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Always Pan by Our Place Review - Is It Worth It?

Always Pan by Our Place Review

Is It Worth It?

3.5/5 stars

I am currently on the hunt for the best nonstick cookware to replace my no-longer nonstick Teflon set. My hunt begins with well-designed cookware (both visually and functionally) and I’ve had my eye on a number of new to market, online-only brands popping up in the cookware space. The Always Pan was one of the first to come to my attention—I was instantly drawn to the round design and stylish colors.

The Always Pan is a cookware system designed to replace a 16-piece-set and save space in the kitchen. The pan itself has an aluminum core and a ceramic nonstick coating as an alternative to Teflon. I tested the Always Pan in my kitchen for over two months and I think it’s a good piece for those who are cooking for 1-2 and want an easy to clean pan that will look stylish in their kitchen. While I was happy with the pan’s looks and performance, I found it heavy and the handle was uncomfortable to hold. I also noticed some wear on the exterior over time.

by Emily Cosnotti, MSA reviewer on the hunt for the best cookware
January 4, 2021| 27 comments

Our Place is based in Los Angeles, California and was co-founded by Shiza Shahid, formerly the CEO of the Malala Fund. Read more about how Shahid started Our Place and developed The Always Pan.

 

Always Pan Quick Facts

The Cost: $145.00. Includes 10″ pan, lid, steamer basket, and wooden spatula.

Ships to: All 50 US states for free.

Differentiator: The Always Pan aims to do the work of up to eight pieces of cookware in your kitchen. It is available in four colorways including a black color (char) and less-traditional colors like terracotta (spice), greige (steam), and green (sage).

The Always Pan replaces the fry pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula and spoon rest.

Good to Know: Due to increased demand, all colors of the Always Pan are available for pre-order with shipping estimates for each color displayed on the product page.

This product was sent to My Subscription Addiction at no cost for review purposes.

Pros & Cons

The Pros
  • Excellent nonstick surface
  • Great heat distribution and conduction
  • High sides for tidier cooking and larger meal capacity
  • Displayable design available in on-trend colors
  • Durable interior finish
  • Works on all stovetops (gas, electric, & induction)
  • No Teflon, synthetic coatings, or lead
  • Includes lid, steamer basket, wooden utensil, and sponge
  • Wooden spatula rests neatly on handle
  • No interior rivets
  • Free returns up to 30 days
The Cons
  • Heavier than other non-stick cookware
  • Non-ergonomic handle
  • Not oven-safe
  • Some visible wear on the pan’s exterior after extended use
  • Pricier than other ceramic pans from traditional retailers
Is It Worth It?
  • The Always Pan is not a budget buy but the design and functionality are there if those add value for you. If you are looking to make one purchase to fill the need for multiple pieces of cookware, the Always Pan tackles small to medium sized meals well and can likely replace multiple sauté pans. It is easy to clean and the cooking surface is holding up well after two months of regular use.
I’d Recommend the Always Pan If You: 
  • Are looking for a nonstick frying pan and want a Teflon alternative
  • Are short on kitchen storage space
  • Are cooking for 1-2 people
  • Are willing to spend a little extra for stylish cookware in on-trend colors

Ceramic vs. Teflon

There are debates surrounding the safety of Teflon cookware and the merits of non-stick ceramic coating as an alternative. I took to the internet to learn more where I discovered this helpful article on nonstick cookware safety. The basics are that chemical compounds in Teflon can break down when heated above 500 degrees, which is when toxic particles can be released.

Ceramic surfaces don’t start to break down til around 800 degrees, but it is unlikely that you’re cooking anything at a high heat temperature close to that.

The short story is: don’t overheat your non-stick cookware (Teflon or otherwise), don’t use metal spatulas that can scratch and chip surfaces, and it’s better to just hand wash, even if your cookware is dishwasher safe.

