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Need a good frying pan!

Ok I've read a ton of threads and articles for the past hour but am still lost. I got rid of my cheapo frying pan (don't remember brand) that I've had for years but its time was up.

I'm looking to get a decent/very nice frying pan that I'll have for a while. Not sure if I should go non stick, ss, or cs. I'm looking for a 12" size.

What do you guys recommend? I want it to do everything just like my old pan! Also want a good sear, that's important. Any and all suggestions are welcome!

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  1. Hey there. You won't get a good sear on a non-stick. I would go with a ss or cast iron if the weight doesn't bother you and if you won't be cooking a lot of acidic foods. Good luck!

    1. <Not sure if I should go non stick, ss, or cs.>

      They all have their advantages. I like cast iron for higher temperature searing cooking, think blacken tuna. Carbon steel is usually made thinner, and therefore offers better temperature control and mobility (e.g. flipping an egg). Stainless steel is not nearly as nonstick as carbon steel or cast iron, but stainless steel is nonreactive and is great for making acidic or water content.

      < Also want a good sear, that's important.>

      If you are still not entirely sure, then I would go for carbon steel just because it is kind of the middle ground among these three.

      1. If you want a good sear, don't get non-stick. Basically two choices: Cast iron, which is cheap, retains heat very well, and gives a great sear. But may not be great for degazling and making sauces. Other choice is aluminum clad with stainless steel, such as All Clad, Demeyere, and a number of less expensive brands. It is best to get one that is *fully* clad, rather than having a disc bottom. This pan will heat up quickly, give a good sear, and deglaze to make sauces. If cost is no object thick 2.5mm copper lined with stainless steel is the ultimate. Personally, I like to have three pans: One cast iron, one stainless-clad aluminum, and a 8" non-stick for eggs only, a cheap one from a restaurant supply store because it *will* wear out and need replacement.

        1. I love carbon steel. The Mineral B and, harder to find, the Au Carbone lines from DeBuyer are of a decent weight. I realize most would disagree, but I don't see what is wrong with deglazing a carbon steel pan. They don't really seem to lose their seasoning that quickly. Bear in mind when selecting size that the bottoms of DeBuyers and other Lyon style pans are a good bit smaller than their rim to rim size.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tim irvine

            < I realize most would disagree, but I don't see what is wrong with deglazing a carbon steel pan. They don't really seem to lose their seasoning that quickly.>

            I don't mind, but some do. Losing seasoning is probably a secondary concern. For many, they can taste metallic favor from deglazing from cast iron or carbon steel cookware.

          2. I was working through this dilemma several months ago. I split the difference.

            A 10 inch non-stick for eggs/crepes. A 12 inch All Clad for everything else. My personal experiences with cast iron (non enameled) let me to easier to maintain options

            1. My vote would be for a very nice aluminum clad stainless like All Clad. But for high heat searing it's handy to have a cast iron pan too and it's so inexpensive it doesn't make sense not to have one. One thing I have trouble with in ss is potatoes, but cast iron browns them beautifully. Steaks sear great in cast iron. Then put the pan in a hot oven to finish for a few minutes.
              Clad Stainless is superior for even heat and builds a great fond for sauces. You can simmer wine and tomato based sauce without fear of dissolving the seasoning into it, which can happen with cast iron or CS. You can always pick up another cheapo non stick for eggs if you feel the need. I use stainless for eggs, (lower heat) and it makes a great frittata too.

              1. Thanks for the replies so far!

                What ya think of anodized aluminum? Seems like it's basically non stick and from what I've read can brown foods nicely. Is this true?

                2 Replies
                1. re: Kleraudio

                  <What ya think of anodized aluminum?>

                  A thick anodized aluminum pan will be good as well. A thin anodized aluminum pan will not brown food nearly as good. An anodized aluminum pan is not really nonstick, but you don't have to worry about the seasoning process and seasoning upkeeping. Here you can read a few complaints about it not being nonstick (i.e.: stick):


                  Just keep in mind that many of the anodized aluminum cookware are anodized aluminum coated with nonstick Teflon. You probably want just a plain anodized aluminum pan, like the Calphalon Commercial Hard Anodized:


                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    I seasoned my Calphalon Commercial pan the same as I would for cast iron. My original CC has a smooth, shiny surface, so I never did anything to that. But my new one has a matte finish. I gave it the Crisco treatment before using it, but I haven't had it long enough to know whether it will build up a seasoning layer like my CI pan has.

