Since 2019, the Always Pan has permeated our lives, making its presence feel inescapable. If your social feeds haven’t been graced by vibrant cookware ads, either your targeted ads are amiss, or you’ve somehow avoided watching any cooking videos.
For the rest of us, the recognisable pastel-clad pans from Our Place, embraced even by Selena Gomez in several collaborations with the brand, have become a culinary sensation. Oprah Winfrey has even given them a shout-out, calling it “Kitchen Magician”. However, the looming question remains: does it genuinely live up to the hype, or is it just another celebrity-endorsed product destined to disappoint? We choose to believe Oprah would never deceive us.
Still, now that Our Place has launched in Australia (it’s about damn time), we decided to road test the pans for ourselves, putting them to the ultimate melted-cheese scraping, dinner party chaos test. Here’s how it fared.
Why Is the Always Pan Famous?
As anything with the potential to go viral online, the Always Pan shot to stardom in 2019 after its claim to be the one pan you will ever need. Remember the one-pan dinner? Well, this is its sole purpose. It’s a space-saving, everyday cookware that you might have spotted on Selena Gomez’s Emmy-nominated Max series, Selena + Chef. The pans are made from non-toxic, ethically sourced materials — which we haven’t found otherwise true in our investigation. That’s a big tick. Not to mention the 100% recycled packaging.
Whether you choose to believe the hype or not, Always Pan has a 50,000-person waiting list in the U.S. That should tell you everything you need to know about its stardom.
The packaging unfolds like a net of a cube, one flap at a time, revealing the lid first, then the pot, with a few surprise pamphlets and information cards scattered between. There are some lovely on-theme quotes printed on the cardboard, such as “We believe the strongest connections are made over a home-cooked meal.”
As an immigrant, Our Place founder Shiza Shahid, explains in several interviews online that she found her place in new communities through cooking food and dinner parties, which is the fabric of the brand — “We’ve always believed sharing a home-cooked meal is about so much more than just making food — it’s about reconnecting to our culture, our communities, our traditions, and to each other.”
The pan is much lighter than your standard stainless steel pan, which I was suspicious about at first. It was light and felt cheap, but the pans I grew up with were bottom-heavy —that’s all I’ve known, thanks to the chefs in my family. I continued digging through the box to find the steamer basket, colander, and nesting beechwood spatula.
The claim is the pan should replace a handful of your other kitchen gadgets. In theory, the Always Pan should nonuple as a sauté pan, a saucepan, a steamer, a colander, a frying pan, a saucier, a skillet, a non-stick pan and a spoon rest.
I ordered the Home Cook Duo in the Moroccan Azul colour, which, at the time of writing, is on sale for $490 and claims to replace an 18-piece cookware set. Given my narrow pocket of a kitchen, I was excited at the prospect of saving space.
Like any new non-stick pan, the Always Pan boasts a shiny surface where an egg effortlessly glides off. Fast forward a few weeks, and the once-pristine coating starts to show signs of wear. Several months later, you might find yourself reluctantly discarding it after a futile attempt to scrape off a stubborn layer of egg whites.
Sound familiar? Well, after a solid three months of use with the Always Pan, I’m still enjoying the seamless experience of sliding eggs, cheese, and everything else on and off it as effortlessly as a waterslide ride. Even after cooking 20 crispy feta egg tortillas, the feta consistently releases without a hitch, despite eggs and chilli oil on top. Picture the potential greasy mess.
While the coating hasn’t shown wear and tear so far, it’s worth noting that ceramic nonstick coatings, often labelled as sol-gel, share a common issue — eventual wear. Even a $700 non-stick pan isn’t immune, but with a quality pan, you can still expect several good years before the inevitable sticky situation.
My favourite aspect of these pans, besides the colour, is the heat distribution. Whether it’s on a gas stove or induction cooktop (yes, I tried both), it takes no more than a minute to heat up and stays hot throughout, especially the Always Pan, which is great for cooking fish or meats. Even heat distribution is the key to a well-cooked cut of meat or fish. The downside is I couldn’t seem to caramelise anything quite like a cat’s iron pan, even with the burners on full, so be wary of that.
The Only Pan You Need
The Always Pan is the only pan you’ll need, so they say. This rings true. With a depth of seven centimetres, you can make soup in the pan if you want. It’s great for sauces and pasta dishes in particular. Then there are the custom inserts, like the steaming basket for dumplings or vegetables. Unlike most steaming baskets, this one fits inside the pan and, better yet, under the dome-shaped modular lid, designed to lock the steam in or release it when you need it. Throw out your big, clunky steel steamers from the Coles promo; you don’t need them anymore. Before you ask, yes, you can pop it in the oven up to 232oC.
Another clever little trait with the pans is the built-in spoon rest. There are also a few extra notches for when you want to rest it on the pan’s edge, but if you have just a smudge of sauce on it, the spoon will tip.
Is the Always Pan worth the hype? Yes. Whether you’re new to cooking or a seasoned home cook, I have no doubt you’ll love these pans for all your sauteeing, boiling, frying, and steaming needs. Plus, the colours are hard to say no to. Spice, sage, bleu salt, steam — they’re all eye-catching and will add a pop of colour to your kitchen, which is what we all want now.
The versatility is unmatched, especially if you’re short on space or just want to distil your kitchenware into what I like to call a capsule pantry. For the price, it’s reasonable. It could be a little cheaper, but then again, everything could be a little cheaper these days. With that said, I’d be more than happy to shell out $500 for a pot and pan bundle or even just the $275 for the Always Pan 2.0.
It’s the new age pan for the new home cook, present company included.