Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Feb 19, 2013 04:42 AM

All clad fry pan question

Hi, I just ordered the All-Clad® Stainless Steel 12" Fry Pan:

And I was surprised that the surface area wasn't as wide as my prior 12 inch fry pan:

The sides on the All Clad slope up so much it takes away from the cooking surface area. Any suggestions on what All Clad fry pan would give me a larger surface area? Should I get one of the french skillets? Thanks everyone!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I really can't answer that question, but if you want an even better deal on the All-Clad, get this even has a lid.

    1. The French skillets do have steeper sides, but also come in odd sizes. I have an 11" French skillet, which is probably similar in cooking area to a 12" fry pan, and much larger than a 10" fry pan.

      6 Replies
      1. re: GH1618

        Do you think a 13" french skillet is too large for sauteing veggies or would a 11" be sufficient? I'm trying to decide between the two sizes.

        1. re: kdlalib

          I have the 11" and find it to be a good size. In fact, I bought it because my 10" skillet (of another brand) was just a little small for certain things I make. But I cook for two in a small kitchen. I haven't seen the 13" but think it would be a bit unwieldly, especially on my 24" range. The pan is quite light for its diameter, however. The question is, if you will want to pick it up with one hand to toss the contents, will the difference in weight matter?

          I like a pan which is just large enough. For two, the 11" French skillet is a generous size. For four, you might want the 13".

          1. re: GH1618

            Thanks for the tip. That clinched it for me. We're only 2 people, so I think I'll go with the 11". I also don't want an unwieldy pan.

            1. re: kdlalib

              Be aware that in the 11" size of the French skillet there was a promo piece available that includes a domed lid. Not sure if it's still available though, but if it is it will help you get a lot more use out of the pan. I would look on the net for it. Macys had it at one time for $59.99 during their sales.

              1. re: blondelle

                I found that one on Bed, Bath & Beyond for $99. That's going to be my next big purchase.

          2. re: kdlalib

            Here's a safety tip: All-Clad pans have a nice long stainless steel handle which remains cool enough when cooking on the stovetop that no potholder is required. But the French skillet is used for some dishes which are finished in the oven. Then the handle gets as hot as everything else in the oven, and stays hot for quite awhile after coming out of the oven. Now, I always park a potholder on the handle when it has been in the oven. I didn't the first time.

        2. You could go with their saute pan that has vertical surfaces. The frypan has the sloped sides to promote pan least I think that's why.

          11 Replies
              1. re: kaleokahu

                A lot easier with those sloped sides

                1. re: Hank Hanover

                  Hi, Hank:

                  I--and a few hundred years of tradition--disagree. IMO, higher vertical walls make for more precise jumping of the food. Short, curved sides tend to ski jump the food up--and sometmes out.

                  And here I thought the reason for a frypan's shorter curved sides was dissipation of steam, concentration of a larger volume of fat, and easy access for utensils, not flipping.


                  1. re: kaleokahu


                    From the link below, It seems the saute pan in French is called a sautoir, the saucier is known as a sautuese. They don't have a pan known as a saute pan. Does this imply the saute method is separate from the noun describing the pan? Also, the saute method of cooking, seems to have originally not demanded flipping of food on the air.

                    Maybe there is confusion because the method of saute cooking has changed in definition, and also for many doesn't work well in the pan that bears its name.


                    1. re: Fumet

                      Hi, Fumet:

                      Well, Le Frenchies at Larousse Gastronomique think there is such a thing as a "sauté pan", which they defined in 2001 as:

                      "A round shallow pan with straight or slightly flared sides and a handle. It is used to fry meat, fish and vegetables, often cut into pieces. The sides are slightly higher than the sides of a frying pan and enable the ingredients to be stirred easily, in order to coat them with fat and ensure that they cook evenly, especially when cut up into small dice or chopped or seasoned with herbs.

                      To make sautés in the correct sense of the word (especially those with a sauce), a type of sauté pan called a *sautoir* or *plat a sauter* is preferred. It is a shallow pan with vertical sides, a handle and a lid... [I]t is used to make sautés of poultry or fish..."

                      According to J. Renard in his "Les Cuivres de Cuisine", a sauteuse is:

                      "A thick bottomed copper pot, fitted with a tail handle. The walls are not unlike saucepans, but compared to the frying pan, the pan is only slightly flared. The walls allow food to be tossed up, that is to say move easily and briskly, food cut into pieces mix well with oils and spices."

