Fry

What's the Best Stovetop Pan for Everyday Use?

November  2, 2013

There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: We'll help you avoid pan regret.

Pans on Food52

A pan is not an expendable accessory in your kitchen -- it's not like having a dull peeler, or a flimsy spatula -- it can make-or-burn a meal. If a pan isn't up to the task, you could end up with less than perfect scrambled eggs or an overly-browned frittata. So how do you select the perfect pan? Do you prefer stainless steel or cast iron? Does it include the environmentally controversial non-stick coating? If you're not strategic when choosing a pan, you could quickly find yourself wishing that you went with a different option. 

Laurgolis made a wise move and the tapped into collective Food52 wisdom bank before selecting an everyday skillet for frying, simmering, and sautéing:

  • Going with one solitary pan is not easy -- most had two standbys: a cast iron pan and a non-stick skillet.
  • The crowd favorite without a doubt was cast iron. Recently, the community offered wonderful advice on how to care for your cast iron (with bonus tips for where to scour for the best pans).
  • ChefJune interjected that any good pan should be non-stick if you heat it correctly.
  • Rhonda35 shared the brilliant tip to make sure larger pans have a small handle on one side to make for easy transportation. (We've all been guilty of a risky stove to sink pan transfer!) 

More: Cast Iron 101 -- SelectionSeasoning, and Cleaning.

What pans have you found most success with? Do you get different results based on the pan? If you were forced to only have one pan in your kitchen what would it be? Tell us in the comments!

Photo by Nicole Franzen

 

55 Comments

Senlin February 22, 2016
I would love to use cast iron but I have an electric ceramic top stove and was told not to use cast iron. Does anyone have any experience with this??
 
Jeff February 22, 2016
That's a tough one. As long as you do not slide it around you could use ENAMELED cast iron.But I would not recommend it.<br /><br />I have an induction hob, they are not that expensive. It has a glass surface and I use cast iron on it all the time. Actually it is the BEST DEEP FRYER EVER with a cast iron dutch oven. holds heat well and recovery time is soooo quick. <br /><br />Also with an induction hob, I place a silplat between the burner and the pot. Because the way induction works it does not burn. ... and helps to hold the pot on the burner.
 
Jeff February 22, 2016
Copper, enameled cast iron, blue steel, plain cast iron, nonstick, and clad stainless steel. Like all of you, I have them all and love to use them all. <br /><br />Having said that, I'm going off topic a little. A lot has to do with the stove/oven/range. In "the day" great grandma's stove produced far fewer BTUs. iron, copper and blue steel work better on the lower, more gentle heat produced by ranges from days gone by. (I know searing in blue steel or cast iron at red hot temp is great). <br /><br />Cast iron retains heat (it's thermal index is high) and blue steel has a high thru-put of heat. Copper is very responsive bur extremely temperamental to higher heat. ALL do far better at the lower and more gentle temperatures.<br /><br />Try this experiment. take a recipe for a cast iron dutch oven that is to be prepared on the stove. do it in the oven instead. Searing aside, stove top they are temperamental and over-cook on the bottom - thus you must, as the recipies say, "stir occassionally." <br /><br />TRY PUTTING IT IN THE OVEN INSTEAD OF ON THE STOVE.<br />It is a gentler heat from all around the dutch oven. It cooks more evenly. In my opinion, the flavors are fuller and more nuanced. <br /><br />This is all just my opinion. Thanks for indulging me and I'd like to hear about your experiences, especially with cast iron and copper.
 
Jeff February 22, 2016
Scan Pan CTX clad nonstick.
 
Marina L. March 20, 2015
cast iron, hands down! It never leaves my stovetop (I have two: 6" & 10"). For bigger meals I love my stainless steel with copper bottom. If you heat a pan properly and coat it it with oil, it will be non-stick
 
DrRisk March 1, 2015
If I were absolutely limited to ONE pan the only choice would be a deep 9-10" iron skillet. You can cook ANYTHING would ever want to eat in that pan; it wouldn't always be the most convenient, but it would always work well, and it is the lowest maintenance pan ever invented.
 
Greg B. February 16, 2015
I use various pans for the specific task, but my carbon steel frying pan is my favorite and the best overall performer. It seems to enhance flavors much better than stainless and especially non-stick Teflon. I wonder what the Altimzers percentages are in China since they have been using carbon steel/cast iron for centuries!
 
Larry J. February 17, 2015
A steak seared in a carbon steel pan can't be beat! The resultant pan sauces are also much better.
 
dcole February 16, 2015
One pan? Was this article written by a communist? This is America we can have MORE than one pan, now get out there and buy that cheap Chinese pan set.
 
Larry J. February 16, 2015
I, too, find it difficult to narrow it down to just one! I have cast iron, stainless, a minimal amount of non-stick (for fried eggs and such), and some Lodge high Carbon steel skillets that are seasoned like and function like cast iron, but are much lighter. As to Alzheimer Disease...it runs in my family. Everything I have ever read shows that genetics are more suspect than pan material. There are SOME articles that tend to implicate aluminum, but I have NEVER seen an article that ever implicated cast iron.
 
