Drew Barrymore’s “Hero” Pan Made Me Believe in Nonstick Cookware Again

updated Nov 27, 2023
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Salmon cooked in an All-in-One 4 QT Hero Pan with Steam Insert by Drew Barrymore
Credit: Meg Asby

I gave up nonstick pans 15 years ago without losing sleep over it. I love my cast iron pans, and when I read about the dangers of nonstick cookware — dubious or not — it felt like a no-brainer to get rid of it. It’s akin to my friend who hates the taste of red meat, so she just gave it up without a second thought.

But when asked if I wanted to try Drew Barrymore’s Beautiful All-in-One 4-Quart Hero Pan, I was curious about what I’ve been missing all these years. The brand claims that the ceramic nonstick coating on the pan is free of the alphabet soup we’ve been hearing about for years (PTFE, PFOA, and PFOS), and because safety was the (ostensible) reason I gave up nonstick all those years ago, I decided it was time to give it another chance.

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What’s So Great About Drew Barrymore’s Beautiful All-in-One 4-Quart Hero Pan?

I started with pancakes and I was shocked by how little butter I needed to cook them properly. I moved on to diner-style home fries, assuming they wouldn’t get the crispy edges I love, but the Hero Pan’s cast aluminum construction blew me away with the evenness of the browning. I even crowded the pan! 

Credit: Meg Asby

Less skeptical at this point, I seared chicken breasts, steamed salmon and vegetables, cooked scallops, and made the prettiest omelet of my life. While boiling water for pasta on a Saturday to take advantage of the pan’s pour spout, I realized I had used the Hero Pan exclusively for a whole week after I first started using it, and it wasn’t even on purpose. Now, more than two months later, I still love it as my go-to. I continue to use it consistently — I just wash it and put it right back on the stovetop, because true to its name, it’s beautiful enough to leave out and because I know I’ll use it again in the next 24 hours, if not sooner.

Credit: Meg Asby

The “10 cooking functions” claim felt a little hyperbolic at first to me. Can’t most good pans do at least eight, if not all 10 functions — boil, sauté, simmer, pan-fry, sear, braise, stir-fry, strain, steam, and serve? But now I’m essentially confirming it because it’s the easiest pan to grab and works for literally everything I’ve made. I discovered that I could get by with only one pan — this one.  

Credit: Meg Asby

The Hero Pan is dishwasher-safe, but hand-washing is recommended. You won’t mind, though, because absolutely nothing sticks to it — no scraping required. I only use silicone tools and I’m careful not to scratch the interior of the pan, but if it ever needs to be replaced, a new one usually costs a mere $69 — pretty impressive for all-purpose cookware that works even better than my (much more expensive) stainless steel version. Even more impressive is that the Beautiful All-in-One 4-Quart Hero Pan is currently on sale for Cyber Monday, so it’s down to just $59 now through November 27.  

Credit: Meg Asby

The only pertinent negative is that the handle is prone to staining. When I splashed curry on the stay-cool handle, it left a series of yellow dots that required something more intense than soap and water to remove. The stains are subtle, though, and I’m not bothered. I have the White Icing colorway, so if you’re worried about stains, you’ve got options with the Black Sesame, Cornflower Blue, and Sage Green shades.

The Hero Pan is even induction compatible, which means that someday when I finally spend the money to convert from gas to induction, my trusty Hero Pan can stick around. I love the pan so much that I’m planning to buy it as a holiday gift for at least one relative — good thing it’s on sale!

Buy: Beautiful All-in-One 4 QT Hero Pan, $59 (normally $69)