The Always Pan 2.0 review – a jack of all trades and master of none

Sure, the best-selling Always Pan 2.0 can sizzle, simmer, and sear, but it's no better than my budget skillet

Always Pan 2.0 on a pink counter against a light green wall.
(Image credit: Our Place)
Homes & Gardens Verdict

There's a lot to like about the Our Place Always Pan 2.0, but not much to love. It's easy to lift, quick to heat, and nice to look at, but it's prone to undercooking. When I put this pan through its paces in our test kitchen, I found that it performed adequately in most areas, but excelled in none.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Compatible with all cooktops

  • +

    Deep and wide, yet light

  • +

    Comes in a range of colors and sizes

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Prone to undercooking

  • -

    Feels a little cheap

  • -

    Not dishwasher-safe

You can trust Homes & Gardens. Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing the latest products, helping you choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

I feel like I see the Our Place Always Pan 2.0 everywhere, from subways ads to social media posts. It gets glowing reviews from users in the first flush of frying. I wanted to see whether the hype held up months later. That's why I tested my friend's old Always Pan 2.0 that she picked up last April − and I wasn't particularly impressed.

Molly uses her Always Pan 2.0 a few times a week for all sorts of cooking tasks, from searing to steaming. It's picked up a few stains and smudges over time, but that's par for the course with frying pans, and it shouldn't impact performance. The real issue is the deterioration of the non-stick coating. However much I scrubbed and scraped at the Always Pan 2.0, I couldn't dislodge each bit of batter and bacon rasher.

Here at H&G we've reviewed some of the world's best non-stick frying pans. I've cooked with everything from Le Creuset pans to Smeg skillets, and I know what I'm looking for: something quick to heat and light to lift for easy transfer from pan to plate. The Always Pan 2.0 checks both of those boxes, but it isn't an especially even cooker. Food cooked thoroughly in the center of the pan but took a while to warm around the edges.

The Always Pan 2.0 Specifications

Always Pan 2.0 against a white background.

(Image credit: Our Place)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Dimensions19.9 x 10.5 x 2.8"
MaterialsRecycled aluminum
AccessoriesSteamer basket and beechwood spatula

Unboxing the Always Pan 2.0

Normally, when I test cookware, I like to document the unboxing process to give you the fullest possible picture of what it might be like to use this product. Since this particular Always Pan 2.0 has been knocking around in my friend Molly's kitchen cabinets for almost a year, I don't have pictures of the original packaging. 

I asked Molly, who happens to be a tester for our sister site, Ideal Home, to tell me about the unboxing process. She remembers that the Always Pan 2.0 was packaged in predominantly sustainable materials: lots of egg-crate cushioning and cardboard that she could throw straight in the recycling. Molly has a lot of green in her kitchen, which is why she bought the pan in sage, but she could have chosen any number of cool neutrals, from steam to blue salt. The Always Pan 2.0 also comes in bolder hues, such as turmeric and azul, which would pop against plain white walls.

Headshot of Molly Cleary
Molly Cleary

Molly used to write eCommerce articles for Homes & Gardens before she moved to our sister site, Ideal Home. She's tested all kinds of kitchen products, from cast-iron cookware to non-stick frying pans, and kindly lent her Always Pan 2.0 for this review.

Molly bought the Always Pan 2.0 in the standard size, which measures 10.5 inches across and three inches deep. There's more than enough space to sear a steak and baste it, too, without worrying that jus will splash over the sides. If you're feeding a whole family, and you want to prepare multiple portions in the same pot, you should opt for the larger pan. It's two inches wider than the standard pan, and $30 more expensive. Conversely, if you're cooking in a smaller kitchen, and you're looking to save a little money, you should consider the Mini skillet, which is just over eight inches wide. You might find it easier to slide the small pan into the oven for crisping.

Each edition of the Always Pan 2.0 is coated in Thermakind, a ceramic non-stick coating that's free from toxic materials, such as PFAs, lead, and cadmium. Our Place recommends that you wash your Always Pan 2.0 by hand, to protect the ceramic. Despite taking great care of her pan, Molly has noticed that the quality of the non-stick coating has deteriorated over time. These days, she finds it far harder to flip pancakes and scramble eggs without them sticking to the base of the pan.

Test 1: Fried egg

An egg frying in the Always Pan 2.0.

