Frying pans may not be the first thing you think of when outfitting a commercial kitchen, but these simple pieces of equipment are a chef’s most used tools. Each and every day, fry pans are relied upon to manage an endless amount of tasks—frying, sauteéing, reheating, and just about everything else.
When you’re outfitting a commercial kitchen, it seems as if you have an endless amount of fry pan options to choose from. And, today, there are so many different types of fry pans that choosing the best ones can seem like an impossible mission.
Here, we’re going to dive into the best frying pans so you can shop with confidence.
Understanding the Different Materials
Aluminum, copper, stainless steel—the list goes on and on. Frying pans are made from a myriad of different materials, so you’re left scratching your head wondering, “What are the best frying pans for my kitchen?”
Let’s quickly gloss over a few different finishes that you can expect to see while shopping for pans.
Aluminum alone is a classic material in the kitchen. It’s tough, durable, and creates great heat production. Aluminum pans can be coated to create a seamless, non-stick surface, or they can be great with their own natural finish as well.
Aluminum Clad Stainless Steel
This is a very popular style of frying pan. One of its greatest benefits is that it is induction ready. Induction ready cookware results in faster heating because the of the magnetic energy built inside. This magnetic energy heats the pan directly, not the cooktop. This creates quicker heating and less energy consumption. It can also create a safer kitchen in the long run.
Stainless Steel / Aluminum
Fry pans that are made from stainless steel and aluminum are one of the strongest and most reliable options a chef can choose. Not only do they have excellent heat conduction, but they also resist rust and corrosion, making them dishwasher safe.
Copper / Stainless Steel
Copper pans are tricky. While they produce a great looking piece of cooking equipment, they can be more susceptible to damage, rusting, and quick destruction. But, on the other hand, they heat up quickly and provide heat conduction that is great for small to medium size kitchens.
Fry Pan Finishes
Once you understand the material of the pan, now you need to understand the finish. The finish on the pan is the lining on the inside cooking surface. This lining can completely change the composition and use of the pan. From non-stick to natural, here are a few finishes you need to know:
Non-Stick Fry Pans
Non-stick pans are probably the most common pans that you use in your kitchen. Pans made of aluminum, copper, or stainless steel can be coated with a lining of non-stick finish that keeps food from sticking to the surface—a chef’s biggest issue. This can help create more pure foods, without needing assistance from oils or butters to aid in cooking. Do not use non-stick pans for high temperature cooking. Searing or using metal utensils in these pans can cause the coating to chip or separate and end up in the food.
Natural Finish Fry Pans
Natural finish pans are another common style of pan that is often relied upon in most commercial kitchens. This is the purest and basic style of pan that puts the chef in full control of the outcome of the food.
Double & Triple Coated Pans
In some cases, pans are coated two or three times with a non-stick finish. This can result in longer lasting slip to extend the lifespan of your pans.
Different Styles of Pans
Now that we have the basics of pans down, let’s dive into the different styles of pans and their uses.
Fry pans are the most common style of cooking pan. They are the most versatile with the ability to tackle a wide variety of cooking tasks, such as sauteéing, searing, scrambling, and much more. Fry pans have curved side walls for easy stirring and sliding foods out of the pan. The sloped sides also prevent steam from forming inside the pan so you get a clean and hot cooking surface every time.
Sautée pans are made with a wide bottom area for maximum heat conduction. These pans blend the capabilities of a fry pan with the cooking conduction of a pot to create the perfect vessel for cooking, frying, braising, poaching, and more. They are best used with a lid to keep heat and juices inside.
Woks are a bit different. These large fry pans have a domed base and deep evenly curved sides. This taller pan allows for excellent food movement without food spilling or flying out. This style of cookware is commonly used to stir fry foods and is one of the most used in Asian-style cooking. Though, it can hold excellent use for other cooking styles and cuisines, as well. A wok range with jet burners is required for large woks. Smaller woks on a conventional stove will need a wok ring for even cooking and stability.
Covers and Rings
Rings and covers are essential accessories that allow you to use different styles of fry pans. A ring, for example, acts as a perfect steadying base for a round or flat bottom wok that needs more stability. Covers are what you think they are—they provide coverage for the top of the pan to keep the heat inside of the cooking chamber. There are different types of covers, as well. There are fry screen covers that keep oil from splattering outside of the pan.
Shopping for the Right Pans
As a chef and restaurant owner, equipping your kitchen with the best frying pans is essential for successful cooking. To ensure you’re choosing the right pan, reach out to our team of specialists. They can show you first hand the best style and materials that will work seamlessly in your specific kitchen. They can learn the ins and outs of your menu to recommend a fleet of cooking tools to create the best possible commercial kitchen. Start shopping now to update your space with the best frying pans and cooking tools for your chefs.