- The Best Frying Pan
- 1. Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Frying Pan
- 2. Ozeri Stone Earth Frying Pan
- 3. Tramontina Professional Aluminum Nonstick Fry Pan
- 4. Calphalon Classic Nonstick Frying Pan
- 5. Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized Skillet
- 6. All-Clad Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan
- 7. Carote Non-Stick Frying Pan
- 8. Rachael Ray Cucina Helper Handle Frying Pan
- 9. Cuisinart Chef's Classic Glass Cover Frying Pan
- 10. T-fal Titanium Nonstick Dishwasher Safe Frying Pan
A good frying pan is an essential tool in every kitchen drawer. From frying eggs for breakfast to making delicious paellas or searing meat, it's something you'll use on a daily basis, possibly more than once a day! So it's important to find the best type of pan for your needs - and in order to do that, you need to look at the different features that various pans have and then decide which are the most important to you. In this article, we'll help you understand the different types of frying pans on the market, including the best nonstick pans, cast iron skillets, and stainless steel options. We've also reviewed the best pans around to suit every budget, sharing details of their pros and cons so you can be sure the one you choose is best suited to your cooking needs.
The Best Frying Pan
Available in a range of sizes from 3.5″ to 15″
Comes pre-seasoned and ready to use
Highly durable cast iron
Made in the USA
One of the best frying pans on the market is the Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet, available in a range of sizes from miniature to a generous 15″. With some sizes you have the option of including extras, such as a red silicone hot handle holder or an iron cover. All pans 10″ and larger have an assist handle – an invaluable feature, since large, cast iron pans full of ingredients can be heavy to work with. Unlike some pans that are chemically seasoned, Lodge pans are pre-seasoned with just soy-based vegetable oil. Totally versatile and endlessly durable, these iron skillets are perfect for everything from searing and frying to baking and broiling. You can be confident that your pan will heat evenly and you have the flexibility to use it when cooking with all sorts of heat sources, from the stove top to the campfire!
Handle holders and iron covers available for some sizes
Assist handle on larger pans
The easy-release finish on cast iron improves over time
Retains and distributes heat well
You can cook foods on the stove top then transfer the pan to the oven
Cast iron needs to be properly cared for after use to prevent oxidation and rust
Takes longer to heat up than stainless steel or nonstick pans
Not suitable for the dishwasher
8″, 10″ and 12″ models available
Comes in 6 colors
Stone-Derived Non-Stick Coating
Comfortable silicone handle
The Ozeri Stone Earth Frying Pan comes in 3 different sizes and 6 different colors, which makes it easy to find one to match your kitchen. They feature a custom-formulated, stone-derived coating that is eco-friendly and contains none of the harmful chemicals sometimes associated with non-stick pans. Scratch-resistant so it will stay looking good for longer, the nonstick surface is durable and easy to clean. Its core is made of a heavy gauge aluminum, so it heats evenly without creating hotspots, giving you better results! The bottom of the pan is magnetized which allows rapid heat transfer on induction cookers and the silicone coated handle makes it comfortable to use. Whereas the handle can be the weak spot with some pans, this one is secured with 3 solid rivets so you can use it with confidence.
Non-stick performance without exposure to controversial chemicals
Scratch-resistant and durable
Easy to clean
Compatible with induction stoves
Heats quickly and evenly
Almost vertical sides and flat bottom allow you to cook larger quantities of food
No lids available
Not dishwasher safe
May discolor at high heat
Food may stick to the rivets attaching the handle
Professional restaurant fry pan
8″, 10″, 12″ and 14″ models available
Oven safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
High-performance nonstick coating
Satin exterior finish
Perfect for the home chef, Tramontina Professional Aluminum Nonstick Fry Pan is the best value for money of all those we reviewed. They’re very versatile, working well with gas. electric and ceramic glass, plus they’re oven-safe too. Designed for professional use, they can easily stand up to the tasks in a non-commercial kitchen and are very durable, with a lifetime guarantee. They are made to deliver efficiently, even heat distribution and the nonstick interior releases food easily, so not only do you get perfect culinary results, but the pan is easy to clean up too. The riveted handle is made of strong stainless steel and it comes with a removable silicone grip for your convenience. These aluminum frying pans are NSF certified, meaning that they meet strict standards for public health protection.
