If you’ve ever cooked before, then you probably know how important quality cookware is. A good pan could make the difference between tasty, fluffy eggs, and a dried-up mess!
So, with seemingly endless commercials about how each of their pans is the “best”, how do we know which ones truly are?
Leave that all to us! We’ve done the research (and the cooking; yum!) and found the very best pans out there so all you have to worry about is what you’ll be making! You can put any of these pans in your granite countertop and enjoy their seamless design.
Top 5 Best Pans For 2021
|Pan||Size||At a Glance|
|All-Clad Stainless Steel||10-inch||Wide flat base, low-profile, 3-ply bonded construction, durable stainless steel, aluminum core, even heating, polished cooking surface, stick resistance, contoured stainless-steel handles, oven and broiler-safe up to 600 degrees F, induction compatible|
|Calphalon Piece Classic Nonstick||Varies||Dual-layer nonstick, 2-piece set, hard-anodized aluminum construction, cast stay-cool stainless steel|
|Matfer Bourgeat Black (Editor's Pick!)||Varies||For all hob types, high-quality, durable, strong steel strip handle, can be seasoned for non-stick use|
|T-fal B1500||4.75-inch||Excellent budget product, small size great for travel/camping, great for single servings, nonstick interior and exterior, aluminum construction, even heat distribution, dishwasher safe|
|Universal Housewares Pre-Seasoned||Various||Set of three skillets, made of cast iron, retains heat very well, pre-seasoned, durable, flavor-enhancing, eliminates hot spots|
Now that you have an idea of which of the best frying pans of 2020 are out there on the market today. However, before you make an educated decision, you’re probably going to want to read a bit more in-depth! Take a scroll down even further, to read about which pan you have your eyes on!
All-Clad 4110 Stainless Steel – Best Product for High-Temp Cooking
Made of one of the best frying pan materials out there, the stainless steel 4110, 10-inch fry pan features a wide, flat base, with a versatile low-profile. This makes for easy storage and handling, as well as a large surface area to cook a lot in one go.
How is the construction?
Well, it features a 3-ply bonded construction made up of high-quality stainless steel, with an aluminum core throughout. This gives you both a high level of durability while maintaining consistent heating throughout the skillet.
What about the surface?
The All-Clad has a beautiful and effective, highly-polished cooking surface, complete with a starburst finish. This means that you’ll have both a nonstick surface, along with easy maintenance. No more having to scrape cooked-on food! Along with that, the surface material does not react with food.
The contoured stainless-steel handles are secured well, complete with stainless-steel rivets, so there’s no need to worry about any weaknesses in the product. Along with that, it’s oven and boiler-safe up to an impressive 600 degrees, and is also induction compatible!
So, what didn’t we like?
To be honest, not much.
The only thing we weren’t all for, was how thin the pan was. While it does feature the alternating, 3-ply stainless steel and aluminum layers, it’s still a bit thin for some users. However, this does also make it quite lightweight!
What We Liked
- Very lightweight, solid, stainless steel construction
- Oven and boiler-safe up to 600 degrees F, induction compatible
- Highly-polished cooking surface with starburst finish
- Easy cleaning
What We Didn’t Like
- Can be a bit too thin for some cooks’ preferences
Calphalon 2 Piece Classic Nonstick – Most Lightweight Product
These are made with an anodized aluminum, which gives a heaviness not always easy to find in other pans.
Not only that, but it provides a surface for quick, even heating, eliminating those dreaded hot spots that so many other skillets have.
The dual-layer nonstick interior surface gives you a place for extra-simple food release and cleanup. This means you don’t have to worry about your food sticking and potentially being ruined, or dreading the clean up afterward because it’s near impossible to get the remnants off!
Both pans have beautiful, soft-sloping sides with flared edges. While this may not mean much to the beginner cook, these make them ideal for cooking eggs, omelettes, perfectly-shaped pancakes, browning potatoes, and much more!
Designed for daily use, the long, cast stainless-steel handles are not only comfortable and convenient but will stay cool the entire time it’s on the stovetop. That means you don’t have to worry about unintentionally burning yourself by grabbing the skillet.
So, where can you use it?
Turns out, you can use it just about anywhere, as it’s made to work with gas, electric ring, halogen, as well as glass stovetops! However, just make sure to only use it with nylon, coated, or wooden utensils. This is in an effort to protect the nonstick surface from damage, which can result in the nonstick no longer working as it should.
So, are there any other differences between the two pans?
The most notable is that one skillet features a super-smooth “slide” finish, and one features a “sear” finish. The “slide” finish makes it ideal for items like eggs and crepes to slide right off of the pan smoothly onto a plate. The “sear” finish is ideal for meat and veggies and keeps them stable and balanced while browning or searing.
