Recommendation for durable, dishwasher-safe, non-stick cookware?
June 4, 2016 9:36 AM   Subscribe

Best answer would be available at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
posted by Exchequer to Shopping (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I have a set similar to this. (We got ours from Woot, similar set from circulon but it doesn't have the black grips on the handles.) I've had them for 2 years, and consistently used them in the dishwasher. They still look like new. They seem to heat evenly as well (I'm not much of a chef though, so take with a grain of salt.) I've been very pleased with them.
posted by bluloo at 9:57 AM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

All nonstick surfaces are dying from the day they are first used, so you want to split the difference between quality and price. It looks like BBB carries "commercial" grade nonstick from Faberware and (maybe commercial?) Anolon.

I personally would never buy more than a small and large saute pan/skillet in nonstick. It's unlikely you're going to ever really need to cook eggs in a stock pot or saucepan. Stainless steel for everything else, at a comparable price to those nonstick sets, will last a lifetime.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:11 AM on June 4, 2016 [7 favorites]

IKEA! IKEA stuff has lasted me forever, the basic pans have nice thick bottoms and it's all stainless steel, so the handles don't fall off like some pans do. I know it's not at your shop of choice, but they're really fantastic pans.
posted by xingcat at 10:40 AM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hey, I'm a huge cookware nerd and I strongly believe Swiss Diamond (available at BB&B) is for you! I spent years working in a kitchen store and was able to do extensive at-home testing for a bunch of brands of nonstick cookware, ranging from cheap (Cuisinart) to mid-range (Swiss Diamond, Le Creuset) to pricey (All-Clad, Demeyere). At the risk of sounding like a shill—I have zero affiliation with them, and have worked in an entirely non-cookware related profession for five years—here's my passionate ode to Swiss Diamond, which I think is affordable and amazing:

• Instead of adhering their nonstick coating to a flat surface, which prone to fail because nonstick is, as it says on the tin, nonstick, they sandblast cast aluminum to create a better surface with small peaks and valleys for the coating to 'catch' on. The nonstick coating, PTFE (Teflon) is mixed with ground manmade diamonds which also helps it grip onto the cast aluminum.
• Uses three layers on nonstick over both the inside, sides and rims of the pan's surface (the bottom is an aluminum disk). This helps keep the nonstick from peeling back at the top edges or chipping off. I have a couple sizes of ten-year-old Swiss Diamond frying pans and a Demeyere nonstick pan that I got a few years after the Swiss Diamond. The Demeyere was 4x more expensive and the nonstick surface is peeling from the top edges, even though I use my Swiss Diamond more.
• The "diamonds" thing isn't as much as a gimmick as it sounds. Besides being durable, diamonds conduct heat better than metal. The problem with most nonstick cookware is that you can't get much browning (Maillard reaction). I've found this to be legit, the store I worked in had the five of us in training take home four nonstick pans and cook a few dishes in all the pans at once and photograph/report back on the results. I just looked up the report I did on it and I made swiss pancakes and grilled cheese — the Swiss Diamond did the best at browning by far and was better at releasing the pancakes.
• They're made with cast aluminum underneath the nonstick, which is terrific at heating up without hot spots and also isn't prone to warping when being shocked with temperature changes. For example, I like to stick my just-cooked in pots in the sink and have occasionally blasted cold water on them to rinse them out, which is not best practice. The Swiss Diamond will keep a flat surface, which means move even heating/less annoying wobble on your cooktop (especially flat top stoves).
• You can use metal utensils (I often use a whisk when making a roux in mine), the pans are dishwasher safe and both the pans and glass lids are oven safe up to 500 degrees F.
- Finally, Swiss Diamond has a lifetime warranty. Most nonstick pans have none or a warranty of a couple years. I don't think they're priced outrageously high but even if they're $20 more than your other options, I think knowing that your cost per use will be lower is a good reason to go for them. The store I worked at, like Bed Bath and Beyond or Macy's return policy, would take anything back for any reason. We got a LOT of returns for a lot of stupid reasons (e.g., "I left the empty pan on a high flame and forgot about it and it warped! I demand a new one!") and I can say that Swiss Diamond was returned on a much lower basis than other nonstick brands. They're easy to care for. Which leads me to...

