Best Nonstick Skillet Set
Cookware Common Materials
Because they’re so versatile, durable, and affordable, we tested only fully clad tri-ply stainless steel skillets for this guide. We believe it’s useful to learn the basic differences among the various types of cookware to help you make informed buying decisions.
Tri-ply of stainless steel made of one layer aluminum, copper and two layers of steel. Aluminum, a light metal that heats quickly and distributes heat well is very efficient. Although steel has a long life expectancy and retains heat well it can also be heavy and difficult to heat up. A tri-ply pan gives you the same heat distribution as aluminum, but with the strength and durability of steel. A fully clad triply pan has an aluminum core which extends to the edges. On the other side, many cheaper pans have an aluminum core or a metal disk welded to their bottom (also known as an encapsulated base). You can use steel exterior pans induction-burners that heat food with electromagnetic fields.
Additional multi-ply: Other high-end cookware makers also produce five- and sevenply stainless steel saucepans for a premium price. The argument goes that more layers of metal such as aluminum or copper sandwiched between multiple layers of stainless steel result in better heat distribution. This isn’t necessarily the case, though, as some of the five-ply pans we tested exhibited a difference of 100 Fahrenheit degrees between the hottest and coldest points. We found that five-ply saucepans took nearly double the time it takes to heat up than tri-ply ones, sometimes taking 5 minutes. These pans also hold heat longer, which makes them slower to react to changes in temperature. This can lead to pans that are more likely to burn or scorch food.
Aluminum: Although aluminum is ideal for its light weight and heat-conduction properties, it isn’t good as a stand-alone material for skillets. Cast aluminum can react with acids like tomatoes and vinegar. Pans made from aluminum are pretty malleable, too, and will show dings from drops and other kitchen accidents.
Anodizing aluminum is when aluminum is dipped in electrolyte and then run an electrical current through it. You get a hard and non-corrosive dark gray finish. We find that the darker color can be a problem when trying to determine fond development.
Cast iron: These pans, which are inexpensive and heat resistant, can be made from cast iron. When properly maintained, cast iron can develop a natural coating that is nonstick. Cast iron is heavy and a poor heat conductor. It can react to acidic foods. If it’s not enameled, cast iron will be difficult to clean. Cast iron is, as with steel, induction friendly. However, we recommend that you have at least one cast iron skillet in your cooking arsenal. (See our guide to the best cast iron skillets. Russ Parsons, a respected food writer and blogger said it best during an email interview. “Ideally everyone should own a cast iron skillet as well as one made of stainless steel/aluminum.” If you were to choose one, it would be stainless steel/aluminum. (Let’s not forget that we are talking All-Clad).
Copper: Copper is probably the most common of all cookware materials. However, it is expensive and requires frequent polishing. Also, it isn’t compatible with induction ovens.
This is the Best Skillet
The All-Clad skillet is a proven workhorse with superior heat conduction and durable construction.
$130 on Amazon, $130 at Wayfair, $130 in Williams-Sonoma. After four years’ of testing and long-term evaluations, our top pick is the All-Clad Stainless 12″‘ Covered Fry Pan. A fully-clad triply pan with excellent heat transfer, a large cooking surface, flared sides, and a spacious interior make this pan stand out amid a crowd of cookware products. The All-Clad’s comfortable weight and well-angled handle make it simple to use. We also found that the All-Clad had a lid. Though it’s expensive, we’re confident this skillet is a buy-it-for-life item that will provide you with years of use.
Our tests showed that the All-Clad had the best heat mapping, with only a difference of about 30 degrees between hot and cold spots. Some skillets tested, however, displayed a temperature differential exceeding 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which was measured using an infrared thermometer. These measures mirrored what we found in our cooking tests. Steaks and chicken were evenly seared, while pieces of chicken were cooked thoroughly and without burning. The white wine was also reduced quickly without burning.
You can easily see how the browning patterns vary from skillet to skillet. While the All-Clad produced consistent results (pictured left), the Tramontina (right) did not brown the chicken as well as the All Clad. The Clad Pro (right), had some sticking problems. Photo by Michael Hession. Clad Pro’s superb handling may also be due to its cast stainless-steel handle. The handle is concave in shape and looks almost like a celery stalk. The All-Clad handle, like most pans, stays cool even while you are searing the food. However, it does not stay cool when the pan is removed from the oven. We loved the way the handle was angled. This allowed us to flip and turn food more easily than with the Viking Contemporary pan’s extremely angular handle. With a weight of just over 3 pounds, our All-Clad skillet was the most lightweight in the test group. The All-Clad’s light weight makes it easier to handle and clean, as well as allowing for more temperature control. We found the Breville Thermal Pro Clad Stainless Steel 12.5″ Skillet pan to be almost 5 pounds. This is due to the thick base that retains heat and makes it hard for temperature control.
