🍳 Best Pans Ranked By Utility & Characteristics
Regardless of whether you are a professional cook or simply the person with the best cooking skills in the family, you’ll need a pan to prepare your meals.
Pans are considered as centerpieces of any cookware for a variety of reasons; for most meals, you couldn’t even begin the process without scrambling a couple of eggs or cooking a piece of meat.
There are hundreds of reasons why you shouldn’t use just any pan – owning a set of quality pans that can be used in different situations will significantly change your cooking experience, as well as the tastiness of your meals.
Today we are going to talk about some of the finest pans the market has to offer, including the best nonstick pans, frying pans, pans for gas stoves, ceramic pans, and cast iron pans. Without any further ado, let’s dive into the reviews.
🥇 Best Overall - Insert Pan Name Here
Cooks Standard has set the bar for cooks and chefs worldwide, and their Nonstick Hard-Anodized Pan set is an excellent representative of their potential and quality. This 2-pan bundle is affordable, built to last, and exceptionally versatile, to say the very least.
First and foremost, this set is comprised of an 8-inch pan and a 10.5-inch pan, both of which are made of premium-quality stainless steel bases and aluminum handles. Their rugged construction affords them a level of durability that you can rely on for decades, given proper use and maintenance.
The nonstick interior of these pans offers much easier control over the food, but it also significantly simplifies the clean-up process. Furthermore, both pans feature completely flat cooking surfaces and tapered lips that are perfect for boiling any kind of dish.
Now, the main reason why this particular model is our top pick is that it offers a well-balanced set of features while being remarkably affordable. In a nutshell, Cooks Standard’s Nonstick Hard-Anodized Pan Set offers the same benefits and qualities as more expensive boutique pans minus the hefty price tag.
Best Nonstick Pans
Most people think that nonstick pans are simply skillets that are a bit easier to use. That is perfectly true – your food will not ‘stick’ to the pan’s cooking surface, but there’s a myriad of other benefits to be reaped by using one.
Models that belong to this category are also much lighter than say cast iron pans and a good portion of ceramic pans. They’re also a terrific heat conductor, which means that they are more responsive and overall more controllable.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are perfect per se. Nonstick pans typically have Teflon coatings. This layer is comprised of several chemicals that may raise some eyebrows in people who aren’t completely sure whether these components will cause more harm than good.
The truth is that Nonstick pans, especially models that feature Teflon coatings, might be the most versatile, if not ‘perfect’ pans if they’re not used at severe temperatures. While it may take you a while to get accustomed to how they are supposed to be used best, let’s take a look at some of the finest nonstick pans on the market in the meantime.
Calphalon’s Premier Pan
Calphalon’s Premier Pan is, first and foremost, remarkably robust. It features a 3-layer construction comprised of different coatings and materials. The interior layer is smooth and nonstick; the second layer substantially enhances its sturdiness while the third layer promotes better consistency and adherence.
Premier Pan is completely utensil and dishwasher-safe; these qualities when combined with its nonstick surface provide a balanced solution to most, if not all of your cooking needs.
What’s more, the handles outfitted to Calphalon’s Premier Pan are remarkably well-built. They’re constructed of top-shelf stainless steel and will remain cool regardless of the temperature you are cooking your meals at.
The only thing that we didn’t like as much is Premier’s price tag. Namely, it’s a bit more expensive than average, but it does bring tremendous value to the table to compensate for it.
Overall, Calphalon’s Premier Hard-Anodized Pan is adequately sized for most cooking tasks; it boasts an eclectic and robust 3-layer construction, and it’s remarkably easy to use, clean, and maintain.
Anolon Advanced Nonstick Fry Pan
Next up we have Anolon’s Advanced Nonstick Fry Pan, which is an excellent option for people who are looking for an all-around cooking tool. It’s lighter than most nonstick pans and it is constructed of hard-anodized aluminum, offering you both durability and convenience at the same time.
The design of the Anolon Advanced pan is the reason why it’s one of the finest on the market; namely, it boasts a vast, flat nonstick interior that is complemented by the oven and dishwasher-safe performance.
The slopes on the sides of this pan are specifically designed to provide even cooking and more control over the liquids; they are also layered with nonstick Teflon coating.
The last treat in Anolon Pan’s arsenal is the exquisite Sure-grip handle. It is dual-riveted for additional handling stability, and it also sports a built-in anti-heating cover that ensures you can use it even in the most extreme temperatures.