Long stainless steel handle
Very easy to clean
Removable silicone grip
Crevice between the handle and the pan is hard to clean
Food may stick to the handle’s rivets
The weight of the handle may cause the pan to tip when empty
Does not come with a lid
Dual-layer nonstick interior
Hard-anodized aluminum for even heating
Set includes 1 x 8″ and 1 x 10″ pan
Sloping sides with flared edges
Whether you want to prepare a delicious omelet or put the perfect sear on meat, Classic Nonstick Frying Pan from Calphalon is just what you need. Sturdily constructed from durable, hard-anodized aluminum, it heats quickly and evenly so you can cook with confidence. The dual-layer nonstick coating and gently sloping sides make it easy to slide the food right from the pan and on to your plate, whilst the long, stainless steel handle stays cool while you cook, to keep you comfortable. You can easily move the pan between your stovetop and the oven (up to 450 degrees) and it’s ideal for use with gas, electric, electric ring, halogen, and glass stovetops.
Stay-cool stainless steel handle
Good value for money
Easy to clean
Not very deep
Hand wash only
Set does not include lids
Hard anodized for durability and professional performance
Tapered, drip-free rim
Quantanium nonstick interior
Riveted handles for strength and stability
The Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized Skillet is hard-anodized, making it stronger than stainless steel and very resistant to wear and tear. It’s equally perfect for light tasks – such as sauteing vegetables with garlic – and heavier jobs, like frying breaded chicken or fish. The sides of the pan are gently sloping, making it possible to toss the food as you cook it. The nonstick interior is made from quantanium reinforced with titanium, giving you a lasting surface that will allow you to cook eggs and other foods with very little oil – the best option if you’re watching your calories! The excellent heat distribution gives you great results, avoiding charred or burnt spots in your food. Unlike some of the nonstick pans we reviewed, this one comes with a glass lid that allows you to easily simmer your ingredients whilst keeping a close eye on how they’re doing. One of the best things about this pan is that you can use metal utensils without fear of scratching it.
Cool grip stainless steel handle
Oven safe to 500 degrees F
Comes with a glass lid that fits snugly
Heats very evenly
Safe to use with metal utensils
Not dishwasher safe
The stainless steel handle feels too narrow when pan is full and heavy
The handle on the lid gets hot when cooking
No assist handle on opposite side, so pan can feel heavy
Set of 2 pans
Exterior made from Hard-anodized aluminum
PFOA-free scratch resistant nonstick coating
Oven safe up to 500 degrees F (without lids)
Suitable for use with gas, electric, halogen, ceramic and induction cooktops
The best frying pans in the premium category are these All-Clad Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pans, which come in a set of two (8″ and 10″ or 10″ and 12″). Featuring a low profile shape and a wide, flat base, they also have flared sides that made it easy to toss your ingredients or turn them over with a spatula. There are three layers of PFOA-free nonstick coating, so you can pan-fry to perfection or create wonderful sears on meat and fish. The exterior is tough and warp-resistant and the contoured stainless steel handles are riveted securely in place. The base is made of bonded stainless steel, so these pans are compatible with all stovetops, including induction. You can easily start your cooking on the stovetop and move on to the oven, as these frying pans are oven safe up to 500 degrees F. Whilst the manufacturer’s instructions state that you can put the pans in the dishwasher, they also recommend that you wash them by hand whenever possible.
Sturdy, with high sides
Very high-quality look and feel
Good heat distribution
Quick and easy to clean
Works with all cooktops, including induction
No lids included
Handle can feel uncomfortable when pan is full and the handle’s angle is awkward
8″ nonstick pan
PFOA-free natural stone coating
Wood effect comfortable handle
Suitable for all cooktops
12 month warranty
If you’re looking for the best frying pan on a smaller budget, look no further than Non-Stick Frying Pan from Carote. Offering truly great value for money, it features an eco-friendly granite coating and a durable cast aluminum interior that stops food sticking and is simple to clean after use. The stylish Bakelite handle has a wood effect, so not only does it look good, but it stays cool while you’re cooking. Unlike some of the pans we reviewed, this one actually has a handle that’s ergonomically designed to be comfortable to hold, even when the pan is full. Oven safe to 350°F, this frying pan has a 5mm thick bottom that distributes heat evenly and is compatible with all cooktops (induction too). It comes with a full 12-month warranty.
Dishwasher safe at low temperatures
Fantastic value for money
Efficient non stick coating allows food to slide food out of the pan
Unique, attractive design
Clean up is incredibly quick
Handle may discolor if it heats up too much
Does not come with a lid
Can only be used in the oven at relatively low temperatures
Handle is not riveted and may need re-tightening
Hard-anodized aluminum construction
Long-lasting nonstick interior
Even heat distribution
Choice of 2 colors
A helper handle is a big bonus with frying pans, particularly large ones like this 14″ Cucina Helper Handle Frying Pan by Rachel Ray. One of the best choices for whipping up a family meal, this pan is big enough to cook a batch of burgers or lots of fried eggs with ease, yet still have room to turn them over! Both the helper handle and main handle are riveted for security, so you can safely carry the pan from the oven to the table. They also have a comfortable silicone grip, so you can use them with confidence. With a modern look designed to complement other cookware in the Rachel Ray range, these pans are available with either red or orange handles. Oven safe to 350°F and dishwasher safe too, cleaning up these pans is a breeze.
