An Expert Guide to All-Clad Pans

Published on 02/24/2024 · 11 min readCook like a gourmet chef with our expert guide to All-Clad pans, showcasing their unparalleled heat conduction, durability, and versatile use in any kitchen!
Melissa Nicholson, Kitchen Expert
By Kitchen Expert Melissa Nicholson

Photo by Venus Angel

Tl;dr: When buying All-Clad pans, consider the following factors: the size of the pan or pans you need, the construction, such as three or five layers of metal, the materials (nonstick, aluminum, or stainless steel), and the price. Planning ahead and choosing the best All-Clad pans for your kitchen is worth the time and investment and makes cooking more enjoyable.

I have preferred stainless steel over anything else for more years than I care to count, and All-Clad is famous for the highest quality in stainless steel cookware. To me, All-Clad is the ultimate goal for cooks who enjoy stainless steel. Still, if you prefer other materials, stick around — they make non-stick as well.

Like most people, I have dealt with my fair share of cookware that falls apart or doesn’t last as long as promised. The reason I respect All-Clad is that they stand behind their name. I know if I buy an All-Clad pan I may never need to replace it, and it’s probably going to outlive me (and my kids will fight over it). In other words, All-Clad pans last, especially their stainless steel cookware.

In this article, we’ll go over what to consider when looking for the best All-Clad pans, the different types available, and any special features to keep an eye out for. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll understand how to choose the right All-Clad pans for you. However, the Curated Kitchen Experts are here to help with further questions. Reach out to a Curated Kitchen Expert today for free, personalized advice.

What Is All-Clad?

Photo by Venus Angel

All-Clad cookware is handcrafted in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, and has been made in the USA since it was founded in 1971. The name All-Clad is derived from cladding, which is the process of layering metals to create a more efficient and durable piece of cookware. All-Clad is best known for its cladding process in manufacturing stainless steel pans.

What to Consider When Buying All-Clad Pans

The All-Clad company makes a variety of pans, so trying to choose the right one can get complicated. Let’s look at some things to consider as you search for the best All-Clad pans.

What Size Do You Need?

It’s important to understand which size pans work best for you. To figure that out, consider who you cook for and what you cook. If it’s just you and a fried egg now and then, an 8-inch fry pan will suffice. However, if you cook a dozen scrambled eggs for the family most mornings, look for a 12-inch pan. The same can be said for saute pans and saucepans. Choose according to the quantity of food you make.

How Is the Pan Constructed?

Not all pans are the same. Even stainless steel is constructed in different ways. All-Clad offers 3-ply (tri-ply) construction and 5-ply in their stainless steel pans, which creates quality cookware that will never warp. They also carry pans constructed of aluminum. All of All-Clad’s handles are constructed of stainless steel, as are the rivets that secure the handle to the pan. Here’s a little more information about what 3-ply and 5-ply mean:

  • 3-ply construction: 3-ply means there are three layers of metal sandwiched together to create a pan that heats up efficiently and offers even heating. The more layers, the better. All-Clad creates a sandwich of stainless steel first, then aluminum in the middle, and last, a layer of stainless steel again.
  • 5-ply construction: 5-ply means there are five layers of metals. The 5-ply pans use five alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum, and the clad copper core series uses four and adds a layer of copper in the middle for unparalleled heat distribution and precise temperature control in a stainless steel pan.

What Is the Material?

Although All-Clad is well known for its stainless steel, the brand offers other materials:

  • Stainless steel: 18/10 stainless steel, which means the metal is made of 18% chromium and 10% nickel, creating the most durable stainless steel)
  • Aluminum non-stick: An aluminum pan coated in a non-stick material (PTFE, which is Teflon)
  • Hard anodized aluminum: An aluminum pan fused with a PTFE coating. The electrochemical process of using fusing creates a stronger bond between the aluminum and the coating, making a more durable non-stick pan.
  • Enameled cast iron: A cast iron pan with an enamel coating on the surface for a low-stick pan that cleans up easier than regular cast iron.

