For a long time, Teflon (also known as PTFE or polytetrafluoroethylene, if you’re fancy) was the gold standard for ultra-slick, nonstick pots and pans. But over the past 25 years, the FDA has discovered that certain chemicals (specifically FOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid) used in manufacturing Teflon are actually toxic to the environment and our health, and can build up in your body over time.
That’s because when you scratch the surface, you give those bad guys a chance to get a little too friendly with the food you’re about to eat. Thankfully, those chemicals have been slowly phased out of production, but it’s still important to read the label on any nonstick cookware before purchasing.
The bargain pan without a tag that you found in the sale section of your favorite home goods store? Good news: Plenty of cooking materials are just as nonstick as Teflon without being potentially harmful to your health.
Teflon, also known as PTFE or polytetrafluoroethylene FOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, which is sometimes just labeled with the catch-all term “nonstick” Avoiding metal utensils: Even if a brand says it’s scratch resistant, we like to play it safe and opt for wooden spoons and silicone spatulas when frying and flipping.
Cleaning with a gentle sponge: Please, we beg you, do not take your steel-wool scrubber to your coated pans (unless they’re stainless steel). A drop of dish soap, a generous soak and a gentle scrubby sponge should do the job just fine.
Caraway home has that covered with a slew of muted, cheerful colorways like terracotta (a creamy brownish rose) and sage (a calming green). It’s made with a ceramic nonstick coating that can handle temperatures up to 650 °F, it can go from stove top to oven and it won’t add unwanted chemicals to your meals.
And according to the brand, the pans are manufactured in a process that releases fewer harmful fumes and less carbon dioxide into the environment, plus they even ship in recyclable, environmentally conscious packaging. And every piece in the set is stove-top agnostic, a fancy way of saying it works with induction, gas and electric ranges.
The Danish cookware is nonstick, heats evenly, is lightweight enough to flip pancakes and omelettes, and is oven safe up to 500 °F, if you’re more of a frittata person. The CS+ line has the look of brushed stainless steel, but its interior actually has a food-safe, micro-textured ceramic-titanium finish for a slick surface that’s ideal for searing and browning.
We suggest picking and choosing from the brand’s robust lineup (start with the 11-inch skillet) if you don’t want to commit to an entire set. Aside from the aesthetic appeal, Le Crest’s ceramic-coated cast iron conducts and holds heat like a dream, goes from stove to oven to table, is scratch and chip resistant, and is incredibly easy to clean (say goodbye to the infamous overnight soak).
The brand makes skillets and pots of all sizes, but we’re partial to the 5.5-quart Dutch oven for its versatility. Because after just a few uses it becomes seasoned (i.e., coated with layers of built-up cooking oil), which is food safe and surprisingly nonstick.
A 10-inch skillet is a good all-purpose size for daily cooking, but for feeding crowds and tackling bigger tasks like roasting whole chickens, we also like the larger 12-inch version. Skillets are shallow, flat pans with flared sides that are used for a variety of meal preparations.
The BEST OVERALL: Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, Pre-season, 10.25 Inch the BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK : All-Clad E785S264/E785S263 HA1 Fry Pan Set, 2-Piece UPGRADE PICK: Le Crest Enameled Cast Iron Skillet, 11.75 the BEST STAINLESS STEEL: Cuisinart 722-36H Chef’s Classic Stainless 14-Inch the BEST CERAMIC: Greene Ceramic Nonstick, Frying Pan/Skillet Set BEST ELECTRIC: Presto 06857 16-inch Electric Foldaway Skillet the BEST NONSTICK: Cuisinart 622-30G Chef’s Classic Nonstick Skillet Everything from the pan’s size to its thickness to what kind of material it’s made of should factor into your decision.
Smaller sizes, like the 8-inch, will be fine for frying a couple of eggs or cooking single-serving meals. If you’re spending a lot of time in the kitchen or if you’re prone to wrist pain, a lightweight skillet will work best.
Stainless steel skillets have the least amount of heat retention, but they are dishwasher safe, rust-resistant, and the most affordable. Carbon steel is lightweight and thinner but doesn’t have as much heat retention, which can cause food to cook unevenly.
Cast iron is the most durable and can retain heat the best, but it requires more effort to clean. Thicker skillets will give you a more even heat production, and they will be less susceptible to damage, thus making them longer-lasting.
Because stainless steel skillets can be tossed in the dishwasher, they are the easiest to clean. No matter what kind of pan you choose, it’s important to spotless it after every used to prevent rust and help it last longer.
While they come in various materials, sizes, and types, investing in a quality one can make a huge difference in your cooking. The recommendations below are based on a range of categories to help you find the best skillet to make delicious meals at home.
The Lodge skillet comes in nine different sizes, and some include a silicone handle cover to prevent burns. These hard-anodized aluminum pans are designed with scratch-resistant, dishwasher-safe nonstick coating, making them easy to clean and reducing the amount of fat or oil you need for cooking.
The base and handle are made of stainless steel, which adds to the pans’ durability and strengthens heat retention. Unlike traditional models, the Le Crest Enameled Cast Iron Skillet is designed with black enameled cast iron that requires no seasoning and little oil, and it can be put in a dishwasher for easy cleanup.
The mirrored finish of the Cuisinart 722-36H Chef’s Classic Stainless 14-Inch Open Skillet is not only nice to look at, but it’s great for your food, too. Wrapped in stainless steel that doesn’t react, discolor, or alter flavors, this skillet also has an aluminum base that helps spread out heat evenly and quickly.
