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.
Shines in professional tests. Reviewers consistently say the All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-inch Fry Pan delivers even, controlled performance and browns beautifully over virtually any type of heat, including induction and glass stovetops. In one professional test, it earns excellent marks in all types of cooking, and was also found to be large enough to accommodate eight pieces of chicken. Owners agree, saying this All-Clad pan is so versatile that it's the only 12-inch skillet they need. It goes from stovetop to oven with ease, and is oven safe to 500 degrees. The main complaint about this skillet is that food sticks, a particular problem with those who try to use it to fry -- and flip -- eggs, but that's an issue with all stainless-steel pans, which are not nonstick.
Don't expect a nonstick pan. As we mentioned above, the All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-inch Fry Pan does not have a nonstick surface, and that can lead to a more labor- and time-intensive cleanup process. Depending upon the food cooked and the heat intensity, you may encounter quite a stuck-on mess when you're done cooking. However, if you fill the skillet with hot, soapy water and set it aside to soak for a while, you should be able to just wipe it out. Alternatively, a scrubber and a sprinkle of Barkeeper's Friend (Est. $7) [B000V72992] will have the pan looking like new in no time. We did see many complaints of food getting stuck in the handle rivets and being a challenge to remove. This All-Clad skillet is dishwasher safe, but most experts and owners recommend hand washing.
Built to last. In one professional test, the All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-inch Fry Pan survived being submerged in ice water and banged against concrete (any resulting dents were barely noticeable). Owners say that the riveted handles are more secure than welded metal or any type of plastic. Many feel that this skillet's durability justifies its high price, since the pan will last longer than a few years. The manufacturer appears to agree with this assessment, as it backs the skillet with a lifetime warranty. Quite a few owners opt to display their All-Clad on racks, rather than hiding them in the cupboard, noting that, with proper care, they remain looking new for years. This particular version of the 12-inch skillet includes a lid; the fry pan without the lid was actually pricier (by about $15) at the time of this report. The pan is made in the USA, but the lid is made in China.
Lesley Stockton and Michael Zhao spent three years testing skillets, talking to experts and comparing pans in cooking tasks to name the best skillet, the All Clad Stainless Steel 12-inch Fry Pan. They note that it's pricey, but worth it, because it will last forever.
In this update of a roundup originally published on January 1, 2009, editors compare six 12-inch stainless-steel skillets, including the All Clad 12-inch Stainless Steel Fry Pan. Each pan is evaluated on several cooking tasks and are put through several rigorous tests to gauge durability.
Testers at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute give the All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-Inch Fry Pan an overall rating of 4 stars out of 5, with praise for its even heating, superior browning and stay-cool handle. Editors say its classic omelet shape is "ideal for turning out eggs" but that the pan has trouble maintaining a steady simmer in their tests.
The All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-Inch Fry Pan with Lid receives more than 250 reviews, earning an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. Owners agree that food cooks evenly and browns well. They appreciate the added value of the included lid. Some complain that food sticks to the pan, but others say that's because there's a learning curve with a stainless steel pan.
There are many fewer reviews here, just a handful, but the All-Clad 12-inch Stainless Steel Skillet earns an overall rating of 4.9 stars out of 5. Users say it is a top performer with anything you want to cook; the only complaint is that it can be hard to clean.