HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >

Frypans

b
ben39 Sep 15, 2010 06:21 AM

Hello,

I am currently looking at buying my first frypan. I am a beginner cook and have been using an old and scratched non-stick teflon pan.

After spending hours researching, it seems cast iron or stainless steel seems to be the way to go. I am interested in quality, not having to buy a $20 pan every 6 months. I am also slightly concerned about non-stick coatings. However, I do have some questions.

1. I like scrambled eggs. Is it easier to buy a smaller non-stick pan for this?
2. With cast iron - if I cook fish for dinner, will my breakfast the following day taste funny?
3. I have read that some acidic foods like tomatoes ruin cast iron. Does this mean I will have to keep re-seasoning?

I was hoping to buy my pan online (http://www.kitchenwaredirect.com.au/C...), as many are on sale and they are local.

I have considered these -

Le Chasseur Federation Frypan (http://www.kitchenwaredirect.com.au/C...) - This is enamel coated. Does that mean I still need to season it and is this suitable for stuff likely to stick, like eggs?

Scanpan Classic Frypan 24cm (http://www.kitchenwaredirect.com.au/C...) - Non-stick, but apparently different from teflon. Does anybody know what newtek ceramic titanium nonstick is?

They also stock All-Cad, but they are more pricey. Is it worth the extra cost? Anything I should know about stainless steel?

I just want a good quality, all-rounder really. Or is there no such thing?

I'm looking at getting 10 inches as I only cook for myself at the moment.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Chemicalkinetics RE: ben39 Sep 15, 2010 07:13 AM

    You won't have to buy a stainless steel pan or cast iron pan every 2 month (or every 2 years for that matter).

    Some people do have a smaller nonstick pan just for eggs. Others do not find such need.

    taste does get embedded in cast iron pans.

    acidic foods does not ruin cast iron per sa, but they do thin the seasoning surface.

    Enameled fry pans are not my taste. To answer your question, you won't need to season them.

    A lot of green pans have shorter lifespan than normal Teflon pans.

    Finally, you should also consider carbon steel pans. They are usually lighter than cast iron pans.

    1. Lotsofscots RE: ben39 Sep 15, 2010 07:35 AM

      I've never owned just *one* frypan, so I don't know how helpful this answer will be. I currently own a stainless steel Tramontina tri-ply (Walmart - a bargain price for an excellent pan), a Lodge cast iron, and 2 non-stick fry pans. I like to have this variety because, depending on the recipe, each one has advantages.
      Stainless steel is great for skillet suppers that include tomatoes, plus it scrubs up easily.
      Cast iron is great for a quick sear and a finish in the oven, and for pan frying many meats, unless I'm planning on making gravy - darn pan is so heavy it's hard to pour it out!
      I like to keep non-stick pans for making eggs and have two sizes, depending on how many I'm cooking for.
      To make all of them last longer I wash them by hand. Stainless cleans up with Barkeepers Friend, cast iron takes some special care - I use a scrub with salt and a little oil, rinse, and dry in the oven. Teflon pans need to be washed by hand and I baby them by putting a paper towel between them to protect that fragile surface. Teflon pans are the only ones needing replacement often, cast iron and stainless are very durable.

      1. wekick RE: ben39 Sep 15, 2010 08:29 AM

        I like the old cast iron because the frying surface is smooth. Look for a smooth even black surface. If the black part is chipped, don't by it. The black part is from polymerization of fat and is the nonstick part . Some old ones have been refinished which is ok but then you have to build up the polymerization yourself. Antique malls and sometimes thrift shops are sources.
        http://www.cookingissues.com/2010/02/...

        1. d
          Dan D RE: ben39 Sep 15, 2010 09:07 AM

          I find it impossible to recommend a single pan for all purposes. In stainless steel, All-Clad is indeed excellent and I believe it to be worth the expense. Stainless is ideal for skillet dinners, tomato sauces, and anything where fairly rapid temperature adjustments are called for.

          Cast iron is great for searing meats, going to the oven, bacon and frying, and general cooking where its heat retention and slow response to temperature changes are appropriate. It can be just fine for eggs, though better for frittatas than omelets. Not recommended for tomato or other high-acid cooking.

          A really good non-stick is ideal for eggs and fine for much general use other than searing. Swiss Diamond and Scanpan are better non-sticks, and probably last longer than other brands if properly cared for.

          If I was restricted to a single type of pan, I would definitely choose an All-Clad stainless sandwiched pan, it is the most versatile and tolerant of my typical cooking.