Comfortable helper handle
Nonstick surface extends over rim so it is easy to clean
Allows you to cook lots of items simultaneously, saving time
Does not come with a lid
Takes up quite a lot of storage space
Fairly thin so you need to watch food closely to prevent burning
Sides are low so you get spattering when frying
Stainless steel cooking surface
This stainless steel Chef’s Classic Glass Cover Frying Pan from Cuisinart with its beautiful mirrored finish looks great in any kitchen. It has lots of great features, including measurement markings that are very convenient when putting your recipes together, plus drip-free pouring. Stainless steel is a popular choice for frying pans because it doesn’t react with foods and affect their flavor, nor does it discolor. What’s more, it’s strong enough to withstand the use of metal utensils. This pan’s aluminum base heats quickly and distributes the heat effectively, so you can be assured there are no hot spots and that your food will cook evenly. It comes with a glass lid, so you can easily simmer your ingredients and monitor their progress.
Resistant to discoloration
Cooking surface does not react with food
Comes with a lid
Safe to use with metal utensils
Does not have a nonstick surface
Heavy, especially when used with lid
Lid can be difficult to clean
Handle on lid gets hot during cooking
Hard anodized aluminum exterior
Uses patented thermo spot technology
Titanium reinforced non-stick interior
Suitable for all stovetops except induction
This Titanium Nonstick Dishwasher Safe Frying Pan from T-fal is constructed from hard-anodized aluminum, so it’s tough and resistant to corrosion and scratches. It uses T-fal’s ‘heat mastery system’ which consists of a long-lasting non-stick coating, an even heat base designed to prevent warping, and patented thermo spot technology. This uses a thermo spot indicator – a circle in the center of the pan that turns red when the pan is hot enough to add your ingredients – the best way to seal in their flavor. The scratch-resistant interior is free from toxins and reinforced with titanium for durability, and the comfortable handles are riveted for stability. These pans come with a vented lid that retains heat and moisture whilst allowing you to see the ingredients as they simmer. Something to note is that the sides are deep and straight – perfect if you are frying but perhaps not the best for flipping pancakes.
Includes a lid, which fits securely
Oven safe up to 400 degree F (lid safe to 350 degrees F)
Lifetime limited warranty
Handle prevents you from storing lid upside down in pan
Food gets stuck on the handle’s rivets
Weight of handle can cause pan to tip when empty
Heavy to use
Features To Consider With Frying Pans
Angle Of Sides
This is something that may not occur to you until you start using a new pan and realize that it's quite difficult to toss your ingredients, or that the sloped sides are making it difficult to deep-fry your food. When choosing the best nonstick pan, you need to consider what type of ingredients you will be cooking in it and the method you'll be using. If you like to make pancakes, for example, you'll want a pan where the angle of the sides makes it easy to flip them, or where you will have plenty of room to turn them with a spatula. If you like to cook omelets, the best type of non-stick pan may be one with sloping sides so you can slide the omelet straight out of the pan and on to your plate. Or if you plan on using your pan for deep frying, then you will want sides that are more vertical and preferably higher, to allow you to add sufficient oil.
The best frying pans are those that are durable, because - as we mentioned at the start of this article - they tend to be used so often! Whilst cast iron pans are probably the most robust of all and often last a lifetime, there are many nonstick pans around now that are designed to be heavy-duty and stand up well to frequent use. Look at details like the handles - those that are riveted or bolted on to the pan tend to be a lot more sturdy and likely to last. Stainless steel is also a great choice in terms of durability and whilst it may not have a non-stick coating it's well worth considering as it tends not to discolor as much as other materials.
Good heat distribution is important to make sure there are no hotspots in your pan, that might cause burning. Heavy-gauge, thicker pans are often best at distributing heat evenly because there is more distance between the interior surface of the pan and the stovetop. As the heat flows to the cooking surface it simultaneously diffuses and the heat spreads out.
