Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, and Mary Tyler Moore may have been America’s top sweethearts for a period, but steak? This dish with all its kinds lives in people’s hearts forever, including myself. Given my unconditional love for steaks, it breaks my heart to see people using the wrong pans for cooking steak. Therefore, I’ll guide you on how to choose the best frying pan for steak without breaking the bank.
There are some basics you need to be aware of. The first one is that using a nonstick pan for searing steak is a huge no-no. They aren’t suitable for searing steak at all. You’re missing out on the goodness of the steak’s taste whilst ruining the nonstick coating.
What are the different types of steak to be cooked in frying pans? With the various types of meat to choose from like Porterhouse, Ribeye, Flank, Filet Mignon, Skirt, Rund, Chuck, Sirloin, and the list goes on. You need to understand the differences between them in tenderness level, flavor, and how to cook them. Doing so helps you in understanding which is the best frying pan for your steak.
Best Frying Pan for Steak
Here are some of the best frying pans for steak labeled according to what you’re mostly looking for.
Best Budget Pan: Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, Pre-Seasoned with Silicone Hot...
The Lodge Pre-seasoned Iron Cast Skillet is not only perfect for cooking steak because of its iron cast material, but its price tag is more on the budget-friendly side. The pan is 10-inch wide making it a suitable size for most pieces of meat. The weight of the pan is 5.35 which makes it suitable for meat searing. This one differs from the original Lodge Iron Cast Skillet since it features silicone handles instead of the assist one.
- Comes with 100% natural vegetable oil seasoned coating with no synthetics or chemicals. Therefore, the more you use the pan, the better the seasoning gets.
- The diameter is 10.25 inches meaning its suitable for most meat sizes
- Includes a red silicone hot handle holder to safely hold the pan
- The cast iron material is known for its heat retention capability
- Can be used on stove, grill, or even in the oven
- Can be used for sauteing, baking, frying, grilling, searing, or braising
- Very durable and will last for generations to come
- Easy clean up because of its nonstick coating
- The pan is more on the heavy side making it hard to toss around
Best Carbon Steel Pan: De Buyer - Frypan - Mineral B Element 12½''
The De Buyer Mineral Carbon Steel Cooking Pan is one of our favorites because of the valuable features this pan acquires. First, the pan has securely attached french designed handles that are long enough to protect your hands from the heat. The beeswax coating is also very environmentally friendly and prevents harmful toxins to emit during the cooking process.
- Is able to heat up quickly and retain heat because of its 99% iron steel material
- Has french designed handles which make it more manageable
- The pan has securely attached handles
- Comes with a natural nonstick coating
- The beeswax natural coating doesn’t emit harmful toxins during the cooking process
- The beeswax coating protects the pan from possible oxidation
- The handles heat up with prolonged periods of cooking
- Still needs seasoning
Best Balanced Pan: All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware, 12-Inch Fry Pan with Lid,...
The All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel Fry Pan is a kitchen staple that mixes aesthetics and performance. With its 12-inch diameter, high-quality construction, and mirror-polished exterior, you’ll be getting an elegant-looking pan without compromising performance. The stainless steel interior makes food cook evenly and is naturally more nonstick than most materials.
- Has a flat and flared 12-inch diameter with mid-sized sides which support easier flipping and tossing
- Constructed with the classic tri-ply for maximum durability
- The classic tri-ply construction enhances even heat distribution
- The pan can be used on all cooktops including induction and ovens
- The tri-ply construction consists of durable stainless steel with an aluminum core
- Comes with riveted stainless steel handles
- The pan has highly secured handles and has a comfortable grip
- The coating is highly polished for a nonstick cooking experience
- Easy to clean because of the polished coating
- Lifetime warranty
- Because of the stainless steel interior, the pan is prone to discoloration if used on very high heat
- Even with the nonstick coating, you need to cook with a suitable amount of fats
- Handles can heat up after being under heat for long periods of time
Best Cast Iron Enamel Pan: Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Iron Handle Skillet,...
