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    The Best Nonstick Pans That Will Make Cooking So Much Easier

    Flipping eggs has never been so simple.

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    Every omelet aficionado and pan-fried-fish fanatic knows that the best way to cook eggs or delicate fillets like flounder is in a nonstick pan. (Try it in a regular skillet and you’ll see what we mean.)

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    After testing an array of these essential kitchen tools, we’ve picked the pans that perform best across three price ranges, so you’ll never accidentally break another yolk again. Let’s get crackin’.

    Editor's Note: We're currently updating these picks! Check back soon for more.

    Cook N Home Nonstick Pan

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    The sheer number of nonstick pan choices on the market can make the purchasing process overwhelming. There are a multitude of sizes, grip styles, and materials, not to mention a wide range of performance differences when it comes to evenness of heating, maneuverability, and, of course, non-stickability. Because people are prone to ruin the nonstick coating by using these pans incorrectly — such as by using metal utensils instead of rubber or silicone, cooking over high heat, or using overly aggressive cleaning techniques — it may not make sense to shell out serious cash for one.

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    Still, at the lower end of the price spectrum, many pans are light and flimsy, with poor grips and handles that get hot. Since you probably want to enjoy the process of cooking — and keep your fingertips intact — it’s vital to find a pan with a grip that feels comfortable in your hand (and that doesn’t make you hate using it). Thankfully, Cook N Home has nailed affordable nonstick pan construction in these key areas, creating a line of pans in a mix of colors and sizes (with the option of adding induction compatibility into the equation) that can fit into almost any budget.

    If induction cooking and lime green are your thing, the Cook N Home 12-inch induction-compatible nonstick frying pan will be your pan-acea for any kitchen woes. It’s massive enough that you can easily fry multiple large fish fillets and scramble a dozen eggs to feed a family, with slightly better nonstick performance and equivalent evenness of heating compared to our $$ choice from OXO, which costs around 60% more. While we only tested it on a gas stove, there are plenty of enthusiastic five-star reviews of this pan on Amazon from people who use it solely on induction burners.

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    If you don’t need something that’s induction compatible (or if you’re not into lime green), we also recommend the Cook N Home 12-inch heavy-gauge nonstick skillet in black, as well as the lighter-weight pan in blue, available in a 12-inch size or in a set with an 8-inch and a 9.5-inch pan. These work just as well as the green on a regular stovetop: electric, gas, ceramic, glass, or halogen. (Only the lime-green version is induction compatible.)

    During testing, the 12-inch induction-compatible nonstick pan browned our wild flounder fillet nicely. That’s something you don’t always find with nonstick cookware, since browning typically requires high heat — and you’re never supposed to use high heat with nonstick cookware, unless you want to destroy it fast. Nonstick pans are also not as good at conducting heat as their uncoated counterparts, so you shouldn’t expect them as good a golden brown as you’d get from regular stainless-steel, cast-iron, or aluminum pans.

    Another winning feature of the Cook N Home pans is that they’re relatively easy to clean. Sure, they’re all dishwasher-safe, but because substances slide off their surfaces so easily, you’ll probably never need to waste dishwasher space. In most cases, some hot running water and a wipedown with a single paper towel will have your Cook N Home pans ready for their next use. The only time ours needed extra work was after we cooked peanut sauce, which left a thin coating of oil in the pan.

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    College students and others who can’t splurge on lots of cookware or don’t have a ton of kitchen space can use this pan for virtually everything. We read reviews from people who use it for searing meat, caramelizing onions, and making sticky sauces with honey. It also has super-high sides, useful if you decide to use it for nontraditional purposes, like making chili or stew.

    If you’re counting every dollar and can’t afford dropping another $15 for our $$ pick, this pan is a great investment. It’s also the clear choice if you’re looking for something that works with an induction cooktop — or if you just love that lime-green sheen.

    Get the 8- and 9.5-inch set from Amazon for $20.

    OXO Good Grips Open Frypan

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    The OXO Good Grips 12-inch nonstick open frying pan easily beat the other pans we tested in the $$ price range, thanks to a near-perfect score of 34 out of 35 points in our secondary evaluation considerations. These include top grades in ease of cleaning, pan capacity, handle sturdiness, grip feel, and heat resistance, nonstick material and number of layers, and appearance.

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    The OXO is as large as the Cook N Home, our $ pick, with much better maneuverability due to its lighter weight. It also has a much more durable coating, one that can seemingly take a beating if ever someone in your family, say, scraped a metal spatula across its nonstick patina. Simply put, the OXO feels great in your hand, with a handle that feels solid and connected to the pan as tightly as possible. Where cheaper pans can have shaky, dangerous handles that get hot fast, the OXO handle is silicone, so it stays cool and has a soft grip that feels comfortable when you pick the pan up and shake it.

