An electric skillet is a great option if you’ve got limited stovetop space or simply prefer working on your countertop. And in fact, lots of people turn to electric skillets for recipes and cooking videos, specifically because the countertop aesthetics are better and you don’t have to worry about a stove hood getting in the way of your camera.
But if a Tasty-style cooking video isn’t your endgame, fear not - these electric skillets are still great alternatives to traditional stovetop cooking, regardless who may or may not be watching. Here are the five best electric skillets on the market:
High End Pick
My pick for the all around, absolute best electric skillet.
The Presto 16-Inch Electric Skillet is a fantastic option for those looking to get a fair amount of use out of their electric skillet, and who like a good deal. The skillet is 16 inches across in length (about 12 inches wide) and has an even wider, stable base that cradles the skillet and forms handles. I really like the wide base and the high sidewalls - it feels very stable.
The Presto Electric Skillet has an adjustable and easy-to-use temperature range, going from 200 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. But actually, one of the things that I find most useful about this tool is the warming function. I can easily cook in it, then put on the lid (tempered glass, by the way) and use it as a food warmer for guests.
From a mechanical perspective, the Presto is great. It does its job well, using a nonstick surface that makes clean up easy, and it’s even dishwasher safe as long as you remove the heat controller. And apparently, using this Presto Electric Skillet is more energy efficient than a standard stove top burner, so there’s that.
While the Presto works well, the design ergonomics leave much to be desired. I don’t particularly love the fact that it’s square - and in fact this also means that the corners heat up much more quickly than the center.
But the biggest design flaw is the fact that the pan and the base do not come apart, making the whole thing a bit unmanageable when it comes to both cleaning and storing. And although they say dishwasher safe, I wouldn’t recommend putting anything with a nonstick coating in the dishwasher. Hand wash only.
The Elite Gourmet EG-6203 Electric Skillet is a fantastic product that checks a lot, if not all, of my boxes. It has a high quality, PFOA-free, marbleized honeycomb nonstick surface that is guaranteed to not crack or peel.
An issue that many electric skillets face is uneven heating, usually resulting from poor design and haphazard placement of the heating element. On the Elite Gourmet, the heating element is M-shaped, efficiently distributing heat throughout the pan. And it heats quickly!
At this point, I only really go for products with glass lids, since I like to keep an eye on my food as it cooks, and in this respect, the Elite Gourmet also delivers. One small complaint about this lid, however, is that the spout leaves an opening with the lid that allows steam to escape. Given the fact that the lid already has a steam vent, this is just too much moisture loss.
It’s a small detail, but I really like the easy-pour spout on the pan that makes decanting juices a lot easier. This is a tiny detail, but it makes all the difference when it comes to not making a mess. It’s hard to count how many times I’ve tried to pour liquid from a hot pan and ended up with sauce all over my counter.
Finally, Elite Gourmet offers a one year warranty and US-based customer service, which is particularly reassuring should any issues arise.
The Nesco ES-08 Electric Skillet may be the smallest skillet on this list, but don’t let that fool you. Despite its size, the ES-08 actually packs quite the punch.
In fact, Nesco actually makes this item in a larger size (the ES-12, with almost double the wattage) but I actually prefer the small Nesco because it’s so perfect for one person. I absolutely love how tiny and convenient this thing is.
The temperature controls are easy to use, and range from 275 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. I’d recommend playing with this a bit before embarking on a big recipe though, just to get a sense of how these temperatures correspond to “low” “medium,” and “high.”
The lid is glass with a small steam vent, and fits snuggly on the skillet, though you can unsettle it easily if you want to release a little extra steam. I’m a big fan of glass lids these days - as I’ve said before - since they allow me to keep an eye on my food as it cooks. I’ve just over-cooked too much food in the past that I was afraid to check on for fear of letting out too much heat or steam.
The nonstick coating is pretty good, though I’d recommend hand washing only to preserve the surface as long as possible. And the skillet heats pretty evenly, except for a few hotspots. But honestly, because we are talking about such a small cooking surface, the hotspots don’t really matter.
