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How to Choose the Best Frying Pan for You

An in-depth guide exploring the best frying pan materials and the types of pans available.

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The frying pan is an incredibly versatile and handy piece of cooking equipment. It can be used to cook pancakes, sear steaks, and scramble eggs, making them a kitchen staple and beloved pan for many home cooks and professional chefs.

Known for its round shape, sloping sides and handle, the frying pan also comes in a variety of sizes, so you can find the right one for you and your lifestyle. But which frying pan is right for you? And how do you choose the best frying pan?

What is it you are hoping to get out of your frying pan? Although the name suggests that this specific pan is perfect for frying (which it is), you can use a frying pan for a variety of cooking techniques and methods. Do you need a large frying pan for batch frying of vegetables and meat, or a small frying pan that is ideal for frying a single egg or for melting butter?

Aside from the meals you wish to use the frying pan for, you will also want to consider the size, material, weight, and coating. Each coating and material have its own benefits - it all comes down to personal preference - but before purchasing a brand new frying pan, take the time to research the different types that are currently available.

What to Look for When Choosing a Frying Pan

Frying pans come in a variety of materials and coatings, so consider whether you prefer non-stick frying pans or uncoated frying pans, as well as which material you'd prefer for the body of your pan. While our Pots and Pans Buying Guide provides in-depth information on a variety of cookware, here's our guide exploring the best frying pan materials and their impressive features. 

Aluminium

Aluminium creates excellent heat conduction and is great at resisting rust and corrosion due to its anti-tarnish properties. Offers lightweight properties, which is ideal for those who are avoiding heavy cookware.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is not as strong of a heat conductor as aluminium, which is why we've added aluminium to the base or in the middle layer (found in our Tri Ply ranges) during construction. By adding aluminium to the base via a plate or as a middle layer, it helps spread the heat evenly for great cooking results.

Anodised Aluminium

A hardwearing material that is dent and scratch-resistant while also offering fantastic heat conductivity and heat distribution. 

Copper

Many professional chefs use copper frying pans and saute pans because of their excellent heat conductivity and heat distribution. A copper pan captures and spreads heat more effectively than any other pan type. 

Ceramic

Our ProCook Professional Ceramic range features an aluminium pan body for improved heat conductivity and a ceramic coating that???s applied to the frying pan's cooking surface. The ceramic coating requires less oil to cook and also includes a scratch-resistant surface for improved durability.

Cast Iron

Cast iron frying pans (commonly referred to as skillets), are durable and ideal for slow cooking or searing meats - depending on what you need. Unlike other material types, cast iron can be slow to heat up but hold the heat well - ideal for searing meats.

Carbon Steel

Offers impressive heat conduction for consistent cooking results.

The Best Frying Pan Material

Shop Our Professional Anodised Shop Our Professional Ceramic Shop Our Gourmet Stainless Steel

Deciding on whether a non-stick or uncoated frying pan is best for you can be difficult. Both have their own unique benefits, so it comes to personal preference.

TypeBenefitsLimitations
Non-Stick
Reduces the need for oil or fats
Helps prevent food from sticking and burning to the frying pan
Easier and faster clean up
Ideal for cooking eggs, pancakes, and other sticky foods
Should not be used for high-temperature cooking
Can be easily scratched
Cannot be used with metal utensils
Extra care is needed to preserve the non-stick coating
Uncoated (Natural Finish)
Perfect for searing ingredients like meat and tofu
Can be used on a high heat
Aids in browning food
Extra cooking oils and fats are required to prevent food from sticking
Extra lubrication can add additional calories to your meal

Non-Stick Vs. Uncoated Frying Pans

Shop Our Professional Stainless Steel Uncoated Shop Our Gourmet Non-Stick What is Uncoated Cookware?

What is the Best Non-Stick Frying Pan?

To ensure you're selecting the best non-stick frying pan, you'll want to consider what you're planning to use it for, as this can determine the size of the pan and whether a non-stick coating is best. A good non-stick frying pan can help you achieve an impressive sear and browned crust if used correctly, and will help prevent food from sticking or burning to the frying pan's surface.

When using a frying pan with a non-stick coating, be careful not to use metal utensils. Metal utensils can cause abrasions to the frying pan, damaging the coating and lessening its effectiveness.

Shop Our Non-Stick Cookware

Check the Thickness of the Frying Pan

While material construction could be considered the most important element to consider when buying a frying pan, you should also check the thickness of the pan. Although it comes to personal preference, thicker frying pans are generally preferable. A thicker pan has a greater distance between the cooking surface and the heat source, so by the time the heat reaches the cooking surface, it will have spread evenly which is ideal for consistent cooking results.