Although the market has substantially more expensive pan models to offer, Anolon’s Advanced Nonstick Fry Pan is not exactly cheap per se. However, it comes at a decently approachable price and offers excellent bang for the buck.
Blue Diamond Cookware Triple Steel Diamond-Infused Ceramic Nonstick Frying Pan
Blue Diamond Cookware’s triple-steel diamond-infused nonstick frying pan is easily one of the most aesthetically pleasing and convenient frying pans on our list. It’s exceptionally durable, beautiful in terms of outward appearance, and laden with a myriad of state-of-the-art technologies and features.
One of the best things about this frying pan is the fact that it comes available in multiple size options, ranging from 7 inches to 11 inches, all of which are supplied with the same features and offer the same benefits.
BDC’s triple-steel nonstick frying pan features robust construction and a layer of diamond-infused coating for extra durability. Its estimated lifespan is significantly longer in comparison to most similarly priced nonstick pans, and it can endure higher temperatures with ease.
The only downfall of this frying pan is that it doesn’t have pre-drilled hanging holes, so storage may be a bit of an issue. Nevertheless, it’s excellent for the money due to its impeccable durability and nearly unparalleled nonstick performance.
EOE Nonstick Skillet Frying Pan
The last pan model in this category is EOE’s Nonstick skillet frying pan. It is slightly smaller and cheaper than the ones we’ve covered so far; in terms of performance and versatility, it’s fairly close to most mid-range and perhaps several boutique models.
EOE’s pan features a hard-anodized aluminum construction; it sports a nonstick, non-warping cooking surface that is exceptionally easy to clean and control.
Additionally, this pan features five individual coatings that provide extra durability and more efficient heat transfer.
The double-riveted handle is sturdy and equipped with a hanging hole; however, it’s relatively thin and a bit harder to use because of it.
Best Pans for Frying
Frying pans are more economical, more practical, and generally simpler than frying machines. In essence, any cooking pan can be used for frying, but some models are slightly better suited for this particular situation.
Pans that are best for frying are typically the ones that feature nonstick surfaces, much like the models in the previous category. Since frying entails extreme temperatures, though, you should avoid Teflon-coated models.
It may be worthwhile to search for pans that come supplied with a top lid; these features will keep your hands safe from sizzling oil and the surroundings cleaner.
Ultimately it’s up to you to determine the budget; however, frying pans aren’t as flashy as ceramic ones and they don’t necessarily need to be as sturdy as cast-iron models. Let’s take a look at some of the finest frying pans available.
Cuisinart 622-30G Chef’s Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized Skillet Pan
Cuisinart is one of the leaders in the cookware market for a good reason. Their pans specifically are sturdier and lighter than most; moreover, nearly all of their models are supplied with unique, exquisite features.
The Chef’s Classic is a lightweight 12-inch frying pan that is built from hard-anodized aluminum. What makes this model unique is the fact that it sports a durable, non-porous frame that is both sturdy and chemical-free.
Furthermore, this frying pan comes supplied with a patented Quantanium interior; essentially, this feature includes a titanium-reinforced cooking surface that offers superb nonstick performance.
Cuisinart’s Chef’s Classic frying pan sports a drilled heat-resistant handle and a sturdy see-through lid.
Michelangelo 11-inch Frying Pan
Our runner-up for the frying pan category is Michelangelo’s 11-inch frying pan. It comes available in multiple size options, ranging from 8-inch to 12-inch variants.
The reason why this frying pan is unique is the stone-derived interior it comes equipped with. This nonstick cooking surface does not feature any chemical or artificial components, and it’s as durable as any Hard-anodized aluminum or stainless steel-based frying pan interior.
This model also comes supplied with a vented lid made of robust see-through glass; additionally, it’s equipped with a comfort-grip stainless steel riveted handle. The handle is resistant to heat and remarkably easy to use.
The only thing we didn’t particularly like about Michelangelo’s 11-inch frying pan is its performance under extreme temperatures. Namely, it’s oven safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a slightly lower temperature rating than average.
T-Fal B36290 Specialty Nonstick Jumbo Cooker Saute Pan
T-Fal’s B36290 Specialty pan is next on our list. In comparison to our earlier picks, the Specialty pan is bigger and heavier, which makes it better suited for preparing larger meals, but also for boiling and searing as well.
