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7 Best Stainless Steel Skillet for Everyday Use in 2021 & Buying Guide

Best budget-friendly
Cuisinart MCP22-20N Stainless Steel Skillet
5/5
Best tri-ply pan
All Clad D3 12-inch Stainless Steel Tri-ply Pan with Lid
5/5
Best overall cookware
Misen 10-inch 5-ply Stainless Steel Skillet
5/5

Stainless steel skillets come with loads of amazing features that make them one of the most popular cookware in any kitchen today.

First, they’re not as reactive as aluminum, carbon steel, nonstick, or cast iron pans. And they also deliver the best searing results without scorching, are easy to clean, and will last you a lifetime.

And that’s why we carried out extensive research to bring you in-depth reviews of the best stainless steel skillet pans that are great for even heating, browning, and building pan sauces.

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7 Best Stainless Steel Skillets in 2021

1. Misen 10-inch 5-ply Stainless Steel Skillet

Features

The Misen 5-ply cookware can withstand an impressive 500° F; so you can begin cooking on your stove (even if it’s an induction stovetop) and switch to the oven.

We also like that the cookware has nonstick properties, so you’ll be eating healthy meals without fear of the pan leaching harmful chemicals like PFOA, lead, and cadmium into your food.

While this list features amazing stainless steel skillets, the Misen 5-ply stainless steel pan is in a league of its own.

The 10-inch 5-ply skillet clearly stands as the best stainless steel pan in 2021, and the following features prove why.

First, this is a 3 mm thick 5-ply pan that features an aluminum core sandwiched between 18/10 stainless steel layers (the most durable stainless steel). Most other premium pans have lesser thickness.

This design makes the skillet have one of the best heat retention, conduction, and more even and faster distribution.

The Misen 5-ply cookware can withstand an impressive 500° F; so you can begin cooking on your stove (even if it’s an induction stovetop) and switch to the oven.

We also like that the cookware has nonstick properties, so you’ll be eating healthy meals without fear of the pan leaching harmful chemicals like PFOA, lead, and cadmium into your food.

The Misen skillet is also very durable and doesn’t warp; so, it can last you a lifetime. Although it’s dishwasher-safe, you can easily hand-wash it using mild detergent and a non-abrasive sponge.

While some of the other pans on this list are 12-inches in diameter, this one is 10 inches but has 19% more cooking area than other 10-inch premium cookware.

And because Misen is cutting out middlemen to sell its products directly to you, this pan costs 60% less than other premium cookware (and it doesn’t compromise on quality).

Of all the skillets highlighted in this guide, the Misen won our hearts with its stellar features and may become your favorite kitchen utensil.

With this cookware you’ll begin having a more enjoyable cooking experience.

Also, note that you can’t order more than 2 skillets. That limit was set by Misen as the pans are selling fast. So hurry.

You can read our in-depth review of the Misen 5-ply pan here.

Pros
Cons

2. All Clad D3 12-inch Stainless Steel Tri-ply Pan with Lid

Features

Despite its triple-bonded design, it’s lightweight but sturdy. And we also love the 12 inches large cooking surface which can fit 3 chicken thighs.

The All Clad D3 stainless steel triple-ply frying pan is one of the best-rated pans from one of the best cookware brands.

And the first thing we love about the D3 All Clad stainless steel skillet is its fully-clad tri-ply construction Fully clad pans are cladded up to the sides. And with two 18/10 stainless steel layers bonded by an aluminum core, it’s durable and conducts heat very fast.

This also makes it have reduced hot spots (it showed a 30° F difference between its hottest and coldest spots when measured with an infrared thermometer: some pans had an 80° F difference).

It’s got one of the most impressive even heat distribution when compared to other premium skillets like the Tramontina and Cuisinart MCP fry pans.

Despite its triple-bonded design, it’s lightweight but sturdy. And we also love the 12 inches large cooking surface which can fit 3 chicken thighs.

Still on its construction; its flared sides allow you to easily flip the pan and toss its content. Its tapered rim also allows for drip-free pouring.