The Different Types of All-Clad Pans

Fry Pans & Skillets

Photo by Proxima Studio

A fry pan and skillet are the same things; we use both words to describe them and often simply call them “pans.” It’s a shallow pan with slanted sides, used to sear meats, fry eggs and other foods, or even make a simple sauce. No kitchen is complete without a fry pan.

Benefits:

  • The fry pan (or skillet) is one of your most versatile pans since it can perform many tasks.
  • There is room in a fry pan to spread foods out and help them cook quickly.
  • The shallow sides make it easy to flip foods.

Be Aware:

  • They are shallow, making it difficult to use a lot of liquid.

Sauce Pans

Photo by Marie C Fields

A saucepan is round with a flat bottom, and the sides are taller than what you see on skillets. Cooks grab a saucepan when heating soups, boiling a small amount of pasta, or making sauces and gravy.

Benefits:

  • Saucepans easily hold liquids.
  • They come in a wide variety of sizes from 1-4qts and larger, and some brands offer an even smaller option that is called a butter warmer.

Be aware:

  • Because of the tall sides, you can’t use a saucepan to fry anything or cook foods that need to be flipped over.

Sauté Pans

Photo by Peter Kim

A sauté pan looks much like a skillet but has taller sides, usually a couple of inches high, making it easy to move around things like veggies as you sauté them.

Benefits:

  • Excellent for sautéing thin cuts of meats, vegetables, and mirepoix (a mix of carrots, onion and celery).
  • Sauté pans often come with a lid.
  • Use a sauté pan to fry foods, such as schnitzel or pan-fried dumpling.

Be aware:

  • A sauté pan isn’t deep enough to fry things that require a lot of oil, such as fried chicken.
  • Flipping foods like pancakes or fried eggs is tough with the taller sides.

Woks

Photo by Louno Morose

Woks have deep, sloping walls and are best known as the pan to use for stir-frying. Still, they can do more than that, and you may like to add one to your list of kitchen pan needs.

Benefits:

  • The design of a wok traps heat, which is why it’s ideal for stir-frying. The trapped heat allows you to cook faster.
  • Use a wok to boil foods or deep fry.
  • Most woks have a lid, which is helpful when steaming veggies.

Be aware:

  • Since woks have a unique shape that traps heat, you may burn foods the first time you try.
  • It’s tough to cook food evenly since the temperature fluctuates quickly (from hot to cold and vice versa).
  • Woks are fairly specific in use and may collect dust if you don’t enjoy stir-frying.

Stockpot

Photo by Katarzyna Wozniak

Stockpots, also called soup pots, are a go-to when you need a large pot in the kitchen. They have tall sides and can hold large amounts, usually up to 12 quarts.

Benefits:

  • Cook large amounts of soups and stews
  • Always include a lid for slow simmering
  • Easily simmer meals all day long

Be Aware:

  • A stockpot takes up a lot of space, so keep that in mind for storage.

Features to Look for When Buying All-Clad Pans

All-Clad cookware is excellent; however, different pieces and series offer unique features. It’s essential to understand what those are as you shop for the right pans for your kitchen. Let’s look at some of the most important features to consider.

Is the Pan Easy to Maintain?

You are less likely to use a pan that is difficult to clean and maintain. No one wants to spend an hour cleaning a pan after dinner. When choosing a pan, look for low- to non-stick surfaces, such as glazed, enameled, or cookware sets with a nonstick coating. Even stainless steel will clean well when the steel is high quality, such as 18/10.

Benefits:

  • Quick and easy cleanup
  • You will likely use a pan more often if it is easy to maintain.

Be aware:

  • Many non-stick materials must be replaced every one to three years and are not dishwasher-safe.
  • Enameled and glazed surfaces can eventually scratch, leaving you with a surface that will be tougher to maintain.

Is the Pan Oven Safe?

Sometimes, a dish calls for a quick move from stovetop to oven, such as searing a steak and finishing it in the oven. Having that flexibility in a pan is helpful.

