When we look for options to buy a frying pan, we logically want one that is affordable, resistant, durable, easy to wash, light, non-stick, and that allows us to cook various types of food. However, not all pans have these properties.
There are pans made of different materials (aluminum, titanium, wrought iron, or stainless steel). Each one is oriented to use and more appropriate for one kind of food.
Also, not all pans are designed to be used with the same frequency. Some are suitable for regular use while others can be used frequently.
If you are thinking of buying a frying pan to equip or expand the inventory of your kitchen, you must have some important criteria clear. For example, if you usually prepare fried eggs or omelets for your breakfast and you plan to use it frequently, an aluminum non-stick pan may be useful for you.
On the other hand, if you need to fry or grill food, a stainless steel pan will probably be more suitable for you.
But these are just some of the factors to consider when buying a frying pan. Keep reading to know all the details and the best choices of the moment.
The 5 best quality-price pans
These are the best pans according to the results of our tests and the opinion of the users:
5. BRA Prior
The ideal set of frying pans to expand your kitchenware.
It is a set of 3 cast aluminum pans of 18, 22, and 26 cm with which you can prepare everything from omelets to stews. The set also includes two green safe trivets so you can place the pan on any surface without causing damage. However, they have a high resistance to deformation, which gives them a long useful life.
Its non-stick coating consists of a three-layer Teflon Classic that allows the free movement of food on its surface. If silicone or wooden utensils are used to move food, we can keep them for a long time.
It is not suitable for preparing food in the oven, since its handle, in addition to being made of Bakelite, incorporates silicone parts that can deteriorate with the high temperatures of the oven.
They are easy to clean and can be put in the dishwasher without fear of damage. Thanks to its Teflon coating, it can be cleaned with a paper napkin after preparing simple dishes, such as an omelet.
Something that afflicts several users is the screw that joins the pan with the handle at the bottom. When the pan is on the heat source, steam is concentrated in the hole where the screw goes, which can cause burns.
However, due to the number of pans, the accessories, and the features it offers, this set is one of the best value-for-money options.
4. Tefal Expertise
The ideal pan for basic recipes and moderate use.
If you are just starting in the kitchen or looking for an affordable pan to prepare simple recipes, the Tefal Expertise could be what you need. It is our recommended choice for culinary beginners. This 19 cm aluminum frying pan has caught our attention for the following reasons:
- It incorporates a 4.5 mm reinforced induction base to resist thermal shock.
- It has Titanium Excellence non-stick (7 layers with extra titanium).
- It is compatible with gas, electric, vitro, and induction cookers.
- When the central dot changes color, it indicates the ideal moment to add the food. It has reached up to 180 °C.
- It occupies little space (it is 2.5 cm high).
It is light and comfortable to work with. With it, you can prepare meats and vegetables. However, it can lose non-stick if used frequently and with metal utensils.
In our tests, we observed that it requires some time to heat up due to the ferritic stainless steel disc in the base, which is responsible for distributing the heat evenly.
We have also noticed that the screws that join the handle to the pan can loosen due to the effect of heat. So you will have to adjust them from time to time.
3. Monix Copper
The best bread for cooking in the oven.
This set includes two forged aluminum pans: one 20cm and one 24cm with a thickness of 4mm each. A metallic copper exterior effect that gives them a stylish look and distributes heat evenly across the surface. It is less robust than cast aluminum pans, but lighter and easier to handle.
Its nonstick consists of a trilayer Quantanium with titanium particles, which provides greater resistance and prevents food from sticking. Therefore these pans are ideal for preparing seafood, fish, and stews.
It incorporates a stainless steel handle that allows them to be put in the oven without fear of being damaged (up to temperatures of 220 °C). The disadvantage of the handle is that when you use it on a gas stove, it heats up quickly and can burn us if we do not hold it with a pot holder.
- When using these pans to fry food, we have observed that the oil lodges on the edges. Since the surface is convex (convex in the center) and therefore it may not be the best option for preparing tortillas.
- We have also seen that over time the lower part loses its coppery color, and stains appear that can be difficult to remove. However, the inside of the pan is easy to clean and does not require much care.
2. BRA Land
A pan with durable non-stick.
