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Zwilling Madura Skillet
Credit: @zwilling_usa

There is a universal, yet unnamed, principle that applies to your cabinet or pot rack full of skillets: whether you have 8 or 2, you almost always only use one. Perhaps it's a trusty cast-iron heirloom or a celebrity-branded 8-inch you picked up on a whim at TJ-Maxx. Maybe you wouldn't like to admit how many years you've been using your favorite.

I too had a ride-or-die. I don't know where it is now. That's because a Zwilling JA Henckels Madura Aluminum Fry Pan came into my life, and after one casual use of searing some chicken thighs, I knew that every other nonstick skillet I had used was a lie. Sure I keep my cast-iron for things that require going in the oven like cornbread, but this is now my stovetop standby.

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Made with four layers of forged aluminium and a granite non-stick coating, I thought that I might have to work on my weight routine to lift it. But, it's by far the lightest skillet I own, which means I can quickly move if off a burner to a serving dish. The heat-up time is mind-blowing and truly does shave noticeable time off my weeknight dinner cook times. Just a drizzle of olive oil, a turn of the knob to medium-high, and in a minute, I'm working with an evenly sizzling surface.

But the best feature might be how truly non-stick the surface of the skillet is. No more rushing to clean out a pan full of residual scrambled eggs before they literally turn to fossils stuck for eternity. More importantly, it's made with safer materials that are extremely chip-and-scratch-resistant and eliminate the dangerous downsides of yesteryear's non-stick skillets. Technically, this means you could use metal tools while cooking, but we still suggest stirring, flipping, and such with a wooden spoon or our favorite spatula to extend its lifespan.

I'm sure if you've made it this far, you're waiting for me to drop a hefty price tag. Plot twist: this skillet is actually affordable. For a 10-inch workhouse, it's only $49. With the smaller sizes listed at even less, I've already decided to add an 8-inch to my cabinet. There's plenty of room in there now anyway.