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Best frying pan 2017: The best non-stick frying pans from Tefal, Le Creuset, and Darbymade |

Best frying pan 2017: The best non-stick frying pans from Tefal, Le Creuset, and Darbymade

It doesn’t matter whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or a fry-up connoisseur, a top-notch frying pan is an essential tool in any kitchen. And if you want a really easy life, then trust us – you’ll want to own at least one non-stick frying pan. If you’re sick of omelettes, stir-fries and potato rostis sticking to the pan, and doubly sick of scrubbing your pans until your wrists ache, then a non-stick pan will come as something of a revelation.

You’ll find some chefs who steer clear of non-stick surfaces – this is largely due to the potential health hazards presented by heating non-stick, PTFE-based pans to excessive temperatures – but while you’re better off using a heavyweight cast iron frying pan for searing steaks and meat, there’s nothing quite like a Teflon-lined pan for knocking up scrambled eggs and crepes with zero stick and a minimum of hassle.

Here you’ll find our guide to picking the right frying pan for you, alongside five bite-size reviews of our favourite frying pans. And with prices starting from as little as £12, budget doesn’t have to be a sticking point, either. (Sorry.)

How to choose the best frying pan for you

How much should I spend?

Non-stick frying pans don’t have to cost the earth – but be warned, to get a hardy, long-lasting pan, you’ll need to spend at least £20 in most cases. And that price quickly rises to £60 and above once you start to look at well-known brands.

The key to non-stick pans is the surface itself; namely, the material used, and how hard-wearing it is. Thin layers will wear down too quickly, and might even have a lower temperature tolerance. Pricier pans will often provide more hard-wearing coatings, and some will even survive meetings with metal utensils if you’re not too heavy handed.

What size of pan should I buy?

Non-stick pans come in a variety of sizes, each of which is suitable for different jobs in the kitchen. In an ideal world, you’ll have a small frying pan for bacon and sausages; a larger one for big omelettes and crepes. You might even want a large, thick and taller-sided item for risottos and paellas. In an ideal world, then, you’ll have a whole armoury of pans. But a medium-sized one, with reasonable height to prevent spillage, is a good place to start for those who are beginning to fit out their kitchen with quality cookware. Some provide optional matching lids and spatter guards as part of the package, too, which can make them more versatile – and give you less of a mess to clean up afterwards.

Can I use metal utensils when cooking with non-stick pans?

One crucial element to using pans with non-stick coatings is to ensure you use suitable utensils when stirring, flipping, shaking or turning foods. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, or indeed a more modern silicon one, will eliminate the chances of scratching or damaging the non-stick coating. Metal tools can gouge the non-stick layer, and that damage can lead to the coating steadily flaking off over time. But in the unlikely occasion that some end up in your food, there’s no proven health risk associated with ingesting these tiny pieces of coating – the chemicals involved don’t break down in the human digestive system. Given the option, though, it’s something we’d recommend avoiding anyway. Buy the right pan, and the right utensils, and it’s not something you’ll ever have to worry about. And if you really don’t like the idea of any kind of coating, then you can always opt for a seasoned iron pan such as the Darbymade at the bottom of the page – you’ll need to work very hard indeed to damage that.

What are the health concerns surrounding PTFE-based non-stick coatings?

Not everyone is a fan of PTFE. Ceramic-based non-stick coatings have no issues with high temperatures, but PTFE-based coatings can begin to break down once the temperature soars beyond 260C/500F. They can also potentially release tiny amounts of toxic fumes if you make the mistake of heating them beyond 350C/660F.

Good Housekeeping put this to the test, however, and found that it was only possible to reach these temperatures while preheating empty pans (something which many manufacturers advise against with non-stick pans), or while cooking items such as burgers or steaks at a high heat – and you should really be cooking those in a heavy, cast iron skillet anyway. Items such as eggs, bacon or stir fries are absolutely fine, however, and you’ll be highly unlikely to exceed the advised lower limit of 260c unless you have the hob set way too high.

If you’re going to buy a PTFE-based pan, then look to see whether the manufacturing process is PFOA-free – this is a toxic substance used in the production of PTFE, and while manufacturers claim that any residue is burned off at the factory, most are now looking to abandon its use.

The best frying pans money can buy

1. Tower Cerasure T80308 Colour Changing Frying Pan: A great budget option

Price when reviewed: £12

This no fuss, no frills pan is perfect for those on a budget – or for those who are just getting into cooking. We wouldn’t recommend using metal utensils with it, principally because the non-stick coating simply isn’t as resilient as pricier models, so make sure you invest in some wooden or silicon utensils if you want it to last. As the coating is ceramic-based, however, you don’t need worry about the potential issues with PTFE.

The Cerasure frying pan family come in 20cm, 24cm and 28cm sizes, and with even the largest size of pan costing under £15, you can buy a trio of pans for less than some of the other options here.

By far the niftiest element of the Tower Cerasure pan, though, is that it changes colour when the pan is the right temperature to begin cooking. If you’re an amateur cook who’s looking to get a little more adventurous in the kitchen, then this is a great place to start.

