The skillet is a basic kitchen equipment piece, but it can be surprisingly challenging to pick the right one for your kitchen.
With lots of options on the market, you’ll soon find yourself slipping into an overwhelming selection bout. And when this becomes a reality, you tend to opt for something, anything, just to get done with it.
More often than not, it ends in total disappointment. Food won’t brown, but burns and sticks. These choices will peel, chip and warp. Sometimes, the weight is wrong – too heavy or too light.
While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all model, we’ve expertly handpicked the best skillet America’s Test Kitchen to ensure a smart decision. Plus, there is a buyer’s guide section on how to make an informed decision.
Skillet vs Frying Pan – Same or Different?
When it comes to skillets and frying pans, most people often get confused and argue that they are different. However, these two cookwares share plenty of similarities, which makes them pretty much the same.
Nonetheless, they differ slightly, with the skillets having a bit deeper shape than frying pans. Thus, the skillets are used for braising thick sauces and curries. Plus, they include a lid and come in different material construction, including cast iron.
On the other hand, the frying pan comes in a flat bottomed shape, making it ideal for browning, frying and searing food. Unlike skillets, frying pans don’t have lids and are best used for high heat grilling. Also, they are made with aluminum, stainless steel, or a combination.
In summary, these kitchenwares are excellent for roasting, stewing, frying, braising, and grilling. Nevertheless, they are both used for cooking just about the same thing.
Reviews of Best Skillet America’s Test Kitchen of 2020
Here are top rated skillet on the market by consumer reports
Top 1 – All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware, 12-Inch Fry Pan with Lid, Tri-Ply Stainless Steel
If you love cooking, then All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware is perfect for you. This model is designed with beginner and culinary artists in mind. The classic stainless steel styled skillet is well constructed to deliver high performance.
Further, it offers impressive versatility. It features a wide flat surface allowing users to sear, brown and fit up to four chicken breasts at once. Also, its low, sloped sides help make flipping and turning a breeze.
All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware is made with high-quality materials for excellent heat retention and distribution throughout the pan. This means with medium heat; users can simmer, saute and sear.
In addition, its high-quality construction ensures this model lasts a lifetime. All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware features 3 alternating layers of aluminum and American-made stainless steel bonded together up to the unit’s rim.
This unit is equipped with classic stainless steel handles and secured with stainless steel rivets for safe and easy handling on the stovetop. This product is dishwasher safe and requires low maintenance.
What’s more? It comes with a lifetime warranty assuring customers of longevity and high performance. It sports a highly-polished cooking surface to offer stick resistance and hassle-free maintenance, thanks to its starburst finish.
- Versatile low-profile shape
- Contoured stainless-steel handles
- The highly polished cooking surface
- Easy maintenance
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Poor quality control
Top 2 – All-Clad 4108 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Fry Pan / Cookware
Another spot, another All-Clad skillet. This unit comes in different size options to cater to your cooking needs: 8-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch and 14-inch models.
Like our top model, this skillet features a wide flat base to let users simmer, brown, and fit in their chicken breast. Also, it sports a versatile, low profile shape to allow you to cook just about anything.
Even better, it features 3-ply bonded construction consisting of an aluminum core and a durable stainless steel encapsulation for excellent heating throughout. This alternating layers
On top of that, All-Clad 4108 has a highly polished cooking surface that comes with a starburst finish to deliver a stick-free experience and low maintenance. Besides, it ensures that this unit does not react with your food.
More so, it comes with contoured stainless steel handles and well secured with stainless steel rivets to ensure easy and safe handling. Further, All-Clad 4108 is broiler and oven safe up to 600 degrees.
This made in USA skillet is accompanied by a limited lifetime warranty, which shows the manufacturer’s level of confidence in this product. Besides, this model is compatible with all cooktops, including induction.
- High compatibility
- Stick resistant cooking surface
- 3-ply bonded construction
- Wide range of size options
- The nonstick surface could be better
Top 3 – Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, Pre-Seasoned with Silicone Hot Handle Holder
This 10.25-inch cast iron skillet comes with a red silicone hot handle holder. This model is an improved version, featuring an assist handle and built to last for many generations.
What’s more? Lodge Cast Iron Skillet makes a lot of difference since it is seasoned with 100% vegetable oil. This means it does not include chemicals or synthetic coatings.
Besides, this cast iron offers unbeatable heat retention and even cooking. The Lodge Cast Iron Skillet works well in the oven, over the campfire, on the grill, or the stove. Another thing about this frying pan is its low maintenance: hand wash, dry, and rub with cooking oil.
This cast-iron model is highly sought after for its high-quality design, cooking versatility and lifetime durability. Lodge Cast Iron Skillet is the right tool to grill, fry, braise, broil, bake, saute, and sear.
- Even heating and unparallel heat retention
- Great for induction cooktops.
- Low maintenance
- Lifetime durability
- Cooking versatility
- Not ideal for those new to cast iron
Top 4 – Carote Nonstick Frying Pan Set/Fry Pan Set/Cookware Set
This set is available in different options to match your style and needs. This product features an eco-friendly granite coating which is free from PFOA.
Not just that, Carote Nonstick Frying Pan is nonstick and hassle-free to clean, thanks to its nonstick cast aluminum interior surface. Aside from being super easy to clean up, it’s also very durable.
