Modern cooking is an entirely different thing from what cooking used to be. People have discovered new ways to do that without affecting the nutrients, which leads to a healthier diet and lifestyle. That is mostly because they found new methods and new tools to do so. You have a solution for anything nowadays. As far as cuisine goes, we live in a golden age.
The vast variety of cooking pots allows you to cook anything in the most optimal manner. You have pots for rice, eggs, pasta, and much more. There is one for everything. But one of the tools I love the most in my kitchen is the stir fry pan.
The advantages of using a stir fry pan
I don’t know about you, but I don’t really have much time on my hands to take my time cooking. I eat lunch at work, but when I come home (pretty late in the evening,) the last thing I want is to spend an hour or two in the kitchen. But then I discovered the stir fry pan, and my diet changed. I was fully aware that my eating was not very healthy and that I needed a change. The stir fry pan helped me achieve precisely that. Here is why I like it so much.
- Cooking time – this is the primary reason I love stir frying. It takes very little time to cook a meal. It’s true that the prepping is longer than the cooking itself, but I always like to chop up all the ingredients first anyway. I am not a vegetarian, but I do enjoy vegetables, and sometimes I feel this need to eat only that. I am just not in the mood for meat. It happens. But that means that all my cooking lasts for about 20 minutes. 15 minutes to chop the vegetables and just 5 minutes to cook them in the stir fry pan. I always eat them right away. Otherwise, the vegetables lose their vitality.
- It saves a few bucks on the gas/electric bill – as I said, stir frying takes very little time, so the gas on the stove runs just for 5 minutes. Whereas if you cook some potatoes, for example, it will take about 20-30 minutes to boil. And you are not going to eat just potatoes, so you have to cook some meat as well, which depending on what you make, can take as much as an hour. You see where I am going with this. It’s cheaper to stir fry.
- The food looks amazing – you can make an experiment if you like. Take some green peas. Throw half in the pot to boil, and the other half in the stir fry pan. You’ll see that the stir-fried green beans will look a lot better. They will look as if they were still raw, except that they are cooked. Stir-fried food looks a lot more appealing than other means of cooking. I don’t know about you, but I like my food to look as fresh and as colorful as possible.
- It will save you money on ingredients – the cooking technique relies mostly on vegetables, which as you know they are a lot cheaper than meat. I am not saying you should not eat meat, it’s a primary source of protein, but with a stir fry pan, you can stretch to maximum a limited amount of protein. Plus, nobody says you cannot stir fry chicken.
- Health advantages – given the fact that the food does not take very long to cook, a lot of nutrients are saved, especially when you use the right kind of oil, like virgin olive, soybean, peanut, or safflower. There have been studiesconducted, and they show that broccoli, for example, has almost the same amount of nutrients and vitamins when is stir-fried in one of those cooking oils, as when it is raw. So you cook the vegetables, but you enjoy the benefits of eating fresh food. On the exact opposite, if you don’t know how to cook using a stir fry pan, the food can be a health hazard. So it’s healthy as long as you know how to do it right.
How to choose the best stir fry pan?
It’s not difficult to choose a high-quality product, but you have to pay attention to a few key features that make a stir fry pan the best. There are a lot of products online, as well as in store, but not all of them provide what you need. So here is what you must look for in a stir fry pan.
- If the stir fry is made of metal, go for anything that says anodized. It doesn’t matter that it’s aluminum or stainless steel. As long as it’s anodized, you are okay. That means the pan is non-toxic and scratch resistant. Isn’t that what you want? Ceramic stir fry pans are also harmless. Try to avoid Teflon as much as possible because when it’s heated to over 350º F, it releases highly toxic vapors. Since a stir fry pan has to reach a very high temperature to deliver perfect results, if it’s made of Teflon, you may suffer health damage.
- Choose a non-stick surface. The reason may be obvious, but a non-stick surface is excellent for two reasons. One, it’s very easy to clean. You don’t have to scrub very much, and you can easily throw the pan in the dishwasher. It will come out as good as new. And two, they don’t require the use of too much oil. When the surface is sticky, you have to add more oil, so your food does not become one with the pan, but that it’s not very healthy. Doctors always recommend a slight amount of fat, which what oil is, basically.
