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A high-quality skillet is a must-have in the kitchen. This core piece of cookware will allow you to whip up a wide range of dishes, from scrambled eggs to seared steak and everything in between. However, because they’re such a popular piece of equipment, there are hundreds of skillets to choose from, ranging in price from less than $20 to more than $100.
If you’re wondering which skillet will suit your needs, here’s our list of the best skillets you can buy today:
- Best Overall: All-Clad Stainless Steel Fry Pan with Lid
- Best Budget: T-fal Heatmaster Nonstick Fry Pan
- Best Cast Iron: Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
- Best Nonstick: Tramontina Commercial 10″ Nonstick Restaurant Fry Pan
- Best Carbon Steel: Made In Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan
- Best Design: Le Creuset Signature Cast-Iron Skillet
- Best with Lid: Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Nonstick 12-Inch Skillet with Glass Cover
- Best Set: All-Clad Hard Anodized Nonstick 8- and 10-Inch Fry Pan Cookware Set
- Best Electric: De’Longhi Electric Skillet with Glass Lid
What to Consider When Buying a Skillet
There are a few key factors you’ll want to consider when purchasing a new skillet—also called a fry pan or frying pan. Perhaps most importantly, skillets are made from a number of materials, including stainless steel, cast iron, and aluminum. They also come with various finishes, including nonstick Teflon or porcelain enamel.
Naturally, there are pros and cons to each of these materials: Aluminum is inexpensive and conducts heat well, but it warps easily. Stainless steel is more durable, but isn’t as good of a heat conductor. Cast iron has unbeatable heat retention, but it’s quite heavy and can be tricky to maintain. You’ll want to weigh these factors and decide which material is best for your lifestyle and cooking needs.
Additionally, you’ll need to choose a skillet size—8- and 10-inch models are the most popular, but you can find larger and smaller ones, too. Finally, don’t forget to look for a skillet with a lid if you regularly cook recipes that need to be covered.
We took all these factors into account as we scoured the internet, looking for the best possible skillets. The following list was created using info from professional tests, product specs, and hundreds of user reviews. With that in mind, here are the best skillets to add to your cookware arsenal.
Without a doubt, one of the best skillets you can buy right now is this stainless steel model from All-Clad. The 12-inch fry pan is made from triple-ply stainless steel, and it has a thick-gauge aluminum core to improve its conductivity. This pan is ideal for searing, browning, pan-frying, and more, and it even comes with a lid to help lock in moisture.
This stainless steel skillet has a flat bottom and flared sides, making it easy to toss foods or flip them with a spatula. The polished cooking surface has a starburst finish that’s stick-resistant and easy to clean, and the skillet is oven- and broiler-safe up to 600 degrees. All-Clad offers a limited lifetime warranty on this pan, which reviewers call an unbeatable investment and a workhorse in the kitchen.
You don’t necessarily have to shell out big bucks to get a high-quality skillet. A prime example: this budget-friendly fry pan from T-fal gets consistently high marks from reviewers thanks to its long-lasting nonstick finish, impressive performance, and unbeatable low price.
The 10-inch pan is made from aluminum but has a stainless steel base that makes it induction-compatible. It’s finished with a scratch-resistant nonstick coating that’s even safe to use with metal utensils—that’s how durable it is! Plus, the fry pan boasts T-fal’s unique Thermo-Spot technology: a red circle in the middle of the pan that changes color when the cookware is perfectly preheated.
The T-fal skillet can be washed in the dishwasher, and it’s oven-safe up to 350 degrees. Overall, it’s one of the best budget picks for both novice and experienced home chefs.
Best Cast Iron: Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, 10-¼ in, $14.88 from Amazon
Cast iron is a popular material among chefs because of its unbeatable heat retention, which makes it ideal for tasks like searing steak or evenly browning meats. If you’re in the market for a new cast iron skillet, the obvious choice is this product from Lodge, which boasts more than 12,000 5-star reviews. It comes in a wide range of sizes, starting as small as 3.5 inches and going all the way up to 15 inches, and the prices are quite affordable—a 10-¼ inch skillet is just $15, for example.