Toby February 9, 2015
I bought a new set of Scan Pans and I love them! They heat evenly and are very easy to clean!
 
Jacque November 30, 2014
Can I say my favorite skillets are the Calphalon Everyday pans. I've used them for years. I follow the manufacturers directions and ever sticks. I have two of them because I frequently use two at the same time. One of the first things is never put them in a dishwasher and never use non-stick spray. <br />How do I keep my last name off the forum?
 
Jacque November 30, 2014
It is Aluminum that is suspect in Alzheimer's. There are countries that prohibit the use of Aluminum for food preparation.
 
JULI November 4, 2014
I'm confused. I have NEVER heard of cast iron causing/contributing to Alzheimer's. Have heard of ALUMINUM causing it, not cast iron.
 
Brenda August 17, 2014
It sounds like you have good genetics, but my family has a history of Alzheimer's on both sides, my dads sisters, and also on my mom's side of the family. Good luck to me in not getting it later on, right? So I just try to steer away from what might cause me to get it, you know? :)
 
Napie August 17, 2014
OK, so my opinion is that after 200 years of cast iron cooking to say it causes Alzheimer's is a load of crap. My family has used it for generations and everyone had long (90 years plus..) and no ill effects. There are plenty of others too. Besides just how are you going to make cornbread without it????!!!!
 
Brenda August 17, 2014
Actually Dr. Bernard said it, and it was in Veg Times too. I know family members of mine that use cast iron and swear by them, but there is always more than one view point on it, and personally I don't want to use them! This is an opinion forum so as far as it being a load of crap idk.
 
Brenda August 17, 2014
Sorry that was such a long comment, I meant to only copy the part of the article about cast iron and Alzheimer's, anyway I just thought I'd put in my two cents worth. Didn't mean to offend anyone! :)
 
Napie August 17, 2014
Cuz if Oz says it it must be gospel.... Give me break, what load of crap..
 
