Best Frying Pan for Steak Searing & Browning
Cooking perfect steak at home can only be made possible using the right seasonings and spices, a good steak cut, as well as the best frying pan for steak. Whether you're looking to achieve grill marks or not, you need to get a high-quality pan that can withstand high temperatures for that perfect pan-seared steak.
In this guide, we have some of the best frying pans for steak in the market and also some factors you should consider when picking the right pan for you. Hopefully, you will have found the right pan for your needs by the end of this guide.
What is a Steak Frying Pan?
A steak frying pan is a high-quality pan that can withstand very high heat and be able to retain it for some time. This pan can either be a carbon steel fry pan, cast iron skillet or a tri-ply or sometimes five-ply stainless steel pan.
While nonstick pans are a common choice when it comes to steak, not all nonstick pans can be able to withstand the heat required for a grilled steak. So, if you're hoping to play it safe, you need to find a pan that is designed for steak searing. This is especially true when you're more focused on seasoning your steak, as some pans might not be able to withstand the use of spices.
Some pans may require seasoning, while others come already pre-seasoned or don't require season.
Which is the best frying pan for steak?
So, here are some top-rated pans that provide outstanding performance when it comes to searing that perfect steak.
1. Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet with Assist Silicone Handle Holder
- One Lodge Pre-Seasoned 12 Inch Cast Iron Skillet with Handle...
- Assist handle for better control
- Unparalleled heat retention and even heating
- Pre-seasoned with 100% natural vegetable oil
- Use to sear, sauté, bake, broil, braise, fry, or grill
If you're looking for a cast-iron skillet that doesn't require pre-seasoning before use, the Lodge Cast Iron Skillet is the best frying pan for steak. This cast-iron skillet comes pre-seasoned from the manufacturer by use of an electrostatic spray which makes it a low-maintenance pan.
It features a 10-inch wide round cooking surface, an ergonomic handle, and an assist handle that extends from the body. Additionally, its top circular edge has two pouring spouts, which are found opposite each other. It also includes a red silicone handle cover for improved usability.
The pan is made from a cast iron material, and both handles extend from their body, eliminating the need for attachment rivets and tightening the handles to make them sturdy. This Lodge cast iron skillet can be used on gas and electric stoves, a grill flame, or coal flames.
Furthermore, this cast iron frying pan boasts great heat retention that comes in handy for searing steaks. The cooking surfaces feature a non-stick ability which becomes better with time. This makes this cast iron cookware easy to clean and care for. For cleaning, you only need to wash it with warm water, dry it and apply a layer of oil to prevent rusting.
2. Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
- PRESEASONED CAST IRON SKILLET – The 12.5 inch Cast Iron Skillet...
- EVEN HEAT DISTRIBUTION – This cast iron pan is ideal for both...
- SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS – Always season the skillet with any...
- VERSATILE USE – The Cast Iron Skillet is highly compatible,...
- HEALTH BENEFIT – Enjoy a healthy lifestyle with our cast iron...
As one of the best pans for delicious steak, the Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet comes with great heat retention capabilities to ensure even distribution of heat, allowing to cook steak perfectly. Utopia Kitchen is a well-known brand that manufacturers superior kitchen cookware, and this cast iron frying pan are a great option for first-time cast iron users.
The cooking surface measures 12 inches in diameter and has a heavy-duty base as well as a reliable cooking surface for perfect steak in all cooking styles. It also comes with two handles, one helper handle and one long handle that makes lifting and carrying the cast iron skillet much easier.
Additionally, it comes with two spouts that make pouring excess oil relatively easy. The cooking surface is made of high-quality fine grain to ensure a non-stick surface in the long run. It also includes a keyhole on the long handle that is easy to hang for storage and display. It can also be used on all cooking tops, making it highly versatile.
3. Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Frying Pan Reversible Grill/Griddle
- 20 x 10.5 cooking area
- Use on all cooking surfaces, grills and campfires
- Oven safe. Cooktop Compatibility: Electric Coil, Electric Smooth...
- Sauté, sear, fry, bake and stir fry to heart's content
- Note : Item is sold as one tray and image shown on website is...
The Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle includes two rectangular black plates, each having a cooking surface that measures 20 by 10.5 inches. One plate is meant to be a griddle with a flat surface, and the other plate is a grill pan with horizontal grill lines on the cooking surface.
Each of the plates comes with two handles on every end as well as a raised surrounding edge. Both the griddle and grill pan is made from cast iron that is pre-seasoned before they are shipped to you. The plates have a reversible nature which allows them to be used either individually or together in the oven or any cooking stove.
Many users found it the best pan when it comes to grilling steak as it provides impressive heat retention and can be used both indoors and outdoors. It needs to be covered by a light oil layer before storing to prevent rusting. Cleaning this cast iron grill pan and griddle is quite easy as you only need warm water. Avoid using detergents and soap as they may damage the seasoning coat.
