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#1 Misen 10-inch frying pan
For a nonstick skillet, the Misen 10-inch frying pan ticked more boxes than any others I tested. It’s sturdy but not heavy, and has an excellent nonstick surface that released eggs and pancake batter with ease. Misen’s nonstick pans use a PFOA-free, three-layer platinum coating that I found just slightly more nonstick than others. The three coats of nonstick are also intended to keep your nonstick surface from degrading as quickly. This pan is also oven-safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
The gently flared sides allowed for pancakes and eggs to slide out without the use of a spatula but still kept contents from spilling over during cooking, even when given a few shakes.
What pushed the Misen pan over the top for me was the handle. It’s encased in a protective and removable rubber sheath and makes for a seriously comfortable gripper. The handle also has almost no slant, something I find makes negotiating things like eggs and pancakes easier since they often require a good bit of maneuvering and flipping.
It’s also a great-looking skillet. The Misen pan is sleek, ergonomic and looks much like something you’d find in a professional kitchen. Nonstick skillets don’t generally have much swagger, but this one does. Misen’s excellent nonstick pan is available in three sizes: 8, 10 and 12 inches. For some reason, the 8-inch is only available when bundled with another size.
#2 Tramontina Professional Restaurant Fry Pan
Tramontina’s 10-inch skillet takes the top spot for the best budget nonstick fry pan. You can find cheaper pans, but none of them match Tramontina’s excellent combination of nonstick surfaces, even heating and comfy handle. The base is cast aluminum which should resist warping over time and continue to heat quickly and evenly with age. It’s also oven-safe up to 400 degrees F.
This wallet-friendly pan is available in four sizes from eight inches up to 14 (which is an unusually large size and more pan than the average chef would want or need). The 10-inch pan is an ideal size for most people and is the one I evaluated in my testing.
#3 All-Clad hard-anodized 2-piece pan set
If you want a small set of nonstick fry pans, I recommend All-Clad’s excellent hard-anodized nonstick pans. All-Clad is a high-end cookware brand favorite of professional chefs.
Instead of a fully aluminum base, these nonstick pans are made with an aluminum core encased in bonded stainless steel so they’ll work when used with induction cooktops. Be warned: The steel also makes them heavier than traditional nonstick pans. I’ve personally used an All-Clad’s hard-anodized nonstick pan regularly for about six years. The nonstick coating is as good as any and it’s only just now beginning to show major wear and signs of corrosion.
One consideration is that the sides are just barely flared and more like a saucier, so you’ll likely have to use a spatula (plastic or wooden) to extract certain foods.
While you might only really need or want one nonstick skillet, consider this: If you spread the use of your nonstick pans out over two pans, you’ll almost certainly extend the life of both. Plus, the smaller lighter 8-inch pan is great for quickly frying a single egg or reheating a small portion of leftovers from the night before.
#4 Nordic Ware Restaurant Cookware 10.5-Inch Nonstick Frying Pan
If for some reason our top picks are sold out, the Nordic Ware Restaurant Cookware 10.5-Inch Nonstick Fry Pan is a solid second choice. It’s made from cast aluminum and has flared sides, a bent lip, and a silicone handle—just like our top pick. (Also like our top pick, it won’t work on induction cooktops.) The Nordic Ware pan’s coating isn’t as smooth to the touch, but that didn’t impact its nonstick qualities. Eggs and crepes released from the pan just as easily as from our other picks. The Nordic Ware’s nonstick coated inner rivets (which some folks find easier to clean than uncoated ones) are an added perk (and the Tramontina pan doesn’t have these). The Nordic Ware pan is a solid choice, but it’s not our top pick because we want to see firsthand how well the nonstick coating holds up to real-world use over time.
#5 T-fal E76597 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan With Lid
his pan can cook way more than the average frying pan, with the ability to boil and stew. Its extended side height helps contain voluminous veggies — like kale — that would otherwise overflow before they’re wilted down by heat.
When it comes to pulling off nonstick, the T-fal absolutely delivers. Nothing clings to the pan’s surface, which is made with anodized aluminum, a golden term in the nonstick world but one you might not be familiar with. Anodizing and aluminum go together like peanut butter and jelly; the electrochemical process converts the metal into a more durable, corrosion-resistant material, according to the Aluminum Anodizing Council. Rather than strengthening the pan’s surface layer like a coating would, aluminum that is anodized is integrated, so it can’t peel off or chip.
The pan is marketed as “2x more scratch resistant,” and while that is a pretty vague claim, it boldly stood up to our scratch tests. We gave this thing a real beating with metal utensils, but the pan showed absolutely no evidence of this. (Still, the manufacturers recommend using metal utensils with care.) The material is nontoxic, so even if you were to overheat or scratch the pan, you wouldn’t have to worry about it leaching into your food.