Judith is a fairy in the world of writing: she manages to turn any topic (far not only a kitchen-related) into an entertaining text that is so easy and educating to read. Fond of gardening, reading, and cooking, of course.
Emily has over 10 years of professional experience using, testing and comparing kitchen appliances. Her knowledge helps to easily and naturally solve everyday problems. She is also the owner of the lifestyle blog emilyreviews.com
Last updated: July 11, 2021
If you like to get creative in the kitchen, you should have equipment that helps you along. As such, a stir-fry pan seems like an essential accessory for your cooking projects. This being the case, you might need to spend your money getting one or two.
The Circulon 82366 Acclaim Stir Fry Pan is one of the best stir fry pans in the market and our current editor’s pick. Among the most significant benefits of this purchase are a lifetime warranty, a non-stick surface, and durable anodized construction. This pan as well gets stiff competition from nine other products that make it onto our list. Of course, this is a fraction of all products we reviewed since we started with 30 plus products.
The other 20 pans were eliminated after checking out the various features, including the size and weight alongside materials used to make them. Also, we made it a point to check out the various cookers that each pan can be used on as well as any other features that might be present. All these attributes help determine what the pan can and cannot be used for. As you would imagine, this was an exercise that required a lot of time to complete. It also involved sourcing information from manufacturer websites as well as Amazon. Nonetheless, you don’t have to go through a similar process. You just need to check out the table ranking the ten best stir fry pans below. For a bit more information, there is an in-depth review section as well. A buying guide is the icing on the cake and should make choosing your purchase a lot easier.
The Circulon 82366 Acclaim Stir Fry Pan is genuinely deserving of the editor’s choice pick due to a lot of factors. One example is the construction. The manufacturer uses solid aluminum, which they then anodize. This process leaves the aluminum pan almost two times as strong as stainless steel.
For the above reason, you expect the pan to maintain its form even when you drop it accidentally. Also, there is the non-stick element of the pan. To achieve this, the manufacturer includes several layers in its body. This results in a high-low groove system on the pan. As a result, food will be relatively easy to dislodge from the pan once it is ready.
Also, this 3-layer non-stick coat can resist staining, chipping, and cracking. This ensures your 12-inch nonstick stir fry pan keeps looking pristine no matter how many times you use it. It is worth noting that this non-stick layer is present on both the interior and exterior of the pan.
A stainless steel handle as well extends from the body of the pan. It features dual rivets to ensure stability for whoever is handling the kitchen accessory. Also included in this design is a rubber grip to keep from injuring your hands as you cook your favorite meals.
Another benefit of buying the Circulon 82366 Acclaim Stir Fry Pan is that it is dishwasher friendly. Also, this product is oven-safe. This list of benefits is topped off by the fact that this tool comes with a lifetime warranty.
If you have a little extra cash to spend, you should think about purchasing the Calphalon Triply Stir Fry Pan With Cover. Despite being the same size as the Circulon 82366 Acclaim Stir Fry Pan, this package is almost twice as heavy. However, you may attribute that to the fact that this product comes with a cover, as mentioned in the name.
Of course, this tempered glass lid should come in handy as some recipes require you to cover your food. Moreover, you get the option to check the progress of your meal through this see-through cover. The fact that it is tempered also means that it will be hard to break.
There are, of course, details about the product that you cannot be able to tell by looking at the pan. One example is that it is made of three-layer construction. You have stainless steel on both the inner and outer extremes of the pan, while the middle is made of aluminum. This mid-layer is what is responsible for even heating of your food.
A triple-riveted stainless steel handle is provided so you can handle the tool comfortably. If you want to use this pan in an oven, there should be no problems with that. After all, this product can handle temperatures of up to 450°F. You should also be able to put this purchase in a dishwasher for cleaning purposes.
Finally, you have a lifetime warranty with this purchase as well.
The Cuisinart 726-38H Chef’s Classic Stir-Fry Pan has a wok-style design. It is also quite similar to the Calphalon Triply Stir Fry Pan With Cover in outlook. Other than that, there are a few similarities in features as well between the two products.
This pan measures 14” making it the biggest one on the list. As such, if you have a large family or you make it a point to cook for many people, you should purchase this option. With this tool, you can take on any recipe, even those that require the use of an oven. Also, the fact that this tool is rated at 550° F means you can crank the heat up as much as you want.
If you also wish to prevent moisture and nutrients from escaping, you can use the see-through lid to cover your food. The loop handle is there to ensure you don’t get hurt when you are putting the lid on or taking it off.
