What every best Skillets has:
- Good cooking performance.
- A large cooking surface.
- A thick, evenly flat bottom.
Functions flawlessly in professional tests. In professional tests, the T-fal 12.5-inch Fry Pan is a top performer in a variety of cooking tasks. At one professional test kitchen, it releases foods with ease, including fried eggs and stir-fried beef and vegetables, needing only a quick wipe-down with paper towels between batches. Owner reviews mirror those tests, and users say they are thrilled with this skillet's fast, even heating and slick nonstick surface. Many love that they can cook without any oil at all, helping them to cut back on fat in their diet. In spite of its very slick nonstick surface, owners also say it can brown foods nicely. However, we did find a couple of dissenters who say that their T-fal pans have a definite hot spot in the middle -- and in testers at Epicurious.com found that to be the case as well, due to the presence of the Thermo-Spot heat indicator, which we discuss in the next section.
Well-balanced and nicely shaped. Reviewers say they love the shape and proportions of the T-fal 12.5-inch Fry Pan. Its large cooking area and deep, slightly sloped sides make it useful for cooking a wide variety of dishes and reviewers uniformly agree that the "cushioned" silicone handles are very comfortable, although they limit the skillet's suitability for oven use (it's only safe to 350 degrees Fahrenheit). Owners find the pan's weight ideal, not too flimsy and not too hefty. Cleanup is also "a breeze," according to users. Unlike most nonstick pans, the T-Fal 12-inch skillet is dishwasher-safe, but most users recommend hand washing it anyway. One interesting feature of this pan is the Thermo-Spot heat indicator -- a largish red dot in the middle of the pan. When it turns dark red, the pan is ready to cook. However, that gets mixed reviews. Most expert reviewers, and many users, say they don't notice any difference in color and, at Epicurious.com, that spot got hotter than the rest of the pan and left an overcooked spot in pancakes. The testers at YourBestDigs.com loved it, though, finding it a very useful feature. One caveat: since this is a 12.5-inch pan, a standard 12-inch lid may not fit.
Exceptional nonstick coating. While the T-fal 12.5-inch Fry Pan's appearance is completely unremarkable -- it only comes in black and looks very utilitarian -- its durability is pretty remarkable for a nonstick pan. The coating stands up to metal utensils and dishwasher use and we found very few complaints of the coating wearing off prematurely. A few reviewers say their pans wore out after several years, but that's a long lifespan for a nonstick pan. The most common complaint users have about this skillet that the pan bottom sometimes will bow upward when heated, causing oil to run out to the edges. Some users say this problem was clear upon first use, while others say it developed over time. There is a lot of speculation that it's a materials failure due to the stamped logo in that spot. T-fal offers a lifetime warranty on this skillet, but the company's customer service doesn't get particularly good reviews.
Editors of Cook's Illustrated put seven nonstick skillets, including the T-fal Professional 12.5-Inch Fry Pan, through their paces. Testing includes cooking eggs without oil, stir-frying beef with vegetables and preparing crepes. They also test for durability.
The T-fal 10.5-inch skillet is tested for this roundup, and doesn't make it into the recommendations. The testers were not impressed with the Thermo-Spot heat indicator, which they said left hot spots in pancakes. Still, they note that this was a very comfortable pan to use.
Editors at YourBestDigs.com test the T-fal Signature cookware set that includes a 9-inch and 11-inch fry pan. These can be expected to perform identically to the 12.5-inch skillet, capacity will just be smaller. The T-fal is named the best value. They really like the heat indicator, contrary to most other expert reviews.
The T-fal E9388 12.5-inch Fry Pan earns an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 in more than 5,200 reviews across all sizes. Owners say this skillet has excellent nonstick properties and cleans up easily. They also like its size and weight. A few say it warps or bows in the middle.
In more than 35 reviews, the T-fal E9388 12.5-inch Fry Pan earns an overall rating of 4.6 stars out of 5. Owners love its large capacity and say it's truly nonstick. A few say it warped a bit after a few uses.