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I test cookware for a living and finally tried the celeb-beloved Our Place Always Pan — it's on rare sale for $110

This gorgeous vessel claims to be a 10-in-1 kitchen superstar and has famous fans like Oprah and Selena Gomez.

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If you spend any time in the kitchen, on social media or all of the above, there's a good chance you've heard of the Our Place Always Pan. Claiming to be a 10-in-1 essential, it took the internet by storm a few years ago and quickly became a favorite of home cooks and celebrities alike. (Selena Gomez collaborated with the brand, and Oprah herself has called it "the kitchen magician.") Fans were drawn to its looks, non-toxic nonstick interior and versatility — intriguing, right? Which is why I, a former professional baker who now tests and writes about cookware for a living, am embarrassed to admit that as of a few months ago, I'd never tried this popular pan.

To be honest, I'd heard very mixed things about it. While it was universally lauded for its aesthetics, my sister, an avid home cook, told me the nonstick coating on hers had worn off in under a year, and some trusted product testing sources like Wirecutter didn't exactly give it glowing reviews, either. Since then, however, Our Place introduced the Always Pan 2.0 to address some common critiques the original version had received (namely, the longevity of its nonstick-iness and inability to go in the oven). It happens to be on rare markdown for the brand's spring sale — it's $110, down from $150 — and I purchased two of them to test out. Keep scrolling for my full review.

Is this celeb-beloved pan worth the hype? I put it to the test to see if it really was a 10-in-1 wonder. 

Pros
  • Its nonstick coating is made without PFAS, lead and cadmium
  • Comes in eye-catching colors and neutrals
  • Fairly lightweight
  • Oven-safe up to 450°
Cons
  • Doesn't quite replace 10 kitchen tools
  • Handles are not heat-resistant
  • Not suitable for high-heat cooking
$110 at Our Place

Like many recipients, my initial reaction upon opening the boxes and seeing the pans was, "Okay, they're really pretty." I opted for bright blue and magenta hues, which, sadly, are no longer available. (You can still choose from blue, pink, lavender, dark gray, light gray, and two shades of green — all lovely.) Their matte finishes had a high-end appearance, similar to the Our Place Perfect Pot I've had (and loved) for several years, and I hoped they'd be just as easy to clean.

As far as accessories are concerned, the Always Pans each included a beechwood spatula and metal steamer basket. I always welcome freebies! Another plus? The pans were quite lightweight, as promised — about three pounds each. I'm a weakling in the upper body department, so I appreciate cookware that doesn't make me feel like I'm putting my arms through a workout. So far, so good ... but how would they perform?

I use a frying pan of some sort almost every night of the week to cook dinner, so I was eager to see how well the Always Pan 2.0 performed its many purported uses. According to Our Place, this one piece of cookware was designed to braise, sear, steam, strain, sauté, fry, boil, bake, serve and store. Off the bat I was skeptical about the last one; having a vessel to store leftover food is all well and good, but you could use most pieces of cookware for that, and I really don't see myself putting a long-handled pan in my fridge anytime soon. On a similar note, you can usually serve food out of whatever it's been cooked in, so that one felt like a stretch as well.

As far as actual cooking tasks are concerned, I love a pan that can go from stovetop to oven, and I'm happy to report that the Always Pan 2.0 is oven-safe up to 450°F (the original pan was for stovetop use only). In fact, the first meal I tried making with it involved cooking vegetables on the stove, then topping with cheese and placing everything in the oven to get things nice and melty. Following the brand's instructions, I spritzed just enough olive oil to coat the pan, set the burner at medium heat and waited for the pan to get hot. Next, I added my veggies, listening for that satisfying sizzle when they hit the pan. It's difficult to get the level of browning from a nonstick pan that you'd get with stainless steel or cast iron, but I was content with the level of char on my carrots — just ever so blackened at the edges.

Author photos of tofu and broccoli cooked in the Always Pan / the residue-coated interior of the Always Pan with one clean stripe going across where a sponge had been used
I managed to get some nice browning on my tofu one evening (I prefer it on the lighter side) and my broccoli was perfectly cooked using the steamer basket. When it was time to wash, one swipe of a soapy sponge cleared a clean path like it was nothing. (Britt Ross/Yahoo Life)

While we're on the subject of nonstick pans, the original Always Pan's interior was one major source of contention. Many users said its nonstick properties faded too quickly, especially considering it's not the least expensive piece of cookware on the market. I've admittedly only been cooking with the 2.0 version for a few months, but I can say that its new (and supposedly improved) Thermakind coating performs just as well today as it did on day one. Once I'm done cooking, a quick wipe-down with a sponge and soapy water makes the surface look spotless (you don't want to put this in the dishwasher), and I feel more peace of mind knowing its ceramic coating wasn't made with PFAS, unlike many other nonstick pans on the market.

