5 Best Frying Pans of 2021 | Reviewed & Rated

The best frying pans from iconic brands including Cuisinart, Calphalon, and Ozeri. From stainless steel to cast-iron skillets, find your new favorite kitchen cookware today.

nonstick iron frying pan

Need a new frying pan for your kitchen? With a large number of different types of pan out there, choosing the right one for your needs can be daunting. Whether you want breakfast eggs or an easy weeknight dish, these best frying pans will have you cooking hot and fast in no time.

T-fal Thermo-Spot

T-fal E93808 Professional Nonstick Fry Pan, Nonstick Cookware

Perfect for: Home chefs who want a solid pan at an affordable price without sacrificing quality.

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T-Fal’s Thermo-Spot skillets have proved popular largely thanks to their iconic heat indicator at the center of the pan. This indicator glows red when the pan hits the ideal cooking temperature, helping you maintain food quality while saving time.

The Thermo-Spot is about much more than just this, however. Unlike many nonstick pans, it features a stainless steel base. This makes it not only resilient and durable, but also means it conducts heat more efficiently and evenly.

Its nonstick surface is exceptionally resilient and can even tolerate the use of metal utensils. It’s incredibly long-lasting, elevating it above the majority of other frying pans out there.

Highlights

  • Nonstick interior coating
  • Dual riveted steel handles with a soft grip
  • A polished, stainless steel exterior that will look great in your kitchen and last for years to come
T-fal E93808 Professional Nonstick Fry Pan,...
  • TITANIUM NONSTICK INTERIOR: Durable nonstick coating that stands up to rigorous usage; Designed for...
  • THERMO-SPOT TECHNOLOGY: Unique heat indicator that turns solid red to show when pans are properly...
  • THICK INDUCTION BASE: Distributes heat evenly resulting in no hot spots for reliable cooking results

Ozeri Stone Earth

Stone Earth Frying Pan by Ozeri

Perfect for: Cooking fans who want the ease of nonstick cookware without sacrificing performance and durability.

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This beautiful pan is nonstick, but not as you know it. It features German stone coating, a significant upgrade from the chemicals (like Teflon) seen in cheap nonstick pan surfaces. This coating is true nonstick and lets food slide right off without risking surface damage.

The Ozeri Stone Earth has an aluminum and cast iron base, creating a combination that delivers an outstanding pan. This blend provides the heat retention of cast iron without the weight, while also the conductivity of aluminum.

Its interior features aluminium to aid heat efficiency and distribution, while it remains just as sturdy as any other frying pan on the market. In fact, its surface’s resilience makes it suitable for broadening to more demanding foods, like meat and sauces.

Highlights

  • Can be used with metal utensils without scratching
  • Superior nonstick surface performance
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Stone-build provides an eco-friendly alternative to regular Teflon frying pans
  • Available in red, orange, or green.
Sale
8" Stone Earth Frying Pan by Ozeri, with 100% APEO...
  • Utilizes a stone-derived coating from Germany that is 100% free of APEO, GenX, PFBS, PFOS, PFOA, and...
  • Eco-friendly pan delivers unprecedented non-stick performance without risk of exposure to these...
  • Features a hardened scratch-resistant coating that is super easy to clean.

Calphalon Classic

Calphalon 2 Piece Classic Nonstick Frying Pan Set

Perfect for: Steak lovers who enjoy cooking hot and fast. It heats up quickly and evenly without leaving any burned spots on your food.

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Calphalon Classic is equipped with an aluminum core that adds extra crispness to fried foods. In addition to being durable and scratch-resistant, this stainless steel pan distributes heat evenly so that all sides of your food are cooked evenly.

This bit of cookware has an ergonomic handle, making it easy to grip firmly and maneuver. It comes with a lifetime warranty to make your investment well worthwhile.

The pan is oven safe and has a helper handle on it so that you can move the pan into your oven safely. It also comes with a tempered glass lid that locks in heat and moisture, allowing you to keep an eye on your food without disturbing cooking temperatures.

Highlights

  • stainless steel build for even cooking
  • measures 13.1 x 10 inches
  • lifetime warranty
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Calphalon 2 Piece Classic Nonstick Frying Pan Set,...
  • Oven Safe for Versatility in the Kitchen
  • Hand wash only

Cuisinart Chef’s Classic

Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 10-Inch Open Skillet

Perfect for: Amateur home chefs looking for an entry-level frying pan.

