Business_news HexClad skillets work for any and all cooktops — here’s why it’s the only nonstick pan you’ll find in my kitchen

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Hexclad’s 10-inch hybrid skillet

Jose Manuel Velez/Courtesy of Owen Burke


  • If you’re a fan of nonstick pans but aren’t too pleased with the way (toxic) nonstick coatings tend to flake off,HexCladmight be your new favorite cookware brand.
  • HexClad’s nearly indestructible three-ply pans consist of stainless steel, magnetic stainless steel (for magnetic induction stovetops) and aluminum, finished off with laser etchings and diamond (carbon) dust.
  • We put one through its paces for three months. Here’s how it did.
  • Read more:The best cookware sets

Usually, when it comes to choosing a pan from your quiver, the quest begins with the question of either nonstick or uncoated solid metal (cast iron, steel, copper, and so on). With nonstick, you’re safer from botching omelets, pancakes, or anything else that might glue itself to the surface of your skillet. Accidentally scratch that nonstick coating (be it Teflon, or other polymers), though, and it’s game over. On the other hand, there’s metal, which is great for searing, can handle higher heat, and is mostly dishwasher-safe — scratches merely offer character, not a death sentence, to a solid metal pan.

Enter 2020, the year of HexClad (among…other things). The brand’s unique three-ply pans offer the best of both worlds, which is why they’re slowly replacing all of the cookware in my kitchen. Here’s my full review. 

Tech and specs

Dishwasher-safe pans are always a relief.

Jose Manuel Velez/Courtesy of Owen Burke


There’s all sorts of technology incorporated into these pans. Most of it is not novel, though. Similarly toAll-Clad’s d3 pans, HexClad’s cookware consists of an aluminum core wedged between two layers of stainless steel (one of which is magnetic for compatibility with magnetic induction cooktops).

Whatisnew is the hexagonal pattern and the diamond dust finish. Diamond dust, or diamond powder, is something commonly used in the beauty trade to illuminate skin and hide blemishes, offering a sheen that also purportedly lends these pans their nonstick surface.

The hexagonal pattern is actually a series of etchings that leave stainless steel ridges, or “peaks”  and “valleys,” as the brand refers to them, which also contribute to the cookware’s nonstick properties. What you’re left with is something virtually scratch-proof (the brand says scratch-resistant, but I’ve yet to manage a scratch at all) that functions every bit as well as more traditional coatings likeTeflon, a material that can release toxic chemicalswhen it reaches 500 degrees. HexClad’s pans are also free of PFOA/C8, by the way, which theCDCand theAmerican Cancer Societylist as a harmful substance to both humans and the environment. 

To get a better grasp of how this pan is supposed to work, we reached out to CEO and President of HexClad, Daniel Winer: “Our design is laser etched directly into the steel. Then the non-stick is added into the “valleys” and it is triple polished,” he said. “So essentially, your food is resting on top of the steel, which is why you get the great sear.” In my experience, all of this checks out. Even though I aggressively burned eggs and fish skin in my HexClad pan, all it took was a quick swipe of a sponge to ready my skillet for the next attempt. 

Then there’s the handle. It’s designed to stay cool while the skillet itself heats, and I have to say that I haven’t developed a single burn from handling this pan. The handle also fits perfectly well in the palm of at least three different-sized hands, which, sadly, is not often the case. This thing wins design points all around in my book.

In the kitchen, on the stove, and beyond

Crispy salmon skin is not a problem.

Jose Manuel Velez/Courtesy of Owen Burke


Let me break here and say that I adamantly despise nonstick pans with proprietary polymer coatings, which are essentially all the same and more or less toxic. Sure, we’re probably getting a little granular, and while I don’t fancy myself much of a hippie or a hypochondriac, I try to keep gratuitous harmful substances out of my diet when and where it’s within reason.

Further, when Ihaveowned nonstick cookware, it hasn’t lasted long in my hands. A couple of careless swipes with a metal spatula and it was game over and into the trash bin for those unfortunate (and unworthy) pieces of inventory within my already-too-crowded kitchen.

So, when I received my sample to test from HexClad, the first thing I did was break out the stainless steel spatula and get to scraping. Rather than find flecks of carbon, steel, or whatever else in my freshly caught and filleted fish, I was going to get to the bottom of this pan immediately. But scratch and scrape I did, and there wasn’t so much as a blemish on the surface of the pan. It passed its first test effortlessly. (I, on the other hand, had broken a sweat, and worked up an appetite.)

Scratch away. This thing won’t give or blemish.

Jose Manuel Velez/Courtesy of Owen Burke/Business Insider


Next, I scrubbed it with the wrong (green) side of a Brillo sponge (you learn very quickly not to use Brillo on good stainless steel when working in a commercial kitchen). Still no scratches.

Testing nonstick qualities with an egg without oil or butter. It didn’t quite work out, but came close.

Jose Manuel Velez/Courtesy of Owen Burke


Then I set it on the gas stove with a medium flame and cracked an egg into it, sans oil or butter. This, as I see it, is the ultimate nonstick cookware test. The egg ended up sticking some, but this is a freshly scrubbed pan. With a little seasoning, or a small drizzle of oil, there’s no trouble, and a spatula is not necessary. At least not in good hands.

Again, this is a perfectly clean pan with no oil.

Jose Manuel Velez/Courtesy of Owen Burke


In the ensuing months, I’ve managed to cook everything from crispy-skinned fish, to a slew of sauces, and reheated grits. The best part? The skillet goes right in the dishwasher.

And, should anything horrific happen to your pan — though after three months of careless use I can’t possibly imagine how — it’s covered by a lifetime warranty, save for cosmetic damage that won’t affect the quality of the cookware anyhow. 

If cooking is a hobby of yours, you don’t need a HexClad, but it will get any job done with relative ease compared to whatever else you’re cooking in. If you’re working with nonstick cookware already, upgrading to HexClad is worth it without a shadow of a doubt. And let me add that if you are using something like Teflon and not regularly disposing of it at the first sign of flaking, then you’re flagrantly gambling with carcinogens.

If you happen to view cooking as more of a chore than anything else, and want to be in and out of the kitchen as fast as humanly possible, you almost objectively need this pan (and I don’t make recommendations lightly). If you’re comfortable with what you have for now, great. My money is on HexClad being around whenever the timedoescome for you to invest in some new cookware, and the company’s offer of alifetime warrantycertainly doesn’t hurt. HexClad makes eight-, 10-, and 12-inch skillets as well as a griddle and a series of wok-stir-fry hybrids and pots, though the best deal is probably the seven-piece set. If you’re not in need of that much cookware, a single pan is always a good place to start.

Pros:Dishwasher-safe, scratch-resistant, PFOA and C8-free, compatible with magnetic induction stovetops, lifetime warranty

Cons:Depending on how you see it, maybe the price


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Insider Reviews 2020
Kitchen
Hexclad
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