Shopping for a skillet is at the same time easier and harder than you might expect. On the one hand, there are a ton of skillets out there so there are so many of them that you’ll hardly hurt for choice. On the other hand, having so many skillets from which to choose can make it harder to tell which choices are better than others. What’s more, if you’re not a chef, you might well wonder what could possibly make one skillet different than another.
Whether you’re a newcomer to home cooking or are well seasoned yourself, let’s see what the mini skillet market has served up lately.
Table of Contents
- What to Look For
- Top Six Sizzling Mini Skillets
What to Look For
Unsurprisingly, one of the most essential things to consider when shopping for mini skillet options is size. Ideally, for it to count as a “mini” pan, your skillet should be less than ten inches in diameter.
Do you want to spend hours frustratedly scraping dried eggs and sauce off your skillet? No? Then one of the most important things to look for in a skillet is nonstick properties. Most of the options on this list have these properties, though some are better than others. That said, nonstick materials are only able to withstand temperatures of around 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Then there is the material from which the skillet is made. Aluminum, copper, stainless steel, and cast iron are all used for skillets, with the latter being especially strong. What’s more, cast iron conducts heat well without warping the pan or handle, making it easy to cook with and a long-term option.
Diameter is another vital factor to consider. 8”, 10”, and 12” are among the most popular frying pan diameters but for smaller portable skillets, only the first is ideal. In fact, you may want to look for one even smaller than 8”, as is evidenced by a couple of options on this list. On the other hand, if you’re cooking for many people, larger “small” skillets around 8” could be better.
When it comes to weight, the lighter the better. Of course, you don’t want that to come at the cost of thickness or sturdiness. Along with material, thickness is the most important factor in determining how well a skillet stands up to the heat.
Finally, there’s the handle. Riveted handles are quite sturdy but food particles also have a tendency to get stuck in the rivets so you need to be careful. Many skillets have the handle made from the same material as the pan but some come with optional rubber covers and others are wooden. Both of those options can help keep the handle from getting too hot and burning your hand.
Top Six Sizzling Mini Skillets
With those factors in mind, let’s take a look at the top six small skillets available now.
1) Lodge Skillet 6.5 Inch
The Lodge Skillet Company has been pumping out pans since 1886 so they know what it takes to make something long-lasting. What’s more, at 6.5”, this is a perfect example of what you want from a small cast iron skillet size and strength-wise. It’s sturdy enough to handle all manner of sautéing and sizzling-hot temperatures, and it’s small enough to take with you to use over a campfire.
Speaking of heat, as with most cast iron skillets, it offers great heat retention, staying hotter longer and thus letting you cook things without worrying that it’ll grow cold on you. This model also comes pre-seasoned, meaning that you can use it right out of the box.
This model’s sturdiness extends to the handle, which includes a hole. This allows you to hang it up when it’s not in use, which is a nice convenient touch in a skillet of any size.
Our rating: 4.8 / 5
2) Anolon Advanced Hard-Anodized Nonstick Frying Pan
As mentioned, there’s nothing more annoying in terms of kitchen cleanup than scraping in vain against debris stuck hopelessly hard and potentially permanently to the surface of your pan. Nonstick pans are essential and this pan from Anolon is one of the best mini options.
It gets hot in a hurry, with the anodized nature of this pan distributing heat evenly across the pan. The big feature with this 8” model is its Supergrip Handle, which is insulated and so not only offers a better grip but also eliminates the risk of you accidentally burning yourself on the handle. What’s more, it is dual-riveted, which makes it extra strong.
Our rating: 4.7 / 5
3) Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
Few kitchen or camping tools are more powerful than a great cast iron skillet and our old friends at Lodge know that full well, which is why they’ve served up these pre-seasoned specialties. This one is actually a bit bigger than the “limit” we mentioned above for a mini cast iron skillet, albeit not by too much at 10.25”. It also doesn’t have nonstick coating.
However, it is still a nice seasoned pan and its hardy cast iron nature makes it great for cooking eggs, which tend to stick to stainless steel and other more metallic skillets. As with the other Lodge model (and most small cast iron skillet options) this model has good heat retention and can be used over campfires, atop ovens and broilers, and almost anywhere else you choose.
This pan has an extra handle on the far end of the main handle that makes moving it easier, though both of these handles can still get hot fast. What’s more, without the nonstick coating, you need to wash these right away after usage or food could get caked onto there for a long time.
On the whole, this is a good option for those looking for something a little larger than the average small skillet while still not being too big.
Our rating: 4.7 / 5
4) Backcountry Cast Iron Skillet 8-inch and Cloth Handle Mitt
Here we have one last mini cast iron skillet on the larger side, though still compact. As the title shows, this model comes with a cloth handle add-on, which is a nice compact option to help you avoid burning your hands. As with other cast iron models, it conducts heat well, ensuring that this pan gets hot fast and stays that way.
On the one hand, while it isn’t nonstick, it is pre-seasoned in such a way as to make scrubbing off debris by hand easier. On the other hand, that hand washing is necessary because this model rusts easier than other options on this list; unfortunately, dishwashers are out.
Our rating: 4.6 / 5
5) Lodge Miniature Skillet 3.5 Inch
One more from Lodge, and this one is by far the smallest mini skillet on this list. If small size and a small price is what you’re looking for, this is the extreme example of both. It is quite lightweight, making this an ideal portable skillet.
Of course, given just how small it is, that’s about all this tiny skillet’s good for. Still, though you won’t be preparing any banquets with it, you can use it to cook for yourself and prepare small dishes around the campfire with this small cast iron skillet.
Our rating: 4.6 / 5
6) All-Clad Copper Core Fry Pan
Would you pay over a hundred dollars for a frying pan? If so, you probably love cooking enough to shell out for this elite copper skillet. It is made from stainless steel and aluminum on the outside and has a copper core, affording you the best conductive properties of all these metals.
This 8” model has a sturdy riveted handle and can handle up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also dishwasher-safe for added convenience.
Our rating: 4.4 / 5
Each of these cast iron skillets has its upside. If you are cooking for a group, you’ll want to look to the larger mini skillets at around 8” and, if you can store it easily, you may want to consider the Lodge Pre-Seasoned 10.25” version. If you are cooking for yourself, the 6.5” and 3.5” Lodge options are smaller, lighter, and fit that “mini” description far better. Nonstick options can help keep your pan cleaner longer with less effort. While stainless steel and copper have their benefits, cast iron is the best bet for campfire cooking especially.
In the end, while the All-Clad option may be an elite copper pan for home use and the Anolon a godsend to those looking for nonstick pans, the three Lodge options offer the best blend of features, and their size range lets you choose what “small cast iron skillet” means for you. Considering these different factors, you can find the best mini skillet for your needs.
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