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8 best non-stick frying pans you need in your kitchen

Which pan is best for sizzling good value? We put a range to the test

Qin Xie
Wednesday 19 January 2022 16:09
<p>We tested these pans on everything from pancakes to a classic fry up </p>

We tested these pans on everything from pancakes to a classic fry up

The humble non-stick frying pan is one of the most underrated vessels in the kitchen. You might associate it with a greasy fry up, but it can be used to make everything from a quick frittata to a deliciously moreish apple tarte tatin. Pick the right pan and you might even be able to substitute it for a baking tray to make a sumptuous lasagne, without the extra washing up.

The perfect pan needs to have a flat base with a relatively large cooking surface so you can shallow fry a few items at the same time. It also needs to have a curved edge, so when you’re cooking something like an omelette, it can slip out with ease. A frying pan is even more versatile if it’s oven-safe, so you can finish cooking under a grill if needed.

For our selection, we’ve opted for non-stick frying pans that are suitable for induction hobs. And for price comparison, they’re all of a similar size.

How we tested

To test each of these, we started out with a household favourite – the humble fry up. We then moved onto other recipes, including French toast, pancakes and skin-on salmon, so we could get a sense of how the pans would perform under different conditions and on different food groups.

In assessing each of the pans, we looked for style, balance, and how well its non-stick surfaces worked. We also looked for how quickly each heated up, how well it retained heat, and of course, how the food turned out. Here are our favourites.

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The best non-stick frying pans in 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Robert Welch campden non-stick frying pan: £78, Robertwelch.com
  • Best everyday pan – ProCook professional anodised frying pan: £44, Procook.co.uk
  • Best for easy storage – Stellar Rocktanium non-stick frying pan: £38.90, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best luxury option – Samuel Groves stainless steel tri-ply non-stick frying pan: £125, Samuelgroves.com
  • Best versatile pan – ProCook professional stainless steel frying pan with lid: £61, Procook.co.uk
  • Best for design – Smeg cookware non-stick frying pan: £119.95, Smeguk.com
  • Best eco-friendly option – Kuhn Rikon new life frying pan: £79.95, Kuhnrikon.co.uk
  • Best budget-friendly option – MasterClass induction ready non-stick frypan: £38.49, Cookserveenjoy.com

Robert Welch campden non-stick frying pan, 28cm

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

Robert Welch is particularly proud of the non-stick coating on this Campden frying pan; so much so, it has put a 10 year guarantee on it. This is quite unusual as normally, brands only offer guarantees on the pan itself (25 years in this case) and not on the non-stick surface.

You may well be wondering what’s so special about this coating. There are a couple of things, starting with the fact that there are three separate coatings, each made from different materials, that give it its long-lasting, abrasion and corrosion-resistant properties. ILAG, the Swiss company behind the technology, has also made it PFOA-free and used sustainable raw materials to do it.

What we really liked about this pan was how quickly it heated up - our sausages were sizzling within a couple of seconds of us switching on the power. And the heat distribution was great, too. We had mushrooms right at the edge of the pan and they were cooking at the same rate as in the middle. This is all thanks to that layer of copper, which heats up quickly and evenly.

One thing to note is that just like copper pans, this one tarnishes quite easily. Although the 18/10 stainless steel that makes up the bulk of the base can be polished to a mirror finish in no time, the layer of copper that just peeks through will need a bit of extra care.

Sadly, it’s out of stock right now - but we’ve been told we can expect this one to be restocked by early next week (from 24 January).

ProCook professional anodised frying pan, 28cm

Best: Everyday pan

Rating: 9/10

ProCook’s professional anodised frying pan is ideal if you’re looking for a reliable pan that doesn’t cost a fortune. The durable forged aluminium body is relatively lightweight, while the brand’s triple layer PFOA-free non-stick coating means food glides around the pan with relative ease. It’s fitted with cooltouch handles for using on the hob but if you use it in the oven – and the pan is oven safe up to 260C – then you’ll need oven gloves afterwards. Plus, it comes with a 25-year guarantee.

We really liked how quickly it heated up when we tested it and our food was cooked evenly with a satisfying sizzle. After use, it was easy to wipe clean and rinse off any grease; the pan is also dishwasher safe, if you have one. We think the only thing letting it down is that it doesn’t look as stylish as some of the premium options we tested but if that doesn’t bother you then this is a great value for money pick.

Stellar rocktanium non-stick frying pan, 28cm

Best: For easy storage

Rating: 8/10

With a lifetime guarantee, and a separate 10 year guarantee just for the non-stick surface, Stellar’s rocktanium non-stick frying pan is designed to last. The main body of the pan is made from lightweight aluminium with a PFOA-free quantanium (a blend of silicone and titanium) non-stick coating that’s designed to mirror the splattered pattern of igneous rocks. There’s also a fairly short riveted handle that’s tightly secured in place.

We had a great experience testing this pan – everything we cooked lifted easily and we didn’t need to use much oil at all. There’s a slight dip at the edge of the cooking surface where it joins up to the walls – excess oil seems to naturally gather here, which is useful for reducing the amount of fat in your food.

We particularly liked the short handles, which made storage – and popping into the oven, up to temperatures of 210C – extremely easy. However, for safety, we’d recommend having a pair of oven gloves handy if you’re frying anything as your hands will be quite close to the pan during use.

Samuel Groves stainless steel tri-ply non-stick frying pan, 26cm

Best: Luxury option

Rating: 8/10

The Samuel Groves stainless steel tri-ply non-stick frying pan is the smallest of the options we tried as, even though it’s sold as a 26cm pan, the actual diameter is 25cm with a cooking surface diameter of just 20cm. Its smaller size means it’s best suited for an omelette for one, rather than a big fry up for all the family.

