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Dec 18, 2012 09:48 AM

best high heat pans with safe handle

I want a high heat frying pan (cookware) that can handle high heat without warping, what do you recommend? I love heating (gas stove) the pan fast and hot for the sizzle and browning. The pans I bought warped and doesn't sit on the stove properly and sometimes tilt and therefore cooks unevenly. Without using the cast iron which is heavy and hard on my wrist especially when washing. Can anyone recommend good cookware? Non stick would be great. Thanks

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  1. The problem with any non-stick pan is that really high heat is specifically not recommended, and it will inevitably shorten the pan's already limited life. That said, both my All-Clad stainless steel saute pan (used, abused, and in great shape ten years later) and my All-Clad non stick frying pan (used, abused, and non-stick shot to hell) do not warp, heat evenly, and (non-stick coating aside) have held up great with an 18K BTU burner and a hot oven.

    1. Hmm, my first thought was cast iron until I read the part which you don't like heavy cookware. My second choice would be carbon steel, but thick carbon steel cookware pretty much weight the same as cast iron cookware, and are not as warp-resistance as cast iron cookware.

      As steven nicely wrote, nonstick pan cannot take on high temperature, so that can be a problem for you if you really do mean smoking high heat cooking.

      Cladded cookware, either aluminum cladded with stainless steel or copper cladded with stainless steel are not bad. The problems with these cladded cookware are that (1) foods tend to stick to them much easier than seasoned cast iron cookware, and (2) the thick cladded cookware do not weight that much less than cast iron cookware, and the thin cladded cookware can warp.

      Maybe you best bet is a thick aluminum nonstick pan. It is light, it is nonstick and somewhat warp resistance. Scanpan and Calphalon comes into my mind:

      1. I wouldn't subject Teflon-coated pans to high heat. De Buyer Mineral steel pans would be good, but they are pretty heavy also. Depends on what size you need. A smaller size might be light enough.

        I don't know what you mean by a "safe" handle. The French pans with the (approximately) flat handle can be uncomfortable, but perhaps there are handle grips which would fit.

        4 Replies
        1. re: GH1618

          <I don't know what you mean by a "safe" handle>

          I translated that into: "Please, no All Clad handle." :D

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              I translate that to be no plastic handles. All Clad is "safe" just not comfortable, plastic on the other hand can be damaged by the high heat, even if it's just coming up around the pan. And they certianly don't hold up well if it's something you're going to finish in the oven.

              1. re: mikie

                :) I know. I was just kidding. I think you are correct. The original poster most probably did mean "oven safe"

          1. Hi, ThEater:

            Your choices are limited if you eliminate cast iron and carbon steel. Clad and aluminum can warp under high heat. Maybe VERY thick bare aluminum would work.

            Nonstick is UNSAFE in the application you mention, i.e., temps >500F. Don't do it.

            I would suggest you try out a vintage CI skillet, made back in the day when thin was better. It will be lighter than what you're used to. It will not be particularly even, though.


            2 Replies
            1. re: kaleokahu

              To add to this - as there really is no frypan that fits your criteria, change how you interact with the cast iron fry pan. Why is the weight an issue? Do you have to lift or shake the frypan while cooking (does not seem quite right if the intent is to sear...)? If not, can you move it to and from the stove with two hands instead of one? Do you need to hold it when washing it in the sink? Instead once placed in the sink with two hands, wash it while it is resting in the sink or on a sink mat of some sort?

              1. re: khuzdul

                Mahalo Kaleo

                Khuzdul, I have very little wrist (hands) and picking it up to take to the sink and holding it to wash hurts my wrist a lot. I typically have to use both hands to carry the pans.

            2. Probably a commercial aluminum pan would give the best combination of resistance to warping and modest weight. Some of these have nonstick coatings which are said to be suitable for high heat: