Skillet Vs Frying Pan: Are They Different or Same?

Do you find it confusing to choose between Skillet and Frying Pan? Both are equally versatile, so they are used to make a wide variety of dishes. But, some recipes require you to either use a Skillet or a frying pan. However, frying pans and skillets have similarities in terms of appearance and construction, as you will notice that both have slightly sloping sides.

In addition, they come in many materials including stainless clad metals, carbon steels, and cast irons. Both also come with a non-stick coating surface and only accommodate a shallow frying method. Whether you’re an expert or beginner at cooking, you maybe work with both types of cookware in your day to day cooking task.

After reading this you will think that how can they be different from each other? It seems like there is a lot of debate and confusion on this topic. To get rid of this confusion, here we have broken down every possible difference between frying pan and skillet. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started:

About Skillets


Skillets are used interchangeably with frying pans; actually, they are deep like saucepans.It comes with a smaller cooking area and slanted sides, which makes a skillet. The edges of the pan provide you with easier access to the fillings of the skillets, especially at the time of frying. Most people think of a skillet like a cast iron pan. Also, there is a misperception regarding the term frying pan used for this pan.

Since the sides are slanted, Skillets are ideal for stir-frying; also used for uniform and fast cooking methods, such as moving ingredients around in a pan. Plus, it is perfect for fried foods like frittatas. They generally have a thick construction, which provides phenomenal heat retention and conduction.

The major defining characteristic of a skillet is that it has sloping edges, has a smaller surface area, is more versatile, and can be used for many purposes. Apart from being readily available, you can cook almost any food in them.

From stir-frying to egg making to meat cooking, every food process is done with ease with this pan as it is large enough for delicious cooking. Most skillets are ideal for grilling sauces and steals and holding up the amazing temperature. Though, they are available in a wide range of materials, which can have an impact on their overall performance.

Uses of Skillet

In fact, contrary to what many people expect, pans are perfect for sautéing and stir-frying. Due to wide-opening, you’ll be able to stir ingredients with easy accessibility to the cooking base. This light pan has slightly slanted sides, which help heat back to the bottom of the pan and distribute the food uniformly.

With Skillet, you can perform pan-frying and searing meat like cooking methods. When it comes to even & fast cooking, the skillet is a handy option. This cooking includes stirring or flipping for ingredients like mushroom omelettes, spinach or beef stir-fries.

About Frying Pan

Ceramic Frying Pan

Frying Pan is essentially required for frying food but can be used for much than frying food. These pans are equipped with long handles and have a shallow inner base so that you cannot use the pan for braising or slow cooking.

They don’t require tight-fitted lids since there is no need to submerge in juices. In general, these pans have shallow height and flared sides. It is easy for you to move to carry the frying pan around.

When you are cooking with a frying pan, make sure the handle is cooked so that you feel secure. For searing, frying and quickly lowering the temperature of your food, there is no better option than a frying pan. Believe it or not, a high-grade frying pan is one of the versatile pieces of cookware you can own.

Uses of Frying Pan

Even though their shape and size, saute pans can hold liquids well. Therefore, you can also use it for shallow frying, braising, pan-frying, searing, poaching, and so on. But, it doesn’t consist of flipping. However, the weight and size of the pan prevent you from being used to shaking and flipping food. But, cooking in such a pan is more efficient and faster due to the fact they are bigger.Sauté Pans are a great option for preparing dishes with heavy liquids; Plus the pan doesn’t require a lot of stirring, like braised lamb shanks and falafel.

Where did the confusion begin?

Even after considering both the panes separately, you will still be confused which is normal. That’s because you’re not a professional chef or part of the full-time kitchen staff that are familiar with their similarities and differences. The confusion comes from the generic usage of the term pans and pans. In most of the kitchens, the terminology is that pan commonly refers to the Sauté pan. To avoid any confusion, keep in mind that frying means a Sauté pan.

The Difference between Skillets and Frying pan

⇒ 1. The biggest difference between a skillet and a pan is their shapes. A skillet has curved, shorter sides, whereas a frying or sauté pan has vertical straight sides. Skillet provides an open, wide view and easy access to move, stir or flip ingredients around since they have wide edges. Furthermore, its curved, smooth sides also help you steadily slide a dish from pan to plate.

Frying Pan, on the other side, has sides that encounter the lowest surface at an adequate angle. Their well-defined side keeps the whole bottom of the pan flat and uniform, resulting in offering much large space for cooking.

These pans also help prevent spillovers because it features tall sides that offer a better volume of liquid.

⇒ 2. Another major difference between the two is their deepness; out of which skillets are much deeper than frying pans. Skillets are available in varieties of materials, but the most common is cast iron. They are ideally used for braising curries and thick sauces.

On the other hand, a frying pan with a flat bottom is usually used for searing, browning, and frying food. It is also considered for high temperature grilling along with shallow frying because it doesn’t feature a lid. These pans are also available in aluminum, stainless steel, or a combination of these metals.

Note: In the mid-way, there aren’t any major differences between the Frying Pan and Skillet. They both can be used mutually for braising, stewing, grilling, frying, and roasting. At last, you can cook with both pretty much equally.

  • Difference Based on the Weight

Frying Pan has a wider diameter and base and has a helper handle along with the main handle, which makes them heavier than regular skillets. The handle of the pan helps in lifting and moving the pan around.

Skillets, on the other hand, have one long handle and are relatively lighter. They are the safest option as they can move on the stove. Whether you’re planning to shake or stir the sauces, it is always good to go with a skillet. A skillet will be also an excellent option if you want your veggies and meat cook uniformly. If you want to prepare meat dishes that recollect all their flavours and sauces, then frying or deep sauté pan is an excellent choice.

  • Difference Based on the Capacity

The vertical edges of a frying pan enable you to collect more liquids. For cooking soups, curries, stews, thick pans, a sauté pan is an ideal choice. With straight, long sides, you’re less expected to spill or splash juice, which can be a problem with the skillet. The skillet has a thin angled-out wall and flat bottom, which can cause spillovers. For shallow-frying sauté pan always come in handy since it offers extra volume. Though, skillets have their benefits.

If you’re getting started to cook eggs, pancakes, frittatas, stir-fry, it is far to choose a frying pan over a skillet. It provides uniform distribution of heat and requires less oil, allowing preparing food perfectly.

  • Difference Based on the Surface Area

The surface area refers to the diameter of the lip of the pan. Talking about sauté pan surface area, it has a 12-inch diameter which is wider enough. On the other side, skillets are a little smaller in width which means skillets offer less cooking area by 20 to 30%.

  • Difference Based on the Tossing Ability

Skillet is a much better option for stirring and sautéing food around than the one. Their wider and sloping walls enable you to food to deviate around without spillover. But, that is not possible with a sauté pan since it has vertical and straight walls. This pan is more ideal for foods that require gentle stirring like a noodles soup,

  • Difference Based on the Moistness

The frying pan has a large surface area while the skillet offers a flat and wide cooking surface that helps to cook down sauces well. In moistness, a skillet is a good option.

Final Words

In short, though, they look alike and work largely the same way. Whatever you cook in a frying pan, you can also cook it in a skillet.

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