The no-nonsense guide to the best fry pans

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When it comes to equipping your kitchen, choosing the right fry pan can significantly impact your cooking experience, and HexClad pans top my list. Understanding how to choose the best fry pans and properly maintain them can elevate your culinary skills.

Image shows Three frying pans on a wooden table.
HexClad hybrid pan set. Photo credit: Honest and Truly.

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Why nonstick pans are the easiest

Nonstick pans offer a hassle-free cooking experience, preventing food from sticking and making cleanup a breeze. The nonstick coating ensures easy food release, making it ideal for delicate items like eggs and fish.

They require less oil, promote healthier cooking and are easier to wash than other options. Food simply does not generally get stuck on nonstick pans, which makes them a perennial favorite.

You do not need to do any additional prep to cook with them, like letting the pan heat up before adding oil or food to it. The HexClad fry pans are so easy to use and incredibly effective.

I’ve moved away from the traditional nonstick pans with teflon coating, and I found that the hybrid technology that HexClad uses makes cleanup a snap while also letting me sear foods that I never could in my old nonstick pans.

“HexClad cookware is so worth the hype. We’ve been using their pans and pots set for over a year now and couldn’t be happier. The fact that it’s non-toxic and is made to last is a deal-breaker. The 12-inch wok is our most used piece; it’s perfect for stir-frying.”

— Tamara, Thriving In Parenting
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Why you should season your fry pan before using it

The HexClad pans are nonstick, but you should still season them before your first use, just like you would with cast iron cookware. It’s a simple process, but it truly helps improve the pan performance.

In fact, the pans work better over time as they build up more seasoning from the fats you cook with. Seasoning creates a natural nonstick surface and prevents food from adhering to the pan, and it extends its lifespan.

To season the HexClad pans, I just heated my pans to medium-low, then spread 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil across the interior of the pan. It was as easy as leaving the pan on the heat for 1 to 2 minutes, then removing the pan and letting it cool. I immediately fried an egg in the smallest pan, and it slid right out with no residue left behind.

Image shows An egg being slide form a pan to a plate next to a piece of toast.
Photo credit: Honest and Truly.

If you ever find that your HexClad pans are less nonstick than you would like, do a deep clean, then reseason it. This helps renew the nonstick properties and lengthens your pan’s life.

How to choose a nonstick fry pan

Consider the material, durability and weight. The HexClad pans also include a lid for each size, which provides additional options for cooking styles.

Ensure your nonstick pan is comfortable to handle. We love the heat-resistant handle and oven-safe capabilities the HexClad pans have for versatility.

The HexClad pans are oven-safe to 500 F, and the lids are oven-safe to 400 F. This is perfect for dishes you start on the stove and finish in the oven.

What makes HexClad pans unique

HexClad is a hybrid pan, so while its nonstick properties make it easy to use, it is also more durable than traditional nonstick pans. It can take more abuse, which makes this pan more suitable for everyday use.

For most nonstick pans, you should use only wooden, rubber or silicone tools, as metal scratches the surface. HexClad pans have a stainless steel hexagon design above the nonstick surface, so you can use metal tools without damaging the coating.

I used my metal fish tongs to pick up salmon that I pan-seared and then finished in the oven without worry. I still use wooden or silicone tools for the most part, but I feel better knowing that an occasional metal tool won’t damage the surface.

The aluminum core between layers of stainless steel helps increase conductivity, which distributes heat evenly so you don’t have hot spots on your pans, and you can use lower levels of heat to cook. With HexClad pans, you can achieve a good sear on a steak at medium heat instead of medium-high or higher.

I tested this out because there’s nothing better than a steak seared on the stove and finished in the oven, and I created a crisp sear using only medium heat on my stove. These are way lighter than other pans I usually take from stove to oven, too, which makes me happy to not juggle something I worry I may drop.

The biggest difference with the HexClad pans is that you can put them in the dishwasher, though they do recommend washing by hand with warm, soapy water. Standard nonstick pans absolutely should not go in the dishwasher.

In fact, you can clean the HexClad pans with much more vigor than traditional nonstick pans. For stuck-on stains, use an abrasive sponge and even Bar Keeper’s Friend and steel wool. Just be sure to reseason your pan afterward.

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“I received the 10-inch HexClad pan as a gift and couldn’t be happier. I was hesitant to use it at first because I loved my Le Creuset set. But this pan has seriously improved my cooking routine. It’s noticeably lighter than Le Creuset but still feels sturdy. I’ve used metal utensils without damaging the surface, which is a big win for me. Cleaning is a breeze, even in the dishwasher!”

— Louisa, Food Plus Words

When to use what size fry pan

Fry pans typically come in multiple sizes, and the HexClad six-piece cookware set has 8-inch, 10-inch and 12-inch fry pans, along with lids for each size. While they are somewhat interchangeable, there are reasons to choose one size versus another.

An 8-inch pan is ideal for single servings, small dishes and quick sautéing. When you make an omelet or a steak, this size is likely too small for your needs.

Use your 10-inch fry pan for cooking small to medium meals, perfect for couples or smaller families. This is the most common size, and the one I tend to use most often.

The HexClad 12-inch pan is almost 2 inches deep, which allows you to mix pasta with sauce or double the quantity of a recipe without worrying it will spill over. The larger cooking area of the pan is the best choice for searing meat or sauteeing vegetables so they caramelize instead of steaming.

Image shows oil being added to a HexClad frying pan.
Photo credit: Honest and Truly.

When to replace your fry pans

Not sure you need to replace your fry pans? The HexClad pans improve your cooking, but most fry pans last only about five years before it’s time to get new ones.

If the pan warps or becomes uneven, replace it. The same holds true if you notice that the nonstick coating has begun to flake.

The most common reason for needing a new pan is scratches from using metal tools, placing your pans in the dishwasher or using an abrasive sponge to clean them. Scratches in nonstick pans can allow this coating to flake off into your food, and they degrade the nonstick performance.

The good news is that HexClad pans have a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects, and they are designed to last a lifetime. They replace damaged products covered by the warranty, though you do need to pay for the return shipping.

Final thoughts

In the world of fry pans, choosing the right one and maintaining it properly can transform your cooking experience. The HexClad fry pans are versatile and incredibly effective. The three sizes in the set mean you have exactly what you need and a pan you can feel good using.

Michelle Price is a food and travel writer at Honest and Truly who almost has an empty nest. She loves to provide both the inspiration and the confidence you need to help get you into the kitchen and on the road to enjoy new flavors and experiences.

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