This is Pantelligent. Pantelligent is a smart frying pan that promises to make cooking easier by walking you through recipes. According to its website, it works on all electric and gas stove tops (but not on induction) and can help you cook everything easily.
I love both tech and kitchen gadgets and was instantly excited at the prospect, although $130 is a big ask for a pan. I had to find out if these promises were true, so I contacted Pantelligent and asked for a pan.
Luckily, the pan happened to arrive as we started receiving meal delivery boxes for that article. It gave us several recipes to try cooking chicken, steak, and tuna on both Pantelligent and a regular “dumb” frying pan to see how they compared.
Frying Fish, Chicken, and Steak
Pantelligent is a 12-inch wide pan made of die-cast aluminum covered with a non-stick coating. Most of the pans we use in the house are only 10-inches, so already Pantelligent is on the high end size-wise. Cooking single portions of meats in these large pans was a huge waste, and I immediately thought of how impractical the pan actually is.
For it to be a truly effective system, Pantelligent can’t just be one pan – it needs to be the full cookware set, with three pan sizes and at least two pots. Otherwise one person is going to need to learn to cook for several people (while wasting energy in the process).
Still, if it does what it promises, the prospect of a pan that can guide me through cooking has value. I downloaded the app and connected my phone to the pan via bluetooth.
Soon I was searching through recipes, trying to replicate the wondrous experience I read about in the CNet review of Pantelligent.
After cooking steak, chicken, and fish in Pantelligent, I now understand why it is that the company recommended the CNet reviewer start with salmon. I was told to cook all three meats the same way, so our steak had a burnt crispiness and rare inside just like the tuna. The chicken definitely had to be cooked longer than recommended to get rid of the pink in the middle and the steak was rare when it promised medium.
The steak didn’t come out the perfect medium we were hoping for, so we ended up searing the sides because we know how to cook. The way Pantelligent recommends to cook each meat differs from the general consensus on Google and our own cooking knowledge helped save what would have been an otherwise ruined meal.
It’s not just the rigid cooking methods. There are actually several problems that held this smart pan back from greatness.
A Glitch in the System
Now looking at the picture above, it’s easy to credit Pantelligent with creating this meal, but the only part it actually played was in cooking one of the three items on that plate. So the idea of having recipes for Pantelligent is wasted. Just let me choose a meat and how I want it cooked, and you do the rest.
Like the meal delivery services, we decided the price of Pantelligent could be justified if it at least has access to recipes, which it does. The problem, however, is that it’s not really guiding you through the recipes. As soon as I selected a steak recipe, it immediately was telling me to heat the pan and start cooking the steak. It throws off your equilibrium, and you end up fighting with the app when you should be cooking.
You have the option of adding recipes, but what’s the point? Nobody’s going to have time to try them because the instant they start the recipe, it’s just going to start a timer and tell you to turn up the heat. It’s not really made clear when to start the recipe and it wasn’t at all intuitive.
I feel like this pan is trying to be too many things and not really doing any of them particularly well. It’s a sturdy pan, but I can’t help but wonder if it’ll hold up like our cheaper or better-quality cookware. I won’t know for sure because after this review, I’m sending it off to my colleague in Indiana to compare it to his Calphalon pans.
I considered more of the burden of Pantelligent as I struggled to understand why I’m using it. Normally when we cook, we look up recipes (or at least certain steps) on Google, YouTube, etc. It’s a really easy way to learn how to cook with visual guides that can be paused at each step until you catch up.
Pantelligent doesn’t include any of that. A heat sensor in a pan can’t tell you when your potatoes are sufficiently mashed. It doesn’t help you measure ingredients or know when to season anything. It’s just a heat sensor and now you have to switch back and forth to check the recipe on your phone.
On its website, Pantelligent boasts about its auto-cook mode, but in order to utilize that, you’ll need to drop another $100 on a Belkin WeMo switch and single burner. All it does at that point is trigger the WeMo switch to shut off if it reaches a certain temperature. But you’re now spending $230 and adding a lot of unnecessary steps to the cooking process just for one single pan.
While Pantelligent does accurately measure the temperature of the pan, you can accomplish the same results with a $20 meat thermometer that can be used on all of your cookware. The functionality would be better served being built-in to the oven itself.
A smart pan sounds like a good idea in theory, but in practice, it’s simply impractical. The high price you’re paying for this pan is for the app development and underlying technology, which is a bit buggy and difficult to deal with. A smart oven that automatically adjusts the temperature based on parameters you set is a good idea. But cramming all that into a pan is reinventing the wheel too much.
While an interesting novelty, Pantelligent is more trouble than it’s worth, overcomplicating the cooking process and still requiring just as much supervision as a dumb pan with a meat thermometer. As much as I wanted to like Pantelligent, it has too many flaws to ignore.
Final Grade: D