If you think you need a nonstick pan to make eggs, think again: great omelettes have a lot more to do with technique than with the type of pan you use.
Here, we look at the best omelette pans without Teflon or PTFE. Plus: tips on how to pick the omelette pan that's right for your kitchen and tips on how to make an omelette without a nonstick pan.
Our Overall Favorite Omelet Pan: 8-9 Inch Carbon Steel Skillet
See Vollrath carbon steel skillet on Amazon
The Best Omelette Pans without Teflon at a Glance
Here's a summary table of our favorite omelette pans without Teflon or PTFE. Can you make an omelette in a pan that isn't nonstick? Absolutely!
NOTE: Table may not be visible in mobile view.
Best Overall Omelette Pan:
Vollrath Carbon Steel
see it at webstaurantstore.com
Matfer Bourgeat Carbon Steel
-No rivets on cooking surface
-Nonstick when seasoned
-8" weighs 1.5-2 lbs
-Excellent shape for omelettes
-Several sizes available
-Made in USA (Vollrath) or France (M-B).
-About $35 for 8-9" pan (prices vary)
-Best results w/oil or butter.
Best All-Purpose Frying Pan:
-Tri-ply clad stainless
-Versatile, lightweight (8" is 2lbs)
-Great shape for omelettes
-Made in USA.
-About $110/130 for 8"/10" pan
-Must use oil/butter for eggs or they'll stick, or use Leidenfrost method
Best Ceramic Nonstick Pan:
-Anodized aluminum body
-10" about 2.25 lbs
-Nonstick coated rivets
-Great shape for omelettes
-Limited lifetime warranty on body; 2 yr on nonstick coating.
-About $60 for 10" pan
-Several sizes/buying options
-For best results use oil or butter
-Nonstick coating may not last very long, but pan will still be safe to use (unlike PTFE).
Best Cast Iron Frying Pan:
-Solid cast iron, pre-seasoned (but may need more)
-Nonstick when well-seasoned
-8" about 3.2 lbs
-Made in USA.
-Needs occasional seasoning
-Several other sizes available
-May get better results w/oil or butter.
Best Japanese Omelette Pan: Iwachu Tamagoyaki
-Cast iron, no nonstick coating
-Well made and durable
-About 2.7 lbs
-Made in Japan.
-Wooden handle may not last.
What IS an Omelette Pan?
"Omelette pan" has many definitions. It can be a basic, multi-purpose frying pan or skillet--that is, a shallow pan with curved or sloped sides, which are great for cooking all types of eggs as well as many other dishes:
Or, it can be a specialized pan designed to easily fold and flip an omelette (or frittata):
It can also be a specialty pan for Japanese rolled omelets (called tamagoyaki):
Omelette pans can come in many different materials. Many people balk at cooking eggs in anything other than a nonstick pan, but you can get great results in any type of pan as long as you use the right technique.
Because we are concerned about the proliferation of PFAS chemicals in the world's water supplies, we are not reviewing any Teflon or PTFE omelette pans.
We couldn't find any flippable pans that weren't nonstick, so we are not reviewing any of those. (They may be out there; we just didn't find any.)
About Teflon and PTFE Nonstick Cookware
Teflon® is Dupont's brand name for polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Thus, PTFE is the generic term for Teflon, as well as hundreds of other PTFE brands on the market (Eterna, Autograph, Granitium, Quantanium, etc.). Though they can differ slightly in composition, they are all some form of the PTFE molecule shown above.
We've written several reviews for nonstick pans, and the more we research PTFE, the less we like it. The nonstick cookware industry is almost singlehandedly responsible for the world's water supplies being polluted with fluoropolymers like PFOA and now GenX, which is supposed to be the safer replacement for PFOA since 2015, but is showing many of the same toxic properties. Like PFOA, GenX chemicals are unregulated, so there's no way to know how much of it has been dumped into the environment. We do know that GenX is now being found downstream from the chemical companies that produce it.
