The Best Nonstick Skillets, According to Our Tests

We tested 16 nonstick skillets (frying more eggs and making more crepes than we care to count) to find the best performing models that were also reasonably durable.

two stacks of various nonstick skillets against a white background
Serious Eats / Donna Currie

Nonstick cookware has a long history. It was invented in 1954 and introduced to the American market in 1961. And you can’t write about nonstick without talking about the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which was what made nonstick, well, nonstick and has been linked to negative health implications, increased risks of certain cancers, and environmental dangers. It’s since been eliminated from Teflon cookware (since 2013, in fact). 

Nowadays, traditional nonstick coatings are made from polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is sprayed onto the surface of the cookware in several layers. It’s generally regarded as safer than PFOA, but research is still ongoing. However, PTFE nonstick coatings can still wear, chip, and scratch easily. The coating can also break down at 500℉, so the pans shouldn’t be used at higher heats in the oven (many are oven-safe up to 400℉, though) and shouldn’t be preheated at a high heat or for a prolonged period of time empty on the stovetop. This can cause them to off-gas, releasing harmful pollutants into the air that have been linked to polymer fume fever.

However, this can be easily avoided by not heating a nonstick skillet empty, and certainly not using it for high heat applications. It also can be avoided by simply not using nonstick at all (as Daniel’s noted, you could use a well-seasoned carbon steel or cast iron pan for most everything). This all being said, there are certain cooking tasks where a nonstick pan is helpful to have on hand. This includes egg dishes like omelets, or delicate crepes. 

Because we seldom recommend using it, we’ve never fully reviewed nonstick skillets. But, if you’re going to have one, you might as well get a good one that performs well and is easy to use. So, we rounded up 16 of the most popular nonstick skillets—priced between $20 and $220—and put them to the test.

The Winners, at a Glance

The Best Nonstick Skillet Under $40: T-fal Professional Nonstick Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator Fry Pan

Also available at Walmart.

A solid performer at a reasonable (about $30) price, it did well in all of our tests. It’s dishwasher-safe and oven-safe to 400℉.  

The Best Nonstick Skillet Under $50: Tramontina Professional Aluminum Nonstick Restaurant Fry Pan

Also available at Walmart.

This was also oven-safe to safe to 400℉ and featured a handle with a removable, non-slip silicone grip that we particularly liked. 

The Best Mid-Priced Nonstick Skillet: All-Clad HA1 Hard Anodized 10-Inch Frying Pan

Also available at Crate & Barrel.

The surprisingly affordable All-Clad HA1 Hard Anodized 10-Inch Frying Pan handled the durability tests like a pro. It was one of two models we tested that had less-sloped sides which yielded a larger cooking surface that some cooks may prefer.

The Best Ceramic Nonstick Skillet: Red Copper 10-Inch Pan by BulbHead

Also available at Walmart.

While this model gave us a bit less cooking surface than other skillets we tested, it was the best ceramic pan we tried. The warranty is a disappointment, though, since the user has to pay a fee for a replacement.

The Tests

two eggs frying in a nonstick skillet on a gas stovetop
Serious Eats / Donna Currie
  • Over-Easy Eggs Test: Eggs were fried over easy to assess whether the pans were truly nonstick. Eggs were cooked with and without butter, and we used a metal spatula to flip the eggs to test durability.
  • Omelets Test: We made diner-style omelets, testing for food release, cooking evenness, and the ability of the eggs to spread easily across the pan's surface.
  • Crepes Test: We made crepes to test browning capacity as well as even cooking across the surface of the pan.
  • Durability Test: Scratch tests were performed with both steel wool and a metal spatula to test the durability of the nonstick surface, and to assess the likelihood it would withstand normal cooking over a long period of time.
  • Usability and Cleanup Tests: Throughout testing, we evaluated how easy it was to hold onto and use the pans. After cooking, the skillets were cleaned by hand. After the scratch test, the skillets that claimed to be dishwasher-safe were run through the dishwasher to test that claim.

