Spacious size and high sides
Incredibly easy to clean
Too big for some stoves
Only oven-safe to 400 degrees
Somewhat of a learning curve
Grill pans, such as the Anolon Advanced Hard-Anodized Nonstick 11-Inch Deep Square Grill Pan with Pour Spouts, are a mainstay on many popular cooking shows, and it’s easy to see why. These pans, which feature raised ridges along the bottom, are designed to give you the same char marks you’d get from traditional grilling, yet you can cook your food inside and don’t have to deal with the cost and maintenance of a grill. As such, they’re a popular option for those who want grill-cooked meat and vegetables but don’t have the means to truly grill the foods.
However, there are a few common complaints about grill pans, including that they’re obnoxious to clean and will smoke up your home if you try to sear foods. To see if the Anolon Advanced Nonstick Square Grill Pan solved these problems, we put it to the test, cooking up a variety of foods over the course of a week. Read on to see what our verdict was.
Performance: Not exactly like grilled food—but pretty close
There’s somewhat of a learning curve with the Anolon Advanced Nonstick Square Grill Pan. It has a “sweet spot” in terms of heat, and if you’ve never used a grill pan before, it may take a while to figure it out. The first time we used the pan, the burner was on high, and while this produced beautiful char marks on our steak, it created a lot of smoke—so much that we were afraid our smoke detector would go off. The next time around, we erred on the side of caution, heating up the pan on medium heat to cook a chicken breast. This, unfortunately, was too low, and while it was still cooked well, we didn’t end up with those distinctive char marks on the meat.
The Anolon Advanced Nonstick Square Grill Pan has a ‘sweet spot’ in terms of heat, and if you’ve never used a grill pan before, it may take a while to figure it out.
After some trial and error, we finally got the hang of using this grill pan. The best results are achieved by heating up the pan on high, then turning it down to medium-high after putting the food in. This gives you nice char marks without creating too much smoke. Believe it or not, one of the best dishes we made in this grill pan was French toast, which really benefited from the touch of charred flavor. However, while your food will look like it’s been grilled and have a little extra crunch, it won’t have the same smokey flavor that you’d get from a traditional outdoor grill.
What’s nice about this grill pan is you can also use it in the oven—for instance, we used it on the stovetop to put a nice sear on a pork loin, then popped it in the oven for several minutes to finish it off. This is a great option for thick cuts of meat, but the pan is only oven-safe up to 400 degrees, which we found limits your cooking options. Additionally, the instructions say the handle may become discolored if you regularly use the pan in the oven.
Design: Large size is both a pro and a con
The Anolon Advanced Nonstick Square Grill Pan is definitely oversized, measuring 11 inches across and boasting sides that are 2 inches high. Its size is both a blessing and a curse. On the plus side, we could easily fit several pieces of meat into this grill pan, making it a great option for big families or anyone who hosts guests frequently.
However, keep in mind that many modern cooktops only have 6- and 9-inch heating elements. If this is the case with your stove, the 11-inch pan won’t be heated around the edges. Luckily, our glass cooktop has an 11-inch element, so the grill pan fit nicely with only the very corners hanging over the edges of the heat.
We could easily fit several pieces of meat into this grill pan, making it a great option for big families or anyone who hosts guests frequently.
Beyond that, the Anolon Advanced Nonstick Square Grill Pan looks like your average nonstick pan, with a gray finish and rubberized, non-slip handle. It also has a small loop at the end, so you could hang it up if you wanted, and there are pour spouts on either side, which came in handy when we wanted to pour off some liquid.
Check out our guide to the best small saucepans you can buy.
Material: Tough hard-anodized aluminum with triple nonstick coating
Many grill pans are cast iron, but this Anolon product is made from hard-anodized aluminum. This means the metal, which is fairly soft on its own, is hardened through an electrolytic process. The brand claims the resulting material is twice as strong as stainless steel, and the grill pan does, in fact, seem very sturdy.
Even when the pan was covered in burnt-on food, it was easy for us to wipe clean with a wet sponge.
Further, the pan is treated with three layers of nonstick coating, and we were truly impressed at how well it performed. One chicken breast we cooked was soaked in a sugary marinade, and it created quite the caked-on mess while cooking. However, it took just a few swipes with a sponge and soapy water to get rid of the grime. Plus, unlike with many nonstick pans, you can use metal utensils with this particular piece of cookware without fear of scratching the finish.
Heating Capability: Aluminum reigns supreme
Aluminum is one of the best metals in terms of heat conduction—that’s why stainless steel pans often have an aluminum core. With this in mind, it’s no surprise the Anolon Advanced Nonstick Square Grill Pan delivers impressive heating capabilities. It heats up in a matter of minutes, and there weren’t any noticeable hot spots when we were cooking.
While the stainless steel handle is rubberized, it still gets extremely hot when you put the pan in the oven. We found that we needed to use an oven mitt to remove the grill pan from the heat.
Cleaning: Nonstick coating makes cleanup easy
One of the most common complaints about grill pans is that they’re tough to clean, as you have to get in between all the ridges. However, the nonstick finish of the Anolon Advanced pan solves this issue. Even when the pan was covered in burnt-on food, it was easy for us to wipe clean with a wet sponge.
The grill pan can’t go in the dishwasher, unfortunately, as the harsh chemicals can damage the finish. However, it’s much faster and easier to wash it by hand anyway.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best nonstick cookware sets.
Price: A durable mid-range pick
Retailing for around $40, the Anolon Advanced Nonstick Square Grill Pan is a mid-price option. Considering the size of the pan, its durability, and the brand’s lifetime guarantee, we think it’s worth the cost, especially if you’ll use it regularly.
Anolon Advanced Nonstick Square Grill Pan vs. Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron Grill Pan
Another highly-rated grill pan is the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron model, which retails for a similar price as the Anolon. However, that’s about as far as the similarities go between the two products.
The Cuisinart pan is made from enameled cast iron, so even though it’s only 9.25 inches, it weighs significantly more than the Anolon grill pan. The cast iron retains heat better than aluminum, allowing the pan to stay hot longer, but its handle isn’t covered in any way, so it gets hot when you’re cooking. Plus, because it’s not nonstick, the Cuisinart pan is more of a process to clean—however, it can go in the dishwasher.
Bottom line? The choice really comes down to your personal preferences on size, material, and cleaning, as they’re both quality products.
Quantity and quality for a fair price
If your primary concern is cooking in bulk—and your cooktop is able to accommodate its size—the Anolon Advanced Hard-Anodized Nonstick 11-Inch Deep Square Grill Pan with Pour Spouts is an unbeatable option. This pan will deliver the lovely grill marks you’re seeking (with a little practice, anyway), and it’s both durable and easy to clean.
- Product Name Advanced Hard-Anodized Nonstick 11-Inch Square Grill Pan
- Product Brand Anolon
- SKU 83629
- Price $39.99
- Color Bronze, Gray
- Material Hard-anodized aluminum, rubberized stainless steel handle
- Warranty Lifetime