Some tips about nonstick because I find most people believe weird myths about them. You do NOT want to avoid washing them with soap and water or do anything like wipe the surface down with oil before putting in the cupboard. It's not like cast iron! When you fail to get oil out of a nonstick pan and then heat the pan back up, the oil will fuse with the nonstick and cause the surface to fail much quicker (and reduces the nonstick qualities.) I was chatting with the Swiss Diamond sales rep one day and asked if we should be advising people to avoid the dishwasher and he said emphatically "No! the dishwasher does a better job at getting leftover oil off the pan, so the dishwasher is better than handwashing. Don't encourage hand washing."

You can use nonstick at higher temperatures, although medium should more than do it for whatever you need. Searing food is never going to go as well in a nonstick pan as in a stainless steel/iron/porcelain surface, but if you want to cook with a higher temperature in a nonstick pan, start with an empty pan on low heat for a few minutes to let the heat spread evenly, then turn the empty pan up to medium-low or medium. Once the surface feels evenly heated to a hand held a few inches above it, then you can add your oil if needed or just add whatever you're cooking. Putting the oil in a cold pan and then preheating it generally causes the oil to get too hot and then food sticks or burns before it's cooked through. You want to let the oil heat up for awhile after the pan is hot, not before.

I'm always shocked at how much I have to say about nonstick cookware, but I live for cookware questions on Ask to make the years I spent working retail learning vast amounts of cookware/knife knowledge worth it!
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 11:56 AM on June 4, 2016 [32 favorites]

Cook's Illustrated liked an inexpensive T-Fal skillet. I think the lesson is that the non-stick coating is pretty much a commodity these and they are pretty much all the same, coating-wise. I would look for a thick aluminum base to conduct the heat. You also want to check out handles. Some skillets have handles that can go into the oven, some don't. Some have handles that are metal at the pan end so that if you grip them close (easier on the wrist when the pan is full and heavy) you might get a burn from hot metal.

The so-called "green" or "eco-friendly" coatings don't last as long as the regular ones.

We just got a new stove with a "glass" top. The directions call for flat-bottomed cookware. I've not been able to find a grill pan (i.e. with ridges) that fills the bill, only griddles. So the stove type matters too.
posted by SemiSalt at 12:19 PM on June 4, 2016

Ceramic is lovely. Bed Bath & Beyond do carry ceramic cookware, although not my specific item.

26 months ago I bought this beautiful red object. For its first months, it was only used for frying eggs, every morning, and then immediately washed. Now it's the only pan I fry in, and I often leave it out greasy and abused. Yet it remains beautifully non-stick.

My Teflon pans stuck a lot more, and because I am a flake, so did my Teflon. Although Teflon is safe enough when used appropriately, 'scratching off the Teflon and consuming it for dinner' is still contraindicated, says Ask a Toxicologist.
posted by feral_goldfish at 1:41 PM on June 4, 2016

I can definitely vouch for the T-Fal skillet mentioned above. Super bargain price, and a year or more of near daily use and it's in great shape and nearly as nonstick as the day we bought it. No evidence of flaking or scratches. It only occasionally gets put in the dishwasher, because it's such a breeze to hand wash, plus it gets used so frequently it's usually not time to run a load, but the dishwasher doesn't seem to have harmed it.
posted by obfuscation at 1:50 PM on June 4, 2016

I'm going to second IKEA. The pots we have (NOT the cheapest kind, worth spending a bit more) have been amazing. Depending on where you are, they might deliver!
posted by heavenknows at 2:42 PM on June 4, 2016

Bed Bath and Beyond often has a set of two Calphalon "omelet pans" for $50. I bought the set maybe 4 years ago on a recommendation from some magazine and really like them a lot. I doubt they are dishwasher-safe though (I hand-wash them - they're so non-stick that it's really easy).
posted by lunasol at 5:06 PM on June 4, 2016

Ended up getting this 13 piece Circulon set from Costco for 200 bucks that we are very happy with, thanks for the input!
posted by Exchequer at 5:32 PM on June 28, 2016

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