About Cali Cookware
Cali Cookware is an As Seen on TV cast iron pan that looks like a regular nonstick pan but offers the unique advantages of cooking with cast iron.
What makes the pan unique is that it claims to be a 40% lighter than traditional cast iron pans without sacrificing any of the performance of its heavier, clunkier iron counterpart. Not only that, but the pan’s website says the pan is nonstick, too.
In this review, we’re going to break down how the pan works, what the pros and cons of cast iron are, talk about how much it costs and how it compares to other similar pans.
How the Cali Cookware Pan Works
These 8" pans feature enameled cast iron, which is a type of cast iron that has a nonstick coating that allows you to get the benefits of cast iron with the nice perk of not having to worry about food sticking to your pan.
Cali Cookware calls their enameled cast iron technology “Corefusion” and claims that it’s an “impregnable” surface. Their promo videos show someone cutting a steak in the pan, using a hand mixer and a pizza cutter and, presumably, not leaving any scratches.
You can use the pan on a variety of cooking surfaces:
The pan can go in the oven, too, up to 850 degrees. Cali Cookware points out that the pan is dishwasher safe, too.
The site does not say how much their pan weights – only that it weighs 40% less than a cast iron pan. One of the highest-rated 8” cast iron pans on Amazon weighs 3.3 pounds. Using the 40% claim, the Cali Cooking pan should weigh around two pounds.
Cali Cookware: Cost, Returns and Warranties
At the time of publishing, the Cali Cookware 8" nonstick cast iron pan cost $35.94 after shipping and handling. This price also included a Cut N Cup, an As Seen on TV cup with a dicing attachment that dices and stores food by pressing the bottom of the cup down on whatever it is that you want to cut.
The site also offers a six-piece Cali Cookware set that includes 8", 10" and 12" pans with lids as well as a Cut N Cup. This set costs $79.99 and comes with free shipping.
Residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Canada will have to pay a $10 shipping surcharge.
According to the fine print, you have a 60-day satisfaction guarantee on your pan or pans. The 60-day deadline starts the day you buy your pan in order to process your return, you’ll need to call Cali Cookware at 800-483-6510 to obtain a Return Authorization Number.
Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay return shipping, which could be as much as the cost of the pan if you live overseas. For domestic returns, shipping a 2.5 lb. package can cost up to $16.69, or a few dollars more than half the pan’s purchase price.
While the pan’s site says that the pan is durable enough to last a lifetime, there is no lifetime guarantee or warranty.
Pros and Cons of Cast Iron Pans
Cast iron pans have some clear advantages and disadvantages.
According to an article from Serious Eats, cast iron pans are great at radiating and retaining heat.
“The main advantage of cast iron is that it has a very high volumetric heat capacity, which means that once it’s hot, it stays hot. This is vitally important when searing meat,” contributor J. Kenji Lopez-Alt wrote. “The other advantage is its high emissivity. This makes it ideal for things like making hash or pan roasting chicken and vegetables.”
The main downside to cast iron pans, the article notes, are that they don’t heat evenly. What this means is that, when you put the pan on a stovetop, the part of the pan that will get hot is the part that’s touching the heat source.
To counter this, you can warm the pan up in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes before cooking, Serious Eats notes.
In our opinion, another downside to cast iron pans is that they’re heavy. An aluminum pan like the Graniterock weighs around a pound, whereas the Cali Cooking pan weighs twice as much.
Also, cast iron pans require some extra care in the way of being smart about how you wash them and seasoning them frequently.
Some Final Thoughts About the Cali Cooking Pan
Our analysis of this pan and our research of the pros and cons of cast iron have made a few things clear to us that should help you as you decide if the Cali Cooking pan is right for you.
First, the pan offers cast iron’s main benefits – heat radiation and retention – without the hassle of having to follow specific rules for maintaining cast iron pans. Because the pan has a nonstick coating, you can treat it like an aluminum pan in the sense that you can wash as you’d like and you don’t have to worry about seasoning it.
Also, we like that the pan comes with a heat resistant handle. This may seem like common sense but you have to remember that most cast iron pans require that you buy a heat-resistant handle to go along with the pan.
Now, the downside to the Cali Cooking pan is that you’re paying around $30 for the convenience of a nonstick surface. The highest-rated cast iron pans on Amazon range in price from $9.90 to $21.07.
The Serious Eats article we mentioned earlier noted that cast iron pans can be relatively nonstick as long as you season them and you make sure your pan is hot before using it to cook. However, even at its best, cast iron pans won’t match the nonstick prowess of a Teflon-style pan.
So, as we see it based on our research, we think the Cali Cookware is a pretty good idea for someone who wants the heat retention and radiation of a cast iron pan with the convenience of a nonstick surface.
If you want to learn more about the various types of pans you can use to cook, read through our guide to cast iron, aluminum, nonstick and carbon steel cookware. We help you see the differences between the four and understand the pros and cons of each.