What We Learned

Does Nonstick Surface Material Make a Difference?

two nonstick skillets frying two eggs each
We tested traditional nonstick pans, ceramic nonstick pans, and even one nonstick-stainless steel hybrid.Serious Eats / Donna Currie

Each one of the pans we tested had a different nonstick surface, although the exact material was hard to determine since manufacturers use proprietary coatings and give them their own names. Some surfaces were smoother than others, some were noticeably rough, two had ceramic rather than a Teflon-based material, and the Anolon X was a hybrid of nonstick and stainless steel. While there were slight differences with both the eggs and omelets in terms of how the eggs behaved in the pans (sliding easily or slighty suctioning to the surface, for example), in terms of everyday cooking performance, there was nothing to complain about with any of the pans. It was almost disappointing how similar the results were. 

However, if you’re concerned about PTFEs and off-gassing, then you might want to consider just buying a ceramic nonstick pan since there’s no risk of it releasing fumes at all/at higher temps. These are not without their general cons, though. The coating on ceramic nonstick is made from sand and it’s very glass-like and, like glass, more brittle. As America’s Test Kitchen noted in their review of ceramic pans, ceramic is more prone to cracking and therefore becoming less-nonstick more quickly than traditional, PTFE-based nonstick. 

What About Pan Material—Does That Matter?

The material of the pans—stainless steel vs. aluminum vs. multi-metal—made more of a difference in performance than the coating. However, this was more about the user adjusting to the pan, rather than the pan being a good or bad performer. The thicker, heavier, pans, with more stainless steel, took longer to preheat and retained heat longer. The thin aluminum pans heated faster, and cooled down faster. This, however, isn’t confined to nonstick cookware. This may be the best argument for buying a nonstick pan that is similar to the cookware that’s already in your kitchen, since you'll be more used to its heating profile.

Which Nonstick Pans Were the Easiest to Use?

While this is more subjective than data-driven, as we sorted pans into the go and no-go stacks to determine which would be the cream of the crop, we looked at things like the handles and whether they were comfortable to hold, and whether the pans felt balanced as we carried them or flipped food. In general, but not always, we preferred rounded, rather than squared-off handles and found added silicone grips to be a nice touch.

Can Any Nonstick Pans Withstand Scratching?

a stack of nonstick skillets sitting on a white countertop
All of our favorite models withstood our durability tests with very minor or no damage.Serious Eats / Donna Currie

While many kitchens are fully armed with silicone and wood cooking tools (we don’t recommend nylon, as it’s not as heat-safe as silicone), the constant rubbing of even the softest utensils can damage some nonstick surfaces. We accelerated the damage by rubbing the pans with steel wool 20 times each in two directions in a "plus" (+) pattern, and scraping a metal spatula 10 times each in two directions in an X pattern across the surface as though we were getting under food to lift it. The surprising result was that there were a handful of pans—our ultimate winners— that showed little or no damage. That bodes well for their longevity in the kitchen. 

How Long Do Nonstick Pans Last, Anyways?

This all being said: nonstick pans have a limited lifespan. Their surfaces just aren’t durable enough to last several years and they will scratch, chip, and degrade over time. It’s why we’ve historically recommended buying cheap nonstick cookware and why our top picks max out at $60. Because while there are some nice nonstick pans in the $100-plus range that performed well and were very pleasant to use, unless you’re wanting to spend gobs of money every few years, we just don’t think they’re worth it. 

The Criteria: What We Look for in a Good Nonstick Skillet

A folded omelet sitting in a nonstick skillet
Serious Eats / Donna Currie

First, a nonstick pan should truly be nonstick. Food should come out of the pan cleanly, with no sticking, and the pan should be easy to clean. While some pans are rated as dishwasher-safe (and we tested them), we’d recommend hand-washing to preserve the nonstick coating. Usability was also a major consideration. Even if food was skating around the pan like it was on ice, that’s not going to be enough if the handle was uncomfortable to hold or got painfully hot during cooking. Weight also played a role. While a heavier pan wasn’t necessarily bad, it could feel unwieldy.

