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What is a crisper pan used for?

A crisper pan is a specialized cooking pan designed to create snacks and side dishes with a light, crispy texture. The pan’s unique construction allows food to cook evenly while draining excess fat and oil, resulting in healthier and lower calorie dishes without sacrificing crunch and flavor.

What Makes Crisper Pans Different?

Crisper pans have a slightly raised surface with slots or holes that allow grease and oil to drip through during the cooking process. This allows foods to cook in their own fat while the excess drips away, keeping foods crispy on the outside and tender inside without the need for deep frying.

The most common design is a flat pan with small holes covering the entire cooking surface. Some crisper pans have more of a grill design, with raised ridges and larger slots in between. Both styles serve the same purpose of evenly browning and crisping food while draining away extra grease.

Benefits of Using a Crisper Pan

There are several advantages that make crisper pans a useful addition to any kitchen:

  • Makes traditionally greasy foods healthier – Deep fried foods soak up a lot of oil, ramping up the calories. Crisper pans can produce similar texture with a fraction of the oil, reducing fat and calories.
  • Evenly cooks and browns – The holes allow heat to circulate completely around food for consistent browning and texture.
  • Versatile – Crisper pans can be used for everything from frying and sautéing to roasting and baking.
  • Easy to clean – Food doesn’t stick to the surface, and any oils drain away, reducing mess.
  • Doesn’t require flipping – Food crisps from contact with the pan alone, without needing to be flipped over.

Typical Uses for Crisper Pans

Crisper pans are handy to have for cooking up all kinds of quick appetizers, sides, and snacks with a satisfying crunch. Here are some of the most popular ways to use a crisper pan:

Making French Fries

French fries are a classic use for crisper pans. The hot surface browns the potatoes while the holes allow excess oil to drain off, resulting in crisp fries with less oil than deep frying. Cut potatoes into fry shape, rinse and dry thoroughly, then toss with just a tablespoon or two of oil before cooking.

Crispy Vegetables

All kinds of vegetables get a delicious crunch when cooked in a crisper pan. Try thinly sliced vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, turnips, radishes, or carrots. Toss the veggies with a sprinkle of oil, herbs, and spices and cook until browned and tender.

Fried Chicken

Crisper pans are great for making fried chicken with a crackling crust without needing to submerge it in gallons of oil. Coat chicken pieces with flour, egg, and crumbs then place in pan and cook through, turning once. The excess oil will drain away while the chicken gets beautifully crisp.


Crisp up bacon perfectly in a crisper pan. The meat browns while the fat renders and drips away, leaving you with flat, evenly cooked bacon without curling. Bake or fry to your preferred level of crispness.


All kinds of seafood shine when cooked in a crisper pan. The constant contact with the pan surface means you don’t have to flip delicate fish fillets. Shrimp, scallops, and calamari also get fabulously crispy exteriors without extra oil or aggressive frying.

Crispy Tofu

For a vegan and vegetarian take, crisper pans yield deliciously crispy tofu. Cut tofu into cubes and place in pan after tossing with a small amount of oil. Fry until browned and chewy.

Tips for Using a Crisper Pan

While crisper pans are easy to use, following a few simple tips will ensure you get the very best results:

  • Use mild tasting, high smoke point oils – The pan’s surface heats oil very quickly, so avoid unrefined oils that could burn. Stick to refined avocado, grapeseed, vegetable, or canola oil.
  • Don’t overcrowd – Allow space between food for even crisping. Cook in batches for larger amounts.
  • Preheat properly – Heat the empty pan over medium heat before adding oil and ingredients. Proper preheating prevents sticking.
  • Blot before cooking – Dry ingredients thoroughly so excess moisture doesn’t boil and steam instead of browning.
  • Flip once – Unless cooking delicate fish, flip ingredients halfway through cooking for even browning.

Cleaning Your Crisper Pan

Crisper pans have large holes and grooves that can trap oil and debris. Follow these steps to keep your pan in great shape:

  1. Allow to cool completely before cleaning.
  2. Wipe away any large debris with paper towels.
  3. Clean with hot soapy water, using a sponge or plastic scrubbing brush.
  4. If needed, fill pan with water and bring to a simmer to loosen stuck-on bits.
  5. Dry thoroughly after washing.
  6. Avoid abrasive scouring pads that could damage the cooking surface.
  7. For stubborn residue, fill with water and bring to a boil, then scrape again while hot.

Types of Crisper Pans

There are a few common varieties and features to consider when shopping for a crisper pan:

Type Details Best Uses
Flat Holed Pan Flat pan surface with small holes evenly distributed across bottom General crisping of foods like vegetables, potatoes, chicken
Grill Pan Raised ridges with slots in between like a grill Foods that need grill marks like meats, fish, and sandwiches
Deep Crisper Deep sides more like a pot with holes in bottom Frying larger amounts of food

Material is also an important factor. Stainless steel is durable and conducts heat evenly. Non-stick versions simplify cleanup. Cast iron provides excellent heat retention.

Top Crisper Pan Brands

There are a variety of quality crisper pan brands available. Some top options include:

Gotham Steel

Known for durable non-stick cookware, Gotham Steel offers several crisper pan designs. Their non-stick coating allows smooth food release. Round and square shapes have holes throughout the bottom. Their grill model has raised ridges.

Ninja Foodi

Part of the popular line of Ninja kitchen appliances, the Ninja Foodi NeverStick Crisper Pan has a textured surface for even browning. The heavy-gauge aluminum construction allows quick, consistent heating.


T-fal makes a variety of low-priced but good quality pans. Their Nonstick Fry Pan with Cool Touch Handle has an anti-warp base and scratch resistant pan coating.


For a higher end option, Calphalon’s Innovative Enamel Cast Iron Crisper utilizes cast iron for excellent heat distribution. The enamel coating prevents sticking. It comes in round and grill pan shapes.

Copper Chef

Known for innovative pans, Copper Chef has a square non-stick crisper pan touting their Cerami-Tech coating. It promises to be scratch resistant and withstand temperatures up to 850°F.

Choosing the Right Size

Crisper pans come in a range of sizes. Consider what quantities of food you typically cook when choosing size:

  • 8 inches – Good for individual meals or snacks for 1-2 people.
  • 10 inches – Suitable for cooking for 2-4 people.
  • 12 inches – Accommodates cooking for 4+ people or larger batches.
  • 14+ inches – For extra large batches, big families, or meal prepping.

Keep in mind larger pans may require more oil and longer preheating. Optimal pan size depends on your needs.

Are Crisper Pans Worth it?

For lovers of crispy fried foods, crisper pans can certainly be worthwhile. The ability to enjoy your favorite crispy treats with less guilt is a major benefit for many. Crisper pans also deliver excellent results across a wide range of foods from French fries to fish fillets.

However, some downsides are that they can be trickier to clean thoroughly. The specially textured surface also means you lose some direct contact browning that gives flavor. Some prefer using less oil in a conventional skillet instead.

Whether a crisper pan is worth purchasing comes down to your cooking style and preferences. They make an excellent secondary pan for specific crisping uses. For those wanting to reduce oil in their cooking, a crisper pan can be a smart investment.


A crisper pan is cleverly designed to give you deliciously crispy results using minimal oil. The unique perforated surface browns and crisps everything from fried chicken to roasted vegetables to crispy tofu. They allow you to achieve the texture you love in typically greasy foods while reducing fat and calories. Crisper pans feature varying hole designs and materials to suit different cooking needs. Following basic crisper pan cooking tips like proper preheating and not overcrowding will give you the best outcomes. For fans of crisp-fried flavor, a good crisper pan can be extremely useful kitchen gear.