When you need a little extra stovetop space or you’re cooking away from the kitchen, an electric skillet may be just the thing you need. (I use mine to make grilled cheese when volunteering at a local homeless shelter, for example.)
Choosing the best electric skillet for you depends on how you think you’ll use it. Is it strictly holiday meal prep? Do you plan to take it camping? Before you buy a skillet, consider the following:
Will you be cooking for a crowd or just the family? Will you be taking it on the road? What kind of storage do you have? If you need a compact skillet, check out this 8×8 inch model. The highly rated NESCO ES-08 Electric Skillet ($37) has a deep, nonstick interior, a glass lid and an easy-to-read temperature control.
How often do you think you’ll be using your skillet? Do you plan to use it regularly or will it only come out with the pilgrim place mats on Thanksgiving? Frequent users will want to invest in the highest quality they can afford.
One good bet for a skillet that will be getting a lot of mileage is the Presto 06857 16-inch Electric Foldaway Skillet ($50). It has a nonstick surface and is dishwasher safe (reviewers love this feature). It also has detachable handles for easy storage.
If you plan to use your skillet for deep-frying, you’ll want one that reaches at least 450º. You probably also want one with a deeper well. (Once you choose your skillet, try one of our most popular fried chicken recipes or make a batch of old-fashioned doughnuts from biscuit dough.)
Other features to look for:
- Heat-resistant handles reduce the chances of burning your fingers or dropping the hot skillet.
- A glass lid will allow you to see how the cooking is going without removing the lid.
- A drainage spout makes it safer and easier to drain off liquid or grease.
- An adjustable steam vent allows you to release the right amount of pressure depending on the food you are making.