Critics' Pick

The Very Best Nonstick Cookware for 2021 and Beyond

updated Nov 24, 2020
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Credit: Leela Cyd

Here’s a bold-yet-true statement: “Every kitchen should have a few pieces of nonstick cookware,” says Kitchn’s go-to gear pro, Sharon Franke, who spent more than 30 years testing cookware at the Good Housekeeping Institute. “Having the right pan makes cooking a fried egg or some buttermilk pancakes totally fail-proof. Even beyond that, when it comes to tasks like steaming rice or simmering soup, nonstick cookware has a major advantage because it’s so easy to clean up.” What are the best nonstick pieces and sets out there? We polled Sharon and other Kitchn staffers (and looked around to see what other sites had to suggest) in order to come up with this list.

Please allow us to present the very best nonstick cookware on the market.

1. Anolon Advanced Home Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10.25-Inch Skillet

The Best Nonstick Skillet

If you’re only going to get one piece of nonstick cookware, it should be a skillet. More specifically, this skillet. When it comes to nonstick skillets, it’s hard to beat anything by Anolon. Sharon’s long-time favorite was recently phased out, so some Kitchn staffers have been testing out this newly launched option and love it. The company says it’ll last 16 times longer than traditional nonstick, and we’ve found that it releases pancakes, eggs, and burgers even better than the discontinued pan.

2. Anolon SmartStack

The Best Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Cookware Set

Anolon for another win. Seriously, the brand is really, really great when it comes to nonstick. This anodized aluminum cookware heats exceptionally evenly. Which means you won’t have to be constantly stirring onions or rearranging your pancakes for even browning. And you won’t find yourself continuously fiddling with the heat level under a beef stew to keep it at a steady simmer. Testers at Consumer Reports noted that the pieces received an Excellent rating for simmering sauces and that the handles stay cool to the touch. Plus, the pieces nest (in a way that protects the nonstick coating) to take up to 62 percent less space.

3. All-Clad Stainless Nonstick

The Best Stainless Steel Nonstick Cookware Set

If you’re willing to pay top dollar for absolutely gorgeous cookware, this is the set for you. “Over and over again, All-Clad Stainless is rated top notch by reviewers for its heat distribution properties, which come from its layer of aluminum sandwiched between the stainless steel outside and, in this case, the nonstick interior,” says Sharon. “It has the classic good looks of the pots and pans that chefs use in many high-end restaurants; these are the very ones they grab to sauté your salmon and finish it up in the oven.”

4. KitchenAid Aluminum

The Best Budget Nonstick Cookware Set

While these pans may be downright cheap, they give you top-notch performance. “You’ll find eggs slide right out, chicken browns evenly, and chili stays at a steady simmer,” Sharon says. “Plus, the pretty red exterior is a refreshing change from all the gray and silvery cookware out there. (If you prefer to play it safe, it does come in black too.)” The matching handles are made of silicone, which is both comfy and cool to the touch.

5. Caraway Cookware Set

The Best Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set

Lots of people worry that nonstick is harmful even though there is currently no evidence to support that. If you fall into that camp, you may be interested in something with a ceramic nonstick finish. A while ago, Sharon suggested this Zwilling Spirit set. It’s currently out of stock, though, and we’ve also since fallen hard for Caraway. The surface is ridiculously slippery (and stays that way over time), and it heats up very evenly while also being very responsive to temperature changes. It’s also gorgeous and comes with two smart organizers (one for the pots and one for the lids). You can also buy the pieces a la carte if you don’t want the full set.

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