8 Types of Frying Pan – Which one is right for you?
Frying is one of the easiest and fastest ways of cooking food, so everyone, even the most inexperienced cook, has to have a frying pan in the kitchen.
Not all pans are the same, however, and sometimes how your food turns out depends on what type of pan you use. Read on to see some of the most common types of frying pans and what they're used for.
1 – Non-Stick Frying Pan
A non-stick pan is what you use if you're cooking foods that tend to stick.
Non-stick pans have some form of an interior coating such as Teflon or PTFE which prevents food from sticking during cooking. They're best for foods like pancakes, eggs, fish, or crepes which require low or medium heat and little or no oil. This makes them ideal for weight management because you can use them to cook low-fat food.
Non- stick pans are light in weight and heat up very fast. They work best under low heat and should never be subjected to high temperatures. They also get scratched by metallic utensils, so always use plastic or silicone cooking spoons with them.
2 – Ceramic Frying Pan
A ceramic frying pan is also non-stick, but, unlike common non-stick pans which are coated with some chemical substance, ceramic pans are coated with a silica gel made from sand or ceramic stone.
This Carl Schmidt Michelangelo Non-stick Frying Pan w/ Lid Marble Blue 30cm features a ceramic stone non-stick coating with a lovely blue color. It also features an ear-shaped handle and a long handle for easier handling.
Ceramic pans are also light in weight and cannot be subjected to high heat. They shouldn't be used with metallic utensils and can only be used on a stovetop.
3 – Hard-Anodized Frying Pans
Hard-anodized frying pans are made of aluminum which has been treated to make it hard and durable. They're also non-stick, but unlike the first two types of non-stick pans, they can take high temperatures without getting damaged. They're heavy and they don't get scratched when used with metallic utensils.
They're obviously more expensive than other non-stick pans, but they last longer. So if you're looking for a frying pan that will last you a long time, get a hard-anodized one.
4 – Stainless Steel Frying Pans
Stainless steel frying pans are light but durable. By itself, stainless steel is not a particularly good conductor of heat, so some pans have a better heat conductor such as aluminum sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel. For example, the Carl Schmidt Pro-X 3 Pc Set Frying Pan Stainless Steel Cookware Non-Stick, which also has a non-stick coating. It's heavier than a single layer pan, but it cooks the food more evenly.
Stainless steel pans are non-corrosive, so they don't react with foods and leach into them. They can however stick to food if it is cooked without oil. They're good for sautéing, pan-frying, stir-frying, braising and searing meat, and oven-cooking.
Stainless steel frying pans are also induction-ready. This means that they can be used on an induction cooker, which uses magnetic energy to heat the pan directly.
5 – Cast Iron Frying Pans
Cast iron has been used for cookware from as way back as the 7th Century. It is thick and heavy and very versatile. It can be used for cooking eggs, pan-frying chicken, stir-frying, long-cooking, braising, and baking.
Cast iron pans heat up slower than steel and aluminum pans, especially if heated up too fast. However, they withstand very high temperatures, distribute the heat evenly, and retain it for longer. Cast iron frying pans can either be bare or coated.
Bare cast iron frying pans are uncoated and therefore prone to rust. To prevent this, they can be seasoned with oil, which closes up the pores and prevents contact with water. After seasoning, cast iron pans don't need to be washed with soap and water after every use. Simply wipe the pan down with a pot. If the pan is very dirty, it can be washed but it will have to be re-seasoned.
Coated cast iron pans are glazed with an enamel coating. This eliminates the need for seasoning and makes it easier to clean them. It also prevents iron from leaching into food. Enameled cast iron, however, doesn't resist sticking as well as seasoned bare cast iron. It also doesn't withstand searing heat and can chip easily if dropped.
6 – Carbon-Steel Frying Pans
Carbon-steel pans are thinner and lighter than cast iron pans. They heat up quickly but lose heat just as fast. Like cast iron pans, they can also be seasoned to make them non-stick. They distribute heat evenly and are oven safe. Their main disadvantage is that they're prone to rust easily if not cared for properly.
Carl Schmidt Marburg Fry Pan Marble Non-Stick Coating 20cm
7 – Aluminum Frying Pans
Aluminum is one of the most easily available natural elements, so aluminum frying pans are quite affordable. It is an excellent conductor of heat and heats up faster than stainless steel. In fact, aluminum is sometimes incorporated in stainless steel pans to improve their conductivity.
Aluminum is lightweight but strong and doesn't warp when exposed to high heat. Since they're such good conductors of heat, aluminum frying pans are great for frying and sautéing foods. The main drawback of aluminum is that it reacts with alkaline and acidic foods. This causes corrosion and leads to leaching of the metal into the food, which acquires a metallic taste.
8 – Copper Frying Pans
Copper is a great heat conductor, so copper frying pans heat up pretty quickly, but they lose heat just as fast. This prevents food from continuing to heat and burning up even after removing the source of heat. They're the exact opposite of cast iron. They're also not as resistant to high temperatures as cast iron and stainless steel. Anything above 450 degrees is a no-no.
Because they conduct heat so well, copper pans are good for sautéing, making candy, sauces, and delicate foods like fish and seafood.
Fried food tastes great, but it tastes even better when cooked with the right kind of frying pan. Build up your collection slowly so you can really start enjoying your food, click here to see our collection of frying pans!