I’ve been using one type of “Granite Rock” pan for about two years now. (Not the brand listed here, but something that I believe is comparable.)
I’m not entirely displeased with it. It is no longer as “non-stick” as when I first got it, but it seems adequate for most of my modest frying needs. However, I have read that the outer material fractures over time, possibly revealing an inner Teflon surface with all of the problems that Teflon may have. I tend to cook at temperatures below 450 F, though, so I’m not too worried.
My previous pan of choice was a ceramic. I loved it at first, but then about three months into using it, I heated a tortilla and then accidentally left the heat on for about ten minutes after removing the tortilla. The tortilla oil baked onto the ceramic surface in such a way that no amount of cleaning would remove it. I found plenty of advice online about cleaning ceramic pans, but none of it gave me anything like the non-stick surface I originally had, and I suspect that some of it probably caused me to damage the pan.
I find cast iron to be a genuine pain in the ass in terms of maintenance, but I can’t help respecting its long-lasting usefulness in cooking.
How long have you had them, Mark? My concern is with a lot of these alternative choices (like porcelain and silicon) start off with great non-stick properties but lose them very quickly. It’s why I stick to having all three of traditional non-stick, stainless-steel and cast-iron/carbon-steel sets myself.
Scan pan for the win. I have had mine for about 10 years and no scratches. I even occasionally use metal utensils with it. Takes half the time to heat up versus cast iron so perfect for eggs.
ETA: for those who aren’t familiar, the Scan Pan has a nonstick coating that is not PTFE. The nonstick nature of their coating comes from the extremely high temperatures during the manufacturing process. I don’t remember the exact number but it is well over 1000 degrees F. The higher temperature hardens the coating so much that they claim metal utensils are okay to use.
By contrast, getting a PTFE pan up to 450 F starts to release the bird-killing gas.
The downsides are cost and availability; I had to pay retail at Sur La Table, several times the cost of otherwise equivalent PTFE.
Although is it almost impossible to discover from the product page, these pans are actually PTFE/Teflon pans. Not saying that is bad, but all the usual caveats about heat and longevity apply. I have this pan and (like other PTFE pans) it is great and non-stick. Confused? Not surprised, manufacturers have rebranded many PTFE/teflon pans due to consumer fear. (there is a nice post on therationalkitchen about this topic…)
I did recently learn that using an aerosol cooking spray (like Pam) will ruin the nonstick coating on some pans, I didn’t even know this until I got my air fryer and it specified not to use those sprays on the trays. They make cooking sprays with just the oil and no propellent or anything else in the can (they have a different kind of sprayer) and those are ok. I recently got some new pans with one of those newer non-teflon coatings, so I’m going to see if not using the spray makes them last longer.
Why not a stainless steel pan then? They’re my go to. As long-lasting as a cast iron skillet (if used normally. Obviously you can’t sand it down like you could cast iron) and I never understood why people need non-stick functionality anyway. On most cooking you want browning in the pan so you can develop a sauce. Non-stick pans (and seasoned cast iron) are specialty cookware, not allrounders.
Last time these were posted, I think I mentioned that I had one and enjoyed using it. They’re still good, but the coating did eventually begin to wear out and become less effective and my family has switched to wrought iron skillets. These are fantastic and may very well be the last ones we ever have to buy- they’re extremely durable, conduct heat better, are easy to clean, and only require a little bit of maintenance. The only downsides are that you shouldn’t leave them in the sink too long and they’re more expensive, but not unreasonably so.
I, too, purchased one based on the original post - it actually does want you want: without using a spatula the eggs will slide around & off the pan when you shake it by hand. I am quite pleased with this purchase.
FWIW I just had to buy a new pan, and got one by Green Pan. Consumer Reports like them, and they torture test with high heat and metal utensils – Green Pan scored high on both. Now, I avoid both, but it means the coating’s tough.