Nonstick Coating Test

 

I tested the nonstick capabilities of the Always Pan with the stickiest, hardest-to-clean-out-of-a-pan food I know of: Just Egg (a vegan egg substitute that cooks up like scrambled eggs). The slideshow above shows the Just Egg poured into the pan and then fully cooked. You can see that I was able to clear a path through the vegan egg straight to the pan’s surface with the beechwood spatula. Small bits of the vegan egg did stick to the pan during cooking but were very easy to clean off. Alternatively, when I cook this vegan egg substitute in my Teflon pans, large portions stick to the pan and are very tough to remove, often requiring a bit of a soak. I am pleased with the ceramic non-stick surface on the Always Pan that not only meant an easy hand wash but also very little food loss.

Heat Conduction

I’ve found that the Always Pan conducts heat evenly and well. It gets hotter much faster than my nonstick Teflon pans, so I’ve dialed back the heat from medium to medium low when cooking with this pan on my gas range. The long handle of the pan has a matte rubber coating and stays cool to the touch. The small handle opposite the larger handle conducts heat at the same rate as the pan and gets very hot while cooking, so be sure not to grab it without a pot holder.

Design and Quality

 

The Pan and Lid

The Always Pan‘s design is stylish enough to be displayed and reminds me of the mid-century cookware I used to hunt for at thrift shops. I chose the spice color because I’m very into all things terracotta-toned right now, but I was also very tempted by the new sage color. The pan’s exterior has a textured surface that reminds me of a cast-iron skillet while the long handle has a rubberized finish. The pan has a diameter of 10″ with two spouts for easier pouring.

The set also includes a matching domed lid with a rubber-coated knob that stays safe to touch during use. The modular lid also has a notched area that allows for steam release when properly positioned along the edge of the pan. A downside to the design of the lid is that the knob on top is not perfectly flat, meaning that combined with the weight of the domed lid, it will wobble when set knob-side-down on the countertop – a move taught to me by my mother to keep water off the countertops!

Our Place Always Pan Wooden Spatula

The Spatula

The nesting beechwood spatula and built-in handle spoon rest are some of my favorite features of this set. I love being able to rest the spatula securely on the handle instead of placing it on the counter or on a separate spoon rest. The curve of the spatula is also a bonus; it means that when I run the spatula over the edge of the pan to remove food, the food falls back into the pan instead of all over my stovetop. Because the spatula is made of wood, I don’t have to worry about it melting in contact with the pan or heating up and becoming too hot to the touch. The only downsides to wooden utensils like this spatula are that they are hand wash only and may take on stains from ingredients like turmeric.

 

The Steamer Basket

The stainless steel steamer basket is shallow, has collapsable handles, and small feet. It fits neatly inside the Always Pan and can be used in two ways: as a steamer basket for steaming or as a colander for boiling.

Our Place Always Pan Broccoli in Steamer Basket

Steaming

I am used to steaming veggies by piling them in a high-sided pot with a traditional, petal-style steamer basket, so steaming in a pan was new to me. I put the steamer basket in the pan, added water just to where it touched the bottom of the basket, then spread out bite-sized broccoli pieces evenly across the basket. I popped the lid on and set the water to boil. I was able to fit two heads of broccoli (cut into even-sized florets) in the steamer basket, which held much more than I was expecting. Spreading the broccoli out across the basket instead of stacking it high in a pot allowed it to cook each piece more evenly. The lid’s handle remained cool to the touch when it was time to remove it and serve. To clean up, I put the all-metal basket into the dishwasher.

Our Place Always Pan Boiling Water

Boiling

The next test for the steamer basket and Always Pan combo was boiling pasta. I put the basket into the pan and filled it with enough water to cook a box of Daiya mac and cheese. I raised the handles on the basket so they might be easier to grab when draining the pasta, but I found the lid does not go on when the handles are up. The water boiled quickly and due to the shallowness of the pan, ended up boiling over. Draining the pasta was a bit of a feat as the pan itself is on the heavier side and especially so when filled with water. I was able to safely drain the water into the sink, lift the basket to shake water from the pasta, and dump the pasta back into the pan, but it was a bit of a precarious process.

