Best Skillets of 2019
A skillet is a necessary kitchen pan for cooking on the stove or even in the oven. Our shopping will help you find the best skillet for you and your kitchen.
Shopping Guide for the Best Skillets
Whether you're whipping up scrambled eggs for breakfast or creating a one-pan pasta dish for dinner, a skillet is a must-have for every kitchen. Depending on the type of frying pan you choose, you can even use your skillet to finish dishes in the oven.
But with so many different skillets on the market, finding the perfect one for your kitchen can be tough. You have to know what material to choose, as well as the size, construction, and other features that make one pan a better option over another. Sorting through all your choices can get confusing.
At BestReviews, we're here to simplify shopping. We're able to give you completely unbiased recommendations because we don't accept products from manufacturers. This allows us to focus on performance and not marketing claims when researching and testing products. If you'd like to learn more about skillets before you buy, read on.
Skillets are made from a variety of materials, which vary in terms of durability, ease of cleaning, and heating performance. Let's take a look at the most popular options.
Stainless-steel skillets are extremely durable, compatible with acidic foods, and are often dishwasher-safe. Food may stick to them, though.
Cast-iron skillets offer durability, a nonstick cooking surface, excellent searing capabilities, and oven-safe construction, making them ideal for preparing dishes like skillet apple pie. However, cast iron is extremely heavy, takes a while to fully heat, and isn't dishwasher-safe.
Aluminum skillets are lightweight and allow for fast, even cooking. For the most durable, nonstick surface, choose anodized aluminum for your frying pan. Keep in mind that there are some safety concerns associated with aluminum cookware, though.
Nonstick skillets usually have an aluminum base that's treated with a nonstick coating, such as Teflon. Food won't stick to the pan and cooks quickly and evenly. Many nonstick skillets are dishwasher- and oven-safe, too. However, nonstick skillets don't brown food well, and nonstick surfaces are easily scratched.
In terms of appearance, it's difficult to top a copper skillet. Copper also conducts heat extremely well, so it offers quick, even cooking. But copper skillets aren't compatible with acidic foods, dent easily, and can't be cleaned in a dishwasher.
Skillets range in size from 6 to 17 inches. The right size depends on what you'll be using the pan to prepare, but a skillet that's at least 12 inches in size is usually the most versatile.
Choose a skillet with a comfortable weight. It shouldn't be too light, or your food may burn. But it shouldn't be too heavy either, or it may be difficult to handle. Cast-iron skillets are heavy by design, and they're best avoided if you have joint issues or a hand injury.
For a skillet that's durable and easy to handle, it's important to choose a model with a sturdy construction. Pay careful attention to how the handle is attached. It should be solidly secure, so it doesn't wobble when you lift the pan.
In addition to being securely attached, a skillet's handle should stay cool even when the pan is in use. Cast-iron models are the exception to this rule because the entire skillet is made of the metal. But for skillets made of other materials, look for a silicone handle for safe handling.
Many skillets don't come with a lid. However, most manufacturers sell lids separately. It's a good idea to have a matching lid for simmering recipes like skillet lasagna.
Stove Top Compatibility
Some stove tops require skillets with certain features. An induction stove top needs a magnetic field to operate, so choose a skillet made of a magnetic material like cast iron or stainless steel. For a smooth electric stovetop, make sure the skillet's bottom is completely flat.
Q. Which type of skillet is best for everyday use?
A. If you're only going to buy one skillet, a stainless-steel model is usually the best option. A stainless-steel skillet can cook nearly any type of food and doesn't require special maintenance. Most stainless-steel skillets also work with induction cooktops.
Q. Which type of skillet is best for healthy cooking?
A. If you're trying to cut the fat and calories in your favorite recipes, opt for a nonstick skillet. The nonstick surface means you don't have to add extra oil, butter, or other fats to keep foods from sticking, so you can prepare low-fat meals.
Q. How can I tell if a skillet is compatible with an induction cooktop?
A. The material used for the pan must be magnetic for the skillet to work on an induction cooktop. Place a magnet near the bottom of the skillet—if the magnet sticks, the pan will heat properly on an induction cooktop.