Choosing the Best All-Purpose Skillets for the Kitchen

Anne Vassal talks about her picks for the best all-purpose skillets and shares the pricing and test results with MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers.

  • MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers share their picks for the best cooking skillets.
    Anne Vassal shares her picks for the best cooking skillets.
  • Cooking in a cast iron skillet.
    Cooking in a cast iron skillet.
  • Calphalon's Kitchen Essentials skillet.
    Calphalon's Kitchen Essentials skillet.

  • MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers share their picks for the best cooking skillets.
  • Cooking in a cast iron skillet.
  • Calphalon's Kitchen Essentials skillet.

When finding the best all-purpose skillets these skillet makers are put to the test.

It would be nice if I could share with you the wondrous aspects of my long time favorite skillet, but until recently I didn't have one. Over the years, not a single one ever stole my heart. Having a quality, 12-inch skillet ought to be a necessity of life, though, along with shoes, cell phones and brie (ok, maybe not brie), so finally, I set out to find my "one and only."

As it turned out, when looking for the best all-purpose skillets I found several skillets that tickled my fancy: Calphalon's Commercial and Kitchen Essentials lines, All-Clad Metalcrafter's own brand (my favorite!) and Emerilware, developed by All-Clad with celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse. Here are the most important points to consider when you're searching for a skillet that will steal your heart.

Skillet Shop but not 'Till you Drop

Most all-purpose skillets have either flared or straight sides. Those with flared sides are called fry or omelette pans , and usually they come without lids; food just slides right out of these pans and onto a plate. Those with straight sides are called saute pans, and they come with lids.

I decided to limit my spending to less than $150, although it's possible to buy skillets that cost twice that price. I tested numerous skillets for "release-ability" (whether the food stuck to the pan), heat distribution and cooking time. I cooked a variety of foods, including eggs, pancakes, eggplant, plantains, tofu and chicken.

Appearance, durability, feel and whether the skillet was oven- or broiler-safe also were evaluated.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters