These pots and pans are a must-have kitchen staple.
Having at least one nonstick pan is essential in every cook's kitchen, from the most professional to the very beginners. It's almost impossible to make eggs without one, they make pan searing fish a lot easier, and they keep pancakes from tearing apart in the pan.
Sometimes, nonstick pans get a bad rap, but nonstick cookware is safe as long as the pieces made with Teflon are not overheated to temperatures above 500ºF. They’ve come a long way since they first came out and some perform just like stainless without the staining and difficult cleanup. We tested all types of nonstick pans to determine the best ones on the market.
In the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab, we fried 165 eggs, seared 50 steaks, and more to rate more than 35 new cookware lines. We tested how evenly skillets distributed heat on gas and electric ranges, how well they browned meat, and how well saucepans maintained a steady simmer and resisted scorching sauce. We evaluated how well nonstick surfaces released eggs and pancakes and how easy they were to clean. Finally, we checked how easy all cookware items were to use, including whether handles became hot to the touch and whether each piece was oven- and/or dishwasher-safe.
Our favorite nonstick pans were the ones that could do it all, from cooking an egg with no oil, to searing a steak and being able to pop it in the dishwasher after. Below are our favorite nonstick pans, including top-tested picks, editor favorites, and new releases with innovative features that make cooking easy. Here are our picks for the best nonstick pans of 2020:
Number of pieces: Consider how many pots and pans you actually need. Our pros recommend at least an 8-inch fry pan for quick, small tasks like eggs and pancakes; a 10-inch fry pan for cooking larger dishes or for family sizes; a stock pot for pasta and batch sauces and soup; and a small sauce pan for quick, easy tasks, deep enough to boil an egg, good for reheating and simmering.
Weight and size: You want a cookware set that’s mid-weight — lightweight ones are too flimsy and heat too quickly, so make sure the pots and pans have some heft. Heavier-weight cookware allows you to get a good sear, but may be difficult to lift. For easy, efficient storage, we love sets that nest neatly within each other to save space.
Handles: How cookware feels in your hand is important: You want to feel comfortable and have control when cooking. Some have silicone-wrapped handles which generally stay cooler to the touch and feel more comfortable in the hand than metal handles. For easy maneuvering, look for helper handles (an extra handle on the opposite side of the main one) which are beneficial for lifting to create extra balance.
Dishwasher- and oven-safety: Dishwasher-safe cookware saves you time and energy — you can just pop it into the dishwasher instead of scrubbing. Keep in mind that hard anodized metal will stand up to multiple washes, whereas other coatings can fade faster with repeated washing. Oven safety is useful for a range of dishes since it allows you to move your cookware from the stovetop to the oven to finish cooking or keep warm.