I would use the basket and pan again for steaming vegetables because I found it to be an improvement over my old process, but boiling pasta and draining with this set up is something I’ll skip in the future.

 

The Sponge

Included with the Always Pan was a natural sponge. I appreciate that they sent a small bonus item and that it is not made of plastic. The sponge is nice and scrubby but doesn’t hold soap suds the way I am used to with my sponges. In the last image the slideshow above, you can see how the sponge expands when wet and has scrubby nubs that pop out.

Ease of Cleaning

Hand Wash

This pan is a breeze to wash. There is no heavy scrubbing; everything comes off easily with light passes from a dish brush or sponge. I recommend always hand washing your nonstick cookware. A reminder here too that you’ll need to hand wash the wooden spatula instead of tossing it into the dishwasher.

 

Dishwasher

Although I prefer and recommend hand washing cookware, one of the selling points for this pan is that it is dishwasher safe. I am comfortable putting the steamer basket in the dishwasher every time, but only put the pan through the dishwasher once. I want to be sure to call out what I was testing for here: will the pan survive the dishwasher? Judging how clean the pan got in the dishwasher feels like a better measure of my dishwasher than the pan itself, which is why I did not show the dirty pan. And, I always rinse food bits off of my dishes before putting them in the dishwasher (another lesson from my mother that I can’t unlearn).

The pan came out clean but with water spots (says more about my dishwasher than the pan) but did take up a lot of space. Because this pan is so easy to wash by hand, I highly recommend skipping the dishwasher for the longevity of all your pots and pans, especially those with nonstick surfaces.

Durability

Our Place Always Pan Wear at the rim

On the subject of the pan’s longevity, I’m happy to report that after more than two months of use, the ceramic nonstick surface remains nonstick. I’ve noticed two areas of wear on the exterior of the pan: one is on the bottom of the pan and another is around the exterior rim of the pan (pictured above.) The wear on the bottom of the pan is minor and is likely due to rubbing against the metal grates on my gas range. This is probably why most pans have a metal bottom vs. a painted or coated surface. The chips on the exterior side of the pan’s rim became more evident after going through the dishwasher but are likely caused by storing the pan on its side inside a cabinet. While this does not impact the function of the pan, it’s important to note as it does affect the overall aesthetic.

Packaging

 

The Always Pan from Our Place comes packaged in biodegradable and recyclable corrugated cardboard. No plastic (no bags, no bubble wrap, no plastic tape) was used in the packaging and everything arrived safely with no damage.

 

The package also included a small card bundle with the sponge (reviewed above), a card quickly introducing the brand, and a bookmark with use and care tips. The tips include washing the pan before cooking with it, always use soft utensils, don’t heat up an empty pan, and don’t walk away from an active stovetop. For care, don’t put a hot pan into water and use soft, non-abrasive sponges to clean. Hand washing is recommended over dishwasher use.

Verdict

The capacity, style, and nonstick surface have made this a pan that I choose over nearly all of my Teflon pieces. In my kitchen, this system has not replaced 16 pieces of traditional cookware but it has taken the place of three of my sauté pans for cooking nearly everything plus my steamer basket and high sided pot for steaming veggies. I use the spatula often with the Always Pan (I love how it safely nests on the pan’s handle) but it hasn’t replaced my other cooking utensils. The pan remains nonstick and very easy to clean. With this Always Pan review, my hesitation in giving this pan a higher rating comes from its weight, the non-ergonomic shape of the handle, and the signs of wear that have begun to appear on the pan’s exterior. I am still using this pan more than any other in my kitchen and I find its color and overall style cheerful and a welcome addition to my kitchen.

 

Have you tried the Our Place Always Pan? How was your experience? Do you have a tried and true nonstick pan you absolutely love? Let me know in the comments.

