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The very thing that makes nonstick skillets great is also what makes them tricky. See, unlike cast iron — which can last forever and almost always be restored after mistreatment — nonstick skillets have a finite lifespan. Even the best ones will start to become less and less nonstick over time. Typically, a Very Good nonstick skillet will last for around five years or so. And that’s what brings me to this Toughened Nonstick PRO Fry Pan from Le Creuset — because I’ve had it for more than five years and it’s still just as nonstick-y as the day I brought it home.
The company touts the pan as being four times stronger than usual, with a triple-reinforced PFOA-free surface that wipes clean and is even tough enough to stand up against metal utensils. The pan is also said to be dishwasher safe. Now, I have never used a metal utensil on this pan (I naturally reach for wood or silicone, just out of habit!), and I’ve never put it in the dishwasher, but I’m not sure that my caution is the reason for the pan’s longevity.
Because I do put this skillet through the ringer. I use it to make Jacques Pépin’s Garlic Chicken Breasts on a near-weekly basis. I use it to make a boatload of scrambled eggs almost every single weekend. I use it to make fish filets, scallops, bacon, and more. It’s never let me down. It actually impresses me — especially when I make those scrambled eggs. It’s true. After all these years, I’m always convinced that this weekend is going to be the weekend that my eggs start sticking to the pan. And yet, they never do. Even when I use a very minimal amount of oil to get things started.
The best is when I start scrambling the eggs with my spatula (my beloved spatula from Material, which is worthy of its own post). I brace myself to find a stuck-on film of egg mess left behind. Instead? The wake of the spatula leaves a perfectly clean pan. I probably wouldn’t even have to wash it, if I didn’t want to. I could get away with wiping it out and putting it back in the cabinet. Of course, I do wash it. Then, I thank it for a great brunch and tell it I’ll see it soon. What? You don’t talk to your cookware? Maybe that’s the secret for its longevity? Or maybe it’s just a great pan. I’ll let you decide.
Do you have a nonstick skillet that’s lasted you a while? Tell us about it in the comments below.