The first exquisite feature of this frying pan is the HMS technology; in short words, this feature combines three different layers that reinforce the interior of the pan. It is sturdy, nonstick, and boasts anti-warping properties.
Aside from the main riveted handle, the T-Fal B36290 also sports a side stainless-steel handle, which greatly helps with handling larger dishes and cleaning.
Gotham Steel Hammered Copper 10-inch Nonstick Fry Pan with Lid
Our final pick for this category is Gotham Steel’s Hammered Cooper 10-inch fry pan. This is the first copper-made pan on our list, but it’s also among the lightest and sturdiest models in the budget price range.
The nonstick properties of Gotham Steel’s frying pan are superior in comparison to the nonstick qualities of most stainless steel and aluminum-made pan models.
Some of the main benefits you can hope to reap by opting for this pan include absolute reliability and affordability. Even though it’s cheap, Gotham Steel’s sturdier than most entry-level cookware due to its scratch-resistant hammered-copper construction.
Best Pans for Gas Stove
Gas stoves are perfect for quick cooking, but they offer slightly less flexibility when it comes to the choice of a frying pan that you’ll want to use.
Since you will have less control over the flames on a gas stove you should look for a frying pan that can evenly distribute the heat across the cooking surface.
Furthermore, a frying pan for gas stoves should be more responsive to temperature shifts. Hard-anodized aluminum is a great conductor, but copper-made pans are superior. If you are looking for an all-around option, stainless-steel pans may do the trick.
The materials you should avoid are cast-iron and ceramic; pans made of these materials are not only more expensive, but they’re also less responsive.
Copper Chef 10-inch round frying pan with lid
Our top pick for this category is Copper Chef’s 10-inch frying pan. Essentially, it’s made of sturdy eco-friendly materials and boasts the exquisite Cerami-tech coating that provides non-porous properties.
Basically, this frying pan is perfect for gas stoves as it won’t warp or break under severe temperatures while also being superiorly reactive to drastic temperature changes.
Furthermore, Copper Chef’s frying pan offers a huge nonstick cooking surface that is very easy to clean. The last feature of this frying pan is the non-vented see-through lid that is both beautiful and durable.
Koch Systeme 11-inch Skillet Frying Pan with Lid
Regardless of whether you’re looking for a searing, frying, or cooking pan, you can rest assured that Koch Systeme’s model’s got your back.
The base material of this frying pan is copper, but it was reinforced with aluminum alloy and stainless steel for extra sturdiness. On the downside, it is slightly heavier because of it.
This frying pan is built to withstand decades of use and it can easily survive even the most severe temperatures.
Koch Systeme’s frying pan offers even heat distribution and superior responsiveness at a very affordable price, which are the main reasons why we think it’s one of the best cooking pans on the market.
KitchenAid Hard-Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan
If you don’t mind investing a couple of extra bucks in a quality cooking pan, we warmly recommend KitchenAid’s Hard-anodized nonstick fry skillet pan.
It’s supplied with a robust aluminum base that evenly spreads the heat, and it also boasts anti-warping properties that ensure its longevity.
Another reason why we loved KitchenAid’s skillet pan is the fact that it is remarkably simple to clean.
It boasts a flat nonstick interior that promotes quicker and easier food release. It’s not too expensive and boasts tremendous value for the money due to its balanced, well-rounded performance.
Frigidaire 11FFSPAN14 Ready Cook 2-Piece Stainless Steel Pans
The last model in this category is a bundle of two sauté cooking pans made of premium-quality stainless steel.
These frying pans are excellent for gas stoves as they can endure extreme temperatures (up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit). On top of that, they’re also sturdier than most copper and aluminum-made pans.
Both models feature riveted stainless-steel handles that are fairly comfortable and exceptionally resistant to heat.
In a nutshell, the 11FFSPAN14 Ready Cook bundle is an excellent choice for experienced chefs who are looking for sturdy nonstick cooking pans to use with their gas stoves.
Best Ceramic Pans
Ceramic is a material that offers excellent conductivity and decent responsiveness. People typically pick cooking pans made of these materials solely since they look better than iron, steel, or copper pans; ceramic pans do, however, bring other benefits to the table aside from plain aesthetics.
Ceramic–made pans are slightly flimsier than cast-iron or stainless-steel pans, but they seldom warp. They’re also highly resistant to scratches, so if you’re worried about the wear, you should probably consider a ceramic cooking pan.