Lodge, a company that’s been around since the 1800s, makes its traditional cast iron in the U.S., and the pans comes pre-seasoned with 100 percent vegetable oil—not synthetic coatings or chemicals. Its cast iron skillets can be used on any heat source, including induction cooktops and open grills, and when cared for properly, these pans will last for decades. Reviewers can’t say enough good things about these skillets, writing that they can be used for a wide range of kitchen tasks and you won’t regret purchasing one.
If you’re looking to expand your collection of nonstick fry pans, one of the best out there is the Tramontina Commercial model, which comes in 8-, 10-, 12-, and 14-inch sizes. This fry pan is made from an aluminum alloy and reinforced with a nonstick coating, ensuring that cleanup will be effortless, no matter what you’re cooking.
This heavy-gauge skillet has a rivet stainless steel handle and a removable silicone sleeve, and it’s oven-safe up to 400 degrees without the silicone grip. The pan can be washed in the dishwasher, but you can also wash it quickly by hand, thanks to the efficiency of its nonstick finish. Reviewers say it heats up quickly and cooks food evenly, but several warn not to use metal utensils on the delicate finish, as it scratches easily.
Best Carbon Steel: Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan, $69 from Made In
Carbon steel is a hybrid of cast iron and stainless steel that delivers the best of both materials. It’s light and cooks quickly like stainless steel, yet it has cast iron’s heat retention and natural seasoning. This Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan from Made In will quickly become your go-to pan in the kitchen thanks to its unmatched performance—just check out the hundreds of positive reviews!
This skillet is made from 2mm blue carbon steel, and it has exceptional heat capacity, warming up quickly and maintaining the proper temperature. It’s oven-safe up to 1,200 degrees (and we doubt you’ll be cooking that high), and there are no synthetic coatings—just a natural heat treatment to help prevent rust.
It’s hard to beat the classic design and high-end performance of Le Creuset cookware, including its Signature Cast-Iron Skillet. Not only will these pans help you sear steak and brown meat flawlessly, but they also come in a beautiful array of colors that will look simply stunning on your kitchen counter.
These 10-¼ inch skillets are made from cast iron and have a durable enamel construction to protect both the inside and outside of the pan. They have sloped sides to make it easier to pour off fat, and the matte-enamel interior is easier to care for than traditional cast iron—there’s no seasoning needed, and it’s even dishwasher safe. Plus, the pan comes in a rainbow of hues, from orange to purple and every color in between.
Best with Lid: Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Nonstick 12-Inch Skillet with Glass Cover, $30.10 from Amazon
Many recipes call for you to cover your skillet while the food cooks, which is why a lid often comes in handy. The Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Nonstick Skillet comes with a matching glass cover, letting you seal in moisture as you cook while still monitoring your food.
This skillet is 12 inches in diameter, and it’s made of hard-anodized aluminum, which is harder than stainless steel and incredibly durable. The interior is coated with a nonstick finish, and the sloped sides maximize your cooking surface while allowing for easy flipping. The pan is oven-safe to 500 degrees, and it comes with a limited lifetime warranty, to boot. Reviewers say this pan is heavy-duty and a breeze to clean, and several say their pans have lasted for several years with proper care.
Can’t decide which size skillet to get? Why not get two? This fry pan set from All-Clad comes with 8- and 10-inch models, giving you two popular sizes for one affordable price. They’re made from thick hard-anodized aluminum that heats quickly and resists warping, and the nonstick coating ensures cleanup will be quick and easy every time.
The two pans have wide, flat bases and a low-profile shape, and they can be used on all types of heat sources. The stainless steel handles are contoured so they fit comfortably in your hand, and the skillets are oven-safe up to 500 degrees. All-Clad protects their pans with a limited lifetime warranty, and reviewers call them the best nonstick pans they’ve ever used, writing that they’re easy to clean and impressively durable.
Electric skillets are more like a small appliance than traditional cookware. Products like the De’Longhi Electric Skillet plug into an electrical outlet, allowing you to cook in them without a heating element. This can be extremely helpful if you need an additional cooking surface or don’t have a stove available.
This electric skillet sports an extra-large nonstick cooking surface, as well as a tempered glass lid. The base distributes heat evenly to avoid hot spots, and it includes a detachable thermostat to help cook your food to exact temperatures. Reviewers love that this skillet is large enough to cook several pieces of meat at once, and many love how well it regulates temperature and how easy it is to clean.
Header image courtesy of Sur La Table