Image of Tower Cerasure Colour Change Fry Pan with Non-Stick Inner Coating, Graphite, 28 cm

Tower Cerasure Colour Change Fry Pan with Non-Stick Inner Coating, Graphite, 28 cm

£10.99 Buy now

Key specs – Non-stick coating: Ceramic; Sizes available: 20cm, 24cm, 28cm; Guarantee: 3 years

2. Le Creuset Toughened Non-stick Shallow Frying Pan: A superb non-stick frying pan, if you can afford it

Price when reviewed: £92

Le Creuset is famed for its iconic cast iron cookware and eye-watering prices, so it comes as no surprise that this non-stick frying pan marries serious performance with a dauntingly high price. And if you really must have the matching lid or spatter guard, be warned – you’ll need to dig deeper still.

Impressively, though, this pan is well worth the outlay. The toughened non-stick coating will shrug off pretty much anything you can throw at it, and it’ll survive going in either the dishwasher or the oven (as long as you keep the temperature below 260c).

The heat distribution is excellent, and you can use it on induction hobs, too. In fact, the only downside is that the sides are rather shallow, so you’ll need to take care not to make a mess.

Image of Le Creuset Toughened Non-Stick Shallow Frying Pan - 30 cm, Black

Le Creuset Toughened Non-Stick Shallow Frying Pan – 30 cm, Black

£115.00 Buy now

Key specs – Non-stick coating: PTFE, PFOA-free; Sizes available: 20cm, 22cm, 24cm, 26cm, 28cm, 30cm; Guarantee: Lifetime

3. Tefal Expertise Frying Pan: A top-notch frying pan for sensible money

Price when reviewed: £50

Tefal’s Expertise is probably the perfect mid-range pan. Our favourite feature by far is the red ‘Thermospot’ in the pan’s centre, which helpfully changes colour to indicate when the frying pan is at optimum temperature (between 180C and 200C, in case you were wondering).

The ‘Titanium Excellence’ material is also up there with the more durable on the market. Not only do Tefal provide a lifetime warranty on the non-stick coating, but they also market it as being ‘metal utensil safe’ – so you needn’t worry about buying a whole new set of silicon utensils.

The ‘Bakelite’ handle keeps the weight low and is comfortable to hold, and the only minor downside is that the Expertise can only handle a maximum temperature of 170C for oven use. Still, spend a little more, and you can also buy the Expertise with an optional lid, which makes it even more versatile.

Image of Tefal Expertise Frying Pan, 32 cm - Black

Tefal Expertise Frying Pan, 32 cm – Black

£40.00 Buy now

Key specs – Non-stick coating: PTFE, PFOA-free; Sizes available: 21cm, 24cm, 26cm, 28cm, 30cm, 32cm; Guarantee: Lifetime on non-stick coating, 2 years on handle/base

4. GreenPan Venice Frying Pan: Friendly to both the environment and your wallet

Price when reviewed: £25

GreenPan claims that its Venice pans use a much more environmentally friendly non-stick technology than most. The company’s proprietary Thermolon ceramic coating doesn’t have nasties such as PFOA involved in its manufacture, and best of all, those green credentials don’t come with a hefty price tag attached.

The solid, sturdy construction is matched with a riveted stainless steel handle, and the pan can withstand temperatures of up to 260C for oven use. The only annoyance is that it’s a little heavier than some of its rivals here, and you’ll need to rejuvenate the non stick coating with lemon juice or vinegar on a reasonably regular basis. Still, for this kind of money, the Venice is an affordable, effective alternative to the pricier models here.

Image of Greenpan Venice 28 cm Ceramic Non-Stick Open Frypan, Grey Aluminium

Greenpan Venice 28 cm Ceramic Non-Stick Open Frypan, Grey Aluminium

£38.47 Buy now

Key specs – Non-stick coating: Ceramic; Sizes available: 20cm, 24cm, 28cm; Guarantee: Lifetime on material/workmanship, 2 years on non-stick coating

5. Darbymade Spun Iron Frying Pan: The most stylish non-stick frying pan

Price when reviewed: £55

If you’re after something stylish yet traditional-looking, few pans can match the Darbymade. This pan is handmade from spun iron, and that combined with a solid-feeling handle made from air-dried English Oak makes for a pan that’s destined to provide many years of non-stick cooking.

The other thing to note is that it’s also environmentally friendly. Rather than a chemical coating, the pan is ‘pre-seasoned’ with flax oil, providing a natural non-stick surface. It does work, but needs maintenance and regular seasoning to maintain the non-stick properties.

It’s a bit of lump compared to some of its rivals here, but it’s nowhere near as heavy as some of the cast iron Le Creuset pans we have in our cupboards, and if you remove the handle covers, it’s ready for both oven and grill use. At this price, the Darbymade is a bit of a steal.

Buy the Darybmade Spun Iron frying pan now

Key specs – Non-stick coating: Iron seasoned with flax oil; Sizes available: 30cm; Guarantee: 1yr

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