Restaurateur, celebrity chef, and cookbook author Emeril Lagasse has built a massive culinary brand. That brand includes several lines of cookware, one of which is the Forever Pans.
I found the Emeril Lagasse Forever Pans to be of similar quality to any other hard-anodized non-stick cookware set. They don’t seem to perform better or necessarily last longer, but they do the job and make food preparation easy with non-stick quality.
I’ll break down the pros and cons of the Emeril Forever Pans Set. You’ll learn about its construction, design, performance, and more so you can make the best decision.
Ready to learn more about Emeril Cookware? Let’s get started.
What to Look for in a Non-Stick Pan
The reality is that non-stick cookware won’t last forever, and even the best non-stick pans will break down after a few years. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for a poorly-performing pan.
A non-stick coating that easily releases food is essential. It’s also important to have a coating that won’t scratch or flake at the slightest contact.
Beyond that? Anything else is just an added bonus. Is it metal-utensil safe? Awesome. (I’m admittedly skeptical of any non-stick that makes that claim.) Dishwasher-safe? That’s great. Stackable? Fantastic.
I would still recommend treating non-stick with kid gloves and setting reasonable expectations. Avoid cooking sprays, since they can break down a non-stick coating and actually make the cookware stick.
Teflon or Ceramic?
All non-stick coatings have a base of either Teflon (PTFE) or ceramic. They might have other materials as reinforcements. Common additions include titanium, granite, and diamond. But those are just there to add some durability and scratch resistance.
PTFE is a polymer that’s safe with proper use, but at high temperatures, it can break down and release fumes that are lethal to birds and cause flu-like symptoms in humans. Some people wish to avoid it for that reason.
Ceramic coatings won’t release harmful fumes at high temperatures, and they’ve become popular as an alternative to Teflon. However, their non-stick qualities don’t last as long. Expect food to begin sticking after a year or less.
Teflon has better performance, in my opinion. But ceramic is a good alternative for those who don’t want to risk overheating.
Emeril Lagasse cookware appears to have a hybrid of Teflon and ceramic within the three layers of non-stick coating.
It’s not enough for a pan to release food easily–the pan must also cook evenly. Uneven heat distribution can lead to inconsistent results, and it could even be dangerous if food is undercooked in certain spots.
A pan with a flat base and a thick layer of responsive metal (like aluminum, for instance) will distribute heat more evenly and cook food more efficiently.
Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of non-stick cookware is the ease of cleaning. Scrubbing stuck-on food is not fun for anyone, so a non-stick coating can save time after dinner.
With that being said, non-stick cookware is not always dishwasher-safe. Even the cookware sets that claim to be dishwasher-safe, I would still recommend hand washing.
But a simple rinse with warm soapy water should be enough for almost any food. Be sure to use a non-abrasive cloth or sponge to avoid scratching the non-stick surface.
It is helpful when a set of non-stick pots and pans includes lids. Tempered glass lids are the most common with non-stick cookware. This type of lid is great because it allows you to monitor food as you cook it. Plus, these lids are most often oven-safe, allowing you to bake covered dishes with ease.
Emeril Lagasse Forever Pans Review
Emeril Cookware bears the name of the famous chef and restaurateur, Emeril Lagasse. He teamed up with manufacturers to create cookware that is attractive and high-performing.
While there are multiple lines of Emeril Cookware, I’m going to focus on the Emeril Lagasse Forever Pans Set. The Forever Pans set is the flagship collection of the Emeril Lagasse brand.
For a quick rundown of the features (and honestly for entertainment value) check out this colorful TV infomercial, advertising the Forever Pans, hosted by none other than Emeril Lagasse himself:
Emeril Lagasse Everyday Forever Pans Hard-Anodized Cookware
Emeril Lagasse Forever Pans feature hard-anodized aluminum construction and a triple-layer non-stick coating. It comes in a matte black finish and includes the following pieces:
- 11-inch (27.9 cm) deep skillet with lid
- 10-inch (25.4 cm) open skillet
- 1.5-quart (1.4 liters) saucepan with lid
- 5.5-quart (5.2 liters) casserole stock pot with lid
- Chef’s knife
- Stainless mesh steamer basket
- Grill plate insert
- Emeril recipe book
Several would have liked an additional larger saucepan, but these pieces will cover most cooking needs. The grill plate is nice for getting sear marks when cooking steak. And the mesh crisper basket is good for deep frying in the stock pot.
