Good deal on nonstick Thermo-Spot fry pans

[Read the post]

1 Like

Nah, the handle doesn’t bolt through.

Cast iron, man! Don’t you read your own blog?


It’s tough to pick up good vintage cast iron at a thrift shop and use the /B00KHTOYL0/boingboing part of the URL in real life…they just look at you funny…


Can you use metal utensils & is it dishwasher safe?

My newest pans have a ceramic coating, they are far superior in non-stickyness and durability over this teflon non-stick stuff that used to be the standard. I feel like this is getting a good deal because they realize this stuff is on the way out? I could be missing the mark here but that is what I suspect.

well sometimes when a man as used too many high tech scales perfect for measuring small amounts of herbal teas he can get slightly forgetful amount other things.

I don’t care what the ads say. You’re not using metal utensils in anything non-stick (if you want longevity, otherwise who cares?), and no cookware is really dishwasher safe (if you want longevity, otherwise who cares?). If you’re down with replacing your pans prematurely then its fine. And given that non-stick on any sort needs replacement every few years as it is I don’t see why not.

As far as I know, in absolute terms teflon pans are still more non-stick than any other option. I don’t know where they stack up durability wise anymore, the really cheap ones are pretty short lived (and kind of a wash on the not sticking front). But there’s no end of cheap non-stick in every variety of coating. Saw $20 ceramic coating pans at the big box store today. These ones are cheap (if they’re the ones I’m thinking of) because they’re quite thin aluminium. And judging by the Amazon page, because purple is an unpopular color for non-stick pans. There’s pressure to keep non-stick cheap, because they’re short lived. No matter how much you spend you’ll never get one that will “last a life time”. Because that coating will wear after a while. At which point it starts to stick, and then what the hell is the point of the thing?

Non-stick is still more non-stick. I’ve got a cabinet full of vintage cast iron with 60 years + of well maintained seasoning (COOK BACON IN IT!). Things still stick to a certain extent (which is a good thing, you get fond that way). Cheap non-stick skillet? Not so much. When I don’t have access to the family stock of cast Iron the non-stick is handy for ridiculously sticky shit like eggs and fish. And sometimes I opt for that even when the cast iron is around, cheap non-stick is ripe for abuse in the way good cast Iron isn’t. This stuff is for the special cases and lazy cookin’. I wouldn’t spend money on it though. I’ve gotten at most 5 years from a non-stick skillet.

1 Like

[quote=“kingannoy, post:6, topic:76166”]
My newest pans have a ceramic coating, they are far superior in non-stickyness and durability over this teflon non-stick stuff
[/quote]Well, so it thought a few weeks after I purchased a professional-grade ceramic non-stick pan. Massive aluminium body with thick stainless steel at the bottom (so that it doesn’t warp over time and works on induction range), ugly, massive and very long handle from bare metal, sold under the brand that supplies utensils to restaurants, hotels and suchlike. After a few months of intensive use (*) even a piece of bacon stuck to it when frying. I have tried to clean the pan with salt, sodium bicarbonate crystals, that melamine wonder-sponge, and later, out of sheer desperation even a very fine polishing paste. Nothing helps.
It seems you need to be very careful with a ceramic pan from the very beginning, always use a bit of oil to cover the bottom thoroughly, do not use it for frying …
In the meanwhile my teflon pan made by respectable brand is still going strong.
And for frying I took my trusty cast-iron pan out of the highest cupboard (where it sat in a semi-retirement)

(*) Paleo diet will increase the use of your pan from once a week to twice a day :wink:


This. I’ve got a fancy-pants ceramic frying pan that was a Christmas gift. It made great omelettes for about a week, now it’s borderline useless. For best results, always cook dinner on a big ol’ greasy hunk of metal with fire underneath it.


Teflon is great if you use it correctly. Most people don’t. The “proper” way is to turn the heat on medium, let the pan heat up, and then cook on it. Once finished, let it cool before you wash it.

I have some older teflon pans (one about 4 years old) that’s lost it’s stick because I used to typically cook by cranking up the heat to get the pan hot as quickly as possible, and then reduced the heat once food got on. So I slowly ruined the teflon. It’s still fine if I add a good amount of oil (1tbsp), but newer pans are slick even with a slight spray of oil.

Thermo-spot is no good, though, as are most of these curvy, cheap pans. I’ve been using T-Fal pans and their coating is long-lasting and the pans have good heft and even heat distribution. Of course, this is because I cook with very little oil – if you’re caramelizing onions in 3tbsp of oil, you can use stainless steel or whatever.

FWIW, we have 2 ceramic pans that were inexpensive (from TJ Maxx or similar) but they have held up all right (1 of the pans says Tramontina; the other IPAC). OTOH I don’t think we use either of them more than once or twice a week, lately.

I have no desire to buy another cheap non-stick pan again. CI is great for somethings, but I’m liking SS these days. They take some effort to keep clean, but really not that much.

Thermo-spot is T-Fal. In fact it was one of their older lines. Its cheap low end stuff now a-days. But even 10 years ago it was the pricier harder to find T-Fal.

Your older pans probably need to be discarded, once the non-stick starts to stick it means the coating has eroded, at the very least the part that’s non-stick has disappeared. Which means it has/is migrating into your food at least a bit. And while you generally don’t want high heat with non-stick. The issue is more with heating the pans empty than it is with what level you set the burner to. There’s a limit of what temperature the coating can take before breaking down/vaporizing. I think its some where north of 400f. Heating the pan with something in it, even just a small amount of oil is usually enough to prevent it from crossing that line. Likewise you need to keep them out of the oven.

For that reason and others you do need to cook with oil in non-stick (though I know you said you do). There’s browning, and evenness, and texture, and flavor to deal with as well. And in that vein sticking isn’t necessarily a bad thing in all cases. At least some sticking (and sometimes more than some) is desirable because it gives you flavorful stuck on brown bits for sauces and building layered flavor (which is what I like Stainless Steel for). You don’t generally get much or any of that in non-stick. And typically I find people who insist on cooking in nothing by non-stick, or complain that any other cookware isn’t as non-stick as non-stick no matter what they do, or is too difficult to work with tend to cook bland, insipid, and frankly poorly prepared food. Not accusing you of that, just a general observation.

1 Like

Maillard reaction. We do most of our frying nowadays on a Turk forged iron pan, its cooking behavior is comparable to smooth cast iron but it is easier to handle. Once you leave meat on long enough to brown, it releases and is as nonstick as one would like. I usually use a little oil to cook eggs, maybe a teaspoon of avocado oil for 4-6 eggs, and they slide around like Sonja Henie on ice.

And that’d be the utility in cast iron and carbon steel. You can make it stick or release or what have as needed based on heat level and added fat. Stainless steel always sticks (and it gives you amazing fond). Non-stick never sticks (and gives you crap to non-existent fond). Your various bare irons and carbons steels can do just enough of both to be awesome.

Your “forged iron” pan has a form factor borrowed from traditional carbon steel pans. And given the thinness I’m seeing when I google it I’m willing to bet its a bit like Debuyer’s Mineral B pans. Bills itself as iron, forged iron, or like cast iron but is in actuality just a steel with very low carbon content. Though these seem to be constructed differently from typical carbon steel pans.

Carbon steel is great. Its thinner (and thus lighter) than Cast Iron. So as a result it doesn’t hold as much heat. But it will heat up a lot faster. Very common type of pan in professional kitchens. I’m curious if the Turk pan will take a season in the same way as cast iron. Carbon steel pans (including woks) typically need a slightly different approach. They need more frequent treatments with heat and oil, won’t necessarily build multiple layers, and tend to have a less durable less even coating when broken in.

I think my Turk is heavier than the Debuyer, but the seasoning is similar. The most traditional Turks (the ones forged by hand over an open fire) are even heavier; I haven’t used one, just drooled over one, so don’t know about its seasoning. The seasoning on my Turk is certainly not as thick as on our old cast iron, but when I use it I scrub it out pretty thoroughly, often with chain mail, and some fraction of the finish generally survives. I usually use a post-washing routine of heat-to-dry then wipe with oil, but sometimes I skip the oil and the surface is still fairly nonstick and usable.

1 Like

Sounds about right for carbon steel. They tend to build up a thin, mottled layer of seasoning. Getting blacker and more even over time, but never getting that same even solid black of cast iron. Even when well broken in they stick a bit when freshly cleaned. I need to pick one up, I’ve only really encountered them at work. Though a few cooks I know keep them at home.

Try this before use. Heat the pan up ripping hot. Splash in a table spoon or so of oil, swirl it around till it smokes heavily. Then discard the oil and wipe the pan out with a paper towel or rag. Then proceed with cooking immediately (after it cools to an appropriate temperature anyways) as if starting with a clean pan. I’m told this is the best way to render the pan as slick as possible for each and every use. Should help to build and maintain seasoning as well. Seems like the default approach when I’ve seen them used by the pros. You see those guys doing before the first time they use the pan in a shift, and every time it returns from the dish washer.


I haven’t tried the “discard the oil part,” but I don’t add oil until the pan is super-hot, and I use so little that it isn’t far off the approach you mention. I’ll give it a try next time I do any frying. The clarified avocado oil I use doesn’t really smoke heavily at any temperature, but I can use peanut or canola for the experiment.

I’ve been using avocado oil a lot lately. Its got a smoke point over 500f. It will smoke, and heavily if you get the pan hot enough. Great for steaks and its been awesome for seasoning our Cast Iron.