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The 11 Best Pans for Cooking Fish, from Nonstick to Carbon Steel

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You’ve been known to cook a mean baked salmon. But when it comes to preparing fish sans-sheet pan, things can get…flaky. So, what if we told you that you’ll never need to suffer another mangled, stuck-to-the-pan fillet again? It’s as easy as adding one of the below best pans for cooking fish to your cookware collection. We scoured the internet and tapped our editors for their favorite brands and models to shop. No matter your preferred material, cooking method or price point, there’s a piece on this list for you.

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How We Selected the Best Pans for Cooking Fish

Our food team has reviewed and researched tons of cookware brands in the past, so we paired our expertise with editor recommendations and online reviews to curate this list.

What to Consider Before Buying a Pan for Cooking Fish

Due to fish’s delicate nature, nonstick cookware is the go-to, states Barbara Rich, lead chef at the Institute of Culinary Education. The skin won’t stick to the pan, meaning you’ll be able to flip and transfer the fish without destroying the flesh. (A fish spatula helps, too.) Nevertheless, you can cook fish in just about any material pan, as long as it’s properly greased or seasoned. Read on for our favorites.

The Best Pans for Cooking Fish at a Glance

best pan for cooking fish: close-up of person cooking salmon and veggies in a pan on the stove
Gracy Cary/Getty Images

Best Pan for Cooking Fish Overall

1. Made In Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan

You may think we’d pick a nonstick pan as our top choice, but we’d like to make a case for carbon steel. For the uninitiated, carbon steel is made from an alloy (aka a mixture of two or more metals or a metal and another element) and is extremely durable. Carbon steel pans are manufactured to be as thin, lightweight and slippery as nonstick pans with all the long-lasting strength, heat retention and versatility of cast iron. In other words, they deliver the best of both worlds, and if routinely and properly cared for with a bit of oil or wax, they’re essentially indestructible. This roomy 12-incher from Made In is equipped with high walls for minimal mess (hellooo, fried catfish) and pre-seasoned, so you can cook with it straight out of the box.

Best Nonstick Pan for Cooking Fish

2. Caraway Fry Pan

For newbies (or people who hate washing dishes), nonstick is the way to go. Even the most delicate pieces of fish will be flippable without the help of much oil or butter, thanks to Caraway’s beloved non-toxic, ceramic nonstick coating. You can cook your fish from start to finish on the stove, or pop it in the oven since the stove-agnostic (meaning it’s compatible with induction, gas and electric ranges) pan can take the heat up to 550°F. Best of all, it comes in an array of modern, millennial-approved colorways. The only downside is that the stainless-steel handles get hot as you cook, so have an oven mitt at the ready.

Best Stainless-Steel Pan for Cooking Fish

3. All-Clad D3 Stainless-Steel French Skillet

Stainless steel is senior food editor Katherine Gillen’s go-to for eggs, so you know it’ll be able to tackle fish with no mishaps. “If you preheat it properly with a little oil, it can be more nonstick than any DTC ceramic pan,” she asserts. Plus, stainless steel is non-reactive, so you’ll be able to drench your fish in acidic ingredients (think lemon, lime, tomato and vinegar) without the pan imparting an off taste or color. This pick from All-Clad has a wide, flat base and flared, splatter-resistant sides, making it a prime choice for pan-frying fish. It will also hold up against metal utensils, so feel free to scrape up tonight’s dinner with your favorite fish spatula.

Best Cast-Iron Pan for Cooking Fish

4. Lodge Cast-Iron 8-Inch Skillet

“Nothing sticks on it!” raves associate SEO editor Marissa Wu. “I love cast iron because it’s literally built to last forever. I just keep the skin on so if there is a little stick, the flesh isn’t torn apart.” Amazon reviewers concur, one saying, “It cooks even delicate foods like eggs and omelets beautifully without sticking, as long as the pan is hot before adding eggs; same principle for fish.” Cast iron is an especially smart choice if you’re searing fish, like a tuna steak for instance. Because the material has top-notch heat retention, you’ll get a drool-worthy, crispy exterior as long as the pan is properly oiled or seasoned and fully heated when the fish is added.

Best Pan for Grilling Fish

5. Ooni Cast Iron Grizzler

Want to make barbecued fish in the dead of winter? You’ll want this pan-griddle hybrid on your side. Crafted from premium cast iron, this Ooni pan is as versatile as it is easy to use. With a bit of cooking spray or oil, your fish will cook to perfection (with char marks) without sticking to the grates. We love that the handle is removable for easy transport. The main con is that it isn’t large enough to accommodate more than one large fillet at a time, so it’s best for one- to two-person meals. If you have an Ooni oven, it’ll fit just right, but you can also use the Grizzler over an open fire or on the stove.