For more information, check out our list of nonstick cookware articles on our Cookware page.
How Do I Know if a Pan Contains Teflon or PTFE?
It can be tricky to determine if a pan contains PTFE: a pan can be "Teflon-free" yet still have a coating made of PTFE. Makers can be very evasive about PTFE, so you have to be really careful when buying.
A pan can also be "PFOA-free" or "made without PFOA" (as with MadeIn nonstick pans) and still contain PTFE. In fact, "PFOA-free" is usually an indication that a pan does contain PTFE or Teflon.
In general, if a pan is labeled "nonstick," it's either PTFE (Teflon) or ceramic; there are no other choices. Granite, titanium, and diamond dust are all additions to PTFE or ceramic. Even though some makers aren't clear about that, you can trust us that it's the truth.
We discuss ways to tell and provide an extensive list of brands in the article Nonstick Cookware Brands: PTFE or Ceramic? A Comprehensive Guide.
But Isn't Teflon/PTFE Safe When Used Correctly?
Yes: when used at heat settings below about 400F, PTFE cookware is a stable, non-reactive, completely safe polymer. You could eat a chunk of it and it would pass through your body unchanged.
The problem is that it's so easy to mis-use PTFE pans. Even at medium heat, an empty pan can reach temps of 500F or more in just a few minutes. And when it does, it starts to break down into unstable fluoropolymers like PFOA--the toxic chemical found throughout the world's water supplies and in 99% of Americans' bodies.
And even if you're willing to take that chance--say, because you and everyone in your household will always use the pan correctly--this doesn't address the larger issue: that these companies have polluted the environment for decades and continue to do so with still unregulated fluoropolymer chemicals.
Every time you buy a Teflon or PTFE pan, you are supporting an industry that is polluting our planet.
Yes, there are other industries as well that use (and dump) these chemicals, and we encourage you to learn more about them. Since we are a kitchen site, we're not going to go any deeper into this topic than nonstick cookware.
About Ceramic Nonstick Cookware
Ceramic nonstick cookware seems like a better choice environmentally as far as we can tell. It's also the safer choice because it contains no fluoropolymers. However, the nanoparticles used in the coating process may be unsafe; there simply isn't enough research yet to know if they're an issue.
Ceramic nonstick cookware also has a shorter nonstick life than PTFE cookware, and even though it's a more durable substance, you have to follow all the same use restrictions as for PTFE if you want the cookware to remain nonstick for as long as possible. That is: low heat, no metal utensils, and washing by hand.
In fact, the nonstick properties seem to be inversely proportional to how high a pan is heated: that is, the higher the heat, the less nonstick the pan becomes.
This isn't a detriment for omelettes, though, as low heat is the best way to cook eggs. For this reason, we like ceramic nonstick for an omelette pan. We don't like it as much as clad stainless or carbon steel, but if you must have nonstick, ceramic is the way to go.
However, consider this: Some ceramic nonstick makers actually say now that their pans are "semi-nonstick" and that you shouldn't try to use them without some oil or butter. So don't trust those late night infomercials where that fried egg slides around the pan effortlessly--you are very unlikely to get such results without a bit of oil or butter.
Another good thing about ceramic nonstick is that even after they lose their nonstick properties, they're still usable as a regular pan; actually, except when the pan is very new, you'll get better results if you always use a little cooking oil or butter.
Finally, the nonstick surface can often be restored with some cleanser and a gently-abrasive scrubbing pad. This will remove a buildup of cooking residues that interfere with the pan's slipperiness.
Though you should never do this to a Teflon or PTFE pan, it can do wonders on ceramic nonstick.
Do I Need a Special Pan to Make Omelettes?
No, you don't. As we show above, you can certainly buy a special pan just for omelettes, and there are a lot of options for that. However, any shallow, smallish frying pan will work just fine.
