Skillet Testing

We are testing nonstick skillets in the kitchen this week—all under $50, because you have to dispose of them when they the coating wears off and they stop working.

Our Senior Equipment Editor, Lisa McManus, has already made 312 eggs and counting.  The process is so tedious that she said it makes her root for a pan to fail just to make it more interesting.

After the egg test comes the crepe test.  A good nonstick skillet will show evenness of browning and have a comfortable handle.  The weight of the pan is also a consideration. (How easy is it to swirl the pan as you pour the batter? Is it too heavy, off balance, awkward? Does the handle hurt your hand?)

This crepe looks good: it’s evenly golden brown across the pan surface, showing no hot spots or cold spots in the pan.

So far, we have not had one skillet that has distinguished itself as a clear winner or loser, but based on our battery of extensive tests ahead, this may change.  Look for the final results in the September issue of Cooks Illustrated.

Published in: on March 25, 2010 at 3:16 pm  Comments (14)  

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14 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have always wondered what you do with all the food that you use in your tests. I know tests are important, and I have made purchasing decisions based on your tests, but sometimes it just galls me to think of all the waste. I suppose that the waste in your kitchen saves me and others waste in their kitchens by helping us buy good products that will facilitate good cooking.

    • cs for CPK – The ATK employees eat all of the food/leftovers from the testings…nothing goes to waste here!

      • I’m sure that’s part of the benefits package for ATK employees! 😉

      • I’ve always wondered about that too. Does ATK really eat all the bad batches of food during the testing process, before you get to the winning recipe?

        And with 312 eggs and counting in this equipment testing alone, ATK should also consider donating prepared foods to local shelters/food banks for the sanity of your employees, as well!

  2. Wow, that looks like fun! I’m sure it does get tedious. I’m always amazed by the things other people do as a career. I’ll be interested to see the results.

  3. We have to wait until September??? 🙂

    • cs for CPK – Yes, we are in the early stages of testing the equipment and the results will be posted in the September CI issue.

  4. I just want you to know how much I value these product tests that ATK conduct. I’ve changed maple syrups, chocolate chips, canned tomatoes, pans, etc… And have been quite pleased! I DVR every show and watch them over and over! I also love Cooks magazine and keep them all!!! You guys at ATK are rock stars!!!

  5. A little off topic, I know the All Clad nonstick frying pan costs more than $50, but I’ve been curious about their lifetime warranty. Even with careful use (I use only non-metal utensils), my nonstick pans seem to get a scratch or two. When an All Clad nonstick doesn’t work anymore, can anyone comment on if All Clad will refuse to warranty a pan because of a few scratches? Thanks.

    • I have the same question. I have an All Clad 12″ Non-Stick as well and despite carefully treatment it has seen it’s day. I’d like to have it replaced as well given how much it cost. Out of curiosity, has anyone thought about using these new ceramic based coatings? Thanks

      • cs for CPK – We reached out to folks at All-Clad and Melanie informed us that the nonstick pan IS covered by a lifetime warranty. “The consumer needs to contact the consumer service department who will review the pan to see if it is covered under the warranty (not abused by the consumer). If it is found to be faulty, All-Clad will replace the pan.” i hope this helps to answer your question!

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