The Best Nonstick Skillet Under $40: T-fal Professional Nonstick Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator Fry Pan

Also available at Walmart.

What we liked: While this wasn’t the cheapest pan we tested, the price was still affordable, and the performance was very good. There was little damage to the cooking surface after both scratch tests, which bodes well for a long-ish life. Its handle was comfortable, with a non-slip silicone grip. It was dishwasher-safe, too, though that’s not our recommended cleanup method for nonstick.

What we didn’t like: This pan has a red logo on the cooking surface that’s supposed to fade when the pan is preheated and ready to cook. However, we think it’s best to ignore the indicator, given PTFE’s tendency to off-gas.

Price at time of publish: $32.

Key Specs

  • Maximum oven temperature: 400℉
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Cooking surface diameter: 8 inches
  • Weight: 1 lb, 13 oz
an overhead look at the T-fal nontick skillet sitting on a white surface
Serious Eats / Donna Currie

The Best Nonstick Skillet Under $50: Tramontina Professional Aluminum Nonstick Restaurant Fry Pan

Also available at Walmart.

What we liked: This pan was well-priced, its handle was comfortable and non-slip thanks to its (removable!) silicone grip, and it performed incredibly well. It was lightweight, too, but still balanced.

What we didn’t like: For those with induction cooktops, this model isn’t compatible. It also had a slightly smaller cooking surface.

Price at time of publish: $42.

Key Specs

  • Maximum oven temperature: 400℉
  • Induction compatible: No
  • Cooking surface diameter: 7 3/4 inches
  • Weight: 1 lb, 15 oz
a closeup look at a cooked crepe in a nonstick skillet
Serious Eats / Donna Currie

The Best Mid-Priced Nonstick Skillet: All-Clad HA1 Hard Anodized 10-Inch Frying Pan

Also available at Crate & Barrel.

What we liked: This pan is surprisingly inexpensive, considering it’s All-Clad. Also, surprisingly, the surface held up better in the scratch tests than the more expensive All-Clad pan we tested. It handled cooking tasks well, and cleaning was easy.

What we didn’t like: This pan was one of the heavier ones we tested. It was well-balanced, but for cooks who want a lightweight pan, they may prefer the T-fal or Tramontina. And while we liked the handle (it has a divot running the entire length of the top of the handle, like all All-Clad cookware that provides a natural thumb rest and leverage), we can see how others might prefer a smoother, rounded handle.

Price at time of publish $60.

Key Specs

  • Maximum oven temperature: 500℉
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Cooking surface diameter: 8 3/4 inches
  • Weight: 2 lb, 10 oz
the all-clad nonstick skillet sitting on a white countertop with a white subway tile background behind it
Serious Eats / Donna Currie

The Best Ceramic Nonstick Skillet: Red Copper 10-Inch Pan by BulbHead

Also available at Walmart.

What we liked: If you’d rather buy a PTFE-free ceramic pan, this one fared well in our durability tests, with very little visible damage. While it was pretty basic looking, we found it lightweight and easy to handle.

What we didn’t like: After the scratch tests, this pan wasn’t quite as slidey as it was when new, but ceramic cookware is more brittle anyways. The larger issue, though, was that although the pan is sold as a 10-inch pan, the sides are sloped much more than others we tested, making the usable cooking surface smaller. It might be wise to buy the 12-inch size instead. Also, one of the rivets wasn’t tight against the pan, leaving space for food to get stuck. It’s not induction compatible. 

Price at time of publish: $20.

