Stainless steel pans are a great addition to any kitchen, whether you’re a seasoned chef or
just learning how to cook. The best stainless steel pans have cladding or a core for faster heating, and are the right size and shape for cooking your favorite dishes.
stainless steel pans are durable, non-reactive, and perfect for searing, the metal itself is not a good conductor of heat. That’s why all stainless steel pans and pots are supplemented with either copper or aluminum to make them more conductive. Aluminum is more budget-friendly and common for pans, but copper heats even faster and may be worth the added investment depending on your needs.
Some pans have a core design, which means they have a
disc of aluminum or copper on the bottom, while others have cladding, which means they have layers of stainless steel with an aluminum or copper center. The number of layers in cladding is called ply, and while most pans are triple-ply (also known as tri-ply), there are 5-ply and 7-ply pans too.
The metal your pan is made from is important, but so is its shape and size. If you want a good all-around pan, look for one that is 10 or 12 inches in diameter. You may also want one with a lid, so you can steam and heat food quicker, or a smaller, 8-inch pan that’s perfect for making eggs. There are also full stainless steel cookware sets, as well as baking sheets, saucepans, and more.
If you’re ready to expand your cookware collection, check out this list of the best stainless steel pans on Amazon.
The Best Frying Pan
Size: 10 inches (also available in 8, 12, and 14 inches)
If you’re looking to buy your first stainless steel skillet, this
All-Clad frying pan is a great place to start. With a tri-ply cladding design, it has two layers of 18/10 stainless steel with an aluminum center for faster heating. This versatile frying pan is also dishwasher-safe, oven-safe, and broiler-safe up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can use it for all types of cooking. Made in the USA by All-Clad, it works on all cooktops and has a stainless steel handle.
One fan raved: “My chef husband bought one of these over 20 years ago for home use. It’s such a treasured item in our home that my 2 kids were arguing over who gets it when we’re gone. So I bought one for each of them on their 25th birthdays.”
The Best Budget Frying Pan
Size: 12.5 inches (also available in 8.5 and 10 inches)
Add some stainless steel to your kitchen without breaking the bank with this
budget-friendly frying pan, which is made by Ayesha Curry’s Home Collections brand. Costing under $40, it has a core ply design, which means it’s made from stainless steel with an aluminum disc on the base. This pan is also dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.
One fan raved: “This has more than met my expectations…it’s sturdy yet lightweight, has a comfortable handle, and is super easy to clean. A great, affordable investment for the kitchen.”
The Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Whether you’re moving to your first apartment or refreshing your cookware, this
12-piece stainless steel cookware collection is a great foundation for any kitchen. With two covered saucepans, two open skillets, one covered sauté pan, one covered stockpot, and one steamer insert with a lid, this set has everything you need to cook amazing meals. This collection has a triple-ply clad design, so each piece is made from stainless steel with an aluminum core, and they are oven-safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. To help you avoid annoying spills, each piece also has a curved rim for drip-free pouring, and the lids are tight-fitting to avoid splatters. With so many great features, it’s no surprise that this collection has over 6,500 five-star ratings on Amazon.
One fan raved: “Spend the money on these pots once, and never buy pots again. These things are amazing. Bullet proof! Keep them clean with Bar Keepers Friend and Jet Scrubberz and you’ll never have an issue. They warm well, distribute heat great, and look great on my stove. If you’re used to non-stick, there is a learning curve, but just add butter or oil, otherwise you’ll be burning. HIGHLY recommended. Do yourself a favor and buy these so you don’t have to spend money on pots again. Very good weight and all work well.”
The Best Baking Sheets
Size: half sheet, quarter sheet
two – pack of stainless steel baking sheets is perfect for all your favorite recipes, from sheet pan dinners to chocolate chip cookies. One pan has a half-sheet size measuring 18 by 13 inches, while the other has a quarter-sheet size measuring 9.5 by 13 inches. Both pans in this set are made from 100% stainless steel, making them durable as well as dishwasher-friendly and rust-resistant. They also have rimmed designs that make them easier to grab out of the oven, and they’re available in additional bundles that include a rack.
