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best pans

The Best Pans in 2021

Author: Joanna Davis

Home & Kitchen Expert

Nowadays, hardly any kitchen can do without a solid pan. For our list of best pans, our team of experts has therefore reviewed countless tests on the Internet. This also resulted in our ratings for diameter, weight, induction suitability and much more.

Carote 8 Inch Nonstick Skillet Frying Pan

 Our Pick
Carote 8 Inch Nonstick Skillet Frying Pan
19,947 Reviews
Carote 8 Inch Nonstick Skillet Frying Pan
  • Eco-friendly Granite Coating – Granistone nonstick…
  • Non-stick & Easy to Clean – The cookware body is made of…
  • Wood Effect Handle – The Bakelite handle are comfortable…
  • Suitable for All Stove – Including induction,heat evenly…
  • Service & Guarantee – Full 12-month warranty,Any quality…

Utopia Kitchen 11 Inch Nonstick Frying Pan

 Our Pick
Utopia Kitchen 11 Inch Nonstick Frying Pan
4,360 Reviews
Utopia Kitchen 11 Inch Nonstick Frying Pan
  • The wobble-free bakelite handle is ergonomically designed…
  • The induction bottom of the frying pan is suitable for all…
  • Formed with multi-layered nonstick and top rated aluminum…
  • High quality nonstick interior allows for easier cooking and…
  • Dishwasher safe; for hand cleaning, first use a paper towel,…

MICHELANGELO Frying Pan with Lid, Nonstick 8 Inch Frying Pan

 Our Pick
MICHELANGELO Frying Pan with Lid, Nonstick 8 Inch Frying Pan
5,531 Reviews
MICHELANGELO Frying Pan with Lid, Nonstick 8 Inch Frying Pan
  • ULTRA NON-STICK COATING SCRATCH RESISTANT – The superior…
  • SMALL FRYING PAN FOR MULTIPURPOSE USE – The 8 inch small…
  • HEATS QUICKLY & EVENLY – This frying pan with lid is made of…
  • ERGONOMIC STAINLESS STEEL HANDLE – The Michelangelo non…
  • CONVENIENTLY DESIGNED GLASS LID – Heat resistant glass lid…

Nonstick Pan with Lid - 11" Nonstick Frying Pan

Nonstick Pan with Lid - 11 Inch Nonstick Frying Pan
2,103 Reviews
Nonstick Pan with Lid – 11 Inch Nonstick Frying Pan
  • 【Ultra Nonstick Frying Pan with Lid】: With Titanium…
  • 【Heat Mastery Frying Pan System】: This 11” fry pan is…
  • 【Stone-Derived Coating & Less Oil】: KOCH SYSTEME CS…
  • 【Outstanding Quality & Easy to clean】: The frying pans…
  • 【Ergonomic Stainless Steel Handle】: The stainless steel…

All-Clad E785S264/E785S263 HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick

All-Clad E785S264/E785S263 HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick
7,310 Reviews
All-Clad E785S264/E785S263 HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick
  • 8 and 10-inch fry pans with wide flat base and versatile…
  • Hard-anodized aluminum construction for fast, even heating…
  • PFOA-free Scratch Resistant nonstick coating for healthier…
  • Stainless-steel handles contoured for a comfortable hold and…
  • Oven safe to 500 degrees F (without lids); Dishwasher-safe,…

Cuisinart 722-30G Chef's Classic 12-Inch Skillet with Glass Cover

 Our Pick
Cuisinart 722-30G Chef's Classic 12-Inch Skillet with Glass Cover
2,031 Reviews
Cuisinart 722-30G Chef’s Classic 12-Inch Skillet with Glass Cover
  • Induction-ready
  • Mirror finish. Classic looks, professional performance.
  • Aluminum encapsulated base heats quickly and spreads heat…
  • Stainless steel cooking surface does not discolor, react…
  • Measurement markings for ease of use

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
8,804 Reviews
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
  • CAST IRON SKILLET is 10.25 inches in diameter and includes…
  • SEASONED CAST IRON COOKWARE. A good seasoning makes all the…
  • CAST IRON provides superior heat retention and is…
  • EASY CARE: Hand wash, dry, rub with cooking oil
  • MADE IN THE USA. Lodge has been making cast iron cookware in…

