For most people, using cookware is a way of life. Even if you make little more than scrambled eggs, pots and pans are a basic requirement for every kitchen. Inasmuch, the type of pans you use has the power to positively or negatively impact the planet and your health. Many cheaply-made skillets lack a durable design and contribute to the waste stream with their short lifespans. Then there’s the peeling that accompanies some nonstick pans. It is not only unhealthy for you, but also inefficient for a pan that is supposed to be nonstick. 

A black pan filled with vegetables and rice on a counter

In short: Not all pans are created equal. A higher quality pan can last a lifetime. When a company invests in that quality and makes the pan from recycled materials, it’s a double win. Enter the New Life Frying Pan from Kuhn Rikon, a Swiss company. This nonstick pan is available in three sizes: eight inches, nine and a half inches and 11 inches. Each size is made from 100% recycled aluminum. 

Related: Essential old-fashioned tools and practices to make your kitchen more sustainable

A black pan sitting on a wooden counter

Whether your New Year’s goal is to reduce waste in your life or to use more eco-friendly products, the New Life Frying Pan brings it home. Of course, green design can mean creating a product that performs for many years, or one that cuts down your carbon footprint through eco-friendly materials. This pan does both. 

The Kuhn Rikon New Life Skillet is priced at $128. That’s no small investment. However, achieving high quality comes at a cost, especially in a pan that offers Swiss expertise alongside 100% recycled materials. The aluminum used in the skillet comes from soda cans, bicycles and factory waste. All materials are sourced in Europe, resulting in minimal transport emissions en route to the production facility in Switzerland. 

The front side of a black pan

Aluminum is not only highly recyclable, but acts as an efficient conductor of heat. This means the pan heats quickly and maintains heat, saving energy. As a durable material, the aluminum is easy to clean with a quick wipe and rinse, but it’s also dishwasher safe. Dried and caked on foods may need a bit of time to soak before cleaning.

With this nonstick pan, you can fry and sauté with less oil. Use it for eggs, steaks, stir fry, fish, potatoes and countless other dishes. The pan is built to handle the heat, even in oven temperatures up to 220°C/464°F. With a flat bottom, it can be used on all stove types, including induction. However, avoid dragging the pan across glass surfaces. 

A black pan taken at the side of it

According to the company, each pan produced requires 95% less energy than pans made with virgin materials. The company even ships the pan using recycled paper packaging. 

Proper care will extend the life of the pan. Use soap and hot water when cleaning. Although the pan features a long-lasting finish, avoid harsh cleaners or metal scrubbers that could remove the nonstick surface. Instead, stick with nylon. Also use silicone or wooden spatulas and other utensils, rather than metal. Avoid cutting or scraping the nonstick surface with knives, electric blenders or other sharp instruments. 

A toasted bread sitting in a black pan on a white countertop

New Life Frying Pan review

The company offered to send a sample product for review and subsequently provided an eight inch New Life Frying Pan. The product arrived quickly and was packaged in paper, with no plastic bags, foam or other materials. It arrived in perfect, new condition with no damage. 

Knowing the product is made from 100% recycled aluminum materials, I was somehow surprised by its substantial weight. It’s only a fraction as heavy as the cast iron I typically use, but I expected it to be lightweight like many other pans of the same size I’ve used in the past. There’s nothing flimsy about it.

This pan demands respect in regards to durable design. Weight is evenly distributed for a comfortable transfer when moving from one place to another. This is especially important when moving it loaded with hot food. 

The handle is firmly mounted with no wiggle movement. I love the feel of the handle with a soft and comfortable grip. The company reports they are ergonomically designed. I’m no expert on that, but can report it fits my hands and provides easy mobility.

Although the handles are heat resistant, they will get dangerously hot if flames from gas stoves reach up the sides of the pan. Obviously, also use caution when removing the pan from the oven. 

I’ve used the pan a few times and it’s great. It still looks brand new. The nonstick finish is thick and baked into the pan rather than just sitting on the surface, waiting to peel away. It works best on a burner of the same size.

Predictably, our larger burner allowed excess heat to transfer up the sides. On all burners on my electric stove, the pan heated evenly and retained heat exceptionally well. There was no need to transfer food from the outer edges into the middle portion, since the heat distributed to the edges. It produced an evenly-browned grilled cheese sandwich and a balanced finish for fried eggs. 

Overall, this is a high-quality nonstick skillet I expect to last for many years. 

+ Kuhn Rikon 

Images via Kuhn Rikon and Dawn Hammon

Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Kuhn Rikon. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.