Skillet vs Saute Pan vs Frypan – What’s the Difference?

Since the discovery of fire, the first thing man did was learn how to cook.They already realized that cooking the meal before eating it was the best way to have it.The heat brings a different taste out of any and every meal when cooked. Different ingredients used are also cooked in the process bringing out different flavors.



In today’s world, skillets, saute pans, and frying pans are the most commonly used cookware. All of them have similar functions and look identical. However, there are a few differences that change their primary purpose making them distinct from one another.

What is a Skillet?

what is a skillet

The skillet is usually about two inches deep, making it usable for both deep frying and shallow frying. It is multipurpose kitchenware as it has got many different uses.

Many uses of the pan make it a must-have in your kitchen. Aside from frying, it can be used for grilling and sautéing as well. You can use a skillet for roasting, stewing, and fricasseeing.

There are various materials used to make a skillet, the one made out of cast iron is the most popular.

What Does a Skillet Look Like

The skillet is a pan that has got slanted sides. The slanted sides are used for stir-frying or quick-cooking techniques where the ingredients in the pan are moved around very fast.

All the different pans are made in a similar design, and only a few features make it different from one another. The surface area of a skillet is about 10-inches in diameter. Which is a little less than that of a saute pan that has a diameter of around 12 inches.

The skillet is one of the more lightweight pans as compared to a saute pan that is a little heavier because of its size and diameter.

What is a Saute Pan

what is a saute pan

When it comes to sauteing pans, it has straight sides. It also has a larger surface area, making it ideal for searing meat.

There are fewer chances of making a mess over the sides when using a saute pan. A saute pan is often referred to as a hybrid between a frying pan and a saucepan.

Just like the skillet, it is a very versatile addition to your kitchen cookware collection. Saute pans are often used in the preparation of saucy dishes.

What is a Frypan

what is a frypan

Other than the branding of the cookware, there is not much difference between a frypan and a skillet. They usually have a flat bottom.

It is used for searing, browning and frying food. The low sides and the long handle resemble a lot with the design of the skillet.

These are usually made out of nonstick materials, but they are also available in several different types of materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, copper and others. It differs from saute pan in the sides of the cookware being slanted like the skillet.

Skillet vs Saute Pan

The main difference between the two lies within the sides of the pan. The skillet has got slanted sides which are better for flipping while you are frying for example, when you are making omelets. Whereas, the saute pan is better for preparing sauces and heating it because of its verticals sides.

SkilletSaute Pan
It has slanted sides for fast cookingIt has vertical sides for preparation of sauces and heating
It has a diameter of 10 inches when it comes to the surface areaIt has a 12-inch diameter in surface area, giving it more area for cooking than a skillet
A skillet has got the better tossing abilityBecause of the vertical sides, it is more difficult to toss food in this.
Because of its smaller size, it is usually lighter than a saute pan in weightIt is heavier than a skillet due to its larger surface area and vertical sides

Frypan vs Skillet

In simple words, there is no actual difference between the two. The little feature that sets the two apart is that frypans are made out of nonstick materials whereas skillets are usually made out of cast iron. Also, the skillet is slightly more profound in-depth than the frypan. Skillets are used in the making of sauces more often than a frying pan. Skillets may come along with a lid as well.

FrypanSkillet
Used for frying and searing foodUsed for sautéing, grilling, stewing, and roasting along with shallow and deep-frying
Usually made out of nonstick materialsMade out of cast iron
Not that deep as compared to the skillet, so it is usually used for shallow frying onlyDeeper than frying pan, can be used for deep frying and in the preparation of sauces
Does not come with a lidMight come with a lid, as it could be used for deep frying

Skillet vs Saute Pan vs Frypan

frypan vs skillet

While there are not many differences between a skillet and a frypan, both of them differ in numerous ways from a saute pan.

SkilletSaute PanFry pan
These have slanted sides, used for fast cooking.These have vertical sides, used in the preparation of sauces.These have the smallest and the most slanted sides.
Used for shallow frying but can be used for frying.Used for deep frying but can be used for shallow frying.Used only for shallow frying.
May, or may not come with a lid.Always comes with a lid.Does not come with a lid.

Final Verdict

There might be very little difference between a skillet, a saute pan, and a frypan, but they make a big difference in how the food is prepared. Like other tools, different cookware will have different outcomes when it comes to preparing food.

If you have read till here, you are undoubtedly passionate about cooking. Knowing the most subtle differences between this cookware will help you a lot in getting better at cooking and prepare delicious meals in the best possible way.

Photo Credit pixabay and unsplash.

References :
1. https://www.quora.com/How-do-a-skillet-and-a-fry-pan-differ
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frying_pan
3. https://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-saut-pan-87524



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