KitchenAid’s Sauté Pan Is So Beautiful, It Lives Permanently on My Stove

published Sep 8, 2023
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Scrambled eggs in nonstick pan.
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Some things you buy because they’re cute even if they’re not practical or durable. Novelty tchotchkes for seasonal decor, fancy but uncomfortable shoes, white clothing you “save” for non-eating occasions for fear of spilling on them — okay, maybe that last one’s just me. Cookware, though, shouldn’t be one of them. Even when I’m not developing or testing recipes, I cook too much and too often to be bogged down by warped pans, dinky pots, and high-maintenance pieces that require a regular subscription for Barkeepers Friend (looking at you, stainless steel!)

Quick Overview

What’s so great about the KitchenAid Hard Anodized Ceramic Nonstick Sauté Pan?

  • Nonstick ceramic interior with a metallic forged aluminum base for quick and even heating
  • Comes in two fun colorways, but doesn’t compromise on quality
  • Reasonably priced at $69.99

That’s why I go for the efficiency and convenience of nonstick cookware — usually. Inexpensive nonstick-treated pans come with their own host of problems, from more chemicals than I’d want to short-lived performance when the coating flakes off all too quickly to permanently stained interiors and exteriors. 

All that has left me with gray hard anodized cookware for decent longevity, good heat conduction, solid durability, and usually, a middling price point. Then I tried the new KitchenAid Hard Anodized Ceramic Nonstick Sauté Pan, and that changed everything. 

What’s so great about the KitchenAid Hard Anodized Ceramic Nonstick Sauté Pan?

I’m a sucker for a good colorway, and this one is good. I have the KitchenAid Hard Anodized Ceramic Nonstick Sauté Pan in Pistachio, a soft seafoam green, but it’s also available in Blue Velvet, a rich cerulean. Both colors are also available as cookware sets, as well as enameled cast iron pieces, a collection that won the 2023 IF Design Award.

I’ll buy nearly anything that comes in that in-between-y seafoam green and aqua color. Well, nearly anything. I’ve long refused to compromise performance and quality for color, and despite having been tempted to buy cookware in novelty shades over the years, I’d used too many of my friends’ brightly colored cookware and seen it cease to bring enough joy to make up for shoddy workmanship, inconsistent heating, and scratches that quickly negate any aesthetic pleasure. 

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

But as soon as I saw the perfect Pistachio shade and read the list of features that showed that the beauty was also a beast, I had to give it a try. Since then, it’s become my favorite pan and lives permanently on my stovetop both for its frequency of use and its sheer good looks. Because although it looks like a novelty pan, it performs like a premium one, prioritizing quick, even heating for home cooks who are with me in the feeling that waiting for a pan to preheat is actual agony. 

A practical workhouse, it gives me everything I love about cooking with traditional multi-ply hard anodized cookware and for less than you’d think, as it’s part of KitchenAid’s entry-level, more affordable collection. 

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

What features make the KitchenAid Hard Anodized Ceramic Nonstick Sauté Pan stand out?

I’ll start from the bottom up. First, its metallic forged aluminum base gives me the fast heat conduction that’s super important for the quick sautés, sears, stir-fries, and pan-fries that I do often, and the level of patience I have (none) to suffer through a long preheat. This pan sparks right up on my regular residential gas stove, ready to go in no time.

The exposed metal, thick reinforced bottom also offers tremendous warp resistance. Anyone who’s ever had a cheap pan pucker up on them will agree that there are few things more annoying than a pan that rocks back and forth. It’s the worst, because then no matter how well it’s supposed to distribute heat, it just isn’t gonna since there isn’t even contact with the burner. And don’t even get me started on if you’re using a flat-topped electric stove with no hope of flickering flames to make up the difference. 

I appreciate a great bottom, but its design thoughtfulness extends up the walls as well. That part is thinner than the base core, decreasing the potential weight of the pan and helping it achieve a faster heat-up throughout. Yet it’s not so thin as to feel flimsy. After all, its overall construction is still hard anodized aluminum, which is eight times harder than traditional aluminum. The walls are reinforced at the top so you can tap off excess sauce or food from cooking utensils with no worry of bends and chips. 

The handle shape is less ergonomic than ideal, but again, it’s a bit expected from entry-level cookware. There is a looped helper handle to help out with any discomfort, which is important if you’re transporting the pan from stove or oven (it’s oven-safe to 500 degrees; the shatter-resistant glass lid is only safe to 350) to table — something cookware this beautiful is absolutely suitable for.

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

Also, it’s huge. The five-quart capacity (that’s 20 whole cups!) and generously high rims make it perfect for large dishes and enormous quantities of spinach. Finally, a pan that justifies my five-pound bulk bags!

Does the interior of the KitchenAid Hard Anodized Ceramic Nonstick Sauté Pan stain?

I was at first nervous to blight the beautiful PFAS-, BPA-, lead-, and cadmium-free ceramic coated Milkshake interior — a creamy vanilla — and was delighted to find that scalds slide straight off with no scrubbing at all. 

The high-heat silicone polyester exterior coating is incredibly resistant to drip stains and sticky spots, too. I tend to pour food out of my pans, wok-style, so in past cookware tests, I’ve tried pans that start out one color and quickly take on brown trails from sauce spills within one use. This is not that. Nothing clings to its exterior at ALL. I’ve accidentally brushed it against a big bowl of rice, and even that comes right off. 

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

While it’s critically important that the practical features impressed me, it was the color that initially made me swoon. Therefore, I’m delighted to report this major marquee point: the colors of this pan remain true and unstained even after months of regular use.

One last point on the color (can you tell how much I love it?) is that it matches my kitchen décor perfectly — I have a sparkly frosted glass backsplash and hints of glassy aqua in my quartzite counters, and the mere presence of this pan in my kitchen helps those accents pop. More importantly though, it helps me remember the big joy that little details can bring.

Buy: KitchenAid Hard Anodized Ceramic Nonstick Sauté Pan with Lid, 5 Quart, $69.99