Our Place’s supposed cult-favorite, nonstick, all-in-one Always Pan, dubbed “the kitchen magician” by Oprah Winfrey, has stalked my social media feeds for much of the year.
The Always Pan drew my attention due to its modern monochromatic aesthetic and claimed to eliminate 8 conventional cookware pieces. But after evaluating a few pans earlier this year and concluding that, until a certain quality level is reached, there is little difference between pans, I wanted to investigate: Is the Always Pan worth the hype?
Short answer? Possibly.
What is the Always Pan?
The Always Pan is supposed to replace eight different types of traditional cookware, including a steamer, frying pan, skillet, sauté pan, saucier, saucepan, spatula, nonstick pan, and spoon rest. It gives you the ability to strain, sauce, steam, braise, boil, sear, fry, serve, and preserve food.
Our Place partners with manufacturers that give their employees a supportive atmosphere and pay well. As often as possible, they manufacture products from intelligent and responsibly sourced raw materials.
(Image courtesy of Our Place)
- Replaces eight items of cookware
- Exclusive ceramic nonstick surface with exceptional performance
- Two easy-pour spouts
- No PFOAs or PTFEs
- “Stay cool” lid and panhandle
- Modular cap to vent and contain steam
- Customized steamer basket and colander
- Beechwood spatula with integrated spoon rest
The Always Pan was delivered in exemplary eco-friendly packaging: It was wrapped in a cardboard box, and additional cardboard strips held it all in place, without a single bit of plastic in sight – a great victory for the eco-conscious buyer. In addition to the pan, the box contained a fluffy, dried sponge and cleaning guidelines. (Before the first use, you are instructed to clean the pan with soap and water.)
Although the product description states that the Always Pan is light, the pan weighs 3 pounds, and the cover adds another pound. This is rather hefty for a frying pan, and due to its weight, I can’t imagine someone using it to flip pancakes in the air (but perhaps this is only possible in cartoons?). The pan is fitted with two pour spouts, which seem to be helpful in principle but difficult to use due to the pan’s total weight.
Attribute the pan’s weight to its composition: According to the Our Place website, it is built of durable aluminum and covered with nonstick ceramic free of chemicals. The pan seems really sturdy, comparable to typical cast iron that can take years of usage and wear (although only time will tell as Our Place only opened in 2019).
The Always Pan also promises to excel in the nonstick area, encouraging users to use just a tablespoon or two of high-smoke-point fats (such as olive, coconut, peanut, and avocado oils), and it does. Eggs scrambled with cheese, fried fish, and mashed potatoes were evenly cooked, with hardly little residue adhering to the pan’s surface. Impressive! We also cooked pasta in the pan; the 2.7-inch depth (with a 2.6-quart capacity) is far deeper than that of a regular frying pan, and my pasta noodles got the ideal al dente consistency without a hitch.
The most exciting part of using Always Pan for pasta was using the steamer basket to drain the pasta fluid; the stainless steel basket isn’t huge, but I could accommodate an entire box of manicotti with only a few stray pieces falling into the sink. This steam basket also performs its original function of steaming. However, the distance between the basket and the pan’s surface is relatively small, and it may not be adequate for steaming food that must be water-free. However, if you are simply heating a bag of frozen broccoli, you are good to go.
The pan’s matching beechwood spatula fits like Lego into its designated slot. Although this feature is not essential for culinary success, it is an intelligent addition. Instead of setting the spoon on a clear portion of the countertop, which might be inconvenient for someone with limited counter space to start with, the spoon fits snugly in the pan. I did neglect to enjoy the benefits of this perk, but I believe that with just a bit of effort, I may get used to using it.
Regarding the spatula itself: A decent wooden spoon is crucial for cooking, especially since so many pans, including the Always Pan, don’t mix well with metal, which can damage the coating and render the non-stick capability ineffective. Beyond its clever “integration,” the spatula is uninspiring; I found it comfortable to handle but otherwise uninteresting. Since my spatula is a hand-wash-only piece of hardware, I expect it to remain stained crimson with spaghetti sauce for a long time. Also, the spatula is thicker than I’m used to, and I had difficulty using it when frying eggs or fish fillets.
This pan may captivate you if you have a small kitchen, lack a cookware collection, or produce really basic recipes. Some specifics: Even heating is accomplished with the Always Pan. It has a clever built-in spoon rest that keeps messes off the counter, and the steamer basket can also be used as a colander. This is an excellent feature for anyone who gets a rush from doing as few dishes as possible.
Where does it lack? While the pan is capable of braising, searing, steaming, straining, sautéing, and frying, it cannot do all of these actions at once. Having many pots on a cooktop is that you can simmer vegetables in one while braising chicken in another. People accustomed to using at least two stoves simultaneously, such as myself, may find this pan challenging to operate. But, based on my culinary expertise, it is preferable to prepare various items simultaneously so that everything remains hot.
I was pretty surprised to learn that the Always Pan is not intended for use in the oven. Several frying pans can endure temperatures of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Since this pan promises to substitute so many kitchen items, it would be handier if it could also be used as a baking dish.
This pan now resides on my cooktop and is very appealing. I will continue to use it, but it will not be my only pan in the future. At $145, it’s not a cheap purchase, but neither is it a one-time purchase; you won’t regret purchasing this pan after you use it for over a year. It would be a terrific present for someone just starting out on their own (perhaps a recent college graduate), but it’s not a must-have for someone who likes to cook and cooks frequently.
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