Like Alton Brown, we aren't big fans of "uni-tasker" tools unless they're absolutely necessary. If you love omelettes and want a special pan that makes it easy to fold or flip, then by all means, get one. (If you can find one without a nonstick coating, please let us know.)
But remember that every specialty piece you own takes up precious storage space. So consider carefully how much you're really going to use it, and if a good, all-purpose skillet might not be the better choice.
Types of Omelettes
An omelette is an egg dish made with beaten eggs and fried in butter without stirring. Usually, they are folded over or rolled before serving
In her classic cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child spends more time discussing how to make an omelette than just about anything else in the book. Making an authentic, rolled French omelette--with absolutely no browning--takes real practice.
Fortunately, there are many ways to make an omelette, and most are much easier than the French method.
Omelettes can be plain egg, or they can be filled. Yummy additions include cheese, potatoes, onions, herbs, bacon, ham, and more.
Some omelettes are not folded, but cooked flat in a pan like a Spanish omelette or a frittata (Italian omelette).
Unless you're interested in the rolled Japanese, tamagoyaki omelette, the best pan for an omelette is an all-purpose skillet. With an all-purpose skillet, you aren't limited to the type of omelette you can make, as it will work for all types of omelettes (except the Japanese rolled omelet).
What Is the Best Size and Shape for an Omelette Pan?
If you want an all purpose skillet that works well for omelettes, just be sure it has sloped, shallow sides. These ensure easy flipping whether you're using a turner or tossing the omelette into the air.
8-9 inches is the best size for a dedicated omelette pan, but a 10-inch is better for an all-purpose pan. We recommend not going larger than 10 inches, since omelettes are typically made for individuals and an omelette will spread out too much in a bigger pan.
If you do use a larger pan--10 or 12 inches--we recommend that you make a two- or more person omelette and share it for best results.
(In general, we recommend a 12-inch skillet as the best all-purpose size for most kitchens, but this is too big a pan for individual omelettes.)
Tips on How to Make an Omelette (In a Non-Nonstick Pan)
Almost every omelette recipe begins with "Heat a nonstick pan...". Nonstick has become the standard for all egg dishes.
But you don't need a nonstick pan to make an omelette, or for any type of egg dish. People have been making omelettes for hundreds of years without Teflon and done just fine. And since most instructions tell you to add butter to the pan, what's the point of using nonstick?
Our first choice for an omelette pan is seasoned carbon steel. The other pans we recommend will also work, but carbon steel is the ideal pan. If you go out for brunch, you'll see that many chefs use carbon steel for omelettes. They're more durable than nonstick and will last for decades.
We're not going to put a full recipe here; if you're buying an omelette pan, then you probably know how to make one.
We'll just include a few tips for making an omelette in a non-nonstick pan.
- If you're using carbon steel or cast iron, make sure the pan is very well seasoned.
- Use a low heat setting.
- Use plenty of butter; about a tablespoon. (Especially important for stainless steel.)
- Let the butter melt completely and swirl it around until the pan is completely coated. Do not add eggs until the butter has stopped bubbling.
If you need more information, there are thousands of websites, videos, and cookbooks that can teach you how to make an omelette.
With practice and the right technique, you won't miss your Teflon at all.
And about the butter: if you're worried that it's unhealthy, it's not. Several nutrients require fat to be absorbed by the body--so butter or other healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, duck fat, un-hydrogenated lard) are actually good for you.
If you're worried about calories, just use enough butter to coat the pan. You can even wipe out the excess with a paper towel before adding your eggs if you want to. As long as the pan has a thin coating of butter, you should get great results.
What About Seasoning? Isn't It Hard?
Seasoning a pan can be a little tricky, and it may take you a few tries to get the hang of it. But it is not difficult, and once seasoned, a pan will continue to get smoother and more slippery every time you use it.
You should only need to re-season if you use the pan for something acidic, which can eat away at the seasoning. If you use a carbon steel pan just for eggs, you should almost never have to re-season the pan.