Make sure to never use it with cooking spray, to use the correct heat setting, and always preheat the pan. Keep in mind that nonstick pans like this one will take a bit longer to preheat, opposed to your typical aluminum/stainless-steel pans.
What We Liked
- Sturdy, durable construction
- Easy to clean; nonstick surface for cooking
- Two different types of finishes for different cooking types
- Can be used on just about any cooking surface
What We Didn’t Like
- Smaller than some other comparable skillets
- Teflon-related precautions must be taken into account
Matfer Bourgeat Black – Editor’s Choice
The French company has become one of the leaders in the industry and has been operating as one of the best for over 25 years. As one of the best pans out there, the Black 062005 exemplifies what kind of standard they hold their products to.
Now, even if you’ve never heard of a carbon steel skillet, you’ve most definitely eaten something cooked in one. In Europe, they’re actually quite common, but for whatever reason, North America is just catching on.
Given all of their benefits, they’re actually quite inexpensive. The appeal is that they’re supposed to be able to handle just about anything you throw at it. These pans can make a delicious breakfast, just as well as dinner or dessert.
Carbon steel is much like cast iron in that they can rust, so you do need to be careful. However, you can take steps to season them by scrubbing off the manufacturer’s wax, cooking the peels of two potatoes in oil and salt for 8-10 minutes, move peels around the pan, throw peels out, wipe and dry pan, and you’re all set!
They’re incredibly non-stick, to the point where the food slips and slides around; more so after they’ve been cooking for a while. We loved how simple cooking was. In fact, we didn’t find any pan that even came close in that sense.
This applies to cleaning, too. With very few exceptions, nothing stuck to this pan! That means no dreadful scrubbing and trying to work loose food that has been baked or fried on.
Want to cook a steak?
With most options on the market today, cooking a good steak the way it should be, wouldn’t be possible. However, with this one it is! Grill, sauté, brown…it’s all possible!
Despite the fact that it browns and cooks evenly so well, these pans are actually surprisingly thin and lightweight. Some users may not like this, but this definitely does not translate to them being weak or cheap. The lightweight/durable combo is hard to come by.
In addition, for what you receive, this pan is a great value. It’s not “cheap” in comparison to many others, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any other pan at this level of quality, at this price.
We loved the fact that the sides were neither too high, nor too low, making it easy to use with a spatula, as well as cooking with liquids and/or sauces. It’s really quite simple to see why this made our editor’s pick!
What We Liked
- Lightweight and easy to handle
- Cooks just about anything you can think of
- Great value for such a high-quality item
- Extremely nonstick once “seasoned”; easy to clean
What We Didn’t Like
- Some users do not like the thinness
T-fal B1500 – Best Budget Product
What makes it so great?
Well first, let’s talk about what an incredible budget product this is.
We don’t know if we could possibly find such a high-quality cooking pan at such a low price like this.
Now, this isn’t ideal for cooking for an entire family with kids; more so ideal for one or two people. Make breakfast sandwiches, bagels, or perfectly-sized portions with ease.
The nonstick interior surface makes for not only easy cooking but cleanup, too. So many times, food gets stuck to the cooking surface and rips, leaves holes, and can sometimes even completely ruin a meal. Not with the T-fal. You don’t have to scrub to eliminate dried or cooked-on food, either!
As with some others, you don’t have to season this pan to get a nonstick cooking surface. The PFOA-free nonstick coating provides a superior release, yet durable enough for dishwashers or ovens up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also compatible with all cooktops, minus induction. The aluminum construction is lightweight, durable, and gives even heating with no hot spots.
While no fat is needed as far as nonstick cooking goes, it is recommended to add it for extra flavor. We highly recommend not using any type of aerosol cooking spray, and not to put it on a high level of heat (it does not fare as well).
What We Liked
- Lightweight, and easy to handle
- Extremely good on a budget
- Great for cooking breakfast sandwiches, bagels, and single or double-servings
- Nonstick coating great for easy cooking and cleanup
What We Didn’t Like
- Not ideal for temperatures over 350 degrees F
- Not compatible with induction
Universal Housewares Pre-seasoned – Best Product Set
One of the oldest names in the houseware scene, Universal was created all the way back in the mid-1800s and has consistently produced high-quality, durable products made to last.
Their pre-seasoned cookware is ready-to-use once it arrives on your doorstep, and each one has a coating of vegetable oil that is then baked at high temperatures to ensure each piece has a natural, easy-release surface.
