While stainless steel cookware is great, a good nonstick pan is important in every cook's kitchen. The best nonstick cookware is perfect for making eggs and other delicate foods like fish or quick sautés. It's more forgiving when it comes to flipping and stirring, and it requires less grease to cook, and it's much easier to clean thanks to a slick coating that prevents sticking in the first place. Some nonstick pans are made of or coated with ceramic, which, on its own, doesn't contain PFOAs or PFAs, the known toxins associated with Teflon. But don't worry: According to experts, the finish on modern nonstick cookware is safe when used properly.
In the Just Cooking Tools, we've tested more than 80 nonstick cookware sets. We put 15 additional nonstick pans to the test this year alone to find the best ones — using over 120 eggs and 15 steaks — to evaluate how well each released food without sticking or leaving behind residue, how they handled, weight and balance, and how easy they were to clean. The ones that stood out to us in our test were durable, could withstand high temperatures, and, most importantly, very nonstick. Here are the best nonstick pans you can buy in 2021:
- Best Overall Nonstick Pan: Le Creuset Toughened Nonstick Pro 10" Fry Pan
- Best Value Nonstick Pan: Oxo Good Grips Hard Anodized Pro Nonstick 10" Fry Pan
- Best Ceramic Nonstick Pan: GreenPan SmartShape Nonstick 9.5" Frying Pan
- Best Nonstick Pan for High Heat: Hestan ProBond Stainless-Steel Nonstick Skillet
- Most Durable Nonstick Pan: Ninja Foodi NeverStick Premium 10.25" Fry Pan
- Best Nonstick Pan for Sautéing: Tramontina Professional Fusion 10" Fry Pan
- Best Nonstick Pan Set: Just Cooking Tools 10" and 12" Fry Pan Set
This pan feels high quality from the moment you pick it up. It has a thick, solid handle and is heavier than most nonstick pans of the past that were thin and flimsy. In our tests, eggs only needed a shake to release from the pan and scrambled eggs cleaned up with just a touch of the sponge. The Le Creuset Toughened Nonstick Pro Fry Pan can handle tougher feats as well; it seared steak evenly on both sides and is oven safe up to 500ºF.
- Quality construction
- Cooked eggs practically fell out of the pan and onto the plate
As insinuated by its name, the Oxo Good Grips Fry pan is comfortable to hold with a thick, easy to grasp handle. It's lightweight but durable and can handle oven temps up to 430ºF. Eggs slid right out of this pan when it was time to release them, and the nonstick rivets made it even easier to clean than your typical nonstick. It has a black exterior, which hides stains well and its wide surface and shallow edges stood out during cooking for better browning.
- Wide cooking area
- Not compatible with induction
- Pan material is a little thin
GreenPan's Smart Shape nonstick pan came out on top in our tests for performance and ease of use. That means its smooth ceramic surface was one of the best at cooking up fried and scrambled eggs with no oil and barely required any wiping to clean. It also seared a steak evenly and well. It's lightweight with a wide handle that made it easy to move around and give food a shake. It's thin and heats quickly, an excellent choice for quick meals. The one downside is it's only oven-safe up to 320ºF so it's not as versatile as some of the other pans on our list.
- Smooth surface excels at cooking eggs with no grease
- PFA-, PFOA-, cadmium-, and lead-free
- Only oven-safe up to 320ºF
- Rim scratches when other items are placed on top of it
It might be hard to convince a stainless steel cookware lover that a nonstick pan can stand up to the test, but this one does and then some. Not only is it made of stainless steel with an aluminum core that allows it to heat quickly, but it's hefty and easy to maneuver at the same time. It can stand up to the heat at an oven-safe temperature of 500ºF, and has a sturdy ergonomic handle that's easy to grab. It has a wide cooking surface and short edges, which makes it good for browning bigger batches at once.
The nonstick surface is rough, reinforced with titanium and diamond particles, a sign that it will last for a long time. In our tests, eggs released with barely any effort and all it needed was a little scrub for cleanup. Plus, its rivets are flush with the interior of the pan – one less part to scrub!
