Though fish is among the easiest types of meat to cook, it is also the easiest to mess up. Pan searing fish is one of the simplest yet challenging methods of cooking. Oftentimes, a nicely cooked fish is the result of good technique. However, no technique is effective without the best pan for searing fish.
How to Choose The Best Searing Pan
With so many cookware brands sprouting up here and there all claiming to provide the best quality frypans, it’s hard to truly find the right pan for your needs. Choosing a fry pan for multipurpose cooking is easy but when you choose one specifically for searing, the list narrows down. When choosing the best pan for searing, always look for the following:
Pan searing creates a beautiful crust but keeps the insides of the meat tender and juicy. And you need a good cooking surface to attain that. Though most pans claim that they distribute heat evenly, that is almost likely NOT true. However, some types of pans do retain the same temperature throughout the pan. Though you’ll find many types of cookware made of different metals, I would highly recommend two for searing fish:
I highly recommend pans with an aluminum base. Aluminum is light and heats up quickly but its heat retention is superb and it would barely cause any hot or cold spots.
Since aluminum base pans aren’t compatible with induction stoves unless they come with a magnetic plate or lining. If that’s the case choose pans with a stainless steel base. Metals are highly conductive and so does stainless steel. Stainless steel is quite durable and does not tend to bend. It can also handle high temperatures making it easy to cook with.
There are two types of metal bases to avoid:
Copper makes wonderful cookware for all types of reasons but not something I would recommend to cook fish with. FDA prompts many copper cookware users to be careful in cooking with it since it tends to leach into food. And lighter food such as fish and egg often get discolored on a copper pan.
Cast iron is ideal for searing red meat like beef, lamb, veal, and more. It’s great for a long process of cooking like braising and oven frying. However, it does not work well with fish. Cast iron does make food stick to it unless you season it well. And even with seasoning, it causes fish to stick badly to its surface making the fish look like a mushed up wreck after cooking.
Non-stick surfaces are always the way to go! Since fish easily falls apart when cooking, the perfect pan for searing it should have a non-stick surface. Most pans are already non-stick, however, many of the non-stick surfaces are made from synthetic materials that are potentially dangerous to human health. Try looking for:
Stoneware surfaces are surprisingly non-sticky. They are also naturally found on earth and are less likely to leach dangerous chemicals on your food. They also do not cause chemical reactions in cooking making it a great surface in preserving the integrity and quality of your food.
Ceramics or Ceramic Primers
I also recommend ceramics or surfaces with ceramic primers. Many surfaces now use ceramic primers. Ceramic cookware are quite expensive because not only are they non-sticky, they also do not cause chemical reactions in cooking. Ceramics or ceramic primers make cookware versatile in cooking many types of recipes.
Natural metals like tin, titanium, or stainless steel are ideal too. High heat is essential in searing fish. But what’s important is even heat distribution throughout the pan since it provides that beautiful brown crust. Many non-metal surfaces have hotspots resulting in uneven cooking and fish sticking to the pan.
6 Best Pans for Searing Fish
It’s never easy to find the best pan unless you’ve tried it. Here’s how I can help you choose the right one. After testing and giving each one a try, we’ve narrowed our list down to 6 pans ideal for searing fish.
Stone Earth Frying Pan by Ozeri
Classic Cookware to Have in Your Kitchen
Ozeri is popularly known for its durable pans. With its latest technology in incorporating stone derived surfaces into its pans, Ozeri Stone Earth pans are amongst the most affordable stoneware pans you can get your hands on.
The Stone Earth series by Ozeri incorporates a stone-driven coating. The stoneware topcoat is made in Germany and assembled in China. The non-stick surface is, however, not completely made of stone but it is a stone-infused PTFE non-stick surface.
Made with a durable heavy-gauge aluminum base, the pan is on the heavier side. But surely resistant to bends and high heat deformation. The pan comes with a magnetized base plate making it compatible with induction stoves.
Ozeri guarantees that the pans are 100% PFOA free. It is also free from fluoropolymers, PFBS, PFOS, PFOA, NMP, and NEP which are known to cause cancers and kidney problems. The surface is definitely non-stick and it doesn’t require you to season the pan. However, since it is made of PTFE, it needs proper care for long-term use since it is prone to chipping off as time goes by.
Affixed in the pan with 3 rivets, you know that the handle won’t easily come off the pan. Protected with a heat resistant plastic, the handle can withstand intense heat up to 450 degrees.
As a non-stick pan, it is best to refrain from using metal utensils. This is to avoid the pan from getting scratched and stripping off its non-stick layer.
The Ozeri Stone Earth Frying Pan is a highly recommended product with long term use and durability. What’s great about this is that it’s a ready-to-use pan that requires no seasoning at all. However, though labeled as a safe cooking pan its non-stick surface is still made with PTFE despite it being infused with stone-based material.
Viking Culinary Non-Stick Fry Pan
Best High-end Pan for Searing Fish
Viking Culinary is not a brand to disappoint. As a high-end cookware, Viking specializes in creating elegant cookware bringing the commercial use cookware to every home.
This pan specifically is made with a 5-ply construction. It is composed of three layers of aluminum core lining and an exterior made of stainless steel. This makes the pan durable and highly resistant to deformation. The pan also promotes quick heat-ups and even heat retention throughout the cooking process.
Viking boasts a safe PFOA-free non-stick Eterna primer. This promotes quick release and lesser need for a cook in using oil.
The ergonomic handle is made of stainless steel. While cooking you would definitely need a heat resistant silicone handle cover or a cloth to protect yourself from the handle. The pan is designed to distribute heat evenly and the heat also goes all the way to handle.
