If I could only buy a single piece of cookware in my entire lifetime, I’d go without hesitation for a skillet. A good skillet is sturdy and versatile. You can cook with it on the stovetop as well as in the oven. With the right care and maintenance from your side (as, in my view, any good piece of cookware deserves), it will last you a lifetime.
A skillet is a flat-bottomed pan that you can use for frying, searing, and sautéing food. It has short and curved sides. With a large surface and flared rim, a skillet gives you enough space to stir, move, and flip ingredients around, while allowing you to pour out cooking sauces and liquids.
In 20 years of home cooking, I’ve spent many hours researching, buying, and using some of the best skillets for home cooks on the market. I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s a skillet for everyone and no two skillets are alike. You just need to know what you’re looking for to make sense of all the options like shapes, sizes, and materials out there.
If you’re looking for the best skillets on Amazon, here’s my buyer’s guide.
The Best Skillets for Home Cooking
What are you looking for when buying a skillet? In other words, what characteristics make a skillet a good skillet?
Sometimes, the easiest way to answer a question is to reverse the problem. Let’s see what you’re not looking for first.
You’re not looking for those cheap cooking seats that everyone buys at college. Thin and lightweight to save production cost and boost profit, cheap skillets warp, scratch easily, and give you a nightmarish cooking experience.
Look for these five characteristics when buying your next skillet:
- It’s affordable. Unless you’re a professional chef, you don’t really need to spend hundreds of dollars on a skillet for your home kitchen.
- It’s high quality. There are many skillets on the market that are reasonably priced, but also made with craft and from high quality materials.
- It’s sturdy and durable. The right skillet, with good care and maintenance from your side, will last you a lifetime.
- It holds on to heat really well. To cook food evenly and get that perfect golden brown color every time, you want a skillet that conducts and holds on to heat.
- It’s easy to clean. You shouldn’t need to watch how-to videos on YouTube to clean your skillet. A good skillet is easy to clean up once you’re done cooking.
I’ve selected the best cast iron, stainless steel, and copper skillets on Amazon that will give you superior control over your cooking and will last you a lifetime.
Here’s my round-up of the best skillets.
#1. Cast Iron Skillet
The cast iron skillet is the most versatile skillet for your home kitchen. Use it to sear, sauté, bake, broil, braise, and fry food on the stovetop. Or put it in your oven to make cast-iron pizza or bake veggies. You can even take it camping with you and cook with it over a campfire.
This is because a cast iron pan is extremely durable and brutally tough. It’s made by melting blocks of iron and steel in a mold. No bolt-on handles or extra coating, it’s just one solid piece of strong metal that you can cook any recipe in.
Cast iron skillets are non-stick. Every now and then, you need to season your cast iron skillet to keep its non-stick characteristics. Seasoning is a process where you brush the pan with cooking oil and let it bake in the oven for 1 hour to develop a natural non-stick coating.
Cast iron pans are on the heavier side. The Lodge 10.25-inch comes in at 5 pounds (2.25 kilograms). I like my skillet to feel solid, it gives me much more control when I’m tossing food in it while cooking. But if you want something lighter, consider one of my other recommendations below.
My favorite cast iron skillet (and what I cook with daily): Lodge Pre-Seasoned 10.25-Inch Cast Iron Skillet (at Amazon)
American made for more than 100 years, Lodge skillets are probably the most popular brand of skillets across homes in the US. They come in many sizes, but I’ve found the 10.25 inches to be just enough for pretty much any recipe and cuisine.
|Made by||Lodge Cast Iron|
|Model||Lodge Pre-Seasoned 10.25-inch Cast Iron Skillet|
|Cooking surface||10.25 inches|
|Dimensions||16.12 x 10.68 x 2 inches|
|Price||Check price at Amazon →|
#2. Stainless-Steel Pan
Stainless-steel skillets are another option for high-quality cookware for your home kitchen. They’re perfect for making pan sauces, sautéing vegetables, searing scallops, and cooking just about any everyday dish you can think of.
Stainless-steel skillets are made from iron alloy containing at least 16% chromium with a blend of 8% or 10% nickel. They are affordable, durable, and require very little maintenance — why is why they’re also used not just in homes, but also in professional kitchens.
What’s the difference between cast iron skillets and stainless-steel skillets? Cast iron and stainless-steel skillets are both sturdy and versatile pans that you can use on the stove top or in the oven. Pans made from stainless steel are lighter weight, can be cleaned in the dishwasher, and don’t need to be seasoned every once in a while.
Stainless steel pans are naturally non-stick when preheated. Just spray the pan with cooking oil or brush it with extra-virgin olive oil, preheat for 5-10 minutes, and you get a naturally non-stick stainless steel surface to cook on. You can use it for making sauces, sautéing vegetables, searing scallops, and cooking just about any dish from any international cuisine at home.
Cuisinart is also American made and gives a lifetime warranty for their products, including the Chef’s Classic 12-inch skillet.
|Made by||Cuisinart (owned by Conair Corporation)|
|Model||Cuisinart 722-30G Chef’s Classic 12-inch Stainless Steel Skillet|
|Cooking surface||12 inches|
|Dimensions||4.13 x 12.63 x 21.13 inches|
|Price||Check price at Amazon →|
#3. Copper Skillet
There’s few things more beautiful and more functional than copper cookware in a home kitchen. If cast iron and stainless steel are the workhorse and sedan car for most cooks, copper cookware is more like a luxury car that you won’t find everywhere.
Quality copper skillets are made of at least 90% copper. Copper is completely safe to cook in as long as it’s lined with another, non-reactive metal (and this is what the remaining 10% consist of).
What’s the difference between copper skillets and cast iron or stainless steel skillets? A copper skillet conducts heat 5 times better than cast iron and 20 times better than stainless steel, which means that the heat spreads faster and more evenly in copper pans than any other kind of pan. Because of this, copper pans can be much thinner and lighter weight than their counterparts. They heat up faster and lose heat faster as a result.
Matfer Bourgeat is a French cookware manufacturer that’s been in the US for 30 years. They supply mostly professional kitchens, but their pans are available to home cooks like you and me (thought they come at a costlier price than cast iron and stainless steel cookware).
|Made by||Matfer Bourgeat|
|Model||Matfer Bourgeat 11-inch Copper Frying Pan|
|Cooking surface||11 inches|
|Dimensions||1 x 11 x 2.25 inches|
|Price||Check price at Amazon →|
You now have my top picks for the best skillets that you can buy on Amazon today. If you’re looking to upgrade your cookware with a high-quality and high-endurance skillet to sear and sautée food in, do consider the Lodge cast iron skillet, Cuisinart stainless steel pan, and the luxury and gorgeous Matfer Bourgeat copper frying pan.
Even if you decide to go for another product, remember to research your choices well. Unfortunately, not all selected and sponsored products online are the make and quality you’d expect them to be.