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Best Skillets

Updated September 2023
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Best of the Best
Our Place Cast Iron Always Pan
Our Place
Cast Iron Always Pan
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Most Versatile
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This beautiful enameled cast iron pan is the perfect do-it-all option with its 8-in-1 function that is oven-safe.


Included are a wooden spatula that can slot into the pan on top of the handle, a clear lid, and one silicon grip for each of the handles. It’s oven-safe without the lid up to 500 degrees and with the lid up to 425 degrees. It comes in seven colors.


Abrasive materials, including metal utensils, can damage the pan.

Best Bang for the Buck
T-Fal Professional Nonstick Pan
Professional Nonstick Pan
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Best for Beginners
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A bargain-priced skillet with minor durability concerns and surprisingly advanced cooking benefits that earns our cooking expert's approval.


Quality titanium nonstick coating. Stainless steel surface supports induction cooking. Stay-cool handle is contoured for improved grip. Heat-safe to 400 degrees. Perfect weight for easy handling. Popular for novice cooks.


Convex cooking surface could be problematic for some runny foods or batters.

All-Clad Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Fry Pan
Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Fry Pan
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Chef's Quality
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Suitable for multiple types of cooking, this is a high-quality, dishwasher-safe, and easy-to-use skillet from our cooking expert's all-time-favorite brand.


Has ultra-durable, tri-ply construction with a stainless steel design and an aluminum core. Available in 10-inch and 12-inch versions. Safe for oven and dishwasher. The design allows the entire pan to evenly heat food quickly.


Expensive. Overheating could lead to discoloration or scorch marks.

Rachael Ray Cucina Hard Anodized Skillet
Rachael Ray
Cucina Hard Anodized Skillet
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Large Cooking Area
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Ideal for cooking greater volumes of food, instead of sharing the burden between 2 smaller skillets.


Rugged construction ideal for everyday cooking. Offers even heat distribution and a durable, nonstick coating. Oven safe to 350 degrees. Has cool-touch handle and helper grip. Pan is dishwasher safe.


Some users didn't see much of a difference compared to lower-priced skillets with similar design.

Le Creuset Signature Skillet
Le Creuset
Signature Skillet
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Trusted Brand
Bottom Line

This 9-inch enameled cast iron skillet is a high-end kitchen workhorse that can hold up for years to come.


An extra handle opposite the main handle makes it much easier to transition between kitchen appliances and the table while full. The interior doesn’t need seasoning like other non-enameled cast iron and it becomes semi non-stick over time. Comes in 22 different colors.


It’s not fully non-stick so ensure you use plenty of oil or fat in the pan.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best skillets

Think of pots and pans, and what you picture is almost certainly a skillet. This kitchen essential is one of the most versatile pieces of stovetop cookware. You can use it to fry hamburgers, sear steak, scramble eggs, or whip up a quick vegetable stir-fry. Indeed, you’ll find that you reach for your skillet more often than any other cooking vessel. 

When it comes to choosing the right skillet, there are quite a few decisions to be made. Should you choose cast iron, nonstick, or stainless steel? What size skillet should you purchase? What type of handle would work best for you?

Learn more about skillets in general, including how to choose and use them.

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Wondering about the difference between a skillet and a frying pan? Actually, those are just different terms for the same thing.

The pots and pans every kitchen needs

There are a lot of different types of cookware, so if you’re just starting to stock your kitchen, you might wonder which stovetop pieces are most essential. As a general rule, unless you are an avid chef, you can get by just fine with a skillet, a sauce pan, and a stock pot.

What is a skillet?

Also referred to as a frying pan or a fry pan, a skillet is the most basic type of stovetop pan. While it’s very handy to have two or three skillets of different sizes, if you have to settle for just one, a 12-inch skillet would be suitable for most cooking needs.

What is a sauce pan?

With straight sides, a long handle, a fitted lid, and a range of sizes measured in quarts, a sauce pan is ideal for warming up soup, sauce, beans, vegetables, and other soft dishes. While it’s convenient to have both a small and large sauce pan, if you are only going to choose one, you’ll likely find a four-quart sauce pan to be the most versatile choice.

What is a stock pot?

A stock pot is similar to a sauce pan, but it is larger and does not have the same type of handle. For one-pot meals like stew, chili, and soup, a stock pot is your go-to cookware. You can also use it to cook large items like corn on the cob.

Stock pot capacity is measured in quarts. For most cooks, an eight-quart stock pot is sufficient.

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Did you know?
A skillet is not the same as a sauté pan. A sauté pan has straight sides, whereas a skillet has slightly sloped sides. And a sauté pan typically comes with a lid, whereas a skillet typically does not.

Choosing the best skillet material

Skillets and other cookware come in a variety of metals. There’s no reason to stick with just one; each material has its own pros and cons. In fact, it can be beneficial to own a few different skillets of different materials.

Stainless steel

One of the most popular skillet materials, stainless steel is very durable, doesn’t react with acidic foods, and is easy to maintain. It’s not a great conductor of heat, however, so many stainless steel pans have copper or aluminum bonded to the bottom to improve conductivity.


  • Attractive appearance

  • Excellent for browning foods

  • Suitable for induction cooktops

  • Usually safe for dishwasher and oven, depending on the handle material


  • Food may stick

  • Scrubbing often required

Cast iron

Although some cooks find cast iron intimidating, this old-fashioned material is a great addition to any kitchen. It’s durable, retains heat for a long time, and even adds a bit of iron to your food as it cooks. Enameled cast iron is easier to care for, but it is also more expensive.


  • Goes from stovetop to oven

  • Excellent for searing meat

  • Keeps food warm for a long time

  • Develops a naturally nonstick coating

  • Inexpensive


  • Very heavy

  • Takes longer to heat up

  • If uncoated, requires periodic seasoning

  • If uncoated, may rust

  • Not dishwasher safe

Expert tip
Avoid putting cold meats directly into hot pans. This causes the meat to stick quickly. Instead, use room-temperature meats and start with a warming pan.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert


Inexpensive and easy to find, aluminum cookware is a good choice for the kitchen novice. Because the metal can discolor food and is prone to staining, it’s usually anodized as a preventative. Aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat.


  • Lightweight

  • Cooks quickly and evenly

  • Strong and durable if anodized, and has a somewhat nonstick finish


  • Some food safety concerns

Although there is some dispute about the safety of aluminum cookware, studies have not shown that it leaches into food excessively during cooking or is dangerous to use.


Typically layered over aluminum, a nonstick coating like Teflon releases food easily, making cleanup a breeze. And since you don’t need to add oil, you can reduce your calorie consumption a bit. Nonstick pans heat up quickly and evenly.


  • Often inexpensive

  • Food cooks evenly, quickly

  • Usually oven safe

  • Usually dishwasher safe (hand-washing still recommended)


  • Coating prone to scratching and wear

  • Food doesn’t brown well


It’s hard to match the beauty of copper cookware, but you’ll pay a hefty price for this lovely metal. Copper heats up quickly and evenly. It also cools down fast, providing excellent control as you cook. A copper skillet can handle just about every cooking method.


  • Beautiful appearance

  • Excellent heat conductivity


  • Can react with acidic foods

  • Not dishwasher safe

  • Dents easily

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Did you know?
Nonstick pans are designed to be used on low to medium heat. If you plan to cook at a high temperature, use your stainless steel, cast iron, or aluminum skillet instead.

Other considerations when choosing a skillet

Once you’ve determined which metal you want, there are a few other things to look for in a good skillet.

Sturdy construction

A cheap skillet won’t hold up to regular use. A good skillet is solidly built, and the handle is firmly attached.

Stay-cool handle

Unless it’s made of cast iron, you should be able to hold your skillet by its handle without burning yourself. A silicone handle or other stay-cool material stays comfortable to the touch throughout the cooking process.

Comfortable feel

The right frying pan is easy to handle with a comfortable weight. It’s not too light and not too heavy. (Cast iron is the exception to this rule.)

Stovetop considerations

If you cook on a smooth-top electric range, your skillet needs a perfectly flat bottom. Induction stovetops – which create a magnetic field to cook food – are only compatible with materials that have magnetic properties. That means cast iron and most stainless steel skillets are suitable for use on an induction stovetop.


Most skillets do not include lids. If you can buy one separately, we advise you to do so. Many dishes call for a cover while simmering, and a properly fitted lid will keep your dinner from drying out as it cooks.

Expert tip
The only nonstick pan I have is a small skillet for eggs and a large one for pancakes. Think about how you’ll use the skillet before purchase to make sure you have the one(s) you need.
BestReviews Cooking and Baking Expert
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While buying a cookware set is convenient, selecting pieces separately enables you to focus on the pots and pans you’ll actually use.

How much do skillets cost?

There’s a very wide price range for frying pans. As a general rule, you can expect to pay the following for a good-quality 12-inch skillet.

  • Cast Iron: $20 to $40

  • Stainless Steel: $40 to $80, although high-end brands can cost more than $100

  • Aluminum: $20 to $40

  • Nonstick: $20 to $50

  • Copper: $50+ (Several hundred dollars for solid copper)

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