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Buying the right set of cookware is a big decision. Cookware is crazy expensive and whatever you buy will probably last a while. That’s why we did an embarrassing amount of research to help you make the right purchase.
We’ve got an epic list of the best cookware for high heat for you to pick from.
Here are the 3 main criteria we used to pick the best frying pans:
- Quality of make
You can scroll down to our buyers guide to see why these criteria matter. Our motto is “buy it once” and that means investing in quality cookware.
That’s why our top two picks are:
- Overall best: Lodge 12 in. Steel Skillet. We love this Lodge pans for all the reasons you will. Amazing non-stick quality by one of the best brands in the cookware business. It’s the best pan and it also comes at a great price.
- Most affordable: Lodge Pre-Seasoned Skillet. If you’re tight on funds, but need a new high heat pan–this is our go to option.
Today, we’re going to show you the very best bare cast iron pans for high heat cooking so that you can find the perfect one for you.
We know how frustrating it can be to research products online.
Our goal is that you never have to return a product that we recommend because it’s exactly what you wanted.
Our team has spent over 30 hours researching and comparing all of the most popular cookware options. We’ve read through hundreds of customer testimonials and reviews and we’ve personally tested dozens of different kinds of cookware.
- 8 Best Pans for High Heat Cooking
- 1. Best Nonstick Pan for High Heat – Lodge 12-inch Steel Skillet
- 2. Most Affordable – Lodge Pre-seasoned Skillet
- 3. Best Complete Set – Cuisinart Stainless Steel Cookware
- 4. Best Casserole Pan – Lodge Covered Casserole
- 5. Best Oven-safe Set – HexClad Hybrid Stainless Steel Cookware
- 6. Balanced Choice – Michelangelo Granite Frying Pan
- 7. Best for Quick Heating – T-fal 13-piece Set
- 8. Best for Ease-of-use – Vesuvio Ceramic-coated Frying Pan
- Buyers’ Guide: How to Pick the Best High Heat Cookware for your Kitchen
- Common Questions about Cookware
- Final Verdict
8 Best Pans for High Heat Cooking
Here’s a quick overview showing all of our top picks and the factors we looked at in our research. You can click through on any model to check out the recent price. You can also take a look at other customers’ high heat cookware reviews.
|Lodge 12 in. Steel Skillet||Best Nonstick Pan||Steel||$|
|Lodge Pre-Seasoned Skillet||Best Budget Buy||Cast iron||$|
|Cuisinart Stainless Steel Cookware||Best Complete Set||Stainless Steel||$$|
|Lodge Covered Casserole||Best Casserole pan||Cast iron||$|
|Hexclad Hybrid Stainless Steel Cookware||Best Oven-Safe Set||Stainless Steel||$$$|
|Michaelangelo Granite Frying Pan||Balanced Choice||Granite||$|
|T-fal 13 Piece Set||Best for Quick Heating||Stainless Steel||$$|
|Vesuvio Ceramic Coated-Frying Pan||Best for Ease-of-Use||Ceramic||$|
1. Best Nonstick Pan for High Heat – Lodge 12-inch Steel Skillet
A modern version of Lodge’s traditional cast iron pans, this 14 gauge carbon steel skillet is an updated model of the classic cast iron skillet. Its heavy-duty construction makes this perfect for any kitchen as it can be used with gas, induction, or electric stovetops as well as over an open fire or on the grill.
Lodge products are designed to last a lifetime, and this carbon steel skillet is no exception as you can expect it to never wear out if treated with the correct care to preserve the condition of the cast iron, which means avoiding soaking the pan and applying a thin layer of vegetable oil to develop a tougher seasoning after each use.
However, it’s worth noting that this carbon steel skillet does also come pre-seasoned, as vegetable oil has been baked into the cast iron, which both protects its condition and makes for an easy cooking experience by providing a non-stick layer, as well as preventing rust.
Good heat distribution provides edge-to-edge cooking making this frying pan an excellent choice for dishes such as Paella and it is designed to maintain both low and high temperatures making it a perfectly versatile tool to have in your kitchen.
|Lodge 12 in. Skillet|
- Easy to maintain – This skillet can be easily maintained with gentle washing and drying followed by light seasoning with neutral oil after each use
- Allergen-friendly – This skillet comes pre-seasoned with soybean oil, making it safe for peanut allergy sufferers or those who want to avoid the use of animal fats
- Lightweight design – This offers a much more lightweight design compared to some of the heavier, more classic cast iron skillets in this list which makes it much easier to transport between oven and table, for example
- Size – Due to its handle, the skillet may not fit in smaller ovens so may not be a suitable option for those with smaller kitchens
2. Most Affordable – Lodge Pre-Seasoned Skillet
This skillet is ready to cook right out of the box as it arrives pre-seasoned with vegetable oil for the best natural nonstick surface which saves you from worrying about building up your own layers of seasoning before using it. It features Lodge’s signature teardrop handle, which provides a firm and steady grip for safe handling.
While cast iron pans can be rather expensive, price is not what makes a great cast iron pan great. The Lodge Pre-seasoned Skillet offers a hardy, traditional cast-iron skillet that chefs all over the world rely upon, but at a budget price.
This skillet can withstand high-temperature cooking and its pure cast iron design means it can even be used on open flames for campfire cooking, which makes this option more suitable for those interested in outdoor cooking, as typically, enameled casseroles such as Lodge’s Covered Casserole are not suitable for use over an open flame.
As well as being able to withstand the heat of an open flame, this skillet can of course also be used on a variety of stovetops or induction cooking surfaces, or in the oven, which makes it a versatile and safe option. This is also on our list of the best pans for cooking over easy eggs!
|Lodge Pre-Seasoned Skillet|
- A large variety of sizes and styles – This cast iron skillet is available in a number of sizes and styles, meaning you can find exactly the right type to suit your kitchen and needs. For example, those with ample storage may be able to easily accommodate the 15-inch skillet, whereas those with smaller kitchens might choose to opt for something smaller which can be easily stored
- Signature teardrop handle for safety and comfort – Cast iron skillets can be heavy, and so Lodge use their signature teardrop handle to ensure their cast iron skillets can be easily handled, making lifting and pouring especially simple
- Cleaning and upkeep – The only downside to this cast iron skillet is that it is not dishwasher safe and can only be washed gently by hand, to protect its seasoning and condition which can last for decades if well-maintained
3. Best Complete Set – Cuisinart Stainless Steel Cookware
A stainless steel pan that is the workhorse of professional kitchens all over the globe, Cuisinart is a name well known by top chefs yet also makes a wonderful addition to any home kitchen. A benchmark in stainless steel high heat cookware, Cuisinart produces professional-quality cookware in the moderate to expensive range that is also perfect for high heat cooking at home.
This 17-piece set offers complete versatility, meaning all your cooking needs will be covered by this collection. This Cuisinart set provides high-quality, durable cookware of a professional kitchen standard, made with an aluminum encapsulated base that guarantees quick and even heating.
The Cuisinart collection boasts a sleek, modern mirror finish and each pan in this set comes complete with measurement markings that will save you time and effort in the kitchen. The set includes three skillets, three saucepans, a 3.5 Quart sauté pan, a sturdy 8 Quart stockpot perfect for batch cooking or for those larger occasions with family and friends, as well as a 4 Quart Dutch oven, and finally, a steamer insert perfect for vegetables or even dumplings.
|Cuisinart Stainless Steel Cookware|
- Value for money – This set provides an affordable yet professional quality complete set of durable cookware which will cover all your cooking needs.
- Clean up – Unlike some of the other high heat pan cookware options on this list, this Cuisinart set is dishwasher safe making for quick and easy cleanup.
- Size and space – The size of this collection means it may not be suitable for those lacking adequate kitchen storage, and while it’s dishwasher safe, some of the larger pots may not fit in smaller dishwashers.
- May scratch if used with metal – As this Cuisinart set is made using stainless steel, it can scratch if metal utensils are used, and additionally, its mirrored finish may begin to pit and mark after a few uses.
4. Best Casserole Pan – Lodge Covered Casserole
As far as superior cookware materials for high heat cooking go, bare cast irons pans are one of the best options. Lodge is a pioneer of cast iron and offers a level of quality that makes it one of the best overall options for high heat cooking. Combining both form and function, the Lodge Covered Casserole is a classic cast iron pan that’s perfect for both preparing and serving meals.
Excellent at retaining heat and even heat distribution, this cast iron pan is one of the best nonstick pans for high heat cooking and can be used on gas, electric, ceramic, and induction stovetops. Its functionality means this cast iron pan can also be used for marinating, refrigerating, and freezing as well as cooking and serving. The knob and loop handles provide solid and safe control which makes it easy to lift and carry these heavy pots, which are available as 3 Quarts pots or 3.6 Quarts pots.
