Jan 10, 2024

The 2 Best Skillets of 2023

We’re planning to test three new skillets, all of which work on induction cooktops. You can find more details in What to look forward to.

Whether you’re searing meat, stir-frying vegetables, or quickly reducing a pan sauce, a good skillet is an indispensable workhorse in the kitchen.

After more than 90 collective hours of research and testing since 2014, we still believe the tri-ply All-Clad D3 Stainless Fry Pan with Lid 12 Inch is the best skillet for your money.

It's a durable pan that heats extremely evenly. No other pan gets the kind of raves the All-Clad receives from professionals, enthusiasts, and home cooks alike. Yes, it's expensive, but it will last you a lifetime, making it a great value.

We recommend only fully clad tri-ply pans (meaning a layer of aluminum is sandwiched between stainless steel and extends all the way to the rims).

A 12-inch pan will have a large enough cooking area to sear a steak or to cook an entire broken-down chicken.

Sloped sides fit the curved wires of a whisk, which makes it easier to prepare pan sauces. A flared lip lets moisture evaporate quickly.

An oven-safe riveted metal handle allows the pan to go directly from the stovetop to the oven or broiler.

The All-Clad skillet is a proven workhorse with superior heat conduction and durable construction.

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The All-Clad D3 Stainless Fry Pan with Lid 12 Inch's substantial tri-ply construction distributes heat evenly, allowing you to sear foods with less risk of burning. The pan's sturdy stick handle and lightweight design make it easy to maneuver when you’re sautéing or transferring it from the stovetop to the oven. Out of all the pans we tested, the All-Clad skillet's stainless steel exterior was among the most resistant to discoloration from heat, even after years of regular use. The generously sloped sides and bent lip allow you to easily whisk and pour pan sauces. The All-Clad skillet was also one of the few pans we tested that included a lid.


Though a whole cut-up chicken crowds the pan, we were won over by the Tramontina skillet's even heat distribution and comfortable handle.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $50.

Though the Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad 12-Inch Fry Pan has slightly steeper sides than our main pick, it still allows moisture to evaporate quickly, so seared meat and vegetables don't stew in their own juices. It also browned chicken skin as well as pans costing almost twice the price. The Tramontina pan is a comfortable weight and has a rounded, ergonomically shaped stick handle that's a pleasure to hold. Cooked-on food released easily in our tests, but unlike the All-Clad skillet, the Tramontina pan developed some discoloration on the surface and underside of the cookware that was almost impossible to clean.

The All-Clad skillet is a proven workhorse with superior heat conduction and durable construction.

Use promo code FRIEND

Though a whole cut-up chicken crowds the pan, we were won over by the Tramontina skillet's even heat distribution and comfortable handle.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $50.

To learn more about what makes a great skillet, we spoke to experts such as Charlyne Mattox, food and crafts director at Country Living and the author of Cooking with Seeds; J. Kenji López-Alt, managing culinary director at Serious Eats and the author of The Food Lab; Geri Porter, test kitchen manager at Martha Stewart Living; Kellie Evans, then associate food editor at Saveur; and Russ Parsons, author, James Beard Foundation Who's Who Inductee, and former Los Angeles Times food editor.

I (Michael Sullivan) have spent over 55 hours researching and testing skillets for this guide. As a senior staff writer at Wirecutter, I have written reviews for all kinds of kitchen equipment, including cookware sets and knife sets. This guide builds on the work of former Wirecutter editor Michael Zhao, who wrote the first version of this guide, and senior staff writer Lesley Stockton, who has been cooking professionally for almost 20 years.

In addition to relying on our own knowledge and experience, we looked at trusted sources such as Cook's Illustrated (subscription required) and Good Housekeeping.

A 12-inch skillet is perfect for making one-pan meals, searing steaks or other large cuts of meat, stir-frying, and pan-frying. Its flared sides are great for creating pan sauces and reductions. If any or all of those cooking techniques are part of your repertoire, you should consider investing in a well-made skillet. Perhaps you’re using an old hand-me-down pan with poor heat distribution (think hot spots and cold spots that brown your food unevenly). If that's the case, you might want to think about upgrading.

