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The frying pan—sometimes called a skillet or sauté pan—is one of the most versatile pieces in your kitchen: it can be used to steam and fry gyoza, sear steaks, or serve as a flat top grill for pancakes and burgers (and so much more). Selecting your ideal frying pan depends on a number of factors, from how many people you normally feed, to how much maintenance you're willing to take on.
Whether you need a nonstick pan for sunny side up eggs or a cast-iron skillet for camping, look no further—you'll find The One on this list of the best frying pans for your kitchen.
Best Overall: Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 12-Inch Skillet
Long-lasting nonstick interior resists scratches
Oven safe to 500 degrees
Securely riveted handles
Hand wash only
Exterior appearance will deteriorate over time
This slope-sided pan has a hard-anodized exterior and a proprietary Quantanium nonstick interior, and is built to last much longer than the nonstick pans you can pick up at the grocery store. The glass cover is useful for steaming foods while the drip-free rim makes it easy to pour liquids from the pan without creating a mess.
The handles are designed to stay cool during cooking and are riveted on for security. The pan is oven-safe to 500 degrees and is approved to use with metal utensils.
Best Cast Iron: Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet With Assist Handle
Will last for a lifetime
Superior heat retention
Can be used on any cooktop
Requires additional maintenance to keep up seasoning
Cast iron frying pans have been much-loved for generations not only for how they cook, but also since they’re nearly indestructible. This pan comes pre-seasoned, so you can use it immediately, but it will become more nonstick with additional seasoning and continued use.
The pan can be used on any cooktop, including induction, as well as in the oven, on a grill, or over a campfire. Cast iron has superior heat retention and even heating, but the downside is that the handle can become hot during cooking. This pan comes with a silicone handle cover that solves that problem and can be removed to use with other pans. As with most cast iron pans, it should be hand washed.
Best Stainless Steel: All-Clad Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Fry Pan
Professional quality performance
Oven/broiler safe to 600 degrees
When it comes to frying pans, small ones are great for cooking a single egg or maybe two, but when you’re cooking for the whole family you need a lot more space. This 14-inch frying pan gives you enough room to cook burgers or pork chops or steaks for the family, while the stainless steel interior will give you a great sear. The polished starburst pattern inside helps keep food from sticking, and the flared sides make it easy to toss foods like a pro.
This large pan is oven and broiler safe up to 600 degrees, so you can start cooking on the stove and finish in the oven, and it’s induction compatible. It has an aluminum core on the bottom and up the sides of the pan which is totally covered with durable stainless steel for fast, even heating and easy cleaning by hand or in the dishwasher.
Best Enameled Cast Iron: Le Creuset Enameled Cast Signature Iron Handle Skillet
Beautiful appearance with a wide assortment of finishes
Excellent heat retention
Easier to care for than non-enameled cast iron
Compatible with any cooktop
While cast iron cookware is some of the most popular and durable out there, they do require regular maintenance in order to protect the surface from rust. If you want something that has the same durability but is easier to care for, consider this enameled cast iron pan by renowned French manufacturer Le Creuset. This heavyweight frypan has a black enameled interior that requires no additional seasoning and can sear, saute, and fry with very little oil.
Like traditional cast iron, the heat retention on this pan is outstanding. The large loop helper handle provides easy maneuvering, from the stove to the oven (it's oven/broiler safe to 500 degrees). You'll be able to use this on any cooktop, including induction, and it can be tucked into the dishwasher for easy clean up.
Best Copper: Mauviel M'heritage 250S 2.5mm Brushed Copper Skillet
Gorgeous finish and rustic aesthetic
Oven safe to 680 degrees
Professional quality built to last a lifetime
Copper needs to be polished to maintain shine
Copper cookware is known for its excellent responsiveness to changes in heat, durability, and wonderfully rustic aesthetic. Since 1830, Mauviel's copper pans have been the go-to for many professional French kitchens, and are now becoming very popular for avid home cooks. The M250S skillet is made with a 2.5mm thick copper exterior to provide excellent heat conductivity and control, and lined with non-reactive stainless steel to help preserve the taste and nutrients of the food. This skillet is oven safe up to 680 degrees, and can be used with most cooktops (but doesn't work with induction).