                2. What do you want to cook? I have frying pans of all types, and use them for different purposes. I have two anodized aluminum, both Calphalon Commercial. One is original CC but is very amall and I don't use it much. I originally got it for frying an egg, but never liked it for that. The other is current CC and is the 10" "omelette" pan. I don't use it for omelettes, though. I sauté vegetables in it and like it very much for that purpose. I also have been roasting chicken in it lately. I don't roast whole chickens, just parts.

                  I don't know of any pan which is good for frying eggs and for everything else. I believe in having an egg pan which is used for eggs only. For everything else, anodized aluminum is good and carbon steel is good.

                  1. Ugh this is such a tough choice!

                    Anodized or stainless is what I'm down too. I dont want to deal with seasoning a pan I'll use all the time. It's ok for my ci skillet that I don't use much but for daily use seasoning would be a pain.

                    What I'll use it for? That's a good question. This week I'm making red curry chicken. Also plan on making sautéed fish tacos. Soooo that's a pretty good indication of what I'll need I think :)

                    Would you go ss or anodized?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Kleraudio

                      < It's ok for my ci skillet that I don't use much but for daily use seasoning would be a pain. >

                      Not too painful for me. I actually find cast iron cookware easy to use than stainless steel cookware. For one, the foods rarely stick on my cast iron cookware, so I don't have soak and scrub them nearly as much as my stainless steel cladded cookware. To each his own.

                      <Would you go ss or anodized?>

                      About the same for me. I may go for anodized for slightly better heat distribution and heat response.

                      1. re: Kleraudio

                        I'm paraphrasing Jacques Pepin's thought about his carbon steel omelet pan here:

                        "I don't use my cast iron pan because it sticks, and my cast iron pan sticks because I don't use it."

                        If you're going to be using the CI pan all the time, then the seasoning process is mostly just about proper care after use.

                      2. Ok I think I'll go with tri ply stainless. That All-Clad is sexy but out of the budget right now. Can anyone recommend a good tri ply that can compete with the performance if the All-Clad?

                        What size do you think I should get first? 10 or 12"?

                        I usually just cook for 2.

                        Thanks again!

                        16 Replies
                        1. re: Kleraudio

                          <Can anyone recommend a good tri ply that can compete with the performance if the All-Clad?>

                          Calphalon Triply, Cuisinart MultiClad, Emerilware ProClad, Tramontina Triply.

                          <What size do you think I should get first? 10 or 12"?>

                          Depending on the shape of the pan, most of these pans have a slopped side, so a 12" diameter pan really only have a 10" diameter cooking surface. In this case, I would go for the so called 12".

                          1. re: Kleraudio

                            Just FYI, the Cuisinart 12" French Classic Tri-Ply French skillet is on sale at Amazon for half off at $75. Made in France, lifetime warranty. (It doesn't have a pouring rim though.)


                            1. re: tanuki soup

                              What is the difference between the French skillet and a regular old frying pan?

                              1. re: Kleraudio

                                Somewhat arbitrary, but French skillets usually have straighter side. This is not a "set in stone" definition.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  Yea that's what it looks like to me too. Flipping foods when cooking on high heat isn't a problem in these correct?

                                  I want to cook fish here, maybe sear some thin chops, sauté veg, grilled onions, brown cubes chicken pieces, etc..... Is this my pan?

                                  1. re: Kleraudio

                                    <Flipping foods when cooking on high heat isn't a problem in these correct?>

                                    In my experience, flipping small item foods (like chopped vegetables) should not be a problem. However, it is a little easier to flip larger items with a shallower side pan -- not that it cannot be done with a steeper side pan. You can always try and practice flipping your foods in a small pot (pots have very straight side). You don't have to cook the food, just put a few cut up carrot or a piece of pork chop or whatnot in a pot, and try to flip and toss. This should give you an idea.

