Using the right kitchen equipment can help save time and effort when it comes to cooking. Having the right cookware is also important in producing the desired results from a recipe.
For roasting, frying, searing, or browning foods, frying pans are the right type of cookware to have and make use of.
They are essential cookware found in just about every kitchen.
There are so many options available for you when it comes to choosing a frying pan for your kitchen. There are different types of frying pans made from different materials and are of different sizes.
It could seem a bit overwhelming if you don’t have an idea of how to select the right cooking pan.
However, if you are thinking of getting cooking pans for your kitchen, this post might be helpful to give you the basics of the different types which are available.
TYPES OF FRYING PANS
BASED ON THE TYPE OF MATERIAL
An essential quality to look out for is the pan production material. It determines how suitable a particular type of pan is for your kitchen
There are a couple of qualities that are dependent on the type of material the frying pans are made of;
- The durability of the pan
- Its induction compatibility
- Handling capability
- Heat conduction and distribution
- How expensive it would be
- How much maintenance does it need
- How easy it is to clean after use
Each material has its pros and cons. However, Understanding these concepts could help you to determine the right cooking pan material to go for.
1. Stainless Steel Frying Pans
Stainless steel is a popular material for cooking pans. I like Stainless steel pans because they are quite easy to clean.
Stainless steel pans are also scratch-resistant, easy to use with different cooking utensils, and durable.
These pans do not react with your food and as such would not alter the taste of food when cooking. Another advantage is due to its thin structure, a stainless steel pan is lightweight and easy to handle.
On the other hand, stainless steel alone is a poor conductor of heat, and therefore, it has to be combined with other metals for good heat conduction, the bottom of stainless steel frying pans are often made of either copper or aluminum for an even distribution of heat.
Stainless steel is also quite expensive.
2. Cast Iron Skillet
Cast iron pans are exceptionally durable.
There are two popular types of cast iron skillets, bare cast Iron skillets or cast iron skillets with an enamel coating.
Bare Cast Iron
Bare cast iron skillets go through a process called seasoning. The seasoning process will give pans a non-stick surface.
Enamel-Coated Cast Iron
Enamel-coated cast iron skillets provide all the benefits of the cast iron with a bonus of less maintenance and cleaning requirements.
Just in case you are concerned whether your frying pan would work on your induction cooktop, cast iron skillets are also induction compatible.
However, unlike stainless steel pans, cast iron skillets are very thick and heavyweight which can make handling them to be quite difficult.
Even though cast iron pans are able to retain and distribute heat evenly, they take a little bit longer to heat up.
Acidic foods can react with cast iron, stripping off the seasoning and altering the taste of your meal.
Also, cast iron pans especially the bare cast iron pans require a lot of maintenance, cast iron pans could rust if not thoroughly dried and may need to be periodically re-seasoned to prevent foods from sticking.
The porcelain enamel on the enameled cast iron skillets is expensive and can chip or crack.
3. Aluminum Frying Pans
Aluminum is probably the most popular and commonly used material in cookware.
It is an excellent heat conductor and spreads heat evenly throughout the pan. Even better heat distribution is achieved if the aluminum pan is thicker.
These pans are of two types which are regular and anodized.
Regular aluminum is lightweight and affordable with a good heat-retaining capacity.
Anodized aluminum on the other hand is sturdier, more durable, and scratch-resistant compared to regular aluminum.
Regular aluminum also reacts with certain foods which is why an anodized aluminum pan is often the better choice for the kitchen. However, it is more expensive.
A typical aluminum cooking ware has a thick base and thinner sidewalls. Most aluminum cookware has a non-stick finish thereby making it dent and scratch-resistant.
Unfinished aluminum can discolor if put in the dishwasher, or pit from acidic foods can discolor and impart a metallic taste to foods.
4. Copper Frying Pans
Copper conducts heat excellently when used as cookware, and copper pans heat food quickly.
However, copper reacts with certain foods and can be toxic, therefore, most copper pans are lined with another material, which is usually stainless steel.
These pans are very expensive and require a lot of maintenance.
Copper can discolor, so once in a while, you need to polish it to remove discoloration. Also, copper tends to dent and scratch easily. Likewise, any crack or scrape in the pan lining must be rectified by thorough re-aligning which is an expensive task on its own.
In other words, it requires more attention for maintenance than some other pans.
5. Carbon Steel Frying Pans
Carbon steel frying pans are similar to cast iron skillets, made from the same materials but of different proportions when compared to cast iron. They are lighter than cast iron pans, and the surface is smoother. They are also durable as well.
6. Ceramic Frying Pans
Although some amount of ceramic may be used to make parts of some ceramic frying pans, a lot of ceramic frying pans are made from a metal coated with a silica-based and not ceramic.
Ceramic pans are known for being non-stick and easy to clean. They can also heat up to high temperatures.
7. Non-stick Frying Pans
Non-stick pans are coated with Teflon which makes their surfaces non-stick and easy to clean. Non-stick pans are lightweight.
SIZES OF FRYING PANS
Another way that we can classify frying pans is using the size of the frying pan.
The size of the frying pan is important because it determines the amount of food you can prepare.
The size of the frying pan is also dependent on the number of people you want to prepare a meal for, a smaller sized frying pan that would heat up quickly might be perfect for making a quick breakfast for one person, while a much larger frying pan would be used when making food for more people.
1. Small-sized frying pans
Small-sized frying pans are mostly around 8 inches in diameter, but they could be as small as 6 inches. These frying pans could be used to make a meal for one person.
2. Medium-sized frying pans
Medium-sized frying pans are about 10 inches in diameter.
3. Large frying pans
A large frying pan would be 12 inches in diameter and above.
WHAT ARE FRYING PANS USED FOR
Primarily used for frying meats, scrambling eggs, and other culinary tasks, a frying pan is a versatile tool that can be used anywhere due to its compact size and relatively easy handling.
These pans are designed with a flat bottom and rounded sides, which makes them perfect for fast cooking with oils over very high heat. While the uses and sizes of frying pans are varied, typical fry pans and skillet do not come with a lid.