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Best Fry Pan for Eggs?

NevadaMama May 16, 2011 12:44 PM

Hi everyone, I'm new here and in the market for some new cookware (finally!). I am really torn about buying a new frying pan for daily breakfast making purposes and am hoping that some of you can offer me some advice and suggestions.

My husband has 6 scrambled eggs for breakfast along with hash browns and sausage every morning, so a good, solid fry pan is an absolute must for me. I am trying to steer clear of nonstick if possible because of the supposed health risks, but if nonstick is truly my best bet than so be it.

I am looking for something that is 12" and is going to LAST, so price is not an issue. I currently have a Calphalon "Kitchen Essentials" nonstick pan that I picked up a year ago at HomeGoods that is terribly scratched and faded, despite my best attempts at caring for it properly. I also bought a Lodge cast iron skillet about 2 months ago and tried that for a while, but no matter how much I seasoned it I just could not get a good nonstick coat on it. I must have seasoned it at least 10 times (even though it came "preseasoned"), I tried veg oil, Crisco, EV coconut oil and even lard and food still sticks terribly. I am still open to trying cast iron, maybe a high-end pan like Le Crueset pan would work better?

Any recommendations are welcomed and very much appreciated! Also, I am cooking on a glass-top electric stove if that makes a difference (which I HATE but that's another post!!;) Thanks in advance!

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  1. Chemicalkinetics May 16, 2011 12:53 PM

    "My husband has 6 scrambled eggs for breakfast ..."

    Wow.

    Nonstick frying pan is probably the easiest and the best for eggs. Seasoned cast iron and seasoned carbon steel pans are very good choices if you can build up a good durable seasoning surface, but it does take a bit more efforts to get to that point. In some ways, the seasoning surface cannot be speed up too much. It takes time to build up, to wear, to build up, to wear -- to finally get to a more durable surface.

    If you dislike nonstick/Teflon pan, then I suggest you to consider a carbon steel pan. Carbon steel pans are usually thinner and smoother than cast iron skillets. So they are lighter to use and the seasoning process is a faster.

    There is a trick/method (not an unknown one) for newly seasoned pans. Heat up the pan with a thin layer of oil until it gets close to the smoke point, then turn off the heat, wait to cool down a bit and dump the hot oil. Then process to add new oil and cook as you intend to. The mini-seasoning process help keep a new pan nonstick.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
      petek May 16, 2011 01:07 PM

      I agree with chem on the non-stick fry pan for eggs.I've used my carbon steel pans for them,but I find the NS to be less hassle.The trick to making NS last is low to med heat and silicon utensils. No metal.even wood can scratch non stick surfaces.

      1. re: petek
        f
        ferret May 16, 2011 01:25 PM

        Ditto on the non-stick -- and maybe toss in a defibrillator.

        1. re: ferret
          petek May 16, 2011 01:40 PM

          Seriously..6 eggs every day is a lot! wow.Unless it's all egg whites.

          1. re: petek
            paulj May 16, 2011 01:46 PM

            Do egg whites stick worse than whole eggs? Without the fat from the yolk I suspect they do.

            1. re: paulj
              Chemicalkinetics May 16, 2011 02:18 PM

              Hmm, I never thought of that.... good question. Probably yes.

              1. re: paulj
                petek May 16, 2011 02:35 PM

                paulj: not sure if egg whites would stick more than whole eggs,I was commenting more on the health issues connected with eating 6 eggs every day(+ hash browns&sausages) But that's none of my business :)

                1. re: petek
                  l
                  la2tokyo May 16, 2011 05:15 PM

                  Egg whites stick much worse than whole eggs because there's no fat in them. I eat five egg whites + two whole eggs every morning. I can cook an omelet with this combination of eggs/whites in a carbon steel pan but it's very difficult. Scrambling them is virtually impossible unless I use over a tablespoon of fat. My advice is to use a decent non-stick pan like the calphalon with a good heat proof rubber spatula. The pan probably won't work well for more than a year or two, but that's the way they work. Do not use it for anything that requires high heat, or everything you put in it thereafter will start to stick.

          2. re: petek
            e
            escondido123 May 16, 2011 02:08 PM

            I agree on the non-stick and low heat. All the health problems happen on high heat so just avoid that. Low and slow makes the best scrambled eggs anyway.

