Remember my post about how much I love All-Clad Stainless cookware? Someone at All-Clad read it, too. They got in touch with me, and asked if they could send a sample of their new line of cookware to test out.
"Of course!" I said. "What is it?" That's when they told me they were updating their Stainless cookware line with new technology.
I could not believe it. I love their Stainless cookware, and thought they would have a hard time improving it. I asked for a 12 inch fry pan for the review. It's my workhorse pan, and I thought it would be the best way to test their changes.
*Remember the FTC disclosure policy I wrote a while back? Here's my first chance to disclose anything: All-Clad sent me a free pan to try out.
What are the changes?
The new "d5" Stainless pans have an extra layer of stainless steel in the middle of the cladding, resulting in five layers of metal in the pan: (picture below):
All-Clad says this makes the pan heat 20% more evenly, makes it more energy efficient, and makes it more durable.
The d5 handles have also been redesigned to make them more comfortable. And their saucepans have been given pouring lips.
*Finally! If there was one thing I would have changed in their pans, adding a pouring lip to the saucepans would have been it.
Are the d5 pans better?
I have to admit that I was skeptical. Did they really improve the pans? The regular All-Clad Stainless pans are the best pans I've ever used. They heat evenly, and hold on to the heat; you get better, more even browning from them. They perform head and shoulders above any other pan I've owned, including aluminum clad pans from other manufacturers. That's why I wrote my post on how much I love them.
*Well, that, and it was an excuse to tell you about their factory sale.
I didn't think they'd be able to do it, but they did. They made my favorite pans even better. The d5 pan heats up faster, and holds that heat longer than my older Stainless pan. This results in excellent searing:
*Yes, that's the seared beef picture from my Texas chili recipe. I was holding out on you! I was testing the d5 pan, but I wasn't allowed to talk about it yet. I feel so guilty...so ashamed...OK, I'm over it.
The d5 pan is much more efficient; it almost caught me off guard the first time I used it. I was doing a pork chop saute, and put a cold pan with oil and butter over medium-high heat, like I always do. I started salting and flouring the chops, and was almost done when I noticed the butter was already browned across the entire pan. Normally, I've got time to get the chops ready, and then I have to wait for the pan to be ready. Not any more!
Also, they recommend that you use the pans over medium heat. As I said above, my default for a sear or a saute is always medium-high. I need to adjust that down with the d5 pan - on my stove, medium is just right for this pan. In the past, when I've done my searing on medium, the second side of the meat doesn't brown as well. With this new pan, that's not a problem - it holds the heat long enough to get a good sear on the second side as well.
I love the handle on the d5 fry pan. It didn't look like much of a difference; there's a subtle change in the thumb groove, and it's hard to see if you're not looking for it. All-Clad rounded the edges, and made the handle a little less thick. The result is amazing - it is much more comfortable in my hand. I can't wait to see what they did with the lid and helper handles on their other pots, to see if they're as improved.
*Yes, I'm a cookware geek. I get excited by how things feel in my hand when I'm using them.
Am I buying a whole new set of pans?
As I said, the d5 pans are a noticeable improvement over the regular Stainless line. It looks like they're going to be priced about 10% more for the d5 pans, and at first they will only be available through Williams-Sonoma.
If you're getting new pans, I would definitely get the d5 versions.
If you're like me, you already have a pretty complete set of pans. Is it worth replacing the ones you already own, especially at full All-Clad prices? Probably not. As I said, the current line is great; these are just better.
That said, the the 2 quart saucepan with a rolled pouring lip is calling my name. And I always use the 6 quart stock pot for soups and stews, so I wouldn't mind upgrading that pan as well…
*In other words, at next summer's All-Clad factory sale, don't stand between me and the d5 counter. It might get ugly.
Recipes I used to test the d5 fry pan:
Texas Red Chili
Sear Roasted Chicken Breasts with Shallot Herb Pan Sauce
Chicken Breast Saute with Marsala Sauce
Pork Chop Saute with Orange Mustard Sauce
The d5 Stainless line will be available at Williams-Sonoma starting December 26th.
[Update 12/28:] All-Clad's d5 site is now open.
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nora z says
I'm new to All Clad, and have purchased a few D5 pans and love them. Got tired of re buying non stick over and over. I've seasoned them and only wash them with very hot water and plastic scrubbie. I made salmon and it did stick some, no worries, let it cool down, wipe out excess, put in about 1/2 cup water, heated that up and used a wooden spoon to "deglaze" LOL, and with barely any pressure from the spoon going back and forth, it all came right up. No elbow grease needed, no BKF needed. I like bar keepers friend for my SS sink, but I now keep some baking soda in a cute little jar by my sink and will take a spoon of it to clean out my pans when needed, works wonders, also Kosher or Morton salt is a nice gentle abrasive for times when you need it. I love these pans, they make me excited to cook again.
Just checked these out at WS and ordered a 10 piece since they were out of stock at the store. 20% off sale was extra enticing. I'm looking forward to trying these out!
Hey Mike..like your site. Can confirm that I had very similar experience with D5 SS. Had used 3 ply AC, many pieces collected over 20 years. Finally figured out how to destroy a piece when I accidentally left my 10 inch 3 ply skillet on highest stove-top setting (new stove) for too long (I always preheat pans before adding oil or butter but not this much or for this long). D5 set of skillets (9 in and 11 in) a promo special, 2 pans for nearly the price of one so I went for it. Had assumed D5 a marketing ploy as the 3 ply all-clads are so fine. But, just as you said, newer pans do marginally yet noticeably better job of holding heat at steady and even temp. So now, these are the best pans I've ever used.
John Theuer says
These are absolutely the worse pans ever made. Ive read the instructions and followed the "so called" break in instructions and everything sticks. I tried multiple oils and heat patterns with no luck. I spent well over 1000.00 on these so called great pans and Im throwing them in the dumpster.
Buyer beware dont waste your hard earned money like me.
I didn't appreciate the pans full potential until I took a cooking class on reading oil. Once I learned about the oils and how to read them I have never had a problem with food sticking. PCC and Whole foods both offered the class in my neck of the woods.
A little harsh don't you think? I think they're one of the best pans ever made, and doubt anyone would think they are "Absolutely the worst"
All-Clad's cookware is comparable to other high-end cookware, for sure. But their customer service is awful, so if you ever have a problem, you will receive no service from them. That's a show-stopper for me.
I had a 4 quart stock pot where the layers started to separate and a fry pan that would not sit flat on my glass cook top. All clad paid to ship them back to the factory and sent two new ones out immediately. Usually you have to fight for a company to honor their warrenty but that was not my experience. I hate to hear you had a bad experience when my experience made me a real believer of the All Clad Company. I hope you give them another shot.
Just got two 8" D5 pans and love them!
I have an 11" d5 that I got for an induction hob that I quite liked, and now that I have a proper induction range with 3.6kW "burners" it's even better! I definitely need the 13" nonstick (aka the Bachelor pan).
Michele Vick says
All-clad crushes. The best pans you'll ever own hands down. And they're American made. So when you buy them, your helping to keep Americans working making a superior product. Don't ever change All-clad. You rock!
MikeV @ DadCooksDinner says
Thank you for your trust in me. You'll love it!
I know what you mean about crowded. I had the A-C 3 quart saute, which is just a little smaller than the fry pan. It is a great pan, but it's just a little bit too small for me; I needed the little bit of extra space you get with the 12" fry pan.
Hope you're right, Mike. I bought a 12" fry today at W-S. I'm going to try it out with some chops tonight.
This is my first piece of All-Clad period. I have a A-C knock-off 10" saute that I like real well, but it usually ends up too crowded.