Seasoning is something that's best done by watching the process. Here's a 4 minute video on how to season carbon steel:
This should also work for cast iron.
What to Look for in an Omelette Pan
This section covers the basics in what you should look for when buying cookware. Priorities can vary depending on the type of pan (or cookware) you're buying, but these are the important features to think about.
Heating properties are arguably the most important factor in buying any cookware, assuming the pan is made from safe material. After all, if it doesn't heat well, it doesn't matter how pretty it is or how nonstick it is. You need a pan that heats evenly (has good "thermal conductivity") and retains heat fairly well (has good "heat capacity" or "heat retention").
We go into more detail about these two properties in other articles. Here, we'll just say that you need a pan that's heavy enough to heat evenly and hang onto heat fairly well.
For an omelette pan, any reasonably heavy and well-made pan will work. You don't want to go too cheap, because if a pan is too thin, it will heat unevenly and lose heat too rapidly.
Once again, well-seasoned carbon steel is one of the best options.
Good quality clad stainless is a good choice, too, but will probably require using more butter than nicely seasoned carbon steel. However, if you're looking for an all-purpose pan and not just an omelette pan, the All-Clad D3 skillet is a great choice.
Unless you're resigned to replacing nonstick pans every couple of years, durability should be the second most important consideration.
We like a pan that can take a lot of abuse: high heat, metal utensils, oven, abrasive scrubbing pads, dishwashers...A good egg pan may not need to be super durable, but if you go with carbon steel, cast iron, or clad stainless (especially clad stainless), durability is part of the package.
You want a pan that won't react with food, rust easily, or leach chemicals. This is how stable the pan is.
Clad stainless is probably the most stable, non-reactive cookware material on the market. Well-seasoned carbon steel and cast iron tie for second place. But because they require seasoning to be stabile cooking surfaces, they don't win this category.
Even so, well-seasoned carbon steel is an excellent choice for a dedicated omelette pan.
What about nonstick? Ceramic is a stable, safe surface even at high temps (although heat will kill the nonstick properties). PTFE is stable and safe at temps below 400F. It won't react with food, but it will break down into potentially unsafe chemicals at temps higher than this. But more importantly, the PTFE cookware industry is contaminating the world's water supplies, so this cookware is not safe or stable in any way, shape, or form.
Ease of Care
Of course nonstick wins this category easily, but if you're avoiding nonstick, then you probably won't mind having to scrub a pan once in awhile.
Coming in second are seasoned carbon steel and cast iron. They clean up almost as easily as nonstick. You just have to be sure to dry them thoroughly or they can rust. A thin coating of oil after washing can help the pan keep its smooth surface and ensure that no rusting occurs.
If you hate the idea of seasoning a pan occasionally, then stainless steel might be the right option for you. For a dedicated egg pan, though, re-seasoning should rarely be necessary.
It's true that food can really stick to stainless steel, especially if you like to use high heat.
The truth is, though, that if you follow use and care instructions for any pan, you should rarely have a gunky mess to scrub.
You probably will have to scrub a pan occasionally; the heat goes too high and something burns, or food sticks for any number of reasons. It's not the end of the world: for a real mess, you can let clad stainless soak in hot soapy water. That usually does the trick, even if you need to do it more than once.
We think not having to worry about dangerous chemicals in your cookware and water is a great payoff for having to scrub a pan once in awhile.
Design and Aesthetics
Design is about how a pan is to use. Are the handles comfortable? Do they provide a safe grip? Can you pour without spilling? Is the cooking surface smooth, or does it have rivets that collect gunk?
Is it thick enough to heat evenly, yet not so think that it's hard to maneuver?
If it's a heavy or large piece, does it have a helper handle for easier handling?
If it has a lid, does it fit snugly? Is it sturdy?
You should also consider the aesthetics: Is the pan pretty? Do you enjoy looking at it and using it? Because if your cookware isn't aesthetically pleasing, you won't enjoy your time in the kitchen.
All other things being equal, you should buy cookware you can love.
Value doesn't necessarily mean low cost because inexpensive cookware can need replacing every year or so; in the long run, you'll spend more on cheap cookware than you will on one or two quality pieces that will last for decades (or longer).
Our general recommendation is to buy the best quality cookware you can afford. For an omelette pan, you can get a top quality carbon steel or cast iron pan for a surprisingly affordable price. Both of our carbon steel recommendations are excellent quality pans.
Review: Matfer-Bourgeat or Vollrath Carbon Steel Skillet
See Matfer Bourgeat skillet on Amazon (2 lbs)
See Vollrath carbon steel skillet on Amazon (1.5 lbs)
See Vollrath carbon steel skillet at webstaurantstore.com
Vollrath and Matfer Bourgeat tied as our choice for carbon steel pan. They both have a welded handle and no rivets on the cooking surface. If you've ever had to scrub gunk from around rivets--especially egg gunk--you will understand what a great feature this is.
They're priced about the same, both well made, both require seasoning before use. The Vollrath pan is about half a pound lighter than the M-B pan, which is great if you want to do the "chef flip."
All carbon steel will be thinner and lighter than cast iron, making it an excellent choice for omelettes. In fact, for a dedicated omelette pan that isn't Teflon-coated, carbon steel is our number one choice.
- No rivets on cooking surface (these two brands only)
- Nonstick when well-seasoned
- 8" weighs about 1.5-2 lbs
- Induction compatible
- Excellent shape for omelettes
- Several sizes available
- Made in France.
Pros and Cons
A good carbon steel pan will last for decades and is our number one choice for a dedicated omelette pan. It also makes a good all-purpose skillet, though probably not as all-purpose as clad stainless because of the seasoning (i.e., not great for acidic foods). Carbon steel is a little on the heavy side (though lighter than cast iron), so if you want to flip the pan, we recommend going with the Vollrath, and not going larger than about 9 inches.
BUY matfer-bourgeat carbon steel SKILLET:
buy vollrath carbon steel skillet:
Review: All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel Skillet
See All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel skillet on Amazon
See our Detailed All-Clad Cookware Review
We love the All-Clad D3 skillet as an excellent all-purpose skillet that will provide decades of use. It's not nonstick, so you need to use oil or butter to make eggs, but with the right technique and practice, you won't miss a nonstick skillet a bit.
- Aluminum core provides fast, even heating
- Durable, versatile pan
- Induction compatible
- Very stable cooking surface won't react with food
- Grooved handle is easy to stabilize but many find it uncomfortable
- Not cheap, but lifetime warranty makes its cost-per-year-of-use low
- Made in USA.
Pros and Cons
If you want an all-purpose pan that you can also use for omelettes and don't mind using oil or butter to make the pan nonstick, the All-Clad D3 is an excellent choice that will serve you well for decades.
BUY All-Clad d3 stainless steel SKILLET ON AMAZON:
Review: GreenPan Valencia Pro Ceramic Nonstick Skillet
See GreenPan Valencia Pro skillet on Amazon
See our detailed GreenPan review
GreenPan makes several lines of skillets, all with ceramic nonstick coating--free of PTFE, PFOA, PFAS, GenX, and all other fluoropolymers you'll find in traditional nonstick pans. Ceramic nonstick may have its own set of health concerns (nanoparticles), but as far as we know, the industry has not polluted the planet's water supply as the PTFE/Teflon cookware industry has done (and is continuing to do with unregulated GenX chemicals).
If you must have nonstick, ceramic is the optimal choice for the environment. However, ceramic nonstick has a reputation of not staying nonstick for very long, so you may find yourself replacing these pans every couple of years--although you can continue to use ceramic nonstick as a regular frying pan, adding oil or butter, with no worries about toxic fumes.