Which Frying Pan is Most Lightweight?

Lightweight frying pans can be desirable as it makes picking them up and moving them much easier. They can also be useful for those who may be physically unable to lift and use heavier pans. Of course, the material and thickness of the frying pan can determine the pan's overall weight.

Aluminium, stainless steel, and ceramic pans can be incredibly lightweight, whereas cast iron and copper frying pans are usually much heavier.

Large Frying Pans or Small Frying Pans?

Like saucepans and woks, frying pans come in a variety of sizes. However, choosing your size of frying pan boils down to the question 'What???s the smallest pan I can use without risking overcrowding?'. Preventing overcrowding should be your top priority, as overcrowding or overlapping of ingredients can cause a great deal of moisture that lowers the temperature of the pan.

When shopping for a frying pan, keep the following tips in mind when it comes to frying pan sizes:

  • Small frying pans can evenly distribute heat more easily and can also reach high temperatures that may be difficult for larger pans. Ideal for cooking eggs, melting butter, or searing meats.
  • A medium-sized frying pan could be considered the standard within households as it allows you to fit more ingredients into your pan without the risk of overcrowding. If you do not have a dedicated saute pan, a medium-sized frying pan can do the job just as well.
  • Large frying pans mean a large amount of food can be cooked without overcrowding. You do not have to worry about losing heat retention if you have enough ingredients in the pan, as they will also hold the heat.

How are Frying Pans Measured?

A frying pan's size is usually determined by measuring from wall top to wall top, rather than the diameter of the cooking surface (base edge to base edge). This is how we measure our frying pans, and all our frying pans are listed with their measurements as well as a diagram to show where we have measured from for extra clarity.

TIP: Having a selection of frying pans in varying sizes can be beneficial. Rather than trying to squeeze your ingredients into a pan that is too small or cooking a single egg in a pan that is much too larger, frying pan sets with various pan sizes can make cooking much more efficient.

Gourmet Stainless Steel Frying Pan with Lid Set 24 & 28cmTypical Price £129Only £89Shop Now
Gourmet Non-Stick Frying Pan 24cmTypical Price £38Only £29Shop Now
Elite Forged Frying Pan Set 2 Piece - 26 & 30cmTypical Price £229Only £129Shop Now
Elite Tri-Ply Frying Pan Set 3 Piece - 22, 26 & 30cmTypical Price £299Only £169Shop Now

Rivets are usually found where the handle is attached to the frying pan. While rivets do not impact a frying pan's cooking abilities, rivetless frying pans can look more attractive with their sleek and seamless finish.

Rivets require a more thorough cleaning than a rivetless frying pan, as bacteria can build up around the rivets. For those looking for frying pans that are easy to maintain and quick to clean, then a rivetless frying pan may be preferable.

TIP: We chose rivets over 'screw-in' handles because rivets provide greater stability and will never come loose, improving the frying pan???s longevity.

Rivet or Rivetless Frying Pans?

Shop Our Elite Tri-Ply Shop Our Elite Tri-Ply Uncoated Shop Our Elite Forged

Much like the body and surface of a frying pan, there are various handle types. Different shapes, styles and materials are used when making handles for frying pans, so finding one that you prefer can improve your cooking experience by offering greater comfort.

Silicone handles are great for comfort but also keep cool when cooking at high temperatures. If silicone handles are not your preference, then look for frying pans that feature a stainless steel handle as they are less conductive than aluminium handles.

TIP: All our handles are designed with comfort and usability in mind. Certain ranges feature CoolTouch® technology and are made from stainless steel, so you can comfortably hold and move the frying pan without the risk of it being too hot to touch. Some of our ranges also include stay-cool silicone handles which are also great for improved comfort and handling.

The Different Frying Pan Handle Types

Always check the manufacturer's instructions before using your frying pan for the first time. Certain frying pans may require seasoning, whereas others may simply ask you to wash your frying pan before use.

ProCook frying pans do not require seasoning; simply wash before using. 

Do I Need to Season a Frying Pan?

It's always best to refer to the manufacturer's cleaning instructions. However, here are some general cleaning guidelines when it comes to caring for your frying pans.

  • Never leave empty frying pans on your hob
  • Allow your frying pan time to cool before immersing it in water. Not doing so can cause the pan to warp.
  • Use  Pan Protectors when stacking frying pans - this can stop pans from scratching another pan's surface
  • Double-check whether frying pans are dishwasher safe before placing them into a dishwasher
  • If washing by hand, rinse thoroughly, use washing up liquid, and dry the pan completely before storing

How to Care for Your Cookware

Frying Pan Care and Use

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