Best Stainless Steel Frying Pans For High Temperature Cooking

From stir-frying to pan-roasting, get durable cookware that can stand the heat.

best stainless steel frying pan

by Natalie Knowles |
Updated on

The best stainless steel frying pans are made of high-quality, durable stainless steel with an aluminium core for even heat distribution. Whether you're whipping up scrambled eggs or making a classic Bubble and Squeak, a frying pan is an indispensable piece of cookware. When it comes to the best pots and pans, stainless steel is a great choice. Furthermore, it's OK to flambé in uncoated stainless steel cookware that's made to withstand high temperatures.

Stainless steel pans are versatile, offer even heat distribution and are easy to clean. In comparison to cast iron cookware they're a much lighter and low maintenance. In addition, stainless steel is a highly durable material that's resistant to stains and rust. Available uncoated or with a non-stick coating, stainless steel – along with aluminium – has that all-important flat cooking surface that makes it compatible with all types of hob, including induction.

Best Stainless Steel Frying Pans At A Glance

Best frying pan used by professionals: Scanpan CTX Frying Pan – View on Amazon UK
Best value frying pan: Lakeland Stainless Steel Non-Stick Frying Pan – View on Lakeland
Best uncoated stainless steel frying pan: Professional Stainless Steel Frying Pan – View on ProCook

Imagine a full English breakfast sizzling away in a frying pan. That most humble of kitchenware is a flat-bottomed, shallow cooking vessel with sloping sides and a long handle. Frying pans differ from sauté pans and skillets, namely in the angle of their sides and depth. But in terms of cooking techniques, you can fry, sear, brown and deglaze in all three of these pans. In addition, some stove-top pans are oven safe – ideal if you want to add colour to the top of a frittata.

Stainless steel frying pans come in sizes ranging from 20cm to 35cm in diameter. The price can vary widely, with basic models starting at around £15 and high-quality, larger pans at £100 or more. High-quality stainless steel cookware is expensive and may not fit everyone's budget. But there's a good reason way it's worth investing in long-lasting cookware. Scroll to the FAQs below to find out more.

Best Stainless Steel Frying Pans

Best frying pan used by professionals

Scanpan CTX Frying Pan

Rrp: $259.00

Price: $129.16
Alternative retailers
Bloomingdale's$179.95View offer
Macy's$269.99View offer

Grilled cheese is a classic comfort food, but not all stainless steel pans would cope with copious layers of Gouda and Emmental. That's when Scandinavian excellence in cookware comes into play. Stratanium is Scanpan's unique non-stick coating, used on its CTX range. Made in Denmark and composed of five layers, this premium frying pan has stainless steel for long term durability and aluminium for excellent heat distribution. In addition, the stainless steel handle stays cooler for longer and brushed stainless steel exterior is easy to clean.

Customer review: "Went for this, because it seemed surprisingly light and the quality means its razor flat, which is good for my induction hob. Seven months in, and the surface is just about as good as new – couple of scratches from my carelessness, but still works like new. Also still razor flat. Very happy and am confident this will last for a good few years. I use it a lot too – daily high heating."

Pros

  • Favoured by professionals
  • Easy to clean
  • Even heat distribution
  • Healthy, fat-free cooking

Cons

  • Non-stick coating can wear off

Best value frying pan

Lakeland Stainless Steel Non-Stick Frying Pan
Price: £26.59 (was £37.99)

www.lakeland.co.uk

Rustle up bacon, eggs and sausages with an affordable, yet quality option. This Lakeland Stainless Steel Non-Stick Frying Pan is deeper than your standard frying pan, which makes it perfect for stir-fried noodles and tortillas, but maybe not so practical for pancake flipping. It has a deep aluminium base and three layers of DuPont™ Teflon® Platinum non-stick coating makes it a lot more hard-wearing than other budget options.

Customer review: "Had this pan about a month now and I cannot fault it. Used five times a week for breakfast, lunches and evening meals, it handles everything I cook in it. Particularly good for omelettes even without greasing and great for vegetable stir fries with just a spot of oil. So easy to clean with hot water it truly is non stick. It is a solid pan though not too heavy to lift. Would recommend to those wanting a medium sized frying pan."

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Not too heavy to lift
  • Metal utensil-friendly

Cons

  • Non-stick coating can peel off

Best uncoated stainless steel frying pan

Professional Stainless Steel Frying Pan
Price: £35 (RRP £59)

www.procook.co.uk

Creamy scrambled eggs are no fuss with the Professional Stainless Steel Frying Pan as long as you add a good knob of butter and bring the pan to a high temperature. Uncoated stainless steel pans are preferred by professional chefs, for getting that caramelised charring on meat, fish and vegetables. High temperature cooking, such as flambéing is possible in this type of pan, albeit in expert hands only. This ProCook pan is made from professional quality, heavy-duty 18/10 stainless steel, with a 7mm bonded base.

Customer review: "Looks amazing. Heavy based but not too heavy like cast iron. Easy to clean and to cook."

Pros

  • Premium quality
  • CoolTouch® handles
  • Excellent heat distribution

Cons

  • Food can stick to uncoated stainless steel, unless heated and greased properly

Best classic frying pan

Sautéed mushrooms on sourdough are an easy weekend breakfast, made a pleasure by frying up in the John Lewis Classic Stainless Steel Frying Pan. The benefit of an uncoated stainless steel pan is that you don't have the worry of chips and flaking that can happen with non-stick. In addition, the appearance of the pan is sleek and modern. Chefs swear by uncoated stainless steel's ability to achieve a perfect caramelised crust on meat and fish.

Customer review: "Will never go back to non-stick. This is high quality and has a lifetime guarantee. And no worries about scratching it. You can put it in the oven and use metal utensils without worry. Just need to put a bit of effort into learning how to use it – e.g. get it really hot to avoid sticking."

Pros

  • Premium-grade 18/10 stainless steel
  • Sleek and stylish
  • Durable
  • Great heat distribution

Cons

  • Needs oil or fat so food doesn't stick to the pan

Best premium uncoated stainless steel frying pan

Kuhn Rikon All Round Frying Pan Uncoated
Price: £48.95 (was £64.95)

www.kuhnrikon.co.uk

Sear salmon fillets for crispy skin and tender flakes with the Kuhn Rikon Allround Frying Pan Uncoated. Go for strong and durable 18/10 stainless steel for frying and searing at a high temperature. This hard-wearing frying pan has a riveted stainless steel handle that stays cooler for longer. In addition, it features a rolled pouring lip for slipping food out of the pan with ease. Kuhn Rikon is a premium cookware brand with high-quality pots and pans crafted with Swiss expertise.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Premium quality
  • Uncoated stainless steel

Cons

  • No customer reviews

Best scratch resistant non-stick frying pan

Fried tomatoes on toast makes for a simple and satisfying breakfast, made even easier with the Scratch Guard Non Stick Stainless Steel Frying Pan. Looking newer for longer, this triple-layer non-stick frying pan has a coating on the interior and exterior so it's super easy to clean. In addition, it features a thick base that's suitable for all hobs, including induction. Also, it has a solid stainless steel handle for comfort and durability. Prestige is a quality cookware brand, so expect great non-stick results as well as fast and even heat distribution.

Customer review: "Prestige was recommended by a friend, so thought ok give them ago, and yep well worth it, worth every penny."

Pros

  • Scratch resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Non-stick

Cons

  • Handle can get hot

Best stainless steel pan set

Tefal 2 Piece Comfort Max Frying Pans
Price: $77.50

How about Quesadillas followed by Apple Tarte Tatin? With two pans you can, thanks to the Tefal 2 Piece Comfort Max Frying Pans set. From the founding brand that brought the world non-stick cookware, these frying pans are everything you'd expect from a top brand. With over 16,600 reviews rating Tefal 4.6 out of 5 these are an affordable and popular pick. Features include Thermo-spot technology, Power Resist non-stick coating and ergonomic handles.

Customer review: "The weight of the pans was very well balanced. This series was particularly built for induction hobs and I found the heating performance was noticeable compared to other brands. It's a nice buy for the package price."

Pros

  • Ergonomic, anti-slip and stay cool handles
  • Power Resist non-stick coating
  • Thermo-Spot heat indicator

Cons

  • Non-stick coating can wear off

Best large stainless steel frying pan

Judge Vista J227A Stainless Steel Non-Stick Large Frying Pan
Price: $82.35

Crepes with Nutella and berries is a yummy treat, and it's even better when it's homemade. With the Judge Vista J227A Stainless Steel Non-Stick Large Frying Pan you have the diameter to make large, lacey crepes. Thanks to the "Excalibur" non-stick coating, food will glide out of the pan. This 18/0 food grade stainless steel cookware features deep sides and a thick, hot-forged base that's suitable for all hob types – it's even safe to use on an Aga. Additionally, the phenolic handle that stays cool and is oven safe up to 180°C. Judge is a longstanding British brand for high quality kitchenware.