                      In contrast, he defines "sautoir" as:

                      "Pan with low sides and thick bottom in which the cook sautes pieces of meat and vegetables. She possesses a lid to cook in the oven."

                      So I beg to differ with Stella when she writes: "The sauteuse is a long handled bowl shaped pan."

                      I won't bore you with the lengthy definitions for "poêle", except to note that, as a noun, the word means "fry pan".


                      1. re: kaleokahu

                        Dont worry, youre not boring me. So a sautuese is more like a Windsor or splayed saute, rather than a saucier?

                        So, none of our references insist we must flip or toss the pan in order to sauter? That's weird, considering that's what most people think you have to do.

                        1. re: Fumet

                          Most people just stir with a spatula. Pan Flipping is just a parlor trick. I learned to do it because I wanted to show guests that I can. Once you get used to it..... it saves you the time to reach way over there to get the spatula.

                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                            Yeah, i too sometimes flip if the mood is right and the spatula is out of reach. But always in a frying pan and never in a saute pan as it doesn't work well for me.

                            This is what got me thinking about either the name of the saute pan being "wrong", or the method of sauteeing being ill defined or mutated in modern English kitchen language.

                            As Larry sanders would say... "No flipping!"

                          2. re: Fumet

                            Hi, Fumet:

                            That's my understanding.

                            Yes, tossing is neither a necessary nor sufficient cause of sauteeing. Frying at high(er) heat in a small amount of fat IS sauteeing. The tossing is a technique, useful when the food being sauteed benefits, not so useful when it doesn't (Think of a dice or mirrepoix versus chicken parts or a fish filet).

                            "Frying" as we use the term--and as suited for a poele or "frying pan"--generally uses more fat and at a lower temperature, so that larger pieces of food (think a steak) are cooked through without resort to finishing in the oven.


                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              Yes. That's what I thought. No flipping needed, and no saute pan needed either.

                              Although my saute pan is the most used pan in the kitchen. Don't know how I managed without it for all those years. I have frying pans with ss lining that just gather dust.

            1. thanks..yeah, i don't need the flipping ability, i use it mostly to pan fry fish fillets, chicken cutlets -- and i was looking for a large surface space so i could lay 3-4 pieces down at my current non-stick calphalon i can do that, however, I want to switch from non-stick to all clad SS (too many problems with scratched nonstick surfaces even though i only use nylon utensils). but i'm worried a pan larger than 12 inches will get too big for my apartment kitchen...should i go for the all clad 11 inch skillet? or will the all clad 4QT skillet that i've registered for do the trick?

              3 Replies
              1. re: EGEV81

                The 4qt saute was my daily pan until I couldn't resist a 12" fry on sale. I still use the saute far more than the fry pan.

                For what you describe, I think the 4qt saute would serve you well. (I went for the 4 over the 3 because of the higher sides.)

                1. re: EGEV81

                  I have some a 10 inch and 12 inch all-clad frypan and a 12 inch all-clad saute pan with lid but I also have an electric skillet.... because my mom had one and I just sorta grew up with them.

                  With that in mind when I have to pan fry or saute a lot of things, I use my electric skillet. It is 9 inches by 16 inches


                  1. re: EGEV81

                    My Demeyere Atlantis skillets do what you want with excellent results. The larger one with the helper handle fits a cheap apartment stove's "big" burner but, it does crowd the other coils a bit.

                  2. I have the 13" All-Clad French skillet. The bottom surface is 11.5"--I just measured.
                    Does that help?

                    Keep in mind that depending on your range and what you're cooking, you may find that this pan is bigger than what is compatible with the heat source. A gas burner turned to lowish for something like risotto will heat the pan unevenly. YMMV.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: splatgirl

                      Hi splatgirl, I was interested in getting the 13 inch skillet bc of it's large surface area; i have a gas burner and I wanted to use this skillet to pan fry chicken cutlets and fish fillets -- is a gas burner not compatible with the all clad 13 inch skillet?

                      1. re: EGEV81

                        As I said, YMMV. I have a pro-style gas range with 17.5K burners.
                        For searing it would be fine assuming we're talking a fairly high BTU range. If that is a concern maybe consider a larger--14, 15 or 16" cast iron skillet.
                        My one issue with it has been more on the low end of heat. My range does a stellar job at simmer or lower, but not with such a large pan, which I learned when I used it for a big batch of risotto. The heat distribution was uneven enough that it mattered in that circumstance.
                        Also be aware that this size is getting into the range of being difficult to store anywhere besides hanging, but again, YMMV.