There’s nothing quite like the perfect frying pan. It is truly a wonderful experience and feeling as you yank it out of your kitchen cupboard or from up top your gas stove knowing that you’re seconds away from whipping up something that is going to make you and/or those you love happy — whether it’s a simple, basic omelette, browning a couple of strips of bacon, or perhaps beginning a recipe as complex and time-consuming as Paella Valenciana.
How to Choose a Frying Pan
So you are in the market for a new frying pan. On Amazon alone, over 6,000 results appear when using the search query “frying pan”. Considering the endless and varied choices that are available to you, the task can be quite overwhelming and daunting.
In fact, you are probably wondering: where do I begin? And what features exactly should I be assessing in order to determine which skillet is the best for me and my needs?
Don’t fret, because this is what we are here for. Over the next few paragraphs, we break down the different aspects of skillets to help you decide what you want and/or need. Here goes:
Let us first examine the different materials of frying pans that are available out there. It is important to understand that not all pieces are made the same. There are differing materials of pans that are suited for a variety of cooking needs.
In addition, not only does the type of frying pan material have an effect on what you can cook on it, but it also plays a part in determining how heavy or how light your pan is. Finally, heat conduction is another feature that is affected by the material of your skillet.
With all of this in mind, here are the different pan materials available:
1. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is one of the heavier pan materials out there. It is also not the premium choice if you are on the prowl for a frying pan that can conduct heat at an impressive rate. This is why more often than not, stainless steel is not used as a stand-alone cookware, but rather with combinations of either copper and/or aluminum materials bonded to it.
In this case, the stainless steel is typically placed on the base of the frying pan or on its sides. The result is what is known as three-ply or clad cookware. This type of pan tends to fall in the pricier ranges but heat conduction is definitely far more superior as opposed to pure stainless steel frying pans.
2. Hard Anodized
Hard anodized material is a form of aluminum. There is a layer of protection over the entire frying pan and its surface is usually non-stick. One of the primary strengths of hard anodized skillets is precisely that — their impressive durability. As opposed to stainless steel pans, bumps and denting are a non-issue with hard anodized aluminum.
Hard anodized pans are also quite lightweight and their ability to conduct heat is stellar. Some hard anodized pieces are incompatible with induction stovetops but there are exceptions — those that have been fitted with stainless steel base plates.
Aluminum is the next best conductor of heat after copper. Aluminum pans are similar in composition to hard anodized frying pans. However, they do not compare in terms of strength — that is, hard anodized frying pans are much stronger. Aluminum frying pans are an ideal choice for cooking hobbyists or enthusiasts as there are considerations that need to be noted in terms of how aluminum reacts to food. Aluminum frying pans also require a specific standard of care and upkeep in order to keep them in tiptop shape.
The good thing about aluminum pans is they have been provided with a hard enamel exterior as a layer of protection to keep denting and bending at bay. They also have non-stick surfaces for easy and convenient cooking.
As with hard anodized skillets, aluminum frying pans are not compatible with induction stovetops unless they are equipped with a steel baseplate.
Among the list of materials, copper is at the top when it comes to heat conduction. Copper frying pans are also gorgeous in appearance. However, copper has the tendency to react with certain types of food. To alleviate this risk, choose a model that comes with a stainless steel interior.
Frying pans with copper exteriors are also prone to denting.
5. Cast Iron
Last but not least, we have cast iron frying pans. This form of cookware is certainly not for the impatient sort as it definitely takes its time heating up. However, the trade-off is that once it has grown hot, it becomes very, very hot.
A useful tip to speed up the process is to run boiling water over it prior to putting it on the stove. Cast iron frying pans are perfect whether you wish to sear steaks, cook fish, or roast some poultry in the oven.
The bottom line is that if you are looking for a unique cooking experience, a cast iron frying pan will certainly do the trick.
Frying Pans: Non-Stick or Stainless Steel?
Let’s talk about the cons first: it’s important to be aware of the fact that non-stick surfaces possess a proclivity towards scratches. They are also not the best option for high temperature cooking (exceeding 500F).
Nevertheless, the invention of non-stick coatings for frying pans or cookware in general is one that has truly changed the landscape of cooking on an unparalleled level.
