How to Buy a New Frying Pan

How to Shop for a New Frying Pan

Cooking with a good frying pan can be the difference between a successfully prepared dinner and a big fat mess. You can use a frying pan to fry, steam, sauté or simmer vegetables, fruits, meats and grains with ease. A great pan should be comfortable to use, good for a variety of cooking methods, be reasonable priced and most important, last a lifetime.

Shopping for a good pan can be a costly and mind numbing task. Just walk into any housewares stores and look at all of the sizes, shapes, materials and celebrity name brands, its ridiculous. From shiny stainless steel, heavy cast iron and the countless space aged nonstick surfaces available, how is one to choose? This post will give you a good idea of what to buy when you purchase your next set of frying pan.

Nonstick Pans

Nonstick pans are everywhere these days. They are easy to use and clean, lightweight, are cheap and can be found everywhere. My issue is that they cannot be used over high heat, are not oven safe and you cannot use metal tools with them. The big huge problem is that the surface scrapes off into your food and can release toxic fumes over high heat.

*Do not buy nonstick pans, they stink!!!

Stainless Steel Frying Pans

These can be a great option for cook. They look great and cook foods evenly. I like the all clad style that holds heat evenly, are solidly constucted and are oven safe. The down side is that they are not nonstick so you need to use oil, good heat control and they can be hard to clean. This is link for one of my favorite pans made by Tramontina and available at Walmart for a great price.

Link for Tramontina 12 inch stainless steel pan

Seasoned Cast Iron Pans

These heavy-duty pans have been around for over 400 years. They hold heat evenly, are non-stick, oven safe, inexpensive, easy to clean and literally last forever. Cast iron pans need to be seasoned with oil and salt before cooking food to build up the non-stick surface.

You need to be careful with cast iron because they are very heavy and smoke like crazy over high heat. When cleaning, scrub well using hot water only and lightly oil after every use. You want to keep that seasoned nonstick surface in place and soap will wash it right off. I like the Lodge brand of cast iron and it can be found in any home good store or department.

Link for Lodge cast iron pan

Carbon Steel Pan

These are commonly used in the restaurant industry and are know as "French pans". They are light, heat up very quickly, oven safe, turn non stick after several uses and are easy to use. Just like cast iron they do need to be scrubbed with hot water only, to hold the seasoned nonstick surface. I just started using these pans and really like the ease of use and cleaning.

Link for Carbon Steel Pan


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