10 best non-stick frying pans that cook everything to perfection, from pancakes to steaks
Which is best for sizzling good value? We put a range to the test
Who doesn’t love a fry up? It’s worth taking time to choose the right pan, whether a family-sized workhorse or a shiny statement piece you’ll be happy to leave on show.
A good frying pan should be the workhorse of your hob top, sealing, caramelising and crisping away while you prepare other elements of your meal. Some have heatproof handles and so can be placed in the oven to finish off dishes that have been started off on the hob top.
Non-stick models are often made of steel or aluminium, with a coating in the interior designed to make everything move around easily without catching on the surface. Each model we tried here has a different degree of slide, so some could do with a small amount of oil where others fry an egg to perfection in a bare, dry pan.
It’s wise not to overheat any pan you’re using, so don’t use boost buttons on an induction hob unless for large pans of water, say. Direct flames on a gas hob to the base, rather than letting them lick the sides, which can burn and char coatings or discolour steel. Look for coatings that are PFOA free and remember that frying pans with damaged non-stick should be replaced.
Don’t plunge a very hot pan straight in cold water – those with less sturdy bases may cause the base to warp. Wash with a sponge or soak before cleaning, rather than attacking with a scourer.
We tested a range of non-stick frying pans on different cookers, from gas to induction. Whether cooking pancakes or searing steaks, they had to prove their ability to heat quickly and evenly without hotspots or cold edges and then adjust to a lowered flame.
Those pans with heatproof handles that could transfer from hob to oven were used to slow-cook bolognese or finish off tortilla or pan-fried duck breasts.
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Salter megastone collection non-stick, 24cm: £14.99, Amazon
From the many frying pans we tested for this roundup, the Salter megastone probably had the most use as our go-to for family frying. It heated very quickly but had a nice thick base, so crisped everything evenly and reacted well as induction hob controls were adjusted. This budget pan is suitable for metal utensils as the surface won’t scratch or flake and can be plonked in the dishwasher afterwards. Great value.
Tefal titanium excel frying pan, 28cm: £35, Argos
That familiar Tefal red dot (it goes solid when heated to show it’s ready for action) has long been a sign of quality for non-stick frying pans and this model doesn’t disappoint. In aluminium with Tefal’s toughest-yet coating (PFOA free), we particularly liked the high sides of this fryer when browning mince for a batch cook bolognese. It can handle a lot, and unlike some other Tefal models can be put in the oven thanks to its metal handle.
Robert Welch campden frying pan, 28cm: £74, Robert Welch
Now here’s a top notch pan that is not only elegantly designed but top-grade in terms of heat distribution and construction. The handle on this pan was particularly comfortable to use, though it wouldn’t be our first choice for pancakes – it’s weighty for flipping. However, steaks were done to perfection as the pan heated up evenly and handled maximum temperatures on a gas hob without discolouration.
Le Creuset 3-ply stainless steel frying pan, 24cm: £125, Le Creuset
As well as the brightly coloured enamel pans we know and love, Le Creuset has also played a blinder with its professional-grade tri-ply stainless steel pans. This was a pleasure to use, if heavier than the other pans here, but the additional handle helped. Consistent heating of the base without hotspots, this frying pan made our tester feel like she was “cooking in a Michelin-star restaurant”. Classy stuff.
Berghoff gem frying pan, 24cm: £41.64, Amazon
Our tester liked the heavyweight quality of this frying pan, which was one of the sturdiest they tested. Heating evenly, the speckled, non-stick surface was easy to clean afterwards, which was a relief since dishwashing isn’t recommended for this model. The best thing about this pan was the detachable handle, turning a trad pan into an oven-friendly roaster. Great if you’re pushed for storages space too.
Samuel Groves tri-ply stainless steel ceramic frying pan, 28cm, £105.77, Samuel Groves
This frying pan would make a classy housewarming or wedding gift, arriving in a drawstring hessian bag rather than everyday cardboard packaging. Made in Britain, the pan looks every penny of its upscale price tag, with an embossed Samuel Groves signature on the handle and a satin steel finish. It performed perfectly, whether crisping duck breast or caramelising onions. Samuel Groves has a lifetime warranty on its cookware – if used correctly – so this one is an investment buy that could be with you forever.
Green Pan mayflower ceramic non-stick frying pan, 24cm: £40, Green Pan
The high gloss, smooth non-stick coating on this stylish number meant pancakes slid easily from the pan to the plate without the need to grease the lining at all. We liked the blue colourway a lot – this was one pan we wouldn’t mind hanging up for show. This is hand wash only, as you wouldn’t want the wooden handle to get soaked.
Tower ice diamond frying pan, 24cm: £25.29, Tower
There was a more premium look to this pan than its price tag would suggest and it’s suitable for every cooker, from gas to ceramic and induction. The polished handle is not as chunky as the main body of the pan, but it performs well without any sticking, cooking pancakes without any added oil or butter. It’s oven safe, and this smaller 24cm size was perfect for a puffy Spanish omelette finished off under the grill.
ProCook professional ceramic frying pan, 24cm: £38, Amazon
There’s a 25 year guarantee on this frying pan, which may be reassurance for those who feel ceramic pans don’t have the hardiness of alternative materials. The lining on this easy-to-use pan is reinforced with titanium and you can use all types of utensils confidently. It was a pleasure to stir onions and risotto rice in this smooth frying pan, with everything frying evenly across its surface.
Lakeland hard anodised bell shaped frying pan, 24cm: £37.99, Lakeland
We like the entire bell-shaped pan collection from Lakeland, which are extremely good quality for the price. The softer silicone handles are comfortable to use and the curved walls of the pan mean stirring is less likely to end in hob-top splashes. Although heating evenly, we found that small amounts of oil could collect on the outer rims, so we liked this model for deeper frying or cooking without fat at all.
The verdict: Non-stick frying pans
The Salter megastone may not have been the best-looking frying pan of the bunch but it was very easy to use and keep clean and was at a great price point too. Sturdy enough to trust with deeper frying, we liked its robust, weighty feel. At the investment end of the scale, Robert Welch, Le Creuset and Samuel Groves pans were shining examples of how using high-end cookware can add pleasure to the whole foodie experience.
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