The Chef’s knife was quite popular among those who received it. Fair warning, though, several people didn’t receive the knife in their order.
Overall, people liked this Emeril cookware set. They found the non-stick quality and even cooking to be the best features.
For those who want just a non-stick fry pan, there’s this affordable alternative Emeril Forever Pan Frying Pan Set. It comes with an 8-inch (20.3 cm) and 10-inch (25.4 cm) frying pan. The Forever Frying Pan’s deep sides make it great for a variety of dishes.
Watch reviewer James White as he puts the Emeril Cookware Forever Fry Pan through a series of tests:
Emeril Forever Pans: Features
The Emeril Forever Pans set has a body of hard-anodized aluminum. This construction makes these pans more durable, corrosion-resistant, and non-reactive.
Aluminum pans can be prone to warping, but hard-anodized aluminum is less likely to warp. So even though these pans are lightweight and thin, they’ll hold up well on the stovetop. Just avoid cooking with high heat unless you’re boiling water.
So what did customers think? They said the pots and pans had a nice weight to them, if not slightly on the lighter side. They were able to make acidic foods like tomato sauce without any reaction, which is a big plus.
But some people did have problems with an uneven base, which could be the result of slight warping. Using low-to-medium heat will help prevent any warping.
Even Heat Distribution
One of the benefits of the hard-anodized aluminum body is even heat distribution.
Many users found that food cooks evenly with this Emeril cookware set. A couple of reviews complained about hot spots, but the overwhelming majority of users were pleased with the cooking performance.
Triple Non-Stick Coating
The Emeril Forever Pans feature a triple-layer non-stick coating. The three layers consist of ceramic, a mixture of ceramic and Teflon, and a bacteria-fighting silver-infused layer.
The product description claims that these pots and pans remain non-stick, even after 80,000 cycles of abrasions, compared with the measly 8,000 cycles of normal non-stick pans.
According to Emeril, independent labs confirmed that the non-stick layer is 10 times more durable than ordinary pots and pans. Of course, we don’t know what qualifies as an “ordinary” pot or pan.
Many users found the Emeril Forever Pans to have easy food release. They said that even sticky food like eggs and cheese did not stick to these pans.
This Emeril cookware will perform better if you season it. The Forever Pans set does not come pre-seasoned, which means the buyer has to apply it.
I don’t normally recommend seasoning non-stick as I think it increases stickiness. However, since the manufacturer recommends it in this case, you should do it.
This video from the manufacturer explains how to season your Emeril Lagasse Forever Pans:
The good news is that, even with heavy daily use, this non-stick coating can last for a while with proper care.
The Forever Pans are oven-safe to 500°F (260°C). Several users put their Emeril Lagasse cookware in the oven without any problems.
With Emeril cookware, you can start a dish on the stovetop and allow it to finish cooking in the oven. Frittatas, baked macaroni and cheese, and pan-seared steak are all recipes that are suited for this type of cooking.
Tempered Glass Lids
These Emeril pots and pans come with a tempered glass lid with vents to let steam escape while holding in flavor. They can withstand heat and will go in the oven, although no max temperature is listed.
Buyers liked the see-through lids. They also said the lids fit snugly to the pots and pans. A few had issues with water accumulating under the lid rim, but this was not a common complaint.
Stainless Steel Handles
The Emeril cookware set features stay-cool riveted handles of stainless steel. The rounded design makes for an easy, comfortable grip.
The saucepan and open skillet have a single long handle. The deep skillet has a long handle with a helper handle, and the stock pot has two looped handles on the sides.
Some reviewers said the handles get hot, whereas others said they stayed cool. Everyone generally agreed that they were comfortable, though.
The Emeril Forever Pans have a stainless steel induction plate at the base of the cookware that makes them induction-compatible. They’re also safe for electric, gas, and ceramic cooktops.
Some customers had problems with their induction stoves not picking up the small saucepan. It’s possible that the pan is too light, or perhaps the induction plate is too small.
If you have a small kitchen, stackable cookware is a big plus. These pans feature a nesting design that saves space. Simply place the lid upside down in the pan and stack the cookware on top of one another.
It is common for cookware sets to include accessories with the pots and pans, but the Forever Pans come with some unique options.
For starters, there’s a grill plate insert that allows you to grill vegetables, steak, and more right from the stovetop. The grill plate insert is designed to fit inside the larger Emeril pots.
