Frying Pan - Selecting Electric, Cast Iron or Sauté Pans

A frying pan or sauté pan is one of the most versatile pans in the kitchen. Learn about electric frying pans and optional cast iron frying pans for daily use.

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A good frying pan has a flat, heavy bottom. The sides are often vertical in a sauté pan. This helps keep the food in the pan as you vigorously shake or stir it, and it provides the maximum flat surface for fitting in the maximum number of large pieces of food. But you'll also find sloped or curved sides; choose whatever you prefer. A ten-inch frying pan is good for most purposes, but it's also handy to have one or two smaller frying pans and at least one larger size.

Benefits of Electric Frying Pans:

Frying Pan

A nonstick electric frying pan offers some benefit in terms of cooking without oil or fat. However it also limits the kind of cooking you can do. Most manufacturers warn that you should use an electric frying pan over low to medium heat (there are a few brands that do not have this restriction). So, although you may love your nonstick sauté pan for daily use, you may also want to have an uncoated pan or two. No cookware set is complete without good quality sauté and frying pans.

A lower cost alternative to electric is the cast iron frying pan, often an enameled cast iron mix. Other frying pans are offered in stainless steel or black carbon steel. The traditional tin-lined copper frying pan is also excellent, as long as you bear in mind the melting point of tin. A stainless steel frying pan should have at least a thick aluminum disk in the base, preferably fully enclosed. As most of the cooking in a sauté pan happens on the bottom rather than the sides, full cladding may be more than you need.

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