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This Is My Favorite Pan of 2018—Here’s Why

This Is My Favorite Pan of 2018—Here’s Why


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Just a very small detail in its design made my life so much easier.

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

You've come to this post because the headline promises something that will revolutionize how you cook—and it will, even if you don't have the same problems as I do. Something tells me that this new piece of cookware will change lives, especially if you hate cleaning like I do.

I'll start by breaking down one of my biggest pet peeves about cooking that is also simultaneously so infinitesimal and intricate—either you're right there with me, or you're going to think I'm totally bananas. It's very simple: I hate pan-frying anything because oil, butter, or sauce ends up flying far and wide all over my kitchen surfaces.

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Cleaning this splatter off a stovetop is possibly the hardest thing I've ever done in my entire life—somehow, somewhere, there's a lingering smudge that is going to infuriate me every time I walk into my kitchen. And don't get me started on cleaning electric burners: currently, I'm down to two because the others start smoking when I turn them on (even though I've scrubbed and scrubbed away).

My solution was simple, albeit a tad sad: I used to do 90 percent of my cooking in my oven. Apart from boiling noodles and blanching vegetables, I never ever sautéed anything because my stovetop would have been covered in a sea of grease. Even when I wanted to throw something simple into a pan—like grilled cheese—I would psych myself out into eating something else entirely because, you guessed it, I didn't want to blemish my otherwise gleaming countertops.

Which is why I'm so happy I stumbled upon a new frying pan from Circulon earlier this year. It has since has become the workhorse of my kitchen due to a very simple design feature. Its official name is the Toss & Turn pan, but you wouldn't need to ask a sales associate for it by name—all you'd have to do is look for a good-sized sauté pan with raised sides.

Some might mistake the Toss & Turn for a wok, but it's very similar to any non-stick pan you'd find on the market—except for its signature height on the lip of the pan. According to the product's description on Circulon's website, it was designed for "effortless tossing and turning of ingredients without the need for utensils."

More of 2018's best products and gadgets:

Yes, you can totally flip an omelette effortlessly with a flick of a wrist—but the true magic of this reliable non-stick pan is that it completely eliminates all kitchen splatter. The raised edges of the pan is a catchall for anything you're cooking.

But the very best part? You can snag one of these life-changing pans on Amazon for just $17. Yes, really—the kitchen gods have smiled on us, because this piece usually sells for $49.99 each. If you're anything like me, you'll buy three (yes, I now have three) and rotate them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Photo courtesy of Amazon.

Olive oil? No problem. Butter? Stays in the pan. Grease? Doesn't go flying anywhere. This pan not only helps my kitchen stay clean, but it's just as easy to clean as any most other nonstick pans out there—simply rub it with a dash of dish soap, a sponge, and some elbow grease, and it's ready to go again.

I've owned this pan for a little over six months now, and everything I've made in it (from bacon to veggies, eggs—even pan sauces) have seemingly cooked much more perfectly than anything I've made before. Maybe it's because it's easier to properly stir ingredients in the pan—after all, you can use the raised edges to your advantage—but I do find that heat is distributed well.

I'm not kidding when I tell you I've become fully dependent on this pan. The thought of watching flyaway oils splash onto my countertops and stove top make is too oppressive for me to try something else: this pan's raised wall of comfort is like a warm blanket that eases my mind.

I could sauté all day long—which I can say I am now doing, yay!—and sleep easy knowing that the clean up is minimal compared to the nuclear oil explosion that I usually experience with traditional fry pans. Do your obsessive subconscious a huge favor and just give this pan a try—you'll never look back.


Why This Is My Favorite Cake Pan

This old 8-inch round pan is the cake pan I reach for above all others for the simple reason that I know whatever cake I make in it will come out neatly and easily. Why? Because of the slider bar, which completely rotates around the pan, neatly separating the bottom and sides of the cake from the pan. Once a more common feature, it’s rare (although not impossible) to find the slider bar feature these days. Have you ever used one?

I grew up with cake pans like this, so I’m very used to them. I still butter and flour my pans, of course, and even use a parchment circle if called for in a recipe. But when it comes to that moment of faith when I have to flip the cake out of the pan, I’m always glad I used the one with the slider bar.

I’m not sure why the slider bar feature has fallen out of favor, but the majority of cake pans these days are sold without them. While it’s true that most cakes will come out of their pans if the pans are properly buttered and floured (or if parchment is used) and they are baked long enough. But it’s also true that every now and then, you encounter a sticky cake and disaster ensues.

Have you ever used a cake pan a with slider bar? Do you prefer it to newer pans?


