If you never thought a cooking pan could achieve Instagram cult status, you haven’t come across the original Our Place Always Pan. Praised by Oprah Winfrey, Cameron Diaz, Paris Hilton and more, the Los Angeles-based kitchenware brand’s $145 nonstick tool comes in eight lovely colors, has sold out multiple times since its launch in 2019 and scores 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 26,310 reviews on the brand’s website.
So it was only natural that we put Our Place’s latest offering, the new limited edition Always Cast Iron Pan, to the test to see if it lived up to the charm of its older sibling.
If you’re willing to pay for an Instagram favorite and love the versatility of cast iron, this skillet will look lovely in your diet.
For those intimidated by cast iron cooking, it’s time to get over it: cast iron is ultra-durable, naturally nonstick, retains its heat wonderfully, and improves over time. And while your grandmother’s cast iron skillet probably needed to be seasoned with oil after use, today’s versions are pre-seasoned and ready to use right out of the box.
Going a step further, the Our Place version is made of matte black enameled cast iron, which means no seasoning is required and, unlike regular cast iron, can be used to cook acidic foods, such as base stews. of tomatoes. It can also scratch, so metal utensils should be avoided. And since you don’t build up seasoning over time, you’ll need to use a healthy dose of oil, butter, or another type of cooking fat when cooking.
Our Place boasts that the skillet can be used as a frying pan, skillet, sauté pan, griddle, roaster, baker, braiser and more – but that’s no different than other cast iron skillets, which are compatible with all stovetops. (we used ours on an induction hob). And, like the other versions, it can be used seamlessly from stovetop to oven (sear your steak on the stovetop, then move it to the oven to finish it off), and is capable of reaching temperatures up to 500 degrees, allowing you to stick it under the grill, as well.
Unlike most cast iron pans we’ve seen, this version comes with an oven-safe glass lid (up to 425 degrees), which comes in handy when you want to add steam, for example, a stir-fry vegetables. I have to admit I was nervous about breaking the thing up and didn’t use it for my cooking tests, but I could see it useful for something like paella.
The pan includes two silicone handles – one for the 6-inch handle and one for the opposite smaller assist handle (love them!), as well as a wooden spatula and a nifty built-in spoon rest and sponge all natural for cleaning.
But it’s a brand built on aesthetics. Considered “heirloom quality”, the pans feature a glossy exterior and, unlike the basic black of most cast iron varieties, come in six lovely shades: a dusty pink, pale oatmeal, muted green, a dusty grey-blue, charcoal and a soft purple. .
Construction, warmth, performance and – oof – weight
Now, one thing to know about cast iron is that it is heavy. The Always Pan version weighs 6.9 pounds and measures 9 ½ inches in diameter. This may surprise fans of the original 3-pound ceramic version. But the enamel coating ensures a nice smooth surface (best for even heat distribution) with no visible rips, pits or scratches. The 6-inch handle is pretty standard and comfortable enough to hold, but you really need to use the auxiliary handle if possible to lift the pan without difficulty.
But how did it work, you ask? We put the Always Cast Iron skillet through the same battery of tests used to determine the best cast iron skillets of 2022. We measured the time it took to heat the oil, the even distribution of heat throughout the skillet , the comfort of handling. and how easy it was to pour oil into a mason jar. We’ve also used it to fry eggs, sear steak, and bake cornbread.
Cast iron is famous for retaining heat, but not all pans heat evenly. We used an infrared thermometer gun to measure all areas of the pan and found inconsistent results, with the center of the pan measuring hottest and the right side hotter than the left. It was slower to heat oil than any of the cast iron pans we’ve tested previously and the Always doesn’t include pour spouts, which come in handy when trying to remove oil or grease from the pan. . We noticed splashing when we tried pouring oil from the Always into a mason jar.
As far as the kitchen is concerned, however, our dishes turned out to be very good. Our butter fried eggs came out nice and crispy around the edges and flipped easily, leaving only a tiny trace when we removed them from the pan. Our rib eye, seared in a tablespoon of cooking oil, crisped up beautifully and didn’t fight a fight when we flipped it a few times and removed it from the pan. And our cornbread browned evenly and came off the pan easily. It left a few crumbs stuck to the pan, but nothing that couldn’t be easily removed with a stiff bristle brush.
Speaking of which, the cleaning, overall, was easy. Contrary to popular myth, cast iron pans can be hand washed with a little dish soap as needed and a stiff bristle brush or abrasive sponge will help remove bits of food or grease stuck to the bottom. Just be sure to dry the pan completely when you’re done to avoid any rust buildup, although the enamel coating helps with that too.
Finally, no specific warranty is listed on the website, but the brand does note that it offers free exchanges or returns up to 30 days after the item has been shipped to your home.
Without a doubt, the Always Cast Iron Skillet looks great. The colors are soft and just plain lovely – there’s good reason they’re so Instagram-worthy. It’s just very nice to look at, while being efficient and easy to maintain.
But it’s also expensive. If you’re just looking for a great cast iron skillet that’s a total workhorse, you better pick up the $49.95 Lodge Chef Collection 12-inch Skillet, the winner of our cast iron skillet tests. melting. At a third of the price of the Always model, it beat out most of its more expensive competitors, has a comfortable elongated handle that makes it less heavy, includes two pour spouts and comes with a lifetime warranty.
But if you’re one of those rabid fans of the original Always Pan nonstick skillet, looking to add a colorful cast iron version to your collection, and swear by Oprah’s favorite things, you won’t be. sorry if you opt for Our Place’s foray into cast iron.