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Nesco 8 inch Electric Skillet In-depth Review

The Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08 is small, compact, and robust. But, is this enough to cook great food? See our cooking test results and find out what a small electric skillet is capable of.

By , , , and ·Published
Tested Using Methodology v1.0
The Nesco 8-inch electric skillet against a blurry white background, with fruit bowl and cooking oil canister in the back.

Overall Verdict

The Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08 is our top recommendation for a single person or a small kitchen space. At just 8 inches and $30.4 (at the time of writing), there are no fancy design features, instead the focus is on simplicity and performance.

Largely due to its small size, the skillet showed the most even heat distribution and was the fastest heating of all other skillets we tested. This high conductivity means you need to be careful of temperature spikes and delicate foods like pancakes can burn easily.

The 1.8 qt pan is deep enough to submerge one pack of instant ramen, which a college student may appreciate. However, the skillet doesn’t grip surfaces that well due to its hard padded base, so be careful not to rock the skillet if hot liquid is inside.

Unlike most higher-end skillets, the pan is not dishwasher-safe, but the lid is. Nonetheless, the pan is still durable and the non-stick coating is easy to clean.

Things We Like

  • Extremely fast preheating
  • Excellent heat distribution
  • Sizzling hot pan
  • Good capacity to size ratio

Things We Don’t Like

  • Teflon non-stick coating
  • Pan not dishwasher-safe
  • Anti-slip pads

Owned by The Metal Ware Corporation of Wisconsin, Nesco is a kitchen appliance brand best known for their food dehydrators. Other neat kitchenware includes vacuum sealers, sous vide cookers, blenders, water kettles and of course, their electric skillets. In our initial tests, the Nesco ES-08 Electric Skillet brought water to the boil quickly and fried eggs didn’t stick to the pan. This was, at least, a good start!

Key Specs

L10.94 x W8.03 x H5.51 inches
Cooking Capacity
1.8 quarts
Cast aluminum

Where to Buy Price at publication $30.4

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Compared to Other Electric Skillets

Ranking by
OverallScore Performance50% Design25% Usability25% ScoreOverall 50%Performance 25%Design 25%Usability Presto Foldaway Ele...Hamilton Beach Elec...Elite Gourmet Elect...GreenLife Electric...BELLA Electric Skil...CRUX Electric Skill...Nesco 8 inch Electr...This ProductPresto Electric Ski...
Showing: 8/9 Items

Analysis and Test Results

7.5 Performance

Among its peers, the Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08 scored the highest in our heat distribution test and for preheating times. This translated into good results for cooking steaks but not so much for making pancakes.

9.2 Analyzing Heat Distribution

The Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08 with a white oil-absorbent sheet covering the surface of the pan. The dark double circles indicate where the heating element is.
High heat / 400°F
Temperature Differences

The Nesco had the most uniform heat distribution among all the skillets we tested, which could be attributed to its smaller surface area.

To assess temperature variances across the skillet's surface, we used an oil absorbent sheet saturated with sugar water and placed it inside the skillet. After heating the pan to 400°F, we noted the heat pattern and measured 5 key points with an infrared thermometer.

From these points, spanning from the center to the edges of the pan, we observed an average temperature difference of only 4.1%. This exceptional result earned the skillet the record score of 9.2/10.

6.4 Making Pancakes

The top side of a golden brown pancake that’s dark around the edges inside an air fryer basket. In the corner is the Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08.
The top side of a golden brown pancake that’s dark around the edges inside an air fryer basket. In the corner is the Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08.
The bottom side of a golden brown pancake that’s dark around the edges inside an air fryer basket. In the corner is the Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08.
Two hands breaking a pancake apart. In the background is the Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08.
Heating Time
1 min 24 sec
Medium heat / 350°F

Despite its low power output, this skillet preheats faster than even medium-sized ones like the GreenLife CC003725-002. The Nesco only took 1 min 24 sec to preheat to 350°F.

With our homemade pancake batter ready, our 3.17 oz pancake only needed 50 seconds for the top side and 2 minutes for the bottom side. In most other skillets, pancakes cooked for 1 min 30 sec and 3 min respectively. This was quite speedy so we didn’t mind that the skillet is only large enough for one pancake at a time.

