Any kitchen around the world will have some form of cookware which will serve as a frying pan. While it is technically possible to frying on an ordinary pot or shallow pan, the unique construction of a dedicated frying pan gives it exceptional cooking abilities especially in terms of handling smoking-hot oil. Try this on your ordinary pot and you’ll most likely ruin it entirely. That is for the serious cook a good frying pan is a must. We’ve searched the market for the best frying pan to share with you. Read on.
The Best Frying Pan
For those who would like to expand their growing collection of stainless steel cookware, this lovely product from Cuisinart should make for an exciting addition. The Chef’s Classic is an all-stainless steel frying pan that is best for high-heat stir frying as well as for searing those lovely cuts of meat before finishing them up in the oven. Speaking of oven cooking, the Chef’s Classic can withstand extreme oven temperatures up to 550oF. What is amazing with the Chef’s Classic is that there’s actually a layer of aluminum sandwiched in between layers of stainless steel, giving you exceptional heat conduction. Some folks lament the absence of a nonstick coating. Actually you can give it a nice nonstick surface by seasoning it. But for those who love the sizzle of high-heat stir fry, this is the one to get.
Stainless steel frying pan with fully encapsulated heavy-duty aluminum core
Designed specifically for high-heat stir-frying and searing
Can be used in ovens up to 550oF as well as induction cooktops
Tight-fitting glass cover
Integrated measurement markings
Secure-hold riveted handle and helper handle
For a little less than $30 you already get 3 different frying pans made by a reputable brand. That’s what the T-fal 3-Piece Specialty Nonstick Pans brings to the table. You get an 8-inch omelet pan, a 9.5-inch frying pan, and an 11-inch sauté pan. We know what you’re thinking. It’s a cookware designed for small families or even for single living. What you will be amazed with the Specialty Nonstick is that it comes with a unique Thermo-Spot heat indicator which tells you if the pan is hot enough to dump your ingredients and start sizzling. The only downside is that, compared to the Chef’s Classic, it can withstand oven temperatures only up to a measly 350oF. Well at least you can still bake some goodies.
3-piece set as omelet pan, frying pan, and sauté pan
With Thermo-Spot heat indicator system
Ergonomic and comfortable handle
Constructed of heavy-duty aluminum with PFOA-, Lead-, and Cadmium- free nonstick coating on frying surface
Can be used on ovens for up to 350oF
With limited lifetime warranty
- Weight3.7 lbs
The Vremi Nonstick Sauté Pan is an excellent choice in the versatility department. It may look like any other ordinary frying pan, but considering that it actually has a 5-quart capacity also makes it a great saucepan. It is safe to pop in your dishwasher as well as oven, although you should be careful about the temperature settings as the maximum is only 338oF. Another drawback to the Vremi is that it can only be used on electric and gas cooktops. At any rate if you’re looking for a saucepan that doubles as a frying pan, then the Vremi should be a great buy especially considering its very friendly price tag.
Large-capacity frying pan doubles as a 5-quart saucepan
Double layer of nonstick coating on frying surface with aluminum body
Safe and comfortable Bakerite handles
Tempered glass lid with spiral bottom
Can only be used on electric and gas cooktops
Oven-safe up to 338oF
- Weight5.41 lbs
Unlike most nonstick frying pans you’ve seen, the Ozeri Stone Earth Frying Pan is going to blow you away. The nonstick coating is derived from stone using a unique German technology. There’s a bit of controversy in this regard. The product says it is free from PFOA and APEO but it doesn’t say if it is also free from PTFE. This gives the Ozeri a Teflon nonstick coating. However, if you’re going to look at the rave reviews, people couldn’t really care less whether it is a glorified Teflon product or not. The fact is that it provides a scratch-resistant and nonstick surface with a magnetized base. Sadly, for a Teflon product that also comes with die cast aluminum base, we really couldn’t find justification for its price tag.
APEO- and PFOA- free stone-derived nonstick and scratch-resistant frying surface
Magnetized frying pan base made of die-cast heavy-duty aluminum
Eco-friendly solution to frying
Silicone-coated heat-resistant handle
- Weight3.3 lbs
What is the difference between the B36S3 Specialty Nonstick Pans to the E93808 Professional Total Nonstick Fry Pan also made by T-fal? Well, aside from the fact that the E93808 is technically more expensive, it comes with a unique ProMetal Pro nonstick coating that allows you to use metallic kitchen utensils without danger of scratching or damaging the nonstick surface. This is indeed welcome news since you no longer have to content yourself with wooden or nylon spatulas. The anti-warping technology is also admirable as well as the now-iconic Thermo-Spot heat indicator system. It can also be popped into your oven at higher temperatures of 400oF, although we’ve seen better.
Unique Thermo-Spot heat indicator system
Stainless steel base fully compatible with induction stoves
Metal utensil-safe ProMetal Pro nonstick frying surface
Riveted stay-cool silicone handles mated to stainless steel
Oven-safe up to 400oF
- Weight2.3 lbs
With a hefty price tag you shouldn’t expect anything less than the best from Calphalon’s Nonstick Omelet Fry Pan with Lid. For starters it can be used on a multitude of cooktops such as glass, ceramic, gas, electric flattop, halogen, and electric coil. The anodized aluminum base gives it excellent heat conductivity. Regrettably, it doesn’t really deserve a full 5-star rating since we’ve seen similar systems besting the maximum holding temperature of the Calphalon. Also, it cannot be used on induction cooktops and you cannot even use metallic kitchen utensils when frying on the pan. At a single piece of cookware and without the ongoing discount, this makes Calphalon a very expensive proposition in the kitchen.
Made of highly-conductive anodized aluminum
Double nonstick coating on frying surface
With tempered glass cover
Can be used on various stove tops and up to 400oF in the oven
Contoured handle made of stainless steel with added stay-cool silicone
- Weight4.6 lbs
Given that the list price is just several dollars shy of $100, this should make the All-Clad E785S264 HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan. However, it actually comes as a set of two, making it a great bargain. One of its biggest advantages is that it can be used in oven cooking for up to 500oF. We know the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic does a better job and at an even friendlier price, we’d say the inclusion of an 8- and 10- inch pan should be worth it. But then again there are better bargains but with misgivings in the temperature capacity department. On a positive note, you can also use the All-Clad on induction stoves and broilers as well as a host of other cooktops.
Single-ply highly heat-conductive hard-anodized aluminum pan and anti-warp base
PFOA-free, scratch-resistant, easy to clean nonstick frying surface
Contoured handles made of stainless steel
Can be used in induction stoves, broilers, and oven up to temperatures of 500oF
With lifetime warranty
- Weight5 lbs
Some folks got tricked into believing that the Almond Copper Frying Pan is constructed of heavy-duty copper material. Unfortunately the ‘copper’ in the name only refers to the color used on its ceramic nonstick coating surface. It has nothing to do with the actual copper metal. Instead, the base of the pan is constructed of heavy-duty aluminum giving it exceptional heat conductivity and even heat distribution. The copper finish looks elegant though. Also, since the frying surface is made of ceramic, you can be certain that it doesn’t contain PTFE and PFOA. It can also be popped into the dishwasher as well as oven with temperatures as high as 500oF, although 420oF seems more like a reasonable max level.
Ceramic nonstick frying surface free from PFOA and PTFE
3.0 millimeter gauge heavy-duty aluminum pan
Ergonomic handle made of stainless steel
With tempered glass lid
Completely oven-safe up to 500oF
- Weight4.2 lbs
Best Frying Pan Buying Guide and FAQ
Buying your very own frying pan used to be a pretty straightforward process. Unfortunately, times have changed. With advances in cooking technology comes a geometric increase in the number of frying pan choices. If you’re boggled about your choices, allow us to guide you in the process of determining the best frying pan for you and your family with this simple buying guide and FAQ.
Benefits of Using Nonstick Frying Pan
There has always been a tug-of-war in the kitchen stemming from the kind of cookware that is best to use. On one hand are those who prefer to use stainless steel frying pans. There are also those that would want the more Jurassic cast-iron pan. However, upon reading our section on the benefits of using nonstick frying pans, we’re pretty sure you’ll be dumping your other types of pans.
- Use less fat
One of the reasons why we use fat in our cooking is to provide a slick layer between the scorching hot surface of our pans and the outer surface of our food. Without this oily layer our food will stick to the surface damaging its appearance and adversely affecting its palatability.