Perhaps you already own a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. If that's the case, you may want to consider getting a skillet made of tri-ply, fully clad stainless steel. Unlike cast iron, stainless steel doesn't react with acidic foods, it heats up quicker, and it's lightweight enough to toss vegetables for a stir-fry.

This guide focuses on stainless steel skillets, so we didn't include any nonstick pans in our roundup (see our full guide devoted to nonstick pans here). Nonstick pans are best for cooking things like eggs or delicate fish fillets. But a fully clad stainless steel tri-ply pan allows you to do more high-heat searing and sautéing. Nonstick pans aren't appropriate for high-heat jobs, and the slick surface can't develop the fond (tasty brown bits that develop on the bottom of a pan) that's integral for sauces. Also, stainless steel pans are more versatile because you can take them directly from the stovetop to the oven. (For tips on how to prevent food from sticking to a stainless steel pan, see our blog post on the subject.)

Because fully clad tri-ply stainless steel provides the best combo of versatility and durability for the price, we exclusively tested skillets made from that material. However, we still think it's helpful to know the difference between the most common types of cookware materials to ensure you know what you’re buying:

With a tri-ply pan, you get the even heat distribution of aluminum along with the durability and heat retention of steel.

What is a skillet anyway? Essentially, it's a flat frying pan with low, usually sloped sides, and a stick handle. The pan's shape lets moisture escape as you cook, making skillets great for reducing sauces, and searing or browning your food. Here's a list of the most important qualities we looked for in a great skillet:

We’ve found through our research and testing that a 12-inch skillet is the ideal size for most home kitchens. A typical 12-inch skillet will have a cooking surface 9 to 10 inches in diameter (the All-Clad has a 9¾-inch-diameter base). That's enough space for you to sear a large steak or to cook an entire broken-down chicken with room to breathe. When food is crowded in a pan, it doesn't have enough room for moisture to evaporate, so it won't brown as well.

We prefer skillets with sloped sides over pans with straight sides. Some skillets are sharply angled, like this Viking Contemporary 12″ Fry Pan, which makes tossing vegetables while sautéing difficult. A straight-sided skillet is better suited for dishes that require long cooking times, such as shallow braises. Sloped sides fit the curved wires of a whisk nicely, which makes preparing pan sauces easier. A flared lip also allows moisture to evaporate quickly so seared meat and vegetables don't stew in their own juices, and it also makes it easier to pour pan sauces from the skillet without making a mess.

If a pan is thin and lightweight, it will develop hot spots when cooking that may burn your food. If a skillet is too heavy, it will retain too much heat and respond slowly when you adjust the temperature. Heavy pans are also more difficult to pick up or maneuver with one hand. You want a pan that can hold heat well enough to sear meat but can also cool down quickly enough if your food is browning too fast. Most of our testers preferred skillets weighing between 2 pounds and 3½ pounds, which was still lightweight enough to comfortably toss ingredients.

For an all-purpose skillet, we recommend a fully clad tri-ply stainless steel pan. As mentioned above, fully clad cookware will distribute heat evenly because the aluminum core extends all the way up the sides of the pan. Bargain pans with only an aluminum disk in the base (also called an encapsulated bottom) tend to have hot spots, which can scorch your food. That said, some high-quality pans (such as those made by Fissler) have encapsulated bottoms too, and we’ve found in our tests that these pans actually heat more evenly on induction burners compared with regular tri-ply stainless steel pans. We plan to test more pans with encapsulated bottoms for our next update.

Handle comfort is very important and can vary drastically from brand to brand. If the handle angle is too high, tossing food while sautéing can be awkward. The thickness of the handle is another consideration. "I don't like handles that are big, thick, and round," Country Living food and crafts director and cookbook author Charlyne Mattox told us. That said, some of our testers with larger hands preferred wide, rounded handles. Because handle preferences will be different for everyone, we recommend going to a kitchen store to hold a few pans to see what you like before you invest.