10" Stone Earth Frying Pan by Ozeri

 Our Pick
10 Inch Stone Earth Frying Pan by Ozeri
1,973 Reviews
10 Inch Stone Earth Frying Pan by Ozeri
  • Utilizes a stone-derived coating from Germany that is 100%…
  • Eco-friendly pan delivers unprecedented non-stick…
  • Features a hardened scratch-resistant coating that is super…
  • Interior of pan made out of durable heavy-gauge aluminum,…
  • Boasts a comfortable heat-resistant silicon coated handle…

T-fal B36290 Specialty Nonstick

 Our Pick
T-fal B36290 Specialty Nonstick
11,090 Reviews
T-fal B36290 Specialty Nonstick
  • Heat Mastery System: T fal’s heat mastery system is a 3…
  • Thermo Spot Indicator: The ring around the spot turns solid…
  • Durable Nonstick: Superior proglide toxin free nonstick…
  • Riveted Handles and Even Heat Bases: Stay cool handles are…
  • Use and Care: Suitable for all stove tops (except…

T-fal Dishwasher Safe Cookware Fry Pan

 Our Pick
T-fal Dishwasher Safe Cookware Fry Pan
14,407 Reviews
T-fal Dishwasher Safe Cookware Fry Pan
  • Built to perform: A true workhorse in the kitchen, hard…
  • Heat mastery system: T fal’s heat mastery system is a 3…
  • Thermo spot indicator: The ring around the spot turns solid…
  • Durable nonstick: Hard titanium reinforced, scratch…
  • Riveted handles & vented lids: Riveted silicone handles are…

Utopia Kitchen Nonstick Frying Pan Set

 Our Pick
Utopia Kitchen Nonstick Frying Pan Set
5,020 Reviews
Utopia Kitchen Nonstick Frying Pan Set
  • The 3 piece frying pan set includes an 8 inch, 9.5 inch and…
  • The induction bottom of the frying pans is suitable for all…
  • The professional grade aluminum makes the frying pan…
  • The pans have high quality double coated nonstick interior…
  • The Bakelite handles are ergonomically designed and riveted…

Pan - The Must Have

The pan is a parallel development of the pot. The prerequisite for its creation was the use of metal for the production of cookware. Even at first glance, in addition to all the similarities, there are clear differences from the classic pot shape. These result from the way they are used and justify their special suitability for frying.

Three visual characteristics distinguish a classic pan, especially in comparison with a pot:

  • a low rim
  • a larger diameter
  • a longer handle

The low rim serves above all for the uncomplicated turning of the fried food. Due to the steep angle, this is hardly possible with the pot, for example with a spatula.

Thanks to its large diameter, the pan offers a lot of overall volume despite its low rim, but still has a large, direct contact surface, for example for larger pieces of meat, which can thus be seared evenly. Escaping liquids can also evaporate more quickly without condensing and flowing back at the edge to a greater extent, which would also hinder the frying process.

The long handle makes it possible to move the pan despite high temperatures. Since frying, more than cooking, depends on an interplay of temperature and time, it is necessary to be able to remove a pan from the fire spontaneously and quickly.

Types of Pans

The material from which a pan is made has a significant influence on its properties. Which metal is chosen determines, at least in part, the possible shape. Different metals have different physical properties, which are expressed in basic properties and characteristics. Thus, the choice of the processed metal determines:

  • Possibilities and limits of shaping
  • Thermal conductivity
  • resilience and durability (e.g. at high temperatures)
  • suitability for various modern types of stoves (e.g. induction)
  • cleaning and maintenance requirements
  • Weight
  • Price

Aluminum pans

Aluminum ladles are manufactured by so-called deep drawing. By pulling and pushing into special molds, aluminum sheet is formed into the desired shape while maintaining the uniform thickness of the sheet used.

Aluminum is a good conductor of heat with significantly low weight. However, made from a single layer, aluminum pans are not suitable for induction stoves or for the highest temperatures.