The manufacturer does include an aluminum core in the product. This is the element responsible for the even heating on your pan. Nonetheless, the primary material used in the construction of this equipment is stainless steel.
Manufacturer defects are also nothing to worry about since you get a lifetime warranty with this purchase. Also, you should find the stainless steel riveted handle makes this tool a joy to use.
Despite being one of the smallest pans on the list, this purchase is quite heavy. However, once you take out the various accessories, you might find the pan to be lighter than stipulated. The said accessories include a lid, a roasting steaming rack, and a deep frying basket. As such, this set is quite versatile for handling many cooking jobs.
The titanium, aluminum, and ceramic construction of the pan is quite unique. However, you are guaranteed by the manufacturer that this tool is durable. The makers even back this up with a lifetime warranty. The glass lid as well is built to last. Also, if you are looking for quick and even heating, this product offers that.
Like our first pick, this product is a non-stick option. Among the benefits of this feature is that you need to use less oil for cooking. You as well get excellent food release.
This pan will work with that induction cooktop you have in your kitchen. The oven, as well, is no different. Just remember to keep temperatures below 400° F is you want to continue using the pan.
What makes it stand out?
Offers even heating
You get a non-stick cooking surface
Comes with multiple useful accessories
Easy to clean
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Overheating the pan destroys the non-stick surface
The Rachael Ray 87644 Cucina Stir Fry Wok Pan with Lid is another 11” nonstick stir fry pan to feature on this list. Even before buying this product for just under $40, you should know that it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Other pertinent information with regards to this pan is that it has a hard-anodized aluminum body. This makes it similar to the Circulon 82366 Acclaim Stir Fry Pan in certain aspects of its construction. Also, a dual-riveted stainless steel handle extends from the main body of the stir fry pan. To make handling this pan easier, the manufacturer added silicone over the metal of the handle.
A shatter-resistant lid is also worthy of addition to the pros of owning this pan. If this still doesn’t satisfy your criteria for choosing a pan, there is the additional benefit of being oven safe. You should exercise caution when using this tool alongside your oven. This is because temperatures above 400°F may lead to irreversible damage.
Also, cleaning should be a breeze due to the pan being non-stick.
The Willow & Everett Wok Pan with Lid seems like another worthy addition to our stir fry pan reviews. Just like most other options that offer even heating capabilities, this product has an aluminum core. Stainless steel makes up the rest of the stir fry pan, including the handle.
Since this is a three-layer product, it means the aluminum is encased between the two stainless steel layers. This purchase also features among the larger options with its size of 13”. As such, you should find it easy to cook meals for multiple people.
Also, you get a stainless steel lid as well for those flavorful and nutrient-rich meals you want to cook. Another accessory included is the Wok spatula. This product also has significant disadvantages as compared to the competition in the lack of a warranty.
That being said, it does clean up nicely in a dishwasher, which is a major positive. It is also compatible with oven-made meals if you keep temperatures below 500°F.
Why is it special?
Comes with accessories including a lid and spatula
Another 12” pan makes it onto our list in the form of the TeChef Art Pan 12″ Stir Fry Pan. At 4 lbs, this product is quite heavy, but that is to be expected due to the heavy gauge aluminum construction.
As if that is not enough, the product comes with five layers of non-stick Teflon coating. It is worth noting that these layers are PFOA free. This lack of harmful contaminants is a significant positive, given that this pan is going to come into contact with a lot of your food.
Not many of the pans on this list are induction compatible. However, this particular one solidifies its position as one of the few. Also, while you can use this in an oven, the heat rating is quite abysmal since it can only handle 350°F.
A soft-touch handle means you don’t need extra insulation as you hold the pan. Also, throwing it into the dishwasher should be enough for cleaning before you throw it in storage.
The investment in this pan is also protected by a lifetime warranty.
What makes it stand out?
Comes with a lifetime warranty
Can be used with induction cookers
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
While it is oven safe, you can’t use it with temperatures above 350°F.
One of the biggest concerns for anybody who purchases this product is whether they will be able to lift it with one hand as they prepare their meals. This is, of course, dependent on the physical aptitude of the person in question. However, if you can get past that, there are a whole bunch of positive attributes to expect.
The hard-anodized aluminum body is a major one. In addition to the durability that this construction affords the user, you can also not complain about the distribution of heat. Nevertheless, there are components of this pan that are not made of said aluminum. Among them is the stainless steel handle. You also have the tempered glass lid.
