Kitchn Love Letters

I’m a Professional Equipment Tester — This Is the Pan I Use the Most

updated Jan 25, 2021
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My mom once joked that even the biggest kitchen couldn’t house all of my cooking gear. And it’s true! I have a lot that I’ve accumulated from work, gifts, and general shopping, as I really just love buying kitchen gear. But I do have my favorites — the tools, equipment, and cookware I reach for again and again, like this skillet from Hexclad.

Credit: Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
My Hexclad skillet practically lives on my stovetop (along with my Dutch oven, of course!).

It’s my go-to pan for frying and scrambling eggs, searing fish, browning chicken thighs, and more. I use it nearly every day. But here’s the kicker: I got the skillet entirely by chance. About four years ago, I walked into the test kitchen at my previous workplace and saw a stack of pans marked as “giveaway.” They were from a brand I’d never heard of and in need of a good cleaning. I took one home. And reader, I regretted not grabbing the whole stack. Because once I found out how great they were, I wanted to give one to every friend and family member, so that they could know the joys of this supremely wonderful pan.

Now, let’s talk about why Hexclad is so great. It has a try-ply design that starts with a layer of magnetic stainless steel, then a middle layer of aluminum, and, finally, another layer of steel. While aluminum conducts heat quickly, stainless steel transmits heat more slowly, but retains it well. This means you get both efficient and thorough, even browning and searing.

Credit: Hexclad
The Hexclad's laser-etched hexagonal surface pattern makes the skillet super versatile, giving it both nonstick and stainless steel properties.

The hallmark of Hexclad pan, though, is the laser etching process, which gives their pans’ surfaces a unique hexagonal pattern and “creates a series of peaks and valleys,” as the company says. The valleys are the nonstick portions of the pan. And with just a little oil or butter, stickage is a non-issue for the Hexclad. As for the peaks, these are the stainless steel parts of the surface and, well, we’ve already gone over why stainless steel makes for excellent cookware. The pan’s handle also stays cool throughout cooking and the whole shebang is oven-safe up to 500°F, so you can start something — like a frittata — on the stovetop and finish it in the oven. It’s also compatible with induction cooktops, is dishwasher-safe, and has a lifetime warranty.

However, I think one of my favorite things about my Hexclad pan is just how durable it is. You can’t use metal utensils on other nonstick skillets, unless you want some serious surface scratches, but this isn’t true with the Hexclad. I frequently use my fish spatula with it and the surface still looks like new. My husband even likes to (horrifyingly) place the cooled skillet on the floor so that our dogs can clean up bits of scrambled egg off its surface. I’ve heard the scrape of their teeth and thought the Hexclad was gone for good. But, nope! Not a single surface scratch, peel, or flake.

While I have the 10-inch skillet, the Hexclad also comes in 12- and 8-inch sizes and you can even buy a 13- or seven-piece set of cookware if you’re really lucky.