ISO large frying pan for Mr. Max Power
September 30, 2015 9:51 AM   Subscribe

Looks like our Circulon 30 cm frying pan is fried, so I'm looking for a replacement that will work with high heat. Someone who will go unnamed really likes to crank the heat on most of the stuff he cooks, and it's pretty much bricked our big frying pan, so I'm looking for recommendations for something reliable and high quality to replace it, particularly for British or European available brands (US-only brands will almost definitely be too $$$ w/shipping).

Fish, meat, vegetables. It would be *lovely* if we could do an easy large omelet or frittata in it, but not essential if it's a tradeoff off between non-stick versus long-wear w/high heat. Price isn't *not* an issue, but I'd rather pay more than continue buying frying pans, if possible.

(We have a glass-ceramic cooktop stove, but will probably be getting a gas stove soon.)
posted by taz to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Just get a cast iron one from a charity shop if you can. No they are not non-stick; yes they are basically impervious to high heat.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:03 AM on September 30, 2015 [7 favorites]

Cook's Illustrated recently had an article on carbon steel skillets, which can be seasoned (like cast iron, but apparently easier to maintain) to be very non-stick. Should handle high heat better than non-stick pans, too. Their top pick was the Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Round Frying Pan, 11 7/8" (other sizes available) for ~$45 at Amazon. I've been meaning to pick one up myself.
posted by sapere aude at 10:04 AM on September 30, 2015

If you want something that will heat up quickly and be much easier to deal with and more flexible:
12" All-Clad is the classic. I know Henckels has a good clad line (a little less expensive) that's definitely available in Europe. (I had to deal with that when I warrantied one of mine.)

If you want something that will last forever: Any cast iron. Vintage better than new.
posted by supercres at 10:04 AM on September 30, 2015

The last few we've bought have been these Tefal ones. The non-stick has lasted several years of daily use with no degradation. Their 'stirfry' pan is well worth getting in addition to the frying pan - it's the most versatile pan we've ever had, and we cook pretty much everything in it.
posted by pipeski at 10:05 AM on September 30, 2015

Oh, don't take my advice while you have an induction hob - they're apparently not suitable...
posted by pipeski at 10:06 AM on September 30, 2015

Cast iron all the way. I have other pans but never, ever use them. I use the cast iron every day, for everything. It might not do well for your omelets but everything else: yes. They are dirt cheap and will last the rest of your life.
posted by something something at 10:07 AM on September 30, 2015

I got a DeBuyer pan for my birthday last year, and it can do what you want it to do, and it's glamorous, but it works best with gas (or on your open fire in the garden ;-)). I've heard this is an excellent and not too expensive pan which works on any stovetop and can take high heats.

I find anything Tefal is wonderful, but not for high heats.

And yes, I agree with everyone saying cast-iron. But it is heavy, and not the best for glass ceramic stovetops.
posted by mumimor at 10:13 AM on September 30, 2015

I have a very expensive All-Clad that I love and a not-very-expensive Lodge cast iron that I also love. More and more I find myself using the cast iron. I just gravitate to it because I love it so much. I still use the All-Clad from time to time but if I could only buy one today, I'd go with the cast iron.

You can buy a Lodge pan or just any old generic cast iron, they're all good.
posted by bondcliff at 10:18 AM on September 30, 2015

DeBuyer-style "iron" (really a form of low-carbon steel) has a lot of the advantages of cast iron while being much, much lighter to handle. It's downside is that it's fussy to care for (it's not dishwasher safe, must be seasoned, etc...). It does handle high heat well.

I'd avoid anything coated if the default setting is maximum heat. PTFE/Teflon is especially not a good idea.
posted by bonehead at 10:26 AM on September 30, 2015

I would go with either carbon steel (as others have mentioned) or stainless for the kind of abuse the pan is taking. Tramontina is a very popular value brand that compares favorably to All-Clad. If money is no object I would buy Le Creuset stainless. I have no experience with it, but their enamelware is top of the line.

I have cooked eggs in my cast iron pan, but it is still sometimes sticks, so it's a bit of a gamble. Regardless, I haven't had a Teflon pan for several years now.
posted by O9scar at 10:37 AM on September 30, 2015

Ceramic Titanium. Scanpan, it used to be a MONSTER. Newer versions? Maybe not as durable. You can get the older ones on ebay. Better handle, good up to 450 or 500 degrees. Someone stole mine, it was so great.

There is a Regalware ceramic titanium that is crap, probably other brands, too. Scanpan makes a $50 version. You want the $100+ version.

Because of reasons, I have yet to replace my Scanpan with a newer or older model. They're pricey! I haven't had the time to make it a current priority or find the exact model I want.

Like everyone else, my go-to work horse is one of two cast iron pans. The Scanpan is much easier and lighter. For simple eggs, I sub in a cheap professional grade non-stick. As long as the oven is not involved, they are practically disposable and work just fine.

Re-purchasing a Scanpan is a longterm priority because it does everything my cast iron does, without the weight or the clean-up hassle. I'm pretty sure that is the answer to your question. I use a lot of varied types of cookware personally and professionally. My Scanpan went missing about 8 years ago, and I still haven't used anything I love more.
posted by jbenben at 10:43 AM on September 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'll just mention that we haven't found cast iron pans here (Greece). We'll look again, but to go that way we'll probably have to order, and they're heavy, so expensive to ship. Not ruling out at all, but it's still a fairly pricey option for us (as opposed to being cheap-ish to try and easy to lay hands on).
posted by taz at 10:44 AM on September 30, 2015

Seconding Scanpan, they are pricey (at least in the US, maybe cheaper in Europe) but last a long time and are supper easy to use/flexible.
posted by pennypiper at 11:01 AM on September 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I love cast iron, but for much of my day to day frying pan needs, I pull out the carbon steel pan. It heats up fast and is much easier to manage.
posted by advicepig at 11:29 AM on September 30, 2015

Do you think he'd find a carbon steel wok too foreign?
Those suckers are designed for the flames of hell, so I'm sure they'd hold up. (Barring that, the above suggestion of a carbon steel fry pan seems sound, from a temperature and price perspective)
posted by sazerac at 12:38 PM on September 30, 2015

After years of cooking, I've concluded that you really need several types of frying pans, and so we own 3 types currently. For your husband I would get a carbon steel or stainless steel pan as others have suggested, and maybe also a cast iron pan, and then get and hide one nice nonstick and reserve it for things like eggs. (Kyocera makes nice reasonable nonstick pans and I love mine for lower heat stuff.)

I like cast iron for certain purposes, but you do need to take care of them and keep them seasoned properly or stuff can stick. They also heat a bit slowly and retain heat for a while, so you have to factor that in to cook time/methods. My mother-in-law had one she just scraped out basically, never washed with soap, and it had built up a nice surface to be fairly non-stick. I think it would probably work better on a gas stove also.

Also, and this is a no strings offer, if you want a 9 inch cast iron frying pan I will be happy to mail you an extra I have some slow (i.e. cheapish) way or other (I'm in the U.S.). We have extra stuff from various family members and it is just gathering dust (you would be doing me a favor, really!)
posted by gudrun at 12:45 PM on September 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

We love our Swiss Diamond pans. Not cheap, but basically nuclear-proof. Also: they're non-stick but youcan use metal implements on them.
posted by pompomtom at 4:07 PM on September 30, 2015

At home I use Lagostina. Stainless steel, withstands (and holds!) an incredible amount of heat. (At work I use the usual shitbox restaurant pans).
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:25 AM on October 4, 2015

Le Creuset cookware can also withstand extended heat, and over time will develop a virtually nonstick patina.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:55 AM on October 4, 2015

Response by poster: Before this closes, I will update that for a while after this post we didn't replace because the offended pan seemed to ... heal. Weirdly. But not long ago, I found an affordable large Lodge cast iron skillet online, and I seasoned the hell out of it, so we are using that for the highly fiery desires of Mr. Power at the moment. Thanks for the many suggestions!
posted by taz at 12:39 PM on August 17, 2016

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