We’ve all been there: happily cooking away, only to find that our delicious food creation has become a part of the pan. It’s bothersome, to say the least. A good nonstick pan, in most cases, will stop this bleak reality from ever occurring.

Nonstick pans aim to make cooking a breeze. They feature a layer of non-reactive substances that prevent food from sticking to them. These pans are particularly successful when cooking food at a low to mid-heat.

It’s important to point out that we are including frying pans and skillets in this guide, and when we talk about them, we are fundamentally talking about the same thing, universally known as nonstick pans.

Read on to learn more about what we look for in nonstick pans, and be sure to check out our reviews of the top picks.

Our Top Picks: Summary

Best Overall: Anolon Advanced Nonstick Fry Pan
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Anolon Fry Pan

With its top heat distribution qualities and professional cooking performance, it’s tough to find a better pan for the price.

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Why we Picked It

Our favorite overall nonstick frying pan is the 10-inch Anolon. With its top heat distribution qualities and professional cooking performance, it’s tough to find a better pan for the price.

The Anolon features a triple-riveted SureRest stainless steel handle offering a great balance of hand support and stability. This is essential for comfort over short and long cooking sessions.

The pan’s hard-anodized aluminum construction with an uncoated bottom means it’ll last for years to come, distribute heat evenly, and work on induction cooktops as well. The rim of the Anolon is also flared, helping to minimize dripping when you pour.

The nonstick coating itself is both PFOA-free (no toxic chemicals) and metal utensil safe, making it an excellent choice, from searing scallops to cooking unbeatable soft-scrambled eggs.

Keep in Mind

Some customers have mentioned the pan felt a little too lightweight for them, though that does make it easier to handle.

In a Nutshell

  • PFOA-free
  • Hard-anodized aluminum
  • 10-inch size
Best Budget: Tramontina Aluminum Nonstick Fry Pan
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Tramontina Fry Pan

If you’re looking for the best frying pan at the best possible price, then the Tramontina should be the choice for you.

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Why we Picked It

If you’re looking for the best frying pan at the best possible price, then the Tramontina should be the choice for you. Its budget price belies its professional performance.

The Tramontina allows you to scramble, fry, and sear your favorite recipes with its aluminum construction that works to distribute heat both evenly and quickly.

The reinforced nonstick interior allows for food to release from the pan with little in the way of cleanup and strenuous effort. The handle of the pan is made from stainless steel and has been riveted for some extra support. It also features a removable silicone soft grip for some additional maneuverability while you cook.

Keep in Mind

This particular model comes in a 10-inch design, but the pan is also available in 8, 12, and 14-inch variants.

In a Nutshell

  • 10-inch pan
  • Great value for money
  • Removable silicone soft grip
Best Splurge: Le Creuset Toughened Fry Pan
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Le Creuset Fry Pan

This is a nonstick skillet with a PFOA-free and triple-reinforced surface.

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Why we Picked It

Looking for a premium pick that will last you for years to come? The Le Creuset might be right for you. This is a nonstick skillet with a PFOA-free and triple-reinforced surface—in other words, it shouldn’t peel, rust, or flake even after considerable use.

On top of that, it has a hard-anodized and fully encapsulated aluminum core that results in heat being conducted more quickly and evenly. The magnetic stainless steel disk should also resist possible corrosion.

We like the ergonomically designed stainless steel handle, which will stay cool when left on the stovetop. Some customers have suggested this is of chief importance to them, so this is a great feature to see in the Le Creuset.

The skillet is also dishwasher safe, features a maximum safe temperature for oven use of 500°F, and even a lifetime warranty.

Keep in Mind

Some customers have stated that they find the pan somewhat challenging to clean.

In a Nutshell

  • Lifetime warranty
  • 10-inch pan
  • Triple-reinforced surface
Most Eco-Friendly: GreenPan Valencia Pro
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GreenPan Valencia Pro

The most eco-friendly pick of the bunch is the GreenPan Valencia Pro.

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$69.95

Why we Picked It

The most eco-friendly pick of the bunch is the GreenPan Valencia Pro. It’s a part of the Valencia Pro line of hard-anodized pans with nonstick surfaces that are intended to last for years, adding to its sustainability credentials.

The 10-inch GreenPan features a specially designed induction base (magnetic) that offers excellent heat transfer. The induction base is reinforced with copper too.