Look for pans constructed with durable, high-quality materials and expect to pay a little more for a superior, heavy-gauge pan that will last you for a lot longer. If you want something that looks shiny and doesn't react to foods, opt for stainless steel. If you need something lightweight, choose aluminum, although it can react with certain foods - particularly acidic ones. Anodized aluminum fry pans are made from aluminum that has been electrochemically sealed, so they are a better choice if you're looking for a harder pan that won't react to foods at all. If you're looking for a pan with heft and excellent durability, then choose cast iron - but just be aware that cast iron requires a little maintenance to stay in good condition.
The flatness of the cooking surface is important, especially when you're pan-frying foods. If the surface is slightly convex, you will find that any cooking oil you add to the pan will flow straight to the edges. Not only should you check that your pan has a nice flat surface before you buy it, but you should also ensure you don't do anything to warp your pan once you've got it home! Some of the bad habits that cause warping include putting red hot pans into cold water, using too much heat (this is particularly true for non-stick pans), or putting pans in the oven that really shouldn't be there!
Most frying pans come in one basic shape - round. The exception would be a griddle or grill pan, which isn't technically a frying pan anyway but is used to produce char lines and cook with less fat. The main differences in shape between most frying pans tend to be in the height of their sides. Those with higher sides are sometimes known as saute pans, whereas wider, flatter pans with lower sides are more commonly known as skillets.
There's no doubt that some of the best pans are heavy and that many lightweight pans are less durable and made with poorer quality materials. But it is important to take into account the practicality of a heavy pan, particularly if you have any issues that may make it hard for you to handle. Another thing to think about is whether or not a heavy pan has a second handle - sometimes called a helping handle - on the opposite side to the main handle. This is an essential feature if you like to cook a large meal then bring it to the table in the pan, as it allows you to carry it comfortably with two hands.
Types Of Nonstick Coatings
There are several types of coatings that are used to create a nonstick pan. Maybe the most well known is polytetrafluoroethylene (sometimes referred to as Teflon, which is actually a brand name). This gives non-stick frying pans that slippery feel, which allows your fried eggs and omelets to slide right out! Another popular choice is seasoned cast iron. The seasoning process is what changes the cast iron surface into a non-stick one. Whilst a cast iron skillet is durable and will often last a lifetime, it will require regular maintenance to stay nonstick and rust-free. You will also see pans made of anodized aluminum. This type of coating is hard, non-toxic, and resists heat very well. Stainless steel pans do not have a nonstick coating, so most people like to add more oil when cooking with them to stop foods from sticking. Steel pans have other advantages, though, including a shiny finish that many people like, and less of a tendency to discolor. They are also one of the best choices in terms of durability.
Frying Pan FAQ
Q: Is pan frying healthier than deep frying?
Most experts will agree than pan-frying is healthier than deep-frying with your best deep fryer, purely because it uses less fat or oil. When food is deep-fried, it is completely submerged in oil, whereas pan-frying involves cooking one side of the food at a time in very shallow oil. If you're watching your calories, then pan-frying is best! Of course, whenever you use oil, it's recommended to have a splatter screen to avoid making a mess in your kitchen. If you are into healthy cooking, don't forget to check out our selection of air fryers and sous vides as well.
Q: Does olive oil ruin non stick pans?
No - despite rumors to the contrary, olive oil will not ruin your non-stick frying pan. The only exception would be an olive oil spray, and that's because sprays are so fine that a coating can begin to build up. This will affect your fry pan's non-stick release system - meaning that foods will start sticking. Another problem is that cooking sprays burn at lower temperatures, which will damage the pan's nonstick coating. Olive oil from a bottle is one of the best choices for cooking as it contains lots of important nutrients!
Q: Are nonstick pans safe?
Nonstick frying pans get a bad rap, but that's based on a harmful compound called PFOA that used to be used to make polytetrafluoroethylene (also known as Teflon), the nonstick coating. After concerns about PFOA were raised, its use was discontinued and there has been no Teflon made with PFOA since 2013. That means that you can now use nonstick pans with confidence, but not at very high heat (570°F plus).
Q: How can I make pans last longer?
There are lots of things you can do to get the very most from your pans! Try wiping your pan with vegetable oil before each use (this is known as seasoning it). Seasoning is especially important if you have a cast-iron skillet, which may rust without it. Avoid metal utensils, especially if you have a nonstick skillet, as they will scratch the coating and cause your food to stick. Don't cook over a very high heat as this can also affect the coating, and avoid harsh cleaning methods. Check the manufacturer's instructions to find the best cleaning method for your particular pan. Avoid using commercial cooking sprays in non-stick frying pans and make sure you store them carefully after use. Stacking other metal pots inside a nonstick pan is one of the most common ways of causing damage!