Because of this, we no longer have to use as much oil as we used to. Stirring and flipping food has also become easier and more fun. Last but not least, food burns less and therefore less of it goes to waste and simply tastes more delicious as a result.
At present, there are two options to choose from when it comes to non-stick frying pans. There is the standard PTFE-based non-stick material and then there is the environmental-friendly or green version of it; which is PTFE-free. The benefits of PTFE-FREE non-stick material are: better heat conduction, abrasion- and peeling- resistance, as well as better performance when exposed to high temperatures. They are also easier to clean as opposed to standard or stainless steel frying pans as food does not stick.
Given all of the useful benefits that non-stick frying pans offer, why bother purchasing one that is made of stainless steel? Well, there are also pros to stainless steel frying pans.
For instance, if good browning is your goal — steaks, mushrooms, chicken, etc. — then stainless steel frying pans are preferable as their material composition is simply favorable to create this effect. This is likely due to its ability to sear food surfaces upon contact.
To avoid burning food when using a stainless steel frying pan, wait until the pan grows hot prior to adding oil and add the food before it reaches the smoking point. Proper spacing of food in the frying pan is essential as well.
Frying Pans: Size
Apart from the material and surface, there is also size to consider. If you are cooking for two persons or less, an 8-inch frying pan will suffice. The succeeding recommendations are as follows:
9.5-inch – 10-inch = 3 persons
11-inch = 4 persons
12-inch = 5 persons
12.5-inch = 6 persons
Now that you are aware of the different considerations that exist when it comes to choosing the frying pan that is right for you, let us move on to our recommendations.
Top 10 Frying Pans
How do you even begin to narrow down your search for the quintessential skillet? Additionally, what exactly should you be on the lookout for when choosing the frying pan that is right for you? This is where we come in. In this article, we take a look at 10 of the best frying pans on the market and some of the specific features that they offer that can benefit you.
It’s important to understand that if you make the proper selection, your frying pan of choice will likely last you for many years down the road. Having said that, it’s essential to consider your choices with care. Without further ado, let’s get started:
1. The Stone Earth Pan by Ozeri with 100% PFOA-Free Stone-Derived Non-Stick Coating — 4.7 / 5
Dimensions: 20 x 12 x 3 inches
Weight: 3 lbs.
This German-made frying pan by Ozeri has garnered impressive ratings and reviews across several retail websites. It comes in 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch sizes that you can choose from depending on your preference and needs. The hook of this product is its utilisation of stonehenge, a “German-sourced natural stone-derived non-stick coating”. Ozeri guarantees this frying pan to be 100 percent free of PFOA (PerFluoroOctanoic Acid) which is a dangerous chemical and pollutant that is a typical component of traditional kitchenware.
The Stone Earth Pan is made of heavy-gauge die-cast aluminium and its heat-resistant silicon handle is reinforced with three rivets. The skillet’s base is also magnetised for rapid heating. The Stone Earth Pan is compatible with induction stoves.
We love this frying pan for several reasons. One of these reasons is because of its remarkable even heat distribution. Unlike other pans where the food item has to be right in the centre in order for it to properly cook or to brown well, this is not the case with the Stone Earth Pan. It truly is non-stick regardless of whether you are working with fish, vegetables, chicken, steaks, sauces, burgers or what have you. Not to mention, it is also a breeze to clean if this is something that is a big deal to you. Finally, with regard to aesthetics, the Stone Earth Pan is simple and sophisticated with grey coating on the outside and speckled black on the inside.
2. Calphalon Commercial Nonstick 10-Inch International Griddle/Crepe Pan — 4.6 /5
Dimensions: 17 x 10.6 x 3 inches
Weight: 3 lbs.
This 10-inch griddle/crepe pan by renowned cookware brand Calphalon has managed to garner mostly favourable ratings and reviews. Made in China, it is advertised by the company as the perfect kitchen tool for preparing crepes, tortillas and omelettes, the Calphalon C1210P can handle so much more. It boasts three-layer constructions with its hard-anodised exterior, non-stick surface, and aluminium core. This frying pan has also been equipped with a three-ply non-stick finish for those who are conscious about low-fat cooking (it becomes possible to cook without the need for oil or butter). It can also be safely used in an oven up to a temperature of 450 F.