This set consists of 3 cast aluminum pans of 18, 22, and 26 cm with which you can prepare stews, vegetables, meats, and many other foods. This set of pans has caught our attention for different reasons:
- They incorporate a 5.5 mm thick base that allows faster heating and energy savings.
- Its non-stick consists of a three-layer Teflon with a quite resistant gold finish.
- Its cleaning is easy and fast.
- They can be used on all types of cookers, including induction.
They are not excessively light. However, they are robust and resistant to deformation, which translates into long useful life.
The main drawback with these pans is their handle. Since in the handle, the silicone they incorporate tends to peel off due to heat. Also, the screw that holds the pan handle can occasionally leak hot water. Therefore, it is advisable to be careful or use mittens.
1. Tefal Wit Expertise
Removable handle pans for versatility.
If you don’t like pans with fixed handles, the Tefal Ingenio Expertise is probably what you’re looking for. It is a set of two aluminum pans with removable handles: one 22 cm and one 26 cm. This feature will allow you to prepare food in the oven and avoid burns such as those caused by the screws in the fixed handles. Thanks to the aluminum with which they are made, they are light and comfortable. Since you’re looking for an easy-to-handle pan, these might be a good option.
Their cleaning is simple. Since they are covered internally and externally by the Titanium Excellence non-stick coating that consists of 7 layers with extra Titanium. It has good durability. You can prepare stews, stir-fries, stews, and a wide variety of recipes without the food sticking.
They are compatible with all types of stoves, including induction. In our tests we have seen that induction offers better performance since they tend to heat up faster, distributing heat evenly and efficiently. The main drawback is that they have a certain convexity in the center, causing the oil to go slightly to the sides.
The set includes only one handle, which is not very practical. If it ever breaks, the set will be practically unusable unless you buy a replacement handle.
Our recommended models
Of the models described, we have selected these four pans for the features they offer. Each one has different characteristics that make them suitable for a certain use, a type of kitchen, or a particular user.
Best Nonstick Skillet: BRA Terra
In our opinion, the BRA Terra pans have a durable non-stick, which even after frequent use retains its original properties. However, regardless of the quality of the non-stick coating, it is recommended not to use metal utensils to move food or stack them next to other pans.
The Teflon Select tri-coat with a gold finish gives it an elegant and striking look that makes it look good in any kitchen regardless of its style of decoration.
This Teflon layer makes cleaning it easy since in many cases it will be enough to pass a paper napkin to leave the surface clean. Another feature that has caught our attention is that these pans incorporate a full induction diffuser bottom, which saves energy regardless of the heat source being used. This feature means that the pan can heat up quickly, especially in vitro and in induction cookers.
The best pan for induction: Tefal Ingenio Expertise
If you have an induction cooker, the Tefal Ingenio Expertise is probably the most suitable for you. The bases of these aluminum pans are designed to distribute heat evenly and speed up the cooking process when used on induction cookers. But they can also be used on gas, electric, and glass-ceramic stoves.
The central dot changes color indicating the ideal time to add food (180 °C). The removable handle is another interesting feature, as it allows:
- Prepare baked dishes.
- Avoid burns by screws and holes that condense hot water when cooking.
- Store the preparations in the fridge.
- Save space in the utensil cabinet.
The best professional frying pan: Monix Copper
We consider Monix Copper pans to be the best for professional use. They allow you to prepare different dishes even in the oven since their stainless steel handle is not damaged at high temperatures.
The forged aluminum makes them light and manageable, this characteristic is highly desired by chefs and kitchen experts in restaurants since they must serve several pans simultaneously. Being convex in the center, the oil tends to stay on the edges, which requires some experience to keep it in the center and obtain the best cooking results.
Their metallic copper finish and titanium nonstick give them an attractive and elegant look. This non-stick layer will allow you to cook tortillas, meat, fish, seafood, and recipes as complex as you need.
The best quality-price frying pan: BRA Prior
We consider the BRA Prior frying pan set as the best value for money for different reasons:
- They are robust, thick, and resistant to deformation.
- Variety of sizes to use.
- The set includes two trivets.
- Easy to clean.
- Affordable price.
These pans are ideal for those users who are looking for a frequently used pan but do not want to spend so much on titanium, ceramic, or other more expensive models.
