Even if your kitchen is equipped with a multi-burner stove and a set of pots and pans, a piece of portable, electric cookware is a smart investment that can expand the usable cooking space in your kitchen. The best stainless steel electric skillets and woks are clad or impact bonded for even heat conduction, and they offer a temperature range that’ll let you gently cook as well as sear. Plus, they come in different sizes, so you can find the one that works best for your needs.
The cooking surface of your skillet or wok should have a non-reactive stainless steel finish, but keep in mind that stainless steel isn't great at conducting heat. For that reason, you'll want to look for skillets that are clad with cooper or aluminum, or one that's impact bonded (which means there's an aluminum base added to the pan). This will help conduct heat evenly, so you can avoid hot spots and get consistent results. If the product you're eyeing doesn't state whether it's clad or impact bonded, you can always look to the reviews to see how evenly it heats.
Most stainless steel electric skillets and woks have two main components: the cooking vessel itself and a power cord with a temperature dial. You'll want a dial that has a fairly wide range, so you can use low heat to gently cook and warm, and high heat to sear and stir fry. The options on this list have dials that heat from approximately 200 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, so you'll get plenty of versatility.
Beyond, that you'll want to consider size and whether or not the skillet or wok comes with a lid, which lets it function like a steamer or buffet to keep food warm before serving. With all that in mind, the best stainless steel electric skillets and woks are user-friendly, convenient tools that let you decide where you want to cook. Here are three models I recommend for most home cooks.
1. The Best Stainless Steel Electric Skillet, Overall
This electric skillet from Aroma measures just under 12 inches wide and is constructed from highly conductive 18/10 stainless steel with an impact-bonded base that heats up quickly and evenly. The 2-inch depth of the skillet and the tempered glass domed lid allow you to sear and steam even large items, such as pieces of meat or big bunches of greens or vegetables. With a temperature dial that ranges from 225 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll be able to prepare a wide variety of recipes and also keep food warm before serving, without scorching or drying it out. The skillet weighs only 5 pounds and, once detached from the power cord, the two large stainless steel handles make it easy to transport your recipes to your serving area. When it comes to cleaning, you'll want to avoid submerging it fully in water, but a little warm soapy water can help release stuck-on food particles.
Helpful review: "I've looked and looked for an electric frying pan without non-stick coating. They're few and far between and I was so happy to find this one. It works well, doesn't seem to have any hot spots (although the outer edge is a little less hot than the inner as in any fry pan on the stove,) and is easy to clean."
2. The Best Large-Capacity Stainless Steel Electric Skillet
If you’re cooking for a crowd, or want a convenient way to prepare a large batch of food at once, this 16-inch electric stainless steel skillet with lid provides plenty of space to sear, cook, and serve. It’s 4 inches wider than the above pick, and — according to a reviewer — has a depth of 3 inches, allowing for slightly bulkier ingredients like meat to fit below the domed stainless steel lid, which also comes in handy for heat retention and keeping recipes warm before serving. The temperature dial of the skillet can be adjusted from 200 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, giving you a decent range of options for preparing over low or high heat, and there’s a convenient warming setting, too. And for post-dinner cleanup, the manufacturers recommend washing by hand.
Two things to keep in mind: The large size means this option is heavy, weighing in at 9 pounds, and the manufacturer doesn't mention that it's clad or impact bonded. Nonetheless, reviewers are generally pleased with this pick's even heat conduction.
Helpful review: "We are as pleased as can be with this skillet! It heats evenly and is very easy to keep clean. It's extra large so we are able to use it for family dinners."
3. The Best Stainless Steel Electric Wok
The aluminum-clad base of this stainless steel electric wok heats up quickly and evenly, so you can prepare your favorite stir fry and fried rice dishes, steamed recipes, and more. Weighing just over 5 pounds, the deep construction of the 14-inch wok can hold a large volume of food, and the elevated design helps protect countertops from getting messy when preparing dishes that are prone to splatter. The temperature dial ranges from 200 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, so it doesn't get quite as hot as the other options, but the "warm" setting is perfect for keeping food ready while you wait for everyone to come to the table. The tempered glass lid can be used for steaming or helping keep recipes at the desired temperature, and an included long wooden spatula is perfect for sautéing ingredients, so they cook evenly. Both the wok and lid are dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.
Helpful review: "This thing is awesome. We use it for stir fry, Mexican food, pasta, you name it. It heats up fast and cooks evenly, and cleans up well. Sometimes the appliances people buy end up rarely getting used and just sit in cupboards taking up space, but not this one... It's worth having around!"