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Sep 15, 2013 11:34 PM

Finally, a GREAT non-stick fry pan!

For years I have resigned myself to the routine of using an 8 inch non-stick pan for about six months or so, then throwing it away, buying a new one, and starting all over again. Didn't seem to matter much which "non-stick" surface I bought, they didn't last. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to try the new "green" ceramic non-stick finish, brand name "Thermolon." The first one I bought was from Walmart, with a cushioned handle, and I would probably have stuck with it, but it was NOT induction friendly. So back it went. Well, after I gave it a trial run first. Yep, I did like the finish and it seemed super slick and super non-stick.

Ultimately, I ordered this one:

I got mine from amazon.com but couldn't figure out how to supply a url to it that didn't disclose my entire shopping history, so this place looks like a good store too...

Anyway, only time will tell how well it will hold up for the long term, but for the short term I love it! And I'm really glad I returned the lighter weight pan with the cushioned handle, because it had limits on how hot an oven it could be used in. THIS puppy is good up to a whopping 800F...!!! So now, if I ever decide to forego sous vide for steak cooking, this means I can sear in this pan and finish in a 500F oven with no sweat!

If you're looking for a great omelet pan that multi-tasks and does lots of other dishes too, I highly recommend this one! Thermolon purportedly has none of the health or safety issues that come with other non-stick finishes. What could be better than that? And if it holds up for 18 months, it will have paid for itself!

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  1. Caroline,

    I've been eyeing that same pan in 10" for a while, but the negative reviews of the Thermolon have put me off. Recently I found some who've had their pans for more than 6 months with good results, and I *think* it comes down to periodic seasoning.

    Were there instructions suggesting that with your pan? It seems one of the pan makers used to suggest it but now says it not necessary and..... I'm so confused!

    Help a fellow 'Hound out, will you? :)

    26 Replies
    1. re: DuffyH

      Henckels/Zwilling makes no recommendations about "seasoning." That, plus I have no idea how to go about seasoning a non-stick pan. "Seasoning" means getting enough oils and other food safe residues to build up to a point where they give non-stick qualities to a pan. I don't think seasoning Teflon or other non-sticks is possible. I've had NO problems with the Thermolon. The information that came with the pan says it is a "Thermolon Granite" non-stick coating that is safe to use up to 850F, so I was 50 degrees short of tis maximum in my original post. I am curious where you found bad reviews on the Thermolon. I thought I had read all there was, but I must have missed something.

      My suggestion would be to buy it someplace that will take it back and give you a refund if you're unhappy with its performance. But I suspect you will like it!

      1. re: Caroline1

        Hi Caroline,

        The seasoning I refer to is the same process used on stainless steel, not the cured durable stuff we use with our cast iron and carbon steel.

        In a nutshell, heat pan, add about 1/8" oil, bring oil to just barely at smoke point. Remove pan from heat and let cool. Dump oil and wipe pan completely clean. Because it's not really cooked on well, as soon as dish soap hits it, it's gone.

        For the bad reviews, see Amazon. I was really surprised, it being a Henckels pan. http://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Thermolo...

        I hope it turns out to be a killer pan. I wouldn't mind a durable lightweight non-stick pan, not one little bit. I hope you'll review it again later and let us know how it holds up.

        1. re: DuffyH

          Hi, Car and Duffy:

          Let me try to shed a little light on Thermolon. You're both mostly right.

          It's a Stanley Cheng (Meyer Corp.) coating that has been put on a LOT of "celeb" and other pans. The first iterations were terrible (Can we say, "Todd English"?). So they changed the formulation or process, and apparently for the better. Unfortunately, they still call both formulations Thermolon.

          Which formulation is which? Ah, there's the rub!


          1. re: kaleokahu

            So far, mine is outperforming traditional non-stick surfaces by a country mile, but how far down the road will I still be saying that? hmmmm...

            1. re: kaleokahu

              <Which formulation is which? Ah, there's the rub!>


              Thanks for giving us that evolution, it does clear things up a bit. And explains the almost universally bad reviews for some of the pans made with it, while others fare much better.

