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10-Inch Stainless-Steel Skillet

Published June 2019
More on the Best Stainless-Steel Skillets
We also love the 12-inch version of this skillet, which won both our regular and inexpensive stainless-skillet testings.

How we tested

For over a decade, the test kitchen’s favorite stainless-steel skillet has been the All-Clad D3 Stainless 12" Fry Pan with Lid, which costs about $120. This skillet has hidden technology; it’s built from a layer of aluminum sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel. Skillets constructed this way are called “fully clad,” and they combine the best features of both metals: the speedy heat conduction of aluminum and the heat retention, slower transmission, and nonreactivity of stainless steel. We use fully clad skillets for frying and sautéing foods on the stovetop and even baking, broiling, and roasting them in the oven.

Would the 10-inch version of our favorite model be as sturdy and useful? To find out, we tested the All-Clad D3 Stainless 10” Fry Pan with Lid, which costs about $100. We used the skillet to cook Shepherd’s Pie for Two, a recipe which calls for sautéing vegetables and ground beef on the stovetop and then transferring the skillet to the oven to brown the potato topping under the broiler. We also made pan-seared steak for two, using the skillet to put a deeply golden, crisp crust on the steak and create a mustard-cream pan sauce with the flavorful fond. We asked three testers of differing skill levels to give feedback as they prepared Pan-Roasted Broccoli, first browning the broccoli and then using the skillet’s lid to finish the cooking with steam. We hand-washed the skillet after each test, noting how easy it was to clean. We also checked whether the skillet bottom remained unwarped before and after our cooking tests (it did). We then heated the skillet to 500 degrees, plunged the hot skillet into ice water, and checked whether it had warped (it hadn’t). Last, we struck it three times on a concrete ledge to see whether it would dent (it barely did).

In every application we appreciated the skillet's wide cooking surface and low flaring sides that encouraged evaporation and uniform browning; its lightweight, balanced feel in hand; and the sturdy, secure grip afforded by its handle, which stayed cool on the stovetop and didn’t rotate in our hands when we were holding the skillet aloft to scrape out sauce or spoon out vegetables. The simple shape of the skillet made it easy to clean; when necessary, we used Bar Keepers Friend to make it shine like new. Its sturdy construction easily survived our abuse testing. As a result, we think this 10-inch version of our winning 12-inch stainless-steel skillet is a worthwhile addition to the kitchen—particularly for smaller portions and households.  


Methodology

We tested the All-Clad D3 Stainless 10” Fry Pan with Lid, which is fully clad (made of bonded layers of steel and aluminum). To evaluate cooking performance, we made steak and pan sauce, and then sautéed vegetables and ground beef for shepherd’s pie, finishing the pie under the broiler to brown the potato topping. We also asked three testers of varying skill levels to pan-roast broccoli. We evaluated the skillet’s weight, balance, and ease of handling (including the shape and comfort of the handle); whether the height and shape of the skillet sides made it easy to sweep a spatula around its curves; and how comfortable the skillet was to pour from and hold aloft with one hand while scooping out hot food with the other. We scrubbed the skillet by hand after each test, rating how easy it was to clean after cooking. We also conducted abuse testing to evaluate its construction and durability. We purchased the skillet online and the price listed is what we paid.  


RATING CRITERIA

Performance: We gave high marks if the skillet evenly browned food, provided good fond for flavorful pan sauce, functioned well under the broiler, and if the lid fit tightly and securely while steaming vegetables.

Ease of Use: We awarded points if the handle was comfortable to grip firmly, didn't feel insecure or slippery, or stayed cool on the stovetop, allowing us to skip potholders.

Cleanup/Durability: We noted if the skillet was easy to clean, docking points if the handles and rivets trapped grime and if the skillet warped or was dented after normal cooking and after abuse testing.


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The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little.

$248.64*
Recommended

Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block

This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.

$141.90*

Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block

This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.

$67.99*
Recommended with Reservations

Swissmar Bamboo Magnetic Knife Block

This small, scratch-resistant model had a stable, rubber-lined base and could hold all our knives, though the blade of the 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a bit. But inch-long gaps between its small magnets made coverage uneven and forced us to find the magnetic hot spots in order to secure the knives. Its acrylic guard made it safer to use but harder to insert knives and to clean.

$49.93*
Not Recommended

Messermeister Walnut Magnet Block

This handsome block was done in by its shape—a tippy, top-heavy quarter-circle that wasn’t tall or broad enough to keep the blades of three knives from poking out. It lacked a nonslip base, and its extra-strong magnets made it unnerving to attach or remove our heavy cleaver. Finally, it got a bit scratched after extensive use.

$129.95*

Epicurean Standing Knife Rack 12"

This magnetic block sheathed all our knives completely, though with a bit of crowding. But it was hard to insert each knife without hitting the block’s decorative slats on way down, and because the block was light and narrow, it wobbled when bumped. Worse, we couldn’t take it apart, so splatters that hit the interior were there to stay. Additionally, the outside stained easily, and when we wiped it down, the unit smelled like wet dog.

$99.95*

Kapoosh Rondelle Knife Block

This model stabilized knives with a mass of stiff, spaghetti-like bristles that shed and nicked easily after extensive use, covering our knives with plastic debris. While all our knives fit securely, several of the blades stuck out, making this unit feel less safe overall. Finally, though the bristles could be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, their nooks and crannies made this block hard to wash by hand.

$24.99*

Kuhn Rikon Vision Knife Block, Clear

This plastic block required us to aim each knife into the folds of an accordion-pleated insert that was removable for easy cleaning but got nicked easily with repeated use. Because we could only insert the knives vertically, longer knife blades stuck out; a cleaver was too wide to fit. The lightest model in our lineup, this block was dangerously top-heavy when loaded with knives.

$35.88*