Regrettably, the temperature often spiked a bit too high. Thus, the pancakes cooked a bit too quickly and got dark around the edges where the heating element is located.

In addition, while the pancake was fluffy, it retained slightly more moisture than desired, falling short of excellence. Consequently, it only received a rating of 6/10 from our chef.

Looking at the results, we concluded that the skillet is more suitable for thick, lumpy pancakes rather than the smooth, fluffy ones that our recipe aimed to achieve. While the non-stick coating eliminates the need for butter or oil, it's advisable to add a small amount of oil to the pan to extend its lifespan.

7.8 Cooking Steaks

A piece of deep golden brown steak inside the Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08. In front of the skillet is a digital timer and a meat thermometer with its probe inserted into the steak.
A piece of deep golden brown steak inside the Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08. In front of the skillet is a digital timer and a meat thermometer with its probe inserted into the steak.
On the cutting board, a tong is holding the steak while a knife is slicing the steak.
A hand in black glove using a fork to pick up a slice of steak. In the background is the Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08.
Heating Time
1 min 58 sec
High heat / 400°F

To make sure our 8 oz, 1.38-inch top blade steak developed the best crust possible, we first preheated the Nesco to 400°F. This skillet only took 1 min 58 sec to preheat to 400°F, and only 30 seconds longer than to 350°F. This compared exceptionally well to even medium-sized skillets such as the Crux 14620 which heated to 400°F in 3 minutes.

After seasoning the steak and inserting a meat thermometer, we seared the first side for 2 min and 30 sec and the flipside for 3 min and 30 sec. Next, we dedicated 2 minutes to the edge with the fat cap and 1 minute each to the other edges. Finally, we added fresh rosemary and butter, allowing each side an additional 1 minute to cook.

The more intense temperatures, while not good for pancakes, resulted in a favorable deep amber color on the steak’s crust. The cooking process raised the steak’s internal temperature to 131°F which increased to 149°F after 3 minutes of resting.

The entire process took around 15 min 25 sec, which was similar to the top-listers like the Hamilton Beach 38529K and Elite Gourmet EG-6203#. The meat, although still tender, went slightly beyond medium-rare and wasn’t as juicy as it should have been, resulting in a 7.5/10 score from our chef.

If we shortened the searing time for a more ideal doneness, the crust would lack color and crispiness. So, we thought this was a fair compromise.

5.8 Design

Although small and only 8 x 8 inches and 1.5 inches deep, the Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08 has plenty of capacity for a one-person cook up. It’s durable, but some people may not like that the pan isn’t dishwasher-safe.

In the Box

On the upper right is the Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08. On the left is its cardboard box. Below the skillet, on the right is a thermostat and on the left is an instruction manual.
  • One electric skillet
  • One pan lid
  • One thermostat
  • One instruction manual
  • Warranty: 2 years

Contained within the Nesco box is an electric skillet, a pan lid, and a thermostat, all tightly secured within a styrofoam pad. The manual lists parts and features, safeguards, first use and operating instructions, care and cleaning, maintenance, and storing tips. It also has instructions on cooking methods, USDA health guidelines, and some recipes to go along with the skillet.


The Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08 is 10.94 inches in length, 8.03 inches in width, and 5.51 inches in height.
10.9" (27.8 cm)
8.0" (20.4 cm)
5.5" (14.0 cm)
2.4 lbs (1.1 kg)

The measurements of 15"D x 15"W x 7"H and 3.5 lbs listed on their Amazon page seemed to be of the entire boxed package instead of just the skillet with the lid as our measurements show.

5.0 Pan

The pan of the Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08 is 7.79 inches in length, 7.79 inches in width, and 1.73 inches in depth.
Cooking Capacity
1.8 qt.
L7.79" x W7.79" x H1.73"
Cast aluminum

The Nesco skillet has a 1.8 qt cast aluminum pan which is more durable than a non-cast one (+2). The pan is only 0.08 in (2 mm) thick and slightly on the thinner side compared to most other skillets (+1). Nonetheless, we noticed no heat deformation or any issue with heat distribution which was actually pretty good.

The pan has a Teflon non-stick coating which is free of PFOA (+1). Although cheaper than a ceramic coating, some people may have health concerns regarding Teflon.

