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Everyone likes cooking to be easy. Maybe not all the time, but even the greatest chefs can’t turn down a comfort meal on a particularly lazy day. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could toss some ingredients into a self-cooking appliance and out comes a delicious meal?
Electric skillets are probably the closest thing to that magical appliance. It is exactly why they are a popular kitchen must-have for many households.
Maybe you’re in the market for a new electric skillet, but don’t know how to shop for one. Fret not, because in this article we’re going to guide you through just exactly that.
With the recent shift away from Teflon due to health concerns, we have decided to make this list ceramic-coated only.
But first, why an electric skillet?
If you’re looking for the absolute best ceramic electric skillet and do not have the time to read through the article, we recommend the 16” electric skillet from Presto for being the best value for your money.
For a smaller 12” model, our recommendation is the BELLA 12” square electric skillet.
Click here to skip straight to our list of top picks!
Table of Contents
Benefits of Electric Skillets
Firstly, the most obvious benefit of an electric skillet versus its traditional, manual counterparts, is the level of hands-off cooking it is able to offer.
With traditional skillets and a stove top, there are many factors affecting how well a meal comes out. Controlling the right heat level along with tossing and frying takes a bit of mastery and patience to pull off. While sometimes it is fun to cook, other times, you would surely appreciate the hands-off process of cooking in an electric skillet.
It also allows you to avoid standing over the heat for long periods of time in the kitchen. Just toss in the ingredients, set a temperature, and go finish binge watching that Netflix show you were on.
While being simple, electric skillets do not trade off versatility. They can be used to roast, fry, sauté, steam, or used as a buffet. Because of this, it serves as an all-around appliance that easily replaces a few of your cookware, including multi-functions pans.
In general, electric skillets have more even distribution of heat compared to cooking on stove tops. This also means less room for human error, and less chance of you burning your Tuesday meal.
The ability to keep food warm is also an added benefit of an electric skillet.
Given the multitude of benefits of an electric skillet, who doesn’t want one?
Is ceramic non-stick coating an improvement over Teflon?
Teflon non-stick coating is a staple invention of kitchen technology that improved the cooking pleasure of countless many. It allows for easier cooking as well as cleaning that does not involve you clenching your teeth while scrubbing.
Cooking can also be done with less oil, so you’re able to have more control over how much you actually would like in your cooking, instead of just putting oil in for its non-stickiness.
While providing convenience, it is not without trade-offs.
In recent years, many people have become aware of the potential harm of Teflon-coated non-stick cookware to the body. The popular coating has been linked to health effects such as thyroid disorders, kidney diseases, and certain types of cancer. Due to this reason, many are staying away from these ranges of cookware.
Now you might be concerned, does that mean to avoid these potential health risks, you would have to give up on non-stick coating, and deal with cleaning up the mess? Not really. An alternative material used to replace (and some might even say do a better job than) Teflon is ceramic.
Due to its relative novelty, its durability is not proven. However, we do know that ceramic is a highly stable compound. This means that it does not release any harmful substances even when cooking under high temperature.
Buyer’s guide: What to look for?
Here comes the hardest part, knowing how to pick apart a good product. Here, we list down some of the things you should be aware of when comparing different electric skillets.
This is the most obvious that most people look out for when choosing a new electric skillet. As an electric skillet is one of the bigger purchases in the kitchen and is supposed to hold up for a longer period of time, choosing something that is future-proof is important.
The standard size of an electric skillet measures around 12” across, and is able to cook for servings of four or more, generally speaking. For a bigger family, one of 16” might be a better investment.
Apart from looking at the length and width, the depth is also equally as important. A little over 2” to 2.5” will offer more versatile cooking, allowing for even deep-frying when desired.
When comparing the common materials of electric skillets, copper and aluminum, the former seems to be the better choice. It conducts heat better which leads to better heat distribution and control, and is generally more durable and more warp-resistant than aluminum.
While providing a more superior experience to aluminum, copper-based cookware and appliances tend to be pricier.
But there’s no need to fuss too much about picking the “right” material – both are great materials for cookware in their own right.
For this one, you should be more concerned about the placement and heat distribution that the heating element is able to provide, rather than the materials it is made of.
Some electric skillets are known to have pretty bad heat distribution. The common problem is with many of them giving off too much heat near the power inlet, or around the heating element such that after long periods of usage, burn marks form.
While there are no obvious signs of a bad heating element from the exterior of an electric skillet, lucky for you, we have filtered out the ones with major heating problems in this list.
Full immersibility and dishwasher-safe
Some people, like me, just really don’t fancy the idea of doing the dishes. This is where having a dishwasher-safe electric skillet could save you a lot of work in the long run.
Electric skillets are complex appliances, unlike simple traditional cookware. This means that unless specified by the manufacturer, you will not be able to fully immerse your electric skillet in water.
This is mainly because some electric skillets are just not made to be separable from its base and heating element. As the base contains electrical components, soaking in water is a no-no.
Being an electrically-powered appliance, the only real control you have over the cooking process is the heating temperature.
Some models opt for arbitrarily-numbered levels of heat, starting from 1 up to say, 5. While this might seem simpler at first glance, it is actually harder to get it to cook at the exact temperature range you are going for, especially when following a recipe that specifies one.
To avoid fumbling around with the instruction manual to find out what temperatures the numbers correspond to when you’re already ready to cook, do yourself a favor and try to get one labelled with actual temperatures!
While most electric skillets have removable pans, some do not. With a removable pan, you can easily detach it from the base and serve at the table or move it around, as opposed to having to carry the entire unit over.