          Carbon steel pans are an acquired taste, and less versatile than stainless. I don't have experience with the enameled cast iron type, they apparently solve the tomato/acid issue but continue to have slow heat retention and for my uses would be less preferred than a good All-Clad, which you won't replace for 20 years, most likely.

          1. paulj RE: ben39 Sep 15, 2010 09:38 AM

            When I first stocked my kitchen in grad school I bought a 8" cast iron skillet. It served me well. I still have it, but it spends most of its time in the back of the pantry.

            Over the years I've bought a number of nonstick pans. For some things like scrambled eggs nonstick is hard to beat. I've learned to get the thickest aluminum I can find - usually at a restaurant supply store, though my latest (and best) is cast aluminum induction ready from TJMaxx. To get best life from the coating I try to use them only for things where they are best.

            For pancakes, crepes and (quick) omelets, my favorite is a carbon steel French crepe pan. I also like carbon steel for tortillas (using a cheap Mexican griddle). My latest fry pan purchase is a French carbon steel one (relatively deep); for now I reserving that for things that contribute to the seasoning.

            I have a couple of stainless steel pots, but nothing shallow like a fry pan.

            My advise is to view the next fry pan purchase as a learning experience. Even if you pick the perfect material now, you might find something(s) that you like better ten years from now, or even next year. No one pan is ideal for all uses. Besides the material differences, there are different sizes and different shapes.

            1. Caroline1 RE: ben39 Sep 15, 2010 12:44 PM

              I don't think you can beat t his one. The non-stick finish actually contains diamonds and is impervious to metal utensils and just about any kind of abuse you can throw at it. It will NOT emit toxic or noxious compounds as many non-stick surfaces do, and the handle stays cool enough to touch even when the pan is put in a 500 degree oven. I think it's a bargain!

              http://www.cutleryandmore.com/swiss-d...

              EDIT!!!! The handles do NOT stay cool enough to touch in a five hundred degree oven, but they don't burn up and fall off. USE A POT HOLDER! My bad. Sorry,

              19 Replies
              1. re: Caroline1
                b
                ben39 RE: Caroline1 Sep 15, 2010 04:05 PM

                The fact Swiss Diamond uses Teflon, but not Teflon® kind of bothers me.

                What are some good carbon steel brands?

                I might get a Scanpan for now, maybe something like this - http://www.kitchenwaredirect.com.au/C...

                It's titanium non-stick (is this better than teflon?), but on sale, and probably good for learning. I'll eventually be picking different sizes and trying other materials. I just need to go for something to learn on while I'm still living at home.

                1. re: ben39
                  o
                  OldTimer RE: ben39 Sep 18, 2010 10:03 AM

                  The best carbon steel frypans are French...De Buyer. Requires seasoning and are quite heavy. The great advantage is no fear of burning teflon, they will handle intense heat (blackened fish, etc) and go into a hot oven. Takes a little care to preserve the seasoning, but worth it.

                  1. re: OldTimer
                    paulj RE: OldTimer Sep 18, 2010 10:11 AM

                    I've had one for several months. It's nice, but no substitute for nonstick pans. I've been reserving it for high heat things like frying meat. As with cast iron, too highheat will burn off the seasoning.

                    1. re: paulj
                      breadchick RE: paulj Sep 18, 2010 06:49 PM

                      Not quite sure what you mean by "burn off the seasoning." I haven't had that happen with my carbon steel, so far. Is this something I should watch out for down the road? Thanks for your input.

                      1. re: breadchick
                        Chemicalkinetics RE: breadchick Sep 18, 2010 07:43 PM

                        If you turn the heat high on a empty, you can burn off the seasoning. You will see smoke coming off the pan. Degassing.

                        1. re: breadchick
                          paulj RE: breadchick Sep 18, 2010 08:17 PM

                          Usually it happens when I put pan on the burner to dry and forget it. A ring of bare metal appears over the burner.

                  2. re: Caroline1
                    Chemicalkinetics RE: Caroline1 Sep 15, 2010 04:45 PM

                    Ben has a point. A few articles have stated that Swiss Diamond essentially use Teflon:

                    http://www.naturalnews.com/021059.html

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      b
                      ben39 RE: Chemicalkinetics Sep 15, 2010 04:55 PM

                      It's not that I'm totally paranoid about Teflon, it's just the fact that they are purposely deceiving customers and cashing in on the craze.

                      Okay I've narrowed my choices down to two -

                      Scanpan CTX (http://www.kitchenwaredirect.com.au/C...

                      )

                      Scanpan Professional (http://www.kitchenwaredirect.com.au/C...

                      )

                      The CTX is a bit smaller but uses Greentek. I'm not sure if that makes it better.

