Easy handling, even heat distribution, and an effective nonstick surface that’s easier on the environment than traditional nonstick.
The "stay-cool" silicone handles get a tad hot.
Throw out your other nonstick pans and buy this set.
Ever since we all became aware of potential environmental and health risks associated with the manufacture of polytetrafluoroethylene, aka PTFE, aka Teflon, manufacturers have been developing so-called ecofriendly alternatives that avoid the use of the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. Ceramic has become a popular alternative to traditional nonstick—brands include GreenPan (with its patented Thermolon coating) and Cuisinart’s Green Gourmet. Ohio-based Calphalon has its own line of ceramic nonstick cookware. The Simply Calphalon set we tested here, which includes an 8-inch and 10-inch omelet pan, is an exclusive for Bed Bath & Beyond that hit store shelves in July.
Each of the two pans comes equipped with a double-riveted, "stay-cool" silicone handle. The PFOA- and PTFE-free white ceramic coating of the interior, the brushed metal finish around those silicone handles—the look of these nesting pans is totally stylish. Their exterior is hard-anodized aluminum, said to aid heat distribution as well as pan life. Calphalon says these pans will do fine on gas, electric, and ceramic cooktops. As with all nonstick, you have to be careful not to crank up the burner any higher than medium, even when you’re boiling or reducing liquids. The packaging says the pans are oven-safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Calphalon recommends hand washing with a nonabrasive sponge or soft-bristle brush (don’t even think about using the dishwasher), and there’s a 10-year warranty covering factory defects.
We cooked with both pans on a gas range, performing different tests on each to see how they’d handle, resist sticking, and clean up. In the 8-inch pan we made an omelet, fried an over-easy egg, and cooked cheesy scrambled eggs. In the 10-inch we made potatoes Anna and cooked tilapia fillets two ways.
Simply Calphalon 8-Inch Omelet Pan
Omelet: We slowly preheated the pan as the packaging directed, added butter, and proceeded with our Basic Omelet recipe. Result: a beautiful omelet that did not stick to the pan in the least (in fact, we probably would have preferred not even adding butter to the pan).
Fried egg: This time we didn’t add any fat to the pan, and guess what? Our over-easy egg fried up perfectly, with no sticking.
Scrambled eggs: We added a bit of milk and grated cheese to the beaten eggs and used zero fat in the pan. Result: perfection, even with the highly stickable cheese kicking around in there.
Simply Calphalon 10-Inch Omelet Pan
Potatoes Anna: Normally we use a ton of butter to keep these from sticking, but here we used 1 tablespoon. It worked—the potatoes ended up evenly browned, and there was absolutely no sticking.
Fried tilapia: We observed just the tiniest bit of sticking, but not enough to wreck the fish or make it tricky to flip.
Range-to-oven tilapia: We sautéed a little garlic in butter for a minute, added a tilapia fillet, flipped it, then put the pan in a 400°F oven and cooked for six minutes. Result: no sticking, plus the butter was evenly browned all over the bottom of the pan and the garlic didn't burn. The silicone handle didn't melt or scorch but ended up hot enough to require oven pads, even if it didn’t get quite as hot as a metal handle would have.
Through all our testing, the pans were easy to handle (light yet sturdy), heated evenly, and were very easy to clean. One online reviewer says they don't work on induction cooktops, but we weren’t able to test that assertion. Still, we would buy this set in a heartbeat. Total keepers.
Photos by Chris Rochelle