Easy to store
Easy to clean
Dishwasher and oven safe
May be too small for families
Short handle gets too hot to hold
We purchased the Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick Stir-Fry Pan so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
Constructed of sturdy, hard-anodized aluminum and three layers of nonstick coating, Calphalon’s stir-fry pan is a high-quality workhorse. Use it to sauté, braise, simmer, steam, sear, grill, bake, or, of course, stir-fry whatever you’ve got in your fridge. Though its 10-inch diameter is a little small for some, it does make it easy to throw in the dishwasher. So, is the small-but-mighty wok worth the price? We set out to determine just that.
Design: Imperfect but effective
At 10 inches in diameter, Calphalon’s wok is one of the smallest on the market. Don’t let its slight size fool you, though—it’s one of the most powerful all-purpose pans you’re likely to find. Thanks to its compact size and hard-anodized aluminum exterior, the pan heats up incredibly quick and its curved sides retain heat to ensure even and speedy cooking. It’s also small enough to easily stash away—even if you have limited storage space. We found that it fit in our narrow dishwasher and oven, which makes it the ideal pan for one or two people sharing an apartment, dorm room, or otherwise cramped cooking space.
We found that the pan’s flat bottom provided just enough space to sear meat and cook eggs.
Although it’s modeled after traditional woks (barring its nontraditional flat bottom), the Calphalon stir-fry pan is capable of much more than just stir-frying. We found that the pan’s flat bottom provided just enough space to sear meat and cook eggs. Its bowl-like depth also allows for sauce preparation, braising, and steaming—that is, if you can find a lid to fit. The bottom is almost exactly burner-sized, and it’s safe to use on gas, electric, electric coil, halogen, and ceramic cooktops, as well as in ovens up to 450°F.
For all its positives, though, this wok isn’t without flaws. As the pan is small, its brushed stainless steel handle is proportionately short, and though the end of the handle stays cool enough to grip, its base its too hot to hold. If you plan on flipping and tossing ingredients, you’ll need to be particularly careful. Because the pan heats up so rapidly, you’ll also need to watch out for accidental burning. We found that the best way to avoid burning was to simply be patient. Let your pan preheat on low for a minute or two (rather than jumping straight to high) before adding your ingredients. As touched on above, this pan also doesn’t come with a lid, so you’ll need to buy one separately or borrow from another pan you already own.
The ideal pan for one or two people sharing an apartment, dorm room, or otherwise cramped cooking space.
Material: Sturdy, scratch-free, and nonstick
Calphalon’s pan is made from hard-anodized aluminum, which makes this wok twice as sturdy as typical aluminum. This specially treated material is also more immune to scratches and better able to withstand high heat than untreated aluminum. The pan’s hard-anodized aluminum is then topped with three layers of PFOA-free nonstick coating, which renders it truly nonstick and easy to clean.
Thanks to its compact size and hard-anodized aluminum exterior, the pan heats up incredibly quick and its curved sides retain heat to ensure even and speedy cooking.
Another benefit of nonstick coating is that you can use just a small amount of oil when you cook. Calphalon suggests using an oil mister or rubbing a paper towel daubed with oil or butter around the base of the pan to ensure a light, even coating. To maintain its smooth surface, be sure to use only nylon, coated, or wooden utensils with this pan.
Cleaning: Clean by hand or put it in the dishwasher
This nonstick wok is dishwasher safe, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry. After a couple of rounds of veggie sautés, we found the pan required little elbow grease to clean. Throw it in the sink with dish soap and use a non-abrasive sponge or paper towel to free leftover residue.
Price: Comparable to competitors
Retailing for $54.99, Calphalon’s wok is priced similarly to competitor models. It may seem like a splurge for amateur or infrequent cooks, but remember that the hardworking pan can prepare virtually any ingredient using almost any method. Its high-quality build also ensures it’ll be in rotation for years to come.
Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick Stir-Fry Pan vs. T-fal Easy Care Jumbo Wok
The Calphalon 10-inch wok does exactly what it says it will: it heats up quickly, cooks food evenly, and is extremely easy to clean. As we mentioned, though, the pan isn’t without flaws. The handle gets too hot to grip and though it’s fairly priced, it may be too expensive for occasional cooks, especially considering there are cheaper woks on the market.
Take a look at the $44.99 T-fal Easy Care Jumbo Wok, for instance, which makes up for the Calphalon’s few shortcomings. Like the Calphalon, the T-fal is nonstick, easy to clean, dishwasher- and oven-safe (though only up to 350°F), and is safe to use on gas, electric, halogen, and ceramic cooktops. Unlike the Calphalon, however, the T-fal wok is kitted out with a long rubber handle that truly stays cool to the touch, plus a rubber helper handle on its opposite end. Those dual handles make it easy to safely manipulate the T-fal pan over your heat source, which is tough to do with Calphalon’s single short handle. As the name suggests, the T-fal Easy Care Jumbo Wok is also bigger than the Calphalon at 14 inches in diameter, so it may be worth it for cooks who have more mouths to feed.
Weigh your options—and storage space—before buying.
The Calphalon stir-fry pan is a great choice for those seeking an all-in-one pan to cook for just one or two people at a time. That said, there are less expensive (and often larger) woks worth considering. Assess your kitchen storage and how many mouths you have to feed before committing to either.
- Product Name Contemporary Nonstick 10-In. Stir-Fry Pan
- Product Brand Calphalon
- MPN 1877054
- Price $54.99
- Weight 4.45 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 20.5 x 13 x 5.5 in.
- Color Black
- Material Hard-anodized aluminum
- Care Dishwasher safe
- Warranty Full lifetime