The skillet has steel handles and its simple design has no pouring spout (+1). The skillet should be hand-washed and it cannot be fully immersed into water or cleaned in a dishwasher.

9.0 Lid

The tempered glass lid of the Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08 has a steam vent.
Tempered glass
Thermosetting plastic
Steam Vent

The tempered glass lid is the only part which is dishwasher-safe (+4). It has a thermosetting plastic handle and a steam vent to release the pressure (+2). The metal edging is correctly sized to fit the pan well (+3).

5.0 Base

The base of the Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08 has four stands with anti-slip pads.
Anti-Slip Pads

The metal base features four sturdy stands equipped with anti-slip pads (+4). The base is not detachable from the pan so the unit cannot go into the dishwasher (+1).

6.0 Thermostat

The thermostat of the Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08 has 5 settings including On-275°F–325-375-425°F.
Temperature Range
Indicator Light

While the design of the detachable thermostat is standard, its temperature range is not (+2). The settings start from 275°F (not 250°F) and increase in 50°F increments reaching an unusual high of 425°F.

However, the number of settings are the same so we decided to score it the same as other skillets (+1). The ‘On’ setting maintains a temperature of around 200°F which is not the usual Keep Warm of 150°F.

The thermostat has an indicator light and isn’t dishwasher-safe (+2). It fitted the socket well but held on a bit too tightly (+1). As a result, we had to put in a little effort holding down the skillet everytime we wanted to remove the thermostat.

Power Cord

The flat three-prong power cord of the Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08 is 38.58 inches long.
38.6" (98.0 cm)
800 W
Rated Output
120 V ~ 60 Hz

The power cord is a flat design and 38.58 inches long, which is surprisingly lengthy for such a small skillet. It uses a two-prong plug which is typically not as safe as a grounded three-prong one.

6.6 Usability

The Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08 is easy to use, store, and clean. However, its anti-slip feature isn’t the best, its thermostat is rather tight-fitting, and the pan is not dishwasher-safe. Overall, its user-friendliness is rather less than other skillets.

6.0 Ease of Use

The Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08 with its thermostat inserted.

The thermostat was precise in terms of its temperatures and the indicator light easy to see(+3). Additionally, the skillet’s exterior didn’t get too hot while cooking, so as long as you have your hands on the handles, you won’t risk burning yourself (+3).

The 4 anti-slip pads were unfortunately too hard and smooth to provide sufficient friction. Therefore, you need to take care not to rock the skillet when it’s filled with hot liquid and also hold it down to remove the rather stiff thermostat (+0).

8.0 Cleaning and Storing

Burnt caramel on the surface of the Nesco Non-Stick Electric Skillet ES-08.

When it got down to cleaning, the pan released food easily, even the burnt caramel in our heat distribution test (+3). After testing, all the skillet required was a quick hand-wash with warm water and a dab of dishwashing liquid (+3).

As mentioned above, this Nesco pan isn’t compatible with dishwashers, so it’s a bit less convenient compared to other skillets (-1). The Nesco skillet can store easily anywhere or it can go back into its original box for safekeeping (+3).

Behind the review

Headshot of Alan Nguyen
Alan NguyenReviewer

Alan Nguyen is a writer and product reviewer at HealthyKitchen101. His major in English language teaching taught him to present concise information. In addition to his cooking hobby, he values the practical aspects of household appliances.

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Lap VoTest Lead

Lap is Head of the Research, Testing, and Review Team (RTR Team) at HealthyKitchen101.com, where he directs and supervises the testing of kitchen gadgets and appliances.

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Tuyet PhamProfessional Chef

Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef passionate about delicious and healthful foods. At HealthyKitchen101, she develops recipes and collaborates with our Research, Testing, and Review lab to evaluate the performance of cooking appliances. Her assessments add a strong authoritative voice to our product scoring process.

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Nguyen NtkVisual Specialist

Nguyen Ntk is a graphic designer, photographer, and videographer whose philosophy centers around respecting and celebrating the beauty of reality. Through his lenses, Nguyen strives to capture the true essence of objects and events, showcasing and highlighting authentic features without distortion or exaggeration.