Last Updated on July 9, 2023
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- Updated at the bottom with a 1-year progress report.
- If you’re looking for information about the Crofton Fry Pan and Crofton Saute Pan with Lid, both of which are Caraway pan dupes, click here.
My kitchen is filled with Aldi cookware. From stockpots to fry pans, saucepans to skillets to mini casserole dishes, and even universal lids, the discount grocery store regularly features cookware in its famous middle aisle.
In January of 2022, Aldi introduced a new piece of cookware I’ve never seen them sell before: a budget imitation of a pricy name-brand Always Pan.
A bit of history on Always Pans: they are made by Our Place, a company founded in 2019 that focuses on making kitchen products. The co-founder, Shiza Shahid, served as a mentor to Nobel laureate and assassination survivor Malala Yousafzai. Our Place sells a variety of products, but its best-known product is the Always Pan, which features an aluminum body and ceramic nonstick cooking surface. It claims to replace your “fry pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest.” It also comes with a built-in beechwood spatula and nesting steaming basket.
The catch is that a name-brand Always Pan currently costs $145. Enter the Aldi version, which costs just a fraction of what the name brand does.
The Crofton Awesome Pan (Product Code: 705241) cost $24.99 at the time of publication. [EDITOR’S NOTE: in 2022 the price increased to $28.99.] That’s obviously a lot less than the $145 Always Pan, and is also less than most other ceramic pans like this one online.
Here’s more information about the Crofton Awesome Pan:
- Features Fusion Ti nonstick ceramic coating that allows for easy release
- Made without PFOA or PTFE
- Made with a long-lasting cast aluminum lid and a stay-cool, Bakelite handle
- Features an aluminum body that provides uniform heat distribution
- Measures 10.25″ in diameter
- Compatible with gas, electric, glass ceramic, halogen, and induction cooktops
- Available in Matte Black, Beige, or Dusty Blue
- Made in China
The Crofton Awesome Pan comes with a two-year warranty. The warranty page for the pan on the Aldi US website lists a London mailing address, while the email address on that page is based out of Colombia in Central America, although not all companies with similar email addresses are from Colombia. Anyway, this same warranty service provider has provided service for other Aldi products in the past.
I bought the Dusty Blue version, which is a pretty muted shade of blue-gray on the outside, while the interior is beige.
There are some notable differences between the Crofton Awesome Pan and an Always Pan. The Aldi Awesome Pan does not include a wooden spatula, spatula holder, or nesting steamer basket and colander like the Always Pan does. The Awesome Pan also is missing the two pour spouts on the sides that the Always Pan features.
This pan feels sturdy and is moderately heavy, but not nearly as heavy as cast iron cookware. The whole thing feels very substantial. The lid fits on top securely with a knob that is comfortable to grip. I like that the lid is metal instead of glass.
The handle is reasonably ergonomic. The instruction sheet that comes with the pan states that the handle will become hot during stove top or oven use, so oven mitts or hot pads should be used when moving the pan.
The small instruction sheet packed with the pan includes a few other tips:
- Before using, wash in warm soapy water with a soft cloth.
- Do not use high heat settings. Low to medium heat settings work best for most cooking.
- To preserve the life of the nonstick coating, always use nylon, silicone, or wooden utensils. Metal utensils will cut or scratch the pan.
- Place the cookware on a burner no larger than the bottom of the pan. The pan should heat up gradually on the burner. Do not put the pan on a pre-heated burner.
- The Bakelite handle is oven safe and heat resistant up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not use under a broiler.
- Always lift the pan on a glass stove top, taking care never to drag or drop onto the glass surface.
- If cooking with a gas range stove top, never allow the open flame to travel up the sides of the cookware.
- Always allow the pan to cool before immersing in water to wash it, as it may cause the pan to warp.
- The pan is not dishwasher safe. Hand wash only. Do not use steel wool, metal scouring pads, or abrasive cleaners.
- Always clean and dry the pan before storing.
- Always consult your stove top user manual to ensure the use of proper cookware suitable to your appliance.
While the instructions technically say this is “oven safe,” the temperature rating (300 degrees) is probably too low for most baking uses. Of note: the Our Place Always Pan is not oven safe, so this is not a disadvantage of the Crofton pan compared to the Our Place one.
Trying It Out:
I have initially used this pan to cook Aldi sausage patties and scrambled cheesy eggs for a family brinner. The fairly thick pan took a little more time to heat up compared to some other skillets I own. Once it got cooking, the nonstick properties were excellent. Usually when I cook sausage in a regular nonstick pan, it leaves some dark gooey residue behind. That didn’t happen with this Aldi Awesome Pan. The scrambled eggs also did not stick at all. When it was time to wash the pan, the food residue rinsed out easily with no hard scrubbing required.
Also, most of the handle did not get too hot to the touch while this pan was on my stove top, even after I had been cooking for a good 10-15 minutes.
It remains to be seen how well the Awesome Pan holds up after more use, but I’m hopeful this will be a good addition to my cookware collection. I’ll update this post if there are any new developments.
The Crofton Awesome Pan appears to be a less expensive Aldi take on the pricy name-brand Always Pan. There are some important differences, including the fact that the Aldi pan does not include a wooden spatula, spatula holder, nesting steamer basket and colander, or two pour spouts like the Always Pan has. Still, the Crofton pan’s sturdy aluminum construction with nonstick ceramic coating makes it look like a promising new addition to our kitchen. We initially used it to cook some sausage patties and eggs, and so far, so good. We’ll see how it does with prolonged use.
UPDATE (November 2022): After a full year of frequent use as our primary skillet, the pan continues to hold up well. Both the metal pan and the ceramic surface are in good shape and do the job.