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How to Choose the Best Frying Pan

Frying pans (or saute pans) are a staple in any commercial kitchen. Combining the classic, round shape of a skillet, with moderately high, slightly sloped sides, these pans feature a signature all-purpose design that makes them ideal for pan-frying as well as scrambling, sauteing, or searing. Available in a variety of metals that conduct heat efficiently, fry pans come in different sizes, with 8-, 10-, and 12-inch being the most popular sizes across the industry.

Frying Pan Purchasing Considerations

1.) Different Types of Frying Pan Materials

Fry pans come in a variety of materials, coatings, and handle types. Whether you prefer non-stick fry pans for omelet stations or natural finish fry pans for searing, we have the perfect fit for your commercial kitchen. Our cookware guide also provides more information on the importance of choosing the right material for your needs!

  • Aluminum - Creates excellent heat conduction and resists rust and corrosion
  • Aluminum Clad Stainless Steel - Creates excellent heat conduction, is iduction-ready, and resists rust and corrosion
  • HardCoat / Anodized Aluminum - Creates excellent heat conduction and is scratch and dent-resistant
  • Stainless Steel / Aluminum - Creates excellent heat conduction, is induction-ready, resists rust and corrosion, and is dishwasher safe
  • Copper / Stainless Steel - Creates excellent heat conduction
  • Carbon Steel - Creates excellent heat conduction and is induction ready

    Induction ready cookware is made of magnetic materials, such as steel or iron. Instead of traditional cooking methods where the cook top generates heat that then passes to your cookware through contact, induction cooking works through magnetic energy, which heats the cookware directly and not the cook top. This means faster heating, less energy consumption, and a safer kitchen.

  • 2.) Frying Pan Thickness

    Beyond material construction, it is always important to consider the thickness of the frying pans you're investing in. But how do you know how thick an item is? The thickness of cookware is generally measured in either gauge or mils, but the way you read these numbers is very important -1 mil is equal to 1/1000", so the higher the mil, the thicker the metal.

    Gauge, however, works in the opposite fashion—the higher the gauge, the thinner the metal. Most of the cookware you find will fall somewhere between a thick 10-gauge construction and a thinner 22-gauge construction.

    When trying to determine the best type of frying pan thicker metal is often preferable, but depending on your application, there are always pros and cons to account for.

    3.) Riveted vs. Rivetless Frying Pans

    Restaurant Equipment

    Riveted

    Riveted handles are the sturdiest handles available and, because they are permanently attached, they never need to be tightened. However, they do require more thorough cleansing care to prevent bacterial buildup around the rivets.

    Restaurant Equipment

    Rivetless

    Vollrath Ever-Smooth interior surface ensures easier cooking and less interference from rivet heads, while enhancing the frying pan's strength and durability. Additionally, it eliminates food and bacteria collection areas.

    4.) Frying Pan Handle Types

    Vollrath EZ4008 Wear-Ever 8 inch Aluminum Non-Stick Fry Pan with Rivetless Interior, CeramiGuard II Coating, and Blue Cool Handle
    Consider pans with stainless steel handles, as these will not conduct heat as well as aluminum handles, and will remain cooler than the pan. Or look for metal handles that are hollowed in some way for a cooling effect. Silicone or Cool handles are also great options as they offer a comfortable grip for all-day use, and easily slide off for simple cleaning. Be aware though that some silicone handles are not designed for high-temperature use, and may require the use of a pot handle holder to keep your staff safe.