GreenPan is a good choice because it's well made, with good heating properties, yet not too expensive.
We picked the Valencia Pro because it is induction compatible, but if you don't need that, there are other options that are cheaper: Paris Pro, Lima, and Chatham are all very nice pans, though it can sometimes be hard to find the size you want.
Some people may be disappointed with the 2 year warranty on the nonstick coating when other companies offer a lifetime warranty on theirs. But the truth is that very few, if any, cookware companies will honor the "lifetime" warranty on nonstick coatings because they simply do not last more than a few years. We find GreenPan's 2 year promise refreshingly honest.
- Anodized aluminum body
- Stainless handle
- 10" about 2.25 lbs
- Nonstick coated rivets
- Induction compatible
- Excellent shape for omelettes
- Limited lifetime warranty on body; 2 yr on nonstick coating
- Made in China.
Pros and Cons
If you don't mind the low-heat restriction and all the other care-and-use instructions that go along with a nonstick pan, GreenPan Valencia Pro will make a great omelette pan. And after the nonstick wears out, you can still use the pan safely (unlike Teflon).
BUY greenpan valencia pro ceramic nonstick skillet ON AMAZON:
Review: Lodge 8" Cast Iron Frying Pan
See Lodge frying pan on Amazon
See our cast iron skillet review
Cast iron isn't our first choice for omelettes simply because it's heavy and has high sides compared to other types of skillets. If you're buying a pan strictly for omelettes, you're probably better off with a carbon steel pan, which is both lighter and shallower.
When well-seasoned, though, cast iron is every bit as good for eggs as Teflon. You may not even need to use any oil or butter, but we suggest you do, if only for flavor; just a thin coating over the pan should be enough.
If you want a cast iron pan just for omelettes, we recommend the 8-inch. If you want one you can use for numerous tasks, go with the 10-inch. They're both extremely affordable and you won't be sorry with either one of them.
- Solid cast iron
- Pre-seasoned (but may need more use or another seasoning)
- Nonstick when well-seasoned
- 8" weighs about 3.2 lbs
- Induction compatible
- Made in USA.
Pros and Cons
Cast iron makes a great pan for high heat searing, deep frying, and many basic kitchen tasks. If it's well-seasoned, it is excellent for omelettes, too--though a carbon steel pan makes a better egg pan because it's lighter and has shallower sides. Thus, if you're looking for an all-purpose pan, cast iron is a great choice; if you're looking strictly for an omelet pan, go with the carbon steel.
BUY lodge 8" frying PAN ON AMAZON:
Review: Iwachu Tamagoyaki Japanese Omelette Pan
See Iwachu Tamagoyaki omelette pan on Amazon
Tamagoyaki omelettes are becoming more and more popular in the US. This is a rolled, sliced omelette you can fill with many delicious things.
The square pan is essential to getting the right rolled shape:
We had a hard time finding one that wasn't Teflon or PTFE coated, so if you want to avoid PTFE but don't want this model, read the fine print carefully before buying; the only choices we found were PTFE or cast iron.
- Cast iron, no nonstick coating
- Excellent heat retention
- Well made and durable
- About 2.7 lbs
- Induction compatible
- Made in Japan.
Pros and Cons
If you're really into tamagoyaki omelettes and want to avoid PTFE, this cast iron pan is the best choice.
buy iwachu tamagoyaki japanese omelette pan on amazon:
Choosing an omelette pan doesn't have to be hard, even when avoiding Teflon and PTFE coatings. Our overall favorite for a dedicated omelette pan is carbon steel--both Vollrath and Matfer-Bourgeat make rivet-free pans at an affordable price. For an all-purpose pan that will also work well for omelettes, we like the All-Clad D3 skillet.
Smaller sizes are best--8-inch is ideal for a dedicated omelette pan, but a 10-inch size makes a better all-purpose pan that will also work for omelettes.
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