The trendy multipurpose cookware has earned accolades from the likes of Vogue and Food & Wine, but will it stand up to our tests?
Last Updated Jan. 21, 2022.
The company that introduced the Always Pan has launched a new product, the Perfect Pot. Like its predecessor, the pot claims to pack multiple functions into one piece of cookware. However, the Perfect Pot didn’t quite live up to its promise; we think most people would be better off buying our favorite lightweight Dutch oven or medium-size Dutch oven.
If you’re a recent college graduate who just moved into a tiny apartment with roommates, you might find the Our Place products enticing. The Always Pan replaces a frying pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, nonstick pan, spatula, and spoon rest. The Perfect Pot is basically a lightweight Dutch oven that can go from stovetop to oven and has some useful built-in features such as a pasta drainer and a roasting rack.
The Our Place cookware has thousands of positive reviews and celebrity endorsements, so we were curious: Could it actually do it all? And how does the cookware compare with the pots and pans it promises to replace? To find out, we put the pan and pot through all the tests we'd ordinarily run on similar cookware, sautéing, frying, boiling, braising, and even baking in them where appropriate. In both, we cooked eggs one after the other without any fat until they started to stick in order to test the cookware's nonstick coating.
The Our Place Always Pan is shaped like a sauté pan, with medium-high, straight sides, but has a ceramic nonstick surface (more on that below). Here’s what we liked about cooking in it: Its 3-inch-tall walls helped contain food when we were sautéing and stir-frying, such as when we made Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry, and we thought the pan’s pour spout was smart, since it allowed us to easily pour water and tomato sauce from it. The pan was also fairly light—about 3 pounds without the lid—which made it easy to lift and maneuver around the stovetop. It was also painless to clean, thanks to its nonstick surface.
The Perfect Pot has a capacity of 5.5 quarts—the same as our favorite medium Dutch oven—but weighs 4.59 pounds with the lid, so it’s easy to transport; its ceramic nonstick interior is easy to clean. It has enough space to boil a pound of pasta. We liked its light interior, which was helpful for monitoring browning.
However, both pieces of cookware have some flaws. The Always Pan’s cooking surface is smaller than we prefer—8.5 inches in diameter. This is fine for cooking recipes with smaller yields, but if you’re cooking a full recipe, you may need to sauté or fry in several batches for proper browning. The straight, high walls made it trickier to maneuver a nonstick spatula under fried eggs, but at the same time they weren’t high enough to mimic that of the saucepan and the saucier the manufacturer says it replaces, so it was difficult to simmer water or sauce without making a mess. The pan wasn’t ovensafe, limiting its use; our favorite nonstick and ceramic skillets are ovensafe up to 430 and 600 degrees, respectively.
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Valerie is an assistant editor for ATK Reviews. In addition to cooking, she loves skiing, traveling, and spending time outdoors.