In most cases, aluminum pans are coated. If this is a ceramic coating, the pan can be heated up to 400° Celsius.

Stainless steel pans

As a high-purity steel, stainless steel has numerous material properties that make it suitable for the production of frying pans. These are basically offered coated and uncoated.

For both types, however, stainless steel is a fundamentally poor conductor of heat. To counteract this, the bottom of a stainless steel pan is often made of several layers. In the sandwich bottom, named after its structure, there is an additional layer of aluminum or copper between two outer stainless steel layers. This structure significantly increases the heat conductivity.

Uncoated stainless steel pans

Pans made of uncoated stainless steel are able to withstand high temperatures and are therefore well suited for sharp, i.e. fast, hot searing. They therefore pose a challenge, especially for inexperienced cooks. Frying foods such as meat can burn quickly if not handled properly. For this reason, uncoated stainless steel pans require the generous use of fat or oil.

Since uncoated stainless steel may release minute amounts of nickel into the food being fried, uncoated pans are only suitable to a limited extent for allergy sufferers, who should either use other materials or at least prefer coated aluminum.

Coated stainless steel pans

The coating of a stainless steel pan combines the good heat resistance of the base material with the positive properties of a coating. The coating, which is often in the form of ceramic, reduces the risk of burning and significantly reduces the need for cleaning and maintenance. Thanks to their coating, aluminum frying pans are also safe for people allergic to nickel.

Stainless steel pans are suitable for all types of stoves and especially the ceramic-coated variant can be considered an all-round talent.

Cast iron pans

In contrast to steel, cast iron is characterized by its higher carbon content. As the name suggests, shaping takes place solely by casting the liquefied basic materials. Due to the high carbon content, cast iron is brittle and cannot be forged.

To make cast iron pans suitable for all types of stoves, their bottoms are ground flat.

Cast iron pans have good thermal conductivity. However, due to high wall thickness, they require a comparatively long time to heat up. Once heated, however, they can withstand very high temperatures and transfer them evenly to the food being fried. They are therefore ideal for hot frying.

A striking feature of cast iron pans is their robust appearance. A cast iron pan is almost indestructible and suitable to accompany its user for a lifetime in the kitchen. It is usually noticeable by its heavy weight.

Over time, a natural non-stick coating is formed by burning, which additionally protects the pan and is often referred to as patina and for many professionals constitutes the special quality of such a pan.

Wrought iron pans

Through rolling, cutting and forging, low-carbon iron, also known as slug, is formed into various shapes and is used in many fields. One area is usually professional frying pans made of wrought iron.

Shaping to their final form can be done in processes of cold and hot forming, both industrial methods and conservative craftsmanship. The quality and, last but not least, its price are largely dependent on the chosen method of production.

Externally and in their properties, wrought iron pans are similar to those made of cast iron: they also impress with their properties of heat conduction, and they too are robust, durable and heavy.

At the same time, forged pans are not insensitive. When used improperly, such as using the pan on a stovetop that is too small for its diameter, the bottom of such a pan can warp, which at least significantly limits its usability.

Copper pans

Copper’s thermal conductivity is particularly impressive. Here, copper is at the top of all metals, surpassed only by silver.

This outstanding property comes into its own especially when used on gas flames.

Since copper is capable of reacting chemically with adjacent food, copper pans are usually coated on the inner surface. This is usually done by tinning or coating with stainless steel or ceramic.

Not least visually, copper pans are very popular with many users.

Types of Coating

To support the positive properties of the individual materials from which pans can be made and to compensate for negative aspects, pans are often coated. A coating is applied to the surfaces of the pan that come into contact with food to be fried and can be done with various chemical substances or compounds. Each variant in turn has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Non-stick coating

Commonly known under the trade name Teflon, the most common thermoplastic non-stick coating is made of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). A chance discovery by chemist Roy Plunkett in 1938, it remains without concrete use for a long time. It was not until 1954 that the wife of chemist Marc Grégoire, together with Georgette Wamant, was granted the first patent for coating pots and pans with the chemically low-reaction and heat-resistant material.

