Bialetti “Aeternum” Ceramic Coating Non-Stick Frying Pan


I have been in the market for a new frying pan for some time.  The old one succumbed to the usual fate of my non-stick pans… the non-stick coating started to peel off, and the bottom of the pan was also warped (it was not a very expensive pan). I had been making do with a smaller, about 8 inch pan, but while it suffices to scramble an egg, it wasn’t big enough for things like stir fry or even decent swedish pancakes.

I did grab a super cheap 10 or 11 inch frying pan at IKEA a few months ago (solely on the basis of, I need a larger pan, and, it’s really cheap so it will tide me over). Unfortunately it performed equal to cost (about 5 dollars :P ). It did serve the purpose of tiding me over, but the non-stick quality of it was a laugh (this is not the case with all the IKEA frying pans, some of them are fine and in fact my last well-functioning large one was from IKEA, but like I said, this was a super duper cheapy).  Also the surface was already beginning to be dinged up, and it had a peculiar gold-colored inside that never seemed to want to look clean again.

I have not really been a fan of non-stick coating in general (I finally went to a steel wok and seasoned it properly this past year and I’m sure it will last forever especially compared to the previous non-stick ones I’ve had…seasoning it was much easier than I’d anticipated). However, I do like the properties of having a pan, especially a frying pan, be non-stick, and not crazy about the care and weight of a cast iron skillet (which can also have sticking issue and still requires a fair amount of greasing, something I’m trying to cut back on to reduce calories). Cooking with stainless steel is not for me :P, way too much burned on food, scraping, greasing, etc etc. Easy is a key. If something is a pain to clean up it becomes an incentive not to feel like cooking at all sometimes.

Part of the reason I’d been holding out for a new pan is, sometime last year I read a rave review in the newspaper about a ceramic non-stick pan that was vastly better than the regular chemical non-stick coatings, but expensive. I remembered the review, and the picture of the pan which was red with a white interior, but in the months since I clipped it I both lost the clipping and forgot the actual name of the pan, so I blundered along waiting for something to spark this remembrance before I spent a lot of money on a different new pan.

Enter the Bialetti Aeternum

That spark finally happened a couple weeks ago at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I had popped in for a quick stop to remedy my ongoing Adventures in Home Microwave Popcorn endeavor (subject of a future post, perhaps, when I get the method perfected), when I saw a bunch of new red and white non-stick frying pans hanging on the wall.  The brand, Bialetti, re-awakened my long-lost memory of the summer review! I was pretty sure it was the same pan and jumped at the chance to try it out (I’d recently given up on doing anything with the gold IKEA pan and gone back to my little pan, not very enthusiastically).

Bialettie Aeternum frying pans, showing all three sizes (I settled eventually on the medium one,  10 1/4″)

I do have a problem sizing things up in the store. Perhaps the whole eyes bigger than the stomach thing. So once I got home with the 12-inch pan I realized it was enormously large compared to the frying pans I usually cook with, far too large in fact. One issue was none of my lids fit. I like to occasionally throw a lid on my frying pan to do things like finish cooking those vegetables a little bit or melt the cheese on my egg, however, most of them do not come with lids so I just grab a handy extra lid from my lid drawer that actually goes with a large stockpot or something. None of them were remotely large enough, and once actually in my kitchen, wielding the thing to make pancakes or something seemed like a herculean task (though it was not particularly heavy) and likely to produce pancakes larger than my actual plates.

So, with a some reluctance, I returned it to the store without testing it and bought the next size down, which was the 10 1/4″ pan. One plus side to this of course was it was cheaper! Once at home I realized that although this sounded small, it was actually the perfect size. Let the testing begin!

The Good

One of the obvious benefits of the ceramic coating was the lack of chemicals to leach into food, and the fact that it supposedly tolerates heat better and doesn’t peel off (still, no metal utensils). What I wasn’t prepared for, even remembering the excellent review, was how well it worked in terms of not sticking or burning! The first thing I cooked was scrambled eggs for my little bun’s breakfast, using my favorite silicon spatula (of which I have two because they are so handy).  The eggs peeled right off the bottom without the slightest hint of burning. There was no problematic sticking (I cooked these without butter or oil of any kind, for a true test! Impossible in my previous non-stick pans). Even when the egg clung to the bottom due to being only partially cooked, it lifted right up with the spatula, with no brown burnt area. Because of the white pan bottom, it was very easy to see when things started to brown and stir them around.  I did notice that cooking eggs without butter or oil did smell different (not as pleasant) but the eggs came out perfectly.