Benefits:

  • An oven-safe pan offers greater flexibility in how you can use it.
  • Fewer dishes to clean after cooking.

Be Aware:

  • Stainless cookware is more likely to withstand years of use in the oven compared to nonstick materials.
  • A pan may say it’s oven safe, but don’t assume that means broiler safe. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions.

Are the Handles Secure?

As consumers, it would be nice to assume the handles on cookware are always safe and designed for comfort. However, it’s never safe to assume. Thankfully, All-Clad’s handles are some of the best with an ergonomic design. They use high-quality stainless steel handles on all of their cookware, and each handle is attached with the same stainless steel rivets.

Benefits:

  • You don’t have to worry about a handle coming loose while carrying a hot pan.
  • Some All-Clad cookware has a lifetime warranty, including the handles.

Be aware:

  • The warranties vary on each All-Clad product, so even though they do have some of the best warranties, be sure to understand which one you are getting.
  • Sometimes, rivets are difficult to get clean; however, a good soaking usually does the trick.

Does the Pan Come With a Lid?

It can be easy to forget that a lid is an option when shopping for new pans; however, they are truly helpful at times when cooking.

Benefits:

  • Allow foods to slow cook in a skillet
  • Keep the steam inside the pan
  • Prevent splatters

Be aware:

  • Sometimes, a pan is oven safe while the lid is not.

How To Choose the Right All-Clad Pans for You

All-Clad pans are a big investment since they are some of the most expensive on the market. Below, I will share the stories of three different people who were searching for the right All-Clad pans for their kitchen and then which ones I recommend for them. This may help you in your decisions as well. If you’d like more guidance, contact a Curated Kitchen Expert today for further assistance.

Carolann

Carolann received an off-brand, non-stick set of cookware as a wedding gift several years ago. The surface is peeling after years of cooking for the family, and she needs some new cookware. She wants to start collecting stainless steel so she won’t have to deal with non-stick issues again. However, she has never used stainless steel and doesn’t want an entire clad cookware collection right away.

Features Carolann should look for:

  • High-quality stainless steel (at least 18/10 for the best metal ratio) for easy maintenance and cooking
  • Secure, riveted handles for safety
  • A single pan so she can try stainless steel to see if she likes it

Pan examples: All-Clad 3-ply Bonded 12-inch Fry Pan All-Clad Stainless Steel 5-ply Bonded 8.5-inch & 10.5-inch Deep Skillets

Jake

Jake is a single guy who often cooks for friends and family. He isn’t a professional chef but enjoys cooking as much as a professional. He is interested in cast iron and stainless steel only. He wants the highest quality and would prefer spending money on cookware than anything else.

Features Jake should look for:

  • A full set to allow flexibility
  • A few lids that go with the pans
  • High-quality stainless steel and a solid core of layers of metal

Pan examples: All-Clad 14-Piece Copper Core All-Clad Gourmet Stainless Steel Roaster

Lily

Lily is a new empty nester and is trying to adjust to cooking smaller meals. She enjoys cooking and would like to start trying new dishes now that the kids are gone. She and her husband are encouraging each other to eat healthy. Non-stick would be helpful so she could add less oil and butter when cooking.

Features Lily should look for:

  • A non-stick surface
  • A variety of shapes and sizes to make trying new recipes easier

Pan examples: All-Clad Hard Anodized 13-Piece Set All-Clad 3-Ply Bonded Stainless Steel Non-Stick 10-Piece Set

Find the Best All-Clad Pans for You

All-Clad is a trusted name in cookware and offers several excellent choices. Remember to consider the material a pan is made of and how it is constructed (3 or 5 layers of metal or possibly less for some of the non-stick lines). Also, think about the sizes you need, along with the different types, such as sauté pans, fry pans, and woks, and any other additional features that are important to you. Shopping for a new pan can be overwhelming, so please feel free to reach out to a Curated Kitchen Expert today, and they will be happy to give you more All-Clad pan advice.

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

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