Oven-safe riveted handles are also a must, so that the pan can go directly from the stovetop to the oven or broiler. J. Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats told us that plastic is a dealbreaker. "If it has a plastic handle, it's out. I need to be able to put my skillet in the oven."

A pan needs to be able to withstand high temperatures of at least 500 °F, which rules out most cheap pans. It should also be durable enough so it doesn't warp over high heat on the stovetop. Unfortunately, any warping that occurs to your pan is permanent. After years of long-term testing, our picks remain unphased after being repeatedly subjected to high temperatures. Some pans, however, like the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless 12″ Skillet with Helper Handle, warped after the first use.

We looked for pans that were easy to clean. Many of the skillets we tested discolored after six minutes over medium-high heat, with some acquiring a dark gray hue that we couldn't scrub off. Although the discoloration won't affect a pan's performance, it's an aesthetic issue to consider before purchasing your skillet. (See our tips for cleaning cookware in our care and maintenance section below.)

During our testing, we considered the handle angle, the weight, and the overall shape of the pans. After heating each pan over medium-high heat for six minutes (we used the same burner in our test kitchen every time), we measured the temperature variations around the inside edge of the pan with an infrared thermometer, hitting the same nine spots. Then we let the pans cool for five minutes and took another temperature reading to determine how well they retained heat. We also dusted each pan with flour and placed them over a medium-high flame to see how evenly the flour browned. This test revealed if the pans distributed heat well or if they were prone to hot spots.

After eliminating several pans during our temperature and flour tests, we selected the remaining four top-performing pans for further evaluation. We roasted a whole cut-up chicken in each skillet and followed that by making a simple white-wine pan sauce. We compared how evenly the chicken skin browned in each pan. For our last update, we also seared 1-inch-thick cross-sections of chuck roast to further assess the pans’ searing capabilities. However, because this test garnered the same results as our chicken-searing test, we decided not to include it in our most recent update.

The All-Clad skillet is a proven workhorse with superior heat conduction and durable construction.

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After five years of long-term testing, the All-Clad D3 Stainless Fry Pan with Lid 12 Inch remains our pick for the best skillet. This fully clad tri-ply pan has excellent heat distribution, a roomy cooking surface, and flared sides—features that continue to make it stand out among a crowded field of cookware offerings. Its well-angled handle and comfortable weight allow you to toss ingredients with ease. The All-Clad skillet was also one of the only pans we tested that included a lid. Though it's expensive, we’re confident this skillet is a buy-it-for-life item that will provide you with years of use.

The All-Clad pan offered among the most consistent heat mapping in our tests, with only about a 30 °F difference between the hottest and coldest spots (some skillets we tested had a temperature difference of over 80 °F, as measured with an infrared thermometer). Those measurements reflected the results we saw in our cooking tests: Steaks seared evenly, chicken pieces browned deeply and consistently without burning, and white wine reduced without scorching, in the least amount of time.

The skillet's superior handling is also due in part to its cast stainless steel handle, which is long, concave, and straight—like a metallic celery stalk mounted with the curve opening upward. (If you prefer rounded handles, we suggest looking at our runner-up pick, the Tramontina skillet.) As with most of the pans we tested, the All-Clad pan's handle stays cool on the stovetop, even when you’re searing (but not when the pan comes out of the oven, obviously). Our testers appreciated the angle of the handle, which afforded more control over tossing and flipping food, unlike the severely angled handle on the Viking Contemporary pan.

Recall that a pan needs to have some heft to it to produce consistent heat, but if it's too heavy, you’ll never want to use it. At just under 3 pounds, the All-Clad pan was one of the lightest skillets in our test group. That light weight aids in handling and cleaning, but it also allows for better temperature control. Conversely, the Breville Thermal Pro Clad Stainless Steel 12.5″ Skillet we tested weighs almost 5 pounds and retains too much heat due to its thick base, making temperature control difficult.

