Best non-stick frying pans
How much do you need to spend to get a non-stick frying pan you can rely on? In January 2021 we put nine popular frying pans through a barrage of tough tests to see which had the best and most durable non-stick surface and which cooked most evenly.
The frying pans we tested ranged in price from £8 to £170. We assessed pans from GreenPan, John Lewis, Lakeland and more to see which ones gave pancakes an all-over golden hue, which ones survived our non-stick surface scratch test, and how easy it was to remove a fried egg cooked without oil.
The best non-stick frying pans
Argos Home Non-stick Aluminium frying pan
Diameter and weight 28cm, 643g
Dishwasher-safe Yes, although packaging recommends hand washing
Oven-safe No Induction hob No
PFOA free No
This Argos frying pan was the cheapest one we tested. It has a plastic handle, which is screwed into the pan. This pan was the second-lightest we tested, and the metal is noticeably thinner than most of the other non-stick frying pans we investigated. A thinner base should mean it's quicker to heat up. But did this impact its cooking prowess?
Earthpan Eco frying pan
This Earthpan is a ceramic non-stick pan that the manufacturer claims is produced from recycled and recyclable materials and creating 88% less C02 emissions.
It has a sturdy handle with an accessible screw that's easily reached if the handle ever needs tightening after prolonged use.
This ceramic pan had an average thickness (compared with the rest of our selection) and felt sturdy and a decent weight - not too light nor too heavy.
Eaziglide Neverstick2 non-stick frying pan
The Eaziglide Neverstick2 non-stick frying pan has a smooth stainless-steel handle on one side and a smaller grab handle on the other. Both handles are riveted to the pan. This pan's base is slightly thicker than most of the pans we tested.
The metal of the pan itself isn't as smooth as the others on test, but did the unusual texture prove to be a burden or a blessing when it came to testing its non-stick performance?
GreenPan Venice Pro Ceramic non-stick frying pan
This ceramic non-stick frying pan from GreenPan's Venice range has high sides and a wide cooking space. The smooth stainless-steel handle is riveted to the pan and has a high arch, keeping your hand away from the heat. The pan has high sides and a wide cooking space.
House by John Lewis non-stick aluminium frying pan
This House by John Lewis frying pan is small and is the lightest we tested. It's also one of the thinnest and one of the cheapest. It has a screwed-on plastic handle.
Le Creuset 3-Ply Stainless Steel non-stick frying pan
If a frying pan can be described as a luxury item, this Le Creuset frying pan fits the bill. It's sleek and stylish with a smooth polished stainless-steel exterior. There are two handles riveted in place, the longer of which has a high arch to keep your hand away from the heat. The second handle is a hoop.
Oxo Good Grips non-stick frying pan
The Oxo Good Grips non-stick frying pan has one of the most comfortable handles, riveted in place and covered in silicone. The handle also has a high arch, keeping your hand away from the heat. This pan has low sides, making it perfect for when you need to get your spatula in there.
ProCook Professional Anodised frying pan
This non-stick frying pan from ProCook has a riveted brushed chrome handle. It was the only one we tested that comes with a lid (made of clear glass). There's a high arch to the handle to keep your hand away from the heat while cooking.
Tefal Intuition non-stick frying pan
The non-stick pan has a wide stainless-steel handle riveted to its side, and a wide flat surface with curved sides. The surface of the pan has a distinctive Tefal logo and non-stick coating.
How we tested non-stick frying pans
Over the course of three days, we took all nine non-stick frying pans to our kitchen and conducted the following tests on them:
We dry-fried four eggs together in each non-stick frying pan for four minutes, after giving each pan one minute to preheat.
Once the eggs had fried for four minutes, we tried to slide them onto a plate. If they didn't slide out by themselves, we attempted to pop a silicone spatula underneath them to get them moving.
The bottom half of the eggs in one pan ripped off completely, and other pans had parts of the egg left behind. We were able to cleanly slide eggs out of five of the pans we tested.
From this test we ranked the pans from best to worst for non-stick performance. The pans with the least sticking got the highest scores.
To test how easy each non-stick frying pan is to wash, we took the pans straight after cooking the eggs and dry-fried bacon in them for five minutes after a one-minute preheat.
Once the burnt bacon was removed, and the pans allowed five minutes to cool, we handwashed them using one teaspoon of washing up liquid in 10 litres of hot tap water. The water was renewed for each pan.
Using a non-scratch sponge, we cleaned each pan for 30 seconds and then ranked them from easiest to hardest to clean.
Even the frying pans we found hardest to clean weren't too difficult.