My Favorite Muffin Pan and Recipes

Today I am keeping it real by sharing a cooking disaster. Because although we don’t like to admit it, we all have them! I am also sharing why I love my muffin pan and a few of my favorite muffin recipes.

It is no secret that my family loves muffins. We make them all the time because they work great for a quick breakfast, lunch, snack, or dessert.

Because we love muffins so much I am always working on new muffin recipes. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you might have seen this picture and caption.

Well this gluten free recipe is going to need some more work… So not looking forward to cleaning that pan. Just keeping it real for you!

I was really dreading cleaning that pan, but the reality is that I was more afraid that I had ruined my favorite muffin pan.

I have mentioned before how much I love USA Pans. Their cookie sheets, muffin tins, and cake pans are my favorite. I am slowly replacing all my pans with USA Pan ones.

One of the reasons that I love USA Pans is that not only do things bake well in them, but they also clean up well. They come clean with very little effort.

But I had never had something quite this bad to clean up before. It was a mess!

I did not have anything to worry about though. The pan cleaned up perfectly. I could not believe how easy it was to clean. All that sugar and butter mixture that over flowed and burned on that pan came right off.

I really could not believe how clean I was able to get the USA Pan. It looks the same as it did before I had my muffin disaster.

The only thing I used to clean it up was soap and water. That is it. I did get to it right away, which I am sure helped because the mess did not have time to completely harden, but I am pretty sure the main reason this pan came clean is the amazing coating that it has on it.

My cooking disaster reaffirmed my love of USA pans!

If you are looking for a new muffin pan, cookie sheet, or cake pan give USA Pans a try. If my burned on mess comes clean I am pretty sure just about any baked on mess will come off these pans.

Are you looking for muffin recipes? Some of my favorites are listed below. Be sure to also follow my muffin board on Pinterest!


I Tried the Popular Pan That Claims It Can Replace 8 Kitchen Tools

The Always Pan has gained a cult following, promising to take the place of eight other kitchen tools. The popular pan is finally back in stock after a long stint on backorder so we put it through its paces to see how well this versatile frying pan stands up to everyday cooking. Plus, we nabbed a promo code – CHOWHOUND10 – to save you $10 on the back-in-stock Always Pan.)

As a New Yorker who simply must account for every square-inch of his apartment—including the kitchen—I’m always intrigued by space-saving claims or gadgets and cookware that can do the job of two or three (or more). The Always Pan, a new-ish frying pan made by direct-to-consumer start-up Our Place, is marketed as just that. The brand caught my attention with silky smooth ads on social media and promises to be my new favorite piece of everyday cookware, replacing a good many of my existing kitchen tools—eight to be exact. That was enough to motivate me to take this buzzy pan for a spin and I learned quickly there is a lot to like about the Always Pan, even if it isn’t quite the cookware game-changer it brags to be.

The Claim

The Always Pan bills itself as a do-it-all pan that’ll replace your fry pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest. It’s touted as a single piece of cookware that lets you braise, sear, steam, strain, saute, fry, boil, serve and store. A pan that you won’t just use often but “always.”

What I Liked

The look and feel: It’s hard not to notice about this pan is how darn good it looks which I’m sure accounts for a healthy portion of its popularity (was on backorder for months until now). It sports an understated modern aesthetic and is available in four warm hues, each with a matte finish: Charcoal (grey-black), spice (light salmon), sage green, steam (ivory), and lavender (new). You could absolutely keep this pan out on the stovetop with the lid on and it wouldn’t look out of place. It’s also light and easy to handle but feels solid and well-constructed, so I wouldn’t worry about it breaking.

Designed for multi-purpose use: Though you can do a lot more than just fry with frying pans, most aren’t crafted with multiple cooking methods in mind. Not so with the Always Pan which allows you to do a bit more than with your typical fry pan including safely make sauces or even soups with unusually high sides (nearly three inches) or steam foods like fish and vegetables with a custom insert.

Built-in spoon rest/storage: I don’t know why every pan doesn’t have one of these. The pan’s handle, which arrives with a notch to hold the specially designed wooden spatula, serves as both storage and a temporary spoon rest while you’re cooking. I love that feature and use it often. The spoon does jut out over the base of the pan and so, I assume, over time the heat might damage the wood if you left it there for extended periods. But when you need a quick second to grab other ingredients or tend to another pot or pan, it’s very nice to have.

It’s a great size: There are plenty of 10-inch frying pans, so this wasn’t a revelation, but for a single fellow like me, or even when cooking for myself and a guest, this pan is an ideal size to use for almost anything from meats to vegetables, sides, and more. If I were running a household of four or more I might find myself dragging the 12-inch fry pans out as this would be on the small side. As mentioned earlier, the high sides are great and mean less spillage, as well as ample vertical berth for steam to build for fish and veggies.

