What Frying Pans Do Professional Chefs Use? FIND OUT

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Some home cooks believe that following a chef’s recipe to get the perfect taste requires good equipment. Other home chefs are always on the lookout for cookware that can take a lot of beating in the kitchen. After all, who wants to replace the cookware every so often?

And who would understand cookware more than Chefs as their whole life revolves around cooking scrumptious dishes. So that’s the reason we tried to find out what professional chefs prefer in cookware.

What Frying Pans Do Professional Chefs Use? FIND OUT

Well, a chef’s choice of cookware depends only on two things.

Reliability – cookware that lasts long and cooks well.

Affordability – Price is an essential factor when it comes to commercial cooking.

Compatibility –  Most chefs prefer cookware suitable for gas stoves and induction cooktops.

In terms of cookware material and construction, chefs prefer multi-clad stainless steel, aluminum, cast iron, carbon steel, and ceramic non stick pans. A chef rarely uses a non-stick pan. Gordon Ramsay prefers non-stick frying pans for cooking shrimp, fish, or other delicate food.

But even in non-stick pans, they go for the pans with a heavy base, multi-layer non-stick coating, and the proper design and construction. They don’t prefer copper as it’s costly and soft and will soon get dents over it due to the rigorous cooking environment of the restaurant kitchen.

The type of best cookware in the world that chefs use are mostly:

  • Frying pans
  • Sauté pans
  • Skillet
  • Saucepans
  • Woks

Other Important Factors Chefs Consider in Cookware?

Besides reliability and affordability, a chef considers many factors for choosing their cookware and knowing those things will help you buy your cookware.

Cooking in restaurants is a lot different than home cooking. Chefs need to cater to many orders, they cook in large batches, and the heat on their stoves is also a lot higher than we use in the kitchen.

The cookware needs to be scrubbed hard as an enormous amount of grease builds up on the pan’s interior and exterior. Their rubber/silicone handles disintegrate, and they are left with bare handles that get extremely warm. (Chefs are habitual of handling hot pots and pans).

So, they buy cookware that can take a lot of abuse. Another important aspect is that the cookware should be able to distribute heat evenly and retain the heat. They can’t imagine serving food with burnt edges and raw center.

The professional like to choose cookware best for high-heat cooking and is impact-resistant for the high-action drama going on in the kitchen.

When choosing the professional cookware, Chefs have the motto, “Heavy is good. Heavy is reliable.” These are also the famous words of the antagonist, “Boris the Bullet Dodger,” of the movie “Snatch.”

The heavy bottom cookware is responsible for even heating, equal heat distribution, and durability.

Stainless Steel

Chefs choose stainless steel because of the following reasons.

  • Rust-resistance
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Doesn’t react with food
  • Easy to Clean
  • Withstands high-temperature

But stainless steel is not a good conductor of heat; hence, the food may not be cooked evenly. That’s why Chefs buy multi-clad stainless steel cookware with aluminum or copper layer to improve the heat conductivity. They also choose heavy stainless steel cookware to avoid warping.

Although many professional chefs in the U.S. love All-Clad because it’s multi-layered cookware, other chefs buy the reasonably-priced stainless steel, too, rather than splurging on brands like All-Clad. The pans’ lids are also made of stainless steel that is almost indestructible compared to the fancy glass lids.

Carbon Steel

Carbon steel is the choice of professional chefs and is widely used in restaurants. And if you are new to carbon steel, think of it as cookware with cast iron’s durability but lightweight. They are built to bear the high flames and temperatures of a commercial kitchen, heat up fast like stainless steel, and give taste to the food like cast iron.

The astonishing part is that carbon steel has more iron content (about 99%) and less carbon (only 1%) than cast iron itself. Less carbon means the pots or pans are not brittle and can withstand impact without breaking. Due to these reasons, professional chefs love carbon steel.

Cast Iron

Cast iron is considered almost indestructible and is heavier than any other cookware out there. The heavy and thick cast iron base takes time to preheat, but it disperses the heat throughout the pan so evenly that the food browns and crisps perfectly. Apart from that, it retains the heat and gives a good sear.

Cast iron, if seasoned with oil properly, acts like a non-stick, and since the chefs always keep the content stirring on high heat and when they are done cooking a dish, they just wipe it with a tissue and start cooking a new dish on it while the pot doesn’t even cool in the process.

The pot or pan seasoning doesn’t get stripped by dishwashing liquid when you don’t wash the cast iron after every use, and the high-temperature cooking makes it act like a true non-stick.

And if the cast iron gets rust on it, it can be cleaned off the surface to make the pot usable again.


Aluminum is lightweight and has remarkable thermal conductivity. Aluminum sauté pans are common in restaurants. But like copper, standard aluminum is reactive to acidic food, and it also warps from thermal shock faster than others.

For this reason, pro chefs prefer hard-anodized aluminum cookware, which is hardened by an electro-chemical process. The process makes it rust-resistant, inert, and safer as the aluminum doesn’t leach in high amounts into the food compared to standard aluminum.

Cookware Type Used by Chefs

Now that we know the best pots and pans according to chefs, let’s dive into the type of cookware used by chefs and what they recommend.

Cookware Type Chef’s Preference & Recommendation
Frying pans
  • Flat and heavy gauge bottom.
  • High-temperature tolerance for the oven.
  • Rolled edges to make it drip-free
  • Tempered glass or stainless steel lid.
  • Thicker and heavier
  • Large handle
  • Even heat distribution and high-temperature tolerance
Sauté Pans
  • High-walls
  • Long handles
  • Tight-fitted lids
  • Wide flat bottom, so the ingredients don’t crowd.
Sauce Pans
  • Heavy-gauge bottom
  • Thick material
  • Good size
  • “Stay cool” and longer handles
  • Rounded lip for easy pouring
  • Carbon steel or cast iron wok (avoid stainless steel woks)
  • 4-5 inches flat bottom and 12-14 inches flared sides.
  • Buy a wok with a lid to cook Chinese food.

Which brand do chefs use in cookware?

Restaurants usually buy “no-frill” cookware supplied by local restaurant supply stores which don’t have a specific brand name on them. The good thing is these stores are open to the public, and you can also search and find cookware from there.

Vollrath is another brand that many chefs use in their restaurants. And chefs buy a mix of cookware material and types and use it according to the recipe demand. Mostly they prefer carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum, but for delicate ingredients which require nonstick, they use Teflon pots and pans or the non-Teflon non stick pans.

Gordon Ramsay is known to use Scanpan non-stick cookware, which is not a dime a dozen and has a heavy base with multi-layered non-stick coating. High-end restaurants do use expensive cookware like All-Clad too.

Wrapping Up!

While Michelin chefs prefer high-end cookware to get the perfect taste and texture of each recipe, other chefs in restaurants rely on inexpensive cookware in the kitchen. In addition, they prefer durable cookware with high-temperature tolerance. If you are trying to replicate chef’s dishes with the same texture and taste, you can follow the footsteps of chefs to add cookware to your kitchen arsenal.

About Amelia

Hello, I’m Amelia. Welcome to my blog KitchenUnder100.Com. Over here I regularly post kitchen hacks, reviews of kitchen tools, utensils and related articles. My mission is to search and recommend the best kitchen products, so you don't waste your precious time and money on anything that is not worth it.

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