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Fried chicken is one of the most popular foods in the Western world. Usually, if you go to a restaurant or takeaway, the chicken is cooked in a deep fat fryer. At home, however, the most traditional way to cook fried chicken is in a frying pan. In this article, we are going to be looking at the best frying pans for frying chicken. It can be difficult to choose a pan as there are so many choices out there. It is easy to get overwhelmed and just choose one at random, but this can lead to disappointment. If you use the wrong pan you can end up with burnt chicken, undercooked chicken or chicken that sticks to the pan. In addition, badly made pans can peel and chip. We hope that our choice of best frying pans will inspire you to produce delicious fried chicken.
Our top pick is a cast iron frying pan which specifically says that it is for cooking chicken so what could be better than that? It is 12 inches in size which means that it can cook a large amount of chicken at once and will be suitable for a family dinner.
Because it is made from cast iron it has excellent heat retention and even heat distribution meaning that you won’t get any hot or cold spots. All your chicken will be cooked at the same temperature for perfect results.
The frying pan is porcelain-enameled which is strong and durable. It also doesn’t give your chicken a strange odor or impart metallic tastes.
It is dishwasher safe, but it can easily be cleaned by hand. All you have to do is wipe it down with a piece of kitchen roll.
This pan is versatile and will suit all sorts of stovetop cooking devices, even induction. It is also oven and broiler safe.
Conducts heat well and heats food evenly
Comes with a lid
Doesn’t absorb odors
A few customers have complained that the enamel chipped
Here we have another strong and durable cast iron frying pan which is a great conductor of heat and it distributes heat evenly so you will end up with perfectly cooked chicken every time. It can be used on all sorts of stovetops, even induction, and can be put in the oven up to a heat of 400F.
The pan comes pre-seasoned, so you are ready to go as soon as you take it out of the box. It does, however, need to be seasoned at regular intervals to keep it non-stick. To do this, coat it with cooking oil and put it in the oven at 400F for one hour.
Included in the package is a silicone hot handle cover which is non-slip and heat resistant. You won’t have to worry about burning your hands on a hot handle.
The frying pan comes with a glass lid which will keep the heat in while allowing you to keep an eye on your cooking without removing the lid.
The pan is very versatile as it can be used with metal, wood, or silicone utensils. You won’t have to worry about scratching your pan with metal.
Don’t put the pan in the dishwasher. Wash with warm water or just wipe it down with a piece of kitchen roll. Don’t use harsh chemicals, scouring pads or heavy-duty detergents.
Conducts heat effectively
Even heat distribution
Comes with a silicone hot handle holder
Has a glass lid
One customer complained that it arrived already chipped
Another person complained that it chipped after a few uses
This is a durable hard-anodized aluminum frying pan which is twice as hard as stainless steel. It has a 5-layer base. There is a copper core sandwiched between aluminum and magnetic stainless steel. This makes it an excellent conductor of heat. It cooks evenly and you won’t get hot or cold spots. You should just get perfectly cooked chicken.
The pan is non-stick, and you can use metal utensils on it. It won’t get scratched at all and food won’t stick.
It has a cast stainless steel handle which is riveted to the pan making it very secure.
The frying pan is oven safe up to a temperature of 500F. It can be used on any stovetop including induction.
Good conductor of heat
It doesn’t have a lid
A few customers complained that it only remained non-stick for 6 months
Here we have another hard-anodized aluminum frying pan. It is 13” which means that you can cook a lot of food at once in it. It has 3 layers on the bottom which makes it non-stick. It conducts heat well and food cooks at the same temperature. There are no hot or cold spots.
The pan has a long brushed stainless steel handle which remains cool while the pan is on the stovetop. This frying pan can be used on gas, electric, electric ring, halogen, and glass ceramic stovetops. It is oven safe up to 450F. Use nylon or wooden utensils as metal can scratch the surface, eventually making it non-stick. If you follow these guidelines, you will find that it doesn’t chip, crack or peel.
The frying pan comes with a glass lid, so you can watch your food cooking while keeping in the heat.
Excellent conductor of heat
Oven safe up to 450F
PFOA free non-stick coating
Needs to be preheated
A customer complained that the surface of the pan was not smooth
This frying pan has a multi layered copper bottom which means that it conducts heat well and cooks evenly. You won’t get partially cooked chicken which could happen if you had hot and cold spots. The outside of the pan is made from aluminum which also conducts heat well. The inside of the pan has a ceramic titanium coating which makes it non-stick. This is healthier for you as you don’t need much oil or butter to fry your food in. Food fries quickly and just slides off the pan.
The frying pan comes with a glass lid so you can keep an eye on your food, while heat is kept in. It has a stainless steel handle which is easy to grip and use. It stays cool while you are cooking on your stovetop. The pan can be used on ceramic, gas, electric and induction hobs and is oven safe up to 450F.
