Appliances

Product overview

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Frying pans

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Cook up a storm with one of our recommended pans.

We tested 25-26cm frying pans suitable for an induction cooktop. To make our recommended list, frying pans must be very good at heating evenly and 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.

From our test

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Our frying pan test

All the frying pans in our test can be used on an induction cooktop.

  • 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.

Buying a frying pan

If you're choosing a new frying pan, here's what to consider:

  • Induction-suitable pans have a ferrous metal base, which means a magnet will stick to it.
  • An induction pan should be the same size as the element it sits on. Will the pan fit easily in your sink for cleaning?
  • A heavy base helps with heat distribution and evenness of cooking. Stainless steel is strong, hard and non-corrosive but it doesn’t conduct heat well – so it’s often combined with aluminium in multi-layered bases (the aluminium is better at conducting and dispersing heat). Cast iron gives a very even heat at low settings but its thick and heavy base takes longer to heat up and cool down than other cookware.
  • Check the weight. If a pan is heavy when it’s empty, it will be a strain on your wrist when it’s full.
  • The handle should stay cool to the touch and have a non-slip grip. Stainless-steel handles can get dangerously hot.
  • A pot that has a rim with a curved edge or a lip reduces the chances of the contents dripping on to the bench or table when you pour.
  • A glass lid lets you keep an eye on what’s cooking without lifting the lid (which wastes heat). You can also see when your pot’s about to boil over. However, a glass lid can accumulate grime and be fiddly to clean.

Tips for care and use

How you use and care for your non-stick frying pan will determine its usable life.

  • 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.

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