Frying pans, also known as skillets, are one of the most important tools in any kitchen. They are used for cooking everything from eggs to pancakes to sautéed vegetables and meats. Frying pans are available in various sizes, materials, and designs, making it easy for cooks of all levels to find one that suits their needs.
Choosing the Right Frying Pan
When choosing a frying pan, there are several things to consider. The size of the pan is one of the most important factors, as it will determine how much food you can cook at once. A smaller pan is perfect for cooking eggs or a single serving of vegetables, while a larger pan is ideal for cooking larger quantities of food.
The material of the frying pan is also important. Nonstick pans are popular because they require less oil or butter to cook with, making them a healthier option. However, stainless steel pans are also a great choice as they are durable, easy to clean, and can be used on any cooktop.
Cast iron pans are another popular option because they distribute heat evenly and retain heat well, making them perfect for cooking steaks and other meats. However, cast iron pans are heavy and require seasoning before use, which may be intimidating for some home cooks.
Using Your Frying Pan
Using a frying pan is relatively simple, but there are a few things to remember. First, it’s important to preheat the pan before adding any food. This will ensure that the food cooks evenly and prevents sticking.
When cooking with a nonstick pan, using non-metal utensils is important to avoid scratching the surface. Metal utensils can damage the nonstick coating, causing it to flake off and potentially contaminate your food.
When cooking meats, it’s important to let them sit in the pan for a few minutes before flipping them. This will ensure that a nice crust forms and the meat doesn’t stick to the pan.
As a safe alternative, stainless steel, ceramic, glass, and cast-iron pots and pans are the go-to materials to avoid risky ingredients seeping into your food
A good frying pan can make all the difference in the kitchen. It’s worth investing in a high-quality frying pan that will last for years and make cooking a breeze. With proper care and maintenance, your frying pan will be a trusty tool in your culinary arsenal.
Stainless Steel Frying Pans. Best for: Almost any food that needs frying, browning, or searing.
Cast-Iron Frying Pans. Best for: Almost any food that needs searing, including steak and burgers.
Copper Frying Pans. Best for: Delicate proteins like fish and seafood, melting sugar, making candy, and sauces.
Nonstick Frying Pans
Best for: Scrambled or fried eggs, pancakes, fish, grilled cheese, and any other food that has a high probability of sticking to a typical pan. With nonstick skillets, these foods slide easily from frying pan to plate.
The details: These pans solve the frustration of food sticking, and they require little oil for cooking. Plus they’re lightweight, easy to clean, and affordable. But they can’t take the high heat of a cast-iron or stainless steel frying pan. “You’re not going to get much of a sear in a nonstick pan,” says Cindy Fisher, who conducted Consumer Reports’ cookware tests.
And they don’t last as long as cast-iron, stainless, or copper frying pans. “Nonstick is going to wear out the fastest,” Nitahara says. “The nonstick coating is fragile, and once you scratch it, it’s hard to flip an egg.”
In our tests of nonstick pans, we cook four eggs in quick succession. An excellent rating means all four eggs easily slid out of the pan. A poor rating indicates that some egg residue was left behind. To test nonstick durability, we rub the pan with steel wool for 2,000 strokes or until the coating has worn through.
Here are two recommended nonstick skillets from CR’s tests.
Stainless Steel Frying Pans
Best for: Almost any food that needs frying, browning, or searing. Because it’s ovenproof, stainless is also a good choice for foods that you start on the stovetop and then move to the oven to finish, like thick pork chops.
The details: Nitahara says that 95 percent of the pans used in the CIA’s teaching kitchens are stainless steel because they can take a lot of punishment. “The only time we don’t use them is on egg day, when we use nonstick,” he says. He adds that the shiny surface of a stainless pan makes it easy to see whether your food is browning.
Caring for Your Frying Pan
Proper care and maintenance are essential to extend the life of your frying pan. When cleaning a nonstick pan, avoiding using abrasive sponges or harsh cleaners is important, as they can damage the nonstick coating. Instead, use a soft sponge or cloth and mild soap to clean the pan.
For stainless steel and cast iron pans, it’s important to clean them immediately after use to prevent food from sticking. Cast iron pans should be seasoned regularly to maintain their nonstick properties and prevent rusting.
When storing your frying pan, it’s best to stack it with other cookware or hang it on a pot rack to prevent scratches and dents.
In conclusion, frying pans are an essential tool for any home cook. When choosing a frying pan, consider the size and material to find one that suits your needs. When using your frying pan, preheat it before adding any food, and use non-metal utensils when cooking with nonstick pans. Proper care and maintenance will extend the life of your frying pan, so be sure to clean it properly and store it appropriately. By following these tips, you can enjoy cooking with your frying pan for years to come.