              I've chosen to believe that Caroline has the good stuff. Why? Go ahead, ask. I'll wait.

              So glad you asked! Caroline must have one of the good ones for 2 reasons. First, because she's Caroline. I mean, that's reason enough, yeah? Second, I just don't want to believe that Henckels/Zwilling and, by extension, Demeyere, would embrace a crappy coating.

              1. re: DuffyH

                Just in case I run into failure mode, I'm keeping a can of Pam handy! Thanks for your faith though. But you're risking giving me a big head! '-)

                1. re: Caroline1

                  Having read somewhere ( I think it was the folks @ Cook's Ill.) that most spray-on oils, like PAM, contain lecithin & will build up a residue on non-stick pans over time, I tried another way.

                  I bought an Orka mister ( http://tinyurl.com/k4s5qne ) & have had great success.

                  A few tips on it's use: 1) experience tells me that oils & rubber O rings can conflict over time, so I use a small funnel to fill the thing to avoid contact. 2) respect the "Max Fill" line. 3) after each use unscrew the pump to release the pressure then re-tighten before storing even for short periods. This takes the pressure off the seal.

                  After about 12-15 pumps you will get a sustained spray of whatever oil (or other liquid) you choose to use.

                  Used sparingly, the oil remains in tiny droplets that won't pool as readily.

                  Having one for salad oil & another for cooking oil works wonders.

                  1. re: seedyone

                    You live in the hands of good fortune! I think I've had about for or five of those oil spritzers, some expensive, some not, and for the most part they all start shooting a stream instead of a mist before they need to be refilled the first time. <sigh>

                    As for Cooks Illustrated, it sounds as if they're handing out bad information AGAIN....!!! And that they've talked you in to wasting your money *IF* you only bought the oil spritzers in order to limit how much lecithin you put in your non-stick frying pans. Here's some information about lecithin. It's truly GOOD STUFF!
                    The article goes into detail about what lecithin is and it's benefits. We can't live without it! And I guarantee lecithin will not make a non-stick pan sticky. EVER! (Assuming you wash and care for it properly.)

                    One important but fun fact about lecithin is that it is an emulsifier. In fact, it is the Vitamin E/lecithin in an egg yolk that allows us to transform a "vinaigrette" into a mayonnaise! It's the lecithin that make the binding link that allows oil and water to bond and stabilize in the same molecule.

                    So NO! NO! NO! Lecithin will NOT build up on a non-stick pan and make it stick. On the other hand, if you don't wash your pan, you'll develop sticking problems, but not because of lecithin. Things like cooking oils, egg yolks, many vegetables and all animal proteins have a goodly amount of lecithin in them....

                    But I AM sending the damned pan back because it doesn't seem to have a shred of non-stick left in it, and that's in only two weeks of occasional use.... <sigh> So it's back to my good old "non-stick" cast iron!!! Just the way God intended. '-)

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      Thanks for your advice but I recently set my 90+ year old Dad up with a small non-stick skillet so he can prepare his own meals & there was a build-up within 90 days. He insists on using PAM & just wiping the pan w/paper towels to clean up. Old habits are hard to break.

                      As for your declarations on the wonders of lecithin, it appears, by your definition alone, that it is a "bonding agent". That's why it's in the spray, to make the oil it stay put.

                      It can (& I assert, will) be counter productive & create issues in the long term care of what can be rather expensive cook wear.

                      I cooked professionally for 20 years & know how to take care of my tools. I have had to discard 2 small non-stick pans, my most useful size, over the years, due to a build up of gunk. Dispensing with aerosol oils has solved the problem.

                      My larger sized pans have lasted much longer as I don't use the spray oil on them. Recipes of that quantity call for liquid measures or I would pour some oil in & spread it with a paper towel to coat.

                      Another issue can be using dish washing liquids (or sponges/dishcloths) that carry citrus oils as grease cutters or merely scents, as the active ingredient & will degrade a non-stick surface over time.

                      The manufacturer of the spray pump suggests 12-15 pumps to be the optimum amount for proper pressure. Too little & yes, you will get a stream & not a spray.