The body of the pan features an even heating and scratch resistance design with “Thermolon Minerals” that make cleaning and cooking as easy as they should be. If you’re worried about harmful chemicals, don’t be. The GreenPan is 100% free from PFAS, PFOA, cadmium, and lead.

The GreenPan also comes with a glass lid that allows you to see food while it’s cooking, and will equally prevent it from spitting out. That’s without mentioning that it’s safe to use with metal utensils, oven and broiler safe up to 392℉, and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Keep in Mind

Some customers have noted that the handle of the glass lid can get very hot, so we recommend using a pot holder when lifting the lid.

In a Nutshell

  • 10-inch pan
  • Free from toxic chemicals
  • Specifically designed for induction cooktops
Best Large Pan: All-Clad Nonstick Frying Pan
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All-Clad Nonstick Frying Pan

A 12-inch skillet with a wide flat base and low-profile shape.

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Why we Picked It

Our favorite large nonstick frying pan is the All-Clad HA1. It’s a 12-inch skillet with a wide flat base and low-profile shape.

The All-Clad features an anodized aluminum construction that ensures even and fast heating, and it means that cleaning won’t take up too much of your valuable time.

This nonstick pan is optimized for induction cooktops with its stainless steel bonded anti-warp base. Warping in pans happens when they are exposed to changes in temperature, so it’s good to see the All-Clad counter this common issue. The pan is PFOA-free and has a scratch-resistant coating too.

It comes with a glass lid that traps in heat and moisture, and you can check the progress of your delicious creation any time you like. We also like the stainless steel handles that are contoured for a comfortable feel—you can rest easy that they aren’t going to become loose after repeated use. The All-Clad HA1 is dishwasher safe and offers a limited lifetime warranty.

Keep in Mind

This skillet’s durability comes with a tradeoff – it is heavier than most, which can make moving or cleaning a bit of a workout.

In a Nutshell

  • 12-inch pan
  • PFOA-free
  • Anti-warp base

How We Chose the Best Nonstick Pans

When picking the best nonstick pans, we considered multiple areas. From the material the pans are made of to ergonomics and durability—we discussed them all before we decided our top picks.

It’s worth noting that 10-inch pans are the standard size here, but most pans do indeed come in 8-inch and 12-inch sizes as well.

Without further ado, here’s everything we looked at:

Materials

Underneath the nonstick coatings, pans are made from different materials. The most common are aluminum and stainless steel. Aluminum pans heat up faster and tend to spread heat more evenly than stainless steel ones do. Stainless steel pans tend to be more durable and look more attractive, but they are more expensive. We focused on nonstick pans that are made from anodized aluminum as they are inexpensive, durable, and conduct heat well. Essentially, we look for pans that offer high-end benefits at great prices to the consumer.

Value

Unlike some products you buy, nonstick pans don’t have to break the bank. There are a wide range of pans available today that offer durable and attractive designs while providing excellent value for money at the same time. We look for pans, therefore, that provide the best of both worlds: quality where it counts, but at a price that won’t make your eyes water. Our top picks reflect these principles.

Durability

The best nonstick frying pans should provide you with many years of service, and will be able to withstand daily usage. We look for pans that are made from durable materials, such as anodized aluminum, that won’t require you to go shopping in quick succession. Ideally, the best pans will last more than five years.

Ergonomics

The best nonstick skillets should be easy to use during cooking sessions. We look for nonstick skillets that can be moved with little difficulty and can transfer food around when needed. Pans with flared sides tend to perform the best as the wide shape allows for accurate flipping. Wide flare pans offer a better sense of maneuverability than ones with straight sides do.

The best pans will provide a good balance between the body and handle; therefore, they are more stable as a result. The handle of a pan should be comfortable and not clumsily angled.

Customer Reviews 

Customer reviews are an important part of the decision-making process. Customers help to inform us if a product has performed as it should and can stand the test of time. We don’t just look at a few reviews either; rather, we get a broad consensus on a product before making our final decision. If customers have mentioned a product falls short in an area, then we’ll be sure to take note of this.

What to Consider When Choosing a Nonstick Skillet

There are more things to consider when buying a nonstick skillet than you might first imagine. From the size of the pan to the feel, price, and even accessories. Here’s everything you need to take into account before going ahead with your purchase.

