That’s why Consumer Reports currently tests four types of frying pans : nonstick, cast iron, stainless steel, and copper. “There are a few things to consider when you’re buying cookware, including how you cook, durability, and price,” says Lance Niagara, an assistant professor at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, N.Y. “On the low-end of the price scale are nonstick and cast iron; copper is on the high-end.
Best for: Scrambled or fried eggs, pancakes, fish, grilled cheese, and any food that has a high probability of sticking to a typical pan. With nonstick skillets, these foods all slide easily from frying pan to plate.
The details: They solve the frustration of food sticking, and they require little oil for cooking. But they can’t take the high heat of a cast iron or stainless steel frying pan.
“You’re not going to get much of a sear in a nonstick pan,” says Cindy Fisher, who oversees Consumer Reports’ cookware tests. And they don’t last as long as cast iron, stainless, or copper frying pans.
In our tests of nonstick pans, we cook four eggs in quick succession. To test nonstick durability, we rub the pan with steel wool for 2,000 strokes or until the coating has worn through.
Because it’s oven-proof, stainless is also a good choice for foods that you start on the stove top and then move to the oven to finish, like thick pork chops. The details: Niagara says that 95 percent of the pans used in the CIA teaching kitchens are stainless steel, because they can take a lot of punishment.
He adds that the shiny surface of a stainless pan makes it easy to see whether your food is browning. You’d think all stainless pans would be about the same to clean, but our tests show that some require a lot more scrubbing than others.
Cast-iron pans are oven-proof, so you can use them to roast meats like beef or pork and also to bake cornbread, deep dish pizza, Shepherd's pie, and more. And they retain heat so well that they’re also a good choice for deep-frying chicken, donuts, or other foods, because they keep the oil at a constant temperature.
The details: Cast-iron frying pans are practically indestructible, and in many families they’re handed down for generations. And if well cared for, cast iron develops a patina that releases food almost as well as nonstick.
We sear steaks, brown scallops, and bake cornbread to see how well a cast-iron pan works for home cooks. Best for: Delicate proteins like fish and seafood, melting sugar, making candy and sauces.
The details: Copper frying pans are expensive, but they offer superb heat conductivity. That means they heat up quickly and cool down just as fast, giving you more control when you’re making something you have to monitor closely, like a caramel sauce.
You can put a copper pan in the oven if you’re making a dessert like a taste Latin, but remember that copper can’t take the high heat of cast iron or stainless, so most manufacturers don’t recommend temperatures above 450 degrees. We also cook foods that require controlled heat, including risotto, a gooey banana taste Latin, and melted white chocolate.
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Drawn cookware is can have variations in thickness throughout construction, this can lead to uneven heat transmission from the stove's burner. The force applied to the sheet metal flows across the surface numerous times to ensure the item's thickness is uniform throughout.
Made of silicone to maintain a cool touch Provides added comfort Slides off easily for simple cleaning Heat resistant Combining the classic, round shape of a skillet, with moderately high, slightly sloped sides, these pans feature a signature all-purpose design that makes them ideal for pan-frying as well as scrambling, sautéing, or searing.
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