The pan itself is well made, with a layer of lightweight aluminium sandwiched between two layers of durable stainless steel. The handle, meanwhile, is a glossy stainless steel that stays cool during cooking, although if you use it in the oven – the pan is oven safe to 230C – you will need oven gloves afterwards. The pan also comes with a lifetime warranty.

We liked the sleek appearance of this pan. Properly polished up, the stainless steel base looks as impressive on our countertop as it does on the hob. It also handled well during cooking, with the contents of the pan slipping out onto our plate with pleasurable ease.

ProCook professional stainless steel frying pan with lid, 28cm

Best: Versatile pan

Rating:7/10

With an 18/10 stainless steel body and a 7mm impact-bonded base, the ProCook professional stainless steel frying pan is designed to be seriously hardwearing. In fact, it comes with a 25 year guarantee. But we particularly liked the fact that, thanks to its higher walls and the toughened glass lid, this frying pan could also double up as a saute pan for searing meat and making sauces or even pasta. You can also use it in the oven up to 260C and then pop it in the dishwasher afterwards to clean.

In terms of use, it’s a bit heavier than some of the other options we tested, although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What did bother us was the fact that it took noticeably longer to heat up compared to some of the other pans we tested. We think this will be fine for cooking things like a fry up and great for pancakes – it just takes a bit longer for even results – but there are better alternatives if you want to sear a piece of steak really quickly without the wait.

Smeg cookware non-stick frying pan, 26cm

Best: For design

Rating: 7/10

Smeg cookware is a relatively new addition to the famed kitchen brand’s repertoire and, like its appliances, its non-stick frying pans are designed with flair. The polished mirror finish of the stainless steel handle will be the first thing that catches your eye as it boldly contrasts with the rest of the pan, available in a matte red, black or cream.

Although the body is made from cold-forged aluminium, the specially constructed base – in a corrugated blossom pattern that blends two metals – means it’s suitable for all hobs, including ceramic and induction. This performed well in testing, with the heat well distributed across the base.

We felt what let it down was the extra cleaning. The handle is hollow, which means it’s difficult to rinse out properly, while the crevices in the base means that there’s always extra scrubbing to get it sparkling. That said, you could always pop it in the dishwasher if you have one.

Kuhn Rikon new life frying pan, 28cm

Best: Eco-friendly option

Rating: 8/10

From the outside, Kuhn Rikon’s new life frying pan doesn’t look much different from the other options we tested – it has a sleek black non-stick interior and grey exterior, with heat-resistant handles. The pan is oven safe to 220C and comes with a limited lifetime guarantee – as you’d expect from the high price point.

But this pan is actually made in Switzerland using 100 per cent recycled aluminium, sourced within Europe, which immediately ups its eco credentials. Added to that is the fact that it comes in packaging made from recycled paper, another bonus point.

When we tested it, we found that we needed to use a little bit more oil in the pan compared to some of the other options due to the roughness of the non-stick surface. It was also quite slow to heat up, although once it’s ready, it retained heat well and cooked things evenly. Because of this slower cooking process though, we did find things tended to dry out a little more – this is great if you’re making a toastie that you want to crisp up, but less so if you just want to flash fry an egg.

MasterClass induction ready non-stick frypan, 26cm

Best: Budget-friendly option

Rating: 6/10

MasterClass’s non-stick frying pan combines a carbon steel exterior with a ceramic interior, which means any heat applied to the pan should be distributed quickly and evenly. The non-stick coating is made from nano-silica, which is durable enough to be used with metal utensils, although of course non-metal alternatives are always preferred. And to make life easier, it’s oven safe to 220C and can be cleaned in the dishwasher.

In testing, we found that the pan worked well and heated up very quickly. It’s quite small though, as the cooking surface is only 21cm. Compared to some of the other pans, we also needed to use a little more oil for better release, especially when cooking eggs. One thing to note, the interior of the pan we tested became discoloured after a couple of uses – this can happen when using carbon steel on induction hobs. While this doesn’t seem to have affected the non-stick quality, it is worth bearing in mind if appearance is particularly important for you.

Non-stick frying pan FAQs

How to care for your non-stick frying pan

Not all non-stick frying pans are made equal, so before you commit to buying one, check to see if it's safe to put in a dishwasher.

If it’s not you’ll need to hand wash it to keep it clean, using mild soap with a brush or sponge and warm water to gently clean the surface.

Avoid using scouring pads which can scratch and remove the non-stick coating, rendering it useless. Harsh detergent and water that’s boiling can cause the coating to deteriorate, too.

Why are my non-stick pans sticking?

The non-stick coating of your pan may, well, stick for numerous reasons including the use of high heat and aerosol cooking sprays which can cause food build-up and damage. You can preserve the non-stick coating by using medium heat to cook, using olive oil, peanut oil or other non-aerosol oils to cook, as well as using warm soapy water after every use so food residue won’t build up.

Are non-stick pans safe?

Generally, non-stick cookware has been coated with a material called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), commonly known as Teflon. First made in the 1930s, Teflon provides a nonstick, nonreactive, low-friction surface, making it easy to use and easy to clean. Teflon, back then, was made with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has since been linked with types of cancer and health concerns.

However, today, all Teflon products are PFOA-free, so it’s fine to get cooking!

The verdict: Non-stick frying pan

We were very impressed by the Robert Welch campden non-stick frying pan on first use and it’s stylish enough for us to want to have on display. For a more affordable alternative, it’s hard to beat ProCook’s professional anodised frying pan – it’s a real workhorse that should last for years to come.

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For satisfying chargrill lines and succulent dishes, look to our review of the best grill pans

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