One of the best things about this product is that comes with a lifetime warranty. What makes it unique is that its sides are low and gently sloped so that you can easily cook crepes with reduced risk of them falling apart as you slide them out from the frying pan onto your plate. The construction of the Calphalon C1210P also allows for seamless pancake flipping, for all of you pancake fans out there (and really, who isn’t?).
For what it is worth, this frying pan is most definitely worth paying for. Its design is as classic as can be but more importantly, it is king when it comes to durability albeit it is slightly on the heavy side. In comparison to stainless steel, this stoneware frying pan takes its time to heat up but this is likely due to its non-stick coating. Once you arrive at the required temperature however, the Calphalon C1210P is a force to be reckoned with. Your food will never stick to the pan and you can use it to warm up items as well. It is compatible for usage with gas, glass and electric stoves. Without a doubt, the Calphalon C1210P is definitely one of my personal favourites on the list.
3. Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet with Red Silicone Hot Handle Holder, 12-Inch — 4.6 / 5
Dimensions: 19 x 13 x 6 inches
Weight: 7.8 lbs.
Apart from the 12-inch size, this skillet actually comes in 3.5-inch, 6.5 inch, 8-inch, 9-inch, 10.25-inch, 13.25-inch, and 15-inch sizes as well. The Lodge Iron Skillet is pre-seasoned and ready to use. It retains heat at a superior rate and distributes heat evenly while cooking. This skillet also comes with two handles for easy lifting as well as two side lips to easily pour liquids such as sauces or broths.
The Lodge Iron Skillet can be used to prepare slow-cooking recipes and all the usuals such as pancakes, eggs, bacon, etc. Its cast iron material makes it so durable and hardy that it can even be used over a campfire. As mentioned earlier, the skillet has been pre-seasoned but nevertheless it is ideal to spray or lightly coat it with vegetable oil prior to usage.
The Lodge Iron Skillet is truly the most suitable choice for somebody who’s on the prowl for a frying pan that is virtually indestructible. It can can be used in ovens and on top of stovetops (glass, electric and gas). Even after years of usage, the handle remains flawless and the bottom un-scorched.
One useful tip: wait for the pan to adequately heat up prior to adding oil or food. So what is the bottom line when it comes to the Lodge Iron Skillet? If you’re looking for something hardy that can go from the oven to the stove to the campfire without so much as a scratch, this is it. Look no further.
4. Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized Nonstick 10-Inch Skillet — 4.7 / 5
Dimensions: 18.1 x 11.6 x 4.1 inches
Weight: 3 lbs.
Apart from the 10-inch, there are also the 8.5-inch and 12-inch Anolon Non-Stick Skillets. With sloped sides and a flared rim to allow for a dripless pour, this smart-looking skillet has been coated both on the exterior and interior with a durable non-stick substance that makes it an exceptional companion for cooking as well as a breeze to clean.
The Anolon Non-Stick Skillet is made of heavy-gauge, hard-anodised aluminium similar to the Stone Earth Pan by Ozeri. Its solid bottom has not been coated. Thus, heat is evenly distributed through the pan. Upon first glance, what stands out with this skillet is its bright chrome handle which is both stay-cool and slip-resistant with its rubber grip.
Whether you wish to prepare pancakes or quesadillas, sauté vegetables, sear steaks, poultry or fish, the Anolon Non-Stick Skillet is a reliable tool. Cleaning also becomes easy as pie with its non-stick coating. Truth be told, it’s nearly impossible to find anything to complain about with this skillet. Two thumbs up.
5. Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 12-Inch Skillet with Glass Cover — 4.5 / 5
Dimensions: 21.2 x 12.5 x 4 inches
Weight: 4 lbs.
Cuisinart is no newcomer to the game. Under the inspiration of French kitchenware, the company has been in business for more than 30 years and has gained a respectable reputation resulting in a household name and a trusted product line for decades. This skillet is certainly no exception to the rule.