                      1. re: ben39
                        Chemicalkinetics RE: ben39 Sep 15, 2010 05:03 PM

                        Yes, I know what you mean.

                        1. re: ben39
                          tanuki soup RE: ben39 Sep 15, 2010 05:34 PM

                          Don't know if it matters to you, but the CTX line is induction-compatible, the Professional line isn't.

                          1. re: ben39
                            Caroline1 RE: ben39 Sep 15, 2010 08:55 PM

                            "It's not that I'm totally paranoid about Teflon, it's just the fact that they are purposely deceiving customers and cashing in on the craze."....ben39

                            WOW! That's pretty harsh, and I think you're wrong here. First off, the non-stick finish on Swiss Diamond is patented by that company, therefore it CANNOT, by definition, be "Teflon" because Teflon is also patented. You can't get a patent on someone else's patent. However, if some un-named entity, for whatever reasons of malice or personal gain, wants to smear Swiss Diamond's reputation by telling the world that their non-stick surface is "Teflon," that just might do the trick! Unfortunately, the general public rarely thinks things through to look at the logic of an argument. Pity.

                            1. re: Caroline1
                              wekick RE: Caroline1 Sep 15, 2010 09:12 PM

                              They could have an agreement with DuPont to buy a generic version of teflon and add to it and call it something else. Sort of private labeling.

                              1. re: Caroline1
                                tanuki soup RE: Caroline1 Sep 15, 2010 09:25 PM

                                I own a number of nonstick pans, including ones made by Swiss Diamond, De Buyer, Circulon, Valira, Archetun, etc., and enjoy cooking with all of them.

                                However, I feel that Swiss Diamond's advertising IS rather deceptive. Teflon is simply DuPont's brand name for PTFE. Swiss Diamond may not use Teflon brand PTFE in their nonstick coating, but they do use PTFE. Basically, it's like saying "We don't put ground-up KLEENEX in our bread. However, we do put ground-up FACIAL TISSUE in our bread."

                                From Swiss Diamond's website:

                                >Is Swiss Diamond using DuPont™ Teflon® non-stick coatings?

                                NO! Swiss Diamond is not using DuPont™Teflon® non-stick coatings. Teflon® is a trademark of DuPont and describes a big range of products that answer the needs of many industries, to learn more about it, please check the web site: www.teflon.com. Our unique coating composition is manufactured by us, and without any components from DuPont. Teflon® and PTFE are not the same. In the following paragraphs we explain more about PTFE.

                                >Do Swiss Diamond products contain "PTFE"?

                                YES! PTFE is the component that gives non-stick properties to the surface of the cookware and many other consumers' products. Our patented inherent slippery coating is reinforced with Diamond Crystals which are amalgamated into a nano-composite (mixture of extremely thin particles). Thus it requires lower quantity of PTFE, much lower than most of other non-stick products.

                                From Wikipedia:

                                In chemistry, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene that finds numerous applications. PTFE is most well known by the DuPont brand name Teflon.

                                1. re: tanuki soup
                                  b
                                  ben39 RE: tanuki soup Sep 16, 2010 02:44 AM

                                  Exactly. Isn't it the PFOA used during the creation of PTFE that is the problem anyway?

                                  http://www.scanpan.com/greentek

                                  "Scanpan is the world’s first manufacturer of nonstick cookware that was certified PFOA-free. Recent concerns linked to PFOA and its environmental impact prompted us to develop a PTFE compound that would not require a PFOA emulsifier."

                                  In the end, I'm sure all these companies are just as bad as each other. Scanpan just seems to be a bit more straight forward about it where as Swiss Diamond is full of marketing speak.

                                  1. re: ben39
                                    Chemicalkinetics RE: ben39 Sep 17, 2010 06:56 AM

                                    I think you are correct about PFOA and PTFE, as PFOA is carcinogenic. According to the following article, the PFOA is very low in the traditional nonstick pan vs the new Green pans:

                                    'Of course, Consumer Reports also heated up both new and used cookware made with PFOA, collected air samples and found very little PFOA in them. Beck says that consumers don’t realize that PFOA is removed when the pots and pans are being made, “like the alcohol in Bananas Foster is all burned-off before you eat it,” she explains. “Research showed that consumers didn’t make that distinction, so we listened.” '

                                    http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2010/0...

                              2. re: ben39
                                Caroline1 RE: ben39 Sep 15, 2010 09:07 PM

                                That Scanpan you give a link for is a very attractive pan and I especially like the handle, but for me the Swiss Diamond is the overwhelming winner because I have a very strong personal preference for rivet-free interiors, especially in an omelet pan, which is my primary use for an 8" non-stick fry pan. So there you are.

