The Bottom Line
- Sturdy and well-made
- Eliminates the need for extra oils and fats for cooking
- Attractive design
- Technique can be tricky to learn
- Food can stick to pan
- 5-ply construction includes 3 layers of aluminum clad in surgical stainless steel
- Domed lid collects and circulates food vapor
- Ergonomic, stay-cool handles
- Oven safe to 350˚F
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Lifetime Warranty
Guide Review - 360 Cookware
The idea behind 360 Cookware's is clever, especially for health-conscious home cooks. Food is cooked in the pan without extra fat or oil, then the pan is covered with a domed lid, trapping the evaporating moisture from the food and cooking it in its own vapor. The idea is that food will be moist and tender, and will retain nutrients.
The technique takes some getting used to, but the company tries to make it easy by including a detailed instruction booklet and a demo DVD. The first time I used the pan, I had read the booklet and seen a live demo, but hadn't yet watched the video. I never seemed to achieve the vapor seal that is the key to this cookware, which you know has been achieved if you can twist the lid and it spins. The second time, I watched the video first, and then cooked some chicken tenders. As promised, when I seared the chicken in the preheated pan with no fat, they did release easily when I turned them over. But again, when I spun the lid it didn't feel any differently than it would have felt with a cold pot. With the lid hiding the action within, I had to guess when the chicken was finished cooking. It was cooked well, but the chicken stuck to the pan, and the juices also created hard-to-clean scorch marks and stains on the pan's interior, despite the cookware's promise that food would not stick.
I'm not convinced that 360 cookware lives up to its claims (wouldn't any high-quality pan with a tight-fitting lid cook food in a similar manner?), but there's no denying the cookware has a beautiful shape, a nice heft, and is sturdily designed. Perhaps it takes a few more viewings of the video, or more experimentation to get the hang of the promised "Vapor Cooking." But if you, like me, lose patience, at least you'll still have a pretty nice piece of stainless steel cookware.
360 Cookware starts at around $80 for a 1-quart saucepan.