12-Inch Chef's Stainless Steel Fry Pan from Emeril by All-Clad review:

A Budget Pan You'll Reach for Often

CHOW Editors' Rating
Overall 8.0
How It's Made 6.0
How It Works 7.0
Is It a Good Buy? 9.0
Average User Rating
(0)
Specifications
  • Reviewed:
  • Price:$49.95 - $79.99
The Good

If you need a 12-inch fry pan and you like the All-Clad name, this is a bargain. The pan has a bonded base and a copper core for good heat distribution—both key features in regular All-Clad pans—but it’s half the price of regular All-Clad.

The Bad

Compared to regular All-Clad, this Emeril by All-Clad is light on construction: The area of good heat distribution is concentrated in the center, which translates to a smaller usable surface area for key tasks like searing.

The Bottom Line

If you’re on a budget, this is a decent alternative to a regular All-Clad fry pan. There are cheaper pans out there, and this pan has its weaknesses, but we think it produces consistently well-cooked food.

The Basics

Celebrity chef–endorsed kitchen gear is everywhere, so it’s no surprise that the first chef to blow up on food TV should have his own cookware line. What makes this particular line from Emeril interesting is the cobranding with All-Clad. Still, you won’t find the Emeril line touted on the regular All-Clad website—clearly, this is All-Clad lite. Which shows in the construction: A couple of the company’s signature elements are there, but in budget applications. And while All-Clad plays up its roots in American metallurgy and the fact that it’s still made in the old steel heartland of Pennsylvania, Emeril by All-Clad is made in China.

Design & Construction

This is an 18-/10-gauge stainless steel pan with the signature All-Clad copper core for better heat conductivity but without the heavy aluminum cladding of regular All-Clad. The bonded base would be good for preventing hot spots if it lined the entire pan, but it only covers the bottom (though one advantage of the bonded base is that it makes the pan less wobbly than those with rounded bases), and without the typical aluminum, the sides of the pan are pretty thin. But they’re rolled nicely, so you can easily toss ingredients you’re sautéing.

The Emeril by All-Clad pan feels a little heavier than a regular All-Clad of similar size, and the bottom surface is smaller (8 1/2 inches across instead of 9). Plus the handle is a full 2 inches shorter than on regular All-Clad pans.

Performance

We put the Emeril by All-Clad 12-inch pan through three tests: caramelizing onions, searing a steak, and roasting a whole, bone-in chicken breast using the stove-to-oven method.

Caramelizing onions: The pan’s smaller surface area meant it took a bit more stirring and tossing to get the onions to caramelize evenly, but tossing was easy and the results were deeply browned and sweet. Score: B.

Searing: The smaller cook surface holds two New York strips or one large rib-eye. Since the aluminum cladding doesn’t cover the sides, the pan smoked heavily when we cranked up the heat. Smoke-show aside, the steak came out evenly cooked and had a dark brown crust on both sides. Score: B.

Stove-to-oven roasting: We seared a whole, bone-in chicken breast, then transferred it to the oven to roast. The breast came out of the oven browned and juicy, with lots of tasty brown bits on the bottom of the pan for making a sauce with. But since the pan's handle is 2 inches shorter than on our regular All-Clad fry pan, it was a little awkward carrying the Emeril pan from stove to oven and back again. This would be even harder with something heavier, like a whole chicken or a pork roast. Score: B+.

Photos by Chris Rochelle