CR examined the closely hyped skillet in our cookware lab, and a devoted house prepare dinner tried it out in her kitchen for a month to seek out the reply
By Mary H.J. Farrell
As a journalist, I used to be taught to by no means say “by no means” and to all the time keep away from “all the time.” Issues hardly ever—or virtually by no means—match these excessive descriptions.
So I used to be doubtful once I heard in regards to the At all times Pan, which was launched in 2019 and has been popping up throughout social media ever since. “At all times what?” I questioned.
When Shopper Stories determined to check the At all times pan, I ordered one of many $145 nonstick skillets straight from Our Place (it’s additionally accessible at Nordstrom and Goop). Our take a look at engineers put the instafamous pan by means of its paces in our cookware lab, gauging cooking evenness and non-stickability by making pancakes and fried eggs, assessing deal with temperature and sturdiness, after which abrading the floor with 2,000 strokes of metal wool to check the sturdiness of the nonstick coating.
Me? I cooked what I often do at house, attempting out a number of dishes within the At all times Pan over the course of a month.
What’s within the Field
The ten-inch At all times Pan is made from forged aluminum and is available in 10 colours (I ordered the Blue Salt to match my kitchen). It’s tremendous slick-looking and has a grey coating that the corporate calls “ceramic nonstick.”
Unboxing the At all times Pan.
Picture: Mary Farrell/Shopper Stories
The pan comes with a lid made from the identical materials, a wood spatula, and a metallic steamer insert (proven above). However there’s a disconnect right here. The instructions say to not use the pan with metallic, however the steamer’s three metallic legs sit proper on the nonstick floor. Johanna Albertsson, an Our Place spokesperson, provided this clarification in an e mail: “The steamer basket’s legs are rounded, and it’s designed to ‘sit nonetheless’ within the At all times Pan, versus scraping on the floor the way in which you may with a metallic spatula.”
Our Place performs up that the pan and its equipment all match collectively properly, which they do, and you could relaxation the spatula on the deal with by matching up a round gap within the spatula with a raised dot within the pan deal with. The pan additionally comes with a warning that the small D-shaped lifter deal with reverse the principle deal with will get scorching—and it does.
On its web site, Our Place claims that the At all times Pan “replaces your fry pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, nonstick pan, spatula, and spoon relaxation.” It additionally touts that with the At all times Pan, “you possibly can braise, sear, steam, pressure, sauté, fry, boil, and serve.” I made a decision to seek out out.
Evaluating the Claims within the Kitchen
As an enthusiastic house prepare dinner who covers cookware for Shopper Stories, I used the At all times Pan as I might any nonstick pan, cooking my common repertoire of recipes like risotto, rooster cutlets, zucchini and potato pancakes, French toast, and blueberry pancakes, to call only a few dishes.
The very first thing I seen in regards to the At all times Pan is that it didn’t really feel nice in my hand. The deal with is chunky and doesn’t taper like most pan handles. (And in our testing, we decided that the deal with turned a bit free over time.) The spatula can also be a bit clunky; it’s not skinny sufficient to flip something successfully. However you possibly can push meals round with it, and it received’t scratch the floor. I disbursed with the spatula instantly in favor of my most popular kitchen implements. (And changing a spoon relaxation wasn’t an issue I wanted to resolve.)
On to the cooking. I began with a colourful risotto with shrimp, mushrooms, and peas—white, pink, beige, and inexperienced.
Often, I wouldn’t make risotto in my nonstick skillet as a result of it’s too shallow. However the At all times Pan is sort of 1 inch deeper than most nonstick skillets, making it extra versatile and appropriate for a risotto.
I cooked the mushrooms and shrimp individually, discovering that the mushrooms didn’t caramelize and the shrimp didn’t brown as I anticipated. With the At all times Pan, the liquid within the meals didn’t evaporate as rapidly because it does in my common nonstick pan. The identical occurred with the onions, however as soon as I added the Arborio rice and ladled within the broth little by little, the pan did a superb job of cooking the whole lot by means of. Once I assembled the entire dish, it was tasty.
Subsequent up was rooster piccata, a household favourite (proven beneath). The rooster cutlets, dredged in flour, browned properly in a mixture of butter and olive oil. With these put aside, I sautéed lemon slices and shallots. I then made the sauce with rooster broth and, sure, extra butter. In the long run, the dish got here out effectively, although the lemon slices and shallots didn’t caramelize as they’d in my common pans (identical because the mushrooms for the risotto).
