Difference between Skillet and Frying Pan – Everything You Need to Know

Last Updated on October 14, 2021 by Boniface Muriuki

What comes to your mind when you see a piece of kitchen cookware that has a large and a flat bottom— long handle, and short-sized sides, and excellent shape for preparing seared and tasty steak? You think of a frying pan and skillet, right? But what exactly is the difference between skillet and frying pan?

These kitchen cookware sets, pans and skillets are most commonly interchanged and confused. They are similar in size, comes in almost the same shape, and are frequently placed under the same category.

If you’ve found yourself in such confusion, then worry no more!

This article explains the difference between skillet and frying pan. We’ve carried a detailed review of the advantages and the disadvantages of each cookware and other factors that can help you decipher the difference between skillet and frying pan.

Difference between skillet and frying pan

Difference Between Skillet and Frying Pan

1. Skillet

A Skillet is a cookware that has slanted sides with a small surface area compared to that of a frying pan. It’s versatile cookware used for numerous purposes and far from being available, any food can be cooked in them. 

If you are making an egg, cooking meat, or stir-frying, skillets deliver a nice surface for excellent food preparation. They can sustain a fantastic heat and are great for grilling sauces and steaks.

More so. Skillets are designed with cast iron materials. Let’s look at the characteristics of cast iron skillets.

Cast-Iron Skillets 

The most common types of skillets are made of cast-iron. Cast iron is incredibly long-lasting and robust, and when properly maintained, cast-iron can perfectly qualify for a one-time investment.

Although they need frequent seasoning, to get rid of sticking food, cast-iron skillets are extremely easy to clean and use. They have long handles and demands for careful maintenance.

Having known the basic features of skillets, let’s stash our hoods and have a look at their benefits:

Advantages of Skillets 

  • Non-Toxic and Non-Stick Skillets are made from cast-iron materials, and when heated, they are automatically non-stick. The good thing is that you don’t have to use too much fat when cooking food. And if you are to season the skillet pan beforehand, then you’ll only enhance its non-stick natural property. 

In other words, you don’t have to use synthetics to create a non-stick coating, and your food won’t be at risk of getting contaminated.

  • Proper Heat Retention: Skillets made of the cast iron heats well compared to other cookware. The best thing is, your food will be served directly in the skillet. No further cool down will be experienced.
  • Improves Food Iron’s Level: Preparing food with skillet made of cast iron is one of the best ways you can improve your daily iron consumption. This keeps a proper and healthy blood flow as the iron enters the food during the cooking cycle.
  • Oven Safe: You don’t have to worry whether your skillet pan is oven safe or not. All cast-iron skillets are 100% multipurpose. Most of them are designed to sustain high temperatures in an oven.
  • Pocket-Friendly Price: Skillets are cheaper than many stainless steel pans. In other words, you will not only reap the benefits of cooking your food using a cast-iron skillet, but you’ll also be saving yourself from overspending.

Disadvantages of Using a Skillet Pan

Before you think of buying a cast-iron skillet pan, ensure to consider the following disadvantages.

  • Easy Rusting: Skillet pans are highly susceptible to rust, making them useless when you want to boil water throughout the cooking session. You can clean and scrub your pan after use, but with time, it’ll give in. So ensure you have different skillet pans for specific cooking tasks.
  • Heavyweight: As compared to regular sauté stainless steel frying pans, skillets are quite heavier. This may be boring for light home-usage. However, if you are a professional or regular cook, the heavyweight skillet might not be an issue.
  • The handle is prone to Heat Up: Many cast iron skillets are built from one piece of iron, and you can easily burn yourself anytime you are handling it. The reason being, iron is a good conductor of heat and cannot differentiate between the skillet and the handle.
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

2. A Frying Pan 

It is flat bottomed Cookware majorly used for browning, frying, and searing food. Compared to a skillet pan, frying pans do not have a lid, and so, they are best used for high-heat grilling as well as shallow and deep-frying.

Types of Frying Pans 

  • Stainless Steel Frying Pans

These types of frying pans are a fantastic favorite for chefs. When you take serious cooking with them, they can be an excellent investment in your kitchen as they result in a nicely cooked and delicious diet.

Furthermore, stainless steel skillets are durable and can withstand high temperatures. They are easy to clean.

  • Aluminum and a Ceramic or Non-Stick Coating 

Aluminum frying pans are best used for quick foods such as eggs and bacon, and it’s suited for low-heat. They can’t sustain extreme hot conditions as the coating may form hot spots. Additionally, non-stick frying pans can serve you for long if you take care of them properly. Never use a dishwasher to clean them as this can deteriorate their coating

Nevertheless, aluminum skillets are budget-friendly, and finding them is not a stressor!