That’s not all: this option includes a three-piece set consisting of 8 inch, 9.5 inch, and 12-inch pans. Even better, this unit works well with all stoves, including induction and oven safe up to 350 degrees F.
Plus, it is accompanied with a full 12-month warranty, which offers peace of mind. It heats evenly and brings super retention to your table.
- Eco-friendly construction
- Easy to clean
- Wide range of set option
- Suitable with induction stove
- The interior could be smoother.
Top 5 – Lodge LCC3 Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Combo Cooker
When it comes to skillet brands, the Lodge has proven to be one of the best with its lines of high-quality products. The pan set comes with a 3.2Qt Dutch oven and a 10.25-inch shallow skillet, which doubles as a lid.
This amazing set of cookers comes pre seasoned and ready to use. Each piece is built to offer superior heat retention and even cooking to eliminate any hot spots. This model available in red and black design will match your kitchen decor with ease.
- Superior heat retention and even cooking
- Includes a pan scraper
- Perfect combo
- high-quality construction
- The coating might flake off after a while
Top 6 – Lodge L10SKL Cast Iron Dual Handle Pan
This is another 12-inch model making it to our list, offering an ample cooking space. The Lodge L10SKL features an ergonomic dual-assist handle design to allow users to safely and easily use this product over the campfire, on the grill and the stovetop.
It features high-quality construction to ensure it withstands the test of time. This cookware offers excellent heat retention and delivers even heating. With a good seasoning, this skillet will help make a difference. It is preseasoned with 100% vegetable oil and does not include chemicals or synthetic coatings for healthy meals.
The Lodge L10SKL Cast Iron Skillet is essential cookware for both new and leading chefs. It’s perfect for frying, braising, broiling, baking, sauteing, and searing. Keep in mind that this model is compatible with all heat sources: campfire, induction, stovetops (gas or electric), oven, or BBQ.
- Ample cooking surface
- Brilliant heat retention
- High compatibility
- 100% vegetable oil seasoning
- Poor packaging
Top 7 – Lodge CRS8 Carbon Steel Skillet
Coming last but not the least best skillet on this review is Lodge CRS8 Carbon Steel Skillet. This unit takes high heat to offer brilliant searing or browning results. It sports 12-gauge carbon steel for the sake of quick heating and retaining heat to help deliver even cooking.
More importantly, it is suitable for use on induction electric, gas stovetops, open fire, or outdoor grills. Note, Lodge CRS8 Carbon Steel Skillet requires a little extra butter or oil for a few times after unpacking.
This model is seasoned with oil to ensure natural, easy-release finish, which improves with use. In my opinion, this model is easy to care for: hand wash, dry immediately and rub with cooking oil.
- High heat retention
- 12 gauge carbon steel
- Different size options
- Ideal for searing and browning
- Requires extra oil or butter
How to Choose the Right Skillet
For those looking to stock your kitchen, it’s important to choose the right cookware and appliances, including skillets. To achieve this, there are few considerations, including material, features, sizes and many more.
Size of the Pan
If you want a nonstick skillet, then you consider purchasing a 12-inch model. Your best bet is a 10-inch or 12-inch model for stainless skillets, but it’s advisable to go for a 12-inch option, the cast-iron skillet.
Some cooks prefer to fry eggs with smaller pans, especially the 6-inch model. Besides, it is much easier to clean for people who fry eggs more often.
Generally, we recommend the 12-inch model, since it offers enough room to handle just about anything. But, a 10-inch model makes more sense for couples or singles that won’t be using the kitchen much. Plus, 10-inch models are dishwasher friendly, and won’t take up much space.
There are different materials used for crafting skillets. However, cast iron and stainless steel will offer good value for your money, especially for people starting out. Keeping in mind, you should consider models that can double as a saute or wok pan, for instance.
For those just starting out, you might want to consider purchasing a nonstick first. This model helps get rid of figuring out stainless cooking when trying to fix yourself up with some fried eggs for breakfast. While nonstick experience for a seamless cooking experience, you should learn to treat the skillet to prevent damage.
But in our opinion, we suggest you purchase a cast-iron skillet. This option is a versatile and inexpensive one. Cast iron handles high heat, unlike nonstick pans, which are not built for hot jobs.
Stainless steel skillet is another nice option, especially as you get better at cooking. Sadly, you need to know things, which takes dedication and time when cooking with stainless steel.
Other factors to consider
- Rivets and handle construction
- Material, thickness and ply (outside and inside)
- Nonstick material and chemicals
- Dishwasher safe
- Warranty Policy
FAQs about Skillet
1. Is there a difference between a skillet and a frying pan?
Not really, except the skillet being slightly deeper than the frying pan.
2. What can you not cook in a cast-iron skillet?
Acidic foods like tomatoes, Wine-braised meats, Omelets, Desserts, and many more.
3. what is the best brand of cast iron skillet
There are hundreds of brands in this industry touting to be the best. Nonetheless, Lodge, Cuisinart, T-Fal, All-Clad, OXO Good Grips, etc. are known for their high-quality skillets line.
Every kitchen needs one of the best skillets out there. With a plethora of options on the market, there are high chances of splurging on the wrong model. To ensure this never happens, we’ve reviewed the top 7 best skillet America’s test kitchen and a detailed buying guide for an informed decision.
But if you’re in a rush, then All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware is the product to go for overall high performance, durability, versatility, and price.