I was excited. Especially because, this meant healthier stir fry vegetables for me with less or no oil. I wilted some spinach for myself in the pan with water and added them to an omelet, again no oil, and it cooked right up! I also later tried stir frying some vegetables.

Cleanup was super easy… I ran some water in the pan and stirred the spatula around to remove any clinging bits and it was good as new without any scorching or burnt bits (also did not require use of a “green scracher” scouring pad to remove anything). Also, no worries about using soap on this pan to destroy “seasoning” since there is no seasoning needed. It looked shiny and new again (I admit, I was a little bit nervous about the white inside after my experience with the gold pan, as well as other white-interiored pans I’ve had that were enameled and never stayed looking white). Time will tell, of course, but this is off to a great start.

My non-oil tests were all well and good, but I gave it another test the other night sauteing an onion and I decided to throw a teaspoon of olive oil in for flavor, due to the recipe I was making. I’m sure it would have cooked just fine without, given my previous experience, but it does enhance the taste and I decided my diet could afford a bit, and test the pan at the same time :). This time I used my standard bamboo stir fry paddle. The onion cooked up, softened, sweetened, and caramelized perfectly without a hint of sticking or burning, using much less oil than I would have normally used in such a recipe. It was extremely easy to tell as before when it was getting dark because of surface and the fact that the browning did not stick to it at all (even with a wooden spoon). The surface resisted the onions so much in fact, it was more like stirring around some packing peanuts in a pan, there was no scraping involved at all, and they cooked perfectly.

The Bad

There were only really two items to report here, both very minor. One is, once I removed the cardboard packaging I noticed a small ding in the coating of the inside of the pan, near where the handle attaches. Since I’d already been back to the store once to switch out pan sizes, I didn’t feel like returning it for an “unblemished” pan, though they probably would have taken it back. I was slightly concerned that this damage would affect the coating’s permanence, considering how fast that happens on traditional non-stick pans once there is a breach in the coating. However, it wasn’t in a place that really affected performance since it wasn’t on the main cooking area, and since this pan has a ceramic coating it didn’t seem like something that was likely to start peeling up. We’ll see how it wears with time.

The other item of note was that the pan handle was slightly loose right out of the package. Luckily, it is one of those frying pans which is constructed with an adjustment screw, so my phillip’s screwdriver took care of the problem right away. I was pleased to see they included this adjustment feature, pans which don’t have a screw invariably end up with the handle loosening in time if you do a lot of wrist action with no way to tighten them again. Not sure why it wasn’t tight to start with, but just something to note.

Verdict: Great!

All in all, I’m just loving this pan. I see on the Bialetti website that they also have other types of saucepans (and matching lids for the frying pans too, neither of which were available at that time at the store I was at), which I would just love to snap up (my other most used pan is a large pot for soups, pasta, etc, but I also have some rather low quality saucepans that I use often and could stand to be replaced).  The cookware also comes in other colors! Purple, blue, pink, and silver. The red is gorgeous but hmm… I’m thinking about that purple :).

Very impressive, Bialetti. I think I can safely say this is THE best frying pan I have ever used, non stick or of any other type (including classic cast iron skillets), and it was fairly inexpensive (around $25 for the 10 1/4″!) compared to what you’d expect to pay for what’s normally thought of as a “really good” pan.  I can’t WAIT to try this with Swedish pancakes this weekend!

About qatheworld

I review various and sundry items of life, thereby helping you to seek out positive new experiences and escape the less savory. Due to my apparently naturally critical nature, I will endeavor to publish plenty of positive reviews as well. Because we all know life isn't really full of nothing but things to complain about. I also perform a quality review of the other issues encountered in my general life.
This entry was posted in All Reviews, Good and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Bialetti “Aeternum” Ceramic Coating Non-Stick Frying Pan

  1. Myron Tomyn says:

    A Great review on the frypans. You convinced me it’s time to throw out my old, no longer non-stick ones. I’m off to Bed, Bath and Beyond.
    Thanks,
    Myron

  2. Ursula says:

    I agree with you on all the above. I was loving it. But 3 weeks of cooking(always on low heat)even the bacon stuck,and the eggs as well. I was disappointed.

