Cooking enthusiasts, particularly those starting to build their kitchen, may have encountered the question: what is the difference between a skillet and a frying pan? While these two kitchen tools have some similarities, there are critical differences between them that make them unique from one another. But when it comes to a skillet vs pan, what are the various distinctions that will help you understand their purposes and which one is best for your cooking needs? This article will help you know better.
What are skillets and pans?
They are both essential kitchen tools that are commonly used in cooking. A skillet, also known as a frying skillet, is a type of pan that is typically made of cast iron or stainless steel and has sloping sides that curve upwards toward the edge. This design allows for easy stirring and tossing of food while cooking, as well as preventing food from spilling over.
A frying pan, on the other hand, is a flat-bottomed pan with vertical sides that extend upward. Frying pans are often made of aluminum or non-stick coated metals and are perfect for shallow frying and cooking foods that require flipping, such as eggs and pancakes.
Materials and Design
The primary difference between a skillet and a frying pan is their materials and design. Skillets are typically made of cast iron or stainless steel and feature slanted sides that curve upwards towards the edge. These sloping sides help to contain food and prevent it from spilling over, making skillets ideal for frying, sautéing, and stir-frying dishes.
In contrast, frying pans are made of aluminum or non-stick-coated metals and feature a flat bottom with vertical sides that extend upward. Frying pans are perfect for shallow frying and cooking foods that require flipping, such as eggs and pancakes.
Depth and Capacity
Another difference between skillets and frying pans is their depth and capacity. Skillets typically have a greater depth than frying pans, which allows them to hold more liquid and food. This makes skillets ideal for dishes that require more cooking liquid, such as stews, soups, and sauces.
Frying pans, on the other hand, are shallower than skillets, which means they hold less liquid and food. Frying pans are best used for dishes that require even cooking and a quick turnaround, such as searing meat or sautéing vegetables.
The handle design is also a primary difference between skillets and frying pans. Skillets typically feature a long handle attached to the pan with one or two screws. This design allows for a secure grip on the skillet, making it easy to maneuver while cooking. Some skillets also have an additional handle on the opposite side of the pan, which can help with lifting and carrying the skillet.
Frying pans, on the other hand, often feature a long handle attached to the pan with a single screw. This design allows for easy flipping and stirring of food while cooking. However, it can also make it more challenging to lift and carry the pan, particularly when it is full of food.
While skillets and frying pans have their unique designs and purposes, both kitchen tools can be versatile in their applications. Skillets, for instance, can be used for various cooking techniques, such as searing meat, sautéing vegetables, and frying foods. They can also be used in the oven, making them perfect for dishes requiring stovetop and oven cooking.
Frying pans, on the other hand, can be used for cooking various dishes that require even heat distribution, such as omelets, pancakes, and grilled cheese sandwiches. They are also great for shallow frying foods, such as chicken or fish.
Regarding skillet vs pan, there are some similarities in terms of their applications, but also key differences that make them unique. Ultimately, choosing between a skillet and a frying pan comes down to personal preference and cooking needs. By understanding the differences between these two kitchen tools, you can choose the right one for your next culinary adventure.