As far as first impressions go, the Madura Nonstick Fry Pan is so sharp that Bruce Wayne called and wants to hire it as an intern (apparently he's a sunny-side-up kinda guy). Jet black all over, with a contemporary silhouette and smooth, glinting surface, it might be the only nonstick skillet to charm everyone who meets it at first glance. Since when, we wondered when it arrived for a product review last year, did nonsticks look like this?
Since, well, since Zwilling launched the skillet with us last year.
But beyond its great looks, the Madura is a quality piece of cookware; I know because I've owned one for almost a year and use it all the time—for eggs, of course, but also for searing off delicate fish fillets, and toasting nuts and stir-frying (no brown bits will develop on its surface, so even if I keep the pan on high heat while searing a number of batches of meat, there's no residue to risk burning). The pan always wipes clean, and I only take pretty good care of it.
So when our Customer Care team asked that I whip up a sort of manual for the pan—so that everyone who buys it knows precisely how best to use it and how to properly care for it—I realized I'd need to look into that a little better. Zwilling lent some insights into the composition of the surface, and also proper care, and here's what I learned:
Designed in a collaboration between the architect Matteo Thun and Antonio Rodriguez, a partner at Thun's firm, the pan is very much Italian—that's where it's made! Understanding what makes it so durable, however, requires going a little deeper.
Zwilling calls the Madura an "exceptionally durable nonstick," and even when you hold it in your hands you can tell its fine-tuned, lasting. The pan is four layers thick, with a core of forged aluminum and an extra magnetic plate on the underside so that it works on an induction cooktop. The exterior is a water-based laquer that's easy to wipe clean (soap and warm water work just fine), and the heatproof handle is phenolic, a very strong plastic.
The coating on the interior of the pan, which Zwilling calls its "DuraSlide Granite Nonstick Coating" is three layers strong (the "granite" refers to its durability, not its composition). It's also free of PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, a manmade chemical that is used to create some nonstick surfaces and Teflon; is safe to use with metal cooking utensils; and won't release any harmful fumes. The coating is adhered to the pan's core with what Zwilling calls a "plasma primer," which makes it scratch- and abrasion-resistant (though if there's ever an issue with your Madura's coating, please reach out to us!).
Using Your Madura Plus
Cooking with the Madura is straightforward: It works on any kind of cooktop—whether you have a gas, electric, or induction surface—up to 400º F, and it can also go in the oven up to 300º F (so, not for baking or broiling, but for keeping your pancakes warm or slow-cooking a frittata). This likely goes without saying, but don't put your Madura in the microwave!
For optimal heat distribution (for the Madura but really for any pan), you'll want to match the size of the burner you're using to the size of the base of the pan—and keep open flames low enough that they don't creep up the sides or near the handle.
Zwilling recommends that you use a little natural fat when cooking in it, something like butter or cooking oil, but not a nonstick spray since they contain chemicals that are hard to remove (and can mess with the nonstick properties of the pan).
And while it is safe for gentle use with some metal utensils, such using as a metal spatula to flip an omelette or stirring eggs with a metal spoon, cutting the inside of the pan with a knife would (obviously) damage the surface. Whisks, hand-blenders, metal brushes, pizza cutters, and egg beaters are also not recommended for use (but again, we don't recommend using an egg beater in any skillet). Be nice to your pan! It isn't indestructible.
As with any piece of cookware, the Madura pans will last longer if you treat them gently. After cooking, leave the hot pan to cool down before washing it; use warm water, dish soap, and a soft sponge or bristle brush to get it clean (never steel wool or abrasive cleaners, which can damage the surface!); and then wipe it dry with a clean towel. The surface will naturally be a little tacky when it's spankin' clean.
If there's any burnt-on food or grease, soak the pan in sudsy warm water (even overnight, if necessary) before washing it with a sponge. While the pan will hold up fine if you run it through the dishwasher, Zwilling recommends hand-washing it to prolong its good looks.
Here are a few additional no-no's for safety and longevity of your Madura:
Don't use the pan if the handle comes loose! This happened to mine, once, but it only took about 13 seconds with a Phillips-head screwdriver to tighten it right back up.
Never let the pan boil dry, which can damage the surface, or leave it unattended on the stove, which can lead to injury if you don't realize it's hot.
Solutions to avoid: Don't use oven cleaner, dishwashing detergent with bleach or citrus additives, baking soda, or other cleaners on your Madura. Just warm water and soap!
Don't stack your Madura pans on top of each other or any other pans, which can cause abrasions, chips, and scratches.
A nonstick skillet, by its nature, is no cast iron skillet—there isn't a version on the market that's going to last long enough to be passed on from generation to generation to generation. Zwilling does issue a lifetime warranty against manufacturer's defects, however, but signs of normal wear (minor scratches, dents, or nicks from hitting it against a hard surface—though please don't do that) are eventually going to be expected.
We're big fans of the Maduras, for their excellent functionality as well as their Batman-approved silhouettes, and we hope you are, too! You can find them here in our Shop in four different sizes.
Any other questions? Fire away in the comments, or reach out to our Customer Care team at [email protected]
See what other Food52 readers are saying.