Learning how to properly cook fish can make all the difference in the world for those of you who enjoy eating the meat. While having the right pan isn’t going to magically transform you into a master chef at cooking fish, it can certainly help to improve the quality of your fish.
But with so many various pots and pans on the market, how are you supposed to know which ones are ideal for fish? Well, here’s the good news. We feel the best way to answer that question is to present you with what we feel are the five best pans for cooking fish:
- Calphalon Nonstick Sauté Pan (feels the best)
- Lodge Cast Iron Grill Pan (most durable)
- All-Clad D3 Fry Pan (looks the best)
- T-fal Fry Pan (the deepest)
- S-KITCHN Nonstick Grill Pan (most spacious)
Without further ado, let’s dive into the details, shall we?
The 5 best pans for cooking fish
1. Calphalon Hard-Anodized Sauté Pan
Without question, this is one of the most popular and beloved pans for cooking fish on the market today. For the most part, it warrants the hype it has. The pan itself is incredible, it’s the handles that have some shortcomings. Yet, to start, let’s talk a little bit about the pan.
It’s been crafted from hard-anodized aluminum, and it does a superb job of distributing heat evenly to provide a great surface to cook on. To aid in cleanup and durability (and ease of use), the pan has also been designed with two nonstick layers.
As you can see from the photos, it also comes with a lid. The tempered glass lid is very durable and built about as well as the actual pan is. Now, what about those handles? They’re certainly not horrible and are fairly good lengths overall.
Simply put, though it’s claimed they stay cool, the handles actually get hot…and get hot kind of quickly. Oh, and one more thing, if you want to slide this in the oven, you can as it’s rated to handle temperatures of up to 450 degrees in the oven.
- Light and easy to handle
- Distributes heat evenly
- Cleans up pretty easily
- A little pricy
- The handles could be longer
- The handles get hot
2. Lodge Cast Iron Grill Pan
There are two very important features that make this pan stand out. One, it’s made of cast iron. Two, it sports grill ribs that elevate your food and create that satisfying grilling aesthetic. Those two features alone make this one of the best pans for cooking fish.
Speaking for the cast iron construction, when it comes to heat retention and heat distribution, cast iron is incredible. Then again, it also needs to be cared for properly, which means cleaning it and seasoning it correctly. Lodge is known for its quality, so if you care for this, it will care for you.
This pan could easily last you for decades as it’s brutally tough. As mentioned, additionally, the pan comes with a raised grill of sorts. Not only will this collect cooking drippings, but it’ll also leave grill-like marks on your fish.
Of course, the byproduct of the grill ribs is the difficulty of cleaning. Cast iron pans aren’t hard to clean when you clean them right away, but the ribs do make the process a little more tedious. A sacrifice, we suppose, for an otherwise tremendous design.
- Designed with a raised grill
- Built to last decades
- Incredible heat retention
- The ribs make it harder to clean
- The handle will get hot
- Pretty darn heavy
3. All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel Fry Pan
Yeah, we know, it’s easy to be scared off by the high price tag of this item. All-Clad has been known for its high quality over the years, though, so you know your money is being spent on a stainless steel fry pan that will be worth it.
Of course, it’s not just stainless steel, as this pan has actually been made with two layers of stainless steel bonded together with an aluminum core. This has been done all away around the pan, and this allows it to distribute heat extremely well.
The handles have also been made with stainless steel, though the main handle does have an odd groove which sort of makes it difficult to grasp. As for the surface finish, it’s highly polished and coated with a starburst finish to offer easier maintenance and stick-resistance overall.
On top of looking the part, this functions and performs superbly to easily make it one of the best pans for cooking fish. Just a warning, though, clean this right away because if you allow any stains to sit, it can be a chore to wash.
- Distributes heat very well
- The included lid fits tight
- An excellent, long-term solution
- Stains can be hard to remove
- The handle can be hard to grasp
4. T-fal Fry Pan with Lid
There is truly only one flaw in this design, and it prevented it from possibly landing at the top of this list of the best pans for cooking fish. We’ll get to that in a minute, but let’s discuss why this frying pan is so freaking good.
It truly is built and designed to perform with a hard-anodized aluminum construction coupled with a hard titanium-reinforced interior coating that’s resistant to scratches and free of toxins. There’s also the thermo spot indicator, and it’s really fancy.
Basically, when the pan’s perfectly preheated, the ring around the spot will turn solid red. As soon as you see this, you know the pan is prepared and ready for your fish (or anything else really). It’s a really nice feature to have, and it’s very unique.
Okay, so what’s up with that one flaw? The pan has a tendency of pooling the oil around the outside edge. Thus, sometimes, the center can get too dry for your food. If not for this issue, we’d venture to say this might have topped this list. Also, one last thing, the tempered glass lid it comes with is very nice.
- Heats evenly and quickly
- Easy to clean
- The quality is very high
- Oil tends to pool along the edge
- Kind of pricy
- Rim around the lid can dent a bit
5. S-KITCHN Nonstick Grill Pan
When compared to the rest, this is definitely a little bit different, but we feel it fills out this list of the best pans for cooking fish quite nicely. Much like with the cast iron pan, this sports grill plates, but this is a little different in its design.
No, this isn’t cast iron, even though it kind of looks like it. Instead, it’s made of aluminum and has an aluminum indoor grill pan, as just mentioned. While this makes it much lighter and easier to handle than cast iron, it’s also not quite as efficient at distributing heat (though it’s still good in this area).
Even though this looks like a pan that you’d put in the oven, it can also be placed on the stovetop. The dual handles help make moving and transferring it quite simple. With that being said, the handles will get hot and are angled upward. Due to this, they can be somewhat of a burn hazard. Just be wary of them is all.
Really, this is an excellent way of grilling fish indoors. It won’t create quite the same results, but it’s still a great way to do so. Not a flawless design, but this rather affordable option will be a great choice for many.
- A great way to grill inside
- Backed by a two-year warranty
- Compatible with all stove types
- The handles get hot
- Handles can burn due to placement
- Heat distribution isn’t the best
Frequently asked questions
How do you know when fish is done cooking?
There are a few good ways to know when your fish is done cooking. The first way is to ensure that the internal temperature of the thickest part of the fish is 140 to 145 degrees. Secondly, at an angle, take a fork at the thickest point of the fish and twist it gently.
When it’s done, the fish is going to flake easily, and you’ll also notice it lose its raw appearance. Of course, you can also rely on the 10-minute rule…
What is the 10-minute rule?
If you’ve cooked fish in the past, you’ve possibly already implemented the 10-minute rule before. It’s a pretty simple rule for cooking fish, and it’s based on the principle of cooking it 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.
So, this means that you’ll need to know the exact thickness of your fish. Also, it means if you’re making rolled or stuffed fish, you’re going to want to wait to measure the thickness after the fish has been prepared.
As an example, let’s say your fish is ½-inch thick. That would mean you’d need to cook it for five minutes, in total. You can flip the fish over at the halfway mark (which would be 150 seconds in this example) to ensure both sides are evenly cooked.
How do you keep fish from sticking?
The worst pans for cooking fish are those that can’t keep it from sticking, right? While there’s some truth in that, a lot of it comes down to the cook. In other words, while the pan you use most certainly can affect how bad it sticks, you also want to keep some things in mind.
One, the pan needs to be well-oiled. Two, the pan needs to be of proper heat. Medium-high heat is a good way to go. Of course, opting with the pans for cooking fish that sport good surface coatings is also a good idea.
How do you clean a cast iron pan?
There was only one cast iron pan on this list, but the material always makes for one of the best pans for cooking fish. Yet, the cleaning of cast iron is a special process. You don’t want to clean it in the same method that you’d clean many of your cookware.
This cleaning process comes from Cook’s Illustrated, for the record. For starters, it’s always easier to clean cast iron when you do it right after cooking. Now, to clean the surface, run it under some hot water and scrub with a non-abrasive pad. It’s best to avoid using soap, but they do mention that you can use a small amount.
However, if you clean cast iron right away, you’re not going to need to use soap and, personally, we’d recommend not using soap at all. Afterward, use a paper towel to dry it off or place it on the stovetop to allow it to dry. Then, with the cast iron pan on the stovetop and hot, add some oil to the pan and use some paper towels to coat the surface.
Ensure no oil remains and that the surface is smooth and shiny, and then allow the pan to cool completely before storing.