                      Sorry you have issues with Cook's Illustrated as I have found them to be a wealth of sound advice over the years.


                      1. re: seedyone

                        Hi seedyone,

                        When your dad's pan starts to stick, you can restore it with a baking soda scrub. Pour a bit of baking soda into the clean wet pan. Scrub with a paper towel or blue scrubbie. This should remove that Pam residue. It really does work.

                        I don't know how long it will work, as eventually I think there'll be enough lecithin that you won't be able to restore it, but it will certainly extend the life of the pan.

              2. re: kaleokahu

                I'm seeing both white (cream) and the gray Thermolon. Is there a difference? Is the white the old stuff? Or can it be made in any color they want?

                1. re: DuffyH

                  Hi, Duffy:

                  I do not know. All I know is that some packaging screams: "new formula" and "2". See, e.g., the CH "review".


              3. re: DuffyH

                Duffy, I've never heard of that "cure" method for stainless steel. At the risk of sounding like a boor, that "curing" method sounds to me like an outright waste of oil! It will do nothing to the pan that just pouring in the amount of oil you need to do something like searing a roast, and then sear away. What is gained by this?

                I have now read the bad reviews on amazon.com,and to be honest, I would have gone ahead and bought the pan. There are 107 five star reviews to a grand total of 61 ratings at four stars and below, 23 of which give only one star. Those aren't terrible odds. However, since it's me who is betting on them, I won't be surprised if I land in the one star ranks. That's my kind of luck!

                Non-stick is an elusive goal that I don't think any manufacturer or researcher, including NASA, has yet to achieve. Some of the things I don't like about non-stick is that it is impossible to get a thin film of oil on its surface, but you have to put enough oil in the pan that it can only pool pan wide. That's NOT low fat cooking! And how fragile the surface is is a major pain.

                If housekeepers were not a necessity of life for me, I would go back to well cured and wonderful omelet pans of yore, but housekeepers are not cooks and do not understand or follow directions, so using non-stick pans greatly reduces the risk of me going viral every time a housekeeper scrubs out my omelet pan with SOS. Live and let live, and accommodate when you can. Works for me... '-)

                1. re: Caroline1

                  Hi, Car:

                  "It will do nothing to the pan that just pouring in the amount of oil you need to do something like searing a roast, and then sear away."

                  Nope. For never hearing of this method of "seasoning", you have a high level of certitude! It is a qualitatively different animal than just oiling the pan normally. In fact you usually need to *also* oil the pan as the preparation requires. I can't fully explain what is happening (whatever is there is not visible to the naked eye), but it's real.

                  Now then, the effect isn't permanent, and it's certainly not as durable as the seasoning we're used to with CI. It would not survive your housekeepers' SOS pads.

                  If you want to try it, Duffy's method differs slightly from mine. I stop heating at just *below* the oil's smoke point, and she apparently takes it just *to* it.


                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Sounds bizarre to me. Why wouldn't simply wiping the interior of the pan with an oily paper towel accomplish the same thing? Maybe someday when I'm bored out of my gourd I'll give it a try to see if I find a discernible difference. What! ME a Doubting Thomas? Oh, well. Somebody's gotta do it.

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      Hi, Car:

                      Well it sounded bizarre to me, too, when I first heard about it. I probably posted about it being a non-starter, too.

                      But then I got my (aluminum) omelet pan and the book by Chef Rudolph Stanish and tried this method. Worked great. Then I read on the Vollrath University website about doing the same with SS, and "seasoned" my W-S Thermoclad skillet. THEN, I thought "Why not?", and tried it with tin-lined copper and enameled cast iron. They're all a little different, but the "seasoning" improves food release in all of them.

                      My theory is that this heated-then-cooled method creates a(n admittedly) weak bond between the oil film and the pan, that a simple cold or hot wipe doesn't.


