Ninja is justly famous for its brilliant air fryers, multi-cookers and blenders but the company has also spread its expertise into a wide range of kitchenware, including kettles, toasters, knives and even cookware, like this mostly impressive set of nonstick saucepans.
The Ninja ZEROSTICK Stackable 3-Piece Saucepan Set is a fairly unique product in the pantheon of the Best Saucepan Sets that boasts ultra-tough nonstick properties while being admirably stackable for added convenience.
This writer was drawn to this set mostly because they are easy to stack – they really are – but also because its pans' coating is said to be ‘20x tougher than traditional non-stick, scratch resistant and metal utensil and dishwasher safe’.
What’s not to like? Let’s find out.
Ninja ZEROSTICK Stackable 3-Piece Saucepan Set: price and availability
In the UK, the Ninja ZEROSTICK Stackable 3-Piece Saucepan Set is available directly from Ninja, where its standard £169.99 retail price has been reduced to £135.99 or Argos (£169.99), Habitat (£169.99) and Amazon (£183.49).
Sadly, we can’t find any evidence of these pots being sold in the USA and Australia so you’ll have to stick to the company’s NeverStick range for your cooking fix.
Ninja ZEROSTICK Stackable 3-Piece Saucepan Set review: design
It’s a fact – most saucepans are hopeless at stacking. Yes, the pans in a full set will fit askew into each other but the corners of each base will always be in contact with the lower pan’s nonstick surface, and surely it will only be a matter time before the edges of the nonstick surface on the larger pans beneath start to suffer from scratches and therefore some form of degradation. Of course, this would not be the case if each pan was carefully placed into the one below but who on Earth does that? In most cases we drop the pans into one another with a cavalier attitude. We then shuffle them around without care while we select a suitable pan for the job and drop the others back into place. I can’t believe this can be a good thing for saucepans. And, besides, a lopsided set of pans goes against my slightly OCD attitude towards cupboard storage.
So you can imagine how pleased I was to find a set of pans designed to parallel stack on top of each other without their bases making contact with the pan below. How does this marvellous stacking system work? Simple, each pan has a small protruding finger grip handle opposite the main handle so that both handles sit atop the lip of each pan. Even the attractive steel-surrounded glass lids – with steam holes no less – stack neatly on top of each other. The result is a nice tidy stack in the cupboard and far less clutter.
The Ninja ZEROSTICK Stackable 3-Piece pans measure 16, 18 and 20cm in diameter so they’re a good size for pretty much everything bar a large portion of spaghetti. The heavily riveted all-steel handles, meanwhile, feel solid and comfortable and they don’t get too hot to handle. Impressively, these pans are also oven safe up to a temperature of 260˚C.
The pans themselves are cast from aluminium with a steel base for induction compatibility. They are an impressive 4mm in thickness and that means they retain heat extremely well and with even heat distribution. Commendably, the whole shebang comes safely packed in fully recyclable cardboard packaging.
Ninja ZEROSTICK Stackable 3-Piece Saucepan Set review: features
Aside from their superior stickability, another reason I called in this pan set is because I’m a sucker for a promotional puff word like ZEROSTICK, especially when it’s in capital letters. These ‘scratch resistant, metal utensil safe & dishwasher safe’ pans are coated in a heavy-duty nonstick substance that has a textured feel and appearance. Ninja says its ZEROSTICK coating is ‘20x tougher than traditional nonstick’ and keeps to its word by offering a 20 year guarantee on both the pan and the nonstick coating. Apparently, ZEROSTICK is so non-sticky that you can ‘cook using little to no oil without sticking’. Well I tried that along with some other tests and you can read about the results below, along with how well these pans behaved on an induction hob.
Ninja ZEROSTICK Stackable 3-Piece Saucepan Set review: induction compatibility
For some reason the steel bases – or whatever other ferrous metal is used – on these pans are very picky about where they’re placed on my Neff induction hob. I’ve tested a lot of induction-friendly pots and pans in the past and these are the first ones to fail to function if placed in the centre of a zone that’s bigger than the base of the pan. I’m not sure why this should be but Ninja clearly says on its website that you should ‘always make sure you choose pans that are the correct size for your hob ring, as induction technology only works effectively if the base of the cookware matches the size of the ring on the hob. If your pan is smaller than the hob ring, it may not be recognised.’
I do know that it’s more energy efficient to use a small pan on a smaller induction zone but I’ve had no issues using my old Tefal and GreenPan pots on any sized zone. In fact, I’ve just performed a test using my smallest 14cm stainless steel Robert Welch Campden pan by placing it on my induction hob’s largest zone and it works in any position within that zone. Strangely, when I use the 16cm Ninja on the same zone with the pan dead centre, the zone control flashes and doesn’t engage. And yet, when I place the same Ninja pan on the edge of the induction zone – which is apparently where most of the induction takes place – it works fine. But get this – if I start with the 16cm Ninja pan on the edge of the induction zone and slide it to the centre it still works, but if I lift the pan from the edge to the centre it doesn’t. Answers on a postcard please because this conundrum is making my head hurt.
The upshot as far as I can see is that, in this instance, you really do need to choose a correct sized induction zone for the size of Ninja pot you’re using, and that’s a bit inconvenient in my book. Hence, I can’t really recommend these otherwise sterling pans for fuss-free induction use though I imagine they are brilliant on gas.
Ninja ZEROSTICK Stackable 3-Piece Saucepan Set review: performance
I performed a number of cooking tests on the Ninja ZEROSTICK, from boiling water to cooking rice and making porridge. In my water boiling test it took the smallest 16cm pan 3 minutes and 15 seconds to boil 500ml of water on a Neff induction hob with the Boost mode selected. That’s okay in my book. I then boiled up some rice and it came out perfectly with zero sticking even after I’d left the rice to cool for several hours. The rice quite literally poured out of the pan leaving only a few obstreperous grains behind. That's normal.
When it came to cooking porridge, my partner and I noticed that the textured base of the pan felt a little resistant to stirring with a wooden spoon. On finishing we noticed that some of the porridge had stuck to the textured base which is something I didn’t really expect. Granted, all nonstick pans show evidence of stickiness with porridge and it all washed off very easily, but my test result wasn’t as successful as when using a GreenPan or Tefal model with a smoother non-stick finish. In fact, I’ve seen a few video demonstrations of people frying an egg on the frying pan version using no oil – the most extreme and frankly unnecessary of tests – and in some cases the egg stuck fast while in others it slid straight off the pan.
The upshot is that there won’t be many instances with these pots where sticking will be an issue aside, perhaps, from making scrambled eggs, so if you use some butter in the process, they will behave just fine.
What I do know is that the nonstick surface on these pans really does look and feel exceedingly durable. But the million dollar question is whether you want pans that retain their (not especially) nonstick properties at extra expense or whether you should just use a cheaper set of super slippery pans that may wear out more rapidly but cost less to replace?
Ninja ZEROSTICK Stackable 3-Piece Saucepan Set review: verdict
If you’re in the market for a set of extremely durable saucepans that stack away neatly in the cupboard without damaging their interiors, these are the pans for you. Just be aware that their ultra tough nonstick coatings can be a bit sticky with some ingredients and that they are quite fussy with induction hob zone-size and placement.
Want to see some more pots and pans? Head over to our guide to the Best Saucepan Sets you can buy today