Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Cuisinart 722-36H Chef's Classic Skillet at Amazon
"Attractive design and it won’t stain, discolor, or react with foods."
Best Cast Iron: Lodge Cast Iron Skillet at Amazon
"This pre-seasoned cast iron skillet is ready to cook with as soon as it arrives."
Best Nonstick: Anolon Nouvelle Copper Nonstick Skillets at Amazon
"They’re made from hard-anodized aluminum for easy food release."
Best Electric: Presto 06857 Electric Foldaway Skillet at Amazon
"Use it to stir-fry veggies, sear meat, and make delicious breakfast food."
Best Budget: Farberware Aluminum Nonstick Skillet Set at Amazon
"This three-pack includes nonstick skillets at an affordable price."
Best High-End: Le Creuset Signature Iron Handle Skillet at Amazon
"Combines the advantages of cast iron while being easy to maintain."
Best Copper Pan: Mauviel M'Heritage Copper Frying Pan at Amazon
"A frying pan that’s both beautiful and functional."
01 of 07
Best Overall: Cuisinart 722-36H Chef's Classic Stainless 14-Inch Open Skillet
This classic stainless steel skillet is made from 18/10 stainless steel with a mirror finish. It won’t stain, discolor, or react with foods, and you never need to worry about using metal utensils or scraping the pan with a metal spatula to get under foods.
The cast aluminum handles are riveted on for security, and they’re designed to stay cool during cooking while providing a sure grip. The aluminum-encapsulated base heats fast and distributes the heat evenly, so you won’t have hot spots. The pan is oven safe to 550 degrees, so you can use it on the stovetop, in the oven, and even under the broiler. It’s also freezer-safe.
The rim of the pan is designed so you can pour liquids from the pan with fewer drips and spills, and the helper handle makes it easier to move the pan or pour, even when the pan is very full.
The pan is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
02 of 07
Best Cast Iron: Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
This pre-seasoned 10 1/4-inch cast iron skillet is ready to cook with as soon as it arrives, and it gets better with every use. While the pan doesn’t have a nonstick coating, a well-seasoned cast iron pan rivals non-stick and can even be used for cooking eggs that would cling to a stainless steel pan. Even better, this pan is affordable, very durable, and made in the USA. It’s a pan that can be passed down as an heirloom to younger generations.
Cast iron is known for heat retention and even heating, so it keeps its heat during cooking and stays warm for longer than other metal types. It’s oven and broiler safe and can be used for baking, including making skillet cornbread. It can also be used as a roasting pan for small roasts or chickens.
This pan has a helper handle that makes it easier to move, but the handles tend to get hot during cooking so a pot holder or handle cover is recommended. This should be washed by hand and dried right away. Occasional re-seasoning might be required, depending on what you cook in it. This can be used on any stovetop, including induction, as well as on a grill or campfire.
03 of 07
Best Nonstick: Anolon Nouvelle Copper Hard Anodized Nonstick Skillets
This set includes both an 8-inch and a 10-inch skillet, so you’ll always have one handy. They’re made from hard-anodized aluminum for great heat distribution and easy food release. The surface is metal-utensil safe, so you can use any utensils you own.
The base of the pan has a layer of aluminum encapsulated with copper, then another layer of aluminum, followed by a stainless steel cap. This gives it superior heat distribution and excellent heat control. Because of the stainless steel, it can be used on induction cooktops.
The handles are riveted on for security, but the rivets are flush on the inside for easy cleaning. The pans are oven safe to 500 degrees. They do not come with lids.
04 of 07
Best Electric: Presto 06857 16-inch Electric Foldaway Skillet
For the sturdiest electric skillet money can buy, the Presto 16-inch Electric Foldaway Skillet is a top-rated product that boasts a variety of cutting-edge-yet-dependable features. Crafted from heavy cast aluminum that’s nonstick on both the exterior and interior, this skillet is equally great for preparing big family meals as it is for making quick, one-pot stovetop dishes. You can use it to stir-fry veggies, sear meat, make delicious breakfast food, and more.
The Presto skillet measures 19" x 12" x 8" and has a built-in spout, that also doubles as a spoon and spatula holder, so you can easily pour liquids from it. In addition, the lid is made of tempered glass and, thanks to the skillet’s stay-cool handles, you don’t need oven mitts when handling it.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Best Budget: Farberware Aluminum Nonstick Skillet Set
Need multiple skillets? This three-pack includes an 8-inch, a 10-inch, and an 11-inch skillet at an affordable price, so you’ll always have the one you need. Or keep two at home, and send an extra to college with your kid. Since they’re so inexpensive, they’re ideal for a vacation home, but they’re sturdy enough for everyday home cooking, too.
These skillets are made from heavy gauge aluminum for fast and even heating, and the nonstick surface means your omelet will let go easily when you make breakfast. The handles stay cool while cooking and the pans are oven safe to 350 degrees. That’s not as high as some higher-priced pans, but warm enough to finish a steak in the oven or keep your hash browns warm.
For easy cleaning, you can wash these in the dishwasher. These do not include lids but they're available in several different colors to match your kitchen or add a pop of color.
06 of 07
Best High-End: Le Creuset Signature Iron Handle Skillet
This Le Creuset pan combines the advantages of cast iron while being easy to maintain. It has a black enamel interior that never needs seasoning and a brightly colored exterior, available in multiple colors to match your kitchen or add a pop of color. The interior resists staining and dulling, and it’s very durable.
This pan has a long handle as well as a large loop-shaped helper handle that makes it safer and easier to move the pan, even when it’s full. Because it’s made of cast iron, it retains heat well and it stays hot for longer than stainless or aluminum pans. Like any cast iron pan, this is heavy, so you might not be using it for flipping vegetables or pasta, and it will be even heavier when it’s full.
Unlike standard cast iron pans, this is dishwasher safe for very easy cleaning.
07 of 07
Best Copper Pan: Mauviel M'Heritage Copper Frying Pan
If you’re looking for cookware that’s both beautiful and functional, this 11.8-inch frying pan might be just what you need. The pan is made from copper on the exterior, for super-quick response to heat changes as well as even heating across the whole surface of the pan. It has a thin layer (just 10 percent of the pan) of 18/10 stainless steel on the interior that’s non-staining, non-reactive, and easy to clean.
The handles are cast stainless steel and they stay cool during cooking. There is a similar pan with brass handles that might be more attractive, but those handles tend to get hot during cooking.
While copper is beautiful, it darkens with use and age. Some cooks enjoy the look of that patina, but if you prefer a bright and shiny pan, it will require cleaning and polishing to keep it that way.
This is not suitable for induction cooktops as is, but the manufacturer says it works well with a disc to transfer heat. The pan is made in France.
What to Look for in a Skillet
Type When it comes to skillets, there are options galore. From stainless steel to cast iron to copper, skillets are made from a variety of different materials and have various cooking capabilities. How frequently you cook—plus the types of food you make—will help you narrow your choices. If you cook a lot, you’ll likely want several different types of skillets.
Size Do you typically cook for a crowd, or are solo dinners more your thing? Skillets come in a variety of sizes, from those designed to fry a single egg to ones that can cook up grub for the whole family.
Ease of use How much effort you want to put into cooking (and cleaning up!) should also be a factor you consider when choosing a skillet. Some are ready to go out of the box, while others require seasoning and other special treatment. Some allow you to use any utensil, while others, like ones with non-stick surfaces, require the use of special utensils so they don't get scratched. Also, note the type of handle a skillet has and if you’ll need hot pads or other protection while cooking.