We Are All Different
Talk to any group of competent chefs and you will find differences in the type of frying pan used for basic cooking. This is because our preferences are determined by personal considerations, some of which might include :-
- What type of material is the unit made of ?
- Is any of this material toxic to human beings?
- Is the cooking surface flat and even?
- Can it be washed effectively in a dishwasher?
- How well does it retain its heat?How heavy it is?
- Is it nonstick?
- Is it easy to keep clean?
- What is the handle made of?
- What sizes are available?
- What is the price?
Choose The Frying Pan Right For You
It can be seen, with all these considerations (and possibly others), that it’s important to know what you want and why you want it. So spend some time reflecting on your own personal needs and the needs of anyone you are preparing meals for. By doing this you will avoid disappointment and the possible waste of funds.
To help you with your selection, think of your frying pan as a “tool” and as every trades person knows “the best tool for the job is not necessarly the biggest or the cheapest. As a tradesperson myself, I know if a tool is too big for the job it will only create other problems, such as clumsey handling and other unexpected potentially disasterous outcomes, including embarassment if other people are involved.
Buying the cheapest new item can also be hazardous. Often the cheapest item will look just as good as the more expensive one but as is often the case, (which in the case of frying pans, I can testify to), you may find the handle is not appropriate, the base of the unit is not flat, or the non stick coating does not live up to your expectations. So the lesson here is make sure you make a wise investment based on your requirements.
A Word Of Warning
Many different types of frypans today are coated in teflon which has ended the painful duty of scraping food off the bottom of the pan after the cooking process is finished.
The problem with teflon arises when when it is scratched or starts to deteriorate. In my research I have found the US consumer group, EWG (Enviornmental Working Group) stipulated in a 2006 publication, that teflon begins to deteriorate and give off harmful chemicals once temperatures reach 350 degrees C (660 degrees F) and will show signs of decomposition above 350 degrees C (660 degrees F). EWG also advises that oils, cooking fats and butter will smoke and scorch at about 200 degrees C (392 degrees F) and that meat will fry between 200-230 degrees C (400-450 degrees F).
With this in mind it must be remembered that teflon has been on the market since the 1930’s and has an outstanding record of safe use and that under normal cooking conditions presents no risk to your health.
There Is A Lot To Choose From Out There
Lets now look at the different types of frying pans out there and map out some important considerations when choosing one.
The following is a list of the most popular on the market:-
- CopperCast Iron
- Carbon Steel
- Anodized Aluminium
- Stone Frying Pan
- Stainless Steel.
For teflon free units choose – Stone frying pans, cast iron, copper, carbon steel or stainless steel.
For easier to clean units choose – Anodized aluminum or cast iron.
For non-stick units choose – Stone frying pans, Anodized aluminum, cast iron, copper or carbon steel.
For the best heat retention choose – Cast iron or Carbon steel, stainless steel and anodized aluminum to a lesser degree.
For dishwasher safe use choose – Stainless steel or anodized aluminum, avoid putting cast iron, carbon steel and copper in a dishwasher.
For even heating choose – Stone frying pans, cast iron,copper or carbon steel.
As everyone is different weight and cost considerations should be evaluated at the time of purchase.
Having considered the important questions to ask, the attitude behind using the frying pan, the cautious use of teflon and the purchase choices available, you now have ample information to be able decide on the type of frying pan which is right for you.
Armed with this information, as well as any extra from your own research, you will be able to avoid the indecision which often comes from being overloaded with information. You will also be able to avoid the trap of purchasing an item a sales person has recommended, only to find out later your needs have not been fully considered.
With a frying pan that meets your needs and expectations you will find, you not only have a high degree of alertness when preparing meals but also your confidence level will have been greatly increased, resulting in comments from friends and family such as:-
- You are a wonderful cook
- I wish I could cook like you
- You are an inspiration
- I admire your cooking ability
- You spoil me with this delicious food
- Can I have the recipe for this superb meal
My final words are, move forward with courage and demand only the best….you won’t be disappointed.
I’m so glad you put a warning in there about Teflon. I actually started to use ceramic pots and pans as well as copper because I had heard that Teflon isn’t good to cook on due to the fumes and potential health hazards. I think there’s even a documentary out there about a woman who worked in a Teflon plant and delivered a child with birth defects due to the Teflon.
I love cooking and I really enjoyed your post. Thank you for a thoughtful and insightful article.
Thank you so much for the information about frying pan. I have been using my cast iron for everything especially for frying. The best part about the cast iron is when I fry something and I want to get rid of the excess fat and want to make it crispier, I just pop it in the oven.
The only thing that is a bit annoying about cast iron is the cleaning part. I use salt and baking soda then later coat it with oil. I have heard about the teflon as well that it is harmful to us if we ingest it. It is meant for stir fry not frying.
I have invested in the cast iron set 5 years ago and they never let me down 🙂 Plus, they are very cost effective, you can find a good set on eBay or amazon 🙂
There’s a lot of support for cast iron pans out there especially as they are long lasting. I use a stoneware coated pan, I find it serves my purposes and is easy to clean.
Thanks for sharing
I knew there have been a great many new frying pans introduced to the market lately, but I had no idea that so many new metals and surfaces were out there for us these days. Most certainly the kind of frying pan that you use will affect the culinary excellence that you are able to produce when using them to cook with.
All the points you mention are considerations when it comes to replacing a frying pan, and making the right choice can be hard unless you know what you are looking for exactly. Because there are so many options, and also depending on the kind of stove and heat you are using, these days you have to look at what each can do.
Your guidelines were very helpful and I have bookmarked this page, as I do need to replace my frying pan soon, and I want one that is mostly non-stick yet also not that hard to clean. The one I have now has a Teflon surface, and it is beginning to break down, not a good thing.
Which of these do you prefer to use, and are there any reasons that you have for selecting one over another? Knowing this would help for this next buy. I am making Thanks in advance!
Thanks for your reply Dave. I use a stone ware coated frying pan, it suits my needs and is easy to clean
thank you for sharing this information and as a serious home cook I recommend people use a really high-quality pan as well. Sticky bottoms and scratching are horrible not to mention bad for your health.
I use a cast iron pan and I love it so much
Go well and thank you
I agree with you Vicki and like you I love my stone ware coated pan. Its lasted me quite a while now unlike my previous experiences, where few I seemed to be adding to my collection a few times a year.
Thanks for your reply
My personal preference is for stainless steel. It is so much easier to clean. If I get the pan to the right heat for the oil, then this minimises and food sticking. The other step I use to stop food sticking is to keep it moving. I don’t mean constant stirring. I just let the food cook for a few minutes then turn it over for a further few minutes. I repeat this process until the food is cooked.
My other reason for the preference for stainless steel is the ease of hand washing. I don’t use a dish-washer. I can use an abrasive pad to clean stainless steel without harming the surface. My three-year-old stainless steel pans look newer than mu one-year-old Teflon and aluminium pans.
What do you prefer to use, Chris?
That’s interesting information you’ve supplied Paul, I appreciate your sharing.
I use a stone coated aluminium pan. It serves my purposes and is also easy to clean.
That’s an awesome short and sweet post. Most importantly it is useful to everyone, especially for those who love cooking. You have wonderfully shared your experience.
I found your content informative. Cooking methods may differ in every country, buy these frying pans will work well everywhere. I’ve got some good ideas from your article. Would you suggest to purchase these products online or from nearby store? I personally prefer to choose from store.
Thanks a lot for sharing this useful article.
I get my frying pans from stores too as its important they be inspected before purchase. If I ever sell them on line I’ll make sure the customer is getting the right item for his or her needs.
All the best