I watch a lot of YouTube. I know that’s not a personality trait, and it doesn’t make me singular in any way - but it does explain why I recently felt as if I was being stalked by an attractive piece of cookware. Allow me to explain.
Over the past eight months, I’ve seen 1,000 or so commercials for the Our Place Always Pan. Unlike other YouTube ads, these commercials never teased any new fitness regimens or investment advice from someone who maybe owns a McLaren - but still, my interest was piqued. The cinematography seemed decent, the stock music was pleasant, and the pan itself looked pretty nice. So, finally, I decided to take the $145 Our Place Always Pan for an official test drive. From one home cook to another, here’s my honest assessment.
What Is The Our Place Always Pan?
The Always Pan is the flagship offering from Our Place, a kitchenware company that you could call a “startup,” because any new company these days with a nice enough website seems to fall into that category.
The pan is 10 inches in diameter, it’s made mostly from aluminum (which means it heats up quickly, but might fluctuate in temperature as ingredients as added), and it’s sort of like a cross between a saucier, a skillet, and a sauté pan. And that last part is no coincidence. The Always Pan was designed to be a multi-purpose tool that can replace up to eight cookware items.
At least that’s what Our Place claims. The thing is, one of the items they say can be replaced is a “spoon rest” and, while the pan does indeed come with a highly convenient spoon rest built into the handle, this one seems like a stretch. The pan also isn’t quite deep enough to replace a saucepan for most applications, so that leaves us with six cookware items that it can convincingly replace: a skillet, a saucier, a steamer (it comes with an insert), a sauté pan, a fry pan, and a non-stick pan.
Yes, the Always Pan is non-stick, and the non-stick coating is ceramic. (That part’s important, so remember it.) Unlike your standard matte-black non-stick coatings made with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), ceramic won’t release toxic fumes when heated too high. That said, ceramic is also one of the more-delicate non-stick coatings, so you have to take certain precautions. We’ll discuss care shortly.
How Do You Use It?
The Our Place Always Pan is, essentially, an extra-deep non-stick skillet which means it’s ideal for sautéing anything from veggies to saucy noodles and works great for certain soups and stews as well. Eggs are a breeze in this thing (they glide along the ceramic coating the way a hovercraft skims across a body of water), and bacon crisps up nicely as well. Overall, the pan seems to be great at thermal conductivity and heat distribution.
To test the full capacity of the pan, I also made an extra-large serving of the tofu soup known as sundubu-jjigae, and - while it was difficult to find some of the ingredients, due to the fact that they tend to be located in the underserved “international aisle” of the average Brooklyn grocery store - the Always Pan functioned superbly. It technically didn’t retain heat as well as the traditional earthenware vessel used for sundubu-jjigae (and my broth needed some work), but that didn’t seem to make much of a difference, and the Always Pan handled all the necessary sautéeing and simmering in stride.
How Do You Not Use It?
Remember what I said about the ceramic non-stick coating? High heat can damage it, so Our Place recommends that you keep things in the low-to-medium heat range. Did I ignore this advice and cook an 8 ounce Denver steak? Of course. The steak wound up perfectly charred and - though my apartment got as smoky as a slots room at the Vegas airport - the Always Pan survived no worse for the wear. Still, I’m not going to make a habit of this, and neither should you. Just get a $23 cast-iron skillet to cook your beef.
One last thing, and it’s important: don’t put your Always Pan in the oven. The company explicitly says it’s not oven-safe, and you should probably just take their word for it.
How Do You Care For The Our Place Always Pan?
I’ve already covered the heat range you should stick to and the caveat that the Always Pan is not oven-safe. (Keep it on the stovetop, folks.) And those are the two biggest things to keep in mind.
As for cleaning the pan, the ceramic coating makes this almost unfairly easy. A quick scrub with soap and water does the trick just fine. (This could change as the ceramic coating gradually erodes, but such is life with non-stick pans.) Our Place recommends that you let the pan cool down before immersing it in water because rapid temperature change can damage the ceramic coating, but I hardly ever have the patience for this. Yet my pan remains intact. (Check back in 6 months for an update.)
So… Should You Get One?
First off, there’s no downside to owning an Always Pan. Sure, it’s kind of bulky for something that aims to be a space saver - but it also looks great, and each of the seven color options will massage your eyeballs with their pastel hues. So if you’re curious, and you have the funds, go for it.
But the real draw of the Always Pan is the promise of its versatility, and you’re going to get the most bang for your buck out of this thing if you’re currently in dire need of multiple pots and pans (that you don’t necessarily need to use all at once). Throw in a saucepan and a cast-iron skillet alongside your Always Pan, and you’ll have a perfectly workable at-home setup. And, honestly, you’ll probably find yourself using the Always Pan for about 80% of your meals.
That said, for the aspiring professional or even the heavily enthusiastic amateur, nothing can really replace a full set of well-constructed stainless pots and pans. But if you’re a casual cook looking to save space and spend less time scrubbing, the Always Pan more than fits the bill.
We’re recommending this product because we actually use, and like, it. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.