4. de Buyer - Mineral B Frying Pan - Nonstick Pan - Carbon and Stainless Steel
- Carbon Steel Pan: 99% iron and 1% carbon, slippery with better...
- The Darker The Better: Signature beeswax finish protects against...
- Nonstick Kitchen Essentials: Has natural nonstick once seasoned;...
- Made in France: Engineered and manufactured following the most...
- About de Buyer: French maker of premium kitchen accessories,...
The De Buyer Mineral B Carbon Steel Fry Pan has a cooking surface that measures 12.5 inches and measures 6.3 pounds. It comes with a long, slightly bent handle attached to the body using three rivets and arranged in an inverted triangular pattern. On the opposite side, there is a spacious and ergonomic helper handle attached to the main body using two rivets.
This pan is made from a natural carbon steel material and a beeswax finish to allow the cooking surface to develop a naturally nonstick surface with every steak cooking. It is lightweight and thin, which ensures that the pan heats up quickly. This pan can be used on all cooking tops, including induction stoves.
Since the beeswax finish is natural, it ensures the pan is safe for searing meat even at extremely high temperatures. This finish also helps it to become a non-stick the more it is used. It doesn't release toxic emissions that may be harmful to your health.
5. All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware, 12-Inch Fry Pan with Lid
- A kitchen staple featuring a flat base and flared, mid-sized...
- Classic tri-ply construction, made with a responsive aluminum...
- Secured with riveted stainless-steel handles to ensure a safe...
- Compatible with all cooktops including induction, and oven and...
- 12-inch covered fry pan with wide flat base and versatile...
Looking for a stainless steel pan with a wide cooking surface? The All-Clad D3 Stainless Fry Pan boasts a 12-inch cooking surface and a polished mirror exterior which is quite attractive. This pan features walls that are slightly slanted, and the ergonomic handle is long enough for safe stake cooking.
The body of the stainless steel pan is made from three layers of materials. The inner layer which covers the cooking surface is made from 18/10 stainless which ensures healthy and safe meals. Its middle layer is made from aluminum for fast heating and distributing heat evenly. Lastly, the exterior layer is made from induction-ready steel, which ensures the pan can be used in different cooktops.
It also comes with handles that are comfortable to hold and remain cool to touch. Every part of the pan, including its covering lid, is dishwasher safe, making it easy to clean. However, you should never use this stainless steel pan when dry and always remember to add some cooking oil on the flat cooking surface before heating.
Types of Materials Used For Steak Pans
The material of a steak pan determines the performance and weight of the pan. Different materials may also require different cooking, cleaning and care methods. So, here are the three main materials used in pans for cooking steak.
1. Cast Iron
Cast iron is a robust material that won't get damaged easily and is quite durable. It is a perfect metal for searing steak because of its ability to retain heat. Although it takes a bit of time to heat up, it will stay hot for a long period of time. A cast-iron frying pan at high temperatures with no warping or releasing harmful fumes on the cooking surface.
While many cast iron frying pans come pre-seasoned to provide a solid foundation, it is advisable to have two to three more seasoning cycles to ensure you achieve the best non-stick coating. Unlike most materials that tend to wear out over time, cast iron tends to improve as the days go by and can be passed from one generation to the next.
Cleaning a cast iron pan is very easy as you only need to use warm. However, these pans are not safe for use with soap or detergents or use in the dishwasher.
- High heat retention
- Great heat distribution
- Amazing durability
- Easy to clean and maintain
- No harmful substances
- Improves your iron intake
- Great value for money
- Takes longer to heat up
- Not dishwasher safe
2. Carbon Steel
Another great material used in the best frying pan for steak is carbon steel, which heats up faster but cools down faster than cast iron. This is because they are lighter and have thinner bodies as compared to cast iron pans which have thicker bodies. This makes a carbon steel pan easier to handle, even for people who don't have super strong hands.
Similar to a cast-iron frying pan, a carbon steel frying pan will also need pre-seasoning since they are prone to rust. A lot of manufacturers will coat a carbon steel pan with a protective wax layer to prevent rusting. You will need to remove the wax coating before seasoning.
Carbon steel pans should be cleaning using water and a block of mild soap. Seasoning the pan may need to be repeated after several uses because it tends to wear off.
- Oven safe and can be used on all cooker types
- No harmful chemicals
- Lightweight and easier to handle
- Better non-stick abilities than cast iron cookware
- Sturdy and durable
- Smooth surface for better searing of steak
- Gets heated up faster
- High maintenance as it needs regular seasoning
- Acidic foods and aggressive cleaning may destroy the coat
- Not the best for retaining heat
3. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is lighter than carbon steel and cast iron pan without compromising durability. In addition, this cookware material is capable of heating up faster and is non-reactive, which means people can use it to prepare steaks using additional flavors and spices.