        2. ToothTooth May 16, 2011 01:44 PM

          If you want it the pan to last a Teflon or PTFE coated pan is automatically eliminated from consideration. Teflon pans WILL somehow eventually get scratched, they WILL eventually wear out, and they WILL eventually have to be replaced, regardless of price.

          Get a good quality carbon steel pan, then invest a very small amount of time to season it and you'll have a pan with non-stick performance that will last a lifetime or more. I've had my carbon steel pans for almost a year and I love them. Eggs and other "sticky" foods are no problem. The maintenance required to keep these pans performing well is very simple and (in my opinion) much easier to maintain than cast iron.

          I recommend these pans from De Buyer:

          http://reviews.chefscatalog.com/8855/25200/de-buyer-mineral-pan-fry-pan-reviews/reviews.htm

          http://www.bakedeco.com/detail.asp?id...

          2 Replies
          1. re: ToothTooth
            f
            ferret May 16, 2011 02:11 PM

            My favorite T-Fal heavy aluminum non-stick skillet is easily a decade old. No apparent scratches or blemishes. Use nylon or silicon tools and it can last a very long time.

            1. re: ToothTooth
              petek May 16, 2011 02:50 PM

              The only con regarding the De Buyer pans(and I use the word "con" lightly, as I love my D B's) is the sheer weight of them,especially the 12" pan,which the OP is considering.That sucker must weight 8-10lbs! Great for searing racks o lamb or roasting a boatload of potatoes,but to scramble some eggs... not so much.

            2. m
              mikie May 16, 2011 02:19 PM

              Six scrambled eggs, hash browns, and sausage every day is a work out for any pan and your husband's circulatory system.

              With those demands, no coated non-stick pan is going to last forever, however some are better than others. Since you tried cast iron without much success, I don't think you will do much better with carbon steel. You still have to build up that seasoning and eggs and hash browns don't add much to that process. I'd go with a coated non-stick pan. I use a Scanpan for eggs and egg beaters (which do by the way seem to stick more than a regular egg). Mine does not get that kind of a work out, but it has held up very well, and is very well made. I'm not big on the disposable cookware theory, so I buy quality and hope it will last longer than the inexpensive stuff made in China.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mikie
                Chemicalkinetics May 16, 2011 02:24 PM

                "Since you tried cast iron without much success, I don't think you will do much better with carbon steel."

                :) I would say that carbon steel is easier from my experience, but you are correct, it won't be night and day. Yet, for some people that difference is sufficient. For example, it took me about 1 month or possibly more to season my cast iron to a functional nonstick state. Yet, it took me one seasoning session (15-20 minutes) to get my carbon steel pan to do the same. That could be significant for an impatient person.

                Still, a nonstick pan is an easier solution. Out of the box - nonstick.

              2. ipsedixit May 16, 2011 02:23 PM

                Listen to the advice you've gotten.

                Don't be a hero, go non-stick.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ipsedixit
                  Politeness May 18, 2011 12:38 PM

                  ipsedixit, we have owned only one nonstick pan ever (excluding the defective Sitram Cybernox unit that we bought and returned the same day when it disintegrated), and none in the past 30 years (excepting the Cybernox). We never have had a problem with eggs, even scrambled eggs, sticking. We are not heros, by any stretch of anyon's imagination, but we are mindful of the heat of the surface of the pan when we pour in the eggs, and we do not start to turn the eggs before their time. It's not rocket science.

                2. Jay F May 16, 2011 02:24 PM

                  I got sick unto death of dealing with a temperamental cast iron omelet pan that developed a need for near-constant reseasoning after 25 years, and switched to stainless for scrambled eggs. But you need so much oil, I gave that up, too, and finally, after 35 years, I went back to non-stick for eggs.