Whilst this option from Lodge is at the more expensive end of high heat cookware, we feel that this cast iron pan is well worth the investment as it combines a sleek and elegant French-inspired design with functional elements that ensure it will withstand high heat on both the stovetop or in the oven at up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This is probably the safest cookware for high heat.
|Lodge Covered Casserole|
- Excellent nonstick surface – Lodge offers a smooth, non-reactive glass surface that ensures a nonstick coating that is easy to clean, but also allows for good crisping when desired
- Expert US company with over 120 years of experience in high heat cookware – Lodge is a family-owned company located in Tennessee that has been producing top-quality cast iron cookware since 1896, making them an expert with products you know you can put your trust in
- Range of designs – This Covered Casserole comes in a variety of colors and a glass lid options, allowing you can pick one that is best suited to the design of your home and kitchen
- Clean up – This Covered Casserole is dishwasher safe but it is recommended to hand wash to best protect its condition, and so requires a little more time and care when cleaning up
- Size – They are only available in two sizes; 3 and 3.6 quarts, so for those looking for more range, this may not be the best option and one of the multiple-piece sets featured on this list, such as the Cuisinart or HexClad collections, might be better-suited
- Difficult to handle – Both sizes are heavy, weighing nearly 15 lbs, therefore making them one of the least easily transportable options on this list.
5. Best Oven-safe Set – HexClad Hybrid Cookware
The choice of chef Gordon Ramsay, HexClad Hybrid Cookware offers a nonstick pan built on cutting-edge patented technology which uses three layers to guarantee an optimal cooking experience with flawless results every time. This set includes three cast iron pans of 8-, 10-, and 12-inches, complete with a 12-inch wok.
HexClad provides the heat conductivity of a regular frying pan with the nonstick performance of a cast-iron skillet, making this option especially suitable for those looking to upgrade their standard cast-iron skillet.
The wok offers stir-frying comparable to an expensive imported wok without the hefty price tag and the scratch-resistant coating can handle metal utensils or even steel wool, which makes it a much more hardy option compared to the Cuisinart collection which will scratch if used with metal. The three nonstick pans achieve a professional-level sear, which makes it a great pan for cooking steak.
|Hexclad Hybrid Cookware|
- Guarantee – This set comes with a lifetime warranty, ensuring that if you have any quality issues you will be covered by its guarantee
- Easy to handle – Its handles are designed to stay cool for safe handling
- Clean up – This set is dishwasher safe, saving time in clean up
- Price – This is a much more expensive option compared to Cuisinart’s 17-piece set, for example
- Finish – After several uses, some staining may occur.
- Temperature – This set is oven safe but is not recommended for high heat cooking for long periods so it may not be best suited for slow cooking or one-pot meals. Instead, working better for sauce and sides preparation
6. Balanced Choice – Michelangelo Granite Frying Pan
Creating a natural-based nonstick coating, the Michelangelo Granite Frying Pan uses stone instead of chemicals. Wrapping professional grade aluminum alloy in granite, this is an ergonomically designed nonstick frying pan with a glass lid that can be used on a variety of cooktops or ovens and is not only able to withstand high heat cooking but also damage.
Its granite design makes this frying pan a particularly elegant one, and it comes complete with a heat-resistant glass lid which makes it easy to keep an eye on the progress of your food whilst it cooks. If you like this material, check out our list of the best granite stone pans!
Like a ceramic enamel cooking surface, this is an excellent non-stick frying pan that doesn’t need seasoning and is easy to care for, and therefore offers a healthier option for cooking as it is designed to require very little butter or oil, instead relying on its ultra non-stick coating which is then very easily cleaned after use.
|Michaelangelo Granite Frying Pan|
- Appearance – Elegant and sleek modern design with a ceramic enamel cooking surface and a glass lid.
- Versatile cooking – Works on all types of stovetops, and oven safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Non-toxic – This ceramic enamel cooking surface pan is certified PTFA, PFOA, lead, and cadmium free, perfect for those looking for a chemical-free high heat option
- Clean up – Dishwasher safe but hand washing is recommended to preserve condition, meaning more care must be taken in clean up
- Difficult to handle – It is worth noting that the handle and lid on this pan can get hot, requiring extra caution when handling
7. Best for Quick Heating – T-fal 13-piece Set
When you think of T-fal normally, you might think of cast iron pans that cannot withstand high heat cooking. However, the best stainless steel pan set also offer a set of heavy gauge pots and pans made from multiple layers of aluminum with copper bottoms.