Key Specs

  • Maximum oven temperature: 500℉
  • Induction compatible: No
  • Cooking surface diameter: 7 1/4 inches
  • Weight: 1 lb, 7 oz
A ceramic nonstick skillet sitting on a white countertop
Serious Eats / Donna Currie

The Competition

  • OXO Non-Stick 10 Inch Frying Pan: This pan had little damage from the scratch tests. The price point made it affordable, and it was barely edged out by other pans. We still think that, if our traditional favorites are unavailable, this one’s worth buying.
  • Misen 10-Inch Nonstick Pan: We actually really liked this pan, but since we reviewed it the handle was redesigned and now the 10-inch skillet is only available as part of a (pricey) set. 
  • The Anolon X 10-Inch Pan: This non-traditional nonstick pan, with its raised stainless steel grid, is virtually impossible to scratch. However, at $100 for the 10-inch model and $140 for the 12-inch one, it’s just too expensive. 
  • Hestan Professional Clad Stainless Steel TITUM 11-Inch Skillet: Very pretty and well-performing, we just can’t recommend someone buying a nonstick pan this expensive, since it will degrade over time. But, hey, if you know this, have the cash, and you really want to splurge, who are we to stop you. 
  • Farberware 10-inch Nonstick Frying Pan: There was some slight dulling of the surface after the scratch tests. It isn’t dishwasher safe, if that matters to you.
  • Cuisinart 10-Inch Nonstick Skillet: There was some scratching and dulling after our durability tests. It was a solid performer, but was just out-performed and out-lasted by others.
  • Made In Nonstick Frying Pan: This showed minor scratches after the scratch tests, but it was acceptable, and it performed well. However, it's fairly pricey.
  • GreenPan Rio 10-Inch Ceramic Non-Stick Frying Pan: This almost took the top ceramic spot, thanks to its wider cooking surface than the BulbHead pan. However, the nonstick coating on the rim of the pan chipped in a few places. While that didn’t hurt the pan’s cooking ability, it doesn’t bode well for longevity. Also, the handle is welded rather than riveted, which made it feel less sturdy.
  • All-Clad D3 Stainless 3-ply Bonded Cookware, Nonstick Fry Pan, 10-Inch: There’s a lot to like about this pan, but the scratch test showed slight damage. This was more expensive than the All-Clad pan that made the winner’s circle, and it’s not dishwasher-safe.
  • Calphalon Premier Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10-Inch Fry Pan: This had barely visible damage in the center of the pan, and an affordable price, but it was edged out by the others. It had less-sloped sides for a wider cooking surface, which we liked.
  • Winco AFP-10NS Gladiator Aluminum 10-Inch Non-Stick Fry Pan: A very utilitarian pan, the handle on this was less comfortable and tended to get hot when in use.
  • Le Creuset Toughened Nonstick PRO Fry Pan: This pan survived the steel wool, but got some scratches from the metal spatula. They weren’t deep, but were visible, so it got edged out by other pans with less damage. It’s also expensive.


Should nonstick pans be seasoned? 

Some nonstick pans, and particularly ceramic ones, may require seasoning, which involves heating the pan with a bit of oil coating the cooking surface.

When should you throw away a nonstick pan? 

Nonstick pans have outlived their usefulness when the coating is no longer nonstick. While it can be expected that pans will slowly lose their super-slippery surface, if eggs are welding themselves to the pan or cleaning requires serious scrubbing, it’s time to retire the cookware. Also, if there are deep gouges, peeling coatings, or chips in the cooking surface, the pan should be discarded. While most of the pans in the tests had warranties, they seldom cover wear-and-tear. It’s worth asking, though.

What size nonstick pan should you get?

We recommend a 10- to 11-inch nonstick for most home cooks. But, if you’re just looking for a pan to fry an egg or two in the morning, an 8-inch skillet might be worth considering too.

Can nonstick pans be stacked for storage?

During testing, the pans were not treated gently. They were stacked on top of each other to move them around, and to save space when they weren’t being tested. While most were unscathed, some sustained damage—particularly, their rims chipped. If you’re looking to stack your pans at home, we recommend placing a paper plate or some sort of buffer in between them.

What is a nonstick pan?

In short, nonstick pans have a coating that prevents food from sticking, making both cooking and cleaning easier. They’re most often used for cooking egg dishes. They can also be used for cooking foods with sticky sauces that tend to burn.