The All-Clad skillet was one of the only pans that came completely clean after washing and didn't discolor from the high heat in our tests. Nearly all of the other pans we tested acquired a dark gray and iridescent patina inside and out after use. Russ Parsons, cookbook author and former Los Angeles Times food editor told us that he's been using his All-Clad pan three or four times a week for over 25 years, and it still looks as good as new.

Though it's expensive, we’re confident this skillet is a buy-it-for-life item that will provide you with years of use.

The food professionals we spoke to praised All-Clad. Kellie Evans, then associate food editor at Saveur, said in an email interview, "[I] love All-Clad! Well made and sturdy." Country Living food and crafts director and cookbook author Charlyne Mattox said, "It's still the one I go to all the time," adding that, "It cooks evenly, and it's easy to clean." All-Clad's skillet is also beloved by Cook's Illustrated (subscription required), which rated it first among the six tested.

Using a patented sandwiching process back in 1971, All-Clad was the first company to make fully clad pans. It's still widely regarded as one of the top cookware brands to this day. (To learn more about how All-Clad cookware is made, check out David Lebovitz's blog post about his factory tour in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.)

All-Clad tri-ply pans come with a limited lifetime warranty, meaning the company will replace a defective pan, not one that the owner has subjected to misuse and abuse. Should you experience any problems with this pan, contact All-Clad for repairs or replacements.

We’ve also been using the All-Clad skillet regularly in our test kitchen for the past five years, and it continues to perform well. Many members of our staff own this pan, as well as other All-Clad cookware, and they’ve confirmed that it heats evenly and cleans up well—even after over a decade of regular use.

The most common complaint about the All-Clad skillet is its price. And that's a fair grievance: Similar offerings from Calphalon and Tramontina cost a fraction of what the All-Clad pan does. But an All-Clad skillet will last you a lifetime, and it cleans up beautifully, even with heavy use. The All-Clad pan also comes with a lid, which is part of the reason it costs more.

Though most of our testers liked the angle and shape of the All-Clad pan's stick handle, some preferred the wide, round handle on the Tramontina skillet. As mentioned earlier, we recommend getting a feel for a pan's handle in person before you decide what's right for you.

All-Clad recently settled a class action lawsuit—the plaintiffs in the case alleged that their cookware was damaged after washing it in the dishwasher, even though All-Clad's website claimed its products were dishwasher safe. All-Clad no longer recommends washing its cookware in the dishwasher. For the record, we’ve always recommended washing any stainless steel cookware by hand, regardless of the manufacturer's claims. The harsh chemicals in some detergents plus the prolonged exposure to those cleaners over the course of a dishwashing cycle can cause damage to the pans (particularly the aluminum in the bonded cookware).

If you bought any of our All-Clad D3 cookware picks between January 1, 2015, and July 29, 2022, you may be eligible for this settlement (this also applies to the D5 and LTD product lines, but we don't recommend any products from those lines). This settlement also applies to other All-Clad cookware we recommend, including the All-Clad D3 Tri-Ply Stainless Steel 10-Piece Set and the All-Clad d3 Curated 2 ½ Stainless 3-Quart Saucier with Lid. (Other products we recommend, like the All-Clad Flared Roaster and the All-Clad B1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pan Set 8″ & 10″, are not eligible since they’re not part of the applicable product lines.)

To receive benefits (which includes either a replacement or discount towards a future purchase) you must submit your claim by March 27, 2023. You can still file a claim even if your pans haven't been damaged by dishwashing but were purchased between the aforementioned dates. To be clear, we’re not concerned about the quality or durability of our All-Clad picks, as long as they are cared for properly. So we continue to stand behind our recommendations.

Though a whole cut-up chicken crowds the pan, we were won over by the Tramontina skillet's even heat distribution and comfortable handle.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $50.

The affordable Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad 12-Inch Fry Pan remains our runner-up pick. It's a solid performer that heats almost as evenly as our main pick, but costs significantly less. In our tests, the Tramontina skillet seared a steak and sautéed chicken better than most of the other pans we used. Some of our testers even preferred the wider, rounded handle of this skillet to the thinner handle of our main pick. That said, like most skillets we tested, the Tramontina pan doesn't come with a lid.