                  I have no idea how long this T-Fal pan will last -- I've had it for a year -- but I give up. I'm finally saying WTF over the whole fluorocooties in teflon issue. It's so easy now to scramble eggs, I'm just beside myself with glee every time I make some. I want to invite everyone in the neighborhood over for scrambled eggs.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Jay F
                    Chemicalkinetics May 16, 2011 02:28 PM

                    "I'm finally saying WTF over the whole fluorocooties in teflon issue"

                    Ha ha ha. You are funny. Despite that I prefer carbon steel and cast iron cookware, I cannot say there is anything harmful about nonstick Teflon cookware. I know. There are questions about the toxic chemicals which degass from the cookware, but, hey, what about all the oil fume from seasoning cast iron and carbon steel cookware? Burn oil fume is unhealthy too.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      Jay F May 16, 2011 02:39 PM

                      I hate that burnt oil smell. And so do others. I had an upstairs neighbor complain about the stench in an apartment I once lived in when I was seasoning some new cast iron pans.

                      1. re: Jay F
                        petek May 16, 2011 02:53 PM

                        That smell is the worst.Gets into everything.I'm glad the summer's here so I can re- season my pans on the BBQ

                        1. re: petek
                          Chemicalkinetics May 16, 2011 03:48 PM

                          Remember my knife sharpening and dating story? How she got really freaked out?

                          Here is another one. I didn't start to learn to season carbon steel pan/wok until I was in graduate school. Admittedly, I was not very good at the seasoning process. I kind of get it to work, but not very stable, so I had to reseason my wok rather often, and I did stovetop season for 2 years. The smell got into my hair my clothes....

                          Well, apparently, all the while my labmates thought I had bad body odor and that I didn't take shower. Of course, no one told me about their thoughts until years later.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                            k
                            knet May 18, 2011 05:24 PM

                            OH CK I must have missed knife sharpening and dating!! Any chance of a re-telling??

                            1. re: knet
                              Chemicalkinetics May 18, 2011 05:57 PM

                              knet,

                              Sure. The story should be retold again and agin to teach the important techniques in dating. See the historical records:

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/673554#5250423

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7658...

                              In all fairness, the dating wasn't going to work anyway because it would have been a super long distance one (different countries) and it won't be fair for either of us. I wasn't surprised that it didn't work. I just didn't expect her reaction. I still laugh about today.

                  2. s
                    sueatmo May 16, 2011 02:52 PM

                    I got some good advice on using cast iron from someone at CH. It revolutionized how I use my cast iron. He directed me to heat my skillet (I heat on med heat) until drops of cold water dropped onto the hot surface bead into ball and sizzle. Then add oil, then add what you are fryling. That is now how I cook a fried egg and it prevents the egg sticking to the hot skillet.

                    For scrambled eggs, I might be tempted to use non-stick though. And, you can get non-stick frypans to last a lot longer if you never use them on higher heat than medium. If you only use your frypan for eggs, and you are careful with heat and storage, your non-stick should last several years at least. Oh, and you shouldn't put it in the dishwasher.

                    IMO, there is no need to pay a lot for a non stick. Get one that feels good in your hand, and that is neither too heavy or too light. However, non stick pans will likely not last forever.

                    Many, many years ago I received a Le Creuset frypan as a gift. I couldn't get the hang of using it though. I think I sold it or gave it away. But this would be another option for you. If you go that route, be sure to find out how to use it.

                    Like the others here, I have to remark at the large number of eggs your friend is eating daily. I'm not sure that the cholesterol in the eggs would elevate his cholesterol, but the fat isn't doing him any favors, unless he is rail thin and never gains weight. Good luck on your search.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: sueatmo
                      paulj May 16, 2011 03:02 PM

                      My best nonstick pans are either:
                      - thick restaurant quality aluminum
                      - induction compatible cast aluminum (also quite thick).

                      1. re: sueatmo
                        Jay F May 16, 2011 03:51 PM

                        sueatmo: "Many, many years ago I received a Le Creuset frypan as a gift. I couldn't get the hang of using it though. I think I sold it or gave it away. But this would be another option for you. If you go that route, be sure to find out how to use it."

                        I have a 12" LC skillet that I mostly use for making grilled cheese or frittatas. I've never tried it for scrambled eggs. I should give it a shot. I like to pick up the pan when I put the eggs on my plate, though. I don't know if something that heavy will work for me. But it does make nice grilled cheese.

                        1. re: Jay F
                          s
                          sueatmo May 16, 2011 05:21 PM

                          I was young and impatient. I should have worked at using the pan until I got the hang of it. My LC was small so I could heft it OK, as I remember.