Alright, back to performance. Upon placing the pan in the oven, the cheese got nice and gooey, and I didn't notice any discoloration on the pan when I took it out. (With repeated use, that could change, but it hasn't yet!) Another night, I gave the steamer a go with some broccoli. I filled the pan with just a bit of water, let it simmer, placed the steamer full of veggies inside and popped the cover on top. While everything was nicely cooked, steaming in a pan is not my preferred method due to lack of depth; I'll be sticking to the Perfect Pot for that unless I'm only cooking a small amount. That said, it's handy if your recipe involves multiple steps and you don't want to dirty up more than one piece.

Some of my favorite features are the dual spouts that make for easier pouring and straining, as well as the lid, which has a small opening on one side in case you need to let steam escape. It's clear that they really thought about the smaller details when designing this pan, which I appreciate.

the green Always Pan, with a wooden spatula resting on its handle, on a table with candles and food
The Always Pan is so pretty, it'll even make the rice you accidentally burned look good. (Our Place)

Overall, I'm quite impressed with the Always Pan 2.0's performance thus far, especially given that the ceramic nonstick coating doesn't rely on toxic materials. As far as surface area is concerned, I'm able to fit a whole block of tofu, cubed, in the standard pan, though it also comes in Mini and Large sizes. Plus, I often leave it on my stove after I've cleaned it because it's pretty enough that I don't feel the need to hide it in a cabinet.

I will say that I'm less than impressed with the wooden spatula it came with — I appreciate its inclusion, especially since you'll want to avoid using metal utensils that'll scratch the pan up, but the wood itself feels very unfinished. Every time I hold it, I wonder if I'll get a splinter, but it's nice that it was designed to fit on the pan's handle, eliminating the need for a spoon rest. I also wish the interior was a lighter color, as I find lighter surfaces are helpful when it comes to seeing how well food is browning.

As for the 10-in-1 claims? I'd say about half of the listed uses are legit, namely braising, searing, sautéing, steaming, straining and shallow frying — most of which can be done in just about any pan of a similar size. In short, I won't be tossing any of my existing cookware anytime soon, but if it's a solid, safe, exceptionally attractive nonstick pan you're looking for, I'd absolutely recommend it.

I'm far from being the Always Pan's sole enthusiast — over 28,000 customers have given it a perfect five-star rating.

"Very versatile and beautiful," raved a shopper. "I was worried the outside would stain, but after weeks of heavy use, [it's] still intact after a bubbly wash. I use these pans with induction and it's been working great."

"So much nicer on my wrists than my heavy pans," gushed another satisfied buyer. "Absolutely nothing sticks. So excited to add color back into my kitchen as well. I will say, the pan holds a lot more than it appears and is perfect for most meals."

"So far, it heats evenly across the pan," shared a third. "You do not need to turn the heat on high for most cooking purposes because this pan gets very hot if you allow it. It’s incredibly nonstick to the point of me not needing to use butter or oil on the surface for omelets. It does a good grilled cheese with browning, and it browns sausages nicely."

Several reviewers had the same qualm as this generally satisfied user, who wrote: "Almost perfect ... I do have one major quibble with the design, however. The top handle on the lid heats up a lot, so if you are simmering things, you need an oven mitt to remove the lid. It seems to me that a simple design fix with a heat separator on that knob would easily solve this problem."

Noted a final shopper: "The spoon that came with it was not overly smooth, and feels like it could be sanded." (See? I'm not the only one!)

Sequels don't typically outshine their predecessors, but in this case, the Always Pan 2.0 has reached Home Alone 2: Lost in New York-status.

$110 at Our Place

I have to give a shoutout to the Our Place Perfect Pot, which I've been using for about two years and am sort of obsessed with.

Our Place

I've made everything from stews and braises to steamed vegetables, pasta and even fried doughnuts in this thing. You could also use it for baking bread or cooking rice — the limit does not exist. It can conveniently go from stove to oven (it's safe up to 450 degrees), and its aluminum construction means it heats up in no time. Most importantly, no matter what I'm making in it, I find that the heat is consistent, which results in evenly cooked food. As far as serving goes, you'll most definitely hear oohs and ahhs from dinner guests once this aesthetically pleasing pot hits the table.

Check out my full Our Place Perfect Pot review for more. 

$130 at Our Place

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.