A well-engineered, non-stick frying pan is a solid investment, allowing you to cook with flair and confidence whilst providing endless versatility. Whether you want to make crispy skinned fish, caramelised rib-eye steaks, perfectly tempered silky omelettes or fluffy pancakes, the right pan will make all these tasks (and more) an absolute breeze.
When buying a non-stick frying pan, you should choose one that works on all hobs (including induction), or at least the hob in your own kitchen. Make sure it’s oven-safe and has a hard-wearing, eco-friendly and chemical-free non-stick coating. Look for solid, forged metals – aluminium (often recyclable), cast-iron, steel – that feel solid and well-engineered, whether it’s an affordable model, or a high-end pan.
We tested a sample of the latest non-stick contenders against criteria that included temperature control, handle comfort and eco-credentials. We used the pans to make pancakes, eggs and steak, plus we tested dried ingredients. Read on to discover our best non-stick frying pans.
Best non-stick frying pans on test
Zyliss Cook non-stick frying pan (24cm) – best non-stick coating
- Lightweight yet sturdy
- Excellent even cooking and temperature control
- Great heat retention
- Impressive non-stick
- Good value
Hob type: all
Thanks to the speckled, three-layer ‘Rockpearl Plus Swiss technology’ used in its exceptional non-stick coating, the Zyliss Cook frying pan can, as advertised, be used with little or no extra fat. It produced a deep and even colour on pancakes and the tastiest omelette of all pans tested. It adapted quickly to changes in temperature and although lightweight, it feels sturdy. This is a great mid-tier pan with exceptional cooking credentials.
IKEA TROVÄRDIG non-stick frying pan (24cm) – best affordable frying pan
- Available from: IKEA (£22)
- Great value
- Premium feel
- Good heat retention
- Big surface area
Hob type: all
This pan from Swedish homeware giant IKEA offers outstanding value for money. It provided consistent results in all our cooking tests, and while the preheat was slower than some other pans, this is because the base is thick and of a good quality. Once up to temperature, heat retention was impressive. The simple and modern design feels premium and we found this to be a sturdy, reliable workhorse of a pan.
GreenPan Venice Pro frying pan (20cm) – best eco-friendly frying pan
- Environmentally friendly non-stick technology
Hob type: all
Most modern non-stick pans have coatings that are free from nasty chemicals, but Greenpan really shout about their Thermolon ceramic coating. It doesn’t contain any PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid, traditionally used as a non-stick coating that has been linked 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.
SKK Titanium 2000 Plus non-stick frying pan (24cm) – best cast aluminium frying pan
- Good heat conductivity and distribution
Hob type: all except induction
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 Titanium 2000 coating is very effective and heat distribution is good. The only downside is that it doesn’t work on induction hobs.
How we tested non-stick frying pans
What was our test criteria?
Supreme temperature control
The ability to accurately adjust the temperature with subtle precision, even after cooking over high heat, will provide you the greatest overall control, transforming your everyday cooking. It’ll mean that you can save food that you forgot about for a moment, cook all manner of eggs with precision, or perfectly simmer a midweek curry or risotto.
Design with cooking in mind
A large surface area for cooking with elegantly curved sides that are neither too shallow or too tall, alongside a balance between weight and size, and a comfortable ergonomic handle, are ideal. This will let you toss food – often the best way to mix ingredients – with ease, whilst also giving you the scope to cook more things together, and allows for both gentle and hard searing, thanks to the versatility that this size and style offers.
Reliable, eco-friendly non-stick
An effortlessly slick non-stick coating with just a touch of grip will prevent spread when cooking pancakes or frying eggs. Look for scratch-resistant non-stick (often with a specific warranty for the coating) that’ll hold up to long-term wear and tear. Further, to avoid any health issues or chemical aftertaste, look for eco-friendly materials, particularly ones that are PFOA-free.
How we tested non-stick frying pans
We first detailed the specific benefits of each pan, particularly looking at overall usability – e.g. does it work on all hobs? Can it go in the oven? How large is the base?
Further, we tossed a mixture of dry produce in the pan, seeing whether the design, shape and non-stick coating helped keep the produce from flying out, even after vigorous mixing.
We cooked an omelette in each pan, pre-heating for a few minutes first, seeing how quickly the eggs cooked, how easy it was to lower and control the temperature, as well as checking how effective the non-stick was.
Once cooked, we tasted each batch to check how evenly the eggs cooked, whether they held well – i.e. didn’t overcook when left to sit in the pan – and if the pan added any chemical notes to the flavour.
Finally, making a batch of American-style pancakes allowed us to check how even the heat was under the pan, how efficiently it transferred to the food and whether the non-stick had the necessary subtle grip. For example, did the pancakes spread too much initially or where they nicely puffed? Did the surface of the pancakes have even browning, or was it patchy?
After extensive testing, we also rated the pans on how easy they were to clean.
The best pans to buy
This review was last updated in August 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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