                                    Because a French skillet has a straight side than a typical fry pan, it provides a greater cooking surface. In other words, a 10" French skillet has a greater cooking surface than a 10" regular fry pan. On the other hand, it is easily to slide foods out of a regular fry pan due to its gentler slope side.

                                    <I want to cook fish here, maybe sear some thin chops, sauté veg, grilled onions, brown cubes chicken piece>

                                    I don't see any major problem. It is just personal preference here.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      The 11" French skillet by all clad is 100 bucks. The 12" fry pan by them is 160.... Why such a price difference? I know the French skillet is lighter, will it still heat evenly? That's a big concern as my last pan had hot spots and it was a real pan in the rear.

                                      Right now I'm leaning toward the French skillet.....

                                      1. re: Kleraudio

                                        <The 11" French skillet by all clad is 100 bucks. The 12" fry pan by them is 160>

                                        Because they can. Usually, these cookware are sold by popularity. Popular size will cause more -- not because it actually cause that much more to make.

                                        By the way, the 13 inch is only $94:


                                2. re: Kleraudio

                                  A French skillet has a rounded corner and slightly higher sides. The flat area is a bit larger than a frying pan of the same diameter. The shape at the edge affects the tossing of food. For sautéed vegetables, the curved edge works better than the shallow angle of typical frying pans.

                              2. re: Kleraudio

                                Go to a restaurant supply store because they have stainless steel clad cookware that is as good as All-Clad for under $50.00 for a 12" pan. Its made for commercial use so it is abuse proof in a domestic kitchen.

                                Vollrath is a great name.

                                1. re: Kelli2006

                                  The only all clad I could find was the tribute and it's over 100 bucks in the 12" size. Which vollrath model were you talking about?

                                    1. re: Kelli2006

                                      I found the same pan at a better price, with reviews.


                                      This is a great price on the 12" Vollrath tribute, http://www.webstaurantstore.com/vollr...

                                2. re: Kleraudio

                                  Zwilling Sensation Stainless-Steel Fry Pan

                                  Welded handles so no rivets to work around or wash. 5-ply construction. The 9.5" is $80.

                                  1. re: Kleraudio

                                    What, precisely, do you mean by "performance"? Any sturdy tri-ply pan should do the job. Look for a handle design you like and sturdy construction. Heavier is better.

                                    Get a ten inch.

                                    1. re: Kleraudio

                                      Here's a nice 10" stainless tri-ply pan at an affordable price:


                                    2. If I had to pick three pans needed in a kitchen, I would go with a 8"-10in nonstick pan to just do eggs, crepes, fritatta's and pancakes. (Scanpan wins hands down..costs a lil more upfront but low maintenance- I wipe out with towel and occasional soapy water to it, does not peel, oven safe and I can use my metal utensils). A 12 in fry or saute pan in tri ply stainless (all clad or SLT triply) for all other cooking and a 12 in. cast iron for frying, searing and building a roux or brown gravy.

                                      1. I have 2 sets of pans.
                                        1 set of decent non stick for eggs and such(low to med heat only)
                                        And 1 set of DeBuyer pans for high heat searing and roasting. Works well for me...

                                        1. My all-time favorite pan for frying is a Calphalon or, its restaurant version, Commercial, anodized aluminum. While not actually non-stick, it is very easy to clean and gives a nice finish on food. I use stainless for boiling water or cooking oatmeal but for frying eggs I use only anodized aluminum.

                                          I never use any non-stick pan.

                                          1. Well I ended up with a Calphalon tri ply in 10". It was 45 bucks and I had a 20 percent off coupon. The 12" was nice but seemed rather large.

                                            It's a really nice pan and I look forward to using it.

                                            I'm gonna get the 11" French skillet as well by All-Clad when budget allows. Thanks for all the help everyone!