The bond between such a non-stick coating and the pan surface is mechanical, not chemical. For this purpose, the pan is roughened by sandblasting or by acid and then the PTFE is applied under pressure. As a side effect, a non-stick coating has limited scratch resistance.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is often used as an auxiliary substance in the production of such a non-stick coating. This substance vaporizes at high temperatures and is suspected of being carcinogenic, which is why overheating frying pans is generally not recommended.

To increase the scratch resistance of the coating, some manufacturers also apply a sprayed layer of aluminum-titanium mixed oxide, which lies between the pan and the nonstick coating and strengthens their bond.

Silicon oxide as a ceramic PFTE-free coating represents another variant of the commonly used non-stick coatings. It is resistant to temperatures up to 400 °C and is far less sensitive to damage caused by scratching. However, the non-stick properties of such a ceramic coating are sensitive to overheating of the frying fat and can generally deteriorate over time of its use.

Enamel coating

The enamelling of a frying pan is usually done by a glass-like coating of a silicon compound. This coating serves above all to protect against corrosion and to protect the food from potentially allergenic components of the pan material. The coating also has a positive effect on the frying behavior and the maintenance requirements of a pan.

How To Clean A Pan Correctly

In addition to careful use, proper cleaning and care contribute significantly to the life of a pan. Especially with high-priced models, it is desirable to be able to work with a pan for as long as possible and without any impairment. Here, too, it is advisable to study the manufacturer’s recommendations in detail. As a rule, they are enclosed with every new purchase. However, some care instructions can be followed regardless of the model and manufacturer in order to enjoy your kitchen gadget for a long time.

  • No harsh cleaning agents! Aggressive chemicals or scouring agents, such as those used in some household cleaners, can damage the surface. Non-stick coatings in particular can be attacked. Commercially available, mild dishwashing detergents and warm water are best for cleaning.
  • Do not use steel wool! Normal dishwashing sponges or dishcloths are best for cleaning. Steel wool can damage the surface. Stubborn, burnt-on dirt will come off after a longer soaking period. Hard, metallic cleaning tools should not be used. They can cause lasting damage to a coating.
  • Be careful with the dishwasher! Manufacturers explicitly state if their products are suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher. If in doubt, it is better to do without. Not all materials and coatings can survive dishwasher cleaning in the long term without damage.
  • No shock therapy! A hot pan should be allowed to cool slowly after use. Dipping it in or rinsing it with cold water not only poses an enormous risk of injury from hot grease, but can also damage a pan or its coating.

Cast iron and wrought iron - special treatment necessary

Uncoated pans made of cast or wrought iron are a special purchase. In particular, more expensive, perhaps even handmade models give special results. They are designed to give their owner many years of faithful service. To ensure this, special care is advisable, both before their first use, and during regular cleaning.

It is essential to refer to the manufacturer’s information, as this describes the optimum preparation and cleaning, the nature and extent of which may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer or model to model.

  • Remove corrosion protection
    Cast iron and wrought iron can rust. Most manufacturers therefore provide their products with a temporary corrosion protection after manufacture. It is essential to remove this protective layer before further treatment and a first use. A recommended method is to soak the pan in a detergent solution and then clean it under running water, using a dish brush.
  • Burning in the pan
    Baking replaces the non-stick coating on an iron skillet and provides the foundation for what is known as patina.

A high-heat oil (Biskin, Palmin or similar) is added to the cold pan until the bottom is completely covered. Raw potato slices or potato peel are then placed in the pan and a teaspoon of salt is added. Turning regularly, the potatoes are now fried until they turn dark, as does the bottom of the pan. The pan is then emptied and, after cooling, rinsed and dried thoroughly. Now the pan is ready for use at any time.

Nevertheless, the pan remains principally susceptible to rust. With each use, the coveted protective layer grows. Especially with still new pans, however, it is advisable to grease them lightly at regular intervals, after cleaning. A kitchen paper towel lightly soaked in vegetable oil is suitable for this purpose.

Dishwashing detergent should be avoided as far as possible during regular cleaning, as this damages the patina. Running water or “just” wiping with kitchen paper should be sufficient for cleaning. A wet-cleaned pan should be dried out thoroughly to prevent rust formation.

