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Published 4:33 PM EDT, Fri July 9, 2021
Dubbed “the kitchen magician” by Oprah Winfrey, the alleged cult-favorite, all-in-one nonstick Always Pan, from brand Our Place, has haunted all of my social feeds for most of the year. With its millennial monochrome appeal and promise to replace eight traditional pieces of cookware, the Always Pan certainly caught my attention. But after reviewing a dozen pans earlier this year and coming to realize that once you reach a certain quality threshold, no two pans are all that different, I needed to know: Is the Always Pan really worth the hype?
The all-in-one nonstick pan
It’s gorgeous, incredibly nonstick and comes with a steamer basket. But is it worth the hype?
For starters, the Always Pan arrived in wonderfully sustainable packaging: It was encased in a cardboard box, and smaller cardboard strips kept everything in place, without a piece of plastic in sight — a total win for the environmentally conscientious consumer. Along with the actual pan, the package came with a soft, dehydrated sponge and cleaning instructions. (You’re directed to give the pan a rinse in soap and water before first using it.)
While the product description claims Always Pan is lightweight, it clocks in at 3 pounds, and the lid is an additional pound. This is relatively heavy for a frying pan, and because of its heft, I can’t imagine anyone relying on it to flip flapjacks in the air (though maybe this is something that happens only in cartoons?). The pan is equipped with two pour spouts, which are convenient in theory, but because of the overall weight are not so easy to wield.
Chalk the pan’s mass up to its materials: It’s made from sturdy aluminum and coated with nonstick ceramic that’s free of chemicals, according to its website. The pan feels incredibly durable, similar to the standard cast iron that can withstand years of use and wear (but only time can tell here — Our Place has only been around since 2019).
The Always Pan also claims to ace the nonstick category, advising users to rely on just a tablespoon or two of fats with high smoke points (think olive, coconut, peanut and avocado oils), and here it delivers. Cheesy scrambled eggs, fried fish and smashed potatoes all cooked evenly with close to zero residue sticking to the pan’s surface. Impressive! I also boiled some pasta in the pan; the 2.7-inch depth (with 2.6-quart capacity) is definitely deeper than that of a standard frying pan, and my noodles reached perfect al dente texture without a hitch. Most exciting to me during this process was using the steamer basket to strain out the pasta water; the stainless steel basket isn’t huge, but I managed to fit a whole box of manicotti, only spilling a few outliers in the sink. This steam basket, by the way, does its intended job of steaming too. But the space between the basket and the pan’s surface is kind of puny, and it could be insufficient when you’re steaming something you want to keep water from messing with. If you’re just steaming a bag of frozen broccoli, however, you’re covered.
The pan’s accompanying beechwood spatula fits like Tetris into its allotted spot, and while hardly necessary for kitchen success, this feature is really thoughtful. Instead of placing the spoon on any clear section of the countertop — something that can be frustrating for a person who has very little counter space to begin with — the spoon nestles comfort
We tried the Instagrammable pan that claims to replace 8 kitchen tools
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