All-Clad’s skillet was the only one that cleaned completely after washing, and did not discolor under high heat. The majority of other pans tested had a grayish-iridescent patina both inside and out. Russ Parsons (author of cookbooks and ex-Food Editor for Los Angeles Times), told us that his All-Clad looks just as good today as when he first bought it.
All-Clad was loved by every food professional we spoke with. Kellie, who was then Saveur’s food editor, told us via email that All-Clad is her favorite skillet. Good quality and strong. Country Living’s food and crafts director Charlyne Matthias said in an email that All-Clad’s skillet was beloved by Cook’s Illustrated (subscription needed).
All-Clad created fully-clad cooking pans by using its unique sandwiching technology in 1971. It is still widely recognized as one the most popular cookware brands. David Lebovitz has a post on his tour of All-Clad’s Pittsburgh factory. All-Clad triply pans include a limited lifetime guarantee. That means the pan will only be repaired if the owner is a victim to abuse or misuse. All-Clad offers repairs and replacements if there are any issues with the pan.
Traditional Skillets (subscription required) , America’s Test Kitchen Common Materials of Cookware , Cooking For Engineers, July 15, 2005 Testing Skillets to Find the Best , Food & Wine, November 1, 2008 All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-Inch Skillet , Good Housekeeping, October 25, 2012 Best Skillets , Good Housekeeping, October 24, 2012 Charlyne Mattox, food and crafts director at Country Living, phone interview, March 9, 2016 Geri Porter, test kitchen manager at Martha Stewart Living, in-person interview, March 3, 2016 Russ Parsons, food writer, email interview, April 25, 2013 Kellie Evans, then test kitchen director at Saveur, email interview, April 1, 2013 J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, managing culinary director at Serious Eats, email interview, April 22, 2013
We have 9 top skillets in 2020
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The editors independently select all products for inclusion. Our editors may be compensated if we refer you to a retailer.
This essential piece of cookware is an absolute must-have. The core of your kitchen equipment will enable you to make many different dishes from steaks and scrambled eggs, as well as other types of food. There are many skillets available, and they come in a variety of prices, from under $15 to $100.
If you’re wondering which skillet will suit your needs, here’s our list of the
Best Nonstick Skillet Set
“>best skillets you can buy today:
Nonstick Fry Pan T-fal Heatmaster Nonstick Fry Pan
Tramontina Commercial 10-inch Nonstick Fry Pan
These are the Best Skillets & Frying Pans of 2021
Called a skillet, or a pan for frying, it’s essential to properly cook all your meals.
It’s important to remember that not all cookware sets are created equal. You can get by, of course, but it’s worth it to invest in good skillets that don’t come in your full set. For example, I bought a nice set of stainless cookware a few years back. Even though the cookware was usable in their sizes, it didn’t have enough nonstick cooking pans. It changed my life and I am glad that I spent the money to get one.
Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating, but it is seriously making me wonder why I haven’t done this sooner. Even if you haven’t yet started to build your kitchen’s arsenal, it’s worth budgeting for just the pieces (like skillets). You’ll be glad you spent a little extra to get the essential cookware products that are most important to your kitchen.
This guide will show you the top skillets and pans in all materials. Then, I’ll talk a bit about the different types of pans you might need for your kitchen.
When you start out, it’s important to have at least one nonstick, one stainless, and one cast-iron skillet. It will be easy to determine what sizes and types of skillets are best for your needs. Also, you will probably need additional cookware to perform double duty (e.g. a wok and sautepan).
Also if you’re just starting out, I’d suggest buying nonstick first. You’ll be using this one most frequently, especially if you are just starting out. Be sure to know the proper care for your nonstick cookware to avoid any damage.
A cast iron skillet is something I highly recommend you purchase as soon as possible. You can change how you cook by using cast iron. They are also very affordable and extremely versatile. Cast iron works well in high heat. Nonstick pans don’t do well at all.
Stainless is great to have, especially as you become a better cook. As I talked about above, it takes time and dedication to learn the tricks and tips for cooking with stainless, but it’s well worth it when you’re ready.
What Kind Of Skillets Are The Best?
Best overall: All-Clad Stainless Steel Frit Pan with Lid.
Which Skillet Brand is Best?
We are still recommending the All-Clad Stainless 12 inch Covered Fry Pan after long-term testing. The fully-clad tri-ply, fully-clad pan boasts excellent heat distribution and a large cooking surface. Flared sides are also a distinguishing feature.