8-Inch Stainless-Steel Skillet
How We Tested
The All-Clad D3 Stainless 12" Fry Pan with Lid, about $120, has been the test kitchen’s winning large stainless-steel skillet for more than a decade. We recently reviewed the 10-inch version and found it just as capable. Both pans are fully clad, or made from three metal layers—aluminum sandwiched between layers of stainless steel, which gives them the speedy heat conduction of aluminum and the heat retention; slower, more adjustable heat transmission; and nonreactivity of stainless steel. We use these fully clad skillets for searing and sautéing on the stovetop and baking, broiling, and roasting in the oven. An 8-inch version—the All-Clad Stainless 8" Fry Pan, which costs about $100—is also available, and we wondered if it would be equally capable and worth adding to our cookware recommendations.
To find out, we used it to make a frittata, starting on the stove and finishing in the oven under the broiler; to toast nuts in the oven; and to sear steak, brown onions, and make browned butter on the stovetop. We scrubbed the skillet by hand after each test. To evaluate the pan’s durability, we banged it against a concrete ledge three times, and then heated it to 500 degrees on the stove before plunging it into an ice bath, checking afterward for denting, warping, and any general damage.
The petite pan cooked all the food perfectly. It browned the steak and onions deeply and evenly, and it cleaned up beautifully. When we had a little trouble with staining on the pan’s interior, a spot of Bar Keepers Friend returned its luster handily. The pan was light, balanced, and maneuverable. Its handle stayed cool and felt secure in our hands. It also survived our abuse tests, looking almost brand-new at the end of testing. This pan would be an excellent addition to any kitchen.
We tested the All-Clad Stainless 8" Fry Pan, about $100, the small version of our winning 10- and 12-inch stainless-steel skillets
Make a mini frittata starting on the stove and finishing in the oven under the broiler
Toast nuts in the oven
Sear steak on the stovetop
Brown onions on the stovetop
Make browned butter on the stovetop
Scrub the skillet by hand after each test
Bang the skillet against a concrete ledge three times
Heat to 500°F on the stove and then plunge into a bucket filled with ice
Performance: We evaluated how evenly the skillet seared steaks, toasted nuts, browned onions and butter, and cooked a mini frittata.
Ease of Use: We noted if the handle was comfortable to grip firmly; didn't feel insecure or slippery; and stayed cool on the stovetop, allowing us to skip using pot holders.
Cleanup/Durability: We evaluated how easy the skillet was to clean, noting whether the handles and rivets trapped grime and if the skillet warped or was dented after normal cooking and after abuse testing.