Dinner is served! Hen piccata.
Picture: Mary Farrell/Shopper Stories
That dinner was additionally my first (and final) foray with the steamer. Earlier than beginning on the rooster, I steamed a combo of broccoli and cauliflower, which got here out effective. The At all times Pan lid matches securely and prevents steam from escaping, making it an efficient steamer. (However frankly, I favor greens roasted, sautéd, or stir-fried.)
Sourdough bread is my go-to for French toast, and since I had some available, I selected that for my subsequent trial. Often once I brown one thing on medium warmth, it slowly goes from undone to carried out, however within the At all times Pan my French toast went from undone to burnt in a really quick time (on the identical temperature setting I all the time use). So I retested the pan’s browning functionality by making three sorts of pancakes: potato, zucchini, and blueberry. The identical factor occurred: burned, burned, and burned. So take care care to look at and/or modify the warmth.
One other evening I cooked up the filling for a calzone—scorching sausage and broccoli rabe, cooked individually. The sausage did brown properly, and the broccoli rabe, sautéed with garlic and purple pepper flakes, got here out as tender because it does in my different pans. The calzone itself was cooked within the oven on a pizza stone, not the pan, which might’t be used within the oven as a result of its deal with shouldn’t be heat-proof. That’s a particular minus for versatility in a pan that guarantees to switch all of your different cookware.
I didn’t sear any meat within the At all times Pan as a result of nonstick pans, by their very nature, aren’t good at searing, so why waste a superb steak? Based mostly on our test results, to get wonderful searing you want a cast-iron or stainless skillet.
The At all times Pan’s slick floor does have this going for it: The inside cleans like a dream, a lot simpler than any of my different cookware. You possibly can simply wipe out the within with a paper towel. (Some nonstick pans declare to be dishwasher-safe, however we typically don’t suggest putting them in the dishwasher, as a result of excessive warmth and harsh detergents can injury the coating.)
At all times Pan Lab-Check Outcomes
So how did the At all times Pan fare in our testing? The Always Pan is among the many 25 nonstick skillets we recommend, incomes an General Rating of Very Good. Cooking evenness, primarily based on making pancakes, was Glorious, and our eggs slid out effective within the food-release take a look at, though not with out a little bit of nudging. The deal with stays cool to the contact when cooking however didn’t fare as effectively within the sturdiness take a look at, scoring a middling Good.
The At all times Pan additionally held up effectively in our nonstick sturdiness take a look at (by which we swipe metal wool over the floor 2,000 occasions). However some pans do higher, and on-line opinions (each favorable and unfavorable) be aware that the nonstick coating begins to wear down after about six months. When requested about these feedback, Albertsson responded, “With correct utilization, akin to avoiding excessive flames, by no means heating an empty pan or putting it within the dishwasher, we count on our coatings to final, and we’re actively sharing these care suggestions with our prospects.”
Our Place At all times Pan
The Backside Line
Must you purchase an At all times Pan? That depends upon how joyful you might be with the cookware you already personal. When you’re simply beginning out, an easy-to-wash At all times Pan may function a sensible choice for frying eggs, steaming, and cooking up dishes that require a little bit extra space than a typical skillet. However different pans do exactly nearly as good a job for much much less.
Take a look at our cookware ratings for plenty of decisions, starting from different nonstick pans to cast iron, copper, stainless steel, and carbon steel pans. If you have already got a completely stocked kitchen, chances are you’ll resolve there’s no room for yet another pan with restricted makes use of.
Based mostly on my expertise, and regardless of the sturdy advertising and marketing claims, I wouldn’t substitute any of my present nonstick, cast-iron, or chrome steel frying pans with an At all times Pan. Though I collectively have extra pans, every has particular person strengths that I discovered missing within the At all times Pan. Possibly it simply doesn’t match my cooking type, however extra possible the At all times Pan’s efficiency reinforces the truth that no one pan can do it all. As well as, with its lid, steamer insert, and spatula, it takes up extra actual property in my cupboard than a typical skillet, area I’d reasonably commit to a different piece of cookware that does the job it was made to do with perfection.
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