Here’s Who the Insta-Famous Always Pan Is Really For
By now, you’ve probably (definitely?) heard of the Our Place Always Pan. But, if not, here’s a brief introduction: The Our Place Always Pan promises to replace your fry pan, skillet, steamer, sauté pan, saucier, saucepan, nonstick pan, spatula, and spoon rest. And if you’re thinking that’s a lot, you’d be right! And that’s why people are so enamored of this all-in-one cookware wunderkind.
As soon as I saw this pan flood my Instagram feed (my targeted ads are almost always on point), I was aesthetically on board. Its muted hues and minimalistic looked screamed “Buy me!” And, lucky for me, I was able to test it for Cook’s Illustrated this past summer. I spent a couple of weeks trying it out: frying eggs, making stir-fry, steaming vegetables and dumplings and eggs, boiling pasta and using the pan’s colander to drain it, and frying even more eggs until they stuck. I also washed the pan a ton, obviously.
So, yeah, I got to know the pan well. Ultimately, I thought the pan had its pros and cons. I totally see why the internet is so obsessed with it. I did really like the pan — I just didn’t think it was necessarily the best option for every home cook. Here’s who the Our Place Always Pan is great for (and who it isn’t).
Who Should Get the Our Place Always Pan
- Those with small kitchens: Apartment-dwellers will find the Our Place Always Pan especially useful. Because of its high sides, nonstick surface, lid, and accompanying colander/steamer basket and wooden spoon, this pan does replace a lot of cookware, minimizing storage needs. It’s also pretty enough to live on your stovetop. If I had this pan when I shared a tiny New York City kitchen with two other people, it would’ve been a godsend.
- Those with houseboats, RVs, and things of that nature: In that same small-space vein, this pan makes a great compact companion for alternative living or travel situations. It’s also light (weighing in at just 4.8 pounds for the pan and the lid), making it easier to transport and move than, say, a Dutch oven.
- Those just learning to cook: I also think the pan is perfect for someone who just graduated from college and is learning to cook for themselves. It’s fairly versatile (although I wouldn’t advise making, say, a large batch of soup in it) and its nonstick surface means that cleanup is easy.
- Those who mostly cook for two (or one): The Our Place Always Pan has a 10-inch cooking surface, which easily accommodates recipes that serve two (and even three!). However, when I tested it with a recipe that served four, things were too crowded. This caused pieces of meat to steam rather than brown, which isn’t ideal. If you’re cooking for just yourself or maybe yourself and a significant other, this will certainly be big enough.
Who Should (Maybe) Not Get the Our Place Always Pan
- Those who cook for a crowd: If you’re frequently cooking for four, five, or six-plus people, the pan may be too small for you. It obviously doesn’t have the high sides of a Dutch oven or a stockpot, so it’s not suited for making large batches of soups and stew or boiling a couple of pounds of pasta either.
- If you value an oven-safe pan: The Our Place Always Pan is not oven-safe, so you can’t make things that start on the stovetop and finish in the oven in it, like a frittata or braised chicken.
Do you own the Our Place Always Pan? If so, what do you make in yours? Lets us know in the comments!