                          I like my vintage cast iron for grilled cheese. I've managed to "get the hang" of doing those, and I love them too too much!

                          1. re: Jay F
                            p
                            pericolosa May 16, 2011 10:21 PM

                            I use the LC omelet pan for scrambled eggs. I think it's 23cm, so about 9 inches. It's a bit small to scramble 6 eggs -- which take forever on low heat in a smallish pan -- but the Silverstone surface is very nice.

                        2. s
                          Sherri May 16, 2011 03:02 PM

                          NevadaMama, You must really love this guy - a three pan breakfast every morning! Wow. Several posters have asked the egg question - are you using whole eggs? just the whites? eggbeaters? other?

                          We ask because they behave differently in the pan. My french omelette pan, c1960, works perfectly for what it does. Omelettes. I don't cook hash browns, sausage, bacon or anything else in it. It took quite a while to develop the non-stick feature that I cherish. It is carbon steel and very black after many years of use.

                          I fry eggs in a cast iron skillet and they do not stick. I found that cooking bacon, bacon and more bacon in this pan was key to the seasoning issue. Yes, I belong to the don't-scour-the-pan school and dry it on the cooktop burner (no towel). I don't like to scramble eggs in this pan because I don't like they way they turn out. For scrambled, I use a heavy-duty non-stick.

                          Instead of a cheapie (which is guaranteed to fail), look for the NSF logo on the pan's bottom. Costco may carry one of these or a restaurant supply house. NSF indicates professional quality but does not indicate that the pan is indestructible. It will not last a lifetime. Just tell yourself that it is a replacement item every couple of years or so and press on with life. Yes, use wood or plastic tools for the nonstick.

                          Use your Lodge cast iron for the sausage & potatoes. RE: the seasoning problem - buy a pound of bacon and cook it in the Lodge pan. Rinse the pan with water, dry on a burner.

                          Repeat. (I had to do this three times after a houseguest "helped" me by scouring my treasure with Ajax and brillo)

                          Repeat again, if necessary.

                          Now cook some chopped onions. They shouldn't stick at all.

                          Life with lots of bacon and onions is pretty wonderful plus you'll have a go-to pan.

                          Do NOT buy a LeCreuset pan for cooking eggs. This is not their strong point; braising - yes, eggs - no. You'll spend a lot of money to buy something that will be mediocre at best, kind of like buying Manolo Blahniks to walk in the park.

                          I don't believe there is a one-pan-fits-all-uses fry pan or if there is, I haven't found it. In my kitchen, for sauteeing & frying, I use copper, cast iron, carbon steel and non-stick pans. Different pans for different jobs.

                          ................. a three pan breakfast every day. My hat's off to you.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Sherri
                            c
                            cutipie721 May 16, 2011 05:22 PM

                            Agreed! Maybe a hotter pan and a little more oil in the pan is all you need.

                          2. dave_c May 16, 2011 04:07 PM

                            This is probably a guy answer where I would use more than one pan.

                            For the eggs, I would use a sauce pan or a saucier. Non-stick using anodized aluminum.

                            For the rest of the breakfast, I would stick with the cast iron. Not sure why your cast iron skillet is sticking. Are you using the dishwasher or using a lot of dish soap to clean your skillet? I

                            1. j
                              Jenny Ondioline May 18, 2011 09:06 PM

                              The absolute best thing to do for eggs is to buy a cheap non-stick pan -- and "cheap" is important, here, because what you want is that completely slick surface, not the more pitted non-stick surface on higher-end NS pans -- and never cook anything except eggs in it.

                              Since you should never ever cook eggs at a high heat, you don't have to worry about the supposed dangers of overheating Teflon pans, and if you're worried about Teflon pans not lasting long enough: remember, I said cheap. I buy my egg pans at Ikea: I get about two years' use out of one, and each one costs $6.99. $3.50 for a year's worth of perfectly-cooked fried and scrambled eggs? No-brainer.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                                e
                                escondido123 May 18, 2011 09:22 PM

                                Perfect answer. But before this thread disappears I have to address the elephant in the room. Six eggs and sausage every day. I'd love to eat it. How does it not kill him?