This set comes at a relatively reasonable price, costing just a little more than the Cuisinart 17-piece set. If you are on a tighter budget, the Cuisinart stainless steel pan set arguably provides a better value for money but if you are looking to spend a bit more and are looking for a long-lasting that uses copper bottoms to ensure an even spread of heat that is quickly channeled out from the center of the pan, this may be the set for you.
The cooking surface retains your food’s flavor and heats evenly, just a small dab of oil at high temperatures turns these into cast iron pans. This brand offers a collection of pots and cast iron pans that will provide you with high-quality high-heat cookware that will withstand years of use.
|T-fal 13 Piece Set|
- Cooking surface – T-Fal’s combination of stainless steel, copper cookware, and aluminum heats evenly and fast with even heat distribution.
- Easy maintenance and cleaning – These pans are dishwasher safe and require very little maintenance
- Limited induction use – This option may not work with induction cooktops, whereas Cuisinart and HexClad offer sets that can be used on all stovetops
- Limited temperature range – Whilst this set can be used for shorter periods of high-heat cooking, they are most suited for moderate heat cooking.
- Difficult to handle – The handles and lids of this set are prone to getting hot and can therefore be a safety concern and require extra caution when cooking
- Finish – Copper cookware finish doesn’t last very long and stains.
8. Best for Ease-of-Use – Vesuvio Ceramic-Coated Frying Pan
The Vesuvio Ceramic-coated Frying Pan is another non-stick stir frying pan that will particularly appeal to those looking for chemical-free cooking. Crafted in Italy, this pan offers a sleek and ergonomic European design complete with a silicone handle that is guaranteed to stay cool even whilst you are stir frying or deep frying at high temperatures.
Made from completely safe, eco-friendly, and recyclable materials, Vesuvio uses a ceramic coating for this pan which means you do not have to worry about the release of any toxins into your food.
It is designed for high heat for stir-frying, deep frying or searing, and its ability to withstand high heat makes it oven-safe as well, allowing you to easily transfer it from your stove into your oven for that extra finish. Its lightweight and ergonomic design make it a pleasure to cook with, and you will find that you will barely need to use much oil when cooking with this pan, as its non-stick design works wonderfully.
|Vesuvio Ceramic-Coated Frying Pan|
- Functional design – Its flat bottom and steep sides make for easy flipping.
- Non-toxic – Similar to the natural Michaelangelo stone pan, this option is also certified PTFE, PFOA, Lead, and Cadmium free.
- Easy to handle – Its silicone handle is heat resistant and ensures a safe cooking experience
- Easy clean-up – This pan is dishwasher safe and therefore reduces the time required for clean-up
- Limited induction use – Not suitable for use on induction cooktops.
- Requires maintenance – Needs to be seasoned properly and maintained.
- Non-stick surface – This pan cannot be used with metal utensils
- Price – Given its limitations, this is an expensive piece of cookware and those on a tighter budget might find the versatility and lower cost of the Lodge cast iron skillet a more fitting option, for example
Buyers’ Guide: How to Pick the Best High Heat Cookware for your Kitchen
Different materials conduct heat in different ways, meaning they’ll reach cooking temperatures more quickly, transfer heat more efficiently, and possess longer heat retention or cool down faster.
Additionally, softer metals make cookware easier to handle but also easier to damage, whereas harder metals are virtually indestructible but heavier.
You need to think about a few factors to help you decide which is the best pan for your high-heat cooking methods.
Four of the best and most efficient materials for high temperatures at home are stainless steel, cast iron, carbon steel, and enameled cast iron. The material impacts the ability to retain heat and also whether or not the pan is non-stick.
1. Stainless steel
Longevity, durability, and ease of maintenance are what make this cookware popular, despite being typically pricey. It is not the quickest material to get to temperature, but heat retention is good while the heat is still on so food will cook fast, but not evenly.
Stainless steel pans cool down quickly once the heat is off., making them safer for home kitchens. This is not a very porous material so there is no transfer of flavors, and stainless steel acts as a nonstick surface if preheated properly.
2. Cast iron
When it comes to versatility, durability, and performance, cast iron is in a class of its own. Virtually indestructible, it’s perfect for outdoor and indoor use. Though it does take a while to get hot, cast iron is one of the best materials for heat retention and is excellent for use on the stove or in the oven.
If properly seasoned, cast iron creates an unparalleled flavor profile and natural nonstick surface. However, cast iron must be properly seasoned, washed, and maintained, and should not be used for acidic foods.