Although they can be a bit heavy to handle, they are a good option for beginners in the kitchen as they allow them to prepare a wide variety of dishes without worrying about food sticking, thanks to the Teflon Classic coating that it incorporates.
Frypan purchase guide
Choosing a good frying pan does not seem like an easy task when there are different options on the market. However, before buying the best quality fry pans, it is important to think about three factors:
- How often we will use it.
- The types of food that we will cook in it.
- Its strength and durability.
Once we have these criteria clear, we will be able to compare options to select the pan with the material, price, and characteristics that best suit what we require.
Below you will find a detailed buying guide so you can make the right choice for your next frying pan.
How many types of fry pans?
The frying pans differ mainly by the type of material with which they are made. Each one has different properties:
- Type of use (beginner, normal, professional).
- Cooking time according to the type of cooker used (induction, gas, electric, ceramic hob).
- Ability to repel food (non-stick).
- Weight and ease of use.
- Way to clean.
Among the types of pans we can find the following:
Aluminum fry pans
They are the most common pans due to the type of food they allow to prepare (meat, tortillas, fish…) Aluminum pans are generally cheaper than those made with other materials and are divided into three categories:
Cast aluminum pans: the most robust among the aluminum pans, so they are somewhat heavy but not excessively.
Forged Aluminum Pans: Less thick and heavy than cast aluminum pans and quite comfortable to work with.
Pressed aluminum pans: they are lighter but more easily deformed than those mentioned above, however, they are quite affordable.
But not all aluminum pans are cheap, there are also high-end options for professional culinary use at a higher price.
If you opt for an aluminum pan, you must take into account the type of coating it has to be sure that even after frequent use, the aluminum will not be exposed.
The reason is that if this layer wears away, the aluminum could leave some particles in the food, and although it is not toxic, it is not convenient either. For this reason, it would be appropriate to get a pan with a reinforced non-stick coating of titanium or Teflon non-stick.
In general, aluminum pans are quite light compared to other materials. However, aluminum is not the most resistant metal, so they tend to be more easily damaged when used at high temperatures (above 260 °C) or when metal utensils are used to unstick food, as these can deteriorate the non-stick.
Titanium fry pans
Although they have been used for several years, titanium pans have not become very popular due to their price, conditioned by their high resistance and durability.
In addition to being robust, they are characterized by maintaining heat and distributing it evenly across their entire surface. This makes them an ideal pan for stews, stir-fries, and a wide variety of stews.
Probably, when reading “titanium frying pan” you may think that it is made entirely of this material, when in fact it is not. They are known in this way for having a titanium mineral coating on top that works as a protective layer of the non-stick pan and prolongs its useful life.
Normally, the structure or base of the pan can be made of stainless steel or aluminum.
These are its main characteristics:
- Due to its resistant titanium layer, knives, spatulas, and different metal utensils can be used to move food without fear of scratching the pan.
- They maintain their ability to repel food for many years.
- If its body is structured in aluminum, it is quite light.
- Titanium prevents aluminum from being exposed and leaving particles in the food.
- Can be stacked and stored with other pans and utensils without damage
- They are usually more expensive.
Stainless steel fry pans
These types of pans are probably the healthiest because they do not release metal particles, so they do not contaminate food with harmful elements. This is the reason that makes stainless steel pans the favorite choice of many.
- They are resistant and hardly deteriorate over the years.
- They present good thermal conduction: the heat is distributed evenly and they can maintain it for a certain time after putting out the fire. This way the food stays hot.
Some stainless steel pans have non-stick coatings such as Teflon or ceramic, however other manufacturers do not incorporate such a coating since stainless steel itself is non-stick. However, if the oil is fried at an inappropriate temperature, the food may stick.
For this reason, this type of pan is aimed at chefs and kitchen professionals, since some experience is required to prevent food from sticking to it.
Among the main characteristics of stainless steel pans are:
- They can be used on induction cookers.
- They tolerate high temperatures in the oven.
- Compared to iron pans, they are lighter.
- Metal knives and spatulas can be used on non-stick pans as this does not reduce their lifespan.
- The material is innocuous, so it does not present negative effects.
However, the price of these pans is also usually higher for their benefits.
