Best Nonstick Pan: The 2023 Tasting Table Awards

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Nonstick pans are, oddly enough, very controversial pieces of kitchen equipment. They were long considered the tools of less-than-talented home cooks intimidated by the care and expense associated with cast iron and stainless steel. It didn't help matters that the nonstick cookware that populated kitchens until not too long ago was coated in chemicals that easily flaked off after prolonged use.

Fortunately, things have come a long way. We reviewed several popular brands, from the ultra-affordable to boutique TikTok darlings, and we're happy to report the nonstick world now embraces ceramic and PFOA-free coatings that are tougher and safer than ever before.

In choosing our contenders, we limited the price for each pan to under $150. For testing, each nonstick pan was used to cook beef burgers for a sense of how they seared, pancakes to test heat distribution, fried eggs to see how truly nonstick the surfaces were, and even straight-up melted cheese right on the surface for the ultimate gooey challenge. These are the pans that performed the best. 

Read more about the 2023 Tasting Table Awards methodology and all the top picks here.

Best Overall: Made In Cookware 12-Inch Nonstick Frying Pan

The five-ply aluminum construction of the Made In nonstick pan makes it a hefty, well-balanced tool. The pan heats evenly and retains temperature for a while after you've shut off the stove. Burgers came out with a great sear, and both eggs and cheese slid around on the nonstick surface easily. In the small amount of time that we used this pan, it already became one to reach for repeatedly.

Its classic design and weighty, solid feel is indicative of Made In's ties to professional kitchens, and, in fact, the brand is a noted favorite among chefs. Because it's oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, you can use it very similarly to how you might use cast iron or stainless steel in your food prep. If you're in the market for a kitchen workhorse, one that can be used almost every day and for any meal, you'll be making the right choice by opting for a Made In pan.

Purchase the Made In Cookware 12" Nonstick Frying Pan on Amazon for $149.

Best Heat Distribution: Misen Original 12-Inch Nonstick Frying Pan

Whether you're making a delicate omelet or churning out stacks of buttermilk pancakes, you want to ensure that the pan you're using heats up evenly and doesn't leave you with hot spots. There's nothing worse than a flapjack with overly browned patches or, worse, an underdone center. While testing out the contenders, one brand stood out from the rest when it came to ensuring an even cook: Misen.

The Misen Original nonstick frying pan is a solidly built skillet that immediately conveys quality. The sleek and elegant design offers an air of refinement that sets it apart from run-of-the-mill commercially available cookware. Its PFOA-free nonstick surface heats up so quickly and evenly that you'll swear that you're using a professional flat-top griddle. Of all the pans that were tested, this stood head and shoulders over all the others when it came to cooking the large surface area of pancakes evenly. 

Purchase the Misen Original Nonstick Frying Pan on Amazon for $75.

Best Budget: T-fal Professional 12.5-Inch Nonstick Frying Pan

A common criticism aimed at nonstick pans is that they're not as good at searing as stainless steel or cast iron. This is because nonstick cookware needs to be used at a lower temperature than other pans to protect the coating. You can't get them as ripping hot as cast iron or stainless steel, which keeps you from the perfect exterior on your steaks and burgers. However, nonstick pans brands such as T-fal are aware of this shortcoming and have been striving to create cookware that can bring the crust.

Though almost all the contenders got a pretty good sear on a beef burger, the patty we prepared with the T-fal Professional nonstick fry pan was cooked faster and with a crisper sear while maintaining the juiciness of the meat. Lightweight and affordable, this is a great pan for beginner cooks and experienced kitchen pros alike. The center emblem has "thermo spots" that turn a solid red when the pan's surface is at the perfect temperature, which allows you to cook with confidence and removes any guesswork.

From meat to eggs to fish, You can get a perfect sear on just about anything with this pan. Though the company claims it's dishwasher safe, we recommend hand-washing in order to extend the life of the pan — thankfully, cleaning the pan is a breeze.  

Purchase the T-fal Professional 12.5 Inch Nonstick Fry Pan on Amazon for $36.

Best Ceramic: Calphalon Oil-Infused Ceramic 12-Inch Nonstick Frying Pan

Although almost any surface can be rendered slick with enough fats and oils, the beauty of nonstick is that it offers frictionless glide without the added calories of additional lubrication. When you're cooking something as delicate as a fried egg, you want to know that you're going to be able to flip it without breaking that precious, gooey yolk and making a big mess in your pan. The Calphalon nonstick oil-infused ceramic frying pan aced the test. It's aluminum core heats quickly and ensures decently even heat distribution. Not only did our egg slide out perfectly, but a melting pile of cheese glided with ease to our plate. 

While the brand boasts that you won't need to add any additional oil for your cooking needs, take that advice with a grain of salt. As slick as the surface is, a very thin layer of oil will help prolong the life of your pans and keep that food sliding around the rink-like surface for many meals to come.

Purchase the Calphalon Nonstick Oil-Infused Ceramic Frying Pan on Amazon for $55.

Best All-Purpose: Caraway 10.5-Inch Nonstick Ceramic Frying Pan

If your TikTok or Instagram has any sort of culinary bent to it, you're likely familiar with Caraway. It's no surprise that the brand's sleek, colorful pans are so popular: with a striking silhouette and dedication to clean and sustainable cooking, Caraway cookware is the boutique answer to modern food preparation. rue to the commitment to clean cooking, the pan shipped in plastic-free packaging. The ceramic coating is free of nasty chemicals that haunt the nonstick genre, and Caraway claims that its pans release less CO2 during the cooking process than other nonstick cookware.

While this was the smallest pan we tested, it was deceptively solid and heavy. The high sides of the ceramic pan make it ideal for meals like stir-fries and poaching. Nothing sticks to the surface; from eggs to cheese, everything we cooked emerged from the pan without any need for nudging or scraping. Though relatively pricey, this is definitely worth the investment for a versatile nonstick cookware option.

Purchase the Caraway 10.5-inch Nonstick Ceramic Frying Pan on Amazon for $95.