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Aug 16, 2010 05:55 PM

Frying pan suggestions?

Hi everyone!

So i love to cook but i'm not as "smart" about cooking as I probably should be! I seem to keep killing my frying pans and I don't think i'm getting bad oens. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.

So here's my question... if I were to buy a frying pan for say under $60 which would you recommend and what is the proper way to treat/maintain it?

I currently have anodized (spelling?) pots and pans and they look like they've been through hell and back. Before then I used to get the ones with teflon. I'm thinking maybe I should try the stainless steel ones?

Thanks for your suggestions! Which ever type i get next I plan to try to take really good care of them!

Oh... also, I like to fry fish, sautee stuff, and cook omlettes etc. I'm not sure if that affects which I should get but thougth it might be worth pointing out.

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  1. The biggest killer of cookware is dishwasher detergent. This is why many manufacturers recommend handwashing. Have you been using the dishwasher??

    Now, it is possible to wash most cookware in the dishwasher, but you need to use a special kind of detergent (something without phosphorus, I think) and watch the water and drying temperature. Even so, cast iron, copper, and steel should never be put in the dishwasher because prolonged exposure to moisture causes oxidation or rust. (Also, the dishwasher will wash the pans so well they will wash away the seasoning.)

    I recommend a carbon steel frying pan. They are about $30, depending upon the size. They can get hot enough to give you a good sear, but properly seasoned, will be as non-stick as you can get for omelets and fish. (Keep in mind that there *may* be a residual taste in your egg dishes. Some people have this problem and some do not. If you find that your egg dishes taste a little of last night's dinner you can scrub the pan with a bit of salt, or what the heck, by a pan for eggs alone.) You need to properly care for your pan--you must season it before the first use and always handwash it and NEVER put it away even damp. (If it does rust, you can scrub it away, though.)

    1. I agree with E_M. I don't know how long you have been using your anodized aluminum pan, but anodized cookware do not play well with many dishwasher detergent. Maybe that is why your pans are dying on you. Among the typical cookware material, stainless steel can handle an automatic dishwasher the best.

      A carbon steel pan is an excellent choice since it can handle high heat and be relatively nonstick. It does require more care. You will need to season the pan and keep it in good shape, but if you don't mind a little care here and there, it is wonderful. Again, you cannot put that in a dishwasher.

      Unlike nonstick Telfon pans and anodized pans, it is possible to regenerate a carbon steel seasoning surface.

      1. A third "aye" for carbon steel. Keep a smaller one just for omelets and crepes and never wash it, just wipe it.

        1. a fourth waving here.

          Though I must admit I'm spoilt here for having everything - stainless steel, carbon steel, and non-stick. When I have to deal with liquid I take the stainless steel out because I really don't want any of the seasoning in my food. I take out the carbon steel when it's dry searing, sometimes eggs. Teflon is reserved for super sticky stuff like gnocchi and pancake.

          1. rchlst: "if I were to buy a frying pan for say under $60 which would you recommend and what is the proper way to treat/maintain it?"

            I am not going to disagree with the earlier responders whi suggest a carbon steel pan. But I would never put a carbon steel pan in the dishwasher (those who have recommended carbon steel have said the same thing).

            Now, let me suggest something exactly double your price point -- and explain why it is worth more than double your price point. Here is the suggestion:


            Yes, it is twice what you are prepared to pay. But it is dishwasher safe (we can attest to that from personal experience over many many years) and it is da*ned near indestructible by ANYTHING. In fact, it comes with a ten year warranty.

            Now, before you protest that what you want is a frypan and not a pressure cooker, let me assure you that this IS a frypan, one that just happens to come with an accessory trick lid. But you never need to use the trick lid to make it earn its keep as a frypan -- it is superb "just" as an open top frypan/*, as good as any frypan out there, with a sandwich bottom that will spread heat more evenly than a carbon steel frypan will.
            /*It also is a standard diameter, and there is a good chance that some of the lids that you have for your other pots will work on it, as well.

            And then there is (extra bonus) the trick lid. With the trick lid on (and a simple trivet inside the frypan, you can steam a halved artichoke above (not in) the water at a higher wet temperature than you can boil the artichoke, in half the cooking time -- and the water comes out clear, not green, as it does when you boil the artichoke, because all of the nutrients stay in the artichoke instead of going into the water. Same with corn on the cob.

            The K-R frypan has a "waffle" inside bottom that is not non-stick, but it does clean up more easily than smooth surface stainless pans do -- and it DOES go in the dishwasher.

            It may be more than you think you can spend; we understand. But do not dismiss the concept out-of-hand.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Politeness

              Cool Thanks everyone!

              Is there a way to revive my anodized pans? and what does seasoning mean? I'm so ignorant!! sorry :-)

              1. re: rchlst


                Can you tell us what you anodized pan looks like? This way we may guess what damage is done to it. If the pan's black exterior turns into silver color (especially on the side of the pan as opposed to the bottom), then the oxidized layer has been removed. I have once read that a person used "Easy Off" on his/her anodized pan and badly damage the pan. Bad idea. Usually, there is not a lot to do if the anodized layer is removed.

                Seasoning is basically polymerizing oil on cookware material like carbon steel and cast iron. You do so by heating oil on the cookware, especially the cooking surface. You can read about its detials in various online website including this.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Well it's discolored on the cooking surface (anything from black to grey) and it's all scratched up. I don't use a knife on it of anything but it looks like i have. I do have metal utensils but part of why i got the anodized pans is that they said that you could use metal utensils on them...

                  Thanks for your help!!!

              2. re: Politeness

                I just clicked on the link and got their home page. Could you repost please? Sounds interesting. Can I assume it's induction compatible?

                1. re: c oliver

                  c oliver: "I just clicked on the link and got their home page."

                  I assume you directed that post to me, and about my link to Abe's of Maine's page for the Kuhn Rikon model 3346 2.5 liter frypan. After reading your post, I clicked on my own August 16 link above, and -- the page has, indeed, vanished. Kuhn-Rikon's own page for that item is here:

                  The best current price I can find now with a quick search for that 2.5 quart frypan is that at The Kitchen Clique:

                  However, for a bit higher initial outlay, Kuhn-Rikon offers the Duromatic Duo set, which is a slightly smaller (2 quarts instead of 2.5 quarts) version of the frypan plus a 5.25 quart pot and a second (non-pressure glass) lid and a purpose-made trivet, all of which add up to a bargain. You probably can locate on-line retailers who offer a discount from the suggested retail price on the Duromatic Duo set.

                  We do use our (2 quart) Kuhn Rikon frypan on our induction cooktop. It has a thick magnetic plus aluminum disk on its base that serves to spread the heat very evenly. When we use the pot in pressure-cooking mode, the instantaneous response of induction allows us to regulate the pressure much more closely than we ever could with electric resistive or gas, which had been the main issue inhibiting our use of pressure before we had an induction cooktop.

                  However, as I did in my earlier post, I wish to emphasize that the worth of a pot as a simple frypan is not dependent upon its second identity as a pressure cooker. It performs flawlessly as a plain old frypan -- and it can go straight into the dishwasher afterward.