Customer review: "I absolutely love these, they have been through the dishwasher several times already and come out sparkling. The non-stick is genuinely non stick, so far I haven't had anything stick to it. Would thoroughly recommend."

Pros

  • Tough non-stick coating
  • Stay cool handle
  • Polished finish

Cons

  • A customer comments that the handle is too short

Best everyday non-stick frying pan

From a delicious chicken stir fry to a spicy veggie omelette – budget doesn't have to mean boring – especially when it comes to the versatility of the Amazon Basics Frying Pan. It's made from heavy-gauge, 304-grade stainless steel and the three-ply base heats up quickly and evenly. Ideal for flipping and tossing, it has a long cast stainless steel handle that's riveted onto the pan and has a stay-cool silicone wrap for a comfortable grip. This popular Amazon Basics pan is dishwasher safe, though washing by hand is recommended.

Customer review: "Good size for a decent weekend fry-up. Heats up quickly and evenly on an induction hob (provided you use the correct diameter induction position) and is very easy to clean (I hand wash all my non-stick kitchenware rather than use the dishwasher). A smart addition to the pan collection at a decent price – it's my pan of choice at the moment."

Pros

  • Value for money
  • Durable
  • Versatile
  • Good handle

Cons

  • Can get scratched

Our Verdict: Best Stainless Steel Frying Pan

Sleek, practical and ergonomic, we recommend the Scanpan CTX Frying Pan. With it's Stratanium non-stick coating, this stainless steel and aluminium frying pan can cope with all kinds of cooking and washing up is a breeze. The curved sides make serving up pancakes and omelettes much easier. The robust stainless steel handle lives up to Scanpan's lifetime guarantee – it's built to last.

FAQs

Why does food stick to stainless steel pans?

Unlike non-stick cookware, bare stainless steel doesn't have a coating that reduces friction. Food sticking to stainless steel cookware is a common problem, regardless of whether you have a budget or premium pan.

Just like our skin, the pores in the metal expand and contract when cooled or heated. When a stainless steel pan is heated and cold food is added, the temperature difference causes the pores in the pan to expand and contract – this causes the food to stick and burn. Eggs and meat are the worst culprits for sticking because the proteins form complex bonds with the atoms of the metal pan. Yet, with the addition of oil, stainless steel cookware is one of the best types of pan for searing meat.

First, preheat the pan without oil. It's reached temperature when you add a drop of water that beads and rolls around the pan. It's called the Leidenfrost Effect. Next, it's necessary to add oil to an uncoated stainless steel pan. The fat fills the imperfections in the surface of the metal. Use enough fat to coat the pan in a thin layer, this acts as a barrier between the food and the pan.

Food should be around room temperature before cooking. Listen for a sizzle – that's the sign of a hot pan. A steaming effect occurs between the moisture in the food and the hot oil. The vapour lifts the food above the oil barrier so it's not in direct contact with the surface of the pan. It also means that the food won't absorb too much of the oil and become greasy. The steam barrier keeps the oil and the food separate.

The Maillard Reaction is where oil creates a crusty surface on the outside of pan-fried food, but the reaction can't happen if there's too much food in the pan. Overcrowding the pan can release too much moisture and cause the temperature to drop. Another tip: don't move food around too much once it's frying in the pan. This gives it a chance to form that delicious crust and flavour.

What is food grade stainless steel?

Food-grade stainless steel is non-reactive, corrosion-resistant and durable. Common grades include 304 and 316, with chromium and nickel to prevent rusting, improve its ductility and strength and contribute to polished surface finish. When you see flatware or pans made from 18/10 stainless steel, that means it has an 18% chromium and 10% nickel content.

What's the best way to clean a stainless steel pan?

Stainless steel is scratched by abrasive cleaning products and permanently marks the pan. But clean it thoroughly because food particles and oil can burn on to the pan the next time you cook with it. To clean stainless steel pans, hand wash with a mild soap, warm water and a soft sponge. Use a soft tea towel to dry it.

Natalie Knowles is a Homes & Garden Product Writer for A Modern Kitchen, specialising in kitchen appliances. When she's not testing coffee machines, she flexes her creative flair as an artist.

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