A flat bottom is provided to give this pan stability despite the wok design of the pan. Also, a 450°F oven limit seems quite reasonable as this works with most recipes.
The Cook N Home Nonstick Stir Fry Wok Pan is another induction-compatible pan that makes it onto our list. This is a 12” model that weighs 3.3 lbs. Since there are no accessories that come with the product, you are free to assume that that is the actual weight of the pan.
As we already mentioned, the fact that it is induction compatible already puts it ahead of some of the competition. Add to that the fact that it is oven safe, and you have versatile cooking equipment for your kitchen.
You as well don’t have to be intimidated by the price as it costs about $31 to own this pan. For that, you get a non-stick pan option that will likely be your go-to option for a lot of your cooking henceforth. It is too bad that it doesn’t have a warranty. Nevertheless, most people won’t mind that minor flaw.
Another large stir fry pan option is the 14” T-fal A80789 Specialty Wok Cookware. With its large aluminum body, the manufacturer still manages to keep the weight at only 2 lbs. This makes it quite the lightweight option, regardless of the size.
A dishwasher friendly body is also of huge benefit as it makes cleaning a breeze. Also, this tool features a nonstick coating over its aluminum cook surface. The manufacturer has also made it clear that you are free to use this in your oven. However, using temperatures of higher than 350°F is discouraged.
If you go higher than said temperature, your pan is likely not to last long. Also, the lifetime warranty may not be able to cover any damage that is a result of this.
What are its best features?
Large cooking surface
Comes with a lifetime warranty
What could be improved?
The 350°F maximum temperature can be quite limiting
The pan has a small contact surface which doesn’t seem to satisfy some
Scratches relatively easily
Things to Consider
Of course, getting the best stir fry pan for your budget and needs is not an easy exercise. You will encounter many different models from varying manufacturers, and all the information you take in about them can be confusing. However, you have below a buying guide that will help you sort through the various models, and you should make the most use of it.
What is stir fry?
If you use high heat for frying some of your meals, all the while stirring continuously, then you are stir-frying your meals. Of course, special kitchenware is required for this; otherwise, the food will stick to your pan and get burned. This is likely to be just as detrimental to your cookware as it is to your food.
Why buy a stir fry pan?
A stir fry pan is just another accessory for your kitchen that you buy because you want to expand your cooking capabilities. Of course, the stir fry pan will help you take on any stir-fry recipes that you want to try out. One major reason to buy this product is the ability to cook foods at extremely high temperatures. If you use any other equipment for this, you are likely to ruin your food. This is because the high temperature is likely to burn your food. However, with the right amount of oil and a stir fry pan, you can prevent this from happening.
Features to consider when choosing a pan for stir fry
Deciding to purchase a stir fry pan is one thing. Going out and finding one that you can purchase is a different issue. This is because you get a whole bunch of features to choose from. Some of these are likely essential, while others are not. It all depends on the person purchasing the product.
Listed below is a list of features and what they pertain to. Of course, after reading this section, you should be in a much better position to select the model of choice.
Size and weight
Size or rather the dimensions of the product are one of the most important features to look out for. Some of you don’t have to think about any other individuals since you live alone. Others have to consider that the meals they cook have to cater for the whole family. The latter, of course, will need to go for a bigger pan to service their high food consumption needs.
Also, the weight comes into play. At some point, you may need to contend with lifting the pan even if you are just taking it off the stove. As such, products like the Cooks Standard 02591 Stir Fry Pan will be much harder to handle in this regard since it weighs 6 lbs. Nonetheless, if you add the weight of the food, it can present a problem.
As such, always check to ensure that the product is a suitable weight before settling on the purchase.
As mentioned above, aluminum seems to be a critical component of most stir fry pans due to its heat distribution properties. However, there may be some additional components with extra properties. Examples include the stainless steel lid of the Willow & Everett Wok Pan with Lid. Some options also have silicone handles for easier handling.
The TeChef Art Pan 12″ Stir Fry Pan comes with five layers of Teflon coating. These enhance the non-stick properties of the item, making it easier to cook and clean. There are other products with different coating techniques, such as our editor’s choice. Most of these come with extra benefits. This, of course, makes them more attractive potential purchases.
Stainless steel handles are quite a common theme on the list above. Nevertheless, the number of rivets seems to vary quite a bit. Sometimes more rivets mean more stability. Also, it comes as a bonus if rubber and silicone components are added to the handle. This is because you won’t need to invest in protective gloves.
As per the list above, not all options come with a lid. However, other manufacturers provide not just a lid but extra accessories as well. The Willow & Everett Wok Pan with Lid, for instance, comes with a spatula. Since this is one thing less you have to worry about purchasing for your kitchen, it adds tremendous value to the product. As well, if you can find an option with more accessories, then all the better. Another example of the same is the MICHELANGELO Woks and Stir Fry Pans Set, which comes with a deep-frying basket as well.
As it stands, most of the products mentioned above come with a comprehensive lifetime warranty. However, as is the case with any diverse collection of products, there are exceptions. This being the case, you need to check for the presence of a guarantee if you value having your purchases protected. The Cooks Standard 02591 Stir Fry Pan is an example of one of the items without a warranty on our list.
It is worth noting that some of these products are quite versatile. This is because they are loaded with a bunch of extra features that you can make use of.
If you try the same temperatures with the TeChef Art Pan option, it may lead to notable degradation. As such, the Cuisinart seems like a better option in this regard. Moving on, you find other features, including whether the product is induction compatible or not.
As is the case, most of the options above cannot be put over an induction cooker unless you want to damage them. There are exceptions, such as the MICHELANGELO Woks and Stir Fry Pans Set. This, of course, makes this product one of the more versatile purchases to have in your kitchen. If you do not have an induction cooker and don’t plan to buy one, this shouldn’t be a problem for you.
It may seem trivial, but whether your pan is dishwasher friendly or not is also something that needs serious looking into. Of course, for efficiency purposes, you also want a product that can be put in a dishwasher.
How to season your stir fry pan
Seasoning a stir fry pan is done with carbon steel options to ensure a nonstick surface for your cooking needs. Of course, this is necessary for carbon steel pans since they don’t come with non-stick layering. Also, this is preferred since they tend to reach higher temperatures much more easily than their coated counterparts.
In preparation for the seasoning process, you have to clean your pan with hot water and soap. A coarse sponge is preferred for the cleaning part as well. You may also want to open all your kitchen doors and windows for better aeration in the area. Once clean, you turn on your stove and put it on the highest heat setting possible.
Leave the pan on the stove for about 10 minutes. This will, of course, lead to the pan darkening and smoking. At this point, you will be glad to have your windows open. Ensure even heating on the pan even as you do this by rotating it from time to time. The pan can get searing hot, so make sure to insulate your hands as well if yours doesn’t come with an insulated handle.
After that, you can take the pan off the cooker. Add two tablespoons of grapeseed, Canola or peanut oil. Once this is done, ensure the oil coats the entire surface inside the pan by using a bunched-up paper towel. You are also advised to use tongs for this part of the exercise.
The next step is to return the pan to the flame. Maintain the high heat and allow the pan to sit for about a minute. Expect lots of smoke at this point as well. Next, you can turn off your stove and pour out any excess oil. Also, use the tongs and a fresh paper towel to wipe the pan again. You are now done and can let the pan cool down before using it.
For more effective seasoning, repeat this process two or three times. This should also help with the overall maintenance of your pan. Also, it ensures that your stir fry recipes will go just as planned.
The wok is a traditional Chinese piece of cookware while the stir fry pan is as modern as it gets. As such, the wok was designed for a different type of stove as compared to the flat tops available in most of our kitchens. It initially had a round bottom but was made to adapt to modern times by incorporating a small flat bottom.
The stir fry pan may not be all that different, but it does offer a wider flat bottom than most woks available. Also. The sides tend to be shallower than those of their wok counterparts.
Due to the way that induction cooktops are designed, most stir fry pans will not work with them. However, you do have a few exceptions, such as the MICHELANGELO Woks and Stir Fry Pans Set. As such, if you have an induction cooktop in your home, you should make it a point to check all pan purchases for compatibility. This way, you will be able to make the most use of your stove.
The Circulon 82366 Acclaim Stir Fry Pan still maintains its position as our top pick of the day. For a reasonable price you get a tool that you can use for a lot of cooking scenarios. This is including dishes that involve oven use. You have the impressive construction and layering to thank for that.
Another high ranking product on the list is the Calphalon Triply Stir Fry Pan With Cover. Anyone looking for the highest quality steel stir fry pan will choose this option. However, whether they can afford it is a whole different matter. After all, it is quite pricey as compared to other options.
That being said these are our top three picks since we have taken a broad view of the options available. Nonetheless, you need to consider your niche before deciding which pan to purchase. Don’t be afraid to check out all ten options a second time with the buying guide in mind.