Last updated: August 10, 2021

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With a suitable frying pan, you won't burn anything. If you want to fry your food to a golden brown, a frying pan is the perfect choice for you. There are various coatings and materials to choose from. You can prepare a wide range of dishes in a frying pan, which makes it a must-have in every kitchen.

In our comprehensive frying pan test 2021 we show you what you should look for when buying a frying pan. We have summarised various buying criteria for you. We also show you the advantages and disadvantages of certain materials and coatings. With our help, you are sure to find a frying pan that meets your needs.




The most important facts

  • With frying pans, it is important that the stovetop is the same size or larger than the bottom of the pan. This prevents the pan from warping and affecting heat conduction.
  • Coated frying pans should not be exposed to too high temperatures, otherwise the coating can come off. Uncoated frying pans must be baked to form a natural protective layer.
  • Refined oils should be used in preference to virgin oils because they can be heated more. High-oleic oils are the best option for healthy frying at high temperatures.

The Best Frying Pan: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for frying pans

There is a large selection of frying pans. So that you can compare the various frying pans with each other, we have summarised buying and evaluation criteria.

You can use the following criteria as a guide when buying a frying pan:

Before buying, think about what is important to you in a frying pan and what you will use it for. Depending on this, special features may be useful.

Size

The optimal size of a frying pan depends on your intended use. Before buying, think about what and how much you want to cook in the pan.

Depending on what you are using the frying pan for, a pan with a large or small inner diameter is more suitable. This is measured at the top of the pan. The standard diameter of a frying pan is 28 centimetres. You can use it to prepare meals for 3 to 5 people.

An important purchase criterion is the base diameter. This determines the contact surface of the pan on the hob.

The diameter of the hob should be equal to or larger than that of the pan base.

Otherwise the pan could warp. Uniform heat formation is no longer possible.

The right height of a frying pan depends on how you use it. A pan with a higher rim can hold more food and is good for sauces, for example. A low rim is optimal for food that is placed directly on the plate (for example, pancakes).

There are different shapes of frying pans. In addition to the traditional round shape, there are also rectangular and oval pans for fish.

Material

The material of a frying pan is an important purchase criterion that you should pay attention to. The different materials offer both advantages and disadvantages.

Frying pan material Description
Stainless steel frying pan Stainless steel can withstand high temperatures and is therefore suitable for searing on all types of cooker. Aluminium or copper layers are often integrated into the base of the pan, as stainless steel has low heat conduction. If the stainless steel frying pan is uncoated, nickel can dissolve and get into the food, which can be dangerous for sensitive nickel allergy sufferers.
Copper frying pan A copper frying pan shows the best heat conductivity and even heat distribution. The copper frying pan can react with certain foods. Therefore, it is almost always coated with stainless steel, Teflon or tin. The frying pan is not suitable for induction cookers unless an additional layer is fitted.
Aluminium frying pan A frying pan made of aluminium has a high thermal conductivity. The low weight makes the pan handy. Since aluminium can react with certain foods, the pan is almost always coated with ceramic or Teflon.
Iron frying pan An iron frying pan is optimal for hot frying. Iron is very heat-resistant and has good heat distribution. This pan is sturdy, heavy and suitable for all types of cookers. However, you must take good care of the iron frying pan, otherwise rust can develop. When using an iron frying pan for the first time, it must be baked.

Choose the material that suits your cooking habits.

Coating

A durable non-stick coating on the frying pan will save you a lot of time and money. The coating not only prevents food from burning, but also ensures quick cleaning.

Stainless steel, aluminium and copper frying pans often have a coating. The following coatings are used on frying pans:

  • Teflon: Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE or colloquially Teflon) is a plastic polymer. Teflon is heat and cold resistant and chemicals can hardly attack the surface. When overheated (approx. 360 °C), PTFE is carcinogenic and can lead to flu-like symptoms (Teflon fever). If there is food in the pan, overheating is unlikely.
  • Enamel: An enamel coating protects the frying pan from corrosion. Iron frying pans are often coated with enamel. Enamel is a mixture of silicates and oxides and can be heated up to 400 °C. The coating is more brittle than the metal. The coating is more brittle than the underlying material. Therefore, a frying pan with an enamel coating must not be quenched because otherwise the coating will peel off.
  • Ceramic: A ceramic coating is a mixture of silicates and oxides. A ceramic-coated frying pan can be heated up to 400 °C. The material is odourless and non-toxic. The material is odourless and tasteless. The coating is scratch- and abrasion-resistant, but can flake off if knocked. After a while, ceramic frying pans often lose their non-stick effect.