    • qatheworld says:

      I found over time that if there was any burned on mark at all (the pan wasn’t completely white) food would stick in that area. Since the coating leaves limited cleaning options, I would love to hear recommendations from the manufacturer about how to best deep-clean the pan to restore it to its original finish if burning occurs! :)

      • Donna says:

        I would like to hear methods to clean the ceramic pan also. I did let it get too hot (accidently) and now the interior sticks when i cook most foods, especially eggs. It was so wonderful at first–the eggs just slid out of the pan as quick as lightning!!! I still like the pan, because it is healthier-cooking (better than teflon, for sure), but sure wish I could restore the finish!

  3. Mehdi Alavi says:

    I bought one of these pans from Target .It is horrible the coating keeps coming off and it is definitely a hazard. I would never buy this product again. I reported the incident to Target and they did nothing about it. Manufacturers are killing people with their toxic product. God knows what is coming off of these pans !!!

  4. Mehdi Alavi says:

    I urge Food and Drug Administration including Environmental Protection Agency to conduct an immediate inquiry into this product before in a few years down the road they say many cancerous cases have been caused by this product !!!

    • qatheworld says:

      Have you contacted the manufacturer? If the coating is coming off it sounds like you may have a defective product. I have not had any issue with anything coming off the pan, myself, but I wouldn’t suggest using it in that case, but rather contact the manufacturer for a replacement. Even though the coating is ceramic, it would not be good to eat if it is chipping :)

      • Mehdi Alavi says:

        Indeed, I contacted the manufacturer and I was surprised when they did not take any responsibility. I even suggested to send a photo of the pan to them, but the girl who was an affiliate of the company refused to accept that. And the only thing she did was to hang up and leave. i was very polite and cooperative, but she shrugged me off and had no response !!! If you like by all means I will send you a photo of it. It will take me only a few minutes !!!

    • AutismDogGirl says:

      I have their pot, my fiance was making mc and cheese with it. he poured to noodles into the pot after straining them and suddenly this clear oddly textured things came off the pot. (knda like really thin plastic wrap? I suspect it is the coating. could you send me pictures? I am kinda diturbed by this

      • qatheworld says:

        I think this is actually from the starch in the noodles, I’ve had similar on many saucepans after boiling noodles. So probably nothing to worry about in this case :) (also happens with oatmeal sometimes).

  5. Lou says:

    The construction of the pan is that of a cheap non stick product. The handle is not bolted by rivets to the pan but is ” SCREWED TO THE PAN ” WHICH IS WHAT YOU WILL BE IF YOU BUY THIS PRODUCT.
    The first thing to look for in quality cookware is the ‘ rivets ‘ that attach the pan to the handle. I bought one of these things and by the time I got home the handle was loose because it was attached by A SCREW.

    The surface coating may work OK but probably not much better than most premium coatings.

    Stay with Calphalon or equal quality pans from Ross or many discount stores tht sell products that will last.

    If you want to spend much of your time tighteneing the SCREW that attaches the handle the pan on this cheap product, go for it.

    • qatheworld says:

      I actually prefer the handle to attach with a screw, as on this pan. As I noted in my review, I did have to tighten the screw when I bought the pan, but it has not loosened since then. In contrast, I have had many pans where the handles attach with a non-adjustable rivet, and when that becomes loose (which it invariably does eventually, if the pan is heavy and you move it around a lot in the air making omelets or swedish pancakes, as I do), there is no way to adjust it. So the screw is definitely better for me. The coating so far has been holding up quite well for me, much better than any other non-stick pan I’ve used before.

      One of the other things I like about it, is even when I overheat the pan, I don’t have to
      worry about the non-stick surface peeling up unlike many other non-stick pans eventually do when they either overheat or somebody not-in-the-know gets ahold of your non-stick pan with a metal implement in hand :).

  6. My pan is giving off a weird burning electrical smell. The first time I used it, I thought maybe I didn’t clean it well enough before 1st use, but it is still doing it any time I try to saute at higher than medium heat. I use a gas burner stove. Is it getting too hot? What is this weird chemical smell?

    • Matt says:

      The smell is the handles burning. Check the under side of the plastic handles, they will probably be burned or blistered. Had to return mine because of that.

