Whether you're whipping up a quick stir fry, braising Sunday sauce, or making a classic scrambled egg recipe, a quality nonstick pan is a true kitchen workhorse.
But with thousands available in every price range, it can be tricky to cull through the marketing jargon and find the best one for your needs. We've put together a guide to help you pick the right one for your home.
Our top pick is this sturdy and versatile pan from Circulon, a brand known for its high-quality cookware. It has a slick coating that our testers found was easy to clean and requires minimal oil during cooking, which helps you cut down on calories and fat. Plus, it's oven-safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit and has an attractive stainless steel exterior that's resistant to scratches and stains.
In addition to its slick coating, this wok's flat bottom and high sides help it heat up quickly and distribute the heat evenly. It also has a long, comfortable handle that's easy to maneuver, making it ideal for stir-frying and other types of fast-cooking techniques. The only negative we encountered was that, on our test model, where the flat bottom met the side, there was a sharp angle that made it clunkier to use with the typical wide and rounded wok spatula.
Another excellent option is this durable, affordable wok from the popular German brand Tefal. It has a traditional round shape that's great for stir-frying, but its shallow depth also makes it a good choice for boiling and simmering. The thick, scratch-resistant coating is easy to clean, and its high-heat threshold means you can also use it for searing or frying.
This pre-seasoned wok is a solid choice if you're looking for a budget buy that performs well. It's stable and lightweight, but it can feel a bit heavy after prolonged use or multiple dishwasher cycles. Plus, it's not suitable for use with metal utensils, which is a bummer if you love using your stainless steel cookware.
If you want a sturdy, well-made wok that can stand up to higher temperatures, consider a carbon-steel version. These are often the choice of restaurants that specialize in wok cooking, and can withstand the high heat needed to achieve restaurant-quality stir-fries. And, as Young points out, they can last for generations—as long as you take care of them. And even if your carbon-steel wok develops some rust, it's usually salvageable, and can be re-seasoned just like your cast-iron skillet.