Frying pans

Which frying pans cook well? We tested non-stick models that are also suitable for induction cooktops.

Cooking an egg in a frying pan.

Cook up a storm with a non-stick frying pan.

Frying pans checklist

What to consider before buying a frying pan:

  • Ferrous metal base: Induction-suitable pans have a ferrous metal base, which means a magnet will stick to it.
  • Weight: A heavy base helps with heat distribution and evenness of cooking. However, check the weight – if it’s heavy when empty, it will be a strain on your wrist when full.
  • Size: A pan should be the same size as the element it cooks on.
  • Materials: Stainless steel is strong, hard and non-corrosive. But it doesn’t conduct heat well. It’s often combined with aluminium in multi-layered bases (the aluminium helps conduct and disperse heat). Cast iron gives a very even heat at low settings, but its thick, heavy base takes longer to heat up and cool down.
  • Handle: The handle should stay cool and have a non-slip grip. Stainless-steel handles can get dangerously hot, so we don’t recommend them.

Tips for looking after your pan

  • Manufacturers recommend washing your pan in warm, soapy water and drying thoroughly before you first use it. Some also suggest conditioning the pan before its first use. You do this by wiping vegetable oil on the surface and removing excess with a paper towel.
  • While some pans claim to be dishwasher-safe, a dishwasher’s detergent can be too harsh, especially for non-stick surfaces. It’s better to hand-wash in warm, soapy water and clean with a soft sponge. Never wash a hot non-stick pan in cold water – this can damage the non-stick surface and may cause the base to buckle.
  • Don’t use non-stick cooking sprays on non-stick pans. These can burn at low temperatures and leave an invisible residue that affects the non-stick surface.
  • Only use wooden or silicon utensils. This prevents scratching and will extend the life of your pan.
  • Don’t overheat an empty non-stick pan or leave it unattended on the cooktop. Non-stick cookware should only be used on low to medium temperatures, unless you’re bringing liquid to the boil.
  • Wait for water to boil before adding salt. Adding salt to cold water can cause the base to pit (fast corrosion if the salt isn’t dissolved).

How we test

  • Performance (60% of overall score): Pancakes reveal how effective and even the non-stick surface is (brown spots are a sign of unevenness).

  • Durability (30%): A mechanical arm scrubs each frying pan 10,000 times and the damage is recorded.

  • Ease of use (10%): As well as assessing how easy the pan is to clean, we consider if it’s also balanced, with a comfortable handle.

We also check the flatness of each pan’s base when heated. If the base turns concave (like a wine bottle base), the food may run to the sides of the pan.

We’ve tested 20 24-26cm non-stick frying pans.

Find a frying pan

More Appliances reports

More Appliances reports

Appliances clp promo

More Appliances reports

Check out more of our tests, articles, news and surveys in our Appliances section.

Browse reports