What every Skillets has:
- Good cooking performance.
- A large cooking surface.
- A thick, evenly flat bottom.
Lodge is a top name in cast iron, and the Lodge 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet is very well reviewed by experts and owners alike for its superior performance -- and it only gets better with age and use. This versatile Lodge cast iron frying pan can go from stovetop to oven or broiler; be used on the grill, in a smoker, or over an open flame. The 12-inch skillet comes pre-seasoned, heats quickly and evenly, and is a great choice for one-pot meals.
The Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Skillet has an enameled interior finish that doesn't require the seasoning that regular cast iron does. Owners say if you follow the manufacturer's instructions for preheating and proper cooking temperatures, it is very nonstick, but don't expect the extreme nonstick properties of coated pans -- those who do are disappointed. Le Creuset pans are among some of the most durable and attractive; this 11-3/4 inch skillet comes in six vibrant colors. Hand washing is recommended.
Among stainless steel skillets, the All-Clad 12-Inch Fry Pan is the clear standout in both expert and user reviews. Its fully clad construction delivers even heat and great browning, making it a favorite of professional chefs. It's roomy enough to hold a chicken with room to spare and can go from stovetop to oven for one-pot efficiency. Reviewers also say it's durable and comfortable to use. This particular version includes a lid, which adds quite a bit of value.
Reviewers agree: the Cuisinart MCP22-30HN MultiClad Pro Stainless 12-Inch Skillet performs almost as well as its pricier competitors, earning top marks for cooking, ease of handling and durability. As with any stainless steel skillet, there is a learning curve, but once that's mastered, owners say that this Cuisinart is a joy to use. The helper handle is particularly appreciated, and many say they bought this stainless steel skillet just for that feature. Cuisinart cookware comes with a lifetime warranty, but its customer service department gets mixed reviews.
Experts say you should have at least one nonstick pan, and you can't do any better than the T-fal E93808 12.5-inch Fry Pan. For such an inexpensive skillet, it gets a lot of love from both experts and owners. The T-fal E93808 heats quickly, releases food easily, and is reported as surprisingly heavy and sturdy. It also uses a nonstick coating that's easy to clean and gets very few complaints of chipping or scratching. T-fal offers a lifetime warranty.
While most ceramic cookware is "panned" by expert reviewers, the Scanpan Professional 12.5-Inch Fry Pan performs better in testing than most, and is a big hit with owners. Most users say it's just as nonstick as a traditional coated, nonstick pan. Like all ceramic cookware, it's not as durable as skillets made from other materials, so you'll need to handle it with care, and there are complaints of it becoming less nonstick after a few months of use.