Customers liked the grill plate insert. It’s especially helpful for getting grilled flavor and grill marks without having to buy a separate indoor or outdoor grill.
Next up is the wire mesh crisper basket. If you like to deep fry, this will certainly come in handy. The stainless steel can handle hot oil without problems, while the double-looped side handles will make it easier to lift out of the Emeril pan.
Do Emeril Forever Pans Last Forever?
No. Even though “forever” is in the name, these Forever pans will need replacing. The website actually says the lifetime guarantee is for a term of 7 years. That means they don’t expect the cookware to last beyond seven years.
Many users were disappointed to learn that this would not, in fact, be the last cookware set they’d ever have to buy. But if you want a quality non-stick set that can last a few years? The Emeril Forever Pans can do that.
Alternatives to Emeril Forever Pans
If you want something similar to the Emeril Cookware Forever Pans, there are a couple of good alternatives. One is a pricier hybrid set, while the other is an affordable Teflon set.
HexClad 7-Piece Hybrid Stainless Steel Cookware Frying Pans Set: Splurge Alternative
It’s tough to decide between stainless steel cookware and non-stick pots and pans. If you have a tough time deciding, there’s this HexClad Hybrid Pans Set, which combines stainless steel and non-stick into one pan.
Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsey is a spokesperson for HexClad cookware. This particular set is a fry pan set and includes the following pieces:
- 12-inch (30.4 cm) pan with lid
- 10-inch (25.4 cm) pan with lid
- 8-inch (20.3 cm) pan with lid
- 12-inch (30.4 cm) wok
Here’s how these pans work: A stainless steel exterior surrounds a built layer of aluminum, which then has a stainless steel/non-stick coating applied to the cooking surface.
The stainless steel is raised and set in a hexagonal pattern with the non-stick in the valleys. The non-stick is reinforced with diamonds and contains Teflon.
These HexClad pans are not pre-seasoned, but the manufacturer does recommend seasoning them before the first use. They come with a see-through glass lid. This fry pan set is oven-safe up to 500°F (260°C) and dishwasher-safe.
HexClad pans don’t come cheap, so expect this to be a splurge. They will require some maintenance, and it’s best to avoid high heat. But customers found HexClad to have great-quality pans.
T-fal Ultimate Hard Anodized Non-stick 17 Piece Cookware Set: Budget Alternative to Forever Pans
T-fal (or Tefal) has been making Teflon-based cookware for over 65 years. This substantial T-fal set includes a whopping 17 pieces:
- 1-quart (.9 liters), 2-quart (1.9 liters), & 3-quart (2.8 liters) saucepan with lid
- 3.5-quart (3.3 liters) deep sauté with lid
- 5-quart (4.7 liters) Dutch oven with lid
- 11.5-inch (29.2 cm) fry pan with lid
- 8-inch (20.3 cm) fry pan
- 10-inch (25.4 cm) fry pan
- 10.25-inch (26 cm) square griddle pan
- One-egg wonder pan
- Stainless steamer insert
Every pot and pan listed has a Teflon, titanium-reinforced non-stick coating and an aluminum construction. Each fry pan, the square griddle pan, and the sauté pan have a Thermo-spot indicator to show when the pan is sufficiently heated. And since there are so many pans included, you can use these with a variety of cooking methods.
These pots and pans are oven-safe to 400°F (204°C), so they have moderate use in that way. They are suitable for all cooktops except induction. The lids are made of glass that’s been tempered, with a vent to let steam escape.
T-fal claims these are dishwasher-safe, although I would not recommend that. They’re very easy to clean by hand, and they’ll last a lot longer if they never see the inside of a dishwasher.
The stainless steel handles have a silicone cover for safe, comfortable handling. It’s best to cook on lower heat with these pots to avoid warping or damage to the coating.
Customers had high praise for this set. They loved the non-stick qualities, and they said the pans were easy to use and easy to clean.
The T-Fal set is more affordable than the Emeril Forever Pans. If you don’t mind Teflon, don’t have induction, and want something low-maintenance and highly non-stick? This budget-friendly set is a great alternative.
The Last Word: Emeril Forever Pans Review
The Emeril Lagasse Forever Pans are good-quality pans, and they definitely live up to the non-stick hype. But they are more expensive than your average non-stick set and won’t actually last forever.
If you want cookware from the Emeril Lagasse brand and accept that they’ll need eventual replacing, these Forever Pans are a solid purchase. Just not a forever purchase.