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What could be better than learning to cook your perfect steak in the perfect pan - and what could be more delicious! Steak is a great crowd pleaser, popular with diners the world over, and if you want to make a good impression for a dinner guest a steak dinner is most definitely the way to go!
Pan frying is a great option for how to cook your steak, not just for quality - it’s also the quickest way of cooking steak - and time is always of the essence.
And it's so simple - all you have to do is brown the meat on both sides over a very high heat before turning the heat down to cook the meat to the point desired.
Moreover, the best meals are made with the best cookware. In our buying guide, we will walk you through the varieties and describe how well they work for steak.
Whether you like your steak bleu or well done, we’ve got all the info here.
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Best Pans For Cooking Steak - Comparison Table
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Best Pans For Cooking Steak - Reviews
This was an easy number one for us - customers rave about it and for good reason too!
At 10.5 inches square, it’s big enough to fry 2-3 steaks at a time. It’s first USP though, is that, like all Lodge cookware, it comes already seasoned in 100% vegetable oil, ripe for use in your steak recipes from the get go!
This also means it has a nearly non-stick surface, without the possible harmful fumes that are rumored to be given off from chemically treated non-stick pans.
We also love how it features grill ribs, which allow your steak to be elevated, allowing your steak drippings to collect at the bottom, ready for making your steak sauces! Alternatively you can just lose the drippings for a healthier steak.
As a virtually indestructible piece of cookware that can last for generations, it’s a lifelong investment.
It’s heat retention and even heating are unparalleled in the world of cast iron grills. Best of all, it can be used equally well in the kitchen or over the campfire.
We love this frying pan too - it has an unprecedented non-stick performance - without the risk of exposure to all the nasty chemicals said to be released when cooking from traditional non-stick surfaces.
It has a smooth but hardened and scratch-resistant coating which is super easy to clean.It even boasts a magnetized base for use with rapid heat transfer induction stoves.
We also like that it has a comfortable handle which is coated with heat resistant silicone.
It’s a best seller not just for home use, but with trained chefs too.
Our number 3, made from the same makers as those from our number 1, has all the qualities, such as being cast iron and already seasoned. This means it features excellent heat retention, additional flavour, and is super easy to clean.
There are 3 differences though. The main one being that you can only cook one steak at a time due to its small three and a half inch size.
On the plus side however, this product is a skillet, so instead of pan frying your steak you can also saute or broil it for a different finish.
And naturally you’d pay a smaller price for a smaller piece of cookware.
Call us vain, but our article would be amiss without featuring a pan that was super pretty!
It’s no surprise that this red speckled beauty made our Top 5 - and not just for it’s looks.
The interior of the pan is made out of durable heavy-gauge die-cast aluminum, with a magnetized base for use with rapid heat transfer induction stoves. It sports patented Thermo Spot technology, which allows an even heat base and features anti-warping.
It has a superior and longer lasting non stick coating. Furthermore, it achieves that non-stick coating perfection without all those nasty chemicals rumoured to be released from other non-stick cookware surfaces.
We also love the ergonomic wooden handle, which is comfortable to grip and stays cool during cooking.
If you’re looking for a good grill pan that isn’t as heavy as the cast iron ones we’ve featured, they you need look no further than our number 5.
Instead of heavy cast iron, it's made with hard anodized aluminium (more on this in our buyer guide). It allows even heating and is non stick.
This grill pan has ridges along the bottom which give those lovely sear marks to your steak while allowing the fat to drip away, and has deep sides to minimize splatters.
It also features a comfortable silicone over stainless steel handle.
Best Pans For Cooking Steak - Buyers Guide
Our buying guide concentrates on steak served up straight. By the end of our guide and FAQ section, you will know exactly how to prevent your steak sticking to the pan and how to prevent it drying out. We cover frying pans, and grill pans and skillets.
(A skillet is simply a pan with slanted sides. The slanted sides mean it’s perfect for stir frying, or when you’re moving ingredients around a lot in the pan.)
First let’s take a look at your good old frying pan. Your typical frying pan is usually made from aluminium or stainless steel and can feature a non-stick coating.
Aluminium is one of the best metals for conducting heat - far better than stainless steel in fact. This means aluminium will brown the sides of the steak more quickly, sealing in the juices right away! Aluminium also heats evenly across the surface of the pan.
There’s a particular aluminium which is a far superior frying pan material than your standard aluminium, and that’s anodized aluminium. It’s a better heat conductor than stainless steel, and it’s also scratch-resistant. Although it’s very strong, it's also surprisingly lightweight. The drawback is that it takes a little longer to heat than other materials.
Stainless steel frying pans are generally more expensive than your aluminium ones. Stainless steel pans are sturdy, durable and cheap. They maintain their heat well, which results in even cooking and is great for searing your steak.
Stainless steel pans are better for novice cooks, since they adjust to temperature changes quickly.
Frying pans usually feature a non-stick coating, commonly known as Teflon. It’s popularity is drawn from how easy it is to clean, due to its smooth surface meaning ingredients do not stick to the pan. It requires little oil or butter, making it a healthier way for you to cook your steak.
