No matter if you are a beginner cook or an experienced chef, having the appropriate cookware can make your dish tastier and give you the most enjoyment when cooking and preparing it. An introduction to the range of pans that are on the market can be overwhelming.
A pan that confuses most is called a skillet. A skillet is very similar to a frying pan. It can be a challenge to know which is better in the skillet vs pan debate. What are the differences between a skillet and a frying pan?
In this article we will aim to break down the minor differences to help you choose which pan is best for you.
Table of Contents
- The Difference Between A Skillet And A Pan
- Skillet Vs Frying Pan
- How Do You Know If A Pan Is A Skillet?
- Cast Iron Skillet Vs Pan
- Which Is Better? It Is A Very Close Call!
The Difference Between A Skillet And A Pan
As a skillet and a pan are very similar cookware, telling the difference between the two can be quite challenging. Especially if you are trying to work out which pan will be better for your dish.
A skillet is a pan that has slanted sides. The surface area of the skillet is generally a little smaller than a pan. But this does not mean that a skillet is not a versatile tool which can be used for multiple cooking uses.
A frying pan, compared to a skillet, is a little more shallow but still has slanted sides. It is mostly used for frying food rather than a skillet, which is commonly used for multiple things rather than just frying.
What is a skillet used for? A skillet can be used for pretty much anything! You can fry food, cook meat, cook eggs and they are also a great alternative to a wok to cook a stir fry. The reason this pan is so versatile is that it is great at holding high heats.
Both a skillet and frying pan are shallow. This means that they are great at retaining heat, meaning there is no need for a lid to cover. Both skillets and frying pans are made from many materials but the most popular is cast-iron.
A pan using cast iron can makes the cookware very long lasting and worth the investment.
Skillet Vs Frying Pan
One of the easiest differences to spot is that a skillet is a tiny little bit deeper than a frying pan, which is very shallow. Some skillets can differ in appearance to a frying pan by coming with a lid, although some skillets do not. So do not use the lid as a deciding factor on if the pan you are eyeing up is in fact a skillet.
The reason a frying pan is slightly shallower than a skillet is that a frying pan is mainly used for searing food. It is also used when a quick high heat is needed. Whereas a skillet can be used for liquids, as well as cooking thick meat.
A sauté pan is visibly different from a frying pan but similar to a skillet. A sauté pan, like a skillet, can come with a lid. But it is taller than both a frying pan and a skillet. The difference between a sauté pan, a skillet and frying pan is that the sauté pan has vertical sides rather than sloped.
A sauté pan, similar to a skillet, is much deeper than a frying pan. This means it is perfect for sauces, liquid-y dishes, and thicker slices of meat.
The weight of the pans will also help you distinguish which pan you have! Sauté pans have a much wider base and therefore are heavier than skillets and frying pans.
How Do You Know If A Pan Is A Skillet?
Wanting to tell the difference between your pan, sauté pan and skillet? A clear sign that you are holding a skillet is looking at the spout of the pan.
If the sides are sloped but the pan is deep then it is a skillet. Then if the sides are sloped but the pan is shallow then it is a frying pan. But if the sides are straight and the pan is deep then it is a sauté pan.
Cast Iron Skillet Vs Pan
If you’re still undecided about which pan to go for to cook your dish then we can provide some comparisons to help!
If you’re comparing between a cast iron skillet and a cast iron pan, a key thing to consider is the tossing ability. Even though both the cast-iron pans are very heavy, you can use them to toss food. The cast iron skillet is much better for tossing food than the cast iron pan. As the skillet has sloped sides and is deeper than the pan, the skillet is able to hold the food easier. This allows for less spillages when tossing.
The key to managing a cast iron skillet and frying pan is making sure to add oil and seasoning. This would keep the food from sticking to the pan. Keeping the moisture in the cast iron pans is also very important when cooking with cast iron skillets and pans. The skillet pan is built to allow the moisture in your pan to remain. The pan is wider and has a larger, flatter surface. If keeping your moisture in your pan is the most important thing to you then avoid a sauté pan. A sauté pan allows the moisture to evaporate quicker.
Both cast iron skillets and pans are very easy to use and easy to clean regularly, even though they are both very heavy pans. If you are not used to heavier pans and are looking for a cast iron tool that you can manage easier, the skillet may be the right choice. A cast iron skillet often has longer handles than a cast iron frying pan. This means there is room on the skillet pan handle for you to use both hands to make it easier to maneuver.
Is A Cast Iron Skillet A Frying Pan?
There is very little difference between a cast iron skillet and a frying pan. You may be able to find a cast iron frying pan that is almost identical to a skillet and would work just as well.
What Is A Substitute For A Cast Iron Skillet?
A heavy steel pan will work as a good substitute for a cast iron skillet along with a stainless steel pan, Dutch oven, saucepan and Pyrex casserole.
Which Is Better? It Is A Very Close Call!
Both a skillet and a frying pan can be used for similar purposes. If you are looking for a pan that can quickly get up to temperature and you want to sear the food, then a frying pan will be the best option. If you are wanting to retain the moisture while cooking and are possibly looking at cooking dishes that need moving around and tossing, a skillet is the best option.
Cast iron skillets and pans are worth the splash out! A cast iron pan is designed to be robust and will last years. They are easy to use, clean and will be great options in controlling heat.
There is no clear winner, actually! It really depends on what you are wanting to cook with your skillet or frying pan.
What do you prefer, a skillet or frying pan? Do you often cook with cast iron skillets or frying pans?