Equipment Guide

Frying pans (or saute pans) are commonplace in any commercial kitchen. Combining the classic, round shape of a skillet, with moderately high, slightly sloped sides, these pans feature a signature all-purpose design that prevents steam from forming in the pan, ensuring a perfect texture every time you cook. They are ideal for all kinds of pan-frying (as opposed to deep-fat frying in which food is completely immersed in hot fat), as well as scrambling, sauteing, or searing.

Frying pans are available in a variety of metals that conduct heat efficiently, each available in a variety of sizes, with 8-, 10-, and 12-inch being the most popular sizes across the industry.


When buying fry pans for your commercial kitchen, consider the material that they are made from. Common materials include:

  • Aluminum
  • Aluminum Clad Stainless Steel
  • Induction-ready
  • Heavy Duty HardCoat / Anodized Aluminum
  • Stainless Steel
  • Stainless Steel / Aluminum
  • Copper / Stainless Steel

Non-Stick vs. Standard Surface

Non-stick fry pans provide many benefits in your kitchen. Food does not stick to non-stick fry pans, which cuts down on prep time and allows for easy, faster clean up. There are many other benefits as well when compared to standard surface fry pans, like reduced need for fats and oils, leading to healthier cooking.

Although, Non-stick cookware does have a few small drawbacks:

  • Subject to scratching
  • Not suitable for high temp cooking (over 500 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Should not be used with metal utensils

Beyond material construction, it is always important to consider the thickness of the frying pans you’re investing in. But how do you know how thick an item is? The thickness of cookware is generally measured in either gauge or mils, but the way you read these numbers is totally different! 1 mil is equal to 1/1000″, so you know that the higher the mil, the thicker the metal.

Gauge, however, works in the opposite fashion—the higher the gauge, the thinner the metal. Most of the cookware you find will fall somewhere between a thick 10 gauge construction and a thinner 22 gauge construction.

While thicker metal is often preferable, there are always pros and cons to account for.


Consider pans with stainless steel handles, as these will not conduct heat as well as aluminum handles, and will remain cooler than the pan. Or look for metal handles that are hollowed in some way for a cooling effect. Silicone or Cool handles are also great options as they offer a comfortable grip for all-day use, and easily slide off for simple cleaning. Be aware though that some silicone handles are not designed for high-temperature use, and may require the use of a pot handle holder to keep your staff safe.

Induction Ready

Induction ready cookware is made of magnetic materials, such as steel or iron. Instead of traditional cooking methods where the cook top generates heat that then passes to your cookware through contact, induction cooking works through magnetic energy, which heats the cookware directly and not the cook top. This means faster heating, less energy consumption, and a safer kitchen.

induction Look for this symbol when shopping to be sure you are ordering an induction ready frying pan.

Care and Cleaning

While it is generally recommended to refer to the cleaning instructions from the product’s manufacturer, they may not always come with the product. Let’s briefly discuss how to clean the different types of frying pans.

  • Never leave empty cookware on your heat source.
  • For safety and to prevent warping, allow cookware to cool before cleaning or immersion in water.
  • All cookware will last longer and look better if washed by hand with soapy water. Always scrub in the direction of the material grain. Rinse thoroughly, sanitize, and allow to air dry completely.
  • Use of high temperature silicone utensils for non-stick pans and metal utensils for standard surface pans is recommended.
  • If putting through the dishmachine, make sure you are using a metal-safe detergent.


Prior to cooking, lightly coat the inside of your non-coated aluminum, stainless steel, or carbon steel frying pans with a small amount of vegetable oil or shortening. Then place the frying pan on a burner at medium for 5-10 minutes, until light smoke or heat waves appear. When shortening turns a deep amber color, turn off the burner and allow to cool. Pour out excess oil/shortening and wipe down the frying pan with a paper towel until all of the oil/shortening is removed.

Seasoning will prolong the life of the frying pan. Cleaning with a mild soapy solution after each use will not affect the “seasoning” of the pan. It’s okay to repeat this procedure as often as needed without doing damage to the cookware.

Aluminum and Aluminum Clad Stainless Steel

When cleaning aluminum fry pans, keep in mind that handwashing is the preferred method. Use detergents made specifically for aluminum since aluminum is a soft metal that is attacked by detergents with a high alkaline or acidic nature. Through repeated use, aluminum will soften and, if scoured, will thin.

Carbon Steel

Carbon steel cookware comes with mineral oil applied to the pan. Wipe down this oil and clean the pan by hand using hot, soapy water. Dry immediately. After each use, clean and season. Do not use soap to clean the seasoned carbon steel pan- scrub the interior with hot water instead. Wipe the inside and outside of the pan with unsalted cooking oil or shortening to prevent oxidation. The pan will turn a dark color as seasoning occurs after repeated use.

Heavy Duty Hard Coat

To preserve the unique HardCoat on these frying pans, these pans must be handwashed in hot, soapy water. Use a non-woven scouring pad to remove burnt food. Avoid using abrasive cleaners, metal scouring pads, and strong solvents. When stacking pans, place liners between pans to avoid scratching stick-resistant surfaces.

Stainless Steel

It is possible to wash stainless steel frying pans in the dishwasher, though it’s typically best to wash them by hand. Always use warm water, a clean sponge, and dish soap with grease-cutting abilities to clean your stainless steel frying pans. Never use bleach or ammonia on this type of pan.


Allow non-stick coating to cool before cleaning. Handwash in hot, soapy water and dry immediately to preserve appearance. Use a non-woven scouring pad to remove burnt food. Avoid using abrasive cleaners, metal scouring pads, and strong solvents. When stacking pans, place liners between pans to avoid scratching non-stick surfaces.