The Le Creuset Signature Handle Skillet is known to be one of the tops in the frying pan category. With suitable value offered in exchange for the high price tag. This pan is different from others because of the no upper-temperature limit it acquires which most frying pans don’t have. Also, you can choose between a big and beautiful variety of colors.
- Suitable for low-fat cooking because of the small amount of oil it requires
- More on the heavy side which helps in cooking steak
- The improved enamel interior is staining and dulling resistant
- Constructed with very high quality for maximum durability
- Requires no seasoning
- The large look handles make the pan more manageable and provide a comfortable grip
- The interior is made to optimize even and consistent heating
- The cast-iron construction allows the pan to have spectacular heat retention properties
- Can be washed in a dishwasher
- Easy to clean up
- High price tag
Best Pan For Searing Steak: Mauviel M'Heritage M250C 2.5mm Copper Round Frying Pan,...
The Mauviel M’Heritage M250C Copper Frying Pan is the best when it comes to steak searing. Believe me on that one, the crust it makes is unbeatable. The thickness of this pan is what allows to store enough heat to create that -oh wow- caramelized steak crust. However, the price tag of this pan is sure to break the bank. But it’s a price well deserved.
- The 2.5mm thickness of the copper allows the pan to heat quickly and cool down quickly as well
- The copper material maximizes the cooking control because of the copper’s properties
- The handles of this pan stay cool throughout the cooking process
- The stainless steel interior doesn’t wear off easily and doesn’t react with acidic foods
- Compatible for all cooktops including halogen, gas, electric, induction stovetops, and even can be put in the oven.
- Lifetime guarantee
- Handles have a comfortable grip and are highly secured
- The copper provides a very elegant touch to the pan
- High price tag
- The copper’s luxurious finish wears off quickly
What Oil Should I Use For the Best Frying Pan for Steak?
Choosing the correct type of fat to cook your steak in a pan is the main factor in cooking a delicious steak. Especially since that, the cooking process of steaks requires high temperatures. Different temperatures can affect different types of fats, and may also affect your frying pan’s lifespan.
Therefore, it’s best to use an oil that is suitable for a high smoke pan. An example of these oils could be Peanut Oil or Canola oil since their smoke point is relatively high, and doesn’t release any flavor with heating.
If you choose to sear your meat, the high temperature of the oil will be diminish its nutritional benefits, Hence, the oil you use must have a high smoke point.
Moving on to butter – I know you’ve wanted to ask this question. It’s better not to start the cooking process from the beginning with butter. Butter adds a delicious flavor to steak and makes it juicier and oh-so-yummy. However, timing is everything when adding butter to steaks.
Therefore, in order to avoid degrading the flavor and leave the steak with a top baste, you should add butter at the end of the cooking process.
How to Achieve a Nice Crust Using a Frying Pan for Steak
Browning a steak and caramelizing a steak are two entirely different things. Browning is when the steak is literally burning, and caramelizing is that brownish delicious crust that appears.
Reasons behind the failure to reach that delicious caramelized crust are that there isn’t enough heat in the pan you’re using or you didn’t dry out the steak well enough.
Therefore, you need to dry off the steak very well. You can achieve this by using a paper towel and a technique called “Brining”.
Brining the steak is simply sprinkling it and letting it sit in the fridge uncovered. This technique helps to completely dry out the steak’s skin.
For the cherry on top, insert the steak in a dehydrator or even the usual oven at a temperature of 100 degrees. When your steak reaches maximum dryness, that’s when you know you are ready to cook it at a high temperature since the water won’t prevent the heat from penetrating the steak.
To conclude, buying a suitable frying pan for steak is subjective to every person’s needs. There’s no size that fits all. However, there are some main aspects that needn’t be overlooked.
Some of these aspects include the material of the pan, the size of the pan depending on the number of people you regularly cook for, and safety of course.
It’s crucial to check the safety measures for each pan before making a purchase. Some materials are reactive to acidic foods, some release harmful toxins when heating under a high temperature, some handles are not secured enough and may risk melting.
Not every material works best for every type of steak and for every dish. That’s why understanding the different types of steaks and how to cook them is important before deciding on splurging on a pan that you might find yourself unable to use in the end.