The Tramontina is a durable pan that's comfortable to hold.

When heat mapping with an infrared thermometer, we measured a 30-degree difference between the hottest and coldest spots in the pan, which was about on par with the All-Clad pan. Our flour test revealed that the Tramontina skillet heated mostly evenly across the surface of the pan, with a slightly darker area near one side of the skillet versus the other.

The Tramontina skillet is durable and comfortable to hold. At just over 3 pounds, it's slightly heavier than our main pick, but it's still light enough to toss vegetables while sautéing. And though its rounded handle is bulkier than that of the All-Clad pan, you may like it if you have larger hands. When we grasped the handle with a folded dish towel, we were still able to maintain control of the pan without it slipping.

In 2022 Tramontina redesigned its skillet so it has a larger cooking surface and slightly steeper sides, which we prefer. The new pan has roughly an inch more of cooking surface than the previous design did. Its larger cooking surface is now about the same as that of our main pick, the All-Clad skillet (which measures roughly 9¾ inches across). At 3 pounds 0.7 ounces, the new Tramontina pan is 2.7 ounces heavier than the older pan it replaced (but we didn't notice a difference in our tests). Though if you’re partial to lighter-weight cookware, we’d recommend getting the All-Clad pan, which weighs 2 pounds 12.6 ounces.

In our tests, a whole cut-up chicken browned nicely in the Tramontina pan, but it wasn't as consistent as in the All-Clad skillet. But for the money, the Tramontina pan is a solid performer. We also cooked a whole cut-up chicken in both the new and old version of the Tramontina skillets to see how they’d compare, and the results were identical.

Unlike the All-Clad pan, the Tramontina skillet will discolor after searing over high heat or if it's placed in the oven. This is just an aesthetic issue, and it won't affect the pan's performance, but it's something to keep in mind before you buy. When it comes to cookware, typically you get what you pay for, but this pan will probably give you at least 10 years of service, if not more.

We think this pan is a great deal, especially for a starter kitchen, but it can't match the performance and accolades of the All-Clad skillet. Like our main pick, it's backed by a lifetime warranty. Contact Tramontina for repairs or replacements.

We recommend washing your stainless steel pans by hand. Although most cookware manufacturers say you can put your stainless steel tri-ply pan in the dishwasher, that doesn't keep it looking like new. Your dishwasher doesn't release stuck-on food from the surface, and some detergents contain harsh ingredients that can cause damage to your pans over time. In fact, All-Clad no longer recommends putting your pan in the dishwasher at all.

We went to the test kitchens at Martha Stewart Living to get a step-by-step tutorial from Geri Porter, the kitchen manager for almost two decades. She is a pro when it comes to keeping cookware spotless, and some of the pieces she cares for have been in heavy rotation for over 15 years.

How to clean a stainless steel tri-ply pan:

Cleaning your pans using the above method from day one will keep them (mostly) spotless for decades. For badly scorched pans, follow the steps above and remove as much blackened area as possible before taking the following additional steps.

How to clean a badly scorched pan:

This process will take a lot of effort, and depending on the amount of scorching in your skillet, you might need to repeat the steps once more.

If you’re trying to remove years of baked-on grime, that may take even more effort, but we have a blog post that covers how to do it.

We’re planning to test Fissler's Steelux Pro Stainless Steel Fry Pan 11-inch and Original-Profi Collection Stainless Steel Fry Pan 11-inch, which have encapsulated tri-ply disks welded onto the bottom of the pans, making them great for induction cooktops. These pans are an inch smaller in diameter than we would prefer, but we liked how other Fissler pans performed during our portable induction cooktop testing.

We're also planning to test de Buyer's Alchimy 3-ply stainless steel frying pan 12.5 inch. De Buyer is a French cookware company best known for their carbon steel pans, but we’re curious how their tri-ply stainless steel measures up against our picks.

If you want an inexpensive pan and our runner-up pick is sold out: The Goldilocks 12-Inch Skillet is included in our recommended budget cookware set. It's sold separately from the set, but it costs more than our runner-up pick, the Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad 12-Inch Fry Pan (at the time of publishing). We think it's a great skillet, but the Tramontina pan performed slightly better overall and costs less.