Evenness of cooking
To test evenness of cooking, we cooked two pancakes in each non-stick frying pan. Our pancake batter was made using a standard recipe: 100g plain flour, two eggs, 300ml milk and 1 tablespoon of oil pancake. We carefully wiped each pan with oiled kitchen paper before cooking each pancake - we used one teaspoon of oil per sheet of paper.
We cooked each pancake for two minutes on each side (after preheating each pan for one minute) recording how evenly each pancake's two surfaces were cooked. We checked whether any parts were undercooked or burnt or if any edges or sides were a lighter colour.
Each non-stick frying pan was then ranked from most to least evenly cooked pancakes.
A spirit level was used to ensure the pans and our hob were flat and level.
We placed 30 pine nuts placed in each non-stick frying pan. Then, for one minute, we shook the pan from side to side and back and forth over a hob as you would if cooking.
The remaining pine nuts in the pan were then counted to see whether any had escaped.
Each of the pans we tested passed this test with flying colours.
The scratch test was conducted in three parts:
- First we washed each non-stick frying pan with a wire wool scourer.
- Then we scraped and dragged a metal spatula across each pan's surface back and forth and side to side 10 times.
- Finally, we placed a 25cm-diameter stockpot on each frying pan, pushed down on it and scraped it from side to side.
We recorded the results of each of these three tests and ranked the frying pans from least to most scratched. The least-scratched pans were ranked higher.
How we chose these non-stick frying pans
We investigated the most popular and bestselling brands from national retailers. We chose to test larger-sized frying pans, as these are more popular. The largest size sold by most retailers for home use is 30cm diameter, so we decided to look at 30cm pans or the largest sizes offered in popular ranges or from popular retailers.
How to care for your non-stick frying pan
Most premium and high-end non-stick frying pans come with a use and care guide. We recommend reading this before use.
Here are a few simple tips to get the best use and longest life out of your non-stick frying pan:
- Hand-wash it with hot soapy water before using it for the first time. This way you remove any residue or dirt from the manufacturing or shipping process. After the wash, rinse well and dry completely.
- With non-stick frying pans, there is no need to 'prime' or 'cure' them.
- Don't use metal utensils on your pans. It's much safer to stick to wooden or silicone utensils.
- When cooking, stick to medium or low heat settings as much as possible. Avoid constant high heat, as the non-stick coating could start to deteriorate.
- Allow the pan to cool naturally before you wash it. Drastic temperature changes can warp the pan.
- Always hand-wash with a dishcloth or non-scratch sponge, even if the pan is dishwasher-safe.
- Try to store your non-stick pans without anything on top of them. If that isn't possible, use a tea towel or sheet of kitchen roll to protect the non-stick surface.
Which frying pans can go in the oven and on an induction hob?
Our table below shows you at a glance which of the non-stick frying pans are safe for ovens, induction hobs and dishwashers.
|Frying pan||Oven-safe||Induction hob||Dishwasher-safe|
|Argos Home Non-Stick Aluminium Frying Pan||No||No||Yes, but hand-wash recommended|
|Earthpan Eco Frying Pan||Yes, up to 150°C||Yes||No|
|Eaziglide Neverstick2 Non-Stick Frying Pan||Yes, up to 260°C||Yes||Yes|
|GreenPan Venice Pro Extra Ceramic Non-Stick Frying Pan||Yes, up to 260°C||Yes||Yes|
|House by John Lewis Non-Stick Aluminium Frying Pan||No||Yes||No|
|Le Creuset 3-Ply Stainless Steel Non-Stick Frying Pan||Yes, up to 260°C||Yes||Yes|
|Oxo Good Grips Non-Stick Frying Pan||Yes, up to 200°C||Yes||Yes|
|ProCook Professional Anodised Frying Pan with Lid||Yes, up to 260°C. Lid oven-safe to 180°C||Yes||Yes, lid too|
|Tefal Intuition Non-Stick Frying Pan||Yes, up to 260°C for one hour||Yes||Yes|
Why don't all pans work on induction hobs?
To work on an induction hob (a type of electric hob), pans need a minimum amount of ferrous/magnetic material in their base, otherwise, they won't work effectively. People who buy an induction hob often find that some of their pans work well, some don't work at all, and you get some in between (where there's some magnetic material but not enough for optimum performance).
What is PFOA free?
When you see 'PFOA free' on an item of cookware, it simply means the chemical PFOA wasn't used to make the non-stick coating.
PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) is used worldwide as an industrial surfactant in chemical processes, including in the manufacture of non-stick pan coatings. It is is a health concern and subject to regulatory action.
Prices correct as of February 2021.