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I have a glass smooth-top stove. Every large frying pan that I have bought so far has almost immediately warped so that the bottom is no longer flat. They all end up concave -- like a wok but less pronounced -- so that they perch with a small spot in the center of the pan touching the burner surface.

My lazy side prefers non-stick, dishwashable pans, but all ideas are appreciated.

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3 Answers 3

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You have to make sure to buy a heavy duty, preferrably professional grade pan. Thick base. Most important. I have owned my pans for about five years, and nary a warp. Completely flat. I also have a glass top stove. Note to the wise, do not use a dishwasher to clean good cookware. Always clean pans, pots, knives, etc. by hand.

Any good restaurant supply house will have good quality non stick pans. Also, I' m not sure where you live, but many large department stores (JC Penny in the States, the Bay here in Canada) have good quality wares. Be aware, they do not come cheap, but they will not have to soon be replaced.

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This is exactly right; I had one stainless steel sauce pan that was very light and it warped in the way that the OP has described; none of my other, heavier stainless steel or non-stick cookware has ever warped. –  Aaronut Dec 22 '10 at 1:00
    
There are plenty of moderately priced department store brands -- the important thing is thick bases -- I have some ~13 year old 'Tools of the Trade' pots/pans (stainless w/ an aluminum disk underneath) that have held up great. You can also find some great deals online occassionally from places like Amazon. (or going out of business sales ... I've gotten a few nice pieces that way) –  Joe Dec 22 '10 at 2:27
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The tramontina set from walmart is stupid cheap for the quality you get. For a home cook it doesn't get any better cost to benefit. And to ease cleaning, get in the habit of de-glazing, turns cleaning into a few quick swipes affair. –  sarge_smith Dec 22 '10 at 17:39
    
@Aaronut - I've managed to warp a 2 qt All-Clad sauce pan. It was one of those instances where you know something is wrong, but you follow the recipe anyway. I stuck a hot pan of sugar in a bath of ice-water, now the center sticks up a little bit more than the rest of the base. –  Steve Jun 14 '13 at 4:49

yeah, heavy duty is the key here. Anthony Bourdain put it best when he said:

'when buying cookware think...if you hit someone over the head with your pan, and you have any question which will break first, the persons skull or the pan, the pan is not heavy enough'

Heavy pans are expensive, however I usually buy mine peice-meal because really who needs a 1 pint sauce pan (I'm sure it has it's uses but it's not something you'll use very often). Buying one peice at a time is more costly, but you ensure that you are getting peices you'll use and not just filler.
I buy mine at TJMaxx. The deals there are great. I have a 12 inch fry pan that I got there 3 years ago for $20 that I use all the time and it is in 'like new' shape.

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Yes, good pans are more expensive but you'll only need to buy them once or twice in your life. Same goes for knives. Restaurant supply stores are where you want to shop for this stuff. –  mu is too short Dec 22 '10 at 17:01

Even more important than the pan you buy is the way you treat it. The fastest way to warp even a great heavy pan is to put it in cold water or run cold water in it while it's extremely hot. You can (and should) deglaze the pan while it's hot, but wait until it's cool enough to touch before washing.

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