Brenda August 17, 2014
<br /><br /><br /><br />TvShowUpdate.com<br /><br />Show Reviews, Fan Forums<br />. <br /> <br /><br /> <br /> Dr. Oz<br />The Doctors<br />Today Show<br />Forums<br /> . . <br /><br /><br /><br /><br />Dr Oz, Foods That Cause Alzheimers & Cast Iron Skillet Alzheimers Link<br /><br /> Dr. Oz Add comments .<br /> <br />Mar082013<br />. <br /><br /><br /><br />More about admin<br />Written by: Jeff Sullivan admin on March 8, 2013.<br /> <br /><br />Dr Oz Talks About What Foods Cause Alzheimers & The Link Between Cast Iron Skillets and Alzheimers Disease<br /><br />cast iron skillet, dr oz, alzheimer's disease <br />Cast Iron Skillets May Increase Risk For Alzheimers<br /><br />Dr. Oz invited Dr. Neal Barnard on to the show to talk about a disease (Alzheimers) that terrifies us all. During this segment Dr. Oz and Dr. Barnard talk about the use of cast iron skillets and their link to Alzheimers disease. They also talk about which foods increase your risk of getting Alzheimers disease and the precautions you can take to keep your brain healthy and ward off this disease. Also be sure to check out the follow up segment on foods to prevent alzheimer’s disease.<br /><br />Prevent Alzheimer’s Through Diet<br /><br />Dr. Oz said the recent studies have returned data that says that the brains of people with Alzheimers have higher concentrations of certain minerals. The study gives the indication that eating certain foods like meat, fish, and dairy can raise your risk of getting Alzheimers disease. Dr. Neal Barnard believes that the answer to preventing Alzheimers shouldn’t come from any drug but rather than from the food that we consume. Diet can be the best medicine or method of prevention of ever getting this debilitating disease.<br /><br />Can Cast Iron Skillets Cause Alzheimer’s?<br /><br />Dr. Barnard feels that Alzheimer’s Disease is caused by the build up of metals like copper, zinc, and iron in the brain. He said that cooking with cast iron skillets can cause a buildup of metals in the brain over time. When they reach a “toxic” level they release free radicals which attack your brain cells.<br /><br />Foods That Increase Your Risk For Alzheimer’s Disease<br /><br />Meat - Meat contains iron which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you are anemic. However, some people eat entirely too much meat and consume too much iron. Some meats are also unhealthy for the heart and brain because of it’s high saturated fat content.<br /><br />Dairy - Dairy products that contain high amounts of saturated fat isn’t healthy for brain.<br /><br />Fish – Dr. Barnard explained to Dr. Oz that certain fish contain high quantities of potentially harmful metals. He pointed out that lobster is particularly high in potentially harmful metals. He said that you can get Omega 3 fatty acids from other sources.<br /><br />Vitamin Supplements – Dr. Barnard spoke to Dr. Oz about multivitamin supplements. He said that multivitamins does help to provide you with all of the vitamins you need, you shouldn’t pick out a supplement that contains iron, zinc, or copper because you get plenty just through your diet alone.<br /><br />Are you a fan of Dr. Oz but don’t have the opportunity to tune in on a daily basis? Consider Liking “Fans of Dr. Oz” on Facebook to view daily show recaps and summaries at your leisure while you are logged into Facebook.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />You may also like -<br /><br />Dr Oz, Numerology & Life Path 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, Iron DeficiencyDr Oz, Numerology & Life Path 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, Iron DeficiencyDr Oz, January 27-31 Preview : Detox Body Type, Natural Pain KillersDr Oz, January 27-31 Preview : Detox Body Type, Natural Pain KillersDr Oz, Does Ginko Biloba Cause Cancer? - Memory Boosting FoodsDr Oz, Does Ginko Biloba Cause Cancer? - Memory Boosting FoodsDr Oz, Grain Brain Book, Do Carbs Cause Alzheimers, Prevention FatsDr Oz, Grain Brain Book, Do Carbs Cause Alzheimers, Prevention FatsDr Oz, Deepak Chopra Brain Food, Herbs, Wheat Germ, AmalakiDr Oz, Deepak Chopra Brain Food, Herbs, Wheat Germ, Amalaki<br /><br /><br /><br />Share this:<br /><br />Facebook99<br />Reddit<br />Google<br />Twitter4<br />Pinterest<br /><br />. . Posted by admin at 7:53 pm Tagged with: Dr Oz cast iron skillets increase alzheimers risk, Dr Oz foods that cause alzheimers, dr. oz alzheimers risk . <br /><br /> Leave a Reply <br /><br /> <br />Name (required) <br /><br />E-mail (required) <br /><br />URI <br /><br />Your Comment <br /><br />You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> <br /><br /> <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Notify me of follow-up comments by email.<br /><br /> Notify me of new posts by email.<br /> . <br /> Dr Oz, Reset Your Hormones & Melt Fat, 3 Day Detox Metabolism Boost Dr Oz, Prevent Alzheimer Foods, Sweet Potato Burrito Recipe, Linking <br />. <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <br /><br /><br />Subscribe to Blog via Email<br /><br /><br /><br />Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.<br /><br />Join 200 other subscribers<br /><br /><br /><br /> <br /><br />Categories<br /><br />Dr. Oz <br />dr. oz previews <br />Dr. Oz Today <br />Fan Forums <br />The Chew <br />The Doctors <br />Today Show <br />Uncategorized <br /><br /> <br /> <br /> <br />Recent Posts<br /><br />Dr Oz Aug. 18-22, Yellow mustard back pain, 5 Minute Workout <br />Chocolate Avocado Brownies Recipe on Dr. Oz <br />Dr Oz, Start Here “Eat Clean” Diet, Smoothies, Diet Soda Risks <br />Dr Oz, Iced Mate, Turmeric, Matcha Tea Fat Burners <br />Dr Oz, Greek Yogurt Spaghetti, Lemony Chicken Recipes <br /><br /> <br /> <br /><br />Recent Comments<br /><br />admin on Dr Oz Shaun T 5 Minute Workout, Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies, Fat Blast<br />Diana Garza on Dr Oz Shaun T 5 Minute Workout, Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies, Fat Blast<br />Diana Mixell on Dr Oz, Garcinia Cambogia Weight Loss Fat Burner, Lower Cholesterol<br />Diana Mixell on Dr Oz, Garcinia Cambogia Weight Loss Fat Burner, Lower Cholesterol<br />Dr Oz, Pain Meds Cause Hearing Loss, Feverfew Headache Alternative | Dr. Oz Fan Source on Dr Oz, Pain Relievers and Hearing Loss, Symptoms, Hearing Test<br /><br /><br /> <br />August 2014<br /><br /><br />M<br /><br />T<br /><br />W<br /><br />T<br /><br />F<br /><br />S<br /><br />S<br /><br /><br />« Jul <br /><br /> 1 2 3 <br />4 5 6 7 8 9 10 <br />11 12 13 14 15 16 17 <br />18 19 20 21 22 23 24 <br />25 26 27 28 29 30 31 <br /><br /> <br />Jeff Sullivan<br /> . <br /><br />© 2012 Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha <br /> . <br />Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended to convey medical advice or to substitute for advice from your own physician.<br /> <br />That's good, I read the article I think in Veg Times originally, and it was also on the Dr. Oz show. It just said that over time a new study suggest that certain metals like copper, zinc, and iron can build up in the brain and possibly cause Alzheimer's disease. I'm not saying it's true in every case, for sure! I just have been steering away from cast iron pans since I read the article and heard it on Oz. To each his own you know? :)<br /><br />
 
Bernie August 17, 2014
I can personally attest to a long line (153 years of my great grans, grans, children and grandchildren) of family cooks and caterers who used and/or ate from cast iron almost daily. So far, no Alzheimer's or any other ailment that could be traced to cast iron except the occasional banged-up toe from an unfortunate drop. For the seasoning-challenged I would suggest the pre-seasoned cast iron pans now sold by most cookware vendors.
 
Brenda August 17, 2014
I read that cast iron pans can emit extra iron into your blood system and could contribute to Alzheimer's disease over time.