Made of hard-anodised steel which is far more heavy-duty than stainless steel, the Cuisinart 622-30G is top-of-the-line when it comes to density, non-porousness and wear-resistance. Its quantanium non-stick interior has also been reinforced with titanium for added strength and durability. In a nutshell, this skillet provides us with a healthy non-fat cooking option that is easy to clean.
It’s also hard to ignore the Cuisinart 622-30G’s stainless steel riveted stick handles which stay cool despite heat exposure and offer a solid, firm grip to the user. Oven safe up to a maximum of 500 F, its rim is drip free. To keep it short and simple, this has become my favourites. Its size is just right and it certainly doesn’t fail when it comes to performance. I like that it also comes with a glass cover for when the recipe requires the dish to simmer or sit for a bit.
Also, because it can be used in the oven, it’s also a go-to frying pan for when the recipe calls for the dish to be heated in the oven after cooking. Cleaning it is also hassle-free.
Last but not least, the Cuisinart 622-30G comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Definitely worth every penny it costs.
6. Stainless Steel Earth Pan by Ozeri, with a 100% PFOA-Free Non-Stick Coating — 4.9 / 5
Dimensions: 21.2 x 12.5 x 4 inches
Weight: 3.4 lbs.
As you can see, this frying pan is the one with the highest ratings off of this list. It is also the second mention of the brand Ozeri. Available in 8-inch, 10-inch and 12-inch sizes, the coating on the Ozeri Earth Pan features ETERNA. This is the longest lasting 100 percent PFOA-free non-stick coating available on the market today.
The Ozeri Earth Pan is also made of grade A 18/8 stainless steel with Tri-Ply construction and a glossy mirror exterior. What 18/8 stainless steel essentially means is that the steel used on this frying pan is stronger and less prone to tarnishing than other grades of stainless steel. It is compatible with induction, glass and gas stoves.
And why is it called the Earth Pan? This is because the non-stick coating on this skillet is environment-friendly in that there are no harmful fumes or toxins that are released even when it is exposed to extremely hot temperatures.
If you hate scratches on your frying pans, then here’s another reason to love the Ozeri Earth Pan — its coating is scratch resistant. Its its heat-resistant stainless steel handle is reinforced with three rivets and its base is also magnetised for quick heat-up. The Ozeri Earth Pan is compatible for use on induction stoves.
Personally, one thing that stands out with this frying pan is that despite its thick bottom, it has the ability to evenly distribute heat. This is so crucial if one takes cooking seriously and this is why I unequivocally agree with the favourable ratings and reviews it has received. Also, while its handle is solid, there’s still enough jerk left to toss and flip items in the pan if you wish. The non-stick coating is also smooth and has also held up thus far. It’s a breeze to clean. Without any hesitation, the Ozeri Earth Pan is a keeper.
7. TeChef – Blooming Flower Frying Pan with Teflon Platinum Non-Stick Coating (PFOA Free) / Ceramic Coated Outside / Induction Ready — 4.6 / 5
Dimensions: 20.3 x 12.2 x 2.8 inches
Weight: 3.4 lbs.
8-inch, 9.4-inch and 11-inch are your choices when it comes to the TeChef Blooming Flower. Made in Korea, the inside of the frying pan has been equipped with DuPont Teflon Platinum coating not just once, twice or thrice, but a total of six times. On the other hand, the exterior of the TeChef Blooming Flower has been coated with durable ceramic with the use of Print Design Technology.
Impressively enough, this frying pan is so resistant to scratches that you can use it with metal utensils. It contains zero PFOA, cadmium and lead. It can also be safely used with all types of ranges and stoves.
The TeChef Blooming Flower is an excellent option if you have an induction stovetop as its extra thick forged aluminium material makes it safe to use on such, unlike stainless steel frying pans which have a tendency to stick and burn on such. It is also on the lightweight side if this is your preference. Its handle are extremely well attached so if you prefer a frying pan with an immobile handle, this isn’t it.
Appearance-wise, the TeChef Blooming Flower isn’t bad and it truly lives up to its non-stick claim. I have also found that it’s possible to cook on it while using a very minimal amount of oil. So if you’re one who is conscious about fat intake and what not, you will love this frying pan. Enough said.