Steamer basket: Speaking of which, steaming in a skillet is totally fast and super easy, so it makes sense that a steamer basket would fit snugly in the pan. It was another feature I use regularly and had me wondering, “Why doesn’t every frying pan come with one,” especially since it can’t possibly be too costly to produce.

What I Didn’t Like as Much

Ceramic surface: This unique cooking surface is a bit of a double-edged sword. While it’s quite possibly the easiest surface to clean, extremely nonstick (honestly, nothing ever stuck to this pan), and non-toxic, it’s also somewhat limiting. No matter how hot I revved the burner under my Always Pan, it never quite imparted a real sear like cast iron, carbon steel, or stainless steel consistently do. So while it’s an excellent pan for cooking vegetables, eggs, and shellfish, trying to get caramelized burgers, steaks, or scallops is not easy.

Having said that, I think for what this pan aims to be—a supremely versatile, easy-to-clean fry pan for all those quick daily jobs—they’ve probably selected the right material. Traditional nonstick cookware coating deteriorates fairly quickly, sometimes in as little as a year depending on usage. Priced at $145, you’d likely want a pan like this to be with you for quite a bit longer than that, which makes this coating a better choice. Though ceramic nonstick is tougher than traditional nonstick, it’s still not anything like steel or iron, so you’ll want to take some special care. For one, it’s not recommended to ever use metal cooking tools with the Always Pan.

The handle : This is a minor critique, but the handle is squared, and I’ve certainly used pans that are shaped to the curve of a human hand better. It’s something I noticed but it didn’t bother me much.

It’s not oven-safe: This is another rather minor inconvenience, especially since I’ll look for any excuse to use my beloved Dutch oven. But if you’re hoping for a pan that can go from stovetop to baking, this isn’t it.

The Verdict

The Always Pan is $145 ($135 with a discount code) which isn’t cheap, especially for a single frying pan, but I contend it’s worth it for the right type of cook. Who is that person? If you’re the type who cooks at home often but not a ton of terribly complicated meals and sticks to, let’s say, lots of scrambled eggs, stir-frys, pan-seared chicken and steamed or sauteed veggies, then this is a solid pan to own and it will likely be flying in and out of the cupboard regularly. You really could get away with just having this one pan, coupled with a saucepan and/or stockpot, and be able to get through most basic recipes without issue. It would also be the perfect single pan to outfit an extremely small kitchen, like in an RV or small office kitchen.

I really did find myself using it a lot and not just because I was testing it, but it certainly wasn’t the only pan I reached for in the course of a trial run. I still see much value in smaller sauciers, larger frying pans, my favorite wok, and a few other pieces of cookware that I use weekly, if not more. Perhaps the “Often Pan” would be a more accurate, if not far less attractive, name. It is, however, one of the more versatile pans per square inch you’ll on the market and a sound addition to the right kitchen arsenal.

The Always Pan, $135 (with code CHOWHOUND10) from Our Place

If you’re dying to get your hands on an Always Pan you’d better jump at it. It is just back in stock including a brand new lavender color. But when it comes back in stock it’s usually not for long. At checkout, promo code CHOWHOUND10 will get you $10 off through Oct. 29. Shipping and returns are always free. Buy Now


Apple Almond Tart (Keto Friendly)

This might be my most favorite dessert of all time. I made the original version at my five year anniversary, and eventually have made several versions. This Apple Almond Tart is made with an almond flour tart crust, heavy cream, maple extract, almonds and Swerve.

I cannot tell you just how delicious this is. You have to make it. It&rsquos keto friendly, and will blow your mind if you&rsquore following a low-carb plan.

The single most requested dessert from friends and family who are following a low carb diet and want luxury. You can make this with sugar if you&rsquore not on low carb. Rich and wonderful. It was created when making these grain free biscuits created a bastion of egg yolks.

You will get recipes for my large cheesecake, a cheesecake for two, and individual crustless cheesecakes in jars, perfect for portion control.

You always come for biscuits, but I&rsquom also happy you always come for my grandmother&rsquos tomato sauce, in the top five every year since it&rsquos been published.

This was made with almond flour, but could just as easily be made with the Pork Panko for a nut free version.


VARIATIONS TO TRY:

  • To keep your sodium levels low, opt for a low-sodium soy sauce, or tamari.
  • Ground beef is my favorite meat to use for this recipe, but any kind of ground meat will do the trick. Even a vegetarian friendly alternative would be good!
  • Want to make it spicy? Drizzle some Sriracha on top of the bowl before serving. Yum!
  • To add a sweet element along with the savory, consider adding a tablespoon of oyster sauce to the mix.