Our favorite cast iron pan is the Lodge Pre-Seasoned Skillet.
3. Carbon steel
The unsung heroes of nonstick cookware are carbon steel pans. Essentially, carbon steel provides the benefits of both cast iron and stainless steel cookware with fewer drawbacks. As with cast iron, carbon steel is heavy and its nonstick surface must be properly maintained. Some people used to be concerned, but carbon steel is safe to use if properly maintained.
Like a carbon steel wok, these pans are designed for high-temperature cooking and long-term use develops the best nonstick cookware surface available. A carbon steel wok caramelizes sugars and sears steaks better than any other cookware.
In our opinion, the best non-stick carbon steel pan for high temperatures is the Lodge 12 in. Carbon Steel Skillet
4. Enameled cast iron
For cast iron without the maintenance, enameled cast iron cookware is the go-to choice. Like cast iron, enameled cast iron is perfect and takes a while to get hot, but has excellent heat retention and cooks evenly.
The enamel cooking surface is already nonstick so you don’t need to season it and it works fine with acidic foods. Enameled cast iron is dishwasher safe, but if dropped, the enameled coating can chip.
Great cookware is notorious for being expensive, but you don’t necessarily have to break the bank to get a good piece of cookware. With that in mind, a great piece of cookware should be seen as an investment, and not simply a purchase.
Carbon steel cookware is easier to produce, and thus typically the most affordable option. Quality stainless steel cookware along with enameled cast iron is the most expensive. Cast iron is normally at a mid-range price point but can fluctuate, and considering its longevity and versatility it should be seen as one of the best investments.
As you can see, the most affordable pan on our list is the Lodge Pre-Seasoned Skillet
Heat distribution is one of the most important characteristics of cookware . Even heat distribution cooks without creating random hot spots in the pan, meaning the entire surface of the pan cooks food at the same rate and temperature.
Stainless steel and carbon steel are the worst materials for even heat distribution. Traditional cast iron pans and enameled cast iron tend to be better choices for even heat distribution, though the underlying quality of the material used to fabricate the cookware impacts this greatly.
The shape is a characteristic that is more often viewed in terms of storage and appearance than functionality. However, the shape can affect how long it takes a pan to heat up and influence even heat distribution.
Think about the shape of the heating element that the cookware will sit on. A round frying pan will normally have more area covered by a round heating element. If the cookware materials do not naturally cook food evenly, then having less of the pan over the heating element will only exacerbate that issue.
However, if the cookware is primarily used in the oven, then a square pan typically offers more surface area to handle larger quantities of food.
Common Questions about Cookware
Can non-stick frying pans go on high heat?
Traditional nonstick frying pans are not designed to withstand high heat cooking. High-temperature cooking will eventually damage the nonstick coating and depending upon the type of nonstick coating the nonstick cookware has, that damage can release dangerous toxins into the food. For the safest cookware to use in high heat always rely upon cookware that is specifically designed for high heat.
Which cookware materials is best for high heat?
High heat cooking can be dangerous and requires cookware designed for high heat. The best frying pans for high heat are made from carbon steel, enameled cast iron, stainless steel, or traditional cast iron.
Do I need to season my frying pans for high-heat cooking?
It depends upon the type of cookware. Carbon steel and bare cast iron cookware need to be seasoned properly unless it’s pre-seasoned by the factory. Enameled cast iron already cooks as if it has been seasoned. A stainless steel pan can be seasoned but preheating to a high temperature and just a little bit of oil works just as well.
Whether you prefer bare cast iron, stainless steel, enameled cast iron, or carbon steel cookware there is a quality option for high heat that is perfect for your kitchen. Finding the best cookware for high heat that suits your needs is, therefore, a simple task.
For most kitchens, the Lodge 12 in. Steel Skillet is the ideal option for a high heat non-stick pan. The carbon skillet is designed for high temperatures with excellent heat conductivity. In our opinion, this is the best pan for high heat for the price.
If you are more budget-minded, the Lodge Pre-Seasoned Skillet provides all the same attributes of a great cast iron pan at a very attractive price.And, if you want to outfit the entire kitchen at one time, you can never go wrong with Cuisinart Stainless Steel Cookware.
Richmond Howard started Meal Prepify in 2019 and has helped over a million people learn how to meal prep, get better at meal planning, and create a kitchen they love to use. He’s an avid home chef and loves to bbq, grill out, and make awesome food for family and friends. He’s been featured on MSN, Renaissance Periodization, and Good Financial Cents.