                                            39 Replies
                                            1. re: Kleraudio

                                              I like my Calphalon Triply sauce pan. I hope your fry pan works out for you.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                I figured I couldn't go wrong for 35 bucks AND I had a 45 dollar credit there so it was freeeee :)

                                                Really want that 11" French skillet as well. I can see needing both but what do you guys/gals think?

                                                1. re: Kleraudio

                                                  <Really want that 11" French skillet as well. I can see needing both but what do you guys/gals think?>

                                                  You mean your current 10" Calphalon and the 11" Cuisinart French skillet? I would wait. I think you are the best judge for your own preference. You can try out your 10" Calphalon for a week or so, then you will get some idea to help you decide if you really need the 11" French skillet.

                                              2. re: Kleraudio

                                                I own a 10 inch Calphalon Tri-Ply "try me" skillet which is apparently what you bought. For the money as a retail purchase, you did well. I use mine for abusive stuff now and basically as a plate a lot when I do pasta and similar things finished off in it.

                                                I think you will like the even heating and easy maintenance. If you manage your heat well and let things come up to room temperature first it is pretty non-stick for things like omelettes with a little butter. While I'm not a big gravy guy in general, turning the heat up on meat will generate some fond for a good gravy or steak sauce.

                                                1. re: Sid Post

                                                  And it's really not too tricky to toss veg in it, despite the sloped sides. It's my go-to pan to sauté veggies. Be sure to use enough oil and cook on medium heat.

                                                  1. re: Sid Post

                                                    Glad to hear it Sid!

                                                    I think what I really need isn't that French skillet but a sauté pan!

                                                    I have a 3 qt Calphalon contemporary but I want ss for some reason. I think for fond :). No fond in my Calphalon.

                                                    Is the one I have just fine or should I upgrade to the all clad stainless? It's 100 bucks at bed bath and beyond. They have another one that is 164 bucks.... Not sure what the difference is.....

                                                    1. re: Kleraudio

                                                      Check the handles on the All-Clad. A lot of cooks hate them. I'm one of them. Others don't mind at all. I'd also consider the Calphalon Tri-Ply and Emeril Pro-Clad.



                                                      All 3 are similar, although the Emeril is a 4-quart with an 11" diameter (the others are 12") and taller sides, which makes it more useful for frying. It will contain splatter a little better than the shallower AC and Calphalon.

                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                        Thanks a lot for the links!

                                                        The all clad is the same price as the Calphalon and I didn't mind the all clad handles at all. Not sure what it is but I've wanted all clad for the past 6 or 7 years but didn't want to spend money on pots and pans I already had. There's really nothing wrong with the Calphalon sauté pan I have now, hell it's more expensive than the all clad one, but I want to go stainless on everything and get rid of my non stick stuff.

                                                        Anyone know where I can sell this sauté pan? I wouldn't mind getting some cash to use toward that all clad sauté pan....

                                                        1. re: Kleraudio

                                                          Ebay is the only viable option around where I live. I'm not sure how well a used pan from from Calphalon will sell but, even $20 in your pocket is better than a pan you don't use taking up space in a cabinet.

                                                          1. re: Kleraudio

                                                            Ebay or Craigslist are good sites to sell used cookware. If they were vintage you could list them on Etsy.

                                                          2. re: DuffyH

                                                            Count me in the group that hates the All-Clad handles. They have rivets too which I don't like either.

                                                            Also, I was underwhelmed with the All-Clad Dutch Oven I tried. I "scratched" that itch, and moved on the Demeyere ... :-)

                                                            1. re: Sid Post

                                                              Ironically, the Emerialware handles are comfortable to me (also designed and sold by All Clad). Whenever I looked at All Clad handles, I always felt that All Clad was giving me the middle finger and said:

                                                              "See this Emerilware handle? Yeah, we know how to comfortable handle. Screw YOU! And F**K YOU!"

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                Yes, Chem. Yes!

                                                                At this point, with complaints about their handles legendary, there are only 2 possible conclusions.

                                                                1. As you noted, they're just screwing with us.
                                                                2. They're screwing with us AND telling us we're wimps who can't possibly be serious about our cookware, because if we WERE serious, we'd be willing to endure a little pain in order to own and use these wonderful pans. They are, after all, the best.