And at a threshold of 600° F heat resistance, it’s non-warp and very safe to use in the oven and broiler.

There are just so many exciting features of this cookware.

And if you’re looking for a non-stick skillet, you’ll love this piece as it won’t burn your cooking, react with your meals with acidic ingredients, or emit toxic chemicals. The fry pan has also got a riveted handle that stays cool on the stove and gives you a firm grip.

We also like that we can lock in our food’s tasteful juices and aroma with its tight-fitting stainless steel lid when searing meat. It’s compatible with most stovetops, including induction.

And finally, this stainless steel cookware comes with a limited lifetime warranty; however, these glorious features don’t come without paying a hefty price.

This All Clad skillet is one of the best stainless steel skillets in 2021 and its outstanding features are a testimony to its quality.

Pros
Cons

3. Tramontina Gourmet 12-inch Tri-ply Clad Frying Pan

Features

Despite being affordable, it’s still a top performer that could easily be awarded our best stainless steel skillet under $100 (although, the Misen pan is still our favorite).

Just like in the All Clad D3 stainless steel pan, this product features a tri-ply clad construction; 18/10 stainless steel with an aluminum core. This makes the frying pan sturdy and durable.

This stainless steel skillet has got some pretty amazing features to it. But one of its real standout features is its affordable price.

Despite being affordable, it’s still a top performer that could easily be awarded our best stainless steel skillet under $100 (although, the Misen pan is still our favorite).

Just like in the All Clad D3 stainless steel pan, this product features a tri-ply clad construction; 18/10 stainless steel with an aluminum core. This makes the frying pan sturdy and durable.

And its second-most coveted feature is its ability to heat up very fast, distribute heat evenly, and retain heat; which is mostly due to its design. In a flour test by Wirecutter to see how evenly the flour browned, this Tramontina stainless steel frying pan heated evenly across its cooking surface.

The pan’s weight is also light but heavier than the All Clad pan. Nonetheless, you can flip and toss ingredients. But keep in mind that the rim isn’t dripless so flipping and tossing food might not be so easy.

The cooking surface is also wide enough to accommodate an entire broken down chicken.

Although it’s the same diameter as the D3 All Clad pan, its steep-sloped sides make it have a smaller cooking surface. Since the skillet is fully clad, it won’t affect your searing very much.

So whether you want to sear chicken breasts, sauté veggies, or fry eggs, this stainless skillet is up to the task. And its high heat resistance of 500° F makes it versatile to satisfy most of your cooking needs.

We were also impressed that the curved cast stainless steel handle stays cool while on the stove. And you can get an optional helper handle to give you more comfort when lifting the piece.

And finally, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Even if you don’t want to take our word for it, take a cue from its excellent rating on Amazon.

This cookware is for the home or professional cooks who like quality stainless steel skillets but don’t have the budget for high-end products.

Pros
Cons

4. Cuisinart MCP22-20N Stainless Steel Skillet

Features

The Cuisinart MultiClad Pro 22-20N pan is one of the best stainless steel skillets with impressive nonstick features.

You can use this versatile skillet to fry your eggs, sauté your vegetables, and carry out most of your cooking needs with little to no oil or butter: it won’t burn your food.

The Cuisinart MultiClad Pro 22-20N pan is one of the best stainless steel skillets with impressive nonstick features.

First, as a stainless steel cookware, it doesn’t react with acidic foods, and it doesn’t give off toxic chemicals. This makes it a great alternative to Teflon pans.

You can use this versatile skillet to fry your eggs, sauté your vegetables, and carry out most of your cooking needs with little to no oil or butter: it won’t burn your food.

And the skillet will not warp at high temperatures as it’s oven-proof and heat-resistant up to 550° F. Although, we recommend you cook at low to medium heat.

Its triple-ply construction featuring an aluminum core makes the pan distribute heat evenly and quickly. While the stainless interior and exterior are non-tarnish and won’t discolor or peel off.

This design makes the skillet durable enough to last a lifetime. Despite multiple cladding, it’s got a light weight and is easy to handle.

It’s compatible with most cooktops, and the riveted handle also stays cool on the stove.

And finally, the MultiClad Pro MCP 22-20N cookware comes with a lifetime limited warranty.

When testing skillets, many other MCP models don’t do too well, not this one. This cookware is one of the top performers and deserves to be on the list of the best stainless steel skillets.

Pros
Cons

5. Calphalon Classic 12-inch Stainless Steel Sauce Pan

Features

This design gives the skillet extra durability, and the aluminum core improves its even heat distribution. Its heavy-gauge aluminum base ensures it gets hot quickly.

The skillet is easy to clean as you can wipe the residue off its non-stick surface with a paper towel. And if you’re too busy for that, simply toss it in the dishwasher.

This is another high-performance stainless skillet from Calphalon that comes with an impressive full lifetime warranty.

That’s enough indication of its quality. Furthermore, the tri-ply pan has an aluminum layer sandwiched by two brushed stainless steel layers.

This design gives the skillet extra durability, and the aluminum core improves its even heat distribution. Its heavy-gauge aluminum base ensures it gets hot quickly.

The skillet is easy to clean as you can wipe the residue off its non-stick surface with a paper towel. And if you’re too busy for that, simply toss it in the dishwasher.

We also like that the riveted handles are cool to touch when the pan gets hot. And it’s got a helper handle, plus its flared sides make tossing food a breeze.

Another feature we admire about this stainless steel skillet is its glass lid that keeps your food’s own juices and flavors locked in. Unlike the D3 All Clad skillet with stainless steel lid, this one’s glass lid allows you to monitor your cooking without lifting the cover.

The double-riveted long handle stays cool when the skillet is hot on the stove. And it also works on all stovetops.

Weighing 6 lbs., this skillet is one of the heavy pans when compared to other stainless steel pans like the Misen and All Clad D3.

This might not be the best skillet, but if you’re looking for nonstick pans that are durable and high-performing, the Calphalon 12-inch Stainless Steel Sauce Pan presents a wise option.

Pros
Cons

6. Anolon Nouvelle 8-inch Copper Stainless Steel Skillet

Features

The construction of the base features bonded copper sandwiched between the magnetic steel layer and an aluminum layer to enhance the pan’s heating evenness, control, and performance. This design also confers more durability on the skillet.

The best stainless steel skillets are designed to withstand the pressure of everyday use, and the Anolon Nouvelle stainless steel pan certainly fits into such a category.

First, we love the attractive and cool design of this cookware. It features a magnetic stainless steel cap that makes it compatible with induction stoves.

Also, the construction of the base features bonded copper sandwiched between the magnetic steel layer and an aluminum layer to enhance the pan’s heating evenness, control, and performance. This design also confers more durability on the skillet.

If you’re a lover of copper pans, check out our review of the Copper Chef Titan pan.

The stainless steel interior is mirror-polished to make your food not stick to its surface; this makes the cookware easy to clean, and it’s also safe to wash in the dishwasher.

The Anolon Nouvelle copper stainless steel is built to withstand very high heat – 500° F.

Despite its 5-metal layered construction, it’s lightweight and sturdy to use. And it’s also the budget-friendly of all the pans; costs less than $50.

The double-riveted cast stainless steel handle also stays cool to touch and confers extra durability and strength on this piece.

Where other frying pans may have difficulty delivering excellent performance, the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel Frying Pan can rise to the occasion. Five-ply pans don’t get any better than this.

Pros
Cons

7. Made In 12-inch Stainless Steel Frying Pan

Features

If you usually transfer your cooking from the stove to the oven, this Made In pan is your sure bet in cooking food real quick in high heat.

This durable construction also makes the pan resist very hot temperatures reaching 650° F. Plus it’s got one of the best heat conduction we’ve seen in steel cookware.

If you usually transfer your cooking from the stove to the oven, this Made In pan is your sure bet in cooking food real quick in high heat.

Firstly, we love how sturdy the skillet looks and feels. Its 5-ply clad design features an aluminum core bonded by stainless steel interior and exterior.

This durable construction also makes the pan resist very hot temperatures reaching 650° F. Plus it’s got one of the best heat conduction we’ve seen in steel cookware.

And it also works perfectly on an induction stovetop. Plus the riveted handle is cool-touch. So you can start cooking on your stove and easily transfer the skillet to your oven without fearing if it’ll be able to take the heat.

You can make evenly browned pancakes, sear your steak, and sauté veggies with this versatile fry pan.

Another thing worthy of note is that this Made In 12-inch stainless steel cookware is wholly made in the USA. And we also love their sustainable initiative sourcing and recycling premium materials to develop these steel pans.

Cleanup is also easy as you could use a paper towel to wipe its cooking surface or simply toss it in the dishwasher.

The Made In stainless steel skillet has got features that could easily make it rank as the best skillet in 2021. Only a few skillets can compare; however, the qualities of the Misen stainless steel skillet are almost unmatched (even by aluminum, carbon steel, and cast iron pans).

Pros
Cons

Buying Guide: Factors to Consider When Choosing The Best Stainless Skillet for Your Kitchen

There are lots of stainless steel pans in the market with appealing features, but not all of them are worthy to be called the best skillet. And most importantly, not all of them are good enough to cater to your daily cooking requirements.

So right now, these are the factors you should look out for when buying a stainless steel skillet.

The type of steel

Stainless steel pans usually have chromium and nickel in their composition. These make the pans more durable, plus they enhance the shine of the cookware.

But not all steel cookware has the same composition: during the course of this guide, you may have noticed this ratio – 18/10. This signifies 18% chromium and 10% nickel, and it produces a longer-lasting polish and the best resistance to rust. So only the best steel pans have this composition.

There are other compositions like the 18/8 steel pans which have lesser rust resistance and are more prone to dullness.

Another composition is the 18/0 which has a lesser corrosion resistance than the 18/8 skillet. These models are more affordable but have the least durability.

Tri-ply or 5-ply construction

Stainless steel cookware is lightweight, and this feature reduces its ability to distribute heat.

So to make them have superior and even heat distribution, they’re mostly constructed in a triple-ply clad design by bonding steel to a copper or aluminum core.

Some even feature a 5-ply construction, and these designs make the pans more solid and durable.

But when comparing the copper-layered pans with other pans like the ones with aluminum core, the ones with a copper layer offer the best heat conduction.

Pan Size

When buying your next (or first) stainless steel skillet, consider your living condition to determine the size that’s right for you.

If you live alone, an 8-inch pan for small servings may suffice. And if you’re cooking for more than one person, the 10-inch cookware is great for preparing eggs while the 12-inch models are good for almost any recipe you can think of.

You can check here for more in-depth reviews of the best home products.

How to Care for Your Stainless Steel Pans

  • Wipe the pan with a soft cloth or paper towel when it’s still hot. Triple-ply clad pans are easy to clean when they’re hot.
  • Put a small amount of hot water on the skillet to deglaze it.
  • Then in a circular motion, scrub the skillet using a non-abrasive pad and dish soap to remove any sticky food.
  • Then use elbow grease and your regular scrubbing pad to clean the exterior to make it shiny.
  • And finally, rinse the piece and use an absorbent towel to dry it.

However, this procedure won’t clean a badly scorched skillet. So if you’ve got burnt stains that won’t come off, you can get rid of them this way;

  • Place the skillet on the stove and pour a quarter of a cup of baking soda as well as a quarter of water on the middle of the pan. Then heat it over medium heat.
  • As you heat the skillet, the baking soda will form a coat of white film. You can then stop heating the pan and transfer it to the sink where you’ll scrub with a pad in circular motions. Apply gentle but consistent pressure.
  • Then wash the cookware with hot water and dish soap.
  • And finally, wipe it dry.

Stainless Steel vs Cast Iron Skillet: Which is Better?

Both pan materials are great at searing meat and delivering impressive results. And this will make it quite difficult to decide if cast iron pans are better than stainless steel cookware, we’ll examine both materials closely.

