The it kitchen essential of the year. The pan has been tried and tested, are the claims true?
We all love a new piece of kitchen ware, and if it happens to be photogenic well then... adds to cart. Meet the Always Pan by Our Place, a nontoxic and nonstick pan with the mission to simplify your cupboards!
As with any company based in LA, this pan is made for Instagram. With seven colors to choose from and a matte finish, this pan knows the way to our how-many-likes-will-this-get hearts. The Always Pan claims it will replace 8 traditional pieces of cookware: a fry pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, nonstick pan, spatula, and spoon rest. With this one pan you can braise, sear, steam, strain, sauce, fry, boil, serve, and store... or so they say.
Behind the beautiful design and great marketing there are a few not-so-pretty truths:
The idea of eight pieces of cookware being replaced by this one device is nice in theory, but let's be real, you can't stir your sauce in the saucepan and steam your veggies in the colander while frying up some thai-noodles in the skillet if the three things are all in one!
Did you fall in love with your Always Pan because the stunning array of colors you saw online? Welcome to MTV's Catfish! They brightened the colors of their pans to the point that when I received my pan in "steam" I genuinely thought it was the wrong color. The pictures online showed the off-white cream pan of my dreams, but that pan must have taken a quick vacay in Cabo before arriving at my house and got itself a fantastic tan. UGH it could have at least taken me on the trip. Turns out people caught on to their false-advertising and so as of 2021 they changed the imaging they use on their website to be more accurate. (It's like when people were obsessed with Facetune, as if we didn't see them IRL.... Who did they think they were fooling?)
This 'stay cool handle' is just a non-metal piece and an insulator, which really means its cheaper for them to make AND it's one of the reasons the pan cannot go in the oven. Honestly not being oven safe is such a drawback in the long run so it's definitely something to consider if you're thinking of dropping $145 on a pan. (YES I know that I bought this pan, but what can I say? I'm a sucker for some good marketing.)
If you skip arm day at the gym, the Always Pan's two pour spouts are not as easy to use as one may hope. The Always Pan claims to be lightweight but it weighs three pounds, PLUS if the lid is on-add an extra pound.
So here's the skinny:
It's a beautiful pan of good quality and made from durable materials, the spatula is actually a bit awkward to handle despite being of a nice weight. The perfect treat-your-self gift for those not trying to be on Master Chef and a good "welcome to adult-hood" gift for a friend in a new apartment. Trendy, photographable and easy to clean, this is a great kitchen accessory, but by no means is it a necessity. For the price point, there are other pans that can handle the oven's heat or come from companies that are tried and true.
If you want to create this delicious Garlic & Spinach Pasta by Abra Berens the Always Pan has you covered. While you could use the colander they built-in, the reality is that your noodles will be cold by the time you have the sauce going unless you use two pans. To the Always Pan's credit, it held an entire box of fettuccine pasta as well as the spinach and sauce, with just enough room left in the pan for me to mix & serve.