September 25, 2022

It wasn’t that long ago — in fact, it was just last week — when Our Place debuted the Tiny Cast Iron Always Pan, a cute, mini version of the online cookware brand’s full-size Cast Iron Always Pan. Pitched as both a sidekick to its larger sibling and an adorable way to make single-serving meals, the “Tiny” pan slotted alongside the brand’s existing Mini versions of its regular Always Pan, Perfect Pot and Spruce Steamer.

Well, now Our Place has some company in the cute cookware department, as chief rival Caraway has debuted a miniaturized line of its own. The Caraway Minis line, which goes on sale today, consists of shrunken-down versions of Caraway’s two top-selling individual items: the Fry Pan and the Sauce Pan.

The lil’ pans both boast non-toxic, non-stick ceramic coatings, work with all cooking surfaces and are oven-safe up to 550°F. Perhaps more importantly to fans of Caraway, they also come in all of the usual colors: “Original” Gray, the striking quintet of “Classic” colors that includes Sage and Perracotta and even the luxe, gold-tinged “Iconic” options in black or white.

With a diameter of 8”, Caraway’s Mini Fry Pan doesn’t go quite as minuscule as Our Place’s Tiny Cast Iron Always Pan, which is a truly tiny 6.5” across. But it does come in just under Our Place’s 8.5” Mini Always Pan, which is a more direct competitor. Regardless, all of these pans are smaller than your traditional frying pan sizes of 10”-12”, and fall more in line with less-ubiquitous 8” skillets or egg-frying pans. These types of smaller pans have always had their place in the kitchen, but why do they seem to be hot all of the sudden?

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Interestingly, both Caraway and Our Place declared on social media that they were producing their Mini/Tiny pans because of fan demand. Apparently, folks were badgering both companies about smaller cookware to the point where they had no choice but to call up Wayne Szalinski and borrow his shrink ray.

We can’t say for certain what’s causing this clamoring for smaller cookware. Are more people single than before? Are people downsizing due to rising housing costs? Does everyone just like looking at cute things (which, let’s face it, is probably the answer)?

Whatever the case, it appears the mini cooking revolution is here to stay. Meet the new pans, smaller than the old pans.