If you want a high-end pan and our main pick is sold out: The Thomas Keller Insignia 12.5-Inch Sauté Pan (made by Hestan) heated evenly and performed on par with our pick, the All-Clad D3 Stainless Fry Pan with Lid 12 Inch. However, it's about $70 more than the All-Clad pan (at the time of publishing), and it doesn't come with a lid. The Thomas Keller pan is also about 9 ounces heavier than the All-Clad skillet, so it puts more strain on your wrist.

The Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless 12″ Skillet with Helper Handle was our former runner-up pick in this guide. However, upon further evaluation we found that the pan warped badly over high heat. The bottom of the pan bowed out so much, it wobbled on a flat surface. We tested multiple skillets to be sure we didn't get a lemon, but all of them suffered the same fate. Although the pans were still usable after warping, their damage voids the warranty. The Cuisinart manual says to never use the cookware over high heat, recommending instead, "a low to medium setting for most cooking." Many cookware manufacturers have the same recommendation, but our picks haven't warped like the Cuisinart pan, even after years of cooking over high heat.

The rivets weren't secure on the Cooks Standard 12-Inch Multi-Ply Clad Stainless Steel Fry Pan with Dome Lid, which caused the handle to wiggle. The pan also discolored in our tests, so we dismissed it.

The Viking 3-Ply Stainless Steel 12″ Fry Pan has a comfortable weight, but it concentrated heat mostly in the center of the pan.

The OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Pro 12 Inch Open Frypan has a rounded handle that's comfortable to hold, but it didn't heat as evenly as our picks.

We opted not to test the copper-core Material Kitchen skillet since we’ve ruled out 5-ply pans after our previous tests showed how consistently slow they are to heat.

We were able to rule out the Misen 12-inch skillet after testing the Misen 3QT Saucier in our guide to the best small saucepan. Its five-ply construction made the pan slower to heat up, and its tubular handle was hard to hold onto. We’ve also watched this skillet go in and out of stock.

The Breville Thermal Pro Clad Stainless Steel 12.5″ Skillet is a behemoth that weighs almost 5 pounds. It's fully clad and has an added disk of steel welded to the bottom. We found in our heat-retention tests that it held onto heat a little too well, offering poor temperature control. Charlyne Mattox, cookbook author and food and crafts director at Country Living, specifically mentioned the Breville pan during her interview with us, saying it got too hot for her liking.

All-Clad's D3 Stainless Everyday 3-ply Bonded Cookware Skillet features a handle that is slightly curved, which may prove to be more comfortable for some than the stick handle on the All-Clad skillet we recommend. It also has a helper handle that should enable you to lift the pan with both hands, and it's about a ½ inch larger in diameter than our pick, offering just a tad more space. It performed as well as our top pick, but we noticed there was a loose piece of metal in the handle of one of the other pieces we tested from this line, which caused it to rattle while sautéing vegetables (the representatives we spoke to at All-Clad said they’d never heard of this being an issue before). We may have gotten a lemon, but we’ll continue to monitor customer reviews to see if more people experience a similar issue with the handle.

Also, some pans from the Everyday line were polished around the rim and others weren't, which suggests there may be an issue with quality control. The All-Clad representatives we spoke to said there may be slight differences in the finishes depending on the type of machines used to manufacture the cookware. That means you may encounter similar inconsistencies with the rims on the D3 Stainless line that includes our pick, since it's made from the same tri-ply cookware as the Everyday line. The different finishes on the rims are noticeable when side-by-side, but to be clear, this is mainly an aesthetic issue and shouldn't affect the way the pans perform. We’ll keep an eye on customer reviews to see if there's an influx of complaints regarding the rims on either cookware line. For now, if you prefer skillets with rounded handles, we’d recommend getting the Tramontina pan.

The Liberty Stainless Steel 11.5 Inch Fry Pan is more expensive than our top pick and doesn't come with a lid, so we decided not to test it.