Although it’s not terribly fancy, the Nesco ES-08 would absolutely be my pick if you’re preparing a nice dinner for one.
The Dash Electric Skillet is big and beautiful. Coming in at 14 inches across, it’s among the larger electric skillets on this list, meaning it’s probably not the right piece for your dorm room. But if you’re looking for a solid, reliable electric skillet that you can use for family night, the Dash may be for you.
From an aesthetic and design perspective, I give the Dash Electric Skillet four out of four stars. I am a big fan of the colors. I’ve gone with aqua myself, but the Dash also comes in black - maybe more fitting for most kitchens - and red.
And ergonomically, the machine is put together very thoughtfully. I like that the side handles, which stay cool as the skillet heats, are actually pretty small. Unless you have Andre the Giant hands, this is really all you need. The small handles just look better and make the item easier to store.
The tempered glass lid is standard, and traps heat and moisture perfectly while letting you watch your food cook. The TruGlide PFOA-free, nonstick surface also comes standard, making cooking delicate items like eggs a real treat.
Dash is moreover just a really great company. They have US based customer support, which is great in terms of creating US jobs, and they also offer a one year manufacturer’s warranty.
In terms of quality craftsmanship, the Oster DuraCeramic Skillet is surpassed by none. The key feature of this item is the Dura Ceramic nonstick coating, which is of course PTFE and PFOA-free. It’s incredibly durable (4x as durable as competitors) and is guaranteed to never flake or peel. Coincidentally, this nonstick surface also makes it very easy to clean.
The temperature gauge is pretty self-explanatory and easy to use. It heats up quickly, and can be set from 270 to 420 degrees Fahrenheit, which should cover just about all cooking needs. As with other electric skillets though, I’d suggest experimenting with this a bit in order to gauge what temperature corresponds to what we think of as “low,” “medium” and “high” heat.
The cooking surface is a 12 inch by 12 inch square, putting the Oster right smack in the middle if you were to arrange these electric skillets according to size. For me, 12 inches is great, but this is really a matter of preference and will depend on how many people you’re planning on cooking for.
On the downside, there are a few design flaws in this machine. First, the feet of the pan are not rubberized, meaning that pretty much anything can cause the device to slip and slide on the countertop. This can be remedied with the old chef’s trick of putting a wet dish cloth underneath it, but honestly, it’s kind of annoying.
The other flaw in this machine is the power cord. It’s quite small, and without using an extension cord it limits where on the counter you can use the skillet.
There are a few final things to consider when selecting and later using your electric skillet. First, you might want to consider how many people you plan to cook for, and what your storage capabilities are.
These skillets vary tremendously in size, and some of them are quite large. Beyond that, a lot of electric skillets don’t release from their bases, making them even more cumbersome and difficult if space in your kitchen is a premium.
For this reason, if you’re cooking for only one or two people, I’d suggest going with one of the smaller skillets, like the Nesco ES-08 or the Oster. If you’ve got a big family or plan on using your electric skillet to entertain guests, then you might want to go with the Dash, the Presto, or the Elite Gourmet.
Another consideration has to do with functionality. Clearly, electric skillets are first and foremost instruments for preparing food. That said, some electric skillets also function quite well as food warmers, and for serving already prepared food at larger functions.
So again, this gets back to the question of what you might be using this skillet for. If you plan on entertaining guests, you might want to invest in an electric skillet that can kill two birds with one stone. In that case, I’d go with the Presto.
Lastly, regardless of the electric skillet you buy, I would highly recommend playing with the temperature gauge before committing to a full meal. Although most of the gauges are pretty easy-to-use, rarely on such a machine will the numbers on the dial correlate perfectly or accurately to the actual temperature of the skillet.
Besides that, how often does a stovetop recipe instruct you to heat your food over 280 degree heat? Stovetop recipes always refer to temperature in terms of “low,” “medium” and “high” heat, so you’ll want to do some experimenting to get a sense of what that actually means on your new skillet.
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