                    2. re: kaleokahu

                      hmmmm... I'm not volunteering as a tester, BUT...! *IF* it really does make a difference it seems logical it would be because the oil sets up some sort of "lattice" across the surface of the pan that promotes better performance. *IF* that is the case, then why wouldn't simply heating the pan, then applying a coat of oil with a paper towel and reapplying the heat work? No matter. It all seems a little "iffy" to me, but hey, magic DOES happen in kitchens, so why not? But if anyone wants my share of the pixie dust, it's okay. I can't think of a reason why I would need it. Things seem to be fine as they are.... '-)

                      I'm such a cynic!

                      1. re: kaleokahu

                        The instructions that come with the Viking cookware include "seasoning" pans. Wash with soap and warm water, rinse, place the pan on the stovetop and pour in some oil and heat. Prior to the oil smoking, remove the pan from the heat, pour out the oil, wash in warm soapy water and comence cooking. Obviously, you need to add oil again prior to cooking.

                        I don't understand how this works, but if the manufacturer, in this case Demeyere, thinks it's important, then who am I to argue. I've done it on both saute pans and 9.5" skillet.

                        1. re: mikie

                          Hi, mikie:

                          Interesting that Viking says to wash the pan with soap after "seasoning". I would just rinse it out, or scrub it out with salt and oil, but if it works...

                          Another strange trick I learned from the Stanish book is to use only salted butter. For some reason, foods stick less (and/or the "seasoning" lasts longer) than when using unsalted.


                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            Hey Kaleo,

                            I've seen something similar. Some people recommend adding seasonings, i.e. salt & pepper, to a cast iron skillet before adding an egg. In the skillet I could see it working like semolina on a pizza peel, acting like ball bearings for the food on top of it. But salted butter seems odd to me, because the salt isn't in suspension, is it?

                            1. re: DuffyH

                              Hi, Duffy:

                              I'll leave it to someone like Harold McGee to tell us why salted butter works better than unsalted (since Stanish can't). I can't explain it.

                              You are right that the salt in salted butter is in solution, not suspension.


                      2. re: Caroline1


                        <I won't be surprised if I land in the one star ranks. That's my kind of luck!>

                        I'm pulling for you, I hope it lasts years! And hey, if things do start to stick, you can always give it a complete cleaning and then season it like it's stainless steel. :)

                        As for seasoning SS, you're not alone among people who think it won't work. I was like Kaleo, though, and figured it would be fun to find out. I'm a believer, it does work.

                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            <You don't season SS>

                            *You* don't, but people who know how much it improves pan performance do.

                      3. re: Caroline1

                        My T-Fal nonstick skillet wasn't so nonstick when I put it right on the burner after unwrapping it. Then I read the instructions on the package, and they said the pan should be seasoned and gave instructions. So I did what they said, and the T-Fal was immediately as slick as can be. That was about 6 months ago and it still is. Just for your information, not a recommendation, since you want a pan that will take very high temperatures and the T-Fal doesn't.

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          <The information that came with the pan says it is a "Thermolon Granite" non-stick coating... >

                          I noticed that addition of "Granite" and it made me wonder if that's how they're distinguishing the new formula from the old, or if it's simply a bit of label puffery to allow the high-end makers some cachet to set them apart from the rest of the Thermolon herd. I suspect the latter.

                      4. Thermolon is a ceramic non-stick coating and shouldn't need seasoning. Not sure if there are long-term studies about it's durability or overall safety, but it's meant to be better than before. Handwashing is still recommended as harsh detergents in dishwashing liquid probably aren't good for it's smooth surface.

                        All coated products are subject to coating flaking off so it's never accurate to think of any as 100% safe.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Rigmaster


                          I can't recall where I saw it, but one cookware maker is now warning against using dish soap or DW detergent made with lemon or citric acid. That's about all the high end (i.e. "effective") detergents and a good chunk of the dish soap liquids. This was for stainless steel cookware, but again, can't recall the maker.

                          Now I'm wondering if this isn't part of the reason some people are getting 'stuck' with sticky Thermolon 6 months after buying it.

                          If lemon dish soaps are harsh, I guess my fallback oven cleaner is out of the question?