  7. Helene says:

    I really loved my 10 inch fry pan at first. It cooked well, nothing stuck to it, clean up was very easy and I even showed the pan to anyone that was interested in a non-stick fry pan. After about 4 months anything I cooked in it started to stick to the pan and some sort of film was coming off the pan during cooking. It was so disappointing because the pan worked so well when I first got it. I emailed the Bialetti Aeternum company about the problem but from what other reviewers have said, it looks like I might get no where with my problem.

  8. Tania Martinelli says:

    Like everyone else i really really was fascinated about the frying pan. Here in Malta i bought that for €25 (aroung $33) which isn’t cheap. I loved cooking in it – i like its ceramic coating and believe that it is quite healthy. My great disappointment was that by the third time using it the red color on the outside was cracking and peeling off. I returned this to the shop and still hasnt been given a replacement or they are not accepting it as a fault. I point out that i have a similar pan which i have been using for quite longer time, from COIN and it is still lovely in colour (lime). Its’ a geat pity that this Bialetti Aeternum ceramic range is really beautifully but i certainly won’t buy anything else!!!

  9. qatheworld says:

    So here’s an update on my pan a year later! :) I’m still using the pan, but the white part is fairly discolored. Based on the area of the pan, I think it is from overheating. In the area where it is discolored, it also is not as non-stick as it used to be. The instructions I received with the pan suggest heating it with a little vinegar. This didn’t do anything to make it whiter/cleaner/more non-stick (it did smell pretty bad though! don’t inhale steam from heated vinegar!). Also, I believe an ordinary scouring pad like a “green scracher” (what I usually use to hand-wash) may scratch the finish. (Don’t put these pans in the dishwasher either!). The pad does remove some of the discoloration but it seems to make tiny scratches on the surface even though it is a plastic scouring pad, which may have affected the non-stickness. Early on, I generally just wiped out the pan with hot water and soup and a paper towel, and I think this worked better, the trouble started when I burned food on and had to scrub it off. Which brings up the other main point: I did cook without oil in the pan, which is apparently not recommended. This pan gets a LOT hotter than any other frying pan I’ve used, a lot faster, so it’s easy to overheat it. I have not had any problem with the surface coming off or anything of that nature, but it’s not as “slick” as it was before the discoloration/burning happened.

    I also purchased another pan from the line that was available individually (most of this line is only available as a set), a small saucepan with a clear lid. I have been extra careful not to let this pan overheat since that’s when the trouble with the other started! It is not as much of an issue because the kinds of things I cook in the saucepan (like hamburger and tomato sauce, soup, etc) probably don’t get as hot as I tend to make it for frying, and also don’t require oil because they tend to be soupy as I haven’t had a sticking issue. Possible due to these two factors (not overheating, wet foods) the saucepan has not discolored at all and is as slick as ever and bright white. I do use the saucepan for one thing involving “dry heat”: Popping amaranth seeds. However, it only takes a few minutes to pop the seeds (a few tablespoons at a time) so the pan works really well for this and doesn’t overheat (I take it off the heat in between batches of seeds). The clear lid allows me to see when the seeds are popped, and because it heats up so fast and hot, the seeds pop quickly before they burn. I also don’t ever use it above “medium” temperature on this stove, that’s hot enough for this pan to get super hot. I was more careful with the saucepan after what happened with the frying pan and it did pay off, so I might get another frying pan and treat it better this time ;).

    • Heidi says:

      I purchased the Bialetti Aeternum fry pan. The handle came apart in less than one month. My husband was able to reattach the handle without the metal band piece. The pan is now 2.5 months old and has some wear to it. Overall I really like the ceramic non-stick. I plan to purchase another Bialetti Aeternum pan.

  10. Tania Martinelli says:

    Further to my comment earlier, I have been given another pan. The very first time I have used it the same problem recurred – the outside paint started to peel off just like nailvarnish. With the first pan I thought that it was faulty but now I am convinced the make is not of good quality!! I am so dissappointed with these pan, I am sure that I will not buy another of the same brand. And that is a realy pity because they are quite a beautiful range.
    Please, I would like to know if there is anyone else who experienced this fault.