                                                                Which invites the corollary - cookware with comfortable handles is no good, so stop whining and buy the All-Clad.

                                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                                  I draw a third conclusion. Those who think they are uncomfortable don't know how to hold them properly.

                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                        Or choose to hold a handle the way they want to that IS comfortable.

                                                                        1. re: Sid Post

                                                                          It's not that I ". . . don't know how to hold them properly." It's that I choose to not hold them properly. I know, the proper way is with an underhand grip, but I grew up with plastic handles that were designed for an overhand grip, this old dog is not learning a new trick just so I can accomodate the cookware. I bought the Viking V7 because I can hold it comfortably either way.

                                                                          Nothing ever actually "jumps" in my sauté pan anyway.

                                                                          1. re: mikie

                                                                            The sides are too straight in this saute pan to really start tossing food as you would in a fry pan.

                                                                            1. re: Kleraudio

                                                                              Sauté from the French sauter to jump

                                                                              The point of a sauté pan is that the sides are straight and that's what allows you to make the food jump without falling out. The sloped sides of a frying pan would not hold the food in. When one sautés, one typically uses an underhand grip to move the pan.

                                                                              1. re: mikie

                                                                                "The point of a sauté pan is that the sides are straight and that's what allows you to make the food jump without falling out."

                                                                                Um no..sloped sides on a fry pan are fine. It's proper technique that stops the food from falling out.

                                                                                1. re: mikie

                                                                                  <The sloped sides of a frying pan would not hold the food in. >

                                                                                  At one point, I believe that, but I don't anymore. There are just too many chefs able to flip and toss foods with sloped side.

                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                    That's the only way I can toss foods. I can't toss em in the straight sides.

                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                      Chem, I believe both you and petek, and this is what I get for repeating something I read on the internet ;)

                                                                                      However, if one can flip and toss foods in a frying pan, what's the need for a sauté pan? The only thing that comes to my mind is the straight sides would be better for liquid, but if there's liquid, there isn't going to be much tossing and jumping.

                                                                                      1. re: mikie

                                                                                        I like my sauté pan for red curry chicken and similar dishes. Sauté the chicken pieces, then add a bunch if other stuff and coconut milk. So there is dry sautéing and liquid involved. This is why I like the sauté pan :)

                                                                                        1. re: mikie

                                                                                          I think, as with a lot of pan options, this one comes down to individual preference.

                                                                                          I like my sauté pan for one-pan skillet dinners. OTOH, if I'm making a quick pan sauce, I prefer a frypan for it's open sides that encourage evaporation.

                                                                                          I happen to be more comfortable jumping food in a frypan, whether it's got curved or sloped sides, it's fine. Straight walls, not so much.

                                                                                          1. re: mikie

                                                                                            <However, if one can flip and toss foods in a frying pan, what's the need for a sauté pan?>

                                                                                            I wonder. I guess you can flip a larger amount of foods in a saute pan than a shallow fry pan. Certainly, we don't want a very shallow (low angle) side for tossing foods, but many of the fry pans have reasonable steep (high angle) side:


                                                                                            They are not 90o degree like a saute pan, but they are certainty more than 45o.

                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                              My Viking fry pan looks a lot like many of those with a rounded corner and very steep sides. I've always been under the impression that a fry pan had rounded corners and angeled sides to aid in flipping with a spatula and also to aid in evaporation. A saute on the other hand had straight sides and was deeper to accomodate liquids and to make it easier to shuffle the pan and bounce the food off the side, thus the "jumping".

                                                                                              If the recipe says saute something, I grab the saute pan, if it says fry, I grab the fry pan, I guess I'm not very creative, I just follow directions.

                                                                                              1. re: mikie

                                                                                                <If the recipe says saute something, I grab the saute pan, if it says fry, I grab the fry pan, I guess I'm not very creative, I just follow directions.>

                                                                                                It sounds like you are a great husband. :) (get it?)

                                                                                            2. re: mikie

                                                                                              Hi, mikie: "[W]hat's the need for a sauté pan?"

