We have always talked about the need to shift away from aluminum and non-stick utensils to healthier alternatives like cast iron, clay pot and stainless steel cookware. Now, frying pan especially needs to be either stainless steel or cast iron because the popular option- non stick, is especially dangerous. Frying pans tend to get overheated and if its non-stick, harmful carcinogenic chemicals could leach into your food.
Among the three healthier alternatives, stainless steel is the most versatile. You can cook all types of food in it. Of course, you will have to take care so that food doesn’t get stuck on the base. But then, with proper seasoning, you can reduce it to a great extent.
A question that we often get from our readers is- Which brand of stainless steel to choose?
As we had mentioned in our article on healthy cookware, it is best to opt for 304-grade stainless steel cookware. They are more expensive than regular stainless steel cookware, but are quite durable and cook evenly without any harmful chemicals leaching into the food. With proper care, they can last decades.
To help you choose the best among these, we have tested frying pans from the top 6 brands. We have looked only at 3 ply 304-grade stainless steel pans as they are considered the best.
For each, we have taken a look at its aesthetics, design, and seen how easy it is to handle and cook food in it…
We also tried making omelettes, frying fish, stir-frying vegetables and so on, on these pans to see how good they brown, how evenly they get cooked and how much the food got stuck while shallow frying.
Yet another important aspect that we checked is for hot spots. Good quality cookware conducts heat evenly throughout itself. But if the material used is not good quality and if it is thin, the heat won’t conduct evenly resulting in cold and hot spots. When cooking in such pans, food in contact with the hot spots tends to get burnt, while other parts may not even get properly cooked.
So, here are our top recommendations.
Best Stainless Steel Frying Pans In India
As mentioned, we found Bergner to be the best stainless steel frying pan. The pan is well-built and weighs about 775 gm. Its base is flat and doesn’t wobble at all. It had a low slope which made it easy to reach food with the spatula and flip it over. The handle is also sufficiently long and stays cool for about 30-40 minutes of moderate cooking. We fried two batches of fish back to back and the first half of the handle got moderately warm. But the part where you grasp remained cool to touch.
The side which comes in touch with the food is finished in such a way that food doesn’t stick too much to the base, provided you have heated the oil well before adding the food.
We tested the pan using the renowned Flour test method whereby a thin layer of flour is spread over the pan’s surface to see whether there are any hotspots. And as expected, the flour was browned fairly evenly.
We also tried cooking various varieties of food. We fried fish, cutlet, potatoes, stir-fried vegetables and made omelette. They all came pretty well. The best part was that minimal food was stuck to the bottom. And even the tiny bit that got stuck was quite easy to clean.
Now, talking about the drawbacks, as mentioned, the pan has a low slope which is quite favourable for frying food. Moisture from food evaporates well in such a pan. But on the flip side, the base area is less which means less food can be fried in a batch. We tested with a 22cm pan which measured 24 cm in outer diameter, but the inner diameter was just 15 cm.
Next, the inner surface which comes in contact with food has a polished finish. While it does help minimize food getting stuck on the surface, the flip side is that it needs to be cleaned with ample care else it could get scratched and lose its finish.
Overall, it is definitely one of the best options available which fares best in terms of design, ease of cleaning and well as cooking.
Vinod fares a close second in our list of the best stainless steel frying pan. The only reason why we did not like it as much as Bergner is because the base was a bit wobbly. It wasn’t as flat and stable as Bergner, which could be a problem when you cook on an induction stove. Even on the stovetop, it could lead to oil pooling to the sides.
But otherwise, it is quite a remarkable product. The outer diameter measures 24.2cm and the inner diameter measures 18 cm. The slope of the sides is not as steep as Bergner. But is still sufficient for evaporating moisture from the food and flipping food using a spatula. The handle is also fairly long and the part where you hold remains cool to touch for 20-30 minutes of cooking. However, the part closer to the pan got pretty warm.
Though the base is not of a polished finish, food doesn’t stick a lot to the base provided you have added sufficient oil. The food got evenly browned too.