Here we go.

The pan material

The first difference between stainless steel and cast iron skillets is in their composition.

Cast iron is an iron alloy that contains 2 – 4% carbon. This makes cast iron skillets very durable and solid. Although, you may need to season the cast iron pan often.

Stainless steel, on the other hand, is an iron alloy composed of less than 2% carbon and at least 10.5% chromium. You can also find some other elements like nickel.

This composition makes the stainless steel non-reactive, durable, and resistant to rust and corrosion.

However, stainless steel cookware is a poor conductor of heat, so manufacturers add layers of aluminum or copper for better heat conduction, distribution, and retention.

Cooking performance

When it comes to testing their cooking performance, cast iron frying pans are the best for slow cooking. This is because you’ll first need to preheat it before cooking else your food else the food will stick; however, with continuous use, a well-seasoned cast iron skillet will become partially non-stick

But after heating your pan, it’ll retain heat very well. Plus cast iron makes your food more flavorful.

So if you’re one of those home cooks who like to serve their food quickly, this may not be the skillet for you as they take time to heat up.

Another feature we don’t like about cast iron is that they also react with acidic foods and can lose their seasoning when heated for a long time. They’re also heavy to handle.

It’s also advisable you don’t cook foods like tomato sauce and wine (because they’re acidic and can react with your cookware to give your subsequent meals a metallic taste). Cast iron cookware is also difficult to clean as you shouldn’t scrub or scour the cookware (and without doing these, you may not be able to clean up oils from previous meals).

When using cast iron cookware, it’s advisable you use medium to low heat; so roasting and baking are ideal cooking options for cast iron cookware.

That said, triple-ply clad stainless steel cookware quickly and evenly distributes heat. But it’s also advisable that you first pre-season the cookware before cooking.

And after you’ve preheated your skillet, you can use it for virtually any and every cooking function from sautéing veggies to searing steak and making pan sauces.

You can also make your skillet non-stick by applying the right quantity of oil.

So now you’re already knowing your winner.

Cookware cleanup

The first thing you should do when you get your cast iron package is to hand-wash it with warm soapy water (and this should be the only time you should handwash your cast iron pan).

Even though you don’t need to clean cast iron with soapy water, it’s still somewhat more difficult to maintain.

After the first handwashing, dry your cast iron skillet with your hands: this is because leaving it to drip dry will make it rust. Then spread a thin layer of vegetable, sunflower, or flaxseed oil and bake the cookware in the oven for one hour at 375° F to season it.

After doing this, your cookware is good to go. But remember to clean the cast iron pan by removing oil and residue with a paper towel before rinsing it under hot water.

Then hand-dry the skillet and place it over low heat till there’s no drop of water on its surface. Afterward, pour 1/2 teaspoon of oil and spread it over the surface with a paper towel. Then you can store your cast iron cookware.

Cleaning stainless steel is rather easier. You can either toss it in the dishwasher (if it’s dishwasher-safe) or use warm soapy water and a soft sponge (or a mild cleaner with a plastic scouring pad) to hand-wash it.

Then dry your cookware and that’s it; no hassle.

Verdict of Stainless Steel Skillet vs Cast Iron Skillet

Both cookware are two of the most popular cookware you can find in most kitchens due to their durability, versatility, and impressive searing abilities.

Cast iron is heavy and high-maintenance while steel frying pans are lightweight, non-reactive, and easy to maintain.

That said, stainless steel pans stand as the winner. But it’s okay if you prefer its cast iron counterpart.

Wrapping Up

If your question is: Are Misen pans worth any good or worth it?

The simple answer is YES! Misen skillets aren’t just good, they’re the best as they offer top-of-the-shelf features at a very affordable price. Plus the pieces are durable enough to last a lifetime.

 

 

 

 

Dino Paccino

Dino Paccino

Dino is a lifelong writer and home improvement specialist. He enjoys bringing cutting-edge information on home renovation and remodeling to Kitchen Infinity.

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