Not sure which frying pan to invest in? We've tested 10 different frying pans and name the Scanpan CTX as the best in test. It produces nice even browning, gets hot quickly, and is both lightweight and comfortable to use.
The best budget model is Jamie Oliver's SS which doesn’t come far behind our test winner. You get a real good quality for a pretty cheap price. The best climate-smart model is the Ronneby Bruk Ultra light, which is manufactured in Sweden and with the right care can be used for many years.
We carry out our tests ourselves and test all products as they are intended to be used in reality. For the test of frying pans, we used the same starting temperature on the cooker and the same amount of oil.
Depending on how well the frying pans performed, we then amended some of these factors, but the basic conditions were the same throughout. To test all pans equally, we fried burgers, steaks, and pancakes in each of them.
All frying pans in the test could be used on all types of cookers: electric, induction, ceramic hob, and gas. The frying pans all had a dimension between 27-28 cm as the outer diameter, but the frying surface itself varied slightly between the pans.
During the test, we looked at the following things:
Heat and temperature: How long does it take for the frying pan to get hot? How hot does the frying pan get? How well distributed is the heat? Do you get even browning and searing?
Sticking: Does the food get stuck or is it easy to flip? Do you need to add more oil to the pan?
Ease of use: Is the frying pan heavy? Is the handle ergonomic? Is it easy to clean?
In addition to these properties, we also factored in the price of the frying pan to determine its value. After that, we chose a test winner.
Expensive but superior frying pan
Price class: Premium Material: Stainless steel with ceramic coating Weight: 1.4 kg Oven safe: Yes, up to 260 degrees
The Danish-made Scan Pan CTX (Ceramic Titanium Extreme) has a luxurious, minimalist look. The curved edges make it easy to access from all sides and the surface is scratch-resistant even when metal tools are used. After being exposed to daily use for a long time, it still looks great.
When frying, it takes a while for the Scan Pan CTX to heat up, but once it’s reached the desired temperature, it stays even over the entire pan. The steak and burgers were evenly browned and never burned. The pancakes were also good, even though we had to test fry a few to get the browning just right. There were never problems with things getting stuck in the pan. The fact that the Scan Pan CTX can also be used in the oven up to 260 degrees is a really big plus.
Although this frying pan doesn’t weigh much, it feels sturdy and is very stable on the cooker. The handle is comfortable and the pan is easy to move around. The non-stick coating makes it easy to wash by hand, but the pan can also be washed in the dishwasher without any problems.
The only negative thing about the Scan Pan CTX is the high price. But in terms of good quality, and despite the price, it feels like a really good investment. The frying pan also comes with a 10-year guarantee (if you take care of the pan according to the accompanying instructions).
The Scan Pan CTX soon becomes the frying pan you’ll reach for in the kitchen. It performs very well, while being comfortable and easy to use. All in all, this is a really useful frying pan.
A quality frying pan for a good price
Price class: Budget Material: Teflon in stainless steel Weight: approx. 1.25 kg Oven safe: Yes, up to 175 degrees
The Jamie Oliver Everyday SS (Stainless Steel) is a frying pan from Tefal that celebrity chef Jamie Oliver helped to develop. This is a non-stick pan with a stainless steel exterior.
The pan is both light and comfortable to hold. The handle is made of stainless steel with a silicone coating. The silicone not only provides a good grip, it also means that the handle never gets too hot to hold. Just like Tefal's other frying pans, this one has a Thermo-Spot to indicate when the frying pan is hot enough to use.
The pan gets very hot and it’s very easy to get good and even browning on both steak and burgers. The pancakes also come out very well, and easy to turn, which is always a big plus.
The coating on the Everyday Stainless Steel is phenomenal and nothing seems to stick to it. Not even when we try frying without fat. The non-stick coating is also designed to withstand metal tools and be scratch-resistant, which makes it even easier to use.
It’s also possible to put the frying pan in the oven, as long as the temperature doesn’t exceed 175 degrees.
Washing the pan is easy too, and due to its low weight it’s no problem to move it around in the sink. You can also wash it in the dishwasher.
The Jamie Oliver Everyday SS is a very good frying pan that really delivers on all fronts. Given its price, it’s a real budget find.
A frying pan well worth the price
Price class: Premium Material: Teflon in stainless steel Oven safe: Yes, up to 175 degrees
The Jamie Oliver Premium is a user-friendly frying pan – yes, frying pans can be just that – which simultaneously exudes luxury.
A dot in the middle of the pan indicates when it’s hot enough to start frying. The dot is almost invisible when the pan is cold, but clearly visible once the pan has become warm and ready to use.
This is especially useful if you aren’t frying in fat. Because without fat, it can be hard to know if the pan is hot enough.
The Jamie Oliver Premium has a non-stick Teflon coating that works incredibly well. So there’s no need to use any cooking fat unless you prefer the taste of the food that way.
The pan also becomes evenly hot. With other frying pans, we’ve had a few problems frying pancakes during the tests, but with this pan it’s easy.
One big advantage is that the Jamie Oliver Premium frying pan can also be washed in a dishwasher. Hand washing is recommended to maximise the lifetime, but the fact that it’s actually dishwasher safe so you don’t have to worry about it releasing dangerous substances is great for stressed families.
But the pan does have a few flaws. For a start, the frying pan is quite heavy. Not hugely so, but more than you’d probably want. It’s also quite expensive.
In terms of the plus points and the solid build quality, however, the Jamie Oliver Premium is worth its weight in gold. It’s an easy-to-use, easy to clean frying pan that gives an excellent result.
Uncomfortable but versatile frying pan
Price class: Medium Material: Carbon steel Weight: 2.3 kg Oven safe: Yes, up to 200 degrees
Kockums Jernverk is manufactured by Kockums, the Swedish company, who offer a lifetime guarantee on their carbon steel frying pans provided you have followed the proper care instructions.
Unlike many other carbon steel frying pans, Kockums Jernverk’s pan is factory treated, which means it can be used immediately you’ve bought it. The coating makes it like a non-stick pan and so it doesn’t require much oil for the food to be easy to lift out.
The frying pan is lighter than many cast iron frying pans of the same size, but still heavy at 2.3 kg (28 cm variant). The handle isn’t the most comfortable and tends to get unpleasantly hot after frying for a little while.
The frying pan can be used in the oven, up to 200 degrees, but the weight and the slightly uncomfortable handle make it a bit clumsy to put the pan in and remove it from the oven.
It’s recommended to heat the frying pan slowly and to start at a low temperature and increase gradually so the steel doesn’t warp. This means it takes a while before the frying pan gets hot, but once it does reach the desired temperature, it becomes really hot. And it keeps the heat too. In some cases, you may need to reduce the temperature you normally fry at.
Frying meat or mince in this frying pan works very well. Nothing sticks and the frying surface is good, although in some cases food burns a little due to the frying pan getting hotter than expected.
You can also fry things like pancakes, but the straight high edges of the pan make it a little difficult to get the spatula underneath them. But once you have succeeded in doing that, it’s easy to turn them over and nothing gets stuck.
This frying pan must never be left to soak as it risks rusting quite quickly. The pan is easily washed in hot water and no food residues remain. After the frying pan has been washed, it’s important to make sure that it is properly dried and preferably oiled a little. You can cook acidic liquids in the frying pan, but you may need to season the pan again afterwards.
Overall, carbon steel pans from Kockums Jernverk make really good frying pans and offer a long service life if you look after them correctly. But we’d have liked to have seen a more comfortable handle and one that doesn’t get quite as hot.
A quality pan with an incredibly long lifetime
Price class: Medium Material: Cast iron Weight: approx. 2.65 kg Oven safe: No
This solid cast iron pan from Skeppshult is pre-seasoned with rapeseed oil, which means you don’t have to do it yourself. You simply pop it on the cooker and start preparing tonight's dinner. The rapeseed oil also acts as a natural non-stick coating on the frying pan.
The distribution of heat in this pan is also very good. No matter what we fry in the pan, we get the same great results. The meat browns nicely and is easy to turn. Pancakes need a little more oil, but they come out really good and easy to turn.
The walnut handle is very comfortable to hold. On the other hand, a wooden handle means the pan can’t be placed in the oven as it can cause cracks in the wood, which affects how long it lasts. This is also a really heavy frying pan. With a lot of food in it, it's actually quite hard to move. Admittedly, there is an extra support handle on the front. This makes it easier when you have to move the pan from the cooker to the table, but when it’s time to do the dishes, the support handle doesn’t really help. In the sink, the heavy weight becomes very obvious and it’s difficult to move the pan around to clean it thoroughly.
Skeppshult's cast iron pan is a stable pan that produces good results. With proper care, it should last for many years and even has a 25-year guarantee. But since it can’t be used in the oven, it’s not quite as flexible as we’d like.