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Despite its modest appearance, Cuisinart’s Chef’s Classic boasts excellence cooking performance. A porcelain enamel interior prevents odors and flavors from absorbing into the pan surface, while its cast-iron and oven-safe grip is easy to handle.

Just like the Calphalon, this stainless steel frying pan from Cuisinart is a speed demon when it comes to heat up time. It has an aluminium core that quickly distributes heat throughout the pan’s base.

The skillet offers good heat retention and distribution, while it’s just as effective in the oven or on the stove. On the stovetop, the cast iron handle stays cool and is oven-safe up to 350°F (176°C).

Highlights

  • dishwasher-safe
  • available in sizes up to 14 inches
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Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized...
  • SLOPED SIDES DELIVER PERFECT PERFORMANCE: The sloped sides of the skillet maximize cooking surface....
  • HARD ANODIZED EXTERIOR: Cookware exterior is harder than stainless steel for durability and...
  • UNSURPASSED HEAT DISTRIBUTION: Hard anodized construction heats quickly and spreads heat evenly....

Utopia Kitchen Cast Iron Skillet

Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Set

Perfect for: Any beginner chef who would like to learn how to cook using cast iron pans for sautéing, frying, or roasting.

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If you’re after something perfect for cooking steaks then look no further than this cast iron skillet from Utopia Kitchen. Durable but affordable, this is the perfect pan for any aspiring chef.

Like many cast iron pans, it’s seriously heavy-duty, but it retains heat better than most other pans and skillets. This makes it perfect for meat cooking, and you’ll be hard pressed to find any better. What’s more, it comes pre-seasoned and ready to go.

Highlights

  • durable cast iron design
  • comes pre-seasoned
Sale
Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Set...
  • 3 piece set includes 10 inch, 8 inch and 6 inch pans
  • Pre-seasoned with soy-based oil to make it ready for use straight out of the box but re-seasoning is...
  • While cast iron doesn’t leach chemicals, it can leach some iron into your food and that’s pretty...

nonstick iron frying pan on wooden kitchen surface

Types of frying pan

Not all frying pans are created equal. Find out which pan you should choose between stainless steel, nonstick, and cast iron.

Nonstick

Easy to use and simple to clean, nonstick pans are the first choice of many home cooks. Unlike traditional frying pans, nonstick frying pans are often made with non-reactive substances, such as titanium ceramic.

You do indeed get what you pay for when it comes to frying pans, so we recommend getting the most expensive pan you can afford. In more expensive pans, the nonstick coating is of higher quality and will last longer.

It’s the ideal pan to use when you plan to cook something sticky at a medium-to-low temperature, such as eggs. But these aren’t suitable for every type of frying. If you want to sear your food or cook at medium temperatures, consider stainless steel or cast iron pans rather than nonstick.

Stainless steel

The choice of the pros. Best for cooking meat and stir frying, these wonders are robust and will last. Also, unlike their non-stick brothers, they won’t be damaged when used with metal utensils.

One of stainless steel pans’ greatest strengths is their ability to conduct heat. Good models will have a layer of aluminum sandwiched between the stainless steel, helping to ensure that your food is cooked evenly.

Many people may assume that anything that isn’t non-stick will be a chore to clean, but with stainless steel this isn’t the case. As long as you apply oil properly while cooking, then you’ll be able to clear all food from it quite easily.

Cast Iron

Need to sear your food? Cast iron frying pans are the way to go. Their efficiency when transferring heat, and doing so evenly, makes them perfect for cooking steaks. Not only that, but they manage to retain heat superbly.

Unlike non-stick and stainless steel frying pans, these do require a little more work when cleaning. You’ll have to clean them with a scrubbing surface and salt, and a little elbow grease, but cast irons are so perfect for meat searing that it’s worth the extra effort.

Important features

Having trouble finding a frying pan that meets your needs? Here are the main features that will make a difference.

Even heat distribution

One of the most important things to look for when buying a frying pan is even heat distribution. Without this, it becomes difficult to have a well-cooked meal. You may find that You will unevenly cook the food if the pan does not have even heat distribution. It is essential to have a plan that ensures heat gets to all pan parts with the same intensity. 