We’ve taken a gander at what the market has to offer and have come up with the following list of the best ceramic cooking pans.
GreenPan Hudson Healthy Ceramic Nonstick Saute Pan
If you are looking for a spacious, durable, and versatile cooking pan, look no further than GreenPan’s Hudson ceramic Saute pan.
This model features a chemical-free ceramic construction and diamond-reinforced coating that provide it with an exceptional level of durability.
Its heat dispersion ability is staggering; furthermore, it can be used at temperatures up to approximately 320 degrees Fahrenheit.
This pan also comes supplied with a glass-made lid and a comfortable wooden handle; the only thing we didn’t like as much about it is its price tag, although it isn’t too expensive.
Ozeri 14-inch Green Earth Wok Smooth Ceramic Pan
Lovers of Chinese cuisine are going to absolutely love Ozeri’s Green Earth Wok pan. Aside from being huge and spacious, it’s also surprisingly light and nearly impervious to physical damages.
While the base of the Green Earth Pan is made of robust ceramic materials, the construction was reinforced with heavy-duty aluminum for extra durability.
This pan is also supplied with a heat-resistant non-riveted handle. It’s slightly cheaper than our previous pick and offers exceptional value for the buck due to its well-roundedness and sturdiness.
GreenLife Soft Grip Healthy Ceramic Nonstick 12-inch Frying Pan
Next up is GreenLife’s ceramic frying pan model, which is a beautifully designed piece of cookware that every chef worth their salt needs to have.
In terms of aesthetics, this pan is unmatched and unparalleled. It also comes available in seven different colors, including black, blue, burgundy, turquoise, lavender, pink, and more.
It features a non-riveted interior made of a blend of premium-quality aluminum and ceramic, offering much as far as sturdiness is in question.
Due to its aluminum coating, the GreenLife 12-inch pan can endure higher temperatures; namely, it’s oven safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Overall, it’s decently cheap, remarkably sturdy, and stunningly beautiful.
GreenPan Mini Healthy Ceramic Nonstick Egg Pan
Mini pans look absolutely adorable, but they’re also remarkably convenient for preparing quick, smaller dishes. The GreenPan Egg Pan brings compactness and affordability to the table, among numerous other benefits.
This is, by far, the lightest cooking pan in our review, and it’s also among the most affordable models on the list.
It features a riveted ceramic nonstick interior layered with aluminum coating; even so, it’s not as durable as some of our earlier picks, but it’s still fairly sturdy, especially if we consider its price.
This cooking pan is oven-safe up to approximately 392 degrees Fahrenheit, which easily tops the performance of most mid-range ceramic pans.
Best Cast Iron Pans
Cast iron would be the material of choice for people who value durability and heat retention above aesthetics and lightweight convenience. Pans made of this material are superior in the field of sturdiness, although they often look crude in comparison to steel, copper, and ceramic-made models.
One of the main benefits of cast-iron pans is impeccable heat retention. Even though they warm up slightly slower, pans made of cast iron remain scorching hot for extended periods of time.
Obviously, cast iron pots are unparalleled in robustness. They will seldom warp or break, although they are slightly easier to scratch. Again, you shouldn’t pick cast-iron pans for their looks. We’ve handpicked a couple of models that fit the bill for your convenience.
Cuisinel Pre-seasoned 12” Cast Iron Skillet Pan
We’re opening up this segment with one of the best-rounded cast iron pans available made by Cuisinel. Their 12-inch skillet pan is exceptionally versatile in the sense that it offers a one-in-all solution for all your cooking, broiling, baking, frying, searing, or grilling needs.
It is pre-seasoned and boasts a pre-seasoned nonstick surface that is exceptionally easy and simple to clean.
Cuisinel’s pan also features a lid made of tempered glass and a riveted handle made of top-shelf iron. Furthermore, you’ll also receive a silicone handle holder as a complementary feature.
Debo Carbon Steel 10” Frying Pan
Debo’s frying pan is the epitome of simplicity and convenience. This is a moderately sized cast-iron pan that was tailor-made for frying, although its nonstick interior will allow you to cook, broil, sauté or grill pretty much anything.
This pan features a construction comprised of a mixture of carbon and cast-iron, providing an optimal balance between weight and durability.
Furthermore, Debo’s pan offers exceptional heat retention and distribution. It is also equipped with a wooden handle that boasts exceptional heat insulation.