A durable frying pan that doesn’t fry very well
Price class: Budget Material: Ceramic Weight: approx. 1.25 kg Oven safe: Yes, up to 175 degrees
The Tefal Ceramic Control is a durable ceramic frying pan. The pan is white and simple in terms of design, with a red Thermo-Spot in the middle that indicates when the pan has become hot enough to use. The Thermo-Spot stands out clearly against the white pan. The ceramic surface is extra resistant to scratches, which means that you can also use metal utensils.
It takes a while for this frying pan to get hot, but once it is hot, it distributes the heat evenly across the entire surface. The temperature doesn’t ever get quite as high as you’d like perhaps, but the meat we fried still browned nicely. With the pancakes, however, it was difficult to get browning we felt happy with. Even when the temperature was turned up on the cooker and the pancakes were fried for a long time, they still remained pale. The only difference was that they got tougher.
This is a frying pan where nothing sticks – everything comes off easily even if you only use a very small amount of fat. The pan is also very easy to wash. Both the inside and the outside have a ceramic coating, which makes it easy to clean. The pan can also be dishwashed, but if you want it to have a long lifetime, hand washing is recommended.
The handle isn’t a good shape for your hand, which makes it a bit uncomfortable to hold. You can put the pan in the oven, but it can’t withstand more than 175 degrees.
The Tefal Ceramic Control is certainly a tough frying pan, but the actual results don’t live up to expectations.
An alternative to cast iron pans
Price class: Medium Material: Carbon steel Weight: Approx. 2 kg Oven safe: Yes, up to 200 degrees
The De Buyers Lyonnaise Mineral frying pan is an alternative to traditional cast iron pans. The pan is made of carbon steel and, like most cast iron pans, requires some preparation before you can use it.
When you buy the De Buyer's pan, it’s a beautiful silver colour, but after you start using it, it quickly looks burnt at the bottom. This eventually turns into a reddish-brown hue, which is perfectly normal as it oxidises during use. It’s important to remember to be careful with acidic ingredients that the pan doesn’t tolerate and can cause it to rust.
Although we seasoned the De Buyer Lyonnaise Mineral for a long time, the results weren’t very good. The frying pan becomes very hot, very fast – which results in a lot of sticking and burning when the pan was tested for the first time. The second time things were a bit better. Steak browned nicely, but the burgers still stuck. The pancakes developed a good colour, however, and they came off easily with a bit of extra fat.
What reduces our score is the handle. It sticks up far too high, which makes it difficult to grip the pan in a comfortable way. The flat handle is also uncomfortable and fits oddly in the hand and this means the pan is difficult to move around. The difficulty of carrying the pan means it feels much heavier than it actually is.
Just like with cast iron pans, you should avoid using washing-up liquid in this one as well. Because quite a bit of food burned on during the first test, the frying pan was difficult to wash and it took a while to get the burnt stuff off. Even though we dried the frying pan properly afterwards, it still felt greasy and sticky.
In short, it takes a lot of work to use the De Buyer's frying pan. If you don’t mind all that, this is a pan that will surely last a very long time. But for anyone who wants an easy-to-use frying pan, this isn’t a great choice.
Easy-to-clean frying pan with uneven heat distribution
Price class: Budget Material: Aluminium with non-stick coating Weight: approx. 1.3 kg Oven safe: Yes, but not over 175 degrees
The Tefal Expertise is a series of pans that have what the manufacturer calls a Titanium Excellence coating. According to Tefal, this coating should be more durable and last up to three times as long as other types of coating. The frying pan also has a Thermo-Spot – something that’s unique to Tefal's frying pans. This indicates when the frying pan has reached the correct temperature for frying.
It takes a while for this pan to get hot and unfortunately the heat isn’t distributed very well. It’s pretty clear that the pan is cooler at the edges than in the middle. And in fact it quickly turns out that the heat in this pan leaves a lot to be desired overall.
The browning doesn’t turn out well on either the steak or the burgers. The burgers actually look boiled rather than fried. The pancakes browned better, but they still weren’t great. Even when we raised the temperature or fried them longer, they remained pale. And turning the temperature up only produced a slightly hard and dry pancake.
The non-stick coating is good. Nothing got stuck even when we fried without fat. As the non-stick coating is on both the inside and outside, washing is also very easy and any spillages on the outside come off without problems when you wash it.
But despite a good coating and the fact that the pan is easy to wash, it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to the actual frying. And with a frying pan, frying is always the most important thing.
Attractive frying pan which unfortunately isn’t oven safe
Price class: Luxury Material: Cast iron Weight: approx. 2.6 kg Oven safe: No
Le Creuset's Volcanic is without a doubt the most aesthetically pleasing frying pan in the test. The orange colour really makes it stand out in comparison with other frying pans. If you’re not a fan of orange, there are another 10 colours to choose from.
