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How To Choose The Perfect Pan

As any cook will know, having the right equipment is vital for making home cooked meals just the way you like them. Whatever you’ve got cooking, a good quality pan can up your game in the kitchen, and with this guide you also don’t need to spend a fortune. From providing a non-stick surface for super crispy dishes to the material they are made from to help get the heat up high, there’s a huge range of pans to choose from

Not sure which pan to pick? Our guide below will help you get pan planning, including what features to look out for and some delicious recipes to make with your new pan that the whole family will love. So what are you waiting for? Find the perfect pan, just for you…

Meet the family 

Stainless steel

Particularly hardwearing, you can’t go wrong with a stainless steel frying pan. With even heat distribution that gives great results in the kitchen, it’s ideal for busy households and often dishwasher safe. Modern designs can also be refreshingly light weight, making it easy to lift from hob to plate.


A classic forged aluminium pan is a great choice for everyday cooking thanks to an extra thick forged base that heats up quickly for fantastic frying results. Suitable for all stove tops including induction hobs, look for one that’s oven-safe with stay-cool handles so you can get creative in the kitchen. 


Non-stick pans have a thin layer of teflon, or a similar non-stick coating, which means food doesn’t stick to the surface. This makes them a great choice for all your cooking needs and gives a wonderfully crispy finish when frying. As the surface is already slippery, it also means that you end up using less oil.


Thanks to a ceramic non-stick layer, a ceramic pan is a fantastic alternative to a teflon non-stick pan. It’s also said to conduct heat more effectively than traditional cookware. The exterior of ceramic pans are often also coated making it even easier to clean.


Anodised means that the material used to make a pan, such as aluminium, has been subjected to an electrolytic process in which natural oxidation has occurred in controlled conditions. The result is a pan that is particularly durable and less likely to rust or corrode over time. It’s also great for even heat distribution meaning you can whip up healthy dinners in no time.

How to choose the right frying pan 

When choosing a frying pan, it’s important to think about what you will be mostly cooking in it and how often. Do you want it for stir fries or for frying eggs? Will you be using it everyday and for how many portions? These factors will help you choose the right pan for you.

  • Pans with flat bottoms can be great for shallow frying whereas sloped sides can be good for dishes that need to be stirred or tossed.
  • It’s worth considering whether you need a pan to be dishwasher safe, as pans such as non-stick and ceramic often require hand washing to keep them in good condition.
  • Think about how many portions you will usually be cooking to help you decide what size pan you need.
  • Pans vary when it comes to weight, so consider how much you will be cooking and how much weight you can lift.
  • A soft touch or heat resistant handle can provide extra grip as well as making a pan easier to use.

Tips for keeping non-stick pans tip-top

  • Don’t use metal utensils as these can damage the surface.
  • Do use wooden, silicone or nylon utensils as these are gentle on the surface.
  • Don’t overheat a pan and never let oil in it burn or smoke, as this can damage the surface of a pan, especially if it’s non-stick or ceramic.
  • Do wait until a pan cools before washing it to avoid ‘thermal shock’ which is when the surface of a pan cracks.
  • Don’t put a non-stick pan in the dishwasher unless it says that they are dishwasher safe.
  • When hand washing a non-stick pan use moderately hot soapy water.
  • Do wash and dry your pan after each use and store it in a dry place.
  • Don’t store your pan somewhere damp or wet as this can cause it to rust and corrode.

How long does a pan last?

In this easy, reliable method, simply add the rice to a large pot of boiling water seasoned with a pinch of salt, ensuring the grains are submerged. Reduce to a This all depends on how often you use a pan and how you take care of it, so make sure to follow our tips for keeping pans tip-top. Handily, lots of our pans also offer a lifetime guarantee. 

Top pan picks…

Best pan for durability

M&S Aluminium Non-Stick Frying Pan 20cm

Buy now >

Best stainless steel pan

Tefal Stainless Steel Daily Cook 24cm Frying Pan

Buy now >

Best daily go-to pan

Tefal Daily Cook Frying Pan 30cm

Buy now >

Best pan duo

Zyliss Frying Pan Twin Set, 20cm and 28cm

Buy now >

Best timeless pan

GreenPan Venice Pro Frying Pan 30cm

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Best eco friendly pan

Prestige Eco 28cm Frypan

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Best anodised pan

Circulon Total Hard Anodised 22cm Frypan

Buy now > 

Best soft touch handle pan

Zyliss 24cm Frying Pan with Soft Touch handle

Buy now > 

Pantastic recipes

As well as getting the best results flavour-wise, a good quality pan can make cooking quicker and easier. Explore our top recipes for cooking in a pan…

Steak, crushed new potatoes and tomato salad

You can’t go wrong with a pan fried steak paired with delicate new potatoes and a piquant tomato salad. Pick a non-stick thick bottom frying pan, made from steel or aluminium, for the ultimate steak out (in).

Get the recipe > 

Lightly smoked salmon stir-fry with basil oil

Ready in 30 minutes, this stir-fry featuring succulent salmon and aromatic basil oil makes a wonderful midweek meal the whole family will love. Pick a pan that’s non-stick with high, curved sides ready to toss those fresh vegetables.

Get the recipe >

Breaded pan-fried chicken with fresh tomato sauce

Fantastically crispy and full of flavour, this scrumptious dish deserves a pan to match. Pick a pan that’s suitable for high heats, as well as being non-stick, to ensure you get the perfect golden brown finish. Just drizzle with lemon juice.

Get the recipe >

Fluffy berry pancakes

These American-style pancakes use baking powder, meaning they’re deliciously light. Pair with crispy bacon, fresh berries and maple syrup for the ultimate brunch. Just pick a non-stick frying pan for the perfect pancake.

Get the recipe >

Whatever you fancy making, we’ve got a whole range of delicious recipes, from midweek meals to weekend extravaganzas. Just pick your pan from our incredible range and get cooking. You’re also in luck as we have a huge Home & Living sale taking place at the moment. Now that’s pantastic.

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