Stainless steel cookware depends on different core materials like copper or aluminum, which are better conductors of heat. In addition, the stainless steel pans are easy to clean and maintain as they can be cleaned using detergents and soap or in the dishwasher and do not need any seasoning.
- Lightweight construction
- Easy to maintain as no pre-seasoning is required
- Works well with acidic ingredients and spices
- Durable and sturdy
- Great heat conduction
- Easy to clean and dishwasher safe
- It can be used with metal utensils
- Oven safe
- Lacks non-stick coating
What Should You Consider When Purchasing The Best Frying Pan For Steak?
1. Types of Pans
Apart from the different types of materials, including cast iron, carbon steel, and stainless, pans come in different designs. They include grill pans, fry pans or skillets, cast iron skillets, woks, crepe pans, and saute pans. For steak, most of the time, people use the first three styles. Choose a pan type based on your preference and what type of steak you want to prepare. For example, if you're looking to get grill marks, then you should consider getting a grill pan.
The size of a steak frying pan will limit the amount of food you can cook in it. Ideally, steak pans need to be a bit spacious because of the frequent turning to ensure all the sides cook evenly. Depending on the number of people you will be cooking for, you need to pick a size that can hold enough steaks.
Getting a small-sized pan to cook for a large family will have you spending a lot of time in the kitchen as you cook each of them separately. If you are planning to prepare food for a large crowd, then you should consider getting a pan that can fit as many steaks as possible and leaves some room for turning.
Additionally, when choosing the pan size, it is also crucial to consider the size of your cooker. If you get a frying pan that is bigger than your cooker, it may take longer to heat up and might lead to uneven cooking. Remember, the bigger the pan, the pricier it will be.
3. Heat Distribution
The best frying pan for steak should have great heat distribution to help eliminate some hot spots, making some parts overcook while others are barely getting enough heat. The pan you use for cooking steak should be made of a material that heats up evenly to avoid some uncooked parts.
The structure of the pan will determine how well it is able to cook the meat. For example, pans that have a multi-clad construction will provide the pan with more abilities as it takes up the benefits of all materials.
An all-clad pan will combine stainless steel with an aluminum layer to ensure it heats up faster and evenly because aluminum ensures a good heat transfer. This means that the pan enables you to cook more healthy meals as the heat is evenly distributed.
Some pans will also have grill lines on the cooking surface to ensure you get crispy steaks that are free from grease and fat. You can also choose a covered pan that helps trap the flavor and moisture of the steak.
5. Maintenance and Use
Steak pans will always collect leftover food and grease that can be a bit difficult to get rid of. You should consider getting a steak pan that is easy to clean and remove all the dirt without any hassle.
Steak pans should also come with a handle for holding the pan and transferring the pan to another area. Additionally, pans with a top edge ensure precision pouring so that you don't have to make a mess on the table.
Of course, no one wants to keep buying a cast iron or carbon steel pan every month because they suddenly got damaged and need to replace. For this reason, you should ensure that the pan you buy is durable enough to withstand the test of time. Check the material used and the construction of the pan to determine its durability.
Tips For Cooking Steak
Here are some of the tips you should consider to achieve that tasty steak;
1. Always flip the steak after every 30 seconds to achieve a more even cooking and browning of the steak. Flipping the steak consistently will ensure the band around the steak becomes more gradual instead of uneven cooking where one side is pink.
2. If you're hoping to achieve a nice crust, but for some reason you are not able to do that, a great way is to achieve it is to move the steak around the best frying pan for steak. As you move the steak around the pan, you will be making use of the unused heat in the pan, which makes the stake crust out or browns a lot faster.
3. Ensure the steaks are evenly cut. Oftentimes, a cause of uneven cooking meat is a steak that is uneven. Cutting it evenly ensures that every part of the steak is in contact with the pan for even cooking.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Steak Frying Pans
1. Is cast iron or stainless steel better for searing?
Both stainless steel and cast iron steak pans are great for searing steak. However, a stainless steel pan with an aluminum core sears steak much better than a cast iron pan. This is because the stainless steel pan heats up faster and has a lesser probability of getting hotspots.
2. How do you cook steak in a steel pan?
Cooking steak in a steel pan is pretty straightforward. First, heat the pan and cooking oil for some minutes, then place the steak on the pan. Ensure the steak cooks under medium heat and turn it on both sides after every minute to ensure it cooks evenly on both sides.
3. Is pan searing the same as frying?
No. Pan searing is the preparation process of getting the meat ready for the next cooking process, which is either braising or roasting. On the other hand, frying is a complete cooking process whose result is food that is ready to consume.
3. Can I cook steak in a regular frying pan?
While you can prepare steak in a regular frying pan, it is not always recommended. This is because some pans can't withstand the high heat needed for cooking steak. Additionally, some pans don't provide even heat distribution which is a requirement when it comes to preparing steak.