It takes quite a long time for the frying pan to get hot. Once it’s reached the desired temperature, unfortunately the heat distribution is very uneven. This is especially noticeable at the edges – when we fried steak, the browning was uneven depending on where in the pan we put the steak.
The pancakes also got stuck in the frying pan at first so we needed to add some extra fat. After that, however, it worked really well – the pancakes were surprisingly good and developed a very nice colour.
The wooden handle not only gives the frying pan an exclusive look but it’s also incredibly comfortable to hold. You get a really good grip on the handle and despite the weight, it feels pretty easy to move around. Unfortunately, the frying pan can’t be used in the oven because of the wooden handle, as this can crack in the heat.
Washing is very easy. As this is a cast iron pan, you shouldn’t use washing-up liquid should be avoided. But with really hot water immediately after you’ve finished frying, you can get rid of any burnt residues quite easily.
Given the price of the Le Creuset Volcanic, we’d have liked to see better heat distribution and the pan to heat up faster than it actually does. But it’s impossible to escape the fact that this is a really handsome frying pan.
A heavy and inflexible frying pan
Price class: Budget Material: Cast Iron Weight: Approx. 2.6 kg Oven safe: Yes, if you remove the handle
The Fiskars Brasserie is one of the heaviest frying pans in the test. It’s made of cast iron but the coating is made of porcelain enamel. This coating protects the frying pan against rust and at the same time makes it easier to maintain.
In the test, we experienced major problems with food getting stuck to the frying pan. Despite the fact that we spent time seasoning the pan and were really generous with fat for frying, most of what we tried to fry in the Fiskars Brasserie pan got stuck.
The burgers got stuck and the bottom of them remained in the frying pan when we tried to turn them over. The steak did more or less the same thing when we tried to turn it over. With the pancakes, things weren’t much better. We had to throw away the first ones, as they stuck so much they were ruined.
The heat distribution is also quite uneven, something which becomes clear when you try to fry a steak. The browning is good as long as the steak is in the middle of the pan, but you don’t get the same results at other places in the pan.
The wooden handle is beautiful but not very comfortable for carrying the frying pan. It’s possible to put the pan in the oven, but according to the instructions, you should remove the handle before doing so. This feels really fiddly and the frying pan isn’t really all that flexible if you first want to brown something and then continue cooking it in the oven.
The weight, the difficulty of frying in the pan and the fact that it can only be used in the oven if you first remove the handle make this a frying pan you’d really rather avoid.
The frying pan is one of the kitchen's most important tools and it’s not uncommon to use a frying pan almost daily. Frying pans come in several different varieties, but the most common are the following types.
Frying pans with some form of non-stick coating - such as Teflon - are popular because they’re easy to use. The coating reduces the risk of food sticking, which means you can reduce the amount of cooking fat or oil needed. Generally speaking, non-stick pans cannot go in the dishwasher, since the salt and harsh detergent will tend to erode the coating. Today, Teflon is produced without the toxic PFOA, but it does still pose a potential health risk if the temperature of the coating reaches above 300° C - just something to keep in mind.
Additionally, if a Teflon pan receives a cut or a damaged surface, it is highly recommended that you bin it and buy a new one.
Just like a non-stick coating, a ceramic one means that the food doesn’t stick or burn as easily as in pans without a coating. The ceramic coating also makes the frying pan tougher, which means that it can withstand a lot in the kitchen. As with non-stick pans, you can use less fat or oil when cooking with a frying pan that has a ceramic coating. In terms of tools, all materials work, although you should exercise a little caution with sharp tools made of stainless steel, for example. Make sure you keep the surface intact and scratch-free.
Cast iron frying pans are the heavy-weights in the kitchen, in more than one sense. While they can withstand really high temperatures and can usually be used in the oven, they can also be quite heavy to handle. However, the heat is distributed well and evenly throughout the pan. With proper care, a cast iron pan can last a lifetime. Thus, it’s important to remember that a cast iron pan should not be put in the dishwasher. If it’s washed in a dishwasher it will start to rust.
Stainless steel frying pans are practical as they last a long time and can also be put in the dishwasher. Some other pans should definitely not be machine washed. And of course in the stress of family life it's tempting to have a frying pan that’s easy to clean. In addition, stainless steel pans are usually affordable in terms of price. The disadvantage of stainless steel pans is often uneven heat distribution, which means you need a lot of cooking oil for the food to not stick to the pan.
Five things to bear in mind when choosing a frying pan:
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