Not all frying pans are coated with a coating. With uncoated iron and copper frying pans, you have to create a natural coating, the patina, by baking. The patina provides a non-stick effect and should be well maintained.

Type of cooker

When buying a frying pan, you should consider the type of cooker you have. The following conventional cooker tops are available:

  • Steel plate cooker
  • Gas cooker
  • Induction cooker
  • Glass ceramic cooker

Not all cooker tops are compatible with every type of frying pan. Before buying a frying pan, find out what the base is made of.

Only a frying pan that is magnetisable will heat up on an induction cooker.

Copper and unalloyed aluminium frying pans are relatively soft and may rub off and leave marks on your induction or glass ceramic hob.

On an induction hob, the surface is made of glass ceramic. Underneath is an induction coil made of copper wire.

When you switch on the induction hob, an electromagnetic field is created. A magnetic bottom of a frying pan converts the energy of the magnetic field into heat.

Handle

The handle of a frying pan can be made of different materials. Wood, plastic, stainless steel and iron are used for the handles of frying pans. The various materials have different advantages and disadvantages.

Handle material Description
Wood Because of their low heat conductivity, wooden handles do not get hot when cooking. You should avoid the oven because the wood ignites at such high temperatures.
Plastic Plastic handles have a lower thermal conductivity than metal handles. However, if the temperature is too high, the plastic will melt. You should therefore avoid the oven.
Stainless steel A frying pan with a stainless steel handle can withstand high temperatures. Frying in the oven is no problem with such pans.
Iron Iron handles on frying pans have the advantage that they can withstand high temperatures without any problems. You can put a frying pan with an iron handle on the grill or in the oven.

With plastic and wood, removable handles are useful. This way you can also use ovenproof frying pans in the oven.

Decision: What types of frying pans are there and which is the right one for you?

Frying pans come in a wide variety of shapes. We distinguish between these types of frying pans:

  • Coated frying pan
  • Uncoated frying pan

In the next section you can read about the advantages and disadvantages of the different models.

Beschichtete Bratpfanne

Coated frying pan

Many frying pans are coated. Ceramic, enamel and PTFE (Teflon) are often used as coating materials.

These coatings have a great non-stick effect. Food does not stick to an intact coating. This means you need less oil or grease.

Frying pans with a coating are easy to clean. You can wipe away food residue with a damp cloth or sponge.

Advantages
  • Great non-stick effect
  • Little oil and fat needed
  • Easy to clean
  • Gentle cooking
Disadvantages
  • Unsuitable for hot frying
  • Scratches and damage possible

Coated frying pans are suitable for gentle cooking. Many coatings cannot withstand high temperatures and come off the pan. Frying pans with ceramic and enamel coatings should not be quenched or the coating may flake off.

Unbeschichtete Bratpfanne

Uncoated frying pan

The surface of uncoated frying pans is made of iron, copper, aluminium or stainless steel.

When you first buy an uncoated frying pan, you have to bake it. This creates a natural coating – the patina. This grease layer must be maintained and renewed again and again. Oil or grease is needed for this.

Advantages
  • Sharp frying possible
  • Long-lasting
Disadvantages
  • Requires a lot of oil or fat
  • Burning in necessary
  • Care necessary

Uncoated frying pans are ideal for hot frying. The material is heat-resistant and conducts heat well.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about frying pans answered in detail

In this section we answer frequently asked questions about frying pans. After reading the guide, you will know all the essentials about frying in pans.

What is a frying pan and who is it suitable for?

A frying pan is a cooking utensil that allows you to fry food. The low rim of the pan makes it easy to turn the food. Frying pans are used in every household and in the catering sector. There are countless applications: With a frying pan you can prepare dishes with fish, meat and vegetables.

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You can create countless dishes with a frying pan. Frying pans are available in various materials and with different coatings.
(Image source: Louis Hansel / unsplash)

There are frying pans made of many different materials: iron, copper, aluminium or stainless steel. Some pans are also coated.

