Lids are one of the most important companion to your pan. They can prevent oil splatter and accelerate the cooking time. However, a lot of time manufacturer either dont include a lid or your simply just lost it. A good solution to this problem is to simply buy a universal lid. By getting a universal lid, you reduce the overall clutter. If you buy the right one, you can reduce the amount of lid to just a few.
Do Frying Pan have Lids?
Traditional Frying Pans do not have lids. The French see frying pans as a tool to fry food. Lids are actually counter productive to frying. By covering your food, you trap in moisture and actually steam food.
Having said that, sometimes steam is actually preferable. For example, sunny side up egg. If you fry the egg without a lid, the top will be under cook. By simply covering it, the top side is gently steamed while the base gets fried.
Universal Lid vs Factory Lid
Universal lids will never beat the factory lids. Factory lid are designed to fit the rim. They develop the best seal out of any lid and there is something just satisfying about how well they fit. The universal lid are usually oversize and have a lot of overhang. When you cover the pan, they take up more room than usually making it a bit cumbersome.
The Benefit of the Universal Lid is that all you need is like 3 or 4 of them. Get the right size lids and they will replace most of the excess lids.
Type of Lids
There are actually a lot of different type of lids. The most common ones are the glass lids. They are the worst type of the bunch. People like them because they let you watch the food cook. However, once it steams, its pretty much pointless. These lids are fragile and they can shatter, ruining your whole night. Some will even crack due to thermal shock. Ever wonder why sometimes glass will crack randomly? Thats because it went from hot to cold too fast.
Metal lids are my preferred choice. While they do get hot and you cant see in, they last. A simple bang or knock wont destroy it. They sometimes do warp but it will still generally do the job.
For Metal lids, there are lids that are designed to act as a splatter guard. These are lids with little perforation. These are great if you want too much oil from getting into the air. They also help you control the overall amount of steam when frying. These are good to have and a universal model is generally usable.
The other type of metal lids are the vintage circular one. These were commonly paired with old French Copper Cookware. Its a round circular disc with a handle on the end. You can find them in various size specific to the rim, but usually one a bit larger can work as well. As of now, only All Clad makes modern version of these lid and even then, you cant readily find it.
Handle and Ring Placement
With most universal lid, they come with many rings to fit the various sizes. There is the traditional gradeint that starts from the center. This is the model that everyone reaches for. However, if you have a pan that has a raised handle, it never really works. What is actually “Universal” is actually only suited for a few sizes. When you try and use it for a smaller pot, the lip gets in the way making it useless.
The Offset type of universal lid is actually better. You can fit it on smaller pots without the handle getting in the way. The problem is that sometimes they are not weighted properly and can fall off to the side.
Best Universal Lid List
Below, you will find a list of some of the Best Universal Lids on the market. They vary in size and configuration, choose one that best suits you.
ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Cookware Universal Lid (Best Overall)
This is the Best Universal lid that is readily available. The handle and the circular pattern are off center. This makes this lid truly universal. Other lids will have the circle in the center and it does work for certain pans. But it usually fails with smaller one. This particular universal lid is heavier duty than most, it wont warp and disfigure like most other ones. While its not impervious to it, its better than the other models.
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Splatter Screen with Folding Handle (Best Splatter Screen Lid)
If you want a universal lid that traps grease without steaming food, then oxo is a good choice. The circles are off pattern and the handle folds in. This tucks it in and prevent it from getting in the way. The perforation are large enough to let steam escape while small enough from letting grease escape. Its also easier to clean than the other models.
RSVP Endurance Stainless Steel Universal Lid (Best Center Design Model)
If the off center circle is just off putting (understandable) then RSVP makes a good circular one. The handles are large and comfortable, but they will get hot. It also uses a higher grade of 18/8 steel. The center rings are great for pans that around 9 inch and above. However, I wouldn’t use it for the smaller pots and pans. The vent hole is a pretty neat design also.
Stainless Steel Universal Lid for Pots, Pans and Skillets – Fits 7 In to 12 (Best Glass Model)
If glass is a necessity, this hybrid lid is a good choice. The metal rim makes it more durable than your standard glass lid. Its also a bit more versatile fitting 7 to 12 inch pans. However, the rings are in the center. Its not as effective on the smaller pans.
Whether you lost your lid or just want to save up space, a Universal Lid is a good choice. While its counter intuitive, the universal lid that is off center is best. They let you fit smaller pots and pans without getting in the way. The universal splatter screen by oxo uses this design with a foldaway handle, this makes it even more compact. However, if those offset circular irks you wrong, you can always get the center circle one. RSVP makes a very good one the steel is strong and wont flex.
Looking for more Lids, check out our article on the Best Silicone Lid for Bowls, Jars and Pyrex.