Even though fried food might not be healthiest food in the world, we still cook it every day. Shopping Miracles found out how to select the right frying pan for the job! Read more!
Most modern kitchens are equipped with glass-ceramic or induction cooktops, so first of all, before buying we need to consider – what type of skillet would work with the stove we are using?
With a gas stove any type of skillet can be used.
With an electric range you can use any skillet except aluminium ones manufactured by pressing, and you also have to make sure that the diameter of the pan fits the diameter of the cookers.
If you own a glass-ceramic cooktop you can only use pans with a flat bottom and you cannot use pressed aluminium pans.
Finally, with an induction stove your cookware must be made of magnetic-based material, such as cast iron or magnetic stainless steel.
In the section below you can read about the features of each skillet type with recommendations for the best cookware at the end.
Materials used in manufacture of cookware affect its durability and your health. Find out about the main pros and cons of different skillet materials.
Cast iron (suitable for every stove)
Pros: Experts believe cast iron pans to be ideal for cooking food that requires prolonged heat treatment. They have multi-layered bottoms, are heated more evenly, last for a longer time and are better suited for cooking than other metals. Food rarely sticks to the skillet’s surface because cast iron is a porous metal, so a natural non-stick fat coating is formed on the surface of the skillet. Also, cast iron pans are resistant to acids. You can safely add lemon juice or vinegar to your food without fear of damaging the skillet. When heated, cast iron does not emit any harmful substances and is considered to be one of the safest metals.
Cons: Cast iron skillets are very thick and heavy.
Note: If you decide to buy a cast iron skillet, remember – before using it you will need to make preparations. You need to thoroughly wash the skillet, dry it, then coat the internal surface in oil and heat it on a stove or in an oven for about an hour. This will cause the aforementioned coating of fat to form on the surface. You only need to do this once, before using the skillet for the first time.
Stainless steel (suitable for every stove)
Pros: rust-proof, durable, does not corrode
Cons: some experts consider kitchenware made from this metal to be dangerous. Without non-stick coating, nickel, which this alloy contains, can get into food during cooking, making the food harmful to your health, because nickel can cause an allergic reaction. Others think that this can happen only if you use low-quality kitchenware.
Pans with Teflon coating (suitable for every stove)
Cons: basically, this is plastic with special properties. For many years there have been discussions about the dangers of Teflon because of the use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in its manufacture, which, when overheated or if the non-stick coating if damaged, emits carcinogens which can get into your food.
Interesting fact: according to Valery Petrosyan, former UN expert of chemical security, before the Second World War the cost of producing Teflon was much higher, but due to the technologies used the resulting substance was much safer than it is now. Later a much cheaper option was proposed – production of Teflon with the use perfluorooctanoic acid. However, as a result it became more dangerous. When you cook food on pans coated with this material the acid is secreted (the higher the temperature the faster it happens) and is absorbed by the food, which can cause various diseases and health problems. It was proven with scientific experimentation.
Ceramic coating (unsuitable for induction or glass-ceramic cooktops)
Pros.: ceramic frying pans are multi-layered: two layers of ceramic material surround a layer of aluminium. Thanks to the aluminium the frying pan is light and the ceramic coating makes it very durable and ecologically-friendly. You need a lot less oil for cooking on such skillet compared to, for example, cast iron pans.
Cons.: these skillets are damaged by sudden temperature changes, say, if you scald a hot skillet with cold water or pour cold dough onto it. They are also relatively expensive and the cheapest ones lose their non-stick properties faster and become unsafe to use. Many housewives have also noticed that food cooked on ceramic pans does not have a good crust.
Aluminium alloys (suitable for gas or electric stove only)
Pros: Manufacturers use various aluminium alloys to make kitchenware more durable with correct heat distribution and longer heating and cooling down time. One of the most common alloys is made from aluminium and silicon (manufacturers often call these frying pans “titanium”). Such frying pans are multi-layered for increased hardiness and durability, sometimes also using silver and copper.
Cons: Because they are multi-layered they cost a lot more. Sometimes manufacturers do not mention the fact that one of the layers is made of Teflon. When choosing a skillet, make sure that the information label not only states, that it does not contain PFOA or PTFE, but also lists all the ingredient materials.
Pressed aluminium (suitable for gas stove only)
Pros: excellent thermal conductivity – much higher than that of pans made from other metals
Cons: Thin frying pans made from pressed aluminium are heated unevenly and are quickly deformed under large temperatures. Cheap pressing with non-stick coating (which are usually manufactured in China) can be dangerous for health, because the quality of the coating is often questionable.
We do not recommend buying them because the cons vastly outweigh the pros.
To sum up:
if you want to use a safe skillet in your kitchen, the choice will depend on your stove:
Glass-ceramic stove – cast iron or more expensive ceramic frying pans with a flat bottom
Electric stove – cast iron or more expensive ceramic frying pans with a diameter that fits the cookers on your stove
Induction stove – cast iron or magnetic stainless steel pans.
Gas stove – cast iron, aluminium with steel or more expensive ceramic frying pans.
We have a Ceramic Non-Stick Frying Pan, 30cm that we highly recommend having in your house:
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