How To Choose A Frying Pan: Ultimate Guide

How To Choose A Frying Pan

Every home starts with a kitchen, and a kitchen starts with a quality frying pan. Juicy cutlets, tender pancakes, and fragrant pork steaks – it is not enough just to follow the recipe to achieve the harmony of taste. However, even the most experienced housewife may not know all the nuances of choosing a high-quality frying pan. The assortment of skillets in the store will mislead even a pro, and when picking skillets for the first time, it is easy to come across a fake. So, read the secrets of selecting the right frying pan below.

How To Select A Frying Pan?

There are so many models in stores that you may simply get lost in them. It is hard to find skillets that will serve you for many years and will not lose their properties. You can endlessly watch reviews and study manufacturers, but to determine which skillet is the best for you, consider the following crucial parameters in your choice:

1. Frying pan material 

It is selected depending on whether you are going to cook healthy food without oil or if you like to reheat something quick for breakfast. Each material has its special properties, treatment rules, cost, etc. We believe that carbon steel skillets are the most optimal solutions, so read more about these utensils on However, it is also worth considering alternative types if you have a limited budget or some specific requirements:

  1. Cast iron is universal. It warms up evenly, so you can even put it in the oven. This is a safe, environmentally friendly material. Due to the porous structure, a natural non-stick coating gradually appears, allowing you to fry almost without oil. However, cast iron skillets are heavy and may rust;
  2. Titanium may serve up to 100 years. Titanium does not emit toxic substances, does not rust, and has excellent non-stick properties. However, such skillets are rather expensive;
  3. Copper is not the most popular option, but it deserves attention. This is an environmentally friendly, safe material. It looks nice, heats up quickly, and is suitable for dishes where a constant temperature change is needed. However, it requires special skills and is quite hard to handle;
  4. Stainless steel is also universal. There is a large assortment of such skillets by purpose, size, and price. It preserves the taste and color of products as much as possible. It doesn’t rust, so you can wash it without problems. However, using this type of skillets requires much attention and skills;
  5. An aluminum skillet can probably be found in your grandmother’s kitchen. It is rather light and cheap, but food burns on it even when using oil. It deforms when heated strongly, so think twice if it is worth your savings;
  6. Teflon pans with non-stick coating are quite popular. Someone uses such pans for years, and someone throws them away after a month. Although you can cook with a minimum of oil, they are easy to scratch, which makes them toxic;
  7. Eco-ceramics is a safe material with good non-stick properties. It keeps warm for a long time, looks stylish, and is easy to wash. However, they are also very fragile, expensive, and require careful maintenance.

As you can see, the choice is very wide. Which of them can be called the best coating for a pan is difficult to answer. Every option has its pros and cons.

2. Stove type 

The cooking surface plays a significant role in the purchase of a frying pan. Different types of stoves require different cookware. If you put a ceramic pan on an induction stove, it will stay cold. If almost any model and material is suitable for gas stoves, then electric and induction cookers are more demanding. Select a product with the same diameter and a thick bottom for the electric stove. 

For glass-ceramic surfaces, specialized utensils with a flat bottom at least 3 mm thick are provided. For induction cookers, special pans are used: cast iron and stainless steel are considered the best materials. If you are not sure about your choice, ask consultants in the store – they will tell you in detail which pan is suitable for your stove. 

3. Purpose 

The purpose of the skillet plays a crucial role in your choice. In general, skillets can be divided into two types – universal and special. Let’s look at the types of pans and their purpose – a key selection factor to consider:

  • Universal round skillets are suitable for almost any purpose: frying, stewing, sautéing, etc. You can hardly do without it in the kitchen. Therefore, it is essential not to save here – choose high-quality pans from reliable manufacturers;
  • Roasters – deep-frying pans with small metal handles are ideal for roasting food in the oven;
  • The pancake pan looks similar to a universal pan but has low walls. It is convenient to cook on it not only pancakes but also potato pancakes, omelets, eggs, or anything that requires careful flipping with a spatula;
  • Grill pans reduce the required amount of oil and allow you to make a beautiful crust on the product. For those who cannot imagine life without juicy meat – this is a must-have;
  • Woks came to us from Asia. The shape, resembling a bowl, contributes to the even heating of food. It is ideal for stewing and frying vegetables;
  • The saucepan is useful for making sauces and jams.

These are six main types, which, according to experts, are enough for cooking almost all main dishes. In addition to universal pans, you can choose skillets that are designed for cooking certain dishes. 

4. Handle materials 

The handle is a significant detail. The handle should match your criteria of comfort, maneuverability, and versatility. Many manufacturers produce not only solid models of pans with handles but also options with removable handles. This is, foremost, convenient for consumers since it significantly saves the already small space of the kitchen. ​​The handle should optimally fit the hand and cause no discomfort during use. 

All this is done to prevent risks of burns or dropping of the pan if it is heavy. There is also a folding handle with a small “knee” in the middle that folds at a certain angle. So, if you need to remove the pan, then you should bend this “knee”, and the handle will fold in half.

Handles are now made from affordable and well-known materials that are inexpensive, but at the same time allow dishes to last much longer:

  • Bakelite – this plastic can withstand temperatures from 260 degrees Celsius;
  • Iron – a convenient but not very good option for pans because the metal heats up very quickly;
  • Heat-resistant silicone – usually it is used for inserts on metal handles, but there are also such handles that are completely framed by it;
  • Stainless steel – they are made hollow to ensure minimal heating of the surface of the handle.

5. Wall and bottom thickness 

The thicker the walls of the pan, the more evenly it will heat up. The inner surface should not have chips or defects, otherwise, the food will burn. Of two similar pans, choose the one with thicker walls and bottom. These pans warm up more evenly and retain heat better. Weight is also crucial – the heavier it is, the better. An exception is a pancake pan; it can be thin and light.

6. Pan size 

As a rule, you can find pans on sale from 18 to 28 cm in size. If you have a large family – 26-28 cm will be ok. If you are cooking only for yourself, a small 18-centimeter skillet is enough. According to reviews, for a family of three, a pan of 24 centimeters is enough, of two – 22 cm, and a diameter of 28 is suitable for cooking for 5-8 people. In any case, it should not be smaller or larger than the hotplate. 

In Conclusion

Sometimes, it is hard to find skillets that will serve you for many years and not lose their properties. To get a high-quality frying pan, experts advise:

  • Do not buy dishes from an unknown manufacturer – such companies often save on quality;
  • Inspect it from all sides – the surface should be even. Roughness is acceptable in cast iron, but if something is bothering you, look for another option;
  • Pay attention to the handles – one-piece pans are stronger, but there is a risk of burns. Wooden or plastic ones are convenient, but they should not be placed in the oven. It is better if the handle is removable;
  • Make sure your cookware is certified and meets the safety standards. Feel free to ask the seller for a certificate – the quality of your food and your health depend on it.

The cost of pans can vary significantly, but high-quality utensils definitely cannot be cheap. Even if there is no opportunity to buy an expensive model, it is not necessary to chase global brands. The domestic market can also offer good options in terms of price/quality ratio.