    The OXO earned higher overall ratings than all but our original top pick in the $$$ category, a ~$90 set of 10-inch and 12-inch pans from Calphalon Unison, which, unfortunately, we found to be discontinued after it earned the best score in our testing. The most significant area where the OXO lost points was its nonstick coating, which didn’t perform quite as well with eggs as our $ and $$$ picks. We had to unstick our omelet with a spatula, as it simply would not budge even after some violent shaking of the pan.

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    It’s important to note that with any nonstick pan, you should use a small amount of oil or butter on the surface if you’re going to preheat it, and you should never cook at a temperature higher than medium heat. This is more important in the case of pans coated with Teflon, a chemical coating used in some nonstick cooking equipment, because it may release fumes that are potentially harmful to your health when there’s nothing else in the pan. The OXO happens to be nonstick without Teflon: It’s made with three layers of hard-anodized aluminum. This makes it durable, resistant to acidity (so feel free to finish your fried fish with some lemon juice or tomatoes right in the pan), and free of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Still, adding a small amount of fat to your nonstick pan will increase the effectiveness of its nonstick coating, so always remember to do so if you want to increase the lifespan of your pan.

    While this pan fell short with eggs, it shined bright when cooking fried fish and preparing sticky sauces. It gave our fish a lovely brown crust and allowed it to slide right out of the pan. Same with the peanut sauce, which left absolutely no residue in the pan, unlike with the Cook N Home.

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    All in all, this ~$40 pan from OXO provided the best overall experience out of all the pans we tested (except the discontinued Calphalon Unison). It’s the perfect pan for people who don’t mind dropping a little extra loot to upgrade from our $ pick for something that looks cooler and feels great to grip — and with better durability to boot. If you love to cook and you’re looking to upgrade from crappy cookware, having this pan in your possession will positively change the way you feel whenever you step into your kitchen.

    Get the 12-inch pan from Amazon for $21.

    Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Skillet

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    The Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Nonstick Stainless Steel 12-Inch Skillet was the winner in three out of four of our most heavily weighted evaluation categories. It outperformed the OXO, our pick for the $$ price range, in both nonstick performance and evenness of heating and seemed slightly more durable. Due to its heavier weight, though, it’s slightly less maneuverable than the OXO.

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    In the secondary categories we evaluated, the OXO was far superior to the pricier Cuisinart, scoring higher or tying it in every area we tested; this perhaps makes it seem difficult to justify paying twice the price at most retailers, but some features of the Cuisinart 12-inch MultiClad Pro may swing certain shoppers with more disposable income in the direction of our $$$ choice.

    For starters, it’s the only pan we tested that has an additional handle on the front of the pan, so you can hold it on each side when transporting it. This is especially helpful if you cook a big one-pan meal in your Cuisinart nonstick pan and want to carry it to your dinner table for serving.

    The Cuisinart can also withstand the highest temperature inside an oven — it’s oven-safe at up to 550ºF — so if you make lots of recipes that call for tossing a pan into the oven, consider this a great option. As mentioned, the Cuisinart also had the best nonstick performance and evenness of heating of all the picks across three price points, despite losing to the OXO in comfort categories like handle grip, how hot the handle gets, ease of cleaning, and general appearance (the OXO just looks sleeker, in our opinion). Since these are the two most important characteristics of a nonstick pan, you can certainly argue that you get what you’re paying for in the most crucial areas when you invest in this model from Cuisinart, although you may not find the handle/grip as ideal as the OXO’s and you may have to put a little more effort into cleaning it.

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    You already know our original $$$ pick was the Calphalon Unison set, which included both 10-inch and 12-inch nonstick pans. Sadly, we discovered that this set was discontinued after our testing concluded, which bumped the Cuisinart 12-inch MultiClad Pro up into the top of our $$$ picks.

    Prior to testing, our pony in the $$$ price range was the Zwilling Energy two-piece ceramic-coated stainless-steel pan set. These pans held up under extraordinary durability testing from Cook’s Illustrated and they look really awesome, which made them our initial favorites. In actual use, however, they wound up significantly underperforming both the Cuisinart and OXO in all three cooking tests — and at just under $135 for the set, it felt like way too much to pay for two smaller pans (an 8-inch and a 10-inch).

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    The bottom line is that nonstick pans experience wear and tear even under the most careful ownership, so it doesn’t make sense to shell out a ton of money on them. Assume that you’ll have to replace your pans after a year or so on average, and weigh any purchase decision against that estimate. If you plan on cooking some form of eggs, pancakes, French toast, fried fish, or sticky sauce almost every day, the Cuisinart might be the right choice for you. If not, you should probably opt for our $$ pick or $ pick and call it a day. If you’re okay with paying a premium for slightly superior cooking qualities (specifically nonstick performance and heating evenness) or you’re a loyal Cuisinart customer, the MultiClad Pro is a nonstick pan you’d be more than happy calling your own. Just don’t scratch the damn thing!

    Get it from Amazon for $64.