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.
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.
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.
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.