                                                                                              More floorspace, more volume, higher walls, tossing is more secure.


                                                                                2. re: DuffyH

                                                                                  Way to go, girlfriend! Sadly, I think they are missing out on so many sales. We are the next generation, we have the income (translate to "lots of cash") to spend on cookware, and we don't want design flaws for "those of us with freakin' amazing income."

                                                                                  ALL CLAD - are you hearing us? Wake up.

                                                                                  So, for everyone in general, this is a good thing. Again - ALL CLAD are you hearing us!!!!

                                                                                  Sorry for the rant.

                                                                                  1. re: breadchick


                                                                                    Your post is spot on. That's why I own Demeyere Atlantis/Proline 5* today.

                                                                                    "Buy American" is a phrase I hear a lot but, why buy inferior products (at least IMHO) when something better is readily accessible?

                                                                                    1. re: Sid Post

                                                                                      I agree Sid, but my all clad saute was 100 bucks. And it really is good quality. The Demeyere Atlantis saute is 375 bucks.

                                                                                      1. re: Kleraudio

                                                                                        I wouldn't pay $375 for a saute pan but, I also wouldn't pay $100 for a pan with an uncomfortable handle.

                                                                                        1. re: Sid Post

                                                                                          < I also wouldn't pay $100 for a pan with an uncomfortable handle.>

                                                                                          However, I get a pan with an uncomfortable handle -- if they PAY ME $100.

                                                                                    2. re: breadchick

                                                                                      You're right on the nose there, bc. They've got every pan I want in every size I want. What's more, they've got great warranty service.

                                                                                      Frypans are easy. Saucepans, sauciers and sautés are my hard choices. So, instead of simply getting everything I want from one maker, in one order, I'll more likely cobble together a set of SLT, Demeyere Industry 5, Le Creuset stainless and who knows what else.

                                                                                      Sometimes I think I'm wasting my time and should just buy a set of Farberware Millennium and call it good. My kid turns out great food from some crappy old thin-walled nonstick saucepans. The FM is leagues beyond. Hand washing would be a breeze, too. Get me a cheap stainless pot to boil water and I'd be good to go. Is that defeatist thinking?

                                                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                        A good cook can cook a good meal in anything. However, good cookware allows more people to cook a wider variety of stuff with better results. With enough practice anyone could probably cook anything in a bad pan however, most of us don't have the time, money or, patience to even learn how to heat milk properly on a cheap stove in a thin stainless steel pan. On the same @#$@ apartment stove, I can get hot milk just the way I want it in a copper saucepan with no scorching or similar effects from an inexperienced cook and best of all, it takes little effort to get it RIGHT! Sure I can screw it up but, I have try a lot harder with my copper saucepan.

                                                                                        1. re: Sid Post

                                                                                          Yeah, that's my problem, Sid. I've never owned cheap, thin cookware in my life and am admittedly spoiled by the consistency that nice heavy-walled stuff gives me. I've never had to learn any particular timing for my pans. There's a decent amount of slop factor built in.

                                                                                          With thin stuff, I could take a sauce from undercooked to burned beyond recognition much too quickly. Sort of like garlic bread in my broiler, which I consistently burn. I've had to resort to baking it instead. Imagine if that sort of thing happened with my cookware!

                                                                                          Still, I admit that I cruised over to Amazon and looked at that Millennium stuff. I won't say it's not tempting. I wonder how thick it is. :0

                                                                                3. re: Sid Post

                                                                                  Love the look of All-Clad but the handles are not comfortable at all!

                                                                        2. Yea the handles honestly didn't bother me one bit.

                                                                          Is the emerilware stuff of the same quality as all clad? I know it's made by them but in China and not the US.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Kleraudio

                                                                            The Emeril Pro-Clad is good stuff. I haven't cooked on it, so can't say how it compares, but weight is similar to All-Clad and it's ilk.

