We last tested frying pans in 2016. There are no updates planned.
If you’ve dished out top dollar for an induction cooktop you’ll want a quality frying pan to go with it.
We tested 25-26cm frying pans suitable for an induction cooktop. A good frying pan should heat evenly and be very durable. But they also need to be safe to use — we don’t recommend frying pans with a stainless-steel handle because they can get dangerously hot during cooking.
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 by wiping vegetable oil on the surface and removing any excess with a paper towel.
While some pans are 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 use a soft sponge for cleaning. Never wash a hot non-stick pan in cold water; this can damage the non-stick surface and may cause the base of the pan to buckle.
Avoid 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.
To get the most out of your frying pan only use wooden or silicon utensils. Even though some manufacturers claim using metal utensils is OK, using wooden or silicon ones will prevent scratching and 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 and never on high heat, unless you're bringing liquid to the boil.
Add salt to boiling water only, as adding salt to cold water can cause pitting of the base.
The safety of non-stick pans is sometimes questioned, mainly because of the chemical polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) that’s used to create the non-stick surface.
Research suggests PTFE starts to break down above 260°C and release harmful toxins. While your pan can reach this temperature if you use maximum heat and preheat your pan, it’s unlikely you’ll hit this high heat if you use your pan properly, which means it’s unlikely to cause harm.
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a synthetic chemical used as a processing aid in the manufacture of PTFE coatings. Research by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests routine use of non-stick products isn’t a risk to humans and the environment. However, the EPA has set up a stewardship programme for the elimination of PFOA and there has been a reduction in its use.
We cooked a pancake to assess evenness of heating, checking the pancake for brown spots and for any pancake stuck to the bottom of the frying pan.
For ease of use, we considered the balance of the frying pan, how comfortable the handle was, and how easy it was to clean.
The durability of non-stick frying pans is assessed through a scratch test – a mechanical arm scrubs each frying pan 10,000 times and the damage is recorded.
We also assessed the flatness of each frying 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.
After our cooking tests, we assess how easy each frying pan is to clean.