8. Simply Calphalon Nonstick 10-Inch Covered Omelette Pan — 4.5 / 5
The Calphalon Omelette Pan is available in 10-inch and 12-inch sizes. Its two coat proprietary non-stick interior allows you to cook with it without using a significant amount of oil or fat. It does not react to food and it is also safe to use in the oven for up to 400 F.
The exterior of this frying pan is hard-anodised and is built to last without chipping or cracking even after years of usage. Heat distribution is rapid and even in the Calphalon Omelette Pan. Its heat-resistant contoured handles are made of stainless steel and riveted silicone.
This skillet also comes with a lid that complements the brushed finish of the piece. Weight-wise, the Calphalon Omelette Pan is somewhat on the heavy side however it is well-balanced all throughout the cookware. There are some mentions of the lid not having a vent but this can be easily remedied by leaving it off centre when you are cooking something that requires ventilation while the lid is on.
Whether you want to prepare omelettes, fry hash browns, or cook burgers, the Calphalon Omelette Pan does the job and the best part is that it is extremely affordable. It is very easy to clean, wipe down, and wash as well.
9. Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 12-Inch Everyday Pan with Dome Cover — 4.5 / 5
Dimensions: 2.8 x 14.5 x 11.8 inches
Weight: 6 lbs.
This 12-inch frying pan by Cuisinart is difficult to miss with its eye-catching, attractive finish and large base. It is made of 18/10 stainless steel which is almost uniform in quality to 18/8 stainless steel albeit the additional nickel content (10 percent as opposed to 8 percent) makes it a wee bit shinier. The Cuisinart Everyday Pan also has an encapsulated aluminium core.
Its side handles are heat resistant and riveted for added strength. It is also safe to use in the oven for up to 550 F. This frying pan comes with a dome-shaped lid to help retain heat, moisture and nutrients. The Cuisinart Everyday Pan has a limited lifetime warranty.
Its large size makes it a very versatile skillet that can be used for making casseroles, veal marsala, chicken, paella, dumplings, etc. There are hardly any limits, really. It is also beautiful enough that I feel comfortable serving the prepared dish even while it is in the skillet itself. The Cuinart Everyday Pan distributes heat quite wonderfully and evenly as promised.
Despite all of this, there are other more superior frying pans than this one that have been mentioned above. Its large size proves to be somewhat of a drawback as it’s not uncommon to encounter a cold spot close to the edges. The multi-layer bottom of the skillet also makes it so that the sides don’t get really hot.
One hot tip: it’s great for making saucy pastas and curries because of its size. The shallowness also gets the sauce to simmer in record time and the lid traps the heat and moisture so that meat stays moist and juicy. Soak it in warm water to help with clean-up.
The Cuisinart Everyday Pan is compatible with all stovetops with the exception of induction.
10. T-fal Professional Total Nonstick Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator PFOA Free 12-Inch – 4.4 / 5
Dimensions: 18 x 12.5 x 2.5 inches
Weight: 2.3 lbs.
For the T-fal Fry Pan, one can choose from the 8-inch, 10.25-inch, and 12.5-inch sizes. Durability and scratch resistance are two things that you are actually purchasing with this frying pan as it has been sufficiently coated for safe usage with metal utensils.
The T-fal fry Pan has also been equipped with a special Thermo-spot heat indicator that lets you know when the skillet has reached the point of pre-heating for cooking. Its handles are riveted and made of silicone for a comfortable grip. This frying pan is oven safe as well for up to 350 F (for certain types of food). Finally, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty and can be used on all types of stovetops.
Let’s talk about the pros first. When it comes to non-stick properties, the T-fal Fry Pan is top-notch. No matter what you cook on it, nothing sticks! So in this regard, it lives up to its claim. It’s extremely lightweight as well which makes it a very fun kitchenware tool if you like to flip your pancakes and other food.
Long story short, the T-fal Fry Pan is solid and does what it says it will. My only issue with it would have to be complaints from some users about warping and only the centre of the frying pan heating up. Evidently this is a quality/technical issue that has affected a small number of products released.