Size

Nonstick pans can come in multiple sizes, 8-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch, and even 14-inch variants. Most of the time, a 10-inch pan is more than enough for cooking a couple of eggs or something else small in size. With that said, if you plan on cooking more substantial meals, 12-inch or 14-inch pans will be more beneficial for you. Think about the average food you would want to cook in a new nonstick pan and use that to help inform your decision.

Included Accessories

Nonstick pans can come with included accessories that give you more cooking options. For example, some of these pans come with lids. Lids help to keep the heat in the pan and will cook food faster when they are placed on them. The lids are also great at preventing food from spitting out. We prefer glass lids as you can see the food while it’s cooking in the pan, but some people prefer metal.

Feel

The handle on a nonstick pan should feel sturdy, yet you want the pan to feel substantial enough in your hands too. In other words, having a good balance between the handle and the body is essential to an excellent pan.

You’ll be holding the handle of a pan when cooking, sometimes for a good deal of time, so it needs to be comfortable enough with a secure grip as to not distract from cooking. It’s also essential to find a pan in which the handle doesn’t become too hot.

Price

Consider the budget you have for a nonstick pan. We’d recommend not spending more than $100 on a skillet because there’s a lot of other things a kitchen needs too. Ideally, try to keep in the $20-$60 range, as most of these nonstick pans provide enough quality at this price range. Anything above $100 is considered to be premium and should, in theory, be the best of the best. Although, as with everything, this isn’t always the case.

How to Care for a Nonstick Skillet

Like most kitchen products, proper care and cleaning will prolong the life of your nonstick pan. There are multiple things you can do to ensure this care.

Seasoning your pan with vegetable oil from time to time is an excellent place to start. First, wash and then dry your frying pan. From there, pour some vegetable oil into it. One tablespoon or two should be more than enough. You should then rub your vegetable oil around the entire pan using a clean cloth or paper towel. That includes the bottom and outside of it—basically, it’s about thinly coating it all over. You should then bake the pan by placing it upside down on your oven’s rack for an hour at 350°F. You can place a sheet of foil below to catch any drips.

Another simple way to prolong the life of your pan is to hand wash it most often. Even though most nonstick pans can go in the dishwasher, dishwashers can damage the nonstick coating of your pan if they are washed this way consistently. Instead, be sure to hand wash your pan carefully and efficiently.

A general tip is to make sure you only use plastic or wood utensils when using the pan for cooking too. Metal utensils scratch and slowly chip away at your skillet, removing the nonstick coating more quickly and releasing toxic compounds over time.

When you are cleaning your pan, be sure to use soft sponges. More abrasive sponges, much like the effect of metal utensils, will slowly scrape away the nonstick coating, further reducing the overall lifespan of your pan.

Stainless Steel vs. Nonstick Pans

It’s fair to say that there are benefits to using each type of kitchen pan, whether it’s nonstick or stainless steel. This, of course, depends on your culinary skills and the types of food you cook. Ideally, you should have one of each type of pan so you can seamlessly switch between both depending on what you’re cooking.

Stainless steel pans are durable and long-lasting pans that are perfect for searing (very high-temperature cooking) and are oven safe. They can withstand almost anything you throw at them.

The cons are that these pans tend to be more expensive. Indeed, stainless steel pans need to be correctly oiled and preheated before cooking too. Maintaining them requires more diligence and hard work overall, so keep that in mind if your busy lifestyle doesn’t allow for that.

Nonstick pans are very easily cleaned up after use. They’re ideal for cooking food such as eggs and flaky fish, as they more than adequately prevent them from sticking to the skillet at a low to mid-heat. Even better, they don’t require a lot of oil or butter to use. A good option if you’re only going to have one pan.

Nonstick pans have their disadvantages, though. They can’t withstand the same level of heat stainless steel pans can. Browning, searing, and deglazing are, therefore, not ideal with a nonstick pan. They’re not always compatible with induction (magnetic) cooktops, either.

Since their nonstick coating can be scratched off over time, they also don’t tend to last as long as stainless steel pans do. Some people that use these pans worry over potential safety issues, too, including coatings that can release toxic chemicals into the air.

With that said, they are frequently considered safe to use, and you can mitigate risks by cooking on low-to-medium heat, ventilating your kitchen correctly, and taking care of your cookware.

Related Resources

For more kitchen guides, check out these we prepared earlier:

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Jamie Giggs