                          Just kidding. I only use oven cleaner on my frypans when the underside gets all gunked up. :)

                          1. re: DuffyH

                            FWIW, back when we had our dishwasher installed 15 years ago, the installer admonished us to never, ever use detergent with lemon in the description. He said it would scratch/mar the glasses and plates. Never did use anything with lemon and those same glasses are still scratch free! The DW racks, OTOH, have rusted out to the point of needing to replace the whole darn thing :(

                        2. If you provide an amazon link, we won't be able to see your shopping history...only you can, because you're signed in.

                          It looks like you mean this one?

                          1. Thanks for the review. Yes, these ceramic pan can go up to much higher heat than the normal Teflon pan. However, many of them last shorter than Teflon pans as well. Let us know how long this puppy will hold out for you.

                            By the way, don't worry. No one can see your shopping history.

                            2 Replies
                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                ceramic pans work ok but a lifetime warranty is worthwhile. not just the nonstick but esp on larger pans and unless there is heavy bottom perhaps with laminated disk, pans will warp under high (and not terribly high) heat or if you deglaze. you will notice on glass top stoves esp but the warpage is not minor and happens even if i am careful.

                              2. I am a Swiss Diamond fan. Pricy? Yes, but I have used mine for 7-8 years with no scratching or peeling.

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: Candy

                                  Mine is two or thee years old and no longer releases as well as it did when it was new. I don't use it much anymore because it doesn't work on induction. Rats!

                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                    I've had mine a lot longer than that and have had no problems. Sorry to hear that you are having difficulties.

                                    1. re: Candy

                                      Hi, Candy:

                                      My SD lasted tolerably well for about 5 years. Then it gradually lost it and started to stick badly. I recently deep-cleaned it by boiling vinegar in it then scrubbing with baking soda. My judgment is that it's back to about the 3 year mark. 9-10 years would make it a good value (This was a $100 gift). Scratches, though, none.

                                      My biggest bitch about my SD is its ever-looseing handle. I can just tell (from experience) that if I tighten it any tighter, she's gonna break.


                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                        Have you tried contacting the company? I'm pretty sure mine came with a lifetime warranty, but I'm not sure because I threw the card away!

                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                          Hi, Car:

                                          No, I haven't. The SD "lifetime warranty" is pretty worthless and it excludes handles (and virtually everything else):

                                          "SWISS DIAMOND warrants to the original owner of the cookware that it is free of defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product. This warranty does not cover glass lids or handles.

                                          This warranty does not apply if the Use and Care instructions published in our literature have not been followed. This warranty does not cover damage or destruction caused by misuse, abuse, accident, overheating, alterations or commercial use. This warranty does not cover stains, discoloration, scratch marks or dents. Incidental or consequential damages are expressly excluded by this warranty.

                                          SWISS DIAMOND will repair or replace, at SWISS DIAMOND’s discretion, any item found to be defective. Should the defective item no longer be available, for whatever reason, an item of similar function and value will be substituted. This warranty is expressly not a money-back guarantee.

                                          In the event the cookware needs to be returned for repair or replacement, it must be mailed back prepaid."

                                          Frankly, a lot of my motivation about non-stick went south after I got and seasoned my bare aluminum Stanish omelet pan. About the only time I reach for the SD is when I make pancakes, which isn't very often.


                                        2. re: kaleokahu

                                          There is a warranty with those pans. I'd contact SD in NYC and request that they replace it. I never heard from any of my customers about loose handles or sticking issues. I had one or two come back shortly after purchase. One customer swore the rim of the pan just started peeling.....yeah if you stack something heavy on it. I cannot remember what the other was, it has been awhile. SD replaced them pronto. We all in the store us SD for non-stick and none of us has had a problem.

                                          1. re: Candy

                                            Hi, Candy:

                                            Really? You think SD would replace my perpetually loose-handled pan even though their warranty specifically *excludes* handles?

                                            What I don't want to happen is the Le Creuset Gambit, where you send them your pan, they "retire" it because of liability reasons, and they toss you a bone in the form of a meaningless discount (e.g., 20% off MSRP) on a new one. I'd rather J-b Weld the handle into place.


                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                              What's it gonna cost you to ask? '-)

                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                    Tell us when the new pan arrives. '-)