Dreaded hot spots (where some food is warmer and other areas are colder) are avoided thanks to this combination. This skillet’s curved edges help to prevent spills and drips.
Constructed with a heavy cast-aluminum base and a nonstick surface both inside and out, this dishwasher-safe skillet evenly distributes heat and is easy to clean up. This skillet is a great option if you need to transport it to an event or a large gathering.
The handles fold down, and the skillet pan detaches from the base, so it’s easy to store or move. It also comes with a glass cover and handles that stay cool to double as a serving tray.
Thanks to the Cuisinart 622-30G Chef’s Classic Nonstick Skillet, loading up on olive or canola oil will be a thing of the past. Now that you’ve learned how to choose the best skillet for your kitchen and reviewed some of the most popular models on the market, it’s time to get the answers to any remaining questions you might have.
Below are the most frequently asked questions about selecting skillets and how to care for them properly. Coat your oven-proof skillet with a thin layer of vegetable or canola oil and bake it in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour.
This has caused me to be reluctant in spending a higher amount on better quality cookware sets. In the professional kitchen, longevity and durability are the requirements for cookware.
They are abused, exposed to high heat and direct flame, and washed with harsh cleaning chemicals. Quick Navigation For your home use, standing up to this type of abuse is not nearly as important.
For instance, I never buy a frying pan or pot that cannot be moved from stove top to oven because that is an important feature to have that many advanced dishes call for such as duck or reverse searing a steak. Proper cookware is the difference between simple recipes and disaster.
On the other hand, over the top expensive models can lose their versatility because of perceived fragility. Choosing the proper cookware set doesn’t have to be hard.
My time as a professional cook has given me the opportunity to use both commercial and consumer sets. We will go over several sets that I would recommend for all skill levels and price points.
As with most things, it is best to find the right price point for the best value and that is our goal with this comprehensive cookware set guide. Be mindful when making your purchasing decision that you do not opt for a cheaper set that will cause grief down the line.
It has a reasonable price, clocking in at $214.99 USD for the 12-piece set. Its triple-ply design offers good heat conduction and uniform cooking.
Triple-Ply Design Aluminum Core 12-Piece Set Quality Consumer Brand It is always the dream of the chef to have these types of high-quality products in the kitchen but due to price, it is usually left for consumer buyers.
It is layered alternately with aluminum and stainless steel, providing an unmatched conductive and even heating product. Much of what you end up paying for in high-end cookware is the layering and quality of the material.
Another Cuisinart cookware set, but this one is on the lower end of the spectrum. It is very hard to find quality cookware set at entry-level pricing that I can be confident in recommending.
This means a thin cookware set will require careful management of temperature. If you are looking to have stainless steel cookware set on a budget, this is a good choice.
Upon receiving the set, you are greeted with a brilliantly laid out packaging that slowly introduces you to each new piece, like unraveling layers of surprises. It comes with a very practical cloth hanger that solves the problem of finding a place to store your lids.
Another addition is the vertical storage option available to store your pots and pans upright on a counter. The set is heavy, with a very solid core and heats evenly.
The long handles provide important leverage for heavier cooking. 7-Piece Set Comes with ability to hang lids on wall/fridge Storage issues are solved A must-have for those with small kitchen space.
Clifton Cookware Set 1876788 Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Their cookware is prevalent in professional kitchens, and they are thought of as a low-cost option.
Fleischer & Wolf Seville Hammered Copper 10-Piece Cookware Set There are only a few reasons why one would choose the best copper cookware set and that is for show.
The reason being is that the level of abuse pots and pans tend to go through can be large. Many of the companies that we choose to have built their reputations through commercial cookware sets and products.
Cookware needs to be useful for many applications such as stove-to-oven use, high heat, and cleaning resistant. Although material plays a big role in these things, quality and durability impact a much larger scale.
Getting the best bang for your buck can be difficult when choosing the right cookware set. Copper pan set cookware is unsurpassed when you are cooking sugar and fruit mixtures.
If you are a restaurateur who is cooking with sugars or desserts, copper cookware may be a good investment. Copper is a beautiful material that has significant weight, but unmatched heat transfer.
Because copper reacts with some foods, it typically has a tin lining which is soft and can easily be scratched. Because of these deficiencies in copper cookware, you will find products layered.
Aluminum is a soft metal and it is important that it handled properly to avoid dents. Many essential kitchen tools guides include stainless steel pots and pans.
Such cookware gives the rapid, uniform heat conductivity of copper and aluminum. Cast Iron Cast-iron cookware distributes heat evenly and holds high temperatures very well.
If using in a commercial kitchen, keep it properly conditioned and dry to prevent rust. Tempered glass is suitable for microwave cooking, as long as it does not have any metal on it.
Thorough cleaning and total shut down occurs if glass breaks in a commercial kitchen. Quick temperature changes can cause the ceramic cookware to crack or shatter.
The enamel can chip or crack easily, providing areas for bacteria to grow. Also, chemicals used to bond the enamel to the cookware can cause food poisoning if ingested.
Non-stick Coatings Without affecting a metal’s ability to conduct heat, a plastic known as Teflon and Silverstone may be applied to many types of cookware. It provides a slippery, nonreactive finish that prevents food from sticking and allows the use of less fat in cooking.
Do not use non-stick cookware on high heat and be mindful not to use metal utensils as it can scratch or chip the coating.