    5.) Non-Stick vs. Natural Finish Frying Pans

    Non-stick and natural finish fry pans each provide a variety cooking possibilities in your kitchen. Depending on your needs, a natural finish fry pan may be a sufficient option to prepare your menu offerings. However, there are many benefits to non-stick fry pans that make them a popular choice among chefs.
    Type
    Benefits
    Limitations
    Non-Stick
    Helps prevent food from sticking to pans
    Provides easier, faster clean up
    Reduces the need to cook with oils or fats
    Great for eggs, pancakes, omelet stations and other adhesive products
    Subject to scratching
    Not suitable for high temp cooking (over 500 degrees Fahrenheit)
    Should not be used with metal utensils
    Natural Finish
    Good for searing meat
    Economical price
    Subject to food sticking to pan
    Extra releases and lubricants needed to prevent sticking
    Lubricants seep into food, adding fat and calories

    Non-Stick Frying Pan Coating Comparison

    Coating Type Picture Benefits Limitations
    Choice 12 inch Aluminum Non-Stick Fry Pan
    • Easy to clean
    • Reduced need for oil and cooking fat
    • Metal utensils scratch and damage the coating
    • Not suitable for high-temperature cooking
    Carlisle 60910XRS 10 inch Aluminum Non-Stick Fry Pan with Excalibur Coating and Black Dura-Kool Handle
    • Stainless steel-reinforced coating
    • More durable than regular non-stick
    • PFOAs-free
    • Scratch-resistant
    • Metal utensils scratch and damage the coating
    • Not suitable for high-temperature cooking
    Vollrath 67808 Wear-Ever 8 inch Aluminum Non-Stick Fry Pan with PowerCoat2 Coating and Black TriVent Silicone Handle
    • Dual-layer ceramic-reinforced coating
    • PFOAs-free
    • Environmentally-friendly
    • Metal utensils scratch and damage the coating
    • Not suitable for high-temperature cooking
    Vollrath 67608 Wear-Ever 8 inch Aluminum Non-Stick Fry Pan with SteelCoat x3 Coating and Black TriVent Silicone Handle
    • Triple-layer coating
    • Excellent bond between coating and pan
    • PFOAs-free
    • Superior food release
    • Metal utensils scratch and damage the coating
    • Not suitable for high-temperature cooking
    Vollrath EZ4010 Wear-Ever 10 inch Aluminum Non-Stick Fry Pan with Rivetless Interior, CeramiGuard II Coating, and Blue Cool Handle
    • Superior durability
    • Works well in high heat conditions
    • Abrasion-resistant
    • PFOAs-free
    • Metal utensils scratch and damage the coating

    Best Frying Pans

    Entry Level

    Natural Finish
  • 303 aluminum alloy construction for most
  • Carbon Steel construction for some
    Non-Stick
  • Release food easily
  • Eliminate the need for cooking sprays and oils

    Mid Level

    Stainless Steel Fry Pans with Aluminum-Clad Bottoms
  • 18/8 stainless steel with aluminum-clad bottom
  • Excellent heat conduction of aluminum
  • Riveted
  • Stainless steel handle
  • Choose from non-stick coating or natural finish
  • Suitable for use on induction ranges
  • NSF listed
    Vollrath Arkadia
  • 9 gauge, 3000 series aluminum alloy construction
  • Designed for the value conscious customer
  • Aluminum rivets
  • Nickel plated steel handle with optional Arkadia silicone sleeve
  • Choose from non-stick coating or natural finish
  • NSF listed
    Vollrath Optio
  • Easy to handle lightweight, high chrome stainless steel construction with a mirror finish and clad bottom
  • Economy line designed for lighter duty cooking
  • Welded handle attachment
  • Hollow handle
  • Choose from non-stick coating or natural finish
  • Suitable for use with induction ranges
  • NSF listed
    Vollrath Induction Fry Pans with SteelCoatx3
  • Carbon steel conducts heat quickly and easily
  • Classic French style
  • TriVent Silicone insulated handle is rated up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit for stove top or oven use
  • Suitable for use with 120V induction ranges, 1.8 kW or less, or with conventional ranges
  • Available in SteelCoatx3 finish