(Image credit: Future / Emilia Hitching)

Our Place advertises their Always Pan 2.0 as 'an all-in-one cooker that can braise, bake, broil, and boil (and that's just the B's)'. Since I was assessing this product as a frying pan, rather than a multi-cooker, I focused on the 'fry' and 'sear' functions. I decided to make a simple meal of pancakes, eggs, and bacon. I wanted to see how the pan handled wet and dry ingredients, as well as diverse food groups. Plus, it might look similar to the sort of breakfast you'd whip up on a weekend.

First, I set the pan on the hob and let it come up to temperature. Within 30 seconds or so, I could feel heat rising, so I cracked my egg and dropped it into the pan. This first egg slid towards the side of the pan, where it sat and congealed for a minute or two. Some of the egg white started to solidify – the section closest to the center − but the rest wouldn't cook, even when I turned up the heat. This was my first sign that the Always Pan 2.0 is a poor conductor: the heat in the center of the pan couldn't spread to the sides. After a frustrating five minutes, I threw out the first egg and started again.

An egg frying in the Always Pan 2.0.

(Image credit: Future / Emilia Hitching)

Take two. I cracked my second egg into the Always Pan 2.0 and tilted the handle to settle the egg into the center. Soon, it was sizzling away. It took almost five minutes for the egg white to solidify and begin to crisp around the edges. I like my eggs sunny side up, but you'd have to factor in another minute or two for flipping. Five minutes isn't a long time in the grand scheme of things, but it is quite a while to fry an egg. 

At last, it was time for the all-important taste test. I dipped my knife into the yolk, which burst in a very satisfying fashion, and used a slice of bread to mop up the excess. The egg white was cooked all the way through, with the beginnings of a golden crisp on the bottom. On the whole, I was satisfied with the results of this first test, though it had taken quite some time to get there.

Test 2: Bacon

Bacon frying in the Always Pan 2.0

(Image credit: Future / Emilia Hitching)

I'm quite particular about my bacon. I like it crisp, but not too crunchy, with juices meat and well-rendered fat. While you could cook bacon in one of the best air fryers, I often find that the air dries out the meat. When I cook bacon in a pan, I want it to come out just the right side of crisp versus tender. 

I laid my strips of bacon across the Always Pan 2.0. These were long, thin rashers, and I wondered whether the ends of the bacon would cook completely. I contemplated moving the bacon around the pan, so that every inch had its time in the center, but decided that wouldn't be a fair test.

Bacon frying in the Always Pan 2.0.

(Image credit: Future / Emilia Hitching)

As a product tester, I know I made the right call. As a bacon lover, I wish I'd intervened. When I first flipped the rashers, I found that the meat and fat at one end were beginning to brown, but the other end was still insipid. Once again, the heat had failed to spread throughout the pan. This was probably because I was testing an older model, which has fried its fair share of bacon, but it raises concerns about the longevity of the Always Pan 2.0.

I used the back of a spatula to press the bacon against the bottom of the pan. It doesn't make much of a difference to the cooking time, but it should begin to crisp unrendered fat. It took around six or seven minutes, which is longer than I'd spend with my own skillet, for the Always Pan 2.0 to produce two decent rashers of bacon. 

Test 3: Pancakes

Pancake cooking in the Always Pan 2.0.

(Image credit: Future / Emilia Hitching)

Following the disappointments of the egg and bacon tests, I wasn't feeling too optimistic about the pancakes. Still, I wanted to see how the Always Pan 2.0 handled such delicate textures and whether the non-stick coating were really up to scratch. 

To start, I poured my pancake batter into the pan. I'd picked up a carton of pre-made pancake mixture from the grocery store, but you could easily make your own with a little sugar, butter, flour, milk, and eggs. As the batter spread from the center of the pan towards the sides, I noticed that it was cooking all the way through. Perhaps the limited conduction power of the Always Pan 2.0 comes into its own with thin batters. 

The Always Pan 2.0 beside a plate of bacon, eggs, and pancakes.

(Image credit: Future / Emilia Hitching)

After 90 seconds or so, it was time to flip. The first time I shook the Always Pan 2.0, the pancake wouldn't budge. It took a few tries for the non-stick coating to kick into gear, but I managed to dislodge the mixture in the end. As it flipped, I could see that the bottom of the pancake was leopard-spotted, with big brown patches on a beige base. It looked more like a piece of naan than a traditional crêpe.

I decided to plate my pancakes alongside my bacon and eggs for a breakfast feast. After a long morning carrying cast-iron cookware, I was surprised by the lightness of the Always Pan 2.0. Weighing just three pounds, I found it quick and easy to carry from the hob to the kitchen counter. I plated my pancakes while they were still warm and took a big bite. They were sweet and crisp, if a little underdone in the middle.

Cleaning the Always Pan 2.0

Always Pan, disassembled, against a white background.

(Image credit: Our Place)

It's important to note that the neither the base nor the lid of the Always Pan 2.0 is not dishwasher-safe. Now, that's not unusual for a non-stick pan, but a handful of customers have complained that the pan picks up stains and smudges which don't wash off easily. You'll have to stand over your sink for a minute to give your pan a good scrub. With that said, the steamer basket and the beechwood spatula should be easy to clean in a bowl of warm, soapy water. 

How does the Always Pan 2.0 rate online?

Always Pan 2.0 in raspberry on a pink counter against a sage green wall.

(Image credit: Our Place)

The Always Pan 2.0 boasts thousands of five-star ratings on the Our Place site, praising its versatility and ease of use. There are a smattering of more mixed reviews, which note the deterioration of the non-stick coating over time and the incompatibility with higher heats. I suspect that these ratings come from people like me and my friend, Molly, who have been using their Always Pans 2.0 for extended periods of time. A few customers have complained about the lack of heat-safe handles, which makes it that much harder to transfer the pan from stove to counter.

How does the Always Pan 2.0 compare to other pots and pans?

Eggy bread in a Le Creuset skillet against a peach background.

(Image credit: Le Creuset)

When I tested the Always Pan 2.0, it was a busy morning in the test kitchen. I had also received samples of several other skillets. I decided to pit each pan against the other and set them to cook at the same time. 

I can reveal that the Always Pan 2.0 is better than the Le Creuset Pancake Pan for everyday cooking tasks. For one, it's a quicker cooker and a more efficient conductor of energy. It took me around 15 minutes to produce a plate of eggs, bacon, and pancakes in the Always Pan 2.0, and more like 20 minutes in the Le Creuset.

With that said, the Dexam Supreme Pan performed best on test. It achieved a real crisp on the bacon and a beautiful lattice pattern on the pancake. Where the Always Pan 2.0 is prone to undercooking, the Dexam Supreme comes closer to overcooking. That suits me just fine: I don't mind a bit more crunch to my bacon, but I can't stand the feel or taste of unrendered fat. For pancakes, the Smeg Frying Pan came out on top. They took a while to cook, but they bubbled beautifully and came out light and fluffy. 

Should I buy the Always Pan 2.0?

Always Pan 2.0 in almond on a pink counter against a sage green wall.

(Image credit: Our Place)

The Always Pan 2.0 retails for $150 in the standard size. The Mini model goes for $120, while the larger skillet comes in at $180. I would hesitate to spend that kind of money on this pan. While it looks great and weighs nothing, these aesthetic considerations can't compensate for imperfect cooking. It's never taken me this long to make a simple plate of eggs, bacon, and pancakes, and I wasn't entirely happy with the taste. 

If you're looking for a competent kitchen companion to stand the test of time, you should consider a higher-quality skillet. The All-Clad Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan doesn't look as good as the Always Pan 2.0, but it's far more durable and energy-efficient. 

How we test frying pans

A line of frying pans next to plates of cooked breakfasts.

(Image credit: Future / Emilia Hitching)

We like to test frying pans in our dedicated test kitchen on the same hob at the same temperatures to better compare and contrast. We assess how a particular frying pan works with a range of wet and dry ingredients, from rashers of bacon to pancake batter. We time how long it takes each ingredient to cook and compare the quality of cooking in the center and round the sides, to get a sense of the pan as a conductor. Often, we're allowed to keep the pots and pans we test, which gives us the chance to monitor performance over time and update our reviews as required. If you're interested, you can find out more about how we test on the Homes & Gardens site.

Emilia Hitching
Sleep Editor

Emilia is our resident sleep writer. She spends her days tracking down the lowest prices on the best bedding and spends her nights testing it out from the comfort of her own home – it's a dream job. Her quest to learn how to sleep better has taken her all around the world, from mattress factories in Arizona to sleep retreats in Scandinavia. Before she joined Homes & Gardens, Emilia studied English at the University of Oxford. She also worked on the other side of the aisle, writing press releases for regional newspapers and crafting copy for Sky.