Such a simple feature, but you’ll be very glad when you do come across a time when you need it!
The Best Ceramic-Coated Electric Skillets
Seeing that there aren’t many options currently on the market for ceramic-coated electric skillets, the list isn’t very long and your options are slightly limited. But rest assured, the ones that made it into the list are well worth your time and money!
Although being the most affordable option on our list, this model cuts little corners.
Coming in at 12” x 12” and about 2” deep, this is perfect if you don’t need a large-sized skillet. Comfortably cooking for a serving of four, this is ideal if you’re usually only cooking for a couple or a small family.
It is made of copper with a cast aluminum base, so good heat conductivity is not a problem here. Rated at 1200W with 110V, this electric skillet has enough power for just about any kind of regular cooking at home.
- PFOA- and PTFE-free ceramic non-stick coating that is titanium-reinforced, for scratch resistance and ease of cleaning
- Heat controls labelled with temperature that ranges from 300°F to 450°F
- Has dedicated ‘keep warm’ and ‘simmer’ settings, with the simmer sitting between keeping warm and the minimum 300°F
- Fully immersible skillet as the heating element can be removed, even though the base is non-removable
- Dishwasher-safe tempered glass lid
- Rubber nubs on each leg
- Non-removable base which would take up more space at the table
- Relatively prone to burn and scorch marks, especially the area around the heating element where food may start to get stuck
- Less-than-ideal temperature knob positioning as some bending down is required to fully see it
- No automatic shut-off
This is for someone who needs a little more power and higher temperatures when cooking.
Taking in 120V to produce a maximum of 1400W of power, this 12″ by 12″ electric skillet is for the ones that require a higher amount of heat in their cooking routine. Going all the way up to 460°F, it will be able to cover any recipe and cooking style you pick.
Made of heavy cast aluminum, this model is durable and fairly resistant to warping. It has a depth of a little under 2.25” so is a little more adaptable than the BELLA.
However, looking at the overalls, it does not offer as many features as the other ones on this list, and are missing some common ones (refer to the pros and cons list). For this reason, we only recommend going for this if the impressive temperature range is something you need to have.
- PFOA- and PTFE-free non-stick coating
- Wide range of temperature settings ranging from 200°F to 460°F
- Tempered glass lid complete with steam vents and cool touch handles
- Removable power cable makes serving easy
- Rubber non-slip feet
- Temperature knob displays numbers instead of temperature so it might be harder to hit your desired heat level precisely, without referring to the manual
- Not fully immersible which might make cleaning somewhat of a hassle
- Cooking is less consistent than competitors due to its tendency to completely shut off when reaching the set temperature then turning itself back on when the temperature falls too low
If you’re looking for one that would be able to cook for a larger crowd, we recommend this as being the most worth it.
The actual cooking surface measures about 15.5” x 10.5”, with around 2.5” of depth. Being wider and deeper than the BELLA, this definitely offers more versatility.
Made of heavy cast aluminum, you can feel confident knowing the skillet is highly resistant to warping. It offers a little more power than the previous one on the list, putting out 1500W at maximum settings with 120V of input.
- PTFE- and PFOA-free ceramic non-stick coating that actually has 2 layers and is of good quality
- Fully immersible skillet with the heating element removed
- Heat controls labelled with temperature that ranges from 200°F to 400°F, with an additional ‘warm’ setting
- Heats up quickly with the higher wattage output
- Rubber nubs on each leg
- Base and handles not easily removable as they are mounted on with screws
- Unable to properly simmer as it does not provide a ‘simmer’ setting, and ‘warm’ is not hot enough whereas the minimum temperature of 200°F is too hot
- No automatic shut-off
If you’re looking for something that is of even higher quality, packed with more sophisticated features, you might want to look into this one.
From the outside, there is nothing fancy about the Oster electric skillet. Measuring at 12” x 12” and about 2.25” deep, it is sized very similar to just about any 12” square ones on the market. What actually sets it apart is its materials.
With Oster’s proprietary titanium-infused DuraCeramic non-stick coating, it claims to be several times more durable than ordinary non-stick surfaces.
This mid-sized electric skillet is powered by 120V of input and gives out 1200W of power.
- PFOA- and PTFE-free titanium-infused proprietary ceramic coating that is more durable than many other brands, providing more effortless cooking and cleaning processes
- Thumb pads on tempered glass lid which allows for holding the lid down when draining, negating the need for potholders
- 2 straining sizes offered on the integrated strain lid for versatility
- Temperature control ranging from 200°F to 420°F plus a ‘warm’ setting
- Removable temperature control knob allows for easy adjusting
- Rubber bottoms which prevent from sliding
- Not immersible and not dishwasher-safe but cleaning is still easy due to the non-stick coating
- Some complaints of discoloration and burn marks after heavy usage, causing food to start sticking around where the heating element is located
As the absolute best ceramic electric skillet, we recommend the Presto 16” rectangular one, if you have the space in the kitchen for it. Being reasonably priced, the value it offers relative to its price tag greatly surpasses its competition.
If you’re short on space however, our recommendation for the best 12” electric skillet would be the BELLA square model. Don’t be put off by its affordability, because what you’re getting here is nearly identical to some of the products twice its price!
While you’re shopping for your brand new electric skillet, you might also be interested in getting an air fryer (which significantly cuts down preparation time of fried snacks or even baked goods). In the spirit of picking a safe material for your cookware, ceramic waffle makers and safe stainless steel cookware might be also be of interest to you.
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