Thursday, May 30, 2024

The Best Stainless-Steel Pan (2024) for Searing, Roasting, and Everything Else You Need to Do on the Stovetop

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A great stainless-steel skillet, says Bon Appétit food director Chris Morocco, is a pan that “you will never get bored of, cannot destroy, and will never let you down.” High-quality stainless-steel cookware can withstand heavy use for decades—so, unlike something a short-lived as a nonstick frying pan, it’s a worthwhile investment. Home cooks and professional chefs alike rely on these skillets because they’re resilient and reliable; they’re oven-safe and can withstand high temperatures.

The best stainless steel pans

All-Clad D3 3-Ply Stainless Steel Fry Pan, 10 Inch

Ninja C90026 EverClad Commercial-Grade Stainless Steel 10.25-Inch Fry Pan

Mauviel M’Cook 5-Ply Polished Stainless Steel Frying Pan

Hestan NanoBond Titanium Stainless Steel 11-Inch Frying Pan

Nonstick pans might be convenient, but they quickly lose their coating and become unsafe for cooking. Cast-iron skillets might have high heat retention, meaning they hold a steady, stable temperature for a long time, but they require serious TLC. But anything you might make in those pans you can make in a stainless-steel skillet. You can sauté, stir-fry, and braise. They are excellent for searing steaks, chicken thighs, or fillets of salmon to a state of exquisite crustiness. You can make omelets, pan sauces, and caramel. And unlike nonstick cookware, you don’t need to tiptoe around stainless steel. With no nonstick coating to scratch, these pans can really take a beating from metal utensils.

Simply put, no kitchen’s cookware arsenal is complete without a stainless-steel skillet. But the prices on these babies vary widely. To find the right version for you, scroll down for our top picks, based on our hands-on experience in the test kitchen, plus recommendations from chefs around the country and our product-testing colleagues at Epicurious.


The best stainless-steel pan: All-Clad D3 Frying Pan

All-Clad D3 3-Ply Stainless Steel Fry Pan, 10 Inch

Of all the cookware that gets used in our test kitchen every day, editors are quick to praise All-Clad, a brand long considered synonymous with high quality stainless-steel cookware. All-Clad’s pans are the standard choice for our recipe developers just as they are for many professional chefs in restaurant kitchens and culinary schools across America. Deputy food editor Hana Asbrink notes that, regardless of whether it was an entry-level pan or a high-end one from All-Clad, she notices remarkable consistency. These pans don’t warp like some cheaper options do, and they heat evenly all the way across the pan. They are also, according to Hana, “largely indestructible.”

As Hana points out, All-Clad offers several lines of stainless steel with different kinds of cladding—that is, the layers of metal that make up the pan. But for the best value, we recommend the D3 Everyday line. These 3-ply pans contain a layer of aluminum bonded between two layers of stainless-steel cladding. The aluminum core allows the pan to heat up quickly and evenly and also makes it lighter and easier to wield than solid stainless-steel cookware.

The All-Clad D3 Frying Pan has a large cooking surface thanks to a gently sloped edge that also facilitates easy pouring. The 10″ and even 12″ fry pans from the D3 line are lightweight and easy to maneuver with one hand and have remarkably even heat distribution.

These pans have been around long enough to prove that they last (they have a limited lifetime warranty to back that up). One thing to note though: As tough and durable as these pans are, we still recommend hand-washing them. While stainless-steel pans in general tend to be dishwasher-safe, strong detergents will eventually dull the surface, and All-Clad pans in particular are known to wear away at the edges in the dishwasher, making them very sharp. Wash them by hand with soapy water and a sponge, and use a little Bar Keepers Friend to loosen stuck on gunk.

Specs:

Sizes: 10″, 12″, 14″
Weights (with lid): 3.5 lb., 4 lb., 5.5 lb.
Oven-safe to: 600°F


The best budget stainless-steel pan: Ninja EverClad Commercial-Grade Fry Pan

Ninja C90026 EverClad Commercial-Grade Stainless Steel 10.25-Inch Fry Pan

Ninja is best known for its budget-friendly small appliances like air fryers and blenders, and the brand is relatively new to the cookware game. However, during a recent side-by-side test of the best stainless-steel pans, the product reviews team from our sister site, Epicurious, dubbed Ninja’s Tri-ply Everclad pan the best budget pan, edging out more established affordable brands like Oxo, Cuisinart, and Tramontina. The pan heats quickly and adapts to temperature adjustments well, and while it did heat in the center more quickly than it does on the edges of the cook surface, the discrepancy was small compared to similarly priced competitors.



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