Using nonstick frying pans will allow you to use less oil. Now do take note we did not say no oil, although you can do that, too. The thing is that a drizzle of oil is needed to really seal-in the flavors and aromas of the food that we are frying. Oil serves more like glue that binds all of these flavors in so that when you bite into it, the food will be bursting with flavors. That is why we still use a little oil whenever we fry on nonstick pans. Again, you can skip the oil altogether but the flavor will simply be not the same.
Even if you will use oil somehow, it will be much less than what you would use if you were cooking on a conventional frying pan that doesn’t have nonstick coating.
- Very easy to clean and maintain
Because it is nonstick burned food will not adhere to the surface, melted-on plastic and other stuff will not attach like glue. This makes it super easy to clean. In many cases, a simple wipe using a clean piece of cloth or paper towel is enough to render the pan clean. Depending on the food that you cooked sometimes you may need a little help from a soft sponge. Otherwise, placing it under running water should be enough.
We would like to reiterate that nonstick frying pans are scratch-resistant for as long as you use the right kind of cooking utensils as well as cleaning products. Now, if you have the ProMetal Pro technology of T-fal in all of your nonstick pans, then there really is no need to worry about using metallic or steel kitchen utensils like spoons and spatulas. Until then, you should only use nylon spoons and spatulas or maybe even wooden versions. Metal or steel materials can scrape the outermost layer of the nonstick pan, exposing its inner structures over time.
- Looks more stylish and more modern
Sure stainless steel will look all shiny and glossy but the matte black to dark greyish finish of most nonstick pans give it an edgier, more hip appearance. It adds style and personality to your modern kitchen.
- Guarantees even heat distribution
Majority of nonstick frying pans come with an aluminum base or some other metal that has excellent thermal conductivity. This allows heat to be evenly distributed across the surface of the frying pan, helping ensure even cooking and preventing the development of hot spots. The other benefit to having heat distributed evenly is that your food cooks a lot faster since all portions that are in contact with the frying pan’s cooking surface are cooked at the same time. This saves you fuel or even electricity.
Things to Consider When Buying a Frying Pan
Picking the right frying pan to include in your kitchen entails a lot of musings. Most folks would perform a very thorough search for product reviews related to a certain frying pan. While this will help it usually is crucial to start by understanding some of the factors that you will have to consider when buying one.
- Type of material used in the construction of the pan
There are a multitude of materials used in the construction of the frying pan. Almost all types of frying pans will have excellent heat conduction capabilities. However, if you’re looking for something that you can use on your induction cooktop, your best bet will be those that are composed of stainless steel clad in aluminum, carbon steel, and or combination of aluminum and stainless steel.
If you want something that is really scratch-resistant or even dent-proof, anodized aluminum does a good job. When it comes to corrosion-resistance your choices are aluminum and stainless steel clad in aluminum. Stainless steel-aluminum combinations also make perfect choices if you want it to be dishwasher-safe.
- Thickness of the frying pan
Frying almost always involve high heat. As such you would want a frying pan that has a thicker metal element than others. Modern frying pans come in either mils or gauge classification. If you see a mil specification you will want something that has a higher numerical value. For instance, 2 mils is thicker than 1 mil. As for gauge grading, it is the opposite. The higher the numerical value the thinner is the frying pan. For example, a frying pan with 22-gauge is generally thinner than a 10-gauge frying pan.
- Riveted or rivetless handles?
Riveted handles offer greater durability and strength than rivetless systems. However, they require more attention when it comes to cleaning because microbial buildup can occur around the rivets. While not necessarily structurally-weaker than riveted handles, rivetless systems provide for a smoother cooking surface as well as easier cleaning.
- Type of handle
Go for frying pans with stainless steel handles since these conduct heat less efficiently than aluminum. You can also go for silicone-wrapped handles although be careful as popping these into the oven at higher temperatures can degrade the silicone. Alternatively, you may want a hollow metal handle for better cooling.
- Cooktop compatibility
As much as possible choose a frying pan than you can easily use on induction cooktops. The more types of cooktops that the frying pan can be used on should give you superior versatility in any kitchen.
- Nonstick or natural finish?
We mentioned about the many benefits of using nonstick frying pans in the preceding section so you can easily make the decision up front. However, natural finish frying pans like stainless steel are cheaper and are actually excellent if you’re after a good sear on your food. The downside, of course, is that your food will have the tendency to stick onto the surface.