- The handle – I am not into that ergonomic design and all, but if you are, there are plenty of pans that come with an ergonomic handle. What I’m interested in is a handle that remains cool when I’m cooking. I burned my hand too many times because I forgot to place a towel on it. I learned my lesson. Also, another aspect about the handle that I find important is the manner in which it’s attached to the pan. I had enough pans that lost their handles because they were poorly welded, or because the screws were placed more as a joke. So make sure to choose a stir fry pan that has a sturdy, durable handle. Personally, I am a fan of stainless steel handles. Stainless steel is a poor conductor, and the handle will remain cool. Also, I can put the pan in the oven if the recipe requires. There is no plastic to melt.
What are the best stir fry pans?
That is an excellent question to which nobody knows the answer. There are hundreds of models on the market. I doubt someone tried them all. What I can tell you is that I read reviews before I purchase something. I just check if the review is verified and I take it from there. People will always have something to say about what they bought, especially about negative aspects, so I rely on them. Usually, they are right.
Cuisinart 726-38H Chef’s Classic Stainless 14-inch Stir Fry Pan
This pan is a classic 14-inch made of stainless steel with encapsulated aluminum core. This is the exact model I own, which is why I wanted to talk about it first. I had this stir fry pan for quite some time now, and because I cleaned it properly after each use, let me tell you that it looks the same. I have to admit that it has some small scratches on the exterior, but that is entirely my fault because I took shortcuts and cleaned it with a rough sponge sometimes. But usually, it is very easy to clean. The reason why there is encapsulated aluminum in it is that stainless steel alone is a poor heat conductor. The aluminum helps distribute the heat evenly throughout the pan.
The handle is made of stainless steel alone. That means it remains cool during cooking. I haven’t burned my hand once since I started using it. The fact that is riveted makes it even more efficient. It won’t even budge. The helper is useful too, especially when I put the stir fry pan in the oven. It helps me hold the pan tight.
You will also receive a clear lid that has a loop handle and a stainless steel rim. I have to admit that I don’t use it very much, but it should come in handy for people who do. The Cuisinart stir fry pan is safe to put in the dishwasher. It cleans right up. You can even put it in the oven as long as the temperature doesn’t exceed 550º F.
What you should know about this stir fry pan is that it cannot be used on an induction stovetop. They are pretty common these days, so I thought you should be aware. But other than that, the Cuisinart is an excellent product, which is why I strongly recommend it. In my opinion, this is one of the best stir fry pans I have ever used. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Rachael Ray Cucina Hard Anodized Non-stick Covered Stir Fry Pan
This is one of those anodized metal pans I was speaking of above. It’s non-toxic, and you can spin a fork all you want on its surface, it will not make a single scratch. Since it’s aluminum, this pan will heat very fast and will provide even energy distribution. The non-stick feature will surely make you happy, especially when it’s time to clean. Not to mention that a only small amount of oil will benefit your health.
The handle seems to be very comfortable, and from what I read online, it really is. There is a layer of silicone over the stainless steel, which makes it both easy to grab, but also you cannot burn your hand. It doesn’t get hot. The lid is made of shatter-resistant glass with a stainless steel rim. But don’t drop it too often, though.
The Rachael Ray stir fry pan can be put in the oven. The only thing you need to be careful about is that the temperature is not above 400º F. Don’t worry about the handle. The silicone will not melt. It is also dishwasher safe. However, it does not work on induction stoves. It is compatible with all the rest, except induction. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Rachael Ray Porcelain Enamel Non-stick Stir Fry Pan
I have to admit that Rachael Ray knows how to design these pans. They all look lively and colorful. This one makes no exception. You can find it in a variety of colors and can serve straight from it, that’s how pretty it is.
Apart from being beautiful, this stir fry pan is also functional. It heats very fast and provides even heat throughout the pan. There is no way you can burn your food because there are no hot spots. The heat on the edge is the same as the heat in the center. The surface is non-stick. The food will slip as skates on ice. There is no need for too much oil, which is great news if you want to keep a strict diet. Plus, you get to clean it up in 2 minutes. Or you can put it in the dishwasher.
The dual-riveted handle is covered in rubber, you can grab it safely and hold it well. It does not get heated so you cannot get burned. You can even put it in the oven as long as the temperature doesn’t exceed 350º F. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
I already told you my choice, there is no need to say it again. I, for one, reached a point whre the stir fry pan is my most used pan in the kitchen. Mostly because I don’t have too much time for cooking. But the truth is that a stir fry pan is versatile, and you can use it on a large variety of recipes. You should give it a go. It’s really worth it. Click here to buy on Amazon
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