Why should you have a frying pan at home?
- They are overly expensive and they offer good value for money. Frying pans are durable and therefore, they will provide years of service.
- They can be used to make various kinds of foods. You can make everything from home-made pizza, a stir-fry to a well-seared steak.
- They low-maintenance products that are easy to clean and store.
- Some come with non-stick coatings that prevent food from sticking to the surface of the pan.
- Can be used on different cooking tops including induction cooktops.
- Due to their design, they offer more surface area exposed to heat for even cooking.
- Some like cast iron pans impart a certain flavor to the food that is irreplaceable.
This may be the first time you are pan-frying food, therefore, you may want to look at these tips below. They may make your cooking experience run smoother.
- Ensure that the pan is warmed up before adding the cooking oil. That is for pans without a non-stick coating. You can add the oil without warming the pan for the non-stick coating pans.
- Get a pair of tongs or a spatula to help you turn the food in the pan. This facilitates even cooking.
- If you are cooking meat, select the tender parts for cooking. Tender cuts tend to cook faster and retain more flavor.
- The cooking oil you use should have a decent smoking point like sunflower oil, grapeseed oil and peanut oil among others. Oils with a low smoking point will burn easily, lose nutrients and impart a burnt flavor in the food.
- Allow food to thaw out before cooking it. This promotes even cooking of food.
- Some foods like meat cuts should be patted dry before searing so as to get the right color and retain juices.
- Bread- coated foods should be dried out a bit before proceeding to shallow frying.
- Avoid overcrowding the pan. The food will not be able to cook evenly. It is recommended to cook large amounts of food in batches.
- Always allow the food to rest before serving so as to let the texture and taste settle.
Depending on the size of the frying pan and the construction materials, the price may differ. The heavier the pan is, the more likely you are to pay for it. Cast iron and stainless-steel skillets can be super expensive depending on the brand. You can get a reliable skillet for less than $50 or pay as high as $200+. Depending on what you can afford, select a skillet whose quality will get the job done.
Features to consider while buying the best frying pan
Before you go spending your hard-earned money, here are a few factors to consider before purchasing a frying pan:
Check the non-stick coating
Both non-stick and naturally finished frying pans possess pros and cons. Depending on the cooking process you are carrying out, you will find either of these pans perfect for the job. Pans with the non-stick coating are great if you don’t want food sticking to the pan. Great for cooking omelets, pancakes and other sticky foods, these pans reduce the need of using too much oil. Their main downside is that the non-stick coating is liable to scratches and the pans are unable to handle temperatures above 500°F. Temperatures above 500°F break down the non-stick coating, rendering it useless.
Naturally finished pans are perfect for searing meat as they can handle high temperatures. They are more economical compared to the non-stick pans but they are liable to food sticking to them. To prevent food from sticking onto the surface, you may need to use more oil. These lubricants saturate food thus increasing the fat and calorie content in the food. If you are trying to stick to a healthy diet, too much oil/fats are ill-advised.
Choose the pan material and size
There are various materials used in making frying pans. These materials offer durability and excellent heat conduction to adequately cook food. Frying pans can be used on traditional wood cookers, gas stoves, electric cookers and also induction cookers. For those who need induction compatible frying pans, you need to look for stainless steel clad in aluminum. Stainless steel clad in aluminum possesses strong anti-corrosion abilities and it is durable. Alternatively, carbon steel frying pans or pans that include both aluminum and stainless-steel metal will do.
Anodized aluminum pans offer excellent performance when it comes to being scratch-proof and dent-proof. Before purchase, confirm the quality of the material used for construction. You can research online to find the different pros and cons of different materials.
The size of the pan will depend on the amount of food expected to be produced. The rule is to make sure that the pan is not overcrowded so that the food cooks evenly. You can select a standard size that will cater for both small and large meals.
The thickness of a frying pan can be measured in Mils or Gauge. If you are using mils to measure the thickness of the pan, remember that the higher the number, the thicker the pan (1mil= 1/1000 inches). If you are using the gauge measurements, be sure that the higher the number, the thinner the pan. For example, a pan with a 10-gauge assembly will be thicker than a pan with 20-gauge assembly. The thicker the pan the better, you will be able to cook food in high temperatures without overcooking/burning the food.
It is easy to get burnt hands if you do not pay attention to the handle while the pan is on the fire. It is recommended to find pans that have stainless steel handles compared to the aluminum handles that conduct heat quickly. Alternatively, you can settle for silicone/cool handles that are easy to clean and comfortable to use like the Tramontina 80114/537DS Professional skillet. Their only downside is that they are unable to handle high temperatures. You can buy pans with metallic handles, just make sure they hollowed or feature a design that lets them dissipate heat quickly.
For a frying pan to be induction safe, it has to contain ferrous metal in its construction. This is to enable the creation of a magnetic field that is required for heat. This means that cast Iron pans, carbon steel pans, stainless steel pans and thick steel pans are good to use on induction cooking tops
Heating and evenness
To test heating and evenness we undertook two tests. We heated cold water over medium heat in the pan to see where the bubbles would first appear. We also looked for any hot/cold spots as the water drew near to the boiling point. The second test was to sear 1-inch steaks over medium heat and see which pan offered the best sear. If the meat and the water both gave positive results without any cold spots, then it is good for use.
Selecting pans with riveted handles is recommended as they are sturdy and do not need to be tightened over time. They are low maintenance handles that offer excellent support. The only thing that you will have to be careful with is hygiene. You need to clean the area well to prevent bacteria build-up that may contaminate your food. An example of a well riveted unit is the OXO Good Grips Pro Frypan.
In most cases, frying pans come with long warranties and some even offer lifetime warranties. If you find yourself with a product that offers you a lifetime warranty, you can sleep better knowing that you are covered. The quality of the pan will not fail you nor will you have wasted your money.
5-minute frying pan recipe you will love
- Piece of salmon
- Preferred vegetable oil
- Rest salmon on a paper for 15min, skin facing down, and then pat it dry.
- Place a heavy skillet on medium heat and heat the vegetable oil.
- Season the salmon piece with salt and pepper.
- Sear the piece of fish, skin first for approximately 5min. Remember to press the salmon to get an even sear.
- Flip the piece to the other side and cook for two minutes.
- Serve the fish sunny side up with your desired complementary foods.