Iron fry pans
Cast iron pans are, in their simplest form, cast iron griddle that has been shaped into the typical shape of a frying pan. They are suitable for preparing vegetables and meats because they hold heat quite well.
Among its main characteristics we find:
- They have high resistance, they are not easily damaged.
- They are heavy (2-3 kg).
- Its temperature rises quickly and is maintained, this allows for a reduction in the heat intensity and saves electricity/gas.
- Its handling requires some experience.
The characteristics of anti-adherence, durability, and manageability are not the same in all iron pans since this depends on the type:
- Wrought iron pans: these are the simplest pans to make, as they consist of a cast iron plate with a handle attached to one end.
The non-stick in a new cast iron skillet is low, so it must be “cured” by boiling oil in it at a high temperature for about 15-20 minutes. This non-stick will be greater as we use the pan, reaching a point where nothing will possibly stick.
Their main disadvantage is that they are prone to rust, like any iron item. That is why we must dry them very well after washing them.
- Cast iron pans: these pans consist of a cast iron base with an enamel that has been vitrified. That is why they are also known as vitrified enameled cast iron pans.
They offer better features than the previous ones since they do not rust and are non-stick from the first moment. However, they usually have a higher price.
Ceramic fry pans
They are pans with high non-stick properties, especially when they are used for the first time. Their price is usually in the range of titanium pans. They are ideal for frying vegetables but at the same time, they can be used to prepare meat.
These types of pans require special care to prolong their useful life and preserve their non-stick properties, therefore they should not be stacked together with other pans or use sharp utensils to move/unstick the food in them.
They are not very heavy and are also easy to use, nor do they release toxic or harmful particles to the body, so they are a healthy and safe option.
Compatibility with our kitchen
The choice of a frying pan also depends on the type of kitchen we have at home since some models are designed to be used in one type of kitchen or another. It is not that the pan will deteriorate quickly if it is used in another type of cooking, but that it will probably take longer to heat up and cook the food.
For this reason, you should check that your kitchen is specified in the pan you plan to buy, as this will save energy, time, and resources.
You can find pans for kitchens:
- ceramic hob
- Of gas
However, there are cases where the same model may be suitable for different types of kitchens.
The ideal frying pan according to its frequency of use
The frequency of use is one of the most determining factors in choosing a frying pan since that will define its resistance and the type of material.
If we are looking for a frying pan for intensive use, the most advisable thing would be to get one made of iron or titanium, since their resistance is high and they can be used daily, at high temperatures, and use metal utensils to unstick the food.
A cast aluminum or forged aluminum pan is suitable for frequent and moderate use, even more so if it has a titanium or Teflon coating. However, the use of metal utensils should be avoided to prolong the life of the nonstick.
On the other hand, if we require a pan for normal/basic use, a pressed aluminum option with a non-stick coating such as Teflon may suffice.
Bakelite handles or heat-resistant plastic materials are the best options for a frying pan, even more so if they have an ergonomic design that allows us to handle it comfortably. There are also wooden handles, usually incorporated in iron pans, which, although it makes them lighter, can deteriorate faster than Bakelite ones.
The handle of the pan must have grooves for our fingers since it provides a better grip and prevents it from slipping from our hands when we move the pan from one place to another. Other pans incorporate a removable handle, which provides greater versatility when cooking and ease of storage.
It is also important to see if the base of the pan has any special reinforcement or if it is at least thick enough to prevent it from deforming easily. Pans with a thin sheet of metal tend to warp and lean more to one side, causing the cooking process to be uneven or the oil to collect in one place.
Individual pan or set of pans?
Buying a set of pans is usually much more advantageous than buying a single pan, but keep in mind:
- They usually come on sale and at an affordable price.
- They allow us to equip our kitchen and have more options when cooking.
- The quality is not always equal to that of a single pan that is designed for a specific use.
- We don’t always use all sizes.
Ease of cleaning
Some pans require fairly easy cleaning while others require special care to prolong their life.
For example, stainless steel and aluminum pans are easy to clean as they can be washed by hand, or even put in the dishwasher just like titanium and ceramic.
However, cast iron pans need more in-depth care, since they do not have an anti-stick coating and are vulnerable to corrosion. Therefore, they must be washed by hand, dried with absorbent paper, and avoided soaking.