Even though it sports a nonstick interior, Debo’s Frying Pan is slightly more difficult to maintain. Nevertheless, it is well worth the buck due to its robustness, affordability, and compactness.
Rockwell Cookware Edging Casting 10-inch Pre-seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Pan
Rockwell Cookware’s 10-inch cooking pan offers sturdiness on multiple levels. First and foremost, this pan is built from some of the sturdiest cast-iron materials, but it also sports rust-resistant layers that further boost its longevity.
Secondly, this pan offers a smooth nonstick cooking surface that is as easy to control as it is simple to clean and maintain.
It’s decently cheap and moderately sized, and it is also available in several size options (up to 17 inches).
The only thing that we didn’t particularly like is the fact that it isn’t dishwasher-safe. Be it as it may, there are hardly many pan models that are as durable as Rockwell Cookware cast-iron skillet pan in the price range.
Cuisinart 623-24 Chef’s Classic 10-inch Crepe Pan
Let’s pull down the curtains with Cuisinart’s 623-24 10-inch Crepe Pan. Essentially, this model offers a slick nonstick surface, a robust construction, and tremendous heat retention capability.
The exterior of Cuisinart’s Chef’s Classic Crepe Pan features hard-anodized aluminum materials while the interior is comprised of top-shelf cast iron.
Another great feature of this cooking pan is the tapered rim that nearly completely eliminates the chance of liquids dripping out.
Lastly, this pan is remarkably cheap. Even though its qualities could make it your next go-to cooking pan, it can serve as an excellent backup in case your main one breaks or warps.
What Metrics Did We Use To Create These Rankings
Good cooking pans are dime a dozen, but the best ones are not so easy to find. Some pans may look good or feel sturdy, but will they remain so after a couple of months?
There are several elements that all the best cooking pans share, including long-term reliability, durability, heat dispersion, and adequate price.
Reliability refers to the pan’s capability of retaining its functionality despite the effects of ‘wear’.
The more we use our cookware, the more worn-out it becomes. Cheaper models degrade faster; in some cases, they warp, but in more serious cases they will affect the food as the debris seeps into it.
Those are some of the many reasons why nonstick pans are generally better and more reliable than ‘sticky’ ones. Multi-layer pans are less likely to cause problems in this field in comparison to plain non-coated and unfinished cooking pans.
Durability expresses the pan’s resistance to physical changes and alteration. Flimsy models are the first to break, but even some of the sturdiest pans can still warp and become less functional and, ultimately, less usable and valuable.
The main reason why durability is one of the most important elements of quality pans is fairly obvious – cooking makes the pan scorching hot, and if some part of it breaks you could severely hurt yourself.
The durability of a pan is largely determined by the material it is constructed of.
Cast-iron is undoubtedly the sturdiest material, but it’s also the heaviest and prone to rust and chipping.
Stainless steel is slightly flimsier; more expensive models are easily as sturdy as cast-iron-made ones.
Copper is as sturdy as steel, but it’s substantially more expensive.
Aluminum is much lighter than other cookware materials, but it’s also less durable. Hard-anodized aluminum, however, is in league with stainless steel.
Ceramic is the least durable cookware material. Pans made of it require the most attention and care.
Heat dispersion and reactivity
The way a pan reacts and disperses the heat should determine your approach to cooking different meals. Again, the cookware material severely influences both heat dispersion and reactivity of cooking pans.
Cast iron heats up rather slowly, but it retains heat much better than other cookware materials, keeping the food warm for longer.
Stainless steel offers inferior heat conductivity, but it offers decent heat reactivity to compensate for it.
Copper and aluminum are excellent heat conductors and provide outstanding levels of heat reactivity.
Ceramic pans are almost completely non-reactive, but they are much healthier to use. Ceramic cooking pans offer mediocre heat retention.
Our wallets usually dictate how much we are prepared to spend, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case with cookware.
Cheap cooking pans will end up breaking in weeks, if not days, which means you’ll throw a couple of bucks away before getting any real value from them. Better models are usually a bit more expensive and worthwhile investing in.
That’s the reason why the ‘adequate price’ is an essential component of the best pans on the market.
Pans that aren’t overpriced for the sake of a popular brand name or ‘exotic’ cookware materials fit the bill. There are numerous premium-quality pans in every price point category, so feel free to browse around before making a final decision.