Electric skillets can be used for cooking, serving
skillets are highly versatile appliances: They're great for adding a food prep
option when you're preparing a big meal, as a standalone appliance when you
don't feel like heating up the kitchen with your oven or stovetop range, or
even as an all-in-one dish for preparing and transporting food, then keeping it
warm on the buffet table.
traditional skillets, electric frying pans can be used for sautéing and pan frying.
The best electric frying pans can brown your meat nicely before cooking it, but
if you're looking for true searing action, you might be happier with an electric grill. In that report, we also
discuss electric griddles -- probably the best choice if you need bulk capacity
to cook foods like pancakes, French toast or bacon for large groups. Some
electric skillets also work for deep frying, although if you do a lot of
frying, you should consider purchasing a dedicated deep fryer.
of electric frying pans are made of aluminum, with a nonstick coating on the
interior and a glass lid that makes it easy to monitor how your food is
cooking. They also tend to be fairly large and deep, allowing plenty of room
for the cook to prepare multiple foods at once or cook enough servings for a
family. The largest electric skillets we review in this report are rectangular
and run 16 inches down the long side -- plenty large enough to use as a chafing
dish on a buffet tablet. However, if you're cooking in a confined space (like
an RV) or for just one or two people, we also found good electric skillets that
are as small as 8 inches square.
electric frying pans
doubt, the rectangular 1500-watt (Est. $50) is a top pick in this category. Versatile and
reliable, the Presto 06857 heats evenly (between 0 and 400 degrees) and holds
the set temperature automatically, instead of cycling on and off as many
electric frying pans do. Owners say that this 16-inch skillet roasts, braises,
grills and fries as well as a traditional skillet, and a built-in pour spout
makes it easy to drain grease off.
You can even
bake in the Presto 06857, and its generous capacity makes it ideal for
preparing large casseroles, side dishes and pasta dishes. Although it's large,
this foldaway electric frying pan is also very portable. The built-in
spoon/spatula holder, stay-cool handles and "keep warm" setting make
it extremely convenient for serving food buffet-style.
coating on this Presto electric skillet cleans up nicely with just a wipe-down,
both inside and out. Both the skillet pan (which separates from the base) and
the lid are submersible and dishwasher safe, as long as you remove the heat
control first. The Foldaway Skillet's most popular feature, though, is in its
name: Owners love having the ability to pack all the pieces (skillet, heating
element, base and lid) together and store them away in a fairly small space.
The rectangular shape helps reduce its footprint even more. Just make sure you
place something soft between the base and the frying pan interior to protect
the nonstick coating.
bought this folding skillet to use in an RV or smaller vacation home are
particularly pleased with the foldaway feature, as long as their RV or vacation
kitchen has enough room to accommodate the skillet's rather large footprint
when it's all put together.
If you don't need a
16-inch skillet, the 11-inch (Est. $40) may be
a better choice. It doesn't fold into a smaller size, but it does have the same
heat control that maintains a steady target heat instead of cycling on and off
as most electric skillets do. It also has a useful keep-warm setting and, like
the larger foldaway skillet, the Presto 06626 is fully immersible and
dishwasher safe once you remove the heat control.
looking for an even more petite frying pan for occasional small-scale use, we
like the 800-watt (Est. $40) Even though the Nesco ES-08 measures just 8 inches to a
side, users say it heats up evenly and is big enough to cook for one or two
people at a time. The walls of this little skillet pan are deep enough for
cooking soup, but not so deep that you can't use a spatula.
You can even
roast or fry in the Nesco ES-08 -- as long as whatever you're cooking isn't
very big. Both the skillet pan and the lid wipe off easily, and the lid can go
into the dishwasher. The nonstick coating generally holds up well, and users
are usually so happy with this skillet's bargain price and petite size that
they don't mind that the heating element has numbers (1 through 5) instead of
degree settings, and that it cycles on and off once it reaches the set heat, as
is typical for most electric frying pans. However, if having a precise cooking
temperature is your highest priority, you'd do well to invest in a Presto
Foldaway Skillet or its 11-inch cousin.
offers a high-end skillet
Last year, we took note of the (Est. $190) electric skillet. This skillet continues
to trend with users who want a large, high-end appliance that can feed a whole
family, plus guests. It's earned its nickname as "the Cadillac of electric
skillets", and the combination of deep-dish removable pan, steamer insert,
and flat titanium- and ceramic-enhanced nonstick grilling plate mean you can
use it as several appliances in one.