One fan raved: “I was looking for thick-gauge stainless steel baking sheets that will not warp when heated in the oven. What I GOT far exceeded my expectations! These baking sheets are serious pieces of kitchen hardware. You know how in movies, someone will swing a pan like this, knock someone out, and you think “……Yeah…..Right……” Well you’re wrong. They used these pans to do it. While I joke, I cannot overestimate how sturdy and solid their construction is. You will not regret buying these if you are in the market to move toward stainless steel and the obvious health benefits it represents when used in cookware.”
The Best Saucepan
Expand your cookware collection further with this
triple-ply stainless steel saucepan, which has a 3-quart volume and a matching lid. This clad design is made from 18/10 stainless steel with an aluminum core, which helps it heat up faster, and it has a stainless steel handle with a cool grip feature. This saucepan is not only dishwasher-safe, but also oven-safe and broiler-safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can use it for any recipe. And to keep your stovetop free of spills, the lid is tight-fitting, and the rim has a drip-free design.
One fan raved: “I’ve had a 4-quart pan from this line for a few years now. It quickly became my favorite pan. I finally bought the 3-quart—in fact, I bought two […] I love this pan, and the size is just right for the small amounts of food I often cook for myself. These pans heat well and retain heat well. They tend not to scorch or burn anything unless you really leave something unattended for a while or have the heat way too high. I definitely would (and want to) buy more from this set.”
The Best Lidded Frying Pan
stainless steel frying pan comes with a lid, so you can use it to both sauté and steam. Like many of the other picks on this list, this one has a clad design, so it is made from stainless steel with an aluminum core. The pan has a low-profile shape, which makes it easy to store in your cabinets, and it is broiler-safe up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can use it to finish off recipes in the oven too. While this pan is a bit pricey, it has a limited lifetime warranty to help your feel confident in your purchase.
One fan raved: “I absolutely am in love with my All-Clad pan. I made sure to use it for at least six weeks before I left a review. I have had absolutely zero problems with food sticking as long as you heat your pan up the correct way. Meaning, heat your pan for a couple of minutes before you add your oil. I have cooked everything from scrambled eggs and fried potatoes to sticky dishes and have no issues with clean up. I’m in love with the flexibility of being able to throw the entire thing into the oven without any issues. I am glad I spent the money on this as it was well worth the price. Anyone who has second thoughts, don’t.”
The Best Small Frying Pan
Size: 8 inches (also available in 10 and 12 inches)
Perfect for cooking all types of egg recipes, as well as other small meals, this triple-ply
omelette frying pan measures just 8 inches. Designed with an aluminum core and a brushed stainless steel exterior, it’s both oven- and dishwasher-safe, and the handle is designed to stay cooler than the rest of the pan. It comes with Calphalon’s full lifetime warranty, so you can be sure that you’ll have this pan for years to come.
One fan raved: “I was a fry cook while I was in college (too many years ago). I flipped a LOT of eggs. But I’ve had a very disappointing success rate flipping eggs in recent years. It seemed like it was the pans; they just didn’t seem like they were the right shape. Well I love this pan. It’s low profile with smooth corners just like the restaurant pans I used back in my diner days. I guess it’s a mite pricey just for cooking eggs but no doubt I’ll find other things to cook in it.I love the stainless steel. It’s easy to keep clean and there isn’t a nonstick finish to flake off in my food.”
The Best Copper-Clad Frying Pan
Size: 10 inches (also available in 8 and 12 inches)
If you’re looking for a top of the line pan, this
5-ply All-Clad frying pan is the pick for you. It has a copper core, two layers of aluminum, and two exterior layers of stainless steel, so you get the best of all three metals, including great heat responsiveness, quick heating, and durability. Versatile in design, it is oven-and broiler-safe up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup. This pan can also work on all types of stovetops and is specially optimized for induction. Made in the USA, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty, so you can feel confident in making this big purchase.
One fan raved: “You can be tempted to buy the same kind of pan for a lot less. In fact over a hundred dollars less in some places. However, if you want the best that will out live you and to whomever you hand it down to then go for the copper clad All-Clad pan. This is what the chef’s use and for good reason. Heat distribution is very good due to the copper clad center. The handle is attached to last for ever so no loose screws or rivet joints to come loose in a couple of years. Cleaning is easy and so far I never had to scour (which is not recommended) the pan to remove anything that was stuck. Read the instructions on how to use the pan as like anything you can destroy anything if it is abused. Bottom line is you only need a few pots and pans to do most of your cooking so get the best and never have to worry about these items again in the future.”