The 10 Best Frying Pans
10. T-Fal Pre-Seasoned Skillet
9. Cuisinart Chef's Classic
8. Simply Calphalon
7. Rachel Ray Hard-Anodized
6. Techef Onyx
5. Utopia Kitchen Jumbo
4. Ozeri Stone Earth
3. Tramontina Professional
2. Lodge Cast-Iron L10
1. DaTerra Cucina Vesuvio
What Do I Need To Consider Before Purchasing A Frying Pan?
You might be surprised to discover that all frying pans are not created equal. Far from it, in fact. You can start with a pan's handle, which may be made of coated plastic, wood, or some other substance that will not scorch your hands. There are certain pans on the market, however, that are built as one cohesive unit, meaning that if you grab the metal handle without a potholder or an oven mitt, there's a decent chance you will get burned.
An average frying pan can weigh anywhere between 2-12 lbs, which is significant, especially for anyone who enjoys cooking dishes that require tossing the ingredients to achieve a proper flavor. A pan's weight is usually the result of whatever that pan is made of, and how thick the metal has been molded. Cast-iron pans are extremely durable, for example, but they may also be unwieldy. An aluminum pan may be easier to manipulate, and yet its surface may also be a bit more prone to wear.
Whenever shopping for a frying pan, you'll want to look for phrases like scratch-resistant, and no-stick surface, as these are reliable indications that any cooked food will slide onto a plate easily, and the pan's surface won't be difficult to scrub. Along those lines, it's also worth confirming whether a pan is dishwasher-safe, as this might save you some time and elbow grease.
Depending on how you plan on using a frying pan, you may want to take note of its oven-safe temperature. Oven-safe temperature refers to how much heat a frying pan can withstand inside an oven before it becomes susceptible to damage. Of course, the majority of fried foods are meant to be heated over a burner, but in the event that a certain recipe calls for placing a pan inside the oven, it's worth pursuing a model that is oven-safe up to a temperature of 450 degrees or higher.
Frying 101: Several Basic Tips
Frying is a great way to prepare foods so that they're brimming with flavor. At the same time, any successful pan-fry begins long before you place the food into a skillet. Different meats might benefit from marinating, for example. And marinating may require a bit of prep work several hours, or even an entire day, before the cooking actually begins.
If you're frying meat, it's best to remove that meat from the freezer early so that it has ample time to defrost. Prior to cooking the meat, be sure to pat it down with a paper towel, drying off any spare beads of moisture. Mixing moisture with cooking oil in a preheated pan will cause the oil to hiss, putting you at risk for a burn. Moist meat may cook up soggy, as well.
Assuming you are cooking meat in an oily batter, you'll want to roll the meat in flour to ensure that the batter sticks. Otherwise, your food may end up with patches of batter, resulting in an uneven texture that could affect the taste.
Every blend of cooking oil has what is known as a smoke point - the temperature at which that oil gets hot enough to sear, or cook, something. Canola oil, for example, has an extremely high smoke point of 205 degrees. Alternative choices like sunflower oil, peanut oil, and safflower oil have lower smoke points. The bottom line being that if your fried foods come out tasting bland or overdone, it may be the oil, as opposed to the recipe or any other ingredients, that is to blame.
How The Frying Pan Has Evolved Via Different Cultures
The earliest known frying pans existed in Ancient Mesopotamia, and these pans were little more than flat earthenware sheets that could be warmed with oil over a fire. The Ancient Greeks improved upon this idea by introducing a metal pan known as a tagenon. A tagenon was usually accompanied by a cone-shaped lid with a pull handle on the top. The pan itself would be used as a plate after the cooking was complete.
During the 2nd century, the Ancient Romans handcrafted a frying pan known as a patella, which was made of copper or bronze. A patella featured high-curving walls around the edges so that food could be manipulated by a fork or a spatula, and oil could be drained without solid ingredients spilling over. In Roman mythology, Patella was an agricultural goddess who ripened crops, giving life to the annual harvests.
Toward the end of the Middle Ages, certain European cultures used a cast-iron bowl with three metal legs known as a spider pan to fry their food. The spider pan was different than its predecessors in that it didn't need to be held or suspended over a flame. Spider pans were unwieldy, but they could be set down on a table by their metal legs and used as a serving dish after a meal had been prepared.
After metal stoves were invented during the 18th century, the French invented several variations on the traditional frying pan, including the sauteuse (a saute pan), the evasee (a specialized pan with sloping edges), and the fait-tout (an all-purpose pan that's name literally means "to do everything").
The first company to patent and produce an electric frying pan was Sunbeam in 1953. The Automatic Frying Pan, as it came to be known, allowed American consumers to cook fried foods without any need for a burner or a stove.