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The 4 Best Pans For Restaurant-Quality Steak At Home

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When it comes to cooking a delicious steak at home, you can't go wrong (or get much easier) than using a pan — but the type of pan you use matters. When selecting the best pans for steak, your decision should depend on how you plan on cooking your meat. Some cast iron pans come pre-seasoned — and since they're heavy, their temperatures are more stable (and they stay hotter for longer periods of time). Stainless steel options adjust quickly to temperature changes and can handle acidic ingredients without damaging the finish. They're also dishwasher safe, whereas cast iron pans are not.

Cast Iron

Cast iron pans that arrive pre-seasoned — like the Lodge selections listed below — are nonstick, and the seasoning helps protect them from rust. (Some cast iron pans aren't pre-seasoned, though, and you'll have to season them yourself.) Either way, cast iron options aren't dishwasher safe and shouldn't be cleaned with harsh soap.

They're also reactive, which means they could be damaged by prolonged use of acidic ingredients like wine or tomato sauce. However, contrary to belief, they can handle such ingredients for short periods of time while the steaks cook.

Some cast iron options come with ridges to replicate a grill surface — but since the handles are often attached to the skillets and are made of iron, they can become dangerously hot, so you'll need an accompanying handle cover or a durable oven mitt.

Stainless Steel

Not only are most pans made from stainless steel safe to put into the dishwasher, but they’re usually non-reactive and can handle acidic ingredients. Some models are also designed with metal cores made from either aluminum, which helps them conduct heat more evenly. These typically aren't nonstick right out of the package, so you might have to add some oil before cooking.

While you can use standard nonstick Teflon pans to cook steak, the high temperatures needed for a great sear also run the risk of breaking down the artificial nonstick coating. So if you want to play it safe, you might want to avoid nonstick pans.

Whether you're more focused on searing or seasoning, the best pans for cooking steak will still deliver a delicious meal. Keep scrolling to check out my top picks.

1
The Best Cast Iron Pan For Steak

If you're looking for a classic cast iron pan that'll give your steak an all-over sear, this one is a great choice. It's pre-seasoned with 100% vegetable oil and offers a thick, flat surface that lets your meat bask in sauces while it cooks (as compared to the cast iron pan with ridges below, which allows the fat to fall intro the grooves while your steak heats up). What's also great about this cast iron pan is that it's offered in more than a dozen sizes, so you can opt for this 13.25-inch option for the family or an 8-inch pan for a solo meal. It can also be used over the campfire, which is convenient for wilderness lovers.

What reviewers write: "I have fallen in love with cast iron, because of this skillet. I have several food allergies, so I eat a lot of meat, and the steaks I’ve made on this skillet rival anything in a restaurant."

2
A Cast Iron Pan That Replicates The Grill

Not only does this 10.5-inch cast iron pan arrive pre-seasoned, but the heavy-duty construction is safe to use on a sorts of cooking surfaces (it can also be used over campfires). This one features raised ridges that simulate the bars on a grill, allowing your meat to sear without cooking with too much fat. And thanks to its generous size, it can accommodate "two decent size steaks," according to one reviewer. You can buy the pan on its own or opt for a package that also comes with a handle holder to keep your hands protected.

What reviewers write: "Excellent pan for obtaining a high-heat grill-like sear. Perfect for burgers and steaks and other indoor grilling. I find this pan easy to clean in under a minute with just water and a good scrubbing brush."

3
The Best Stainless Steel Pan For Steak

With more than 3,500 positive four- and five-star reviews, it's clear that Amazon shoppers adore this 10-inch stainless steel pan. The triple-ply construction features an aluminum core that ensures quick, relatively even heat distribution — and the polished stainless steel surface won't be altered from acidic ingredients — even long-term exposure. It doesn't come nonstick, though, so you'll have to add oil before using it. While this pan is more expensive than the other ones on this list, it might be worth it with features like stay-cool handles that are riveted to the side and being dishwasher-safe.

What reviewers write: "I could not be more pleased with the performance of this pan. Cooked everything from steak to spaghetti sauce in and it heated up evenly with no hot spots. I needed this pan to fill out my set and they look nice from my hanging rack."

4
A Set Of 2 Stainless Steel Pans For $50

Each one of these stainless steel pans has an aluminum base for quick and even heating, along with sloped edges that also make them ideal for frying and sautéing. Unlike the previous option, there's no mention of a metal core in either pan.) These aren't nonstick — but since you can get two of them for $50 (one 8-inch and one 10-inch), you'll be saving money in the long run. Plus, the ergonomic handles are long enough to stay relatively cool when the pan's hot. It's also safe to put in the dishwasher, which is a bonus.

What reviewers write: "Made rib eye steak first time use and turned out beautifully. Fried for few minutes on stove and finished in oven."