Too Hot to Bake? This 2-Ingredient Fudge Will Be Your New Best Friend

I'm always on the lookout for new no-bake recipes for summer. The heat doesn't stop my sweet tooth, but it certainly stops me from wanting to turn my oven on! That's why when I found this no-bake fudge recipe, I thought it had to be too good to be true. I love fudge, but my family's recipe calls for laboring over the stove with the world's stickiest ingredients, leading to a very messy clean-up. A two-ingredient recipe that you could make in your microwave? I had to see it to believe it, and I'm glad I did!

There's no catch when it comes to making this fudge . . . it has the right texture, the right taste, the right everything. It is a little stickier than usual, so I definitely recommend keeping it in your fridge, but other than that, it really is just like regular fudge. And it comes together in just five minutes — no stovetop required!

You'll start by melting the two ingredients, chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk, in your microwave.

Even this step is easy, as mine only took about two minutes. Stir them together until smooth and well-combined, and pour into your prepared pan.

Definitely don't skip lining your pan with parchment paper (or aluminum foil in a pinch, like me). This lets you easily lift the fudge out of the pan and saves you from trying to scrape it off the bottom! I recommend spraying the foil or parchment with a little oil spray as well, to make sure the fudge comes off smoothly.

Let it chill in the fridge for at least two hours (two ingredients, two minutes in the microwave, two hours in the fridge . . . couldn't be easier), then slice it up and serve.

This is definitely my new favorite fudge recipe (just don't tell my mom)!


Number 10

With my incredibly delicious low carb lasagna peppers, I open my top 10 of the most popular recipes 2018. Perfect for all Lasagne lovers who want to look out for the slender line.

Rank 9

In ninth place it has my blog post with tips and made healthy breastfeeding recipes. How nice!

Number 8

My Low Carb Chickpea Mince Pan is instantly prepared and easy to use real soulfood recipe.

Rank 7

In seventh place this year is my grilled zucchini with tomatoes and mozzarella made.I'm so in love with the fast low carb Big Mac role. And you know what? The dressing really tastes like the original Big Mac.

Place 5

I still have a great zoodles love! An absolute classic is the zucchini noodles with cream cheese, which are very popular among you.

4th place

Home-made tastes best ! My fast and healthy bread recipe has been as much of an interest to you as it is to me.

3rd place

Beloved, your taste is just great! My Low Carb Bounties are the third-most popular 2018 recipe. Heavenly delicious, easy to make and perfect for satisfying the healthy sweet-hunger.

2nd place

One of my absolute favorite recipes has made it to the top in your TOP10 and just missed the first place. The low carb spinach salmon roll definitely can not be missed at any party. I love them!


With the smooth, custardy squares under way for now or later (see &ldquoThe Benefits of Baking Eggs for Sandwiches&rdquo), I considered the bread. There were a few points to keep in mind. First, I needed something large enough to support a 4-inch square piece of egg. Second, thick breads needed to be airy and easily compressed otherwise, I had trouble biting into the sandwich. (Read: no bagels.) Third, light toasting created a thin, crisp crust, whereas an aggressive approach resulted in a hard shell that required a lot of force to bite through, thus squeezing out the filling. Ultimately, I had success with English muffins, kaiser rolls, bulkie rolls, hamburger buns, and sandwich bread.

For the fixings, I mimicked Chang&rsquos style, combining contrasting yet complementary flavors and textures. I started with a classic ham and cheddar cheese combo and then turned it on its head with a spread of sweet apricot jam and a smattering of spicy, crunchy pepperoncini. My next creation paired gutsy kimchi with cool, creamy avocado another combined lightly peppery salami with fresh tomato and basil and a third highlighted silky smoked salmon with fresh dill and crisp slices of pungent red onion, all held in place by slices of toasted rye.

Along the way, I came up with my own mandates for successful sandwich combinations (see &ldquoPrinciples for Egg Sandwich Perfection&rdquo). Whether you try one of my riffs or create your own, I know you&rsquoll fall in love with this approach.


Enjoy!

I really hope you get to try these easy, homemade conchas. They are so amazing because you can have them with breakfast, as a snack, or as a dessert. And I know you won’t judge me if I eat them multiple times a day. They’re so fluffy and delicious, I can’t help myself!!

Did you know I was inspired to make these conchas thanks to an amazing reader who responded to one of my posts on Facebook? If you’d like to see more from Bakes & Blunders and influence the recipes you see here, consider subscribing or just following B&B on Facebook. I love hearing from you!