- Solid, stainless steel construction; oven-safe up to 500ºF
- Nonstick surface is reinforced with titanium and diamond particles so it lasts longer
- Outside of pan stains like a typical stainless steel pan
Newbies and professional cooks alike will be impressed by this nonstick pan that can do it all from frying and scrambling eggs with no oil or butter to searing steak. You could even use it to cook a thick steak by browning it first and then popping it in the oven without fear of it warping because it's oven-safe up to 500ºF. It has a thick handle and feels durable in the hand, sits balanced on the stovetop and heated the most evenly in our tests. We felt confident putting this one through multiple dishwasher cycles because of its rough coating that's less likely to wear over time.
- Thick handle, strong construction
- Didn't stain inside or out
- PFOA-, cadmium-, and lead-free
- Aesthetic is a little chunky
Nonstick pans are good for cooking quickly because they typically get hot fast. Think: Sautés and stir fries. The high sloped edges on this Tramontina pan and its medium thick handle with silicone grip make it perfect for shaking and flipping; plus, it's oven-safe up to 400ºF. Its slick interior is also great for making eggs, especially rolled omelettes and frittatas. In our tests, eggs needed a little nudge to release from the pan, but didn't need any oil or grease, and steaks seared evenly.
- Ergonomic sloped edges and silicone grip
- Smooth, rivetless interior; easy to clean
- Outside of pan stained
Ten-inch nonstick pans are among the most popular, but sometimes you just need a little more room, and that's where the Just Cooking Tools forged aluminum set comes in. It includes an additional 12-inch for what seems like the price of one ten-inch. Each pan is lightweight with a slick interior that heats quickly. Plus, each pan has a long handle for better maneuverability and can withstand many cycles in the dishwasher, which we saw over three months of testing. These pans can cook up oil-less eggs, sear steaks, and are oven-safe up to 450ºF. They come in an assortment of colors, including the sage green pictured here, chili ref, and blueberry.
- Heat quickly
- Exterior stains if not cleaned right away
Most nonstick pans made with Teflon, also known as PTFE, used to be made with PFOAs, a chemical known to have adverse effects on animals when exposed in large amounts, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Now, most nonstick pans, including all of the ones on our list, are made without PFOAs and some don't contain PFAs either, which, the CDC says, can have the same effects that PFOAs do. Few nonstick pans are completely PTFE-free. For Teflon-free alternatives, consider cast iron or carbon steel that can be seasoned with oil and/or natural fats to make it nonstick.
Size: About 10 inches is the most common nonstick pan size. It can be used for one egg or up to four chicken thighs, enough to feed a small family. Opt for 8 inches if you mostly cook for yourself or just want to cook one or two eggs at a time, or, if you often cook for a crowd, go for the 12-inch.
regular pans, nonstick pans can be made out of an assortment of
materials including aluminum, stainless steel, and ceramic. Aluminum is
light and conducts heat well, while stainless steel is heavier and
maintains heat better; good pans are often made out of a combination of
metals to deliver the most benefits. From there, nonstick pans are
coated in layers of nonstick material. The way the nonstick is applied,
the amount of layers and its grit affects its durability. Some nonstick
pans are coated with ceramic, while others are fully ceramic (made from
clay) and glazed at high temperatures to make them nonstick. Ceramic
offers a more natural alternative to Teflon, but wears quicker. The best
nonstick pan material allows eggs to slide right off it and barely
needs a sponge to clean it. The most durable ones feel a little gritty
and will last a long time.
Handle: Long, metal handles make for easy handling and are often a good indicator your nonstick pan is oven-safe. Thick, plastic handles are comfortable to hold and are typically found on lightweight pans that shouldn't be used above medium heat or put in the oven at high temps.
Oven-safe temperatures: Quality nonstick pans can withstand high temperatures, which allow you to use them like stainless steel pans and sear a steak. Check the product specs. and look for temps above 350ºF to ensure the most versatility. The higher the temp, the more you can do with it!