While this pan comes with a fairly hefty price tag (and lid sold separately), it is also backed by a lifetime warranty. Take care of this gorgeous pan by hand-washing it and occasionally polishing if you prefer a shiny finish—you'll be able to pass this down as a family heirloom one day.
Best Carbon Steel: Lodge Seasoned Carbon Steel Skillet
Lighter weight but similar performance to cast iron
Can be used on any cooktop
Requires special care to maintain seasoning
When cast iron is simply too heavy for your taste, the Lodge carbon steel pan is a fantastic alternative. Just like Lodge's classic cast iron pieces, this pan is made from an alloy of carbon and steel but in slightly different ratios —it gives you same the same heat conductivity but with a much thinner, lighter construction. This model comes pre-seasoned, so it's ready to use right out of the box, but the surface gets even better with time and use.
This 12-inch model provides plenty of surface area to cook for a crowd. You can use this pan on every cooking surface, including induction burners and straight on a campfire or BBQ grill. Maintenance is fairly easy for carbon steel, and just like with cast iron, it is durable enough to last a lifetime with proper care.
Best Set: Rachael Ray Cucina Hard Porcelain Enamel Nonstick Skillet Set
Great quality for the price
Included sizes are very versatile
Aluminum construction offers even heating
Not suitable for induction
This skillet set includes both a 9 1/4-inch and an 11-inch skillet, so you’ll always have the right pan for the job, whether you’re cooking an egg or two for your own breakfast, or you’re frying a pound of bacon for the family.
The modern yet rustic design will look at home in any kitchen. The nonstick interior is a warm espresso color, while the choice of exterior colors ensures you’ll find the one that’s perfect for your décor. These pans are made from aluminum for even heating and have a porcelain enamel exterior that can withstand heavy use. The handles have rubberized grips for a firm hold, and they are riveted on for safety.
The pans are oven-safe to 400 degrees but are not induction compatible.
Best Deep Skillet: Anolon 12-Inch Hard Anodized Nonstick Deep Skillet
Great for shallow frying, braising, and making sauces
Oven safe to 400 degrees
Nonstick interior stands up to metal utensils
Hand wash only
High sides might make it difficult to flip pancakes or burgers
A deep skillet is handy for shallow-frying chicken, for making or reducing sauces, and for braising, while still being very capable of frying burgers, bacon, or chops.
The exterior of this pan is an attractive bronze color and the comfortable grip on the riveted handle is color-coordinated. The heavy aluminum construction provides even heating and the pan is oven-safe to 400 degrees, so you can finish your food in the oven or use the pan for oven-braising. It’s also designed to withstand the heat needed to sear your steaks. The nonstick interior will not damage from the use of metal utensils, so you don’t need to worry about choosing the right spatula.
The glass lid holds in steam and heat and lets you check the food while it cooks. Sloped sides make it easy to slide pancakes or omelets out of the pan, while also making it easy to flip foods. This pan should be hand washed.
Best for Crepes: Le Creuset Cast Iron Crepe Pan
Holds heat well
Surface doesn’t heat evenly
Slow to warm
Entire pan gets hot, including the handle
Crepe pans are a special type of frying pan with very low sides, but you can certainly use them for more than crepes. They’re great for pancakes or eggs, and as a griddle pan for cooking any foods that won’t release a lot of moisture that could escape the low sides. This crepe pan from Le Creuset is no exception.
It's both beautifully designed and durable, with a sleek enamel exterior and a high-quality nonstick interior. This nonstick surface doesn't need breaking in like raw cast iron; this not only ensures that crepes and other foods won’t stick, but it also makes the pan easy to clean either with the dishwasher or by handwashing with soap and water.
While crepe-making takes practice, our tester has one caveat: you may need to make your crepes a bit smaller than usual so that the edges cook properly. "The areas where the pan overlapped with the burner were much hotter," she says.
Our top pick for best fry pan is the Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 12-Inch Skillet (found here) because of its durable construction, included glass cover, and easy-to-clean nonstick interior. If you're on a budget, the Rachael Ray Cucina Nonstick Frying Pan Set (here) gives you great performance and two sizes of pans at a great price point.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
The author of this piece, Donna Currie, is a food writer and product tester for The Spruce Eats. A self-professed "kitchen geek," she's written about a wide range of essential kitchen items, from the best Thanksgiving gadgets to the top seafood kitchen tools of the year.