Looking for other design-forward ceramic nonstick pans? Read my review of the Equal Parts Big Pan.


Written by Emily Cosnotti

Emily Cosnotti

Emily is a design enthusiast who loves beautiful objects. She’s really into vegan snacks, corgis, home goods, and minimalist makeup. She is currently fostering a healthy subscription addiction.

Comments (27)

  1. These pans really are worthless unless you just want to hang it for its looks. Even when following the Our Place restrictive guidance for low-heat cooking and gently washing by hand. The pan loses its non-stick coating within 2 months.

  2. It would be nice if they had a phone number for customer service!!!!!!!

  3. Seriously this is a piece of crap. Where are they sourcing their pans from because it feels like cheap quality that goes bad after a few uses.
    I’m so disappointed I had High hopes.
    Also was excited to try their dishware but my glasses from the dollar store are better quality products.

  4. I bought the Always Pan, it was the first pan I had ever really purchased and I was pretty disappointed by the quality vs the price. The pan came chipped, and minor scratches on the nonstick coating.

    Luckily they were happy to accept a return for the pan. That being said, the return process was started on the 19th of February and it is now March 8th and I have still yet to receive a refund. I have reached out twice asking about the refund. The first response was that I would be given a credit for the pan for 5 days, and if I didn’t use the credit within 5 days I would be fully refunded.

    I never received any indication of a credit and have yet to receive my refund.

    So, I am still up in the air about this company.

    Initially I was disappointed by the quality of the pan itself, but was happy with the customer service. Now, considering its been over 2 weeks and I have yet to receive my refund I am not sure how I feel about the company as a whole.

  5. Highly disappointed in this terribly racist company. Had an interaction with one of the team members who spoke unkindly about fellow Indian Americans. I wish I would have gotten her name. Over heard her at a store with a friend and claimed to be in control of the all the products they put out, and said the company doesn’t care even a little bit about race, values, etc. She drove off in her White Tesla after- do not support them if you care about humans even a little bit.

    • I am so sad to hear this. I just opened this pan today. I have been on the website less the past few months and just found this review on MSA a few minutes ago. I saw other reviews and no mention of racism.

      • I’m so disappointed to hear this. Unfortunately, this is how racism starts and is bred. Companies and institutions don’t take responsibility and hold people accountable. They just let it slide and try to sweep it under the rug, hoping no one will see it. I feel sad for everyone who has been a customer. Thanks for sharing-definitely will not be buying from them, and will share with others.

  6. Ordered on Black Friday. Waited for about 2 weeks, the shipping tracking info remained the same. I contacted them and they told me the package was lost. And told me that they will ship out another one ASAP, still did not receive anything, not even a tracking number for the new package. Obviously it is still in the air. I contacted them again patiently. And this time they told me my order was aimed to ship at the end of January. A new story from a different rep? The ads sound like a good product and company, but based on experience, poor shipping arrangement and poor customer service, and poor shopping experience as a whole. I requested a refund… but not sure how it will go!

  7. How does this pan do on a glass top stove? Bottom of pan seems too rough.

  8. This sounds like terrible reviews for an expense product.

  9. I’m another person who was duped by this company. I was charged upfront, but they keep pushing my delivery date out again and again. I want to cancel at this point (it’s literally been months) but they don’t respond to emails. Buyer beware!

  10. I just received one of these as a birthday gift and decided to return it before even using it. The paint was already chipped around the top edge fresh out of the box. Not what I expected from a $140 pan! The return process through the website seemed easy enough, though we have not received our refund yet – so time will tell. Ordered myself a nice set of Calphalon nonstick frying/sauté pans from Williams Sonoma instead (for $20 less than this, and they come with a lifetime warranty to boot!).

