Stylish and looks great in the kitchen • Spoon rest is a helpful perk • Steaming basket is a fun extra — if you’ll use it
Squared handle is very uncomfortable • Degradation started way too early for the high price tag • Less versatile than expected
The Always Pan from Our Place nails it when it comes to Instagram-friendly style, but the final product doesn’t live up to the hype (or the $145 price tag).
Before we get into this review, I’d be remiss not to admit something up front: I am very susceptible to Instagram-famous products. Call me a sucker, sue me, whatever — I simply cannot resist a stylishly muted color or a sunlit product photo. I try to scroll past, but they call to me.
I’m willing to bet that a lot of you out there are just like me. Please know that you are seen.
Unsurprisingly, I was extra intrigued by the Always Pan from Our Place. You’ve probably seen it on Instagram: It’s that pan with the cool minimalist design, handy spatula slot, and non-stick coating. It also purports to “replace eight traditional pieces of cookware” — a big claim. (It has a big price to match: $145.)
But was it all style and no substance? Did it live up to the hype? I needed to know. So for the past month, I’ve been using the pan to prepare most of my meals.
Style over substance
Right off the bat, Our Place’s product page for the Always Pan feels a little too good to be true. The Pan itself looks lovely, of course, and the copy makes plenty of promises. “This do-it-all wonder is designed to replace eight traditional pieces of cookware. Plus, it looks pretty good too,” the main tagline reads. Unfortunately, only one of those things is true.
I desperately wanted to love this pan, and at first, I did.
Yes, the pan is beautiful. It looks amazing on my countertop, and I constantly have it on display so I can marvel at it. But that prettiness doesn’t last. Although the pan looked stellar out of the box, I noticed exterior chipping and staining after just a few uses, especially on the pan’s bottom. While any pan will stain and age over time, this wear was both super fast and super visible — not a good combination.
It’s not as if I was rough with the pan, either. In fact, I was extremely careful with it the entire month: washing it by hand (even though it’s supposed to be dishwasher-safe), only using wooden utensils, and never placing it on a burner above medium-high.
Still, I couldn’t keep the nicks and chips at bay. I can only imagine what the pan would look like if I hadn’t cared for it like it was my own child.
The honeymoon phase
I desperately wanted to love this pan, and at first, I did. Despite my annoyance at the chipping during the first week of use, I was impressed with the pan’s ceramic non-stick surface. I took great pleasure in sliding perfectly cooked eggs right out onto my plate without any resistance, leaving nothing behind in the pan.
Cooking vegetables with the steaming basket was also a treat — the locking lid was also nice to have in this case — and whipping up sauces was especially fun thanks to the pour spouts on either side of the pan.
The spatula rest was more useful than I thought it would be, and it helped to keep my countertops clear of food debris. (This was an improvement on my old method of balancing my utensils on my pans, which never ended well.) Even the beechwood spatula that came with the pan, while not groundbreaking by any means, was nice.
But the honeymoon phase didn’t last long.
Non-stick? Sure, but not for long.
Our Place doesn’t hold back when it comes to boasting about the Always Pan’s non-stick surface. A huge chunk of the customer reviews claim that the non-stickiness is flawless. “What can I say? This is a magical pan,” one review reads. “It looks and feels so sturdy but it’s lightweight! I keep waiting for the gorgeous non-stick to just suddenly stop working, but after 40-plus uses, it’s just as slippery.”
That’s why I was surprised when the non-stick surface started to, well, stick. Towards the end of my review period, I began to notice a slight change in how well the non-stick coating performed overall. Though it’s still serviceable, an egg doesn’t slide from the pan with the same ease as before.
Coating degradation is not necessarily an issue specific to the Always Pan. Most non-stick pans will lose their luster over time. However, the Always Pan seems to have gotten to less-than-ideal condition uncommonly fast.
Here’s some advice from resident kitchen expert and Mashable Shopping fellow Jae Thomas:
In my experience, there’s no non-stick pan that will stay that way forever. If you’re lucky, a non-stick pan will retain its stick-free qualities for around five years, but any pan with an applied coating will eventually wear off with use. For something a little more durable and budget-friendly, I love the Tramontina porcelain enamel pans. You can basically cook anything with minimal oil and minimal stickage — I’ve been using the set I have for over two years with amazing results. A really well-seasoned cast iron pan will act as a non-stick pan too, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort that goes into the upkeep.
Even with intense care, I don’t see my Always Pan making it five years, so I’d go with Jae’s recommendation if non-stick performance is your priority.
The “do-it-all” pan that doesn’t really do it all
Our Place says that the Always Pan can replace eight pieces of cookware, including a “fry pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest.” The issue with this claim, though, is that a lot of those items are used interchangeably to begin with. To suggest that you’ll chuck all of your cookware once the Always Pan gets to your doorstep is a reach.
In reality, my experience was that there’s plenty this “do-it-all wonder” can’t do. For one, it can’t go in the oven at all, so finishing dishes in the broiler is a no-go. (Many non-stick pans can’t go in the oven, but there are a few that can.)
Also, the non-stick coating and medium-high heat maximum make it hard to get a good sear on any kind of meat. While eggs and veggies cook well in the Always Pan, I wouldn’t recommend trying to cook a steak in it — that’s a job best suited for a cast iron that can handle high temps.
You could pick up Our Place’s Spruce Steamer to add more utility, but not everyone will want to buy extra attachments after already paying so much for the pan itself.
Another big issue I had with the pan was its concave bottom, which causes any oil in the pan to slowly seep to the sides. I was able to mitigate this by moving the pan around while I was cooking, making sure oil didn’t pool up anywhere, but it was still a pain to deal with in the first place. It also would’ve been nice to have a cover on the pan’s assist handle — it gets really hot, so I needed to protect my hand whenever I used it.
And then there’s the handle, which I found pretty baffling. It’s squared off, which was uncomfortable to hold and harder to control compared to a rounded handle. I’m just not sure what purpose this serves — I understand that the top needs to be flat for the spatula rest, but a rounded bottom would have made the pan less painful to hold.
The Always Pan is certainly a gorgeous piece of cookware. Even though my time with it wasn’t what I’d hoped for, I’ll still display it on my stovetop. But good looks can only get this pan so far. If it was priced much lower, I might’ve been able to forgive the pan’s shortcomings. But at $145, it should come with fewer downsides.
If you’re looking primarily for style and don’t cook super frequently, then sure, take cute kitchen photos to your heart’s content. Zero judgment here. But if you want a long-lasting pan that can genuinely replace other pieces of cookware, the Always Pan probably isn’t it.
I was hoping that something called the Always Pan would become a fixture in my kitchen for years to come, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I have no choice but to not stan this pan, even if a large portion of the internet does.