There are many types of frying pans available from cast iron to ceramic, non-stick Teflon coated, copper, and stainless steel. A search of the top restaurants and the kitchens of the top chefs will reveal that they all have a few of the best stainless-steel frying pans.
House and Tech is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More.
When looking to purchase the best stainless steel frying pan it might be an idea to first compare stainless steel to other types of frying pans.
Stainless Steel vs Cast Iron Frying Pan
The oldest and still quite popular option is cast iron pots and pans. These frying pans are usually forged from a single sheet of steel and will naturally be much heavier than the stainless steel version. The handle, which is all part of the single forge, is also usually short to make handling easier. Tossing pancakes, onions, or vegetables in a cast iron frying pan would be very difficult and someone with weak wrists would not be comfortable with this option.
Cast iron also needs to be well cared for right from the start. It would need to be cured, or seasoned, to create a protective patina and ensure that food does not stick. After use it needs to be carefully cleaned and lightly oiled to prevent rust.
Stainless Steel vs Non-stick Frying Pans
The big craze for some time now has been the “non-stick” frying pan such as Teflon coated pans. Unlike stainless steel, these frying pans are coated with a layer of Teflon which is, in reality, a plastic layer.
Although very convenient and initially very effective, there are many drawbacks. Don’t use metal spoons or utensils on these frying pans. Beware of overheating them, plastic, and very high heat do not go well together. Clean carefully and avoid scrubbing or scouring. They also tend to heat unevenly compared to stainless steel which can also handle higher heat and won’t warp, something that is possible with the non-stick pans.
Stainless Steel vs Ceramic Frying Pans
Another non-stick option is ceramic, with much the same properties as Teflon. Ceramic is a natural mineral product and is very hard, but is more fragile and prone to chipping. A plastic overlay is often applied which then makes it more sensitive to high heat.
One of the main reasons chefs prefer stainless steel is their ability to take the heat. The feedback from years is that over time the ceramic pans tend to lose the non-stick function and start to heat unevenly.
The best stainless steel frying pans should have one of the following features, an aluminum core, to help the pan heat up more quickly and to retain the heat. Some might have an encapsulated bottom or the most efficient being the Tri-ply. Tri-ply is a method of bonding three layers of metal usually stainless steel with either aluminum or copper in a ratio of 18/10.
The aluminum core heats up quickly but does not retain heat well, the stainless steel, however, retains heat well once heated up. This combination provides for an even heat distribution and perfect cooking experience.
Other important characteristics of stainless steel frying pans are their durability. One critic said they were “most difficult to destroy”. They are sturdy and don’t warp and can even go into the oven and take a high degree of heat.
Stainless steel is easy to maintain, easy to clean after a warm soapy soak and is dishwasher proof. A word of warning, however, allow the pan to cool off before immersing in cold water. Quality pans are easy to clean but this is even easier with a compact countertop dishwasher.
To get the best results with stainless steel don’t do what you do with non-stick. Don’t add the food while the pan is heating up, preheat the pan first before adding oil and food to ensure there is no sticking. The correct heat at the start and during the cooking process is the secret to success with stainless steel pans.
Your stainless steel frying pan can be used for almost anything from frying to browning, searing, sauteed vegetables, sauces, especially tomatoes or vinegar which would react with the coating of non-stick or cast iron pans.
Actually, there is very little that can’t be done in a stainless steel frying pan. You can try fish, meat, chops, stews, one-pan meals, even a whole bird. The curved lip and lightweight make it easy for tossing say onions or veggies.
If you are worried about your stainless steel frying pan sticking, this video has some good advice.
Let’s face it, the bright shiny stainless steel finish just looks so good on display in the kitchen.
The 5 Best Stainless Steel Frying Pans:
We have done extensive research and assessed many critics and reviews to bring you the following selection of the 5 best stainless steel frying pans.
1. Cuisinart-MCP 22-24N Multiclad Stainless Steel Frying Pan
The Cuisinart MCP is the flagship of the Cuisinart range which draws its inspiration from the great French kitchens. The Multiclad Pro (MCP) design features a triple layer of high-quality materials. The central core of pure aluminum is bonded with stainless steel on the inside of the cookware and brushed stainless steel on the exterior.
This construction technique, known as “Heat Surround Technology” ensures even heat distribution through the bottom and sides of the cookware and eliminates hot spots. Stainless steel does not react with foodstuffs, even acids such as vinegar and tomatoes, and helps to retain the natural food flavors.
The range has a variety of pots and pans as options, with and without lids, and ideal for all types of cooking, from frying to braising, sautéing vegetables, simmering sauces, and pasta.
The handle design has been updated to give you cool grip at all times while on the stove and the rivet thumb rests ensure perfect control and balance when pouring or lifting. The pan also features a tapered rim for easy pouring and avoiding any dripping. The Cuisinart works equally well on gas, electric, or induction stovetops.
This is a brand highly sought after by professional chefs.
2. All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel Frying Pan
All-Clad Metalcrafters, made in the USA, has a proud history promising excellence and performance. Crafted in their factory in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania using top quality American stainless-steel, these products feature three alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum bonding from rim to rim. The rigorous testing of each piece enables a lifetime guarantee of perfection and performance.
The 10-inch frying pan, also available at 12 inches, has sloping edges so that turning and flipping are easy. It is also large enough to handle two or three chicken breasts. The surround core ensures even heat distribution and is ideal for all cooking techniques, including searing, simmering, sautéing.
