Considering a Solidteknics frying pan? Here’s what you need to know.
Welcome, food lover. You’re here because you’re on a quest for the ultimate pan.
Perhaps you’ve seen the name Solidteknics floating around the internet - The Telegraph named this skillet the “#1 best frying pan you can buy”, The Daily Mail called it “a piece of art, 5/5”, and Vogue said it “looks as good as it functions”. This cookware is said to transform your cooking, and last forever. Is it all hype?
Solidteknics has been a bestseller on our site for several years now, and we’ve been using them on the daily for a long time. Whether you’re new to the Solidteknics brand or not, we want to give you a rundown on exactly what makes these pans different - plus a little peek at the science.
We’re going to answer some common questions about how and why Solidteknics pans a) cook better, b) are indestructible, and c) have an all-natural non-stick surface. And while we’re at it, we’ll explain the difference between our Satin and Quenched ranges. Let’s get into it.
Why do Solidteknics frying pans cook better?
“What made me happiest about this pan,” says Tomé Morrissy-Swan, The Telegraph's assistant food editor, “is that it has the uncanny knack of elevating simple dishes to acceptable restaurant fare.”
Tomé’s experience reflects our own - when you cook on a Solidteknics pan, veg gets beautifully blistered, potatoes crisp up and meat takes on a perfect golden sear.
The secret lies in the pan’s material: 3mm thick wrought iron. This metal is very dense, which gives it the following properties:
#1: outstanding heat retention.
As you heat up your Solidteknics, the temperature just builds and builds - and it can climb to super-hot temperatures. This gives food a beautiful sear (the secret to ‘restaurant fare’ food), and is something you’ll really struggle to achieve on a non-stick pan. And don’t worry - the long vented handles stay cool.
#2: radiates heat outward.
Pans made of other materials are mainly just cooking the food in contact with the pan's surface. But because iron radiates heat so strongly, it’s cooking food a good distance above the metal too. This is great for thoroughly cooking things through, such as chicken and potatoes.
#3: naturally non-stick.
Iron pans build up a natural, renewable non-stick layer that just gets better and better the more you use them. Once this layer is well-developed, you can even cook eggs in a Solidteknics without worrying about sticking disasters. This is called ‘seasoning’ - more on this later.
#4: complete versatility.
Solidteknics pans work with absolutely any heat source, and are oven-safe too. Whether you have a gas, electric or induction hob, they’ll work brilliantly - and they’re very much at home over an open fire as well. This way, for instance, you can sear food over the barbecue and finish it off in the oven with ease.
Is Solidteknics cast iron?
Solidteknics pans are not made of cast iron - even though they share many of the same cooking properties. Traditional cast iron pans are made by pouring molten iron into a mould, and the resulting material is relatively brittle. To make sure they’re not delicate, cast iron pans are made very thick and heavy.
Solidteknics pans, on the other hand, are made from 100% wrought iron. This is a different type of iron that is stamped into shape. It’s just 3mm thick, and the resulting pans are far lighter and stronger than cast iron skillets. In fact, a Solidteknics pan weighs half as much as its cast iron equivalent.
How are Solidteknics pans so strong?
First of all, the wrought iron that the pans are made of is inherently extremely strong. It’s not brittle, and it’s not bendy either. You can throw a Solidteknics pan out the window and it will be fine.
The other secret to their durability is the one-piece construction. Each pan is stamped into shape from a single piece of metal, handle and all. That means there are no joints, rivets or other weak points where a break might eventually occur. No more wobbly handles - ever.
What does multi-century warranty mean?
Solidteknics have so much faith in the durability of this design, their pans are covered by a multi-century warranty: the longest warranty on our site. That means if anything goes wrong with your pan, whether it’s you or your future great-grandchild using it, you’ll be entitled to a replacement. To be clear, the warranty covers defects relating to the materials or manufacture - not improper use, lack of maintenance or abuse.
Is Solidteknics non-stick?
If we’re talking about synthetic coatings like Teflon, then no, Solidteknics pans are not non-stick - they’re 100% pure uncoated iron. However, the iron does build up a layer of ‘seasoning’, which is a natural non-stick surface that is ever-renewable. The more you cook, the better it gets.
Not familiar with seasoning? It’s basically layers of cooked-on oil. To season your pan, wipe a thin layer of vegetable oil onto it and then pop it in the oven (repeat), Then wipe another thing layer of vegetable oil onto it, place on a heat source, heat until smoking and repeat a few times. Then, just keep cooking on your pan. Read our easy seasoning guide or watch our 60 second video here.
How does this work? As these layers of oil are heated, they polymerise and become hard, shiny and dark. The layers build up to form a durable coating that protects the pan from rust, and has an easy-release surface. This is why seasoned iron pans look black in colour, instead of iron-grey.
The best thing is, seasoning is a natural, renewable non-stick surface. If your seasoning is scraped off, you can build it up again (unlike with synthetic non-stick). If it gets in your food, it’s perfectly safe - just vegetable oil, instead of some mystery chemical. Seasoning can generally only be done on iron cookware - it’s not something that can be achieved on stainless steel pans.
Is Solidteknics safe?
Because Solidteknics pans are made from 100% pure iron, they’re PFOA and PTFE free, non-toxic and completely safe. They come pre-seasoned with GMO-free rice bran oil, and nothing else.
Is Solidteknics worth it?
Obviously, we’re going to be biassed here. But when you consider just how long a Solidteknics pan will last (and how often you’ll use it), it’s clear to see how it’s a really worthwhile investment. Not only will this pan give you a lifetime of exceptional cooking every day, the next generation - and the ones after that - will be able to enjoy the same.
All of our Solidteknics pans represent a significant investment. However, non-stick pans tend to only last about three years before the coating starts to break down. If you repeatedly bought non-stick pans from Argos for £25 each, it would end up costing £417 over 50 years. That’s triple the cost of a one-time Solidteknics purchase - not to mention hugely wasteful.
And lastly, when you cook every day, upgrading to quality equipment makes a significant difference to your routines. It’s a great way to rekindle a passion for cooking.
I’m in. Should I buy a Satin or Quenched pan? And what size?
You may have noticed that we have two slightly different Solidteknics ranges: the lightly seasoned bronze-coloured Satin range, and well seasoned dark-coloured Quenched range, the latter of which is more expensive.
Satin and Quenched are essentially exactly the same pans - but the Quenched range has been more heavily pre-seasoned. That means you can get started cooking with Quenched iron after just a quick round of stove top seasoning. The Quenched finish is achieved by dunking a red-hot pan into chilled rice bran oil, instantly creating a layer of seasoning.
With the Satin pans, you’ll need to do some seasoning work beforehand if you want a good non-stick surface. They’re significantly cheaper, however.
Here’s a quick description of the different pan models we offer, to help you decide:
- The 22cm sauté pan - a high-walled pan for more sauté action. Satin only - buy here
- The wok - a two-handled 30cm wok for high-heat stir-frying. Buy the Satin here, or Quenched here.
- The crepe pan - a versatile flat surface, ideal for pancakes or searing steaks. Buy the Satin here, Quenched here.
- The barbecue pan - a perforated 26cm frying pan, for allowing smoke and flame to directly reach food. Satin only, buy here.
Ready to invest in a lifetime of great cooking? Browse the whole Solidteknics collection here.
Maintaining your iron pan - and cooking on it - is simpler than you might think. Have you been hearing mixed messages? Read our 10 common myths about cast iron, debunked (they apply to Solidteknics too).Want to read some real reviews from our customers? Here are six testimonials from Solidteknics buyers - or you can see what people are saying about our bestseller in the reviews section.