                                1. re: escondido123
                                  m
                                  montrealeater May 19, 2011 01:04 AM

                                  Eggs aren't the devil anymore, y'alls. The least healthy thing in that breakfast is probably the hashbrowns!

                                  1. re: escondido123
                                    p
                                    pericolosa May 19, 2011 03:00 AM

                                    I eat similarly. I feel great and produce great lab results.
                                    It turns out that the overwhelming majority of the population can't stay healthy on a diet that combines both high carbohydrates and high fat. And most can't stay healthy on a diet of high carbohydrates and low fat either. So, one must choose.
                                    Oh! What a sacrifice! Forced to eat eggs and bacon for one's health!
                                    True, pizza consumption must be kept to a minimum. But eating pizza toppings (no bread) eases the pain considerably.

                                  2. re: Jenny Ondioline
                                    m
                                    mikie May 19, 2011 08:09 AM

                                    I'm not a big fan of disposable anything, so I'm not a believer in your economic theory for purchasing a cheap non-stick pan. In fact, if I take your $3.50 per year for a "disposable" pan and take ZenS still good after 30 years more expensive Scanpan (prices run from $60 to $100 depending on size) you either pay twice as much or just about break even after 30 years. I will grant that to get 30 years out of a non-stick pan you can't abuse it, but you don't have to land fill it either.

                                    And oddly enough and much to my surprise and possibly contradictrory to what I may have written in another post, I found a place online that recoats non-stick pans.

                                  3. ZenSojourner May 19, 2011 03:17 AM

                                    My Scanpan Gen1 pans are about 30 years old. Still stick resistant.

                                    My son's Scanpan Gen2 pans are pushing 5 or 6 years old. These are a big improvement over the Gen 1's and they're still slicker'n wet ice. Metal utensils used every day. Don't overheat, which can really only happen if you turn the burner on with nothing in the pan and then walk away. (With food in the pan you would have to have flames shooting out before it's overheated, again you must have WALKED AWAY from a burner that's on, never a good idea).

                                    I make dosa on mine and I only use a fraction of the oil, and that because it tastes better. The oil isn't needed for non-stickiness.

                                    Also proper cleaning - take the HOT pan and run COLD water in it, that blasts loose even tiny food particles you can't see that might otherwise build up between the food and the nonstick surface. This is recommended by the manufacturer - only minimal precautions necessary to avoid steam burns (it's easy, turn the water on, THEN stick the pan under the running water after you've removed your arm back to your side).

                                    Looks wicked, easy as pie. Love my Scanpans!

                                    As far as the egg issue, only 1/3rd of people who have cholesterol issues can affect their cholesterol levels by changing their diet. About 1/3rd of all Americans have cholesterol issues. That means about 11% of the population might need to worry about how much cholesterol is in their food. There are about 70 calories in an average sized egg, so 6 eggs in the morning comes in at 420 calories - which is still less than a Big Mac and a lot healthier.

                                    Used to kill me, the lectures I got about how bad for me milk is supposed to be, generally delivered by overweight guys inhaling Big Macs, fries, and supersize cokes. *eye roll*

                                    1. l
                                      LovinSpoonful May 19, 2011 06:08 AM

                                      I generally don't cook eggs on cast iron until it is *really* well seasoned. And that can take upwards of six months. Until then what you have to go through to clean the pan afterwards can slow down the whole seasoning process. And I only fry eggs in CI skillets or griddles because I uses nonstick for scrambled.

                                      As far as nonstick goes, Calphalon makes a really nice two-pan set, a 10" and a 12", that you can pick up for @ $50. (http://www.amazon.com/Calphalon-Conte...). My set of these has lasted several years and as others have mentioned if you keep your heat to medium or lower and use silicon spatulas they will last indefinitely.

                                      It's my understanding that the real health risk with nonstick is when the coating starts to deteriorate. For that reason I don't like buying cheap nonstick pans. I think you are just asking for trouble. Another benefit of the Calphalon is that the aluminum is fairly thick comparatively speaking. They heat fairly evenly and if I pre-heat the 12" pan adequately it's performance in eveness of cooking is not too bad.