Users love the
Zojirushi EP-RAC50's multi-functionality, and say that the removable pans make
cleanup a dream. The skillet heats up quickly and easily, and the sliding
temperature control -- which ranges from "warm" to 480 degrees -- is
very accurate. Other convenient features include a tempered glass lid that lets
you gauge your food's progress, stay-cool side handles, and a pull-away cord
that reduces the risk of the skillet's contents spilling if someone yanks on
Users also say
that the nonstick finish works wonderfully, and that the Zojirushi EP-RAC50
looks good sitting on their countertop. That's a good thing, because at almost
18 inches across, some may struggle to find adequate storage space for this
round skillet. The nonstick finish works wonderfully but, like any non-stick
appliance, the finish on the Zojirushi EP-RAC50 should be handled with care.
steel electric skillets last longer
their non-electric brethren, there's a constant tradeoff between electric
frying pans made of stainless steel and those made of aluminum. Electric
skillets made of aluminum heat up faster than steel, conduct heat better, and
are less expensive. However, stainless steel lasts longer and is less reactive,
so it won't impart a metallic aftertaste to extremely acid or alkaline foods.
steel is also a good choice if you have concerns about conventional nonstick
coatings -- which most aluminum pans sport. The 1800-watt stainless steel (Est. $140) goes one step further, adding a petroleum-free, ceramic-based interior coating
that means you need very little oil or butter to make food release easily.
Users say this electric frying pan heats evenly ("warm" to 450
degrees), the interior coating is durable and releases food easily as long as
you remember to add a little oil, and the round, 14-inch-diameter cooking area
means you have enough space to cook for an entire family.
CSK-250 does a great job of frying, griddling, simmering and braising, and it
looks great sitting on a buffet table too. However, it does have one big flaw:
The vent hole in the tempered glass lid is too small, so steam tends to either
sputter out of the lid, or condense and pool under it. Otherwise it's an
excellent electric frying pan, however, and users love that once you remove the
heating element, this electric skillet is dishwasher safe.
uncoated stainless steel is another excellent choice for people who are
concerned about an aluminum skillet's non-stick coating flaking into their food
-- and it's less expensive than ceramic. Just use a little oil, butter or cooking
spray with the stainless steel skillet and your food will slide right out. If
that's the type of skillet you prefer, we recommend the round, 12-inch (Est. $70). It
has no interior coating and uses an impact-bonded base to help its 18/10
stainless steel conduct heat better. It heats quickly and evenly, is large
enough to cook a good-size pot roast, and represents a great value.
downside, the Aroma Housewares AFP-1600S is not submersible or dishwasher safe,
and user reports show that the temperature control (which adjusts between 225
and 425 degrees) is the weak point that tends to fail first. Also, we found a
few posts indicating that, while the side handles stay cool, the long metal
handle and the lid both get hot. Watch out for the one-year warranty's
expiration date because once that's over, users say customer service won't do
anything to help you.
conventional nonstick coatings are very popular for their ease of cleanup and
use, they may also contain trace amounts of perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA, which is used in the manufacturing of most nonstick coatings.
Since the publication of studies that have suggested a link between PFOA exposure and increased risk of some tumors, cookware
with non-PFOA nonstick coatings has gained a real foothold. Non-PFOA nonstick
coatings also tend to be more durable than a conventional nonstick, which will
flake off (and maybe end up in your food) if you don't treat it very
non-PFOA nonstick skillets we've considered, the ceramic-coated Cuisinart
CSK-250 Green Gourmet Electric Skillet -- which we discuss above -- is the best
choice. Its interior coating is durable, releases food easily as long as you
add a little oil or butter, and cleans up easily. With that said, we've turned
up two more nonstick, non-PFOA options that show a lot of promise.
Cuisinart CSK-250, the 1300-watt, 14-inch (Est. $60) uses a ceramic surface for its
nonstick coating. This is more appropriately called stick-resistant -- a little
oil or butter helps the food release cleanly -- but users say it cleans up
easily with a soapy sponge.
There are a
couple of quirks to watch out for with this round skillet. It's not the best at
simmering, users say, although making sure you get the thermostat inserted
properly helps it do a better job of temperature control. And because its
stabilizing feet are only located under the handles, it can be a little tippy
if you press on the other sides. But users also like its simple,
straightforward operation and say it heats up faster than many other electric
skillets -- a plus if you don't mind the short learning curve to master its
heat settings. So if your priorities are finding a PFOA-free skillet that can
easily cook up tacos and other skillet meals for the entire family, the Dash
Family Size Skillet is a great choice.
1200-watt, 12-inch-square (Est. $40) takes a different approach, using a copper-titanium coating
for its nonstick surface. This skillet does heat quickly and runs a little hot,
so like the Dash skillet, it's not a great choice for simmering. But if you
don't mind that quirk users say the Bella 14607 is a great skillet. Users
aren't always sure what kind of nonstick they're dealing with, but they like
how the copper-titanium coating doesn't flake or peel, and it cleans off easily
with a quick wipe or a sprinkle of baking soda if the copper has started to
Expert & User Review Sources
There are few
up-to-date expert reviews of electric skillets, but user reviews at sites like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and Williams Sonoma more than take up the slack by helping us gauge each skillet's
performance and convenience under the widely varied circumstances of everyday,