    High End

    Carlisle Stainless Steel / Aluminum
  • Hard aluminum body ensures maximum heat transfer throughout the pan and eliminates hot spots and scorching
  • Riveted
  • Aluminum handle with removable Dura-Kool sleeve that stays cool to the touch
  • NSF listed
    Carlisle Excalibur
  • Dent resistant 3004 series aluminum alloy construction
  • Aluminum handle with removable Dura-Kool sleeve that stays cool to the touch
  • Riveted
  • Reinforced non-stick coating technology helps resist scratching and peeling and provides easier food release and clean up
  • NSF listed
    Vollrath Wear-Ever Ever-Smooth
  • NSF listed
  • Primarily 8 gauge, dent resistant 3004 series aluminum alloy construction
  • Rivet-less design provides easy to clean body
  • Nickel plated steel Cool Handle
  • Available in CeramiGaurd II, WearGuard, and Natural Finish
    Vollrath Wear-Ever Classic
  • NSF listed
  • Primarily 8 gauge, dent resistant 3004 series aluminum alloy construction
  • Ever-Tite rivets
  • Choose from Tri-Vent natural finish handle, nickel plated steel Cool Handle, or TriVent Silicone insulated handle
  • Available in CeramiGuard II, SteelCoatx3, PowerCoat2, WearGuard, and Natural Finish
    Vollrath Wear-Ever Hardcoat
  • NSF listed
  • Primarily 8 gauge, dent resistant 3004 series aluminum alloy construction
  • Ever-Tite rivets
  • Nickel plated steel Cool Handle
  • Hardcoat anodized finish for warp resistance
    Vollrath Tribute
  • Tri-ply construction for perfect heat distribution
  • Satin finish
  • Dent resistant 3004 series aluminum alloy core
  • Non-reactive 18-8 stainless steel inner layer, and a durable 18-0 stainless steel exterior to stand up to punishing commercial cooking conditions
  • Ever-Tite rivets
  • Choose from Tri-Vent natural finish handle or TriVent Silicone insulated handle
  • Suitable for use with induction ranges
  • NSF listed
  • Available in SteelCoatx3 and Natural Finish
    Carlisle Dura-Ware Standard Weight Aluminum
  • Made of durable 9 gauge 3004 series aluminum
  • Aluminum construction ensures maximum heat transfer throughout the pan and eliminates hot spots and scorching
  • Riveted
  • Removable Dura-Kool sleeve that stays cool to the touch
  • NSF Listed
    Carlisle Teflon Select® Non-Stick Aluminum
  • Teflon Select® coating for 75% greater longevity 75% more resistance to corrosion
  • Aluminum construction ensures maximum heat transfer throughout the pan and eliminates hot spots and scorching
  • Removable Dura-Kool sleeve that stays cool to the touch
  • Made of durable 9 gauge 3004 series aluminum
  • NSF listed
  • Frying Pan Care and Use

    While it is generally recommended to refer to the cleaning instructions from the product's manufacturer, the below information outlines general care and use guidelines.
    • Never leave empty cookware on your heat source.
    • For safety and to prevent warping, allow cookware to cool before cleaning or immersing it in water.
    • Use of high temperature silicone utensils for non-stick pans and metal utensils for standard surface pans is recommended.
    • When stacking hardcoat or non-stick pans, place liners between pans to avoid scratching stick-resistant surfaces
    • Use a polishing paste to clean copper surfaces.
    • All cookware will last longer and look better if washed by hand. Always scrub in the direction of the material grain. Rinse thoroughly, sanitize, and allow to air dry completely.
    • If putting through the dishwasher, make sure you are using a metal-safe detergent.
    • Do not use soap to clean seasoned carbon steel pans; instead, scrub the interior with hot water and wipe the inside and outside of the pan with unsalted cooking oil or shortening to prevent oxidation.

    How Do I Season a Frying Pan?

    Prior to cooking, lightly coat the inside of your non-coated aluminum, stainless steel, or carbon steel frying pans with a small amount of vegetable oil or shortening. Then place the frying pan on a burner at medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until light smoke or heat waves appear. When shortening turns a deep amber color, turn off the burner and allow to cool. Pour out excess oil/shortening and wipe down the frying pan with a paper towel until all of the oil/shortening is removed.

    Seasoning will prolong the life of the frying pan. Cleaning with a mild soapy solution after each use will not affect the "seasoning" of the pan. It's okay to repeat this procedure as often as needed without doing damage to the cookware. For a more in-depth look at pan seasoning, check out our Pan Seasoning guide.

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