                                      But I will say this. If you are serving him six eggs and sausage every morning I would not be worrying about the longevity of the cookware you buy for his breakfast. You'll be cooking for one soon enough.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: LovinSpoonful
                                        Jay F May 19, 2011 06:40 AM

                                        Lovin Spoonful: "If you are serving him six eggs and sausage every morning I would not be worrying about the longevity of the cookware you buy for his breakfast. You'll be cooking for one soon enough."

                                        I went back and checked, and I was right: the OP asked our opinion about cookware, not her husband's diet.

                                      2. r
                                        rasputina May 20, 2011 07:09 AM

                                        I use my Griswold cast iron pan for eggs almost every day.

                                        1. d
                                          dixiegal May 20, 2011 09:17 AM

                                          I guess non stick is probably the easiest. Well actually scrambling in a bowl in the microwave is the easiest. But doesn't taste the best. At least not to me.

                                          I learned to cook eggs in my mom's CI skillet. Then teflon came out and we switched to that. The eggs were pretty ( no browining on the fried eggs) and they could be cooked in very little grease. I continued to use the non-stick for a few years, but did not like watching the coating flake off. Made me uneasy (and this was before the 'health threat' of non stick)
                                          Then I ate some eggs cooked in CI and was reminded how much better they taste.

                                          While a good hardned coating on the cast iron is important, how you cook the eggs is just as important. The skillet needs to be of a good hot temp and the grease you use to can make a difference. If the skillet isn't hot enough, the egg will have a tendency to stick and if it is too hot, it could scorch. The skillet (and grease/oil) needs to be hot enough that the egg is cooking good as soon as it hits the pan. Dont' scramble the egg in the skillet, (beat them good in a bowl first) just let it cook a few seconds, then drag the edges over to the middle and let the runny part travel over the bottom and to the edge. Just continue on slowly dragging and eventually turning the eggs until they are done as you like them.
                                          I also, depending on hot my skillet is, will often turn the heat off right after I pour my eggs in. The skillet is usually hot enought to finish cooking them.
                                          I also find that cooking in butter doesn't work real well in CI. Seems to want to scorch.

                                          Since I am a bit of a health nut. I scramble /fry my eggs in coconut oil. coconut oil is very CI friendly. My new little #5 CI lodge skillet cooks eggs beautifuly. Just slides right out of my skillet and onto the plate. In fact it is so non-stick that I have to chase fried eggs around it to flip them over. I usually just fix scramble eggs though. Frying pretty eggs is an art within itself. Sorta like making bisquits from scratch :o)

                                          Now, I will admit I can't fry ANYTHING in a stainless still skillet without it sticking. Though I can see on this board that it can be done. :o) Just not by me. So I figure that I don't know the technique.
                                          I have learned that everytime I switch style of pots and pans, there is a different technique to have success with them.

                                          Such as when we first switched to non-stick, we used too much oil and had the heat too high. So I lowered the heat and lessoned the oil and never could get anything to brown nicely or my food would just soak up the oil before it cooked.
                                          I finially got it figured out, except for the browning thing.

                                          I no longer use non-stick, and have not in a very long time.

                                          Anyway, cast iron is great for eggs, once you get your skillet seasoned well and learn how to do it.
                                          Another note. I can remember when I was young watching some folks break their eggs in the CI skillet and then start scrambling them. It worked, but made a big mess in the skillet and the eggs usually stuck some. I never liked the taste either.

                                          The way I do it now, I get beautiful eggs that taste good that slide right out of the skillet.

                                          1. m
                                            mac422 May 22, 2011 02:05 PM

                                            Hands down, Swiss Diamond frying pans. They are the slickest I have used and have a lifetime warranty on the pan's construction and non-stick coating. I've been using mine for 5 years and it still looks new. You can use metal utensils with Swiss Diamond, too. Oven safe and will actually brown food. http://www.distinctive-decor.com/swis...

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: mac422
                                              o
                                              ospreycove May 22, 2011 02:14 PM

                                              Vollrath commercial 12" #67608, heavy duty aluminum non-stick, w/ cool handle. This is the workhorse of a lot of restaurants, breakfast, quick turn kitchens. It is available on line if there is not a restaurant supply store in your area.

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