Originally Teflon got its non stick properties from a toxic, nearly indestructible chemical, usually referred to as PFOA. These days however, Teflon and similar brands are PFOA free. If you’re unsure or worried, we recommend reading the label.
Grill pans are usually either made from aluminium with a non-stick surface, or they are cast iron. A cast iron grill pan gets extremely hot and also retains heat for a long time, so if you decided to cook a well done steak, the heat is unlikely to dissipate too much when the steak hits the plate.
Some cast iron grill pans come already seasoned. Seasoning of cookware is the process of treating the surface with heated fat in order to make a corrosion-resistant and stick-resistant coating.
The drawbacks to a cast iron grill pan are that it takes longer to heat up than a stainless steel pan, and that they’re more susceptible to hot spots.
As you can see by now, there are pros and cons to each of the materials used for making pans. You will have to weigh them up against your personal requirements. Consequently our top 5 featured pans offer options across the board.
In general, a grill pan is a better choice than a frying pan. Not just because you can grill outdoors but also because it’s that much healthier. Foods absorb a lot of fat when fried, even with low fat foods. When your steak is grilled however, the fats get extracted from the meat.
Whatever pan you go for, be sure it’s a heavy duty one with a thick base. A thick base allows it to absorb and distribute heat more evenly than a thinner pan, and will do away with “hot spots”. All the pans in our top 5 have that thick base.
Best Pans For Cooking Steak Frequently Asked Questions
How do you choose a good steak?
For a special occasion, choose a fillet steak. It’s the most prized of cuts. Although it’s very thick, it’s also the leanest and most tender. It comes from the lower middle of the back, and it's so tender because it does the least work. It tends to be more difficult to cook because it’s thicker.
Sirloin is another strong favourite. Sirloin is cut up to about 2cm thick with a very thin layer of fat running along the top. It’s moderately tender and very affordable. It has no bones, which is a plus for many people. And if you’re going to go for sirloin, go for top sirloin.
Rump is larger, with a firmer texture than sirloin, and is considered to have more flavour. Despite not being as tender as sirloin, it has a deep mineral savouriness. But what you’ll love about it is the price.
Rib-eye steaks are large and are slightly rounded. Whilst they carry more fat than other steaks, the juice and flavour often makes up for it. It gets its amazing flavour from the fat marbling, which you will see throughout the cut.
How do you prepare a steak for frying?
We recommend that you tenderize your steak, bashing your steak with a heavy mallet, to soften the fibres, making the meat easier to both chew and to digest.
Season your steak according to taste. Options include but are certainly not limited to salt and pepper. You don’t have to marinade it, but we do recommend letting it get to room temperature before cooking. You can cook your steak in butter or in oil.
How do you prevent your steak from sticking to the pan?
To prevent your steak from sticking to the pan, you need to add some sort of fat (any butter, marge, or oil) into the pan before you add your steak.
How do you prevent your steak from drying out?
Don’t cook your steak straight from the fridge - let it get to room temperature before cooking. You should also allow the steak to rest after cooking. This allows the collagen in the meat to thicken the juices, as the steak cools ever so slightly.
How to minimize splatter when frying?
If you want to minimize splatter when frying, there are several ways. We recommend using a splash guard. Or, using a pair of tongs, set a folded paper towel in the pan to mop up excess juice. Another method is to sprinkle a bit of flour in when the oil starts to bubble.
What’s the most searched for recipe for pan fried steak?
One of the most searched for recipes for pan fried steak is the Martha Stewart one, which you can find displayed on her website. Another well loved favorite is Gordan Ramsay’s, which again can be found on his website.
What type of steak is best for health and nutritional value?
Red meat such as beef steak is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals, and can form part of a healthy balanced diet. When it comes to beneficial nutrients, there’s actually no difference between a steak that’s cooked rare or well done.
Importantly however, red meat is classified as a probable cause of cancer. This is because it contains carcinogenic chemicals which can directly interact with your body’s DNA to make changes which could lead to the abnormal cell growth which characterizes cancer.
But don’t worry, here are some tips to avoid carcinogens in your steak. Firstly go for a fresh steak over any processed meat. Avoid cooking your steak on a barbeques, which may have flame flare ups. Try marinating your steak before cooking. Choose leaner cuts and limit portion sizes. Don’t have your steak well done, aim for a less “burnt” grade.
Is pan frying the only way to cook steak?
Pan frying is by no means the only way to cook steak, but it is by far the most popular. You can also cook steak in an oven or slow cooker or halogen oven. Poaching, sauteing and broiling your steak are the other options.
What’s the best US online butchers for steaks?
To find a good online butcher for steaks, we suggest you head over to urbantastebud.com.
What sauces go well with steak and where can I find the recipes?
The most popular steak sauces include peppercorn sauce, and steak Diane. Why not head over to https://www.greatbritishchefs.com/features/five-best-steak-sauces for details.
What wine pairs well with steak?
Always go with your diner’s favourite if you can, but if they don’t have a favourite, and they like red wine, we suggest a big bold Cabernet Sauvignon.
The reason red wine is so favoured for pairing with steaks, is that its molecules soften the fat in the steak to release its flavor.
What other foods go well with steak?
You can really take your pick here! Thick fries, jacket potato, salad, vegetables...the list goes on...