                                                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                                                              The pro clad line is much better than their standard stainless. I believe their standard line has only a disc bottom. Secondly the 12 in won't seem big at all when you got it full of food and that all clad handle is wonderful for controlling a heavy pan. It may not be the most comfortable but it's design has a purpose. Don't go cheap on cookware you intend to keep a long time. Spend $150 on a pan now and not regret doing doing it 10 years from now. Buy the best and only cry once.

                                                                          2. My 2 cents (what my wife thinks my opinion is worth, btw)...

                                                                            I believe there is no right pan for every job and you're better off spending less and getting multiple pans. My mom got me a gorgeous 10" Mauviel copper pan years ago for my 30th. The pan was over $300 and I rarely use it. Why? Because if I want to cook a steak (or anything that needs high heat), I use a $30 dollar cast iron skillet. If I'm cooking an omelette I use cheap non-stick (soon to be replaced by CS Mineral B from De Buyer - can't wait). If I want to brown, I use enameled cast iron, as I'm not big on de-glazing seasoned cookware (personal preference). The SS I use most is a 14+" beast I bought at a restaurant supply store (maybe $50) that's big enough to cook paella in.

                                                                            So if I had the budget to get an All Clad SS pan, I'd skip the name brand, and pick up a decent restaurant supply SS pan for half the price, then use the remaining half to pick up a CS pan. I think that would make it easier to get better results on a wider range of jobs, from cooking reactive/acidic ingredients and deglazing, to hi heat searing, to non-stick requirements for crepes, pancakes, omelettes...

                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                            1. re: AaronE


                                                                              Tell me about the enameled CI that you use for deglazing, please? A number of haters have warned me against the skillets, but with so many fans of ECI dutch ovens, how bad can the skillets be? Clearly I can't get great fond without some sticking, and I don't expect it to be nonstick, but how does it compare to SS, for example?

                                                                              I currently use my SS for most sauté/pan fry jobs, cast iron for potatoes and chicken that won't get a pan sauce, and CS for eggs and grilled sandwiches.

                                                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                It's a Le Creuset round dutch oven... haven't tried an enameled skillet... but for stews, etc. where I want to brown and deglaze it is awesome. Hi heat for browning, less burning than when I use stainless, and I can deglaze without worrying about seasoning. I'll fry off 20 or so meatballs, get that great beef fat caramelization, then deglaze with a basic homemade tomato sauce, and just get awesome flavour...

                                                                                1. re: AaronE

                                                                                  How high if heat do you take your eci Dutch oven? Everytime I get an LC piece the paperwork says no higher than med heat. I can't seem it get good caramelization on meat like this but am also afraid to turn the heat to med hi and ruin an expensive pot.

                                                                                  1. re: Kleraudio

                                                                                    I cook on fairly powerful gas, so I rarely crank the heat to high (except when I'm cooking with my wok or CI). If I'm browning meat (eg. for stew) I'll often have coated it in flour which can burn to black pretty easily, so I'll usually keep the LC on medium anyway. Since it is iron underneath that enamel, and anything iron left over even low/med heat will still get plenty hot given enough time, med seems to be fine. For serious searing where I want blazing hot, I use a very heavy, newer, relatively cheap cast iron skillet.

                                                                                    1. re: AaronE

                                                                                      Thanks for the reply! I think I'll just let it heat up a bit longer on medium heat :)

                                                                                      Oh, and a little OT, but am I not supposed to heat the pan first then add the oil? Reading the paperwork that came with it, it says to heat the oil AND the pot at the same time otherwise I can damage the enamel coating.....

                                                                                      Do you guys/gals heat both the pot and oil at same time when using ECI?

                                                                                      1. re: Kleraudio

                                                                                        Good question... interested in hearing responses. I generally turn on the burner, then add oil right away. With my wok I get it smoking before I add oil, with SS I get to med heat, then add oil.

                                                                                        1. re: Kleraudio

                                                                                          In my (admittedly rarely used) ECI dutch oven, I add oil, then heat it on medium. It gets plenty hot enough to sear beef for a roast.