Shape and comfort

Consider the shape and comfort of the pan when you are pan shopping. Look for a pan shaped to accommodate the food that you want to cook at a time. It should also be comfortable to hold and manage. Otherwise, you may not want to use it often. Pans differ in shape. Some have lower sides, while others have higher sides. This will affect the capacity of the pan. 

While you may find pans that are not round, there’s a reason why the general shape should be round. In most cases, heat sources are rounded, which means they will quickly heat a round base compared to any other shape. The pan’s shape also affects a surface area, volume, weight, the pan’s ability to toss, and its ability to allow evaporation. The shape is also made to sit well on just about any burner. 

Pans that have a riveted handle are usually more comfortable than non-riveted handles. The riveting gives more support, makes it more comfortable, and gives you peace of mind knowing that the handle won’t just break off.  Also, the handle needs to be comfortable in hand. Look for an ergonomic handle that isn’t too big or too small—something with a good grip and a non-slip surface. 

Capacity/size

The pan’s capacity and size determine how much food you can cook in the pan. This is also influenced by the surface area and the height of the walls of the pan. Pans are generally measured according to their surface area. The capacities can vary widely, up to about 12 inches. This is a safe diameter to deal with, as most home stoves can take this diameter. A 12-inch pan will comfortably fit about ten pieces of chicken. 

Flat surface

A flat surface is imperative in making sure that you cook food properly and through and through—the flatter the surface, the better the cooking. You also want to make sure that it’s flat so that you don’t get some parts of the food burning before others.

Stainless steel vs nonstick

Another essential feature to think about when buying a frying pan is the material it is made of. Stainless steel and nonstick are two common features. The main aim is to make sure that your food doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Non-stick pots and pans are made of aluminum and then coated so that they are non-stick. 

For good quality, the base should be heavy.  In most cases, they are coated with ceramic, or PFOA free Teflon, hard-anodized aluminum coating, silicone coating, enameled cast Iron, superhydrophobic coatings, and seasoned cast iron coatings. These are safe coatings to use. 

Nonstick pans are often easy to clean. You can also use non-stick in the oven because it is safe to use up to about 400˚F. The downside is that you can not use high heat with a nonstick pan. This means that you cannot sear in one. Also, make sure that you don’t cook anything acidic in a nonstick pan, such as tomatoes, and wine, because the acid eats away at the nonstick coating. You want to stay away from anything that could potentially destroy the coating. 

Stainless steel is coated over pans, often made of aluminum and copper. This is done so that the pans have a non-reactive finish. It’s essential to ensure that the pan has a heavy bottom, which helps with even heat distribution. The downside is that stainless steel is often harder to clean than non-stick pans. The trick to making sure that food doesn’t stick to the bottom is that the oil you use is hot. 

Stainless steel allows you to sear your food, during which a tough crust is formed. When a crust forms, the food easily lifts off the base of the pan. However, there’s a fine line between searing and burning. Perhaps this is why some people find it hard to use stainless steel. It also has one non-stick because you can cook acidic food such as tomatoes and wine. 

How to clean a frying pan

The way that you clean a frying pan depends on the material and coating that it has. You shouldn’t wash Non-stick pans with water that is too hot. Also, make sure not to put them in the dishwasher, which is way too hot for the coating. You can use lukewarm water and a gentle soap to wash a non-stick pan. Also, make sure that you don’t use any scouring wire or abrasive material that could scratch the coating. 

Stainless steel, on the other hand, can handle high heat. Even though this is the case, it is still not advisable to put it in the dishwasher. Handwashing works best. When you wash it, make sure to wait for it to cool down entirely. Gently scrub the pan, making sure there is no abrasion as this too can destroy the coating. If there are bits of food that are stuck and don’t seem to be budging, you can soak the pan in water to loosen those bits of food. 

Between the two, a stainless steel pan is more versatile and easier to use without following too many rules. 

How to season a frying pan

One of the best ways to protect your cookware from longterm wear is to season your frying pan. Seasoning a frying pan means coating it with a layer of oil so that you seal the pores that occur naturally on the surface from the manufacture. To do this, wash the pan with soapy water, then dry it. Then wipe the surface down with vegetable oil or a seasoning oil of your choice. Heat the pan for about 2 minutes. Then let the pan cool down. Once this is done,  you can then wipe off the excess oil using a paper towel. And your pan is seasoned.