Viking Culinary sure is high on the price list but it’s worth every cent. With multi-layers designed to create an ideal atmosphere for cooking fish, you’ll love having this pan cook many recipes from your cookbook. What I love about it most is its durability, as a full-metal frying pan, it is bound to last you not just years but decades.
Non-Stick Granite Skillet by Carote
Best Value for Money Searing Pan
Carote is a proud producer of affordable pans. With most of its materials hailed from Switzerland, you’re guaranteed top-quality at consumer prices.
This particular skillet is coated with a granite surface almost throughout the entire pan. The pan is designed with the environment in mind. Manufactured with a metal base and an aluminum core. The pan is 100% non-toxic free from chemicals like FDA, SGS, MA, CNAS, PFOA, and PTFE.
Though a bit rough, the surface is truly made of granite. However, even with a rough surface, the pan is surprisingly non-stick. With the aluminum core and metal base, the pan heats up well evenly throughout the pan. With a stone coating with a ceramic primer, the pan can withstand up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This is ideal for searing fish since it delivers even heat and quickly releases the fish off the pan once it starts to brown.
The pan comes with a beautiful wooden-like handle. It remains cool throughout even when placed in an oven.
This stoneware pan is quite affordable considering how great the quality of the pan is. Overall, the pan is very light and easy-to-handle. It is also easy to clean and definitely simple to cook with.
Tramontina Aluminum Non-Stick Fry Pan
Searing Pand Perfect for Heavy Duty Use
Specializing in creating commercial-use cookware, this aluminum non-stick fry pan is not an exception. Designed for durability and constant use, this fry pan is ideal in making delicate cuisines and more.
Tramontina is a popular cookware brand set for restaurants but can easily adapt to a home kitchen. Made of heavy-gauge aluminum body and a non-stick finish, the pan is created to be lightweight but durable. With a thin body, it can withstand temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit but also maneuverable to make it easy to handle.
Though PFOA-free, the non-stick surface is made of a ceramic infusion with a Teflon-like polymer. The cooking surface is smooth and handles delicate meat very well making it an ideal pan for pan-searing fish.
With a long metal handle covered with a rubberish handle, the pan is not just heat resistant it is also slip-resistant making the pan easier to handle and adjust when cooking food.
Though it may look like an ordinary pan, this is made to last. Tramontina pans are quite durable and can withstand a very demanding kitchen. So even if you’re a home cook making dishes to sell or one with a large family that demands a lot of cooking, this is a great pan for you. Plus, I also love the way it sears tender fish meat, It never falls apart even with a bad hand at cooking.
Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Pan
Ideal pan for any Home Cook
Cuisinart is a brand trusted by many. When it comes to creating versatile pans, they surely didn’t disappoint either.
The entire base of the pan is made of hard-anodized Aluminum. The aluminum base is non-porous and made highly-durable. Its wear-resistant base makes the pan all the more durable in handling constant cooking and heavy usage. It can also withstand high temperatures reaching up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Made of a titanium-reinforced Quantanium nonstick cooking surface, the pan is free of chemicals like PTFE, PFOA, GenX, and other dangerous polymer content.
The pan comes with a glass lid and a long sloping handle. The handle is quite thin and is also made of steel making it quite prone to heating. Attached by two rivets, it can also wear out after long use.
Undoubtedly one of the best cookware brands available this pan is also superior to many other pans out there. This Cuisinart pan is carefully designed to handle all types of recipes involved in frying and searing.
Blue Diamond Toxin Free Ceramic Nonstick Fry Pan
Best Pan for Light Frying
Not just designed to look pretty, it is made to provide any home cook a great cooking experience. Perfect for light frying and pan-searing this is ideal for fish.
Blue Diamond boasts of three things:
5x harder coating
10x longer lasting
4x better heat transfer
I can see why that is, the diamond coating really does make a difference. The pans barely get scratched even with the use of a metal utensil in cooking. It is quite durable yet very light to handle. Its even-cooking and slick surface prevents hotspots giving you a beautiful sear in frying tender meat like fish.
What makes Blue Diamond unique is its diamond coated surface. Synthetic diamonds are highly scratch resistant. It adds to the shimmer of the pan but also provides a smooth non-stick finish. To make the pan ideal for sliding food off the pan even with a little grease, it is coated with a ceramic primer.
With a thin stainless steel handle, you’re not guaranteed that it will be heat resistant. With the pan heating up quickly, it’s bound to spread all the way to the tip of your handle, so be careful.
Although diamond-coated pans are starting to pick up momentum in the market, I’m quite glad that Blue Diamond offers the same quality at an extremely lower price. The pan itself is a wonderful cookware offering longevity that will surely guarantee you years of nicely seared fish and beautifully cooked pancakes and melted cheese. I would surely highly recommend this.
Comparing the Best Searing Pans for Fish
12 x 3 x 20 inches
Factory Seasoned Ceramic Primer
17 x 12.5 x 2.3 inches
Eterna Nonstick Layer
16.34 x 4.57 x 10.47 inches
Non-stick PFOA-free polymer
18.5 x 3.75 x 11.25 inches
Titanium-enforced Quantanium nonstick surface
20.9 x 11.8 x 3.9 inches
3.23 x 12.2 x 19.84 inches
After trying out multiple pans, I came up with the final list of six and believe me when I say that the Viking Culinary Fry Pan is by far the best pan for searing fish. With its quick heat transfer and ideal stove cooking experience, you would love having this lightweight pan in your kitchen. With few cons to mention, I doubt anyone will find this affordable yet durable pan a liability. Despite the high cost, you’re getting your money's worth with years of quality cooking with the Viking Frypan.
My second pick would be the Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Pan. Cuisinart never fails to provide quality pans and the Chef’s Classic pan is not just great for fish, it’s an ideal pan for cooking seafood.If you’re looking for a good quality pan at a low cost, then I would highly recommend the Carote Granite Skillet.