This Pan Is Meant to Do the Work of 8 Pieces of Cookware — Here’s My Honest Review of It
Right now most of us are spending more time cooking at home than ever before … and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. In addition to becoming acutely aware of every spice and pickle jar in your pantry, have you recently become incredibly critical of your old not-so-nonstick pans and dented skillets? At a time like this, inferior equipment morphs from a mere inconvenience to an outright issue.
According to the promotional material, the Always Pan is supposed to replace eight (!!!) pieces of cookware. That’s a bold claim and a tempting prospect — especially for those with a limited amount of kitchen storage. So I took my testing very seriously.
Here are my honest thoughts of the Always Pan and what type of cook I think it’s best suited for.
What Is the Always Pan?
The Always Pan is a nonstick pan, but the coating is not your mama’s Teflon — it’s a slick ceramic nonstick. At 2 3/4 inches deep and 10 inches wide, this pan is the equivalent of a 2.6-quart cooker. The pan also comes with a lid, a wooden spatula, and a metal steamer basket, which all fit snugly together for shipping and storage. And it comes in three fun colors: a mauve-pink hue called “spice,” a light grey “steam” color, and “char” (as in charcoal).
The Always Pan is dishwasher-safe, but if you’re like me and don’t like wasting space in the dishwasher with awkwardly shaped pots and pans, you just need to wipe it clean with a soft sponge and warm, soapy water. Our Place includes a water-activated natural sponge in the package for just this purpose, although I’ve used my standard kitchen sponge with no issues.
Our Place touts that this single pan can replace eight pieces of cookware from your collection. But for most of us who are not restaurant chefs (regularly swapping sauté pans for sauciers) and tend to reach for a few of the same stainless steel or cast iron skillets every day, can this pan truly replace them all? I have some thoughts.
Who Should Buy the Always Pan
If you’ve got a Google Alert set for one-pot pasta recipes or need therapeutic sauté time after a day of Zoom meetings, this is the pan for you. The Always Pan plays the part of a nonstick skillet supremely well. In the six months that I’ve been using the pan, I’ve never had a single scrambled egg stick, and dinner slides cleanly out — always. Although the company recommends keeping the heat to medium-high, my favorite dish to prepare in the Always Pan is fried rice. I’ve yet to add a wok to my collection, and grains of rice always scatter across the stovetop when I prepare the dish in a standard stainless steel skillet. The deep sides and slick coating of the Always Pan contain the rice and keep it from sticking or leaving a film on the bottom of the pan. The pan is also ideal for preparing risotto, saucy shrimp dinners, or spiced curries for a family of four. Plus, the handle remains cool (except for the junction between handle and pan — that gets hot!), allowing for easy transfer between stove and table.
Who Should Probably Skip the Always Pan
If you’re a meal prep master with frittatas on your list every week or the type of cook who starts a roast on the stove before finishing it in the oven, this is not the pan for you. The main drawback of the Always Pan is that it is not oven-safe. At almost 3 inches deep, the pan has sides deep enough to build sauces and gravies, but it isn’t as deep (or as well-insulated) as a Dutch oven.
The Bottom Line
This is a beautiful and well-designed pan, but it won’t replace every pot in your cabinet. If you’re looking for the versatility of stovetop-to-oven cooking or a deep caramel-colored sear on your steaks, you’ll still need other pans in your arsenal. But, if your go-to pan is a nonstick pan because you hate the cleanup that comes with cooking, this is a great, smart upgrade. With its deep, sloping sides and slippery nonstick finish, the Always Pan will serve you well when preparing eggs for breakfast, making a toasty grilled cheese or steaming frozen dumplings for lunch, or stirring soup for supper.
Buy: Always Pan, $150
Have you tried Our Place’s Always Pan? What did you think?