We've tried them all—cast-iron, stainless steel, and nonstick. Now, we want to help you find the skillet that’s right for you. Skillets are one of the most essential items in your kitchen, but with so many options, it can be hard to decide what you should stock your kitchen with. We're going to break down each option to help you feel confident with your next purchase.
Let's start with the non-stick options:
Nonstick pans are ideal for anyone who wants a versatile pan that provides an easy cleanup. You won't have to worry about foods sticking, tearing, or burning as you prepare them. If you eat eggs daily, then a good nonstick pan is essential for you! Here's our recommendations for the best nonstick pans.
I'll be honest here– I'm obsessed with my Le Creuset Nonstick Skillet. My husband was skeptical when I brought home the 11" Deep Skillet, but it quickly became our go-to nonstick skillet. The smooth surface allows food to slide out of the pan and onto a plate effortlessly. I also love the high sides on this pan because it reduces the chance of spilling and gives you a little more room to build sauces and simmer without having to breakout a saute pan.
The store's owner, Brentley, has owned her set of Swiss Diamond Nonstick cookware for close to a decade, and she still swears by their quality. Their new XD diamond-reinforced coating is made of an extra thick, 100% recycled cast aluminum body that will withstand the test of time. Their proprietary diamond coating is free of PFOA and other toxins that are commonly found in nonstick coatings, so you don't have to worry about harmful chemicals leaching into your food.
This is a great nonstick skillet for the entry level chef. My parents dropped me and my Oxo skillets off at Florida State (Go Noles!) in 2014 and I finally retired them when I got married in 2020. They were wonderful, durable pans that survived the many moves between dorm rooms and apartments. While these won't be the pans you keep for life, they do make a great and affordable option for nonstick cookware!
Moving onto Stainless Steel:
Stainless steel pans are great because they are indestructible. Burn some food? No worries, a little Barkeepers Friend will clean that right up. Don't feel like washing it by hand? Toss it in the dishwasher; it'll be perfectly fine. These pans are great for dishes that need to be transferred from stove top to oven and can withstand higher cooking temperatures than nonstick skillets.
Above you read about my Oxo pans getting retired– well their replacement pans were the Cuisinart stainless steel pans. Why? Because they're indestructible. No amount of burning food will destroy these pans. Beyond their durability, I love the versatility of these skillets. They can be used on almost any cooktop– including induction stove tops. Plus, you don't have to worry about harmful chemicals when it comes to stainless steel!
Heritage Steel has manufactured their stainless steel cookware in Clarksville, Tennessee for over 40 years. Their high quality cookware takes stainless steel pans to the next level by incorporating specialty titanium-strengthened stainless steel known as 316Ti, which adds to its durability and performance. With proper care, these pans will last a lifetime!
And last, but certainly not least, Cast Iron:
There is a common misconception that cast iron is difficult to clean and maintain, but we are here to bust that myth. Cast iron skillets are superior to other cookware because once they have heated up, they hold that heat, which helps to keep food warmer for longer. While they're not dishwasher safe, they are easy to care for. Wash your cast iron thoroughly with dish soap and a solid scrubber, dry immediately, and then cover with a light coating of canola oil for the perfect seasoned pan!
1. Lodge Traditional Cast Iron
One of Lodge's main selling points is that it can be used with most heat sources, including any kitchen stovetop, ovens, outdoor grills, or over an open campfire. Their versatility is not limited to cooking style either; cast iron is great for preparing a wide range of dishes. Sear pork chops, grill steaks, sauté veggies, fry eggs and bacon, bake a gooey skillet cookie, and so much more with cast iron.
Known as the worlds first colorful cookware, Le Creuset's iconic colors always make a statement in your kitchen. They pride themselves in creating high quality, beautiful, legacy cookware. Like traditional cast iron, these pans will retain heat for long periods of time. Their advantage over their traditional predecessor is that the enameled surface makes cleaning easier!