The All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-Inch Fry Pan consistently performs well in both professional tests and user reviews. Although it's expensive compared to some other brands, reviewers say it's worth the price because it offers even heating, great browning and plenty of cooking area. This 12-inch skillet also includes the lid, which improves its value. Like most stainless pans, though, it is not considered nonstick and cleaning it may take some elbow grease. It also comes in a 10-inch size (Est. $100).
Shines in professional tests. Reviewers consistently say the All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-inch Fry Pan delivers even, controlled performance and browns beautifully over virtually any type of heat, including induction and glass stovetops. In one professional test, it earns excellent marks in all types of cooking, and was also found to be large enough to accommodate eight pieces of chicken. Owners agree, saying this All-Clad pan is so versatile that it's the only 12-inch skillet they need. It goes from stovetop to oven with ease, and is oven safe to 500 degrees. The main complaint about this skillet is that food sticks, a particular problem with those who try to use it to fry -- and flip -- eggs, but that's an issue with all stainless-steel pans, which are not nonstick.
Don't expect a nonstick pan. As we mentioned above, the All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-inch Fry Pan does not have a nonstick surface, and that can lead to a more labor- and time-intensive cleanup process. Depending upon the food cooked and the heat intensity, you may encounter quite a stuck-on mess when you're done cooking. However, if you fill the skillet with hot, soapy water and set it aside to soak for a while, you should be able to just wipe it out. Alternatively, a scrubber and a sprinkle of Barkeeper's Friend (Est. $3 for 12 oz.) will have the pan looking like new in no time. We did see many complaints of food getting stuck in the handle rivets and being a challenge to remove. This All-Clad skillet is dishwasher safe, but most experts and owners recommend hand washing.
Built to last. In one professional test, the All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-inch Fry Pan survived being submerged in ice water and banged against concrete (any resulting dents were barely noticeable). Owners say that the riveted handles are more secure than welded metal or any type of plastic. Many feel that this skillet's durability justifies its high price, since the pan will last longer than a few years. The manufacturer appears to agree with this assessment, as it backs the skillet with a lifetime warranty. Quite a few owners opt to display their All-Clad on racks, rather than hiding them in the cupboard, noting that, with proper care, they remain looking new for years. This particular version of the 12-inch skillet includes a lid; the fry pan without the lid was actually pricier (by about $15) at the time of this report. The pan is made in the USA, but the lid is made in China.
All-Clad Stainless Steel Fry Pan Reviews
1. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
In this update of a roundup originally published on January 1, 2009, editors compare six 12-inch stainless-steel skillets. Each pan is evaluated on several cooking tasks and are put through several rigorous tests to gauge durability.
Review: Traditional Skillets, Editors of Cook's Illustrated, March 2014
2. Good Housekeeping
Testers at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute give the All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-Inch Fry Pan a grade of A-minus, with praise for its even heating, superior browning and stay-cool handle. Editors say its classic omelet shape is "ideal for turning out eggs" but that the pan has trouble maintaining a steady simmer. However, we found that other expert reviews as well as many owner reviews dispute both of those findings.
Review: All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-Inch Skillet, Editors of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, November 2012
The All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-Inch Fry Pan with Lid receives more than 60 reviews, earning an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. Owners agree that food cooks evenly and browns well. They appreciate the added value of the included lid. Some complain that food sticks to the pan, but others say that's because there's a learning curve with a stainless steel pan.
Review: All-Clad 41126 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe 12-Inch Fry Pan with Lid / Cookware, Silver, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of February 2015
There are many fewer reviews here, just a handful, but the All-Clad 12-inch Stainless Steel Skillet earns an overall average rating of 4.9 stars out of 5. Users say it is a top performer with anything you want to cook; the only complaint is that it can be hard to clean.
Review: All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-Inch Fry Pan, Contributors to BedBathandBeyond.com, As of February 2015