                                                                                1. re: Kleraudio

                                                                                  At 1.5mm, it's not very thick. Be aware that it will likely warp on high heat. Still, since it is thin, it's not going to take much to pour heat into it, so medium heat will easily work for many applications. It will also respond quickly to temperature changes. It would rock as an egg pan, and for grilled sandwiches, fried potatoes and such. It may be light enough to allow you to jump food. For the searing you want to do, you might be better off with cast iron or a thicker carbon steel pan, like one of these:



                                                                                  Or the most popular here on CH, the DeBuyer Mineral B:

                                                                                  Note that you're getting the very cool Eiffel Tower handle for apparently no extra charge!

                                                                                  Check out finestcookware.com for more sizes. Also, Hotel Restaurant Supply has an excellent selection of frypans at very nice prices.

                                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                    That Eiffel Tower handle is the shiznitz!!!! :D

                                                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                      12.5" De Buyer Mineral B came today. Good scrub, quick season (45 min of super thin layers of canola over blazing heat), and test (omelet without utensils), and I am very pleased. Used a small pat of butter (half tbsp maybe), which (as you can see in the pan) was way more than needed... love this pan.

                                                                                      1. re: AaronE

                                                                                        Good job. Now, you know why some of us love carbon steel cookware. It is not for everything for every situation, but neither is any cookware.

                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                          Cheers! Never would have discovered this pan without you guys, so big thanks. Love CS with my woks, but never used a CS pan. Usually cast iron, but omelets are a challenge, and I wanted a little more control for fish... best news is the pan was on sale for $42 (Cdn, no less), and when it arrived there was a small scratch on the bottom (not the cooking side), so they knocked another $20 bucks off!

                                                                                          1. re: AaronE

                                                                                            <best news is the pan was on sale for $42 (Cdn, no less), and when it arrived there was a small scratch on the bottom (not the cooking side), so they knocked another $20 bucks off!>


                                                                                            1. re: AaronE


                                                                                              Where did you buy the pan? Customer service like you got deserves to be mentioned.

                                                                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                Bought the pans from BestBuy.ca (I started a thread when I first saw the deal)... unfortunately they were only available in Canada. Customer service has been mixed, as they originally sent me an 8" instead of a 10" (charging me for the 10", of course), and then made doing the exchange very difficult. At this point I have received the 10", but they've now charge me 3x for it, so I'm waiting for that to get sorted. Love the pans though. Both seasoned and getting lots of use.

                                                                                                1. re: AaronE

                                                                                                  Nice! And do I see a brushed stainless well on your cooktop? My favorite in the entire world!

                                                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                    "Brushed stainless well"? Sorry, but I'm not sure what that is?

                                                                                                    1. re: AaronE


                                                                                                      The well is the portion of the cooktop that's recessed below your burners.

                                                                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                        Then a brushed stainless well it is!

                                                                                                        1. re: AaronE

                                                                                                          Having lived with a polished stainless open burner ranger, sealed gas on glass, standard porcelain and brushed stainless, the last was my runaway favorite.

                                                                                                          It's fabulous, so easy to clean. I even used steel wool on mine for really burned-on crud. An no fingerprints, unlike every other cooktop I've owned. I would give up a lot of other features to have that one.

                                                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                            I've really liked mine. As you said, easy to keep clean and still looks good (mine's 6 yrs old). Last range was electric, so for me gas was the key.

                                                                                                  2. re: AaronE

                                                                                                    "Bought the pans from BestBuy.ca"

                                                                                                    Got mine the other day..8" and 11" might keep them, might gift them either way I couldn't pass up the great deal!

                                                                                            2. re: AaronE

                                                                                              That's one sharp looking pan, and an amazing deal. Enjoy!

                                                                                              1. re: AaronE

                                                                                                Oooh, boy. Good thing the corgi girls aren't seeing your pictures! That, my friend, is the "corgi omelet" known far and wide in their furry minds as the best thing since baby carrots.

                                                                                                I crack an egg and they come running. It's what I made when I first got the pans and wanted to gauge how slick they were getting.

                                                                                                It was "corgi omelet time" every night for a week...

                                                                                                1. re: breadchick

                                                                                                  Funny we use the same test... I ate mine, though...