                                1. re: Caroline1
                                  paulj RE: Caroline1 Sep 15, 2010 10:09 PM

                                  Scanpan is not the only brand that is rivet-free. If the pan is cast aluminum, then it possible to include the handle boss (mounting point) in the casting. If the pan is stamped from sheet aluminum, then rivets are the strongest, cost effective solution. Welding does not work as well on aluminum as with stainless steal.

                                2. re: ben39
                                  m
                                  mikie RE: ben39 Sep 15, 2010 09:11 PM

                                  I have the Scanpan 8" Clasic, plstic handle, great as long as you don't plant to use it in the oven. I use it for eggs, omlets almost jump out. Although they claim it's ok to use metal, I use a plastic flipper to turn scrambled eggs in it or fold an omlet. It really doesn't stick and clean up is a snap, jsut a soapy water rince and that's it. You can do an over easy egg with no oil or butter and no sticking. I got it as an experimental pan just to see how I liked it and the new nonstick surface. I think you'll like the Scanpan.

                                  1. re: mikie
                                    b
                                    ben39 RE: mikie Sep 15, 2010 09:33 PM

                                    I went with the Scanpan professional. It was slightly cheaper than the CTX and I don't have an induction cooktop. It is also a little bit bigger. According to the official web site, all non-stick Scanpan use the same greentek surface. Hopefully I receive it tomorrow so I can cook up some eggs on the weekend. Thanks for the suggestions all.

                            2. t
                              taos RE: ben39 Sep 15, 2010 04:52 PM

                              You'll probably get a lot of different opinions to this question, and here's mine.

                              I used to use cheap and also expensive no-stick pans. They never lasted because either the coating wore off (where did it go? into my food?) or they got warped. Also, the coating tended to retain odors and you can't get them as hot as you can plain metal.

                              So I invested in two plain metal pans: 1) an All-Clad stainless pan 2) a Lodge cast iron pan.

                              I have had no problems with either of these. I use the stainless pan for a lot of things but probably most often for scrambled and friend eggs and for sauteeing vegetables. I never have any sticking problems. I use the cast iron pan for bacon, for searing meet and a lot of other things. The cast iron pan requires a little bit or work to get it seasoned when it's new, even if it's advertised as pre-seasoned, but after that it's easy to take care of.

                              1. b
                                ben39 RE: Antilope Sep 16, 2010 02:48 AM

                                Well I'm glad the pan I got was recommended (though with reservations). These lists are handy for future purchases. Thanks.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ben39
                                  Antilope RE: ben39 Sep 17, 2010 06:36 AM

                                  The Cook's Illustrated review reports that the Scanpan Professional performed well in the non-stick area. It had the most durable non-stick surface of all the green skillets tested and the performance was closest to that of a traditional non-stick skillet. The markdown to Recommended with Reservations was because the pan was unbalanced, too heavy and slightly oversized. It is 12.25 inches across and a standard 12 inch lid will not fit. The non-stick coating contains PTFE, but no PFOA.

                                2. t
                                  taos RE: Antilope Sep 18, 2010 04:35 PM

                                  I had a T-Fal Nonstick Pan once and it lasted less than a year. So I'm not sure the Cook's Illustrated reviews are all that reliable. I haven't agreed with them on other products either.

                                  1. Zeldog RE: ben39 Sep 17, 2010 07:13 PM

                                    1. I like scrambled eggs. Is it easier to buy a smaller non-stick pan for this?

                                    You can make first rate scrambled eggs in any decent pan, regardless of material, as long as you're willing to use some oil or fat and get the temperature high enough before adding the eggs. If you require minimal fat, then yes, get a small-nonstick pan.

                                    2. With cast iron - if I cook fish for dinner, will my breakfast the following day taste funny?

                                    No.

                                    3. I have read that some acidic foods like tomatoes ruin cast iron. Does this mean I will have to keep re-seasoning?

                                    Not necessarily. The seasoned layer is not particularly reactive chemically, but it can be diminished or ruined by long boiling or simmering of sauces and stews, especially if there's not much oil or fat in the mix. That doesn't mean never stew or braise in cast iron, but you might need to refresh the seasoning more frequently if you do it a lot. At least that's my experience.

                                    1. Soop RE: ben39 Sep 20, 2010 08:23 AM

                                      I have a Le Creuset pan (enameled cast iron) that I use for just about everything, and a little non-stick that is good for omelettes.

                                      *edit* just realised you said scrambled eggs - I make mine in a saucepan, so IDK there.

                                      Show Hidden Posts