It can easily transfer to the broiler or oven and can handle up to 600 degrees F. The stainless-steel contoured handle, secured with stainless steel rivets, remains cool on the stovetop.
The highly polished cooking surface has a starburst finish, ensuring that there is no reaction with food, little or no sticking, and easy cleaning and maintenance.
The frying pan and the lid are not only oven proof, but completely safe in the dishwasher. Should there be any stubborn remains, this can be easily removed with white vinegar and water or a special powder for cleaning stainless-steel.
Whether you are a beginner, a home cook, or a professional, All-Clad will satisfy your needs and requirements and give you years of trouble and maintenance free cooking pleasure.
3. Tramontina- 80116-007D2 Induction Ready Stainless Steel Frying Pan
This stunning range of stainless steel products is made in Brazil and assembled in the USA.
The Tramontina 12 inch frying pan is constructed in the Tri-Ply clad technique, with 18/10 stainless steel on the outside of an Aluminum core and magnetic stainless steel on the inside of the pan.
The exterior is mirror-polished and is both easy to clean and very attractive. The interior has a satin finish adding elegance and style. This is a truly quality product, meeting professional standards through an NSF certification.
For stability and ease of use, an ergonomically designed stainless steel cast handle is riveted seamlessly onto the pan.
The Tri-Ply clad construction allows for even heat transfer and distribution not only at the bottom but all round the sides allowing for the best cooking experience and eliminating hot spots. Stainless steel locks in the flavors and nutrients of the food and does not react with acidic ingredients, ensuring the best results for amateur and professional cooks.
Your Tramontina frying pan can be used on any stovetop, including induction, and is safe in the oven for temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. For cleaning purposes, just pop it into the dishwasher, it will be completely safe.
This durable cookware that can withstand the rigors of a busy professional kitchen comes with a lifetime guarantee.
4. Cuisinart CSK 150 Non-stick Electrical Stainless Steel Frying Pan
The electric skillet, or frying pan, is a revolution, especially to the younger set. It is a convenient way to rustle up a quick meal all in one pan.
The Cuisinart is a 1500-watt electric skillet, constructed of brushed stainless steel with temperature control from warm up to 450 degrees F. This is adjusted by way of a control probe with an adjustable dial and indicator light.
The oval cooking surface is non-stick and measures 12-by-15 inches. Included is a snugly fitting glass cover, with stainless steel rim and handle, to seal in all the moisture and flavors of the food. A stainless handle on each side ensures a safe transfer from the kitchen to the dining room table.
With the temperature probe removed, the Cuisinart electrical frying pan is completely dishwasher safe and complies with North American Electrical Standards. The product comes complete with an instruction manual and a book of 30 recipes.
Some of the customer reviews speak highly of the results with steaks, chicken, pork chops, bacon, hamburgers and many more. The cleaning is quick and easy and there is less splatter as compared to shallower skillets. Some users claim it stays on the kitchen counter along with the kettle.
5. Calphalon Classic Stainless Steel Frying Pan
The Calphalon Classic 2 piece offers an 8-inch and a 10-inch frying pan. These pans are impact-bonded aluminum-based for rapid and even heating. The body is brushed stainless steel. These pans are safe to use from the stove to the oven, under the broiler, and finally to cleaning in the dishwasher.
The long ergonomic handles remain cool while the pan sizzles on the stove and gives a secure grip, even with a full load, and is double riveted. The bottoms are flat and wide, ideal for fish or chicken fillets, through the even heat distribution of the bonded base.
Something unique to Calphalon is the “fill lines” for easy measuring and a lid cover with straining holes for draining liquids. The sides have a gentle slope and the edges are flared, ideal design for doing eggs, omeletes, sautéing and tossing veggies, and all the browning and searing requirements.
Calphalon stainless frying pans are covered by a full lifetime guarantee.
Fry From Room Temperature
Try not to cook from the refrigerator to the pan. Let the food sit outside the fridge for 10 – 20 minutes so it gets close to room temperature. Preheat the pan on medium heat, high heat might make it too hot and cause sticking. Always keep your cookware clean, this will avoid staining.
How to Season Food On a Stainless Steel Frying Pan
The best and quickest way to season your stainless steel frying pan is to cover the base of the pan with flaxseed oil, turn up the gas and heat until the oil starts to smoke. Turn off the gas and allow the pan to cool, drain the oil, and your pan is seasoned. If you wash and clean the pan thoroughly, you will need to repeat this process until you learn to manage the heat like a pro.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are stainless steel frying pans any good?
Stainless steel frying pans are durable, sturdy, and long-lasting. They retain heat and distribute it well and therefore cook more evenly. A quality stainless steel frying pan is a must in every kitchen.
Why use stainless steel?
Firstly because of the even heat distribution, but also if used properly food won’t stick and the steel won’t leech into the food. They are durable and if looked after will last for a very long time.
Are stainless steel frying pans non-stick?
The answer is Yes and No. The reason food sticks in a stainless steel frying pan is heat, too much of it. When used correctly they are relatively non-stick.
Why is food sticking to my stainless steel frying pan after seasoning?
As above, even though your pan looks smooth, there are bumps and divots on the surface, and if your heat is too high or too low your food might stick.
Every kitchen needs a few quality stainless-steel frying pans. Invest in a quality one, look after it and you will enjoy many years of good cooking. We have highlighted a few important things to consider and looked at the 5 best stainless-steel frying pans available right now. There is something for every budget and all your needs.
Non-stick has only limited uses, to get the best from your food, from your taste and your personal satisfaction, stainless steel is the way to go.