Table of Contents
- Skillet Vs. Frying Pan
- What is a saute pan and skillet? How does it differ from a skillet and a frying pan?
- What is a skillet and saute pan used for?
- What should you cook in a saute pan and in a frying pan?
- What is a skillet used for and characteristics
- What are the main types of skillets available?
- What are the characteristics of a skillet and a saute pan?
- What are the different types of frying pans?
- What is the difference between rivetless and riveted handles?
- What frying pan should I buy? Natural finish or Non-stick pan?
If you are a beginner in your kitchen, you may have been plagued by this question,’ what is the difference between a skillet and a frying pan,’ ‘what does a skillet look like’ and others. It is quite often that people refer to a skillet as a frying pan and vice-versa, but who is to say which term is correct and interchangeable?
This article will help you understand the difference between skillets, frying pans and saute pans.
While both skillets and frying pans are used for similar purposes, let’s get one thing straight – they are different!
A frying pan is shallow, has a flat base, is curved around the edges and does not come with a top lid. You can sear food, flip them, shallow-frying anything at high temperatures and expect more awesome results.
A Skillet on the other hand is generally made from a heavier metal such as stainless steel or cast iron, has more depth than a regular frying pan and has slanted edges to retain the liquid in the food. In most cases, skillets are designed with a helping handle or loop in addition to the regular handle for better support. If you are looking to answer the question ‘is a skillet a frying pan’, the short answer is yes, it can be used to fry food and honestly, it delivers great results!
Saute pan is a deep frying pan with vertical edges that is essentially used on stove tops to fry or braise food items. The larger diameter, deep base and straight edges of a saute pan allow us to cook foods with liquids easily without any spillage. Like skillets, saute pans also come with a helping loop and a long handle that helps with slow-cooking recipes such as liquid broths and gravies.
A skillet and saute pans generally have a flat base, and curved edges and are generally used to shallow fry or cook foods faster. Some skillets such as cast iron pans are heavier than frying pans and allow you to slow-cook your meals. Additionally, skillets can be used in an oven to bake food as well.
Saute pans on the other hand are deeper than regular frying pans and have high vertical edges. They are best used for cooking food items with liquid or broth, or foods that need to be slowly cooked and have a higher chance of spillage if they were cooked in a regular frying pan.
Frying pans and saute pans are interchangeable if you are able to cook dishes in either of the pans. However, there are some dishes that are best cooked in a frying pan and some that need a saute pan. For example, it is easier to shallow fry meat, saute veggies, fry eggs, and make curries on the frying pan. This is because the flat base allows more area for food to be cooked evenly, requires heat for lesser time as compared to foods cooked in a saute pan and makes it easier to flip and toss the food as needed.
In a saute pan, you will cook gravies with meat, stew, broth and anything that is liquid and requires a higher cooking time. It is also used for deep frying food items
Skillets are heavier and slightly deeper than frying pans. They are oven-safe and have higher heat retention as compared to frying pans. Since they are made with heavier metals such as cast iron, aluminium etc, they also come with an extra handle for support along with the main handle. They are generally non-stick and made of non-toxic materials.
There are three materials commonly used to make skillets;
1. Cast-iron skillet
This is the most common type of skillet available in the market. Cast-iron is heavy, but food cooked in this skillet always tastes flavourful. Maintenance of a cast-iron skillet is slightly on the higher side, however, using the right techniques, you can protect the skillet from getting spoiled and save it for generations to come.
2. Aluminium skillet
These skillets are lighter in weight compared to cast-iron. They can be used to cook simple food items such as egg fry and searing meat. However, one thing about aluminium pans is that they are not dishwasher-safe. So, they may get damaged if you don’t maintain them well.
3. Stainless steel skillet
Stainless steel skillets are slightly heavier than aluminium but lighter in weight as compared to traditional cast iron skillets. They are preferred by professionals and beginners alike, these skillets have high heat retention capabilities.
To help you understand your purchase better, below are a few characteristics of skillets and saute pans.
The tossing ability
Skillets offer more of a tossing ability as compared to saute pans. This is due to the shallow depth of the pan. So you can toss and turn, crepes, pancakes and omelettes easily.
Saute pans on the other hand have more depth and hence it is difficult to toss the food inside. It is best for foods requiring slow cooking.
Saute pans have a higher depth, and high edges and they come with two side handles. This means that they are heavier than skillets. The design allows us to cook curries, rice, gravies, broth and fry all kinds of meat. Skillets help us to toss, turn and flip the food items easily since the depth of the pan is not as much as a saute pan. So, depending upon your needs and cooking requirements, select an appropriate pan.
Skillets have a broad base and a lower capacity as compared to saute pans. The latter on the other hand can be extensively used to cook gravies, stews, soups or other foods that have more liquid.
Just like skillets, frying pans are also available in different types. They come in aluminium, stainless steel, carbon steel etc and have non-stick materials coated on the base of it that don’t allow food to stick to the surface. Interestingly, some pans are made to be used on stove tops and some are specifically designed to be used on induction stoves such as steel
To understand the difference, let us first understand the meaning of rivets. Rivet refers to a steel-like screw. A rivet is used to secure the handle to the pan. It is safe and does not need to be tightened often. Having riveted handles on a pan means that the maintenance is slightly higher although it fastens the handle safely to the pan.
Rivetless handles have their advantages too. It increases the durability of the pan and requires less maintenance.
Both the pans come with their set of advantages. The maintenance of the natural finish pans will be slightly higher than the non-stick pans, but they also enhance the flavour of the food. Non-stick pans on the other hand have low maintenance and can be used by beginners as well.
Frying pans, skillets and saute pans, all of these have different uses in the kitchen. Depending upon the requirement of the food, it is better to choose a pan. Even if you do not have all three types of pans, it is quite alright, you can substitute one for the other. This will not alter the taste of the food. However, since all three pans have specialities of their own, it is recommended to use certain pans for cooking those types of foods.