Before buying, it is important to know on which type of cooker you will use the pan. On an induction hob, for example, you can only use magnetic pans for frying.

What can I cook in a frying pan?

You can use a frying pan for vegetables, sauces, fish, meat and sweet dishes. To make the culinary experience ideal, you should make sure you use the right pan and handle the cooking utensil correctly.

Uncoated frying pans are suitable for searing meat and frying potatoes. Weaknesses in temperature resistance and heat retention make a coated frying pan unsuitable for hot frying.

For vegetables and fish, we recommend a coated frying pan.

Fish pans are suitable for frying fish because they are oval-shaped. There are also special steak pans, crepe pans, grill pans, egg pans and many more.

What does a frying pan cost?

The price of a frying pan depends on many factors: Material, coating, size and brand. That is why the prices vary greatly.

You can buy simple frying pans from around 20 euros. Durable and well-made frying pans are sold for between 30 and 60 euros. If you use the frying pan every day at home or at work, it is worth paying attention to good workmanship.

How do I care for a frying pan?

To ensure that you can use your frying pan for a long time, you should take care of it properly. In the following, we have summarised aspects that are important when using the frying pan.

  • Washing-up liquid: For frying pans, use mild washing-up liquid and lukewarm water. This prevents damage to the coating or the natural patina of the pans. Alternatively, you can use a damp cloth.
  • Objects in the pan: Do not put steel wool, knives or other sharp or metallic objects in a frying pan. Scratches damage the coating and can lead to pitting corrosion.
  • Dishwasher: Frying pans must not be put in the dishwasher as the coating can come off. The harsh detergent attacks the non-stick coating.
  • Baking: Uncoated iron and copper frying pans must be baked. During baking, grease accumulates in the porous iron structure (patina). When the pan is heated, the fat liquefies and expands. This process draws production residues out of the pan and a non-stick coating forms.

In this video, cleaning and baking are explained step by step:

With these cleaning tips, your frying pan will last a long time and you can cook with it for several years.

Which fat / oil should I use for a frying pan?

There are many oils and fats for preparing food. But not every oil and fat is suitable for frying.

The smoke point indicates the temperature at which an oil or fat begins to smoke. In the process, water and free fatty acids evaporate. If an oil or fat starts to smoke, acrolein, which is harmful to health, can be released.

You should choose oil and fat for frying that has a high smoke point. When frying, temperatures above 200 °C can occur.

How the oil is produced has a great influence on the smoke point. Cold-pressed oil (virgin) has a lower smoke point than refined oil.

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Refined oils are more heat resistant than cold-pressed (virgin). The smoke point of virgin olive oil is about 180 °C. For refined olive oil, the point is over 220 °C.
(Image source: Nazar Hrabrovy / unsplash)

The following applies: saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids are more heat-resistant than polyunsaturated fatty acids. Virgin oils have polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are healthy but less resistant to heat. Therefore, when frying, use refined oil with monounsaturated fatty acids.

In this table we have listed which oil or fat you should use for which temperature:

Temperature fat / oil
No heat linseed oil, pumpkin seed oil, walnut oil
Moderate temperature (160 to 200 °C) butter, virgin olive oil, virgin rapeseed oil
High temperature (over 200 °C) refined olive oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, clarified butter, high-oleic oils

High-oleic oils are obtained from specially cultivated sunflower, thistle and rapeseed varieties. Due to its high oleic acid content (monounsaturated fatty acids), the oil can be heated up to 210 °C. The gentle processing process ensures that the oil is easy to digest. Due to the gentle processing, high-oleic oil is the healthiest oil for high temperatures.

How do I dispose of a frying pan properly?

It is important that you dispose of a frying pan properly. You should dispose of a frying pan when the non-stick layer is damaged - that is, when food sticks to the pan.

When disposing of frying pans, it does not matter whether the pan is coated or uncoated.

You can put frying pans in recycling bins or take them to recycling centres. Dirty frying pans should be thrown away in the residual waste. Plastic parts such as the handle or glass should be removed beforehand and disposed of separately.

Some manufacturers offer a discount if you replace your old frying pan with a new one from the same manufacturer. You have to give your old pan to the manufacturer. It is best to check with the manufacturer before disposing of it. This will save you the disposal and you will get a discount on the new product.

Image source: choreograph/ 123rf.com

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