Frying Pans. Which One To Buy?

There are lots of things to consider when choosing a frying pan to buy: what kind of food you are going to cook, how much money you have, what kind of stovetop there is in the kitchen. Your choice will depend on the answers to these questions as pans available nowadays on the market offer different features. Having so many options can be really confusing. Let’s look at the types of frying pans available.

First things first. What types of pans are there? The list is long: stainless steel frying pans, cast iron skillets, non-stick frying pans, stoneware frying pans, copper frying pans, aluminum frying pans. Let’s discuss each type in detail, shall we?

Stainless Steel Frying Pan

Stainless steel cookware is extremely popular, including among chefs, thanks to the low maintenance requirements. Since stainless steel doesn’t react to acidity, you don’t have to think about what kind of food you can cook and what not. We should mention the old misconception about stainless steel pans: some people say they often stick and therefore it is not an easy task to clean them. Fortunately, it is not true. You should just know how to clean it the right way.

Pluses

  • Durable
  • Rust-resistant
  • Non-reactive
  • Safe to use at high temperatures
  • Oven-safe
  • Easy to clean
  • Dishwasher-safe

Minuses

  • Poor conductor of heat
  • Quite expensive

Cast Iron Skillet

If you ask me, I love cast iron skillets. There are many reasons for this: you can remove it from the stovetop and it will keep the food hot for a long period of time, you can cook at very high temperature, you can use it in the oven. Yet there are some secrets here. You should remember to preheat it and you should never ever forget to season it properly, otherwise either the food will stick or, if you forget to season it after washing, the pan might rust.

Pluses

  • Durable
  • Versatile
  • Safe to use at high temperatures
  • Oven-safe
  • Stays hot for long periods of time
  • You can use metal utensils
  • Non-stick, if you season it properly
  • Easy to clean

Minuses

  • Not an excellent heat conductor
  • Uneven heating
  • Requires ongoing maintenance
  • Can be reactive to acidic foods
  • Prone to rust if not cared for properly
  • Not dishwasher-safe
  • Heavy

Non-Stick Frying Pan

If you are for the easiest to use cookware, you should consider buying a non-stick frying pan. Moreover, it is said to be the best choice if you are an adherent of healthy cooking as the surface of the pan will help you use less fat or oil. The disadvantage is well-known: the non-stick coating surface if fragile and you will have to use it with care. No metal utensils here! Stick to wooden or plastic ones if you don’t want your food to stick to the pan. Unfortunately, even if you are extremely careful but cook quite a lot, the surface will soon wear off and you will have to buy a new pan, the advantage being they are usually not expensive. Read more about non-stick cookware at the link.

Pluses

  • Conduct heat evenly and rapidly
  • It is non-stick
  • Easy to clean
  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • Non-reactive

Minuses

  • Short lifespan as it is easily scratched
  • You can’t use metal utensils, you’ll have to switch to wooden or plastic utensils
  • Not dishwasher-safe
  • Cook only medium to low heat
  • Not oven-safe

Stoneware Frying Pan

Clay and stoneware pans are not so popular, though they have been used for centuries. Their main disadvantage is that you will have to take special care of them as they are to be seasoned just like cast iron pans. The biggest advantage is that there is a huge variety of attractive designs.

Pluses

  • Freezer-safe
  • Dishwasher-safe.
  • Durable
  • Heats quickly
  • Holds heat
  • Microwave-safe

Minuses

  • Requires attention as you can’t put it into cold water while it is hot
  • Can contain lead, though it is only true about cheaper options

Copper Frying Pan

There is a lot say in favor of copper frying pans. First, they are durable. Second, they heat evenly, which means you won’t have to pre-heat your pan. Third, they cool down quickly, which is great for certain recipes where an extra minute can spoil all the thing. The biggest disadvantage is that, copper being highly reactive, the pan can give a bit of metallic taste to your food.

Pluses

  • The best heat conductor
  • No pre-heating required
  • Oven-safe
  • Attractive appearance

Minuses

  • Not induction-safe
  • Very expensive
  • Will tarnish over time
  • Not dishwasher-safe

Aluminum or Hard Anodized Aluminum Frying Pan

When it comes to aluminum cookware, opinions are usually extreme. Some people say they are excellent. Others go as far as saying they would never recommend using them. Let’s try to be objective here and offer plain facts. Aluminum is a very good heat conductor and therefore the heat will spread evenly throughout the surface of the pan. Nowadays, aluminum can be anodized to harden the surface of the cookware, which will make it extremely durable. Hard anodized aluminum is also non-reactive. These pans can be used on the stovetop and in the oven. One more advantage is that they can be cleaned in the dishwasher. They are the most inexpensive frying pans on the market. Are there any disadvantages? Yes, sure. Aluminium frying pans will require maintenance and care as, if they are untreated, they are prone to staining. Also, you can’t use them on induction burners.

Pluses

  • Sturdy
  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • Resistant to high heat temperature
  • Excellent heat conductivity

Minuses

  • Not induction-safe
  • Can leach metallic taste to food
  • Not suitable for baking

All in all, considering there are so many options, you should choose what is best for you personally. What are your priorities? Even heat distribution or the fact that you can put the pan into the dishwasher with no worries, non-stick qualities or the fact that you can also use the frying pan to roast or bake something in the oven? Are you ready to make a real investment or you want some inexpensive versatile cookware? The choice is yours.