The $40 Pan That Ended My Quest for the Perfect Nonstick Skillet

updated May 1, 2019
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I’m a firm believer that for most kitchen jobs, you only really need one good knife. And if the last six months are any proof, the same is true for pans. If I had to scrap all of the pans I’ve collected (and invested in) over the years, just this one 10-inch Ballarini Parma pan would remain.

After my last nonstick pan’s coating started to ripple and flake off, I got a little nervous and knew it was time to find a replacement. Ballarini’s Parma pans are made out of forged aluminum, and they’re a lot thicker and more substantial than other nonstick pans I’ve owned. I love that they’re nowhere near as heavy as cast iron but still offer great temperature control. There’s even a small Thermopoint heat-sensitive indicator on the handle that turns from green to red to let you know that the pan is ready for cooking.

I use my Ballarini almost every morning to fry or scramble eggs, and it’s the first pan I’ve found that consistently turns out fluffy, pale French omelets. The PFOA-free surface is so easy to clean — most days I just use a paper towel to wipe out any remaining cooking oil or food particles. After I’m done cleaning it I place it right back on the stove for its inevitable evening service. Typically that means pan-frying salmon or whipping up a beef stir-fry. I’ve used it to toast nuts, make pancakes or quesadillas, and to thicken a quick marinara. Are you wondering what it can’t do? Please let me know when you find out!

The 10-inch pan is the most-used in my kitchen, but I also have the 12-inch size which is great for larger recipes such as frying a pound of meatballs or making risotto. You can score either size pan à la carte on Amazon, but you’ll save $20 if you buy the set of two for $70 (normally $90 if purchased separately). The smallest size, the 8-inch pan, is great for really small jobs, and is only $25.

So if your nonstick pan has seen better days, consider tossing it for this all-around workhorse. I have a feeling it’s going to be my right hand in the kitchen for a long time.