Nonstick pans have long been a controversial part of any kitchen arsenal. There are the Serious Chefs, who think that everything and anything you cook could benefit from the seared and crispy goodness that comes from a stainless steel pan and a bit of fat. Then there are the home cooks who prefer to avoid any potential for toxicity where possible, and fear the particles or fumes that can emanate from a nonstick skillet.
But the bottom line is that you need at least one great nonstick pan in your kitchen, if only to cook one staple: eggs.
Why You Need a Nonstick Pan
"Everyone needs one nonstick pan for eggs," says Elizabeth Karmel, chef and author of Taming The Flame, adding that even Julia Child swapped her copper pans for something a little bit more technical for eggs. Jacques Pépin uses a nonstick skillet whenever he makes omelets — and that's inspired our Food Editor, Hali, to do the same. The point? If you make breakfast, you need a nonstick pan.
Karmel actually recommends that you keep two nonstick pans in your kitchen if you have the space — an eight-inch pan for when you're making eggs just for you and your family, and a 10-inch one for a larger group.
So what should you register for or buy for yourself? Karmel recommends Cuisinart's MultiClad Pro Nonstick Stainless Steel skillets for affordable options, or All-Clad's version, which counts as more of a splurge. "It's my favorite egg pan ever," she says, because it's never let her down.
Add These to Your Registry
While the nonstick pan will be used first and foremost for eggs, it might just become your breakfast go-to. It can be a big help when it comes to frying up bacon. And on the sweeter side, many cooks appreciate the nonstick surface for pancakes and crepes (the nonstick part will just make it a little easier to get a great brown and flip). And once you invest in your perfect pan, you'll have even more excuses to have all your friends over for brunch.
What About the Other Pans?
Of course, you will need other pans — it's just that the nonstick is almost always overlooked or passed by. You probably already have a cast iron skillet. And that's key! You also might already have a Dutch oven, a saucepan, and a few others.
See our complete recommended list: The Kitchn's Guide to Essential Cookware
Note: You do not need a boxed set! This topic is worthy of a whole other post, but the logic is just that there are a bunch of things in there that you do not need and it's better to buy things separately.