The pan is a tad heavier than Bergner. But even so, it wasn’t hard to carry around with food or toss food in the pan while cooking. However, it is a tad more expensive than Bergner.
Honestly, Prestige is also a close contender with pretty good design and construction. The pan is well constructed and at 800 gm, it weighs a bit more than Bergner. It has a fairly good slope and sufficiently long handle that it doesn’t get hot even when you cook for 25-30 minutes at a stretch on a medium flame.
We bought the 22 cm variant. Its outer diameter measured 23.5cm while its inner diameter measured 16.5cm, It too had a good slope. We were able to easily flip the food using a spatula.
We tried frying fish, cutlet and chicken and overall, the browning was excellent and the food was thoroughly cooked too. The flour test showed the browning to be pretty much even throughout.
Compared to Bergner, food gets a bit more stuck, especially when you fry fish. But it isn’t that bad that regular use becomes difficult.
Even after washing the hot pan in cold water and dropping it from about a metre height, there was not much visible damage. However, the pan has a tendency to warp. A gap developed between the pan and the rivet after a few rounds of dipping the hot pan in cold water.
However, what we found rather irritating is that the sticker on the cooking surface was stuck with a rather poor quality adhesive. It was pretty hard to remove the sticker and moreover it left dirty adhesive marks on the surface. We removed it by applying some oil and scrubbing it for a while.
Though there are minor flaws, overall, considering the competitive pricing and excellent performance, it is definitely worth considering this option from Prestige.
Having used Stahl Stainless Steel Kadai for over a year, they are my personal favourite.
Stahl is the only pan we found with a lid. But when it comes to frying pan, it wasn’t quite the best option.
First of all, the design is not quite the best for a frying pan. Rather it looks more of a saucepan. Its sides don’t flare at all. This makes it difficult to access food along the edges with a spatula. Comparatively, it weighs heavier at 925 gm (without the lid). The weight as well as the slope makes it difficult to toss and flip food. Also, the handle is the shortest among the brands that we tested. It gets hot comparatively quick too.
When it came to frying food, the browning was even. There were no hotspots just like our other top picks. But the lack of slope meant food had a tendency to stew rather than fry as it wasn’t really conducive to evaporation.
Also, after using it for almost a year, a gap was developed between the rivet and the pan’s interiors.
Overall, we wouldn’t really recommend this option as a frying pan. But as a saucepan it is excellent.
Hawkins was the least expensive option among what we tested. While the diameter of all frying pans measured more than what was stated, Hawkins measured exactly 22cm and the inner diameter measured 16.5 cm. The depth was 3.8 cm while all others measured 4.5 to 5 cm. The lack of depth and slope means you can’t really toss and flip food without spilling.
The construction seems good. But the base is not precisely flat. It had a tendency to wobble.
We cooked various foods in the pan and the results were overall satisfactory. With sufficient oil, you could fry fish, chicken and make omelettes with minimal hassle. Cleaning isn’t the easiest. But it isn’t that difficult either. But what we found was that food around the edges seemed to have a tendency to get scorched. But now, after using it for almost a year, the construction is still good, thus assuring you of durability.
Overall, given the highly competitive pricing and decent construction, it would be a good choice for those who don’t indulge in quite a lot of frying on day to day basis.
Meyer is the most expensive among the frying pans we tested. Many users have said that the cost is because it is 18/0 grade which means it has 18% chromium and 0% nickel. But Pots and Pans, the official seller of the brand in India has confirmed on Amazon that it is indeed 18/8 grade. Other brands mentioned in the lost mostly use 18/10 grade stainless steel.
The construction is good. It was stable and did not wobble at all. We bought the 20 cm variant. Its outer diameter measured 21.5 cm while the inner diameter measured 15.5cm and the depth was 4.5 cm.
We tried making omelettes and fried a variety of food. Compared to other pans, a lot more food got stuck to the base. It wasn’t that easy to clean either. We cooked back to back for about 20 minutes and part of the handle away from the pan was warm, but still comfortable to touch.
Overall, considering the hefty price tag, we wouldn’t really recommend that you opt for Meyer Frying Pan. Other options like Bergner and Prestige are more conservatively priced and perform better too.