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How to choose the right Fish Frying Pan

Important features of a good Fish Frying Pan?

Fish Frying Pan design considerations

The Fish Frying Pan

The Fish Frying Pan

The Fish Frying Pan

A fish frying pan must be designed with a wide flat bottom.

To ensure you don’t overfill or crowd your ingredients make sure your Fish Frying Pan has plenty of space and is designed with a level flat bottom.The important thing is to get your fish browned off quickly and careful not to burn or end up steaming it.When you are frying fish in a pan to cook some fresh salmon or trout fillets be very careful not to overfill your frying pan as the fillets will steam instead of brown nicely. This will result in your beautiful fish being spoilt and soggy.

For pan frying fish fillets use pans between 9 to 12 inches, typically I use an 11-inch pan. A further great benefit to the flat bottomed fish frying pan is when flipping or bouncing the fish its far easier to move backwards and forwards over the heat than a curved bottom pan. Most important feature of a flat bottomed fish frying pan is the even spread of heat. When cooking a couple of delicate fillets it is vital that you have even heat over all the bottom of the pan to be certain your fish is cooked evenly.

The best designed fish frying pans with sides that are straight and shallow. Straight and shallow sides will assist with preventing your fish sauces overflowing and splashing or spitting over the sides. Also, they keep your fillets in the pan when flipping or bouncing the fish. Try not to do too much flipping or bouncing the fish its better to move backwards and forwards over the heat, but make sure you don’t overcook the fish – it doesn’t take long to overcook! The shallow sides really help with reduction when stirring your sauces. Finally the shallow sides assist with air circulation preventing your beautiful fish being spoilt and soggy. Ensure that when you are frying fish in a pan you don’t make it too heavy to move around a little, moving away from the heat as necessary! A hard-anodized aluminum pan is ideal.

The Fish Frying Pan Handle

When choosing a fish frying pan make sure you use one with a decent length handle, recommend anything greater than 6-inches. When cooking some tasty fillets the pan needs to be on the move plenty. Although you shouldn’t be flipping the fish up in the air but  you will be moving it backwards and forwards over the heat plenty! Sometimes for certain pan frying fish recipes you may need to transfer the fish frying pan to the oven to finish cooking. When frying fish in a pan a decent length handle will also gives better feel and control. When selecting your fish frying pan ensure it has a good feel to it. No matter what kind of fish or recipe you are using choose a fish frying pan that is a good make and well made, with a strong handle that doesn’t fall of in the middle of cooking! Find a pan that uses strong rivets or screws on the handle, which needs to be firmly fixed to the pan. Modern cookware is designed for the handle to resist heat when pan cooking fish on top of the stove, which is ideal for serving or transferring to the sink or a pan stand, but these handles still get hot in the oven. Remember “Cool Resistant” is not “Cool Proof”!

Choose a fish frying pan that has a handle which is oven proof but still always use quality oven gloves when removing the pan from the oven. The look and feel of a wooden pan handle may be desirable and would certainly stay cooler whilst cooking on top of the stove, compared to a metal one, but you won’t be able to put it in the oven.


For frying fish in the pan, make sure your pan responds quickly to the heat, heating up real fast and cooling down quickly too. The pans responsiveness is due to its conductivity. There is no simple answer to the question; what should a fish frying pan be made of. There are many materials used for fish frying including: copper, aluminum, cast iron, stainless, nonstick and combinations of different materials. These materials have good and bad points, most noticeably cost.

Which material you choose will determine the ability of the heat source to transfer to the fish and if this is conducted with efficiency and evenly. So, it is vital that you marry the type of material with the way you cook as each material conducts differently. To ensure your pan frying fish gets cooked as intended is dependent on how evenly the heat transfers over the bottom and sides of the pan. To ensure this good quality fish frying pans should be highly conductive. Copper is the most conductive material, however it is also very difficult to keep shinny and is also the most expensive. Most people do not have the time or inclination to keep their pots well polished! The best option is to use anodized aluminum. These are simple to clean, a lot more affordable and they still transfer heat efficiently and evenly. For a fish frying pan use a pan with a heavy gauge and most important a thick base. A thin base will not transfer heat evenly and will develop hot spots this is a disaster when frying fish in a pan. If you are going to pan fry fish regularly and we all have to cook most nights so invest in the best pan you can afford.

Cheaper pans are fine for boiling rice or vegetables and making sauces, but invest in a good quality fish frying pan. Calphalon produce a “hard anodizing” aluminum for fish frying pans. This uses an electrochemical method of preparing raw aluminum, NASA developed this for the aerospace industry! This material is amazingly harder than stainless steel and also doesn’t react with acids. Best of all Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick 11-Inch Square Grill Pan
are easy to clean, last forever and fit most pockets. They cook fresh fish perfectly even without burning or leaving soggy. Pans and Pots highly recommend!

How to choose the right Fish Frying Pan