This pan is gorgeous enough to be considered a statement piece in our book. Staub is famous for its next-level cast iron that transfers and retains heat like a charm. This pan is covered in an enamel coating that’s both functional and fashionable; it also requires no seasoning, unlike other cast-iron pieces. The long, shallow gratin can hold multiple fillets or even a whole fish (who doesn’t live branzino?). The innovative lid also promotes self-basting, meaning the liquid and condensation that accumulate while cooking will be circulated back into the base of the pan to keep the fish moist.

Best Pan for Braising and Poaching Fish

7. Misen Enameled Cast-Iron Braiser

If you’re cooking fish in a broth or sauce, you’ll need a pan deep enough to accommodate liquid. This sleek piece from Misen delivers all the perks of a Dutch oven in a smaller, shallower package, making it a breeze to maneuver and use on the regular. It’s spacious, in case you’re cooking for a crowd, and coated in four separately fired layers of chip-resistant enamel; beneath those rests a thick, durable cast-iron core. Wide handles and modest size make the braiser easy to grip—even with oven mitts—and maneuver. It’s also easy on the eyes, so feel free to serve your masterpiece straight from the pan.

Best Budget Pan for Cooking Fish

8. GreenPan Swift Healthy Ceramic Nonstick Frying Pan

The O.G. nontoxic cookware brand also happens to be among the most affordable. But that doesn’t mean it’s limited in capabilities: Its heavy-gauge design will expertly heat your fish, and once it’s cooked, it’ll slide right out of the pan. It’s also oven-friendly up to 600°F, so you can pop it under the broiler if you’d like too. GreenPan’s nonstick surface is made from silicon-based Thermalon, a scratch-resistant material that can withstand temps up to 850°F. One caveat: Executive editor and GreenPan fan Candace Davison suggests rinsing the pan by hand, even though it’s dishwasher safe. “I’ve found the nonstick surface doesn’t last long if you toss it in there,” she says.

Most Splurge-Worthy Pan for Cooking Fish

9. Le Creuset Oval Fish Skillet

Foodies of all skill sets adore this heirloom-worthy brand. Whether it’s the cocotte, the Dutch oven or the shallow fry pan, all of Le Creuset’s pieces have a certain je ne sais quoi and the quality to back it up. The oval fish skillet, made from enameled cast iron, is non-reactive and resistant to chips and cracks. The enamel develops a patina (aka a natural nonstick layer that keeps food from sticking and protects the pan from moisture) over time, which will eventually make it nearly nonstick—and easy to clean. The pan is a bit heavy, but a sturdy iron handle and opposite helper handle will allow you hold it steady. In this case, quality comes with a high price tag, but the pan will last forever, so consider it an investment.

Best Pan for Cooking Fish for a Crowd

10. Great Jones Large Fry

Cooking for the whole fam? This 10¼-inch nonstick frying pan can keep up. Safe for all stovetops and complete with a welded handle (as opposed to one secured with screws, rivets or seams that can trap bacteria), this ergonomically pleasing pan has a fully baked stainless-steel exterior and a nontoxic, nonstick ceramic interior, so it will heat your fish evenly without chipping, scratching or oozing weird chemicals into the food. It also just so happens to be induction-, oven- and dishwasher-safe.

Most Aesthetically Pleasing Pan for Cooking Fish

11. Our Place Always Pan

This Instagram-famous skillet, made from ceramic-coated aluminum) is designed to replace an eight-piece cookware set (including a fry pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucepan, nonstick pan, spatula and spoon rest). Not only is the Always Pan chic and available in several stunning colors, but the nonstick piece also comes with a nesting steamer basket and a wooden spatula that can rest directly on the pan’s handle. The main downsides? The outer surface can discolor and deteriorate over time, and it isn’t oven friendly. If you stick to stovetop use, you’ll be good to go; just know that this pan isn’t known for its long-term durability, so you may need to replace it eventually.

Best Air Fryer for Cooking Fish

Bonus Recommendation: PowerXL Air Fryer Pro

We know, we know—this is a roundup of pans for cooking fish. But hear PureWow’s commerce editor Olivia Dubyak out. “I can never seem to get a crisp top on my fish when I pan-sear it, and it ends up falling apart,” she laments. “So, I said ‘screw the pan.’ [The] air fryer is easier and gives [me] the texture I’m looking for without drying out my fish.” Air fryers rely on convection heat; the hot air is circulated around the air fryer for impeccably even crisping. As long as you don’t overcook the fish, you should be able to achieve crispy skin and tender, juicy flesh in mere minutes with an air fryer, just in case you’re ready to hang up your fish pan for good.

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Taryn Pire is PureWow’s associate food editor. A former bartender and barista, she’s been writing about all things delicious since 2016, developing recipes, reviewing restaurants and investigating food trends at Food52, New Jersey Family Magazine and Taste Talks. When she isn’t testing TikTok’s latest viral recipe, she’s having popcorn for dinner and posting about it on Instagram @cookingwithpire.