Holds its spatula in place
Steamer basket included
Not oven safe
Can't hold much liquid
We purchased the Our Place Always Pan so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
We’ll admit it—we love new cookware, so we were excited to test the Always Pan to see if it lived up to its advertising. We readied recipes and bought ingredients to put it to the test. Should you throw out all of your cookware and stock up on multiple Always Pans? Read on to find out.
Design: Small but attractive
Right off the bat, the Always Pan looks distinctive. We chose to buy the pan in the Spice color, which reminded us of a southwestern red adobe hue, but the other four colors are just as interesting. It has a long handle and a looped helper handle on the opposite side.
A wooden spatula, domed lid, and stainless steel steamer basket were included with our purchase. The spatula sits on top of the handle and nestles inside the pot through a slot under the lid so that it can rest during cooking. However, we probably wouldn’t leave it on the handle if we were cooking something for a long time, since steam can damage the wood. There's also a raised triangle on the lid to indicate where the spatula fits.
The pan is fairly shallow and was smaller than it appeared in Our Place's promotional materials. It can hold up to 2.5 quarts of liquid; anything more than that might overflow into the spatula cutout. Larger foods can fit under the domed lid, but only shorter foods can be completely submerged. It's also designed with rounded sides, which we found great for making sauces.
Material: Made of eco-friendly aluminum
The Always Pan is made from cast aluminum, with a nonstick ceramic coating on the interior and a colorful coating outside. Before the exterior coating is applied, a layer of molten magnetic stainless steel is sprayed on the bottom of the pan so it can be used on induction cooktops. However, future versions of the pan will have a more traditional stainless steel disk base which will be uncoated. While this will change the look of the pan, it'll perform better on induction burners. It's not oven safe but unlike other nonstick pans, all the materials on the Always Pan are non-toxic and made without PFOA or PTFE.
The spatula sits on top of the handle and nestles inside the pot through a slot under the lid so that it can rest during cooking.
Heating Capacity: Heats quickly and evenly
Because the Always Pan is made from aluminum, it heats up quickly. The pan's thickness and stainless steel layer also help with even heating and provide some heat retention, too. While Our Place recommends using the pan on low and medium-low heat to protect the nonstick coating, they say that an occasional sear is okay.
The locking lid is designed to keep steam inside when you want and release steam when you don't. While this feature sounds helpful, we found it not to matter as much since steam tended to escape through the spatula cutout when the pan was covered.
Performance: Mixed results
The first test we performed on the Always Pan was with carrots. We braised them until they were tender, then drained the water using the pan's pour spout, added butter, and gave them a quick sauté. The shape of the pan made flipping the carrots without utensils easy. While the end of the handle stayed cool during this test, it was hotter closer to the pan. We also tried stirring with the beechwood spatula but found that we needed to use a different silicone spoon for scooping the carrots onto a serving dish.
We tested the nonstick performance with eggy French toast made with small slices of cinnamon bread. They fit well with plenty of room to skate around the pan. Two slices of average-sized bread also fit, but they were right next to each other, with not as much space. The French toast didn’t even think about sticking and scrambled eggs slid around the surface easily.
While Our Place's website claims that the steamer basket can be used for boiling pasta, we found that it would only be useful for a very small amount to avoid frothy water overflowing in the pan. Therefore, we’d choose to use a taller pan if we needed to make pasta.
We also tried steaming a small head of cauliflower, but it didn’t fit in the steamer basket with the lid in place. Once we cut the cauliflower into florets, it filled the basket with room to spare. The steamer basket was useful for steaming hard-boiled eggs, too, and it was simple to lift the eggs from the pan using the basket. However, liquid levels should be monitored during cooking to make sure the liquid doesn't evaporate or overflow.
Ultimately, we found most of the company's advertising claims to be true. The Always Pan can work as a nonstick frying pan, sauté pan, skillet, or saucier with ease. It can also steam foods as long as they’re not too large. While this pan can do some of the same things as a saucepan, a saucepan is typically deeper, and the Always Pan didn't leave us much room for simmering sauces. The spatula holder is useful with the included spatula, but we wish it could hold generic spoons as well.
Cleaning: Nonstick makes it easy
While the pan is dishwasher safe, the manufacturer suggests handwashing it instead. When one of our sauces boiled over, cleaning the burned bits off the bottom took little effort. We were happy cleaning the Always Pan was so easy. Since the pan's appearance is one of its strong points, we know that keeping it in mint condition won't be a problem.
It can hold up to 2.5 quarts of liquid; anything more than that might overflow into the spatula cutout.
Price: Expensive for nonstick
Retailing for $145, we felt that this pan was a bit expensive. However, it's a very attractive modestly-sized nonstick pan that we liked using. While we can’t be sure how long the coating will last, the generous warranty gives us hope.
Always Pan vs. T-fal 10-Inch Jumbo Cooker
The Always Pan is expensive for a nonstick pan, while the T-fal 10-Inch Jumbo Cooker is more affordable and less attractive. The T-fal has the same diameter as the Always Pan but it’s deeper, with a 4.2-quart volume. While we love the look of the Always Pan and were happy that it came with extra features, the price will keep some buyers away. If you're in need of a medium nonstick skillet for a budget-friendly price, consider the T-fal 10-inch skillet instead.
- Product Name Always Pan
- Product Brand Our Place
- UPC 713929385690
- Price $145
- Color options Spice (red clay), steam (off white), char (dark gray), sage, or lavender
- Material Aluminum with ceramic nonstick interior and hidden magnetic base
- Warranty “We offer free returns anytime to any customer who is not 100% satisfied. We have a 30-day, no questions asked trial period. After that, we are always happy to replace your Always Pan if there are any issues, or it's not up to your expectations.”
- What’s Included A steamer basket, beechwood spatula, and sponge are included