The pan is extremely easy to clean. After light cooking you can just wipe it down with a cloth or with a piece of kitchen roll. For heavier cooking, it can be put in the dishwasher, but if you want to keep the pan for generations, it is better to wash it by hand with warm water and mild detergent. Don’t use abrasive cleaners or scouring pads.
Conducts heat well and cooks evenly
Multi layered copper bottom
Comes with a glass lid
Easy to clean.
One customer complained that the handle got hot
A few customers complained that it lost its non-stick quality rapidly
This is a great set because you get 3 frying pans, one 6”, one 8” and the last 10”. You can choose whichever one you need for the size of your family or you can use a couple of them consecutively if you have a bigger family or are entertaining.
These pans are cast from premium grade steel and iron and come pre-seasoned with 100% vegetable oil. No synthetic coatings or chemicals have been used. You will have to season it yourself from time to time. This will keep the pans non-stick and the more you cook, the better they perform. They should last a lifetime.
Cast iron is a great conductor of heat and cooks evenly. You won’t get part of your chicken burnt and the rest undercooked.
Each pan comes with an integrated handle, so you don’t have to worry about the handles falling off. They have a smooth finish and can be used on any type of cooktop including induction. They are also oven safe.
The set comes with a pan scraper for cleaning. It is made from plastic which copes with any heat. It has rounded edges and is easy to grip. It can ease food remnants off the surface of the pans easily.
CGood conductor of heat
CComes with a pan scraper
Easy to clean.
A couple of customers complained that food stuck to the pans
This frying pan measures 12” and comes with a lid so you can keep the heat in and therefore save fuel. It is made of 3 alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum which are bonded right up to the rim. Because there is aluminum, the pan conducts heat well and cooks evenly. You won’t get any hot or cold spots and your chicken will be cooked at the same temperature.
The pan handles are made from stainless steel and are cool to the touch when being used on the stovetop. The handles are secured with stainless steel rivets.
It has a wide flat surface which makes it easy to sear, brown and fry. You can fit 3-4 chicken breasts in it at once which will suit a family of four. You need to use a medium heat for the best results.
The pan is dishwasher safe. If you find something stuck to the bottom it is easy to clean. Use a mixture of white vinegar and water or a stainless steel powder cleaner. Don’t use a scouring pad as it can scratch the surface of the pan. A sponge or cloth is best.
The frying pan works with all stovetops, including induction, and you can use it in an oven or broiler up to 600F.
Conducts heat well
Scratches easily so don’t use metal utensils
A few customers complained that the bottom isn’t flat
Things to Know before Choosing a Frying Pan for Chicken
It can be a little daunting frying chicken at home. After all, the oil you use needs to be between 350F and 400F and it can splatter when food is added to it. The majority of house fires start in the kitchen, so you need to be prepared and know what you are doing when frying food. However, if you follow a few simple rules, you will end up with perfectly fried chicken.
You don’t want to use a shallow frying pan to cook your chicken as the oil can splatter out as soon as you put the meat in.
Ideally, you need a pan that is a minimum of 3” deep, more is better. This will ensure that the oil doesn’t flow over the sides of the pan which can be a hazard.
To be entirely safe get a frying pan with a lid. If you can’t get one with a lid, improvise. You could have another pan with a lid of the same size so use that. Also, some stores do sell lids separately. All you need to know is the size of your frying pan.
As well as stopping oil from splattering, a lid will keep the oil at the right temperature giving even cooking.
A lid is also useful if the oil goes on fire as you will easily be able to snuff it out.
You need a frying pan made from a material that retains heat well and distributes the heat evenly. You will want to cook your chicken at the right temperature throughout the process and at the same rate. You don’t want some of it to be burnt and the rest undercooked. Chicken not cooked thoroughly can lead to sickness like salmonella poisoning.
The four materials that retain heat and evenly distribute heat well are cast iron, aluminum, hard anodized aluminum, and copper. Stainless steel isn’t the best conductor of heat, but you can buy stainless steel frying pans which have a layer of aluminum or copper sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel. These pans conduct heat well.
If you are cooking more than one batch of chicken, you will want your pan to retain heat well as you don’t want to have a long waiting period between each cooking process otherwise the first batches will get cool.
The size of the frying pan will depend on the size of your family. The bigger the family, the bigger the pan. Of course, you can buy two pans if you have a large family or are entertaining.
What is important is that the chicken isn’t crowded in the pan. You need to be able to move each piece freely otherwise the chicken may not cook properly.
When you are frying chicken, the heavier the pan, the better. When you are cooking with hot oil, the last thing you want is for the pan to be knocked off the stovetop. Cast iron is very heavy so is excellent in this respect.
Ease of Use
You will want to be able to remove the chicken with ease. Heavy-duty tongs are the best in this regard, but make sure that the material is suitable for your pan. Some pans can get scratched by metal so you will need to use plastic or wood.
