AM

            This gives me the idea that maybe I should look into a restaurant supply store for whatever they have that's nonstick. Not only for the price but for durability too. I'm not hard on my nonstick pans - metal never touches the cooking surface - but they don't last more than a few years anyway.

            1. re: John Francis
              Chemicalkinetics RE: John Francis Jun 22, 2012 04:46 AM

              <but they don't last more than a few years anyway.>

              Do you mean the pan starts to show sign of aging in a few years like minor scratches? Or you mean the pan loses much of its nonstick coating that it is no longer nonstick and functional? The former is very normal, I think. All of the nonstick cookware I have used started to show their first scratch in a year or two.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                John Francis RE: Chemicalkinetics Jun 22, 2012 08:51 AM

                The latter. It was an inexpensive Tramontina pan, made in China I think, and the nonstick surface worked just fine for a couple of years, then food started to stick. No scratches, because I never use anything in a nonstick pan that would scratch it.

                1. re: John Francis
                  Chemicalkinetics RE: John Francis Jun 22, 2012 10:40 AM

                  <No scratches, because I never use anything in a nonstick pan that would scratch it>

                  Oh, the opposite observation I had then. I usually would see scratches and peeling before any lose of nonstick function. However, I often used high heat, so that may have been it.

              2. re: John Francis
                janniecooks RE: John Francis Jun 23, 2012 02:20 AM

                Oh you absolutely should look into a restaurant supply store. If you don't seek the status labels (all-clad, etc) you will find very sturdy, functional, and often better-performing cookware at extremely wallet-friendly prices. If performance matters more than label appeal, definitely check out restaurant suppliers.

                And just for clarity, in my earlier response when I referred to my skillet from Sam's as "cheap aluminum" what I meant was that the skillet was priced inexpensively, not that the aluminum whas cheap quality. The skillet itself is cast aluminum of a decent thickness (maybe 1/8" thick?), it is not a pressed sheet.

                1. re: janniecooks
                  Bada Bing RE: janniecooks Jun 23, 2012 04:39 AM

                  I also have one of those pans--two, in fact, because they came in a two-pack. Mine finally wore out after several years, and now my Sam's doesn't carry them anymore. They were very good pans for the money.

            2. c
              Cam14 RE: John Francis Jun 22, 2012 08:40 AM

              Did you season the Teflon pan first? Most non-stick I've used require that you wipe the pan with oil before the first use.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Cam14
                John Francis RE: Cam14 Jun 22, 2012 08:47 AM

                I didn't see that instruction in the T-Fal packaging, and I've never seasoned a nonstick pan before. But I've since sautéd some things in olive oil, so I'll try the egg test again tomorrow morning. Thanks.

                1. re: Cam14
                  John Francis RE: Cam14 Jun 23, 2012 04:06 AM

                  The T-Fal pan is a good deal more nonstick this morning than it has been, probably because I've cooked in it with some olive oil. Still not ideally slick, but I think it may be usable. Thanks.

                  I'll keep reading this thread, however, in case anyone comes up with a better alternative.

                2. Bada Bing RE: John Francis Jun 22, 2012 05:23 PM

                  Your eggs stuck to a new pan? That's really odd.

                  Anyway, T-Fal has several lines of non-stick. The T-Fall Professional Total Non-Stick line was the one that bested all others in a Cook's Illustrated testing. They run $30 or less per pan, in different sizes.

                  1. t
                    trakman RE: John Francis Jun 23, 2012 08:59 PM

                    One of your responders talks about the Tramontina pans. I use them. Buy them from Bed Bath and Beyond for about $15 with a coupon (which seem to be universally available), use them till they scratch, and then buy another one. My present 10" Tramontina is about four years old, and, used with either wooden or plastic spatulas, is still going strong. Do not see any sense in spending big bucks for name brand cookware which is Teflon lined. When it goes south, it is just an expensive toss in the metal recycle bin..

                    1. d
                      DJfromCT RE: John Francis Jun 27, 2012 03:48 PM

                      I thought we had the non stick situation sorted out when we bought-what is essentially disposable cookware --@John Francis-3 Tramontine frypans from Costco for $25. Then I started looking into PFOA and PTFE (nasty non stick chemicals). see: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/0...

                      I don't like the Ozeri pan referred to in the above article because it has a plastic handle and cannot go into the oven.

                      I have settled on the Cuisinart Green Gourmet non stick frypan, which is also "petroleum free". This brand has a stainless steel handle which allows you to stick the pan in the oven, and is and broiler safe too. Most of the non stick formulas do not allow you to heat the pan up to a high temperature. Of course I have not had it long enough for an endurance test, but it comes in at $29.99 at my local B,B&B without their coupon.

                      Finally, let's not forget the nicely seasoned cast iron pans which are essentially non stick. When they get unseasoned (from SO soaking in the sink!), I start the seasoning process all over by putting in in my oven during the self clean, and starting the seasoning process all over again...

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