Best Electric Skillets of 2020
An electric skillet allows you to cook your favorite meals on the go. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best electric skillet for your busy lifestyle.
Turn Up the Heat: Your Guide to the Best Electric Skillets
Whether you're cooking a feast and short on burners, hitting the road in an RV, or a college student living in a dorm, a portable electric skillet is a good tool to have in your culinary arsenal.
But with so many on the market, how do you find the best electric skillet for your kitchen? Before you choose an electric skillet, you'll need to decide on a material, coating, shape, and size, among other factors. Feeling overwhelmed?
Don't worry. At BestReviews, our goal is to match you with the products that best fit your needs. To do so, we carry out lab and field testing, talk to experts, and get the lowdown from customers who have real experience using the products on a regular basis. That way we can give you the data you need to make the most informed shopping decisions. And we never accept free products from manufacturers, so you can have complete confidence in what we have to say.
If you're ready to purchase an electric skillet, scroll up for BestReviews' top picks. For everything you need to know before you buy an electric skillet, you've come to the right place.
What's So Great About Electric Skillets?
You might be wondering why you should buy an electric skillet, rather than a skillet that goes on the stovetop. Let's look at a few reasons why.
- Electric skillets are ideal for use in spaces where you don't have access to a stove, such as a dorm room or RV.
- An electric skillet doesn't heat up your house as much as a gas or electric burner does, meaning it's ideal for cooking on hot summer days.
- Your electric skillet provides an extra burner when you're cooking for a large number of people or making several different dishes at once, and all your stovetop burners are in use.
- Many people find that electric skillets heat up more uniformly than regular skillets on a stove, especially if you're using a large skillet on a small burner.
- Most electric skillets allow you to set a precise temperature, rather than just low, medium, and high like on a stove.
Size Matters with Electric Skillets
Make sure you choose an appropriate size electric skillet. Consider the number of people for whom you regularly cook.
- Compact: Compact electric skillets measure between 8 and 11 inches across. Electric skillets of this size are generally suitable for cooking for one or two, though models at the higher end may cater to up to three.
- Medium: Medium-size electric skillets measure between 12 and 14 inches across. These are suitable for families of four to six or for smaller households who like to batch cook.
- Large: Large electric skillets measure 16 to 20 inches across. They're generally designed with entertaining in mind, though they're also useful for big families.
Aluminum vs. Stainless-Steel Electric Skillets
The cooking pan of an electric skillet is usually made from either aluminum or stainless steel.
- Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is the less common choice for electric skillets. But if you prefer to avoid nonstick coatings, stainless-steel electric skillets are ideal. That said, you do have to use a lot of cooking oil to avoid sticking, and the heat transfer of stainless-steel electric skillets is not as good as aluminum.
- Aluminum: Aluminum is a much more common choice for electric skillets, since it's lightweight, inexpensive, and transfers heat well. However, aluminum is prone to warping and scratches easily. That's why high-end electric skillets are often crafted from anodized aluminum, which has undergone a special hardening process.
Fry on the Fly: What to Look for When Buying Electric Skillets
Most electric skillets have nonstick coatings, but they vary in quality.
- Teflon Nonstick Coating: The most popular option for electric skillets is classic Teflon coating. While this basic nonstick coating is inexpensive, Teflon is easily scratched and contains the chemicals PFOA and PTFE.
- Ceramic Nonstick Coating: Some electric skillets have ceramic nonstick coating. Tough, durable, and free from PFOA and PTFE, ceramic nonstick electric skillets are an excellent choice. Ceramic nonstick isn't quite as foolproof as Teflon, however, so you might have to put in more elbow grease when washing your electric skillet.
- Green Nonstick Coating: You can also find electric skillets with green nonstick coating, which has similar properties to Teflon but without the potentially harmful chemicals. The downside? There aren't many electric skillets available with green nonstick coating, and they tend to be expensive.
Electric skillets are either round, oval, square, or rectangular. Square and rectangular electric skillets dominate the market, since they offer larger cooking surfaces compared to round or oval models of the same length and width. Round and oval electric skillets are better if you mainly plan to sauté or stir-fry, as it's hard to stir into the corners of square models, and food can get stuck there and burn.
If you're cooking on the stovetop, you don't turn everything up to full temperature and hope for the best, which is why it's vital you choose an electric skillet with adjustable temperature. The vast majority of contemporary electric skillets let you quickly and easily adjust the cooking temperature and more precisely than you can with a stove.
How Much Do the Best Electric Skillets Cost?
- Budget-Friendly: Basic electric skillets start at around $20 to $30. These electric skillets are generally quite compact and made from lower-quality materials, though they should suffice for occasional use.
- Mid-Range: Mid-range electric skillets cost between $30 and $60. You can find some excellent electric skillets in this price range that are spacious and made from solid materials.
- Expensive: High-end electric skillets cost between $60 and $150. In this price range, you'll find a range of electric skillets with green nonstick or ceramic coatings. These electric skillets are ideal for those who want to avoid regular nonstick coating.
Tips for Choosing an Electric Skillet
- Think about whether an electric skillet fits with your cooking style. Make sure what you want to cook is achievable with the electric skillet you select. If you want to deep-fry food, for instance, your electric skillet will need to reach at least 450° Fahrenheit.
- Check that you have enough room for any electric skillet you're considering. If you'll be using your electric skillet daily, make sure there's ample room for it on your countertop. If you'll only use your electric skillet occasionally, it should be able to fit into a kitchen cupboard. You can find the external dimensions of an electric skillet in the product specifications.
- Look at the thickness of the cooking pan. The thicker the material, the more evenly the electric skillet will heat up.
- Consider how often you'll use your electric skillet. If you're only buying an electric skillet for when you cook for large groups on holidays or to use twice a year in your RV, a budget model should be fine. You'll need to spend more if you plan to use your electric skillet daily.
Q. Are electric skillets easy to clean?
A. A good electric skillet should be easy to clean. The cooking pan should detach from the base, which contains the electrics, so you can clean it the same way you would a regular skillet. Some electric skillets are even dishwasher-safe.
Q. Should I choose an electric skillet with insulated handles?
A. BestReviews recommends selecting an electric skillet with insulated handles on the side of the skillet, as well as the lid. That means you don't have to mess around with oven mitts when you want to move the electric skillet or lift the lid.
Q. What is a drainage spout, and do I need one on my electric skillet?
A. Some electric skillets feature drainage spouts, which allow you to siphon off liquid that's collected in the bottom of the pan. This is useful for recipes, such as stews, where you first sear some of the ingredients with a fair amount of oil, then add liquids and other ingredients. A drainage spout allows you to easily drain off the excess oil, so that it doesn't end up in the finished dish.