  11. What a heart break
    My daughter bought 4 FOUR pans
    That coasted a good penny as everybody knows
    We through the boxes away how confident we were about those pans but I could honestly say this a big loss
    From the first use the pan on the bottom has a small chip and the inner part has stains that doesn’t go away
    The small handle of the pan almost burned my hand
    Almost broke the top of the oven cuz if u forget that this pan is one side heavier than the other it could hit hard on the oven top surface thank God I caught it at the last second
    Made rice with the basket so I can drain it but it bubbled out the pan filled the stove top by the time I came back to check on it
    I am so disappointed of convincing my daughter to buy this product
    I feel we have ripped off
    There is no phone number that I could find on there to call in time
    I can right a whole SA on my disappointment and frustration and the feeling of the money that we lost , for that amount we could have bought a whole set of top of the line stainless steel pots and pans

    • Hi Basema! We’re so sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy your Always Pans. We would recommend reaching out to Our Place – hopefully they’re able to help! [email protected]

  12. I agree, three months with mine. Treat it with kid gloves, no longer non-stick. It was great for about 6 weeks, super slick. But it faded quickly. Great design, beautiful, checks off so many boxes but now it is only used for boiling or steaming.

    • I agree! My pan was so amazing at first for all our big egg scrambles in the morning. Nothing stuck for about 4 months! Now it’s sticking, even on low temp. I use it for boiling and cooking frozen veggies now.

  13. Great, thorough review. I’ve been tempted to get this, but I still think it’s over priced for what it is. The scratches/nicks are disappointing to see after such a short time with it.

  14. I ordered the set with plates glasses and bowls. I never received my bowls – I got ripped off for 45 dollars

    • Have you tried reaching out to the company?…..

  15. Wondering if it would be easier to lift the basket of pasta out and then dump the water, versus trying to drain the water with pasta still in.

  16. After 6 months of very careful use and never once putting this in a dishwasher, my always pan is no longer non-stick. It’s great for steaming vegetables and gyoza etc in the steamer basket, but aside from that it’s a very expensive steamer now. I can’t cook eggs in there without them sticking immediately and making a big mess

    • I would try using a magic eraser – they help remove build up on non stick pans that’s you can not see. The build up will cause non-stick pans to lose their non-stickness. Might be worth a try.

    • I agree, three months with mine. Treat it with kid gloves, no longer non-stick. It was great for about 6 weeks, super slick. But it faded quickly. Great design, beautiful, checks off so many boxes but now it is only used for boiling or steaming.

    • I thought I am the only one did something wrong with the pan. I gave away a lot of my other pans because I like the concept on their advertising” one does all”. I enjoyed it for only 3 months my kitchen fairytale become kitchen nightmare. The pan get built-ups even when I cook the vegetables too. My husband who does dishes complain to me everyday that he have to go thru a lot of steps to clean the pan: heating water to soft the build up, put baking soda or vinegar, scrub with their sponge and then Dishwasher. I think I will have to use it as expensive steamer now. I had enough faith to this pan. Now I gave up and move on. I don’t recommend this product.

  17. Our Place sent my pan six weeks or more late. It was a gift so by now it was long past being needed or wanted. I have asked them repeatedly for a way to send it back and get a refund but they never respond.
    DO NOT order from them.

    • I would love to comment or recommend the Forever Pan I ordered on 11-30 2020, but I never received it . The company never acknowledge my order but billed my credit card. I contacted them and they sent me a email saying that due to the volume of business they would not respond to my inquiry for FIVE DAYS! They still have not acknowledged my order alone promise delivery. They have three more days before I contest the charge with my credit card company. They obviously spend tons of money on advertising on line, maybe they should put some money into their customer service. Now they are saying on their website that they aren’t sure if and when they can deliver the pan to those who try to order now. Sad. Makes me wonder if their product can live up to their claims.

      • I ordered on 11/17/2020. They had certain colors on back order so I picked one that was readily available. Still have not received it. Says shipping is mid Dec. today is the 22nd. I’ve messaged them twice, but it has not helped. They just say sorry with no update. Very disappointed as well. This was a gift.

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