Best non-stick frying pans – on test

A reliable frying pan is a piece of kitchen kit you shouldn't be without. The BBC Good Food on-test team bring you an expert review of top five non-stick picks. Discover our best buys.

Best.. blowout buy

Scanpan

Scanpan CTX

Best bits: Sturdy but lightweight and a comfy handle 
Hob type: All
Price: Start at £79.99 for a 20cm pan

Comments: Danish cookware titan Scanpan excels in pans with longevity and excellent non-stickability. This ceramic pan has a handle that feels great in the palm, it’s lightweight and survived the Good Food drop test, despite being one of the more featherweight fryers we assessed. Buy from In the Haus.


Best for... oven cooking

SKK

SKK Titanium 2000 plus

Best bits: Good heat conductivity and distribution
Hob type: All except induction
Price: Start at £75 for 24cm pan

Comments: Our food editor-at-large Barney has had this cast aluminium pan for many years and still swears by it. It has a very wide, flat surface area so plenty of ingredients can be cooked at once, plus it’s heavy in an old-school, farmhouse kind of way. The handle is detachable so it can be used in the oven at length, and the ‘advanced’ Titanium 2000 coating is effective. The only downside is that it doesn’t work on induction hobs. Buy from Divertimenti.

**STAR BUY**
Best… ethical choice

GreenPan

GreenPan Venice Pro frying pan 

Best bits: Innovative environmentally-friendly non-stick technology
Hob type: All
Price: £35 

Comments: Most modern non-stick pans have coatings that are free of nasty chemicals, but Greenpan really shout about their Thermolon ceramic coating. It doesn’t contain any PFOA (or 'perfluoroocatanoic acid', a man-made chemical traditionally used as a non-stick coating that has links to adverse health effects), which isn’t to the detriment of its non-stick credentials. It’s good value for money and cooks evenly, too. Visit the GreenPan website.


Best… mid-range

Lakeland pan

Lakeland hard anodized non-stick frying pan

Best bits: Efficient heat distribution
Hob type: All
Price: Start at £35.99 for 24cm pan

Comments: You generally get what you pay for with non-stickability, but if you prefer to buy cheaper cookware and replace it periodically rather than shell out for expensive investments, this is a good pan for you. It’s lightweight and has a nice curved handle that stays cool, even when the pan gets blisteringly hot. It’s triple coated in Teflon®, which suggests longevity, although our eggs caught a little compared to other, more expensive pans. Buy from Lakeland.

Best... budget buy

Tower pan

Tower ceramic-coated change frying pan

Best bits: Clever colour-changing technology
Hob type: All
Price: Start at £19.99 for 20cm pan

Comments: This thrifty pan is one for beginner cooks as the base changes colour when it reaches the perfect cooking temperature. The ceramic coating means barely anything sticks to it, and Tower boast that this ‘Cerasure’ non-stick technology means less oil is needed for cooking. A great bargain buy. Buy from Tower.

Buyer’s advice

Pizza served in a frying pan

Why buy?

A non-stick surface is easy to clean and enables you to cut down on (or even eliminate) added fat in a recipe.


What should I buy?

It may be worth buying two – one for family cooking and the other for a solitary fry-up or one-person meals. Trying to cook a small quantity of food in a large pan means the juices are spread too thinly and the food starts to dry up. Also, think about the depth of the pan. If you cook a lot of omelettes, you'll need shallow sides to enable the food to slide out easily.

What we looked for

1. A resilient non-stick coating: We all have moments when the metal fish slice scrapes the bottom of the pan. A coating that scratches after one mistake doesn’t cut the mustard. We also looked for innovations in coating technology.   

2. Minimal cleaning required: Even if the instructions say the pan can be put in the dishwasher, you’ll really need to wash up by hand to increase the life of the non-stick coating. So, I was a looking for a pan that needed minimal cleaning and no scrubbing to protect the surface for as long as possible.

3. A good handle: It needs to be riveted ideally. I was also looking for a handle that didn’t have any nasty dirt traps or get too hot to hold.

How we tested: To test the pans, we fried eggs and made pancakes.

Fry by night…

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This review was last updated in June 2017. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@bbc.com. 

Do you have a favourite frying pan? We'd love to hear your product suggestions... 

Comments, questions and tips

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davidfookc
4th Aug, 2017
When is a teflon-coated non stick pan not safe to use? I have used cheap and expensive ones but food still sticks to the supposed-to-be-non-stick surface even though there is oil. Sometimes the only way to remove the stuck food is by scrubbing with a mild steel wool (I use an old 3M Scotch Brite which has lost most of its abrasiveness). Is this okay?
WarrenJB
26th Apr, 2017
I used 'traditional' teflon-style non-stick pans for years - the non-stick coating always stuck better to the food than the pan itself. I went through quite a few woks, in particular. Then I tried a ceramic-coated pan when they first showed up. It made a huge difference, in my experience - *real* non-stick. These days my cupboard is filled with ceramic-coated and enamelled pans, pots, and one wok. I haven't looked back.
Jsc123
18th Jul, 2016
The link to Elegantry Cookware is working.
Groucho54's picture
Groucho54
16th Apr, 2015
The link to Elegant Cookware (Swiss diamond) above does not work.
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