Pan Accessories

In addition to the choice of the appropriate pan, the selection of other utensils has an influence on the success of the preparation. Reaching for a fork, knife or spoon can not only have a negative effect on the success of the dish, in the worst case it can also damage the pan.

In addition to the different functions and resulting shapes, suitable utensils are characterized above all by the processed materials. Certain materials and their combination have proven to be particularly suitable here:

  • Wood
  • Stainless steel
  • Plastic
  • Silicone

Each of these materials has individual advantages and disadvantages and is therefore suitable for different purposes.

Wood is usually visually appealing. It is also an environmentally friendly, renewable raw material. The natural product wood is light, stable, versatile and inexpensive. However, it makes special demands on care. As a rule, wood must not be cleaned in the dishwasher, for example. An alternative to wooden kitchen utensils are those made of bamboo, which has similar properties, but is even lighter and more stable.

Metal is equally versatile in the possible design. It is sturdy, hygienic and easy to clean. However, due to its hardness, it can cause damage, for example to a non-stick coating, if used improperly.

Plastic is a versatile product. Suitable types are easy to clean and inexpensive. Utensils made of plastic are so soft that damage to a coating can be ruled out. Individual types of plastic are less suitable because they contain potentially harmful substances and can release them, for example, under heat.

Silicone, as a particularly popular type of plastic, is especially flexible, yet resilient, easy to clean and also highly heat-resistant. Because of its high flexibility, it is usually used in combination with stable materials such as stainless steel or other rigid plastics. The risk of transferring components that pose a health risk is regularly discussed and assessed differently.

Spatula

The design of a frying pan, especially its low rim, is particularly geared towards frying. Since the food is usually fried from several sides, it must be turned in the pan. The spatula is the classic tool for this. Spatulas are made of wood, metal or plastic. They differ mainly in size and shape of the more or less wide plate. It can be closed or provided with holes or slits. The openings are intended to prevent hot liquids from dripping down.

According to size and shape, spatulas are suitable for different tasks or different fried food. For example, there are long, narrow spatulas for pancakes or particularly wide ones for fish. Metal spatulas can have a particularly flat shape and are therefore especially suitable for delicate food. On the other hand, they can more easily damage a non-stick coating, for example, if they are used to loosen food that sticks to the bottom.

Tongs

The alternative to the spatula is the tongs. They are also offered in numerous shapes and made of different materials. There are tongs made entirely of metal, also in the form of so-called frying tweezers or scissors tongs, as well as those made of a metal-plastic combination. These usually consist of a metal body with plastic or silicone handles and jaws. As with the spatula, the tongs jaws are available in a closed form or with slots or holes. Simple wooden tongs are also available.

Tongs are especially useful for frying meat. Individual pieces of meat can be easily gripped and turned with them. The roasting tongs are the tool of choice, especially for grill pans, which are only suitable for spatulas to a limited extent due to their grooved surface.

Grill Press

Since meat contracts quickly under heat during searing and is thus deformed, it is often difficult to sear it evenly over a wide area. This applies to grown pieces of meat as well as to hamburger slices made from minced meat, for example. To counteract the deformation and sear the pieces of meat evenly, so-called grill presses are used. These are placed on the frying meat like a paperweight to press it fully onto the bottom of the pan.

Grill presses are usually made of cast iron, which is particularly suitable because of its weight. They are round shaped, specifically as burger presses or rectangular as steak or grill presses.

Splash guard

Contact between hot fat or oil and escaping liquids leads to the unpleasant side effects of frying: fat splashing around. However, a lid is usually a hindrance, especially when frying, because condensation forms on it, the backflow of which impedes the frying process.

As an alternative, splash guards are offered for frying pans, which are supposed to hold back splashes of fat and at the same time allow water vapor to escape. There are those made of plastic and those made of metal with a plastic handle, both of which are more like lids but have holes or slits to allow water vapor to escape.

Less expensive, but no less effective, are those that consist of a flat, fine-mesh metal grid that is placed on the pan. Such a universal splash guard is offered for all common pan sizes.

Last product update on 2021-06-18 | Source: Amazon Affiliate