How to Properly Clean a Frying Pan
Cleaning your cookware whether it is a pot or a frying pan is an inherent task in any modern kitchen. It is your responsibility to maintain the structural integrity of your frying pans by making sure that they are properly cleaned. Here’s how to properly clean a frying pan.
- For nonstick pans
We already discussed, albeit briefly the cleaning of nonstick pans as one of their benefits. Just to recap, however, since food doesn’t really stick to the cooking surface of the pan, you can easily wipe it off with clean paper towels or anything that is recommended by the manufacturer of the pan. In many cases, if the pan is dishwasher-safe, then cleaning is a lot easier.
If there is grease that cannot be removed with the ordinary method of simple wiping, you can fill your pan with water before adding about half a cup of vinegar. Now bring this to a boil and dispose of the solution. The grease will float to the top making it easier to discard. Clean the pan with warm water as well as dish soap. Use nylon scrubber to remove any remaining grease. Rinse and dry completely.
If the problem is a more stubborn residue, you’ll need to make a paste out of baking soda and water. Apply the paste over the residue and scrub it off with a nylon scrubber. Once removed, just follow the cleaning procedure as in using the water and vinegar trick.
- For other types of pans
For frying pans with natural finish, it is best to wash these by hand using hot, soapy water and a sponge. You may also want to check if your pan’s manufacturer allows for the product to be put in your dishwasher.
For stainless steel frying pans, cleaning is super easy since the hard surface of the pan means it is impervious to corrosion and scratches. You can use a slightly more abrasive scrubbing pad to remove any stubborn debris. It is important however to buff the stainless steel surface with olive oil.
If you have copper pans, these should be washed by hand only. If it is beginning to show signs of discoloration, you can create a solution made of a quarter cup of white vinegar and about 2 tablespoons of salt. Rub the solution on your pan and rinse well.
For pure aluminum frying pans, the best method for cleaning is to boil water and add several apple peels. Simmer this for about half an hour. This should help restore your aluminum pan to its original glory.
If you’re a fan of cast-iron frying pans, the best way to make cleaning simple is to season it well. Seasoning gives it a near-perfect nonstick surface. As such don’t use soaps or detergents in cleaning a well-seasoned pan. The best approach is to immerse the pan in hot water and use a stiff brush to remove food particles. The key here is to dry the pan immediately after washing and to apply a light coating of vegetable oil.
Tips When Using a Frying Pan
Now that you have an idea of the kind of frying pan that should fit well into the grand scheme of things in your kitchen as well as some tips on how you can properly clean these types of cookware, it’s about time we take a look at how you can make your cooking with a frying pan a lot better.
- Before you start using your frying pan, make sure to read the owner’s manual as it contains specific information on the correct and proper use of the product.
- If you have a nonstick frying pan, resist the temptation to use cooking spray. These types of cooking oil leave a rather gummy or sticky residue that is quite challenging to remove. Moreover, this gummy residue can cause your food to stick onto the ‘nonstick’ surface. Rub a thin coat of vegetable or grapeseed oil if you really want to preserve its nonstick capabilities.
- Whatever kind of frying pan you use, it is extremely important to observe the correct heat setting. If you want a nice, brown sear on your food, then medium-high heat is what you want to work with. The same heat is good for frying, sautéing, and stir-frying. If you only want to warm your food, bring them to a simmer, or even make delicate sauces, always turn the heat down low. For nonstick pans, always go for low to medium heat as excessively high heat can degrade the cooking surface.
- It is imperative that you use only the correct cooking utensils such as spatulas and spoons, among others. For nonstick frying pans, the utensils of choice are those made of plastic, nylon, or even wood.
- For pan-frying, do not overcrowd your pan to help ensure even cooking. Also, don’t season your food too early. Add the seasonings a few minutes before putting them in the pan. More importantly, be patient. Avoid turning your food prematurely.
- If your pan suddenly catches fire, cover it with the lid. Don’t panic. Covering the flame will remove one of the critical elements of fire – oxygen.
Frying pans are indispensable cookware. These allow us to pan-fry, stir-fry, sauté, and even make sauces. In many cases they can help us make delicious casseroles finished in the oven. It is thus crucial that you pay attention to the different things that you need to consider when buying one for you kitchen. And if this is a chore to you, our selection of the best frying pans will point you in the right direction.