Some frying pans are dishwasher safe, but even then, it is recommended that you still clean by hand to lengthen the life of your pan. Look for a pan that you can simply wipe clean. You don’t want to have to spend too much time scrubbing your frying pan. Cast iron is easy to clean as you can just wipe it down with a piece of kitchen roll.
A Detailed Look at Some of the Best Materials for Frying Chicken
Cast iron is heavy and durable. With regular maintenance, cast iron cookware can last for generations. A cast iron frying pan usually comes pre-seasoned, but you will have to season it at regular intervals. Seasoning keeps your cast iron frying pan non-stick. All you have to do to clean it is to wipe it down with kitchen roll. Cast iron is a good conductor of heat and heats evenly. You won’t find some of your chicken burnt and others undercooked.
Ordinary aluminum conducts heat well, but it is very lightweight which isn’t good for cooking with hot oil. It would be all too easy to knock it off the stovetop. However, hard-anodized aluminum is around 3 times thicker and like aluminum, conducts heat well and cooks evenly. Again, all of your chicken will all be cooked at the same temperature. Hard-anodized aluminum is durable and resists abrasions.
Copper is a particularly good conductor of heat and because of this, is often used by professional chefs. However, it is expensive and requires regular polishing. It also reacts with acidic foods, so you might have this problem when cooking chicken.
Stainless Steel with an Aluminum or Copper Core
Stainless steel on its own doesn’t conduct heat well, but with a copper or aluminum core it will cook evenly, and you won’t get any hot or cold spots. Stainless steel is inexpensive, durable, scratch and warp resistant and it doesn’t react with any types of food.
On the one hand titanium is very lightweight so perhaps might not be completely ideal for frying chicken. However, on the other hand it allows pans to heat up quickly and is non-stick. In addition, it is durable, much more so than regular aluminum. It can, however, develop hot spots so your chicken may not be evenly cooked unless you get a titanium pan with a copper or aluminum bottom.
How to Fry Chicken
Okay, so you’ve got the perfect frying pan, but now comes the most important part and that is frying the chicken. It’s not completely straightforward and we’re here to give you some pointers so that you end up with the best fried chicken ever.
What Chicken to Buy
You obviously don’t want to fry a whole chicken, but you can still buy one and chop it up yourself. However, it’s far easier to buy pieces which have already been cut up. It makes more sense as then you can just buy the pieces you like, for example, breasts, wings, or legs. Just remember that chicken which is attached to the bone will take longer to cook compared to boneless chicken.
Flavoring the Chicken
You can flavor your chicken any way you like. You can buy ready-made poultry seasoning, or you can choose other herbs and spices such as chili powder, paprika, garlic, oregano, parsley, or thyme. You can marinate your meat for a couple of hours before cooking if you want a very distinctive flavor.
To prepare the chicken you will first need to wet it. If you have marinated it, your chicken will already be moist enough. If you haven’t, use milk or egg. Dip your chicken in this and then in flour mixed with any seasonings you want.
For the best results you should have cold chicken. You can just take it straight from the fridge or you can soak the pieces in an ice bath while the oil heats up.
Preparing the Pan
Some pans need pre-heating, for example a non-coated stainless steel pan needs to be pre-heated. Once ready, add the oil. You don’t want to pour oil up to the top as that’s dangerous, but you will want half the chicken covered so you can turn it over half way through cooking.
Heat up the oil to 350F and then add the chicken. You really do need a thermometer to check that the temperature is correct. Try and get one that clips to the side of the pan. An alternative is a meat thermometer.
Cooking the Chicken
Use tongs to pick up the chicken and place it in the oil. Make sure that you’re not crowding the chicken. Cook for around 8 minutes and then turn them over and cook for another 8 minutes. Use the tongs to remove the chicken. Let the heat come back to temperature before adding the next batch. You can keep the cooked chicken hot by putting the pieces in a warm oven.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I put my chicken frying pan in the dishwasher?
With stainless steel it is generally safe to put your pan in the dishwasher. However, with other materials, even if it says that they are dishwasher safe, it is better to clean them by hand. Many can be just cleaned down with a soft cloth or a piece of kitchen roll. Others can be cleaned with a mild detergent and warm water. Scouring pads are not recommended for any frying pad as they can scratch the surface.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading this article and have been inspired to buy one of our choices. We stand by our top choice of the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron Chicken Fryer. Cast iron is an excellent conductor of heat and will cook your chicken evenly. It is durable and can be used on any stovetop including induction and is oven safe.
We also hope that you now feel comfortable about frying chicken. Using hot oil can be a little scary, but with the right pan you shouldn’t have any problems. Remember to go for a frying pan which is heavy, deep, and large-bottomed. Make sure it can handle the heat and if possible, go for a pan with a lid. We reckon that a heavyweight cast iron skillet is the best option.
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