Quality/Ease of Use: 19/20
One-pot and sheet-pan recipes are increasingly more available and growing in popularity, but the reality is that most recipes require dirtying about 75 percent of your kitchen before dinner is on the table. (Fine, I’m exaggerating a bit, but you get the point.)
What I’m trying to say is, I’ll take any opportunity to scale down on tools and appliances in my kitchen. And that’s where the Our Place Always Pan comes into play.
What is the Always Pan?
The Always Pan is an all-in-one skillet designed to replace a 16-piece cooking set, according to the brand. It’s the most obsessed-over launch from Our Place, a direct-to-consumer homeware brand that was co-founded by Shiza Shahid (the former CEO of the Malala Fund).
What Makes It So Special?
The pan is made of cast-aluminum and comes in one size, featuring a 10-inch diameter and a 2.6-quart capacity. The inside has a ceramic nonstick coating while the outside is finished in matte silicone, available in any of four muted color options. I own the “spice” colorway, a soft terracotta pink, but there’s also a light smoky greige (“steam”), a charcoal (“char”) and a cool green (“sage”). There’s a pour spout on one side and a modular lid that can hold in steam or release it, with a simple twist.
But the biggest difference between this pan and others on the market is that it also comes with a steamer basket insert and a custom wooden spatula that nests into the built-in spoon rest, which is handily located on the handle. Plus the whole thing retails for $145, while other nonstick skillets on the market can cost over $200. Not to mention, the brand's restocked some of the colors that have been sold out since the holidays, including the cool Blue Salt shade.
What I Love About the Always Pan
For one, it feels like the designers of the Always Pan actually considered the home cook when making this all-in-one. That shouldn’t be mind-blowing for cookware, yet most skillets and pans I’ve cooked in seem like they were either made for professional chefs (heavy, hard to clean, too big to store anywhere but on your stovetop) or someone who cooks only once every few months (the handle is about to fall off and the non-stick coating doesn’t live up to its name). This skillet strikes the ideal balance between aesthetics, quality and versatility…and it actually fits in the cabinets of my petite Brooklyn kitchen.
The ceramic coating is nontoxic and scratch-resistant—don’t stress too much if you accidentally go at it with a metal spatula—and wipes clean with little effort. And yes, it holds up to its nonstick claims; I’ve made many a fried egg with great success. And since the skillet is made of cast aluminum, it conducts heat quickly and evenly.
However, because of the exterior silicone coating, the pan is not oven-safe and Our Place recommends heating it only up to 475°F. So, if you’re a frequent frittata-maker, love to reverse-sear your steaks or stir-fry at high temperatures, you’ll need a different pan (we suggest stainless steel or cast iron) to suit those needs. Some users have complained that the outer coating scratches easily, but I haven’t run into any problems. True, I don’t have a dishwasher and hand-wash my skillet, but it’s held up to my husband’s more, um, aggressive stovetop technique just fine.
And while I don’t use the steamer basket every day, it’s great for the occasional frozen dumpling or heating up leftovers without making them soggy. Now that I don’t have to rest my spatula precariously on the edge of the pan, I also don’t have to wipe up the drips that land on the stove.
Oh, and the whole shebang is dishwasher safe. *Pauses for effect*
What I Love About the Our Place Brand
Our Place is BIPOC-owned and supports nonprofit organizations that are working to fight hunger, like the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. The products are shipped in biodegradable, recyclable packaging with no virgin plastic or bubble wrap. It makes me feel good to know I’m supporting a brand that shares my values (and just so happens to have a phenomenal product).
If you’re short on storage space like me, or you just don’t want to invest in a gigantic cookware set, the Always Pan is a great alternative. It’s versatile, easy to clean, ethically made, and, hello, it’s also damn cute.
PureWow may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from PureWow's editorial and sales departments.