  11. Madelyn Burrows says:

    Great!,,,Here I was, all excited to buy this great looking purple fry pan, now I guess I’ll have to wait until their perfected. How long have they been on the market anyway? thanks guys for your input.

  12. Grace says:

    Hi, i just bought a pan today, i am very happy. I fry an egg without oil and came out great. I saw the film that some people talked about, but in my case it was from the egg that rolled down to a side, so where it originally landed fry this kind of film. Egg is use to coate things because would leave food looking glossy and crispy and it is what happened in my case. I am very happy so far, but i hust got it. I hope it last me because i am looking for a pan where i don’t need to use oil. I was going to buy the one shown in tv, but when i asked the Bed, Bath and B. he told me that that want get return a lot. Let’s see how long my happiness last me.

  13. Gordon Smith says:

    I bought a Bialetti Aeternum Easy 10″ fry pan, and was in love with it for about three weeks. Then, the pan developed sticky brown spots on the previously pristine white surface. I contacted Bialetti and was told that it was my fault for using a non-stick spray on it rather than cooking oil or butter. Excuse me, but read the label of the spray, it is canola and palm oil! This problem appears to be common to all the ceramic pans. Read articles on sites like Chowhound, and you see consistent complaints that the nice ceramic pan (any brane, not Bialetti specifically) works fine for three to four weeks, and then it is all downhill from there. Even T fal’s version seems to suffer from the same problem. So, I am back to using my regular T fal pans 9which i adore by the way). Ceramic was an interesting exercise, but they do not deliver over the long haul

  14. Steve says:

    I have been using the aeternum pan for the past 6 months. When I use it I never put it into contact with any metal. I never turn the gas heat that I use above medium. I always use some form of oil to cook with, but in very limited quantities. This pan performs very well if the above limits are observed. It is unsurpassed in the cooking of fried eggs and omelets. In short, compared to more expensive pans that I have purchased, I consider this pan to be a very high value but it is potentially fragile. I use it to cook things that I am sure will not damage it.

    Steve

  15. babu maddala says:

    We have been using Ballarini pan and are happy. Any other experiences?

  16. frank says:

    I have a ceramic pan that looks very much like the ones in your picture although I do not know the make.

    It gets scratched by wood spoons!

    For shallow fry I use a spoon of oil, wait for it to get got, put in the vegs, wait 3 minutes and turn everything. Result: dark traces all over the place. Not necessarily harmful but it puts me off.

  17. Debra says:

    It was great for the first few months. Now I can barely chisel an egg off the surface. There are no scratches, no burning, and the pan appears to be perfectly smooth to the eye and to the touch. Yet suddenly everything sticks to it. I’ve cared for it carefully since the day I bought it, but I’m really disappointed now. Wish I could do something to make it nonstick again.

  18. Debra says:

    FOLLOW UP! : I tried something different today, and it worked! I had noticed that when I put oil in the pan and preheated it before adding my egg, the oil “beaded” and left areas of the pan’s surface uncovered. Today I covered the pan’s surface with oil while it was cold, added the egg, then turned on the heat to cook the egg. Voila! The egg cooked, and slid around on the pan surface just as it did when the pan was new. After the pan cooled, my husband tried the same thing and it worked for him, too.

  19. My experience with the same pans has been largely the same as described above. If overheated it becomes a super stick pan. No amount of cleaning eliminates the brown stain and the superstick nature. Debra seems to have a solution but only on a new pan but I will try it on a used one and report.

    • Debra says:

      Actually, Stephen, my experience was on my pan that I have been using for several months that had recently come very difficult to use because of sticking. I’ll admit I use spray coating (the brand that touts “99% less residue”), but I have always cleaned the pan gently and thoroughly after every use. I mean really, the main reason many of us choose this kind of pan is to cook with less oil, right? So spraying the pan, putting the food in it (egg, in this case), then turning on the heat seems to work quite well. I’m glad I don’t have to throw the pan out! Hope it works for you!

  20. nicole says:

    ok, the frying the egg thing got me. picked up one skillet from a clearance rack at BBNB, loved it. Knew nothing about it. Birthday comes around but did not realize, asked my son to google the cookware for me so I could read up on it and wham! I get them for my birthday. Love my son but now I am not too happy with reviews. Will attempt to live by the rules set forth by the company and the previous owners. thinking my son might of wasted his money, but I love the effort and him a lot.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s