The Best Places to Buy Budget-Friendly Nonstick Cookware

published May 11, 2023
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

The only thing worse than using a piece of cookware that doesn’t function effectively is using one that’s also a pain to clean afterward. Sometimes, however, even supposedly high-quality pots and pans that you pay top dollar for are needlessly difficult to maintain. The knowledge that you have to later stand over the sink and scrub for what feels like hours is almost enough to spoil a meal. In my experience, this usually leads to cookware “soaking” (aka just sitting) in the sink for way longer than it needs to. (In other words, the simplest of tasks becomes seemingly insurmountable.) It goes without saying, then, that investing in — and maybe even splurging on — cookware that works well and remains easy to clean for years is well worth the money. There are a lot of fakes out there whose coating wears off quickly, but luckily, our editors know where to go to get the real deal.

Zwilling

Zwilling is a great destination for cookware in general, but its professional grade pieces also promise not to hold onto sticky grime and residue. If you’re not already a ceramic pan devotee, this sauce pan is sure to convert you. It’s made to withstand daily use without losing the magic coating that lasts much longer than regular nonstick interiors. If you’re still skeptical, you’ll also be happy to learn that this product won our sauce pan Best List’s nonstick category after editors tried (and failed) to make food stick to its surface. The pan’s 4-quart size is also substantial without being too large for one-person meals, plus the ergonomic handles stay cook even as the body heats food quickly and evenly. We have no doubt you’ll be reaching for this piece for years to come once you make the smart investment.

Misen

One year ago, Kitchn-favorite brand Misen released a line of nonstick cookware, and we’ve been obsessed ever since. Specifically, contributor Erin swears by their 12-inch pan for fast and delicious dinners multiple times a week, noting that its curved sides contain everything and help prevent messes. “Usually when I sear chicken, I’m impatient and turn the pieces over before they’ve fully browned, which results in stuck-on pieces,” she wrote. “Instead, I was able to cook to my anxious heart’s content with this pan, as each piece flipped easily and still browned nicely. Plus, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the sauce thickened beautifully after sitting for about 10 minutes without burning or sticking to the bottom.” Many of Misen’s nonstick cookware pieces are currently on final sale, so you can snag them for way less.

Caraway

You might’ve seen Caraway on social media and thought that their kitchen staples are notably beautiful (and they are!), but the brand’s 12-piece cookware set also works great and covers all your daily meal prep needs. Managing commerce editor Tamara frequently finds herself reaching for their ceramic-coated pots and pans. “The first time I took this sleek pan (which works on any kind of cooktop) for a test drive, I audibly gasped,” she wrote. “My crispy fried eggs slipped onto my plate so easily that I didn’t even need to wash the pan (but you probably still should)… From fluffy pancakes and stir fry dishes to my random fridge-cleanout meals, this versatile pan cooked them all to perfection and almost eliminated cleanup entirely.” You can expect the same from the set’s Dutch oven, saucepan, and sauté pan, and Caraway also sells an equally wonderful nonstick muffin pan that we reviewed here.

Made In

If you’re tired of running through fry pans because they lose their nonstick coating in seemingly no time at all, we’re here to direct your attention to Made In. We’re longtime fans of pretty much everything they make, including cutlery, bakeware, and tabletop essentials. Their nonstick cookware is also unmatched — just ask former commerce editor Danielle, who fell in love with this 10-inch frying pan. “Coated multiple times to be extra durable and resistant to degradation, this pan has become my go-to for making any and all kinds of egg dishes, sautéing mushrooms and peppers, or crisping up delicate fish,” she wrote. “Weekend clear-out-the-fridge omelettes and frittatas? The eggs slide right out. Seared salmon filets? No skin stuck to the bottom of the pan. The pan is so slippery and slick that I don’t even need to add cooking oil for most things I cook unless I want to add a bit of flavor or fat.” What’s more, the pan’s coating is completely free of PFOAs and other toxic chemicals that you might find in cookware of lesser quality.

Material

Perhaps known best for their sustainably sourced meal prep essentials such as the reBoard, Material is also home to this editor-favorite coated nonstick pan. Kitchn’s copy chief, Lauren, has been using hers for more than three years and doesn’t anticipate ever parting ways with it. “If you are looking to add a high-quality, nontoxic, nonstick pan to your kitchen, I absolutely recommend the Coated Pan,” she wrote. “My pan definitely looks a little more dinged-up now compared to the smooth surface it had when I first got it, but its performance has not been affected at all. So if you are like me and throw everything in the dishwasher with abandon, you don’t have to worry.” It also doesn’t hurt that the pan comes in two stunning interior finishes, dune and mineral.

Amazon

No surprises here, but you can find pretty much anything you need at Amazon (and for a good price), including nonstick cookware. They carry the Oprah-loved brand GreenPan, for instance, which produces this durable nonstick skillet. “This medium-sized skillet is a great everyday pan for anyone who prefers the ease of nonstick for most of their stovetop cooking,” our review reads. “The skillet is also oven-safe up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can use it for making frittatas and cobblers that’ll easily slide out of the pan for fuss-free serving and cleanup.” In other words, the skillet is highly versatile and ideal for at-home cooking all year round.

Another wonderfully affordable option, the Carote nonstick frying pan is a solid choice for tiny kitchens. It comes in three sizes, but we love the 8-inch pan in particular for smaller, personal meals. After seeing that it has thousands of five-star ratings and a nontoxic granite coating, Erin decided to try the pan for herself and was delighted to find that it’s every bit as good as reviewers claim it to be. “It’s just slightly heavy, so it feels sturdy when I’m cooking on the stove but lightweight enough for any flipping needs,” she wrote. “Like any great nonstick pan, it’s also easy to clean and requires just a quick wipe down with warm water and soap after using.” Whether you’re frying eggs of flipping flapjacks, this handy piece of cookware is sure to become a mainstay on your stove.

Have a piece of nonstick cookware you love? Let us know in the comments!