The Made In 12-inch Frying Pan did well in our tests. However, we found the handle on the skillet to be slightly low, preferring the higher angle of the handles on our picks.

Great Jones makes a hybrid deep skillet and sauté pan called the Deep Cut. However, after we tested their saucepan, the Great Jones Saucy, for our guide to the best small saucepan, we found the loop-shaped handle uncomfortable to hold, so we dismissed it.

We liked the Kitchenaid Tri-Ply Stainless Steel 12″ Skillet, but it didn't heat as evenly as our picks. Some of our testers found the handle to be a little too low. However, we think it would make an affordable alternative to the rivetless Demeyere 5-Plus, which costs significantly more.

Because the Viking Contemporary 12″ Fry Pan discolored severely the first time we heated it, we had to disqualify it early on. The sharply angled handle made control and handling difficult, as well.

The Williams-Sonoma Signature Thermo-Clad Stainless-Steel Fry Pan has a small cooking surface and a very long handle, which we found awkward—especially on a crowded range. At 3 pounds 14.8 ounces, the Signature Thermo-Clad pan was a bit hefty for some of our testers.

The Demeyere Industry 5 12.5-inch Stainless Steel Skillet took twice as long as our picks did to heat up. At just over 4 pounds, this pan was also too heavy for some of our testers.

We didn't test the All-Clad G5 Graphite Core Skillets because the largest size available is only 10.5 inches. It's also more expensive than our current All-Clad pick, and it doesn't come with a lid.

The exorbitantly priced Hestan NanoBond 12.5″ Open Skillet (it cost a whopping $360 at the time of our testing) concentrated heat in the center of the pan. Our picks performed better at a fraction of the price.

The Hestan 12.5" Probond Forged Stainless Steel Skillet heated almost as evenly as the All-Clad skillet, and retained heat well, but it discolored and warped the first time we used it. We expect more from a $250 pan. We also found the slightly higher angle of the handle less comfortable to hold than the All-Clad pan's handle. Additionally, the Hestan Probond skillet is over a pound heavier than the All-Clad skillet, which made it more cumbersome to lift.

This article was edited by Marilyn Ong and Marguerite Preston.

Traditional Skillets (subscription required), America's Test Kitchen

Michael Chu, Common Materials of Cookware, Cooking For Engineers, July 15, 2005

Kristin Donnelly, Testing Skillets to Find the Best, Food & Wine, November 1, 2008

All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-Inch Skillet, Good Housekeeping, October 25, 2012

Best Skillets, Good Housekeeping, October 24, 2012

Charlyne Mattox, food and crafts director at Country Living, phone interview, March 9, 2016

Geri Porter, test kitchen manager at Martha Stewart Living, in-person interview, March 3, 2016

Russ Parsons, food writer, email interview, April 25, 2013

Kellie Evans, then test kitchen director at Saveur, email interview, April 1, 2013

J. Kenji López-Alt, managing culinary director at Serious Eats, email interview, April 22, 2013

Elvin Beach, associate professor of practice, Department of Materials Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University, email interview, March 29, 2022

Michael Zhao

Lesley Stockton

Lesley Stockton is a senior staff writer reporting on all things cooking and entertaining for Wirecutter. Her expertise builds on a lifelong career in the culinary world—from a restaurant cook and caterer to a food editor at Martha Stewart. She is perfectly happy to leave all that behind to be a full-time kitchen-gear nerd.

Michael Sullivan

Michael Sullivan has been a staff writer on the kitchen team at Wirecutter since 2016. Previously, he was an editor at the International Culinary Center in New York. He has worked in various facets of the food and restaurant industry for over a decade.

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All-Clad D3 Stainless Fry Pan with Lid 12 Inch FRIEND FRIEND Stainless steel tri-ply: Other multi-ply: Aluminum: Anodized aluminum: Cast iron: Copper: FRIEND How to clean a stainless steel tri-ply pan: How to clean a badly scorched pan: If you want an inexpensive pan and our runner-up pick is sold out: If you want a high-end pan and our main pick is sold out: