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Traditional French skillets are sold without any lid. They have a belief that a frying pan are meant to fry, not steam. However, that does not mean that a lidded frying pan is bad. In fact, I would argue that a lid is a very important tool in the kitchen. They help accelerate cooking and reduce oil splatter. Getting the right one can make all the difference when cooking. The Best Lidded Frying Pan should have a tight seal and trap in moisture.
How to use a Frying Pan Lid?
A lid is some of the most under utilized tool in the Kitchen. This is often due to a misunderstanding of how it works. If done correctly, it can accelerate cooking and reduce clean up.
When you cover food with a lid, a few things will happen. The most prominent is the trapping of moisture. As the moisture in the food gets converted to steam, it will rise. In a open frying pan, it gets into the air. With a lid, the steam will condense around the lid. When that happens, it will eventually drip back down and create a semi oven like effect. The top portion of the food which normally gets uncooked, will be partially cooked.
This is very evident when making sunny side up eggs. If you leave it uncovered, the eggs will become runny and you need to flip it to finish cooking. However, if you cover, the resulting steam will finish cooking the top for a clean and white appearance. Sometimes the steam from the food is not enough, in these instance, you can sprinkle in some water and that will help generate more steam and increase the rate of cooking.
Aside from eggs, vegetables is also a good way of using the lid. Its one of the fastest way of steaming vegetables.
When not use a lid
There are instance where you should not use a lid. After you develop a maillard reaction (brown crust), using a lid should be avoided. That steam will ruin the fond that you have developed. Any crisp skin that you made will turn soggy.
If you still need to use the lid, I find that leaving the lid partially ajar is a good compromise.
Oil and Smells
One of the most annoying thing about cooking is oil. When you fry, oil is converted to vapors and it travels in the air. When that happen, all the surface in the surround area becomes sticky. Using a cover will help reduce both the smells and oil that goes in the air.
Best Lidded Frying Pan List
Below, you will find a list of some of the Best Lidded Frying Pan. There are a few option to choose from. Pick one that best suits your need.
All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware, 12-Inch Fry Pan with Lid (Best Large Lidded Frying Pan)
All Clad is one of America best cookware manufacturer. Their cookware utilizes fully cladded technology that ensure even heating from top to bottom. Whats best about their line is how well its made. The fit and finish to the quality is second to none. This 12 inch pan is large and big enough for a family of 3 or more. The lid is all metal and it wont shatter like those glass models. Plus, you get a really tight seal.
T-fal Nonstick Dishwasher Safe Cookware Lid Fry Pan (Best Nonstick Lidded Frying Pan)
T-Fal is on the forefront of nonstick technology. They are affordable and durable. This model uses anodizing technology to reinforce the nonstick coating. The lid is made of glass so that you can see right in. Best of all, the handle is comfortable and the lid wont get hot. Just be aware, that glass lid can shatter if you’re not careful.
Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet with Tempered Glass Lid (Best Lidded Cast Iron Pan)
Ever seen a cast iron pan with a lid? Lodge makes a tempered glass lid just for that ocassion. Now you can get the performance and rustic cooking of cast iron with a lid. This is perfect when you shallow fry food and want to observe while it cooks. The only bad thing is that the spout will let some steam escape. A plus if you use it correctly.
8″ Stainless Steel Frying Pan (Best Small Lidded Frying Pan)
If you need a simple and small pan, then triply with honeycomb nonstick is for you. Like All Clad, it uses a fully cladded design with the added benefit of a honeycomb nonstick. They are more durable than your traditional nonstick and it distribute heat better. The handles are comfortable, but they do get hot. Wear a glove when handling it.
Lids are a important tool in the kitchen. They can steam vegetable and reduce oil splatter. The Best Large lidded frying pan are made by All Clad. The fit and finish is second to none, however, they are expensive. T-Fal makes a good nonstick option and are generally very affordable. But if you want a cast iron one, nothing beats lodge. All these pans perform differently, choose one that best suits you.
Looking for more pans? Check out our article on the Best Square Frying Pan.