These skillets are much like the ones many of our grandparents have used, and for a good reason: they work and they’re reliable!
This set actually came in as a close second to our editor’s pick, for many reasons. One, is that they’re actually quite a bargain. In addition, they’re pretty lightweight in comparison to the more traditional cast-iron models, which is great for older users, and just everyone in general. That being said, they’re really easy to maneuver, so don’t let that deter you.
You can cook just about anything you’d like on here, and it features even cooking and heating, so no worries about any hot spots. They’re made to last, so you could have these even for generations to come!
Now, while they do come pre-coated, there are some reviewers who recommend adding on several more seasoning sessions to build up a proper nonstick coating. We have to agree; while it is pretty nonstick out of the box, It’s not anywhere near the level of some others, unless adding extra coatings.
There are three different sizes of pans, although aside from the size, they’re basically the same. The sizes are: 10-inch, 7.825-inch, and a 6.25-inch pan, so use them for whatever you plan on cooking. They all retain heat better than just about any other we’d tried, so if you’re looking specifically for heat retention, check these out!
What We Liked
- Relatively lightweight for a cast iron skillet
- Very durable, long-lasting products
- Come with 3 different sizes
- Excellent heat retention for keeping food warm and properly cooked
What We Didn’t Like
- Recommend some more seasoning sessions for a good nonstick experience
A Guide On Selecting The Best Pan For You
When it comes to choosing the best non-stick pan on the market today, there is no single material or style that is the definitive “best”, just like with most products. It depends on your personal needs, what you’ll be cooking, comfort, cooking surface, and many more things to take into consideration.
However, there are some common features to take a look at, that are generally known to be of a higher quality, and generally, just “good”. We’ve compiled a buying guide so that you can take a look and have an idea of what you want to purchase!
As you can see, the best frying pans above are compiled of many different materials. As previously mentioned, there isn’t just one material which is “the best”. Aluminum construction is generally going to be more lightweight than the others. This means that if you have issues maneuvering heavier pans, then you’ll want to look into pans made with aluminum.
Aluminum also provides quick, even heat, as well as a non-reactive cooking surface which is great for convenience and speed.
Stainless-steel is another top-notch cooking material and is featured in many of the products on our list today. Stainless steel provides magnetic properties required if you’re going to be doing some induction cooking. It provides that wonderful smooth feeling, which is resistant to both sticking and burning. That makes it great for cooking, but also nice and easy for cleaning up afterward.
Cast iron is a tried-and-true material, often used in older products; back when products literally lasted for generations! Cast iron is still wonderful, as It’s super durable, nonstick (when properly seasoned), heats evenly, and more. However, it can sometimes be heavier and oftentimes a handle cover needs to be used because the handle also tends to get hot with the rest of the pan.
Now, depending on which cooking material you decide on, you’re going to need to know each one generally requires a different cooking technique. For example, you’re not going to cook the same way with a cast iron skillet as you would with a stainless steel one.
Even more, you must look into each pan’s specific cooking limitations when it comes to ovens, broilers, and also dishwashers, because not every one of them is compatible.
Do you solely wash your dishes in a machine? If so, then you probably aren’t going to want to stray and start hand-washing your new pan. Some are not compatible with dishwashers or are simply not recommended for use in one, in order to preserve their integrity.
For example, cast iron skillets typically require diligent maintenance to make sure they do not rust or pit! Stainless steel skillets can only be used with special cleansers so that they do not become marred, affecting the quality of the cooking surface.
For storage, you can, of course, put them in a cabinet in your kitchen, but most people put them in their kitchen cupboards.
This is normally a big one for shoppers, and the prices all vary a bit. The budget-friendly items on our list are very high-quality, despite the low price tag, so you can rest assured that what you’re purchasing won’t disappoint.
However, our favorites, while not necessarily the “budget products” are still marked at a great price value, for what you’re receiving.
Now, we actually really enjoyed each one of the best skillets on our list today, but our personal favorite was the Matfer Bourgeat Black. It was extremely high-quality; the best that we found on our entire search.
It can cook just about anything you throw at it, including tarts, steaks, omelets, and much more! The surface heats evenly so that you don’t have to worry about any hot spots, and the surface is super-slick, ensuring nothing sticks to it.
It’s very durable, and despite that, it’s quite lightweight, making it easy for most people to handle. The price is right, and while it’s not necessarily a “budget product”, for how long it lasts, its level of user-friendliness and the overall quality makes it more than worth it in our opinion.
So, which of our best pans will you be seeing in your kitchen? Remember, you can use any of them to make distilled water, which might be something that you’re interested in, just in case there’s a water shortage, which is inevitable to come.