Frying pans are significant in your kitchen as they come with valuable. Here are the benefits of frying pans:

  • Requires Less Oil to Cook Food: A big thanks to frying pans as they feature a non-stick coating that allows you to use less oil during the cooking cycle significantly. The result is a healthier diet.
  • Versatile: Frying pans come with a sloping edge and are essentially smooth giving an extra cooking surface on the pan. On the other hand, skillets feature an angular construction, making them a bit less versatile. They don’t have an extended surface like frying pans.
  • The Surface Is Scratch-Resistance You know, many frying pans are built with a high-quality stainless steel or aluminum construction or a mixture of both. These materials are naturally scratch-proof, meaning you can also make use of metal utensils without getting worried that they will ruin the frying pan’s cooking surface.
  • Easy cooking: Frying pans have a broad and shallow design and feature a reduced thickness construction to allow you to spread your food evenly all over the pan for quick and easy cooking.
  • Delivers flavorful Dishes: One advantage that can be derived from the speed of cooking is flavor. Frying pans cooks’ food faster than a skillet, and that means the food flavor can be sealed in instead of letting it escape slowly on the try or in the pan.


  • Uneven cooking: Frying pans are made of stainless steel in particular, and this makes them poor heat conductors that can result in improper cooking performance. With that, you must be aware of the cooking procedure to enhance a proper and even cooking of your food.
  • Your Food Can Burn Easily: Using frying pans to cook food at higher temperatures can automatically increase the chance of your food burning as it will be more spread out compared to a cast-iron skillet.
  • Requires Attention: Again, this one is linked to nature and how fast your food is cooking. There’s no worst feeling than sitting by your kitchen monitoring your food while you can leave it to cook itself. In other words, you must give your food full attention as failure to so leads to overcooking as well as ruining your food.
How to Use an Iron Skillet

Now that we understand the essential characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of skillets and frying pans, let’s dive deep into more vital differences between the two that can affect your cooking.

Difference Between Skillet and Frying Pan – Vital Differences

Evaporation Rate 

The secret that lies behind proper cooking is monitoring the food moisture. Your pan’s structure influences the quantity of moisture retained in your food. A skillet offers a flatter and a wider cooking surface area that accelerates the cook down sauces.

On the other hand, a frying pan has an extended surface area. However, if you aim to evaporate all the moisture, then it can’t be a perfect choice. But if you are dealing with saucy foods, where you need them to be tender and juicy, then a frying pan is all you need.

Tossing Ability 

The truth of the matter is, a skillet pan is perfect for tossing and sautéing food around compared to a frying pan. It features more expansive and sloping walls to allow food swerve around easily without falling. If you want to mix your food around or flaunt a “chef-style” move, skillets will provide the best tossing ability that you need.

A frying pan is best suited for foods that need gentle and occasional stirring like noodles or chicken soup or Béchamel sauce. When stirring food, use a wooden spatula to prevent the scratching of the pan’s surface.

Surface Area 

The circumference of the pan’s lip determines its surface area. A frying pan with a 12-inch diameter has an extended cooking surface.

Skillets feature an inch smaller in size than frying pans. When you perform a comparison, skillets have a 20-30% lesser amount of cooking area. They are great when cooking a few things at a time.

Consequently, if you think of braising some pieces of chicken thighs in wine, then a frying pan is the best pick. Rather than cooking meat pieces in batches, then you better use a frying pan and get things done at once.

The capacity of the Cookware

Frying pans have vertical sides to allow you to add more liquids. Therefore, when preparing stews, thick sauces, soups, and curries, a frying pan can work perfectly. With tall and straight sides, you won’t splash or spill the juices that may be a typical challenge with skillets.

The large volume of frying pans comes handy when performing a shallow-frying.

However, a skillet has an added capacity that ensures your meal cook properly despite using a low quantity of oil. Additionally, skillets hold up less fat and deliver an even heat distribution that produces amazing foods.

Weight of the Cookware 

Frying pans are designed with a wider diameter and base, making them heavier than skillets. And that’s why they feature a “helper handle” apart from the main handle that assists in lifting the pan on the stove.

On the other side, skillets are light and are designed with only one handle. They are easy to move on to the cook stove. But weight isn’t a problem so long as the pans rest on the stovetop.

Difference between Skillet and Frying Pan

Difference Between Skillet and Frying Pan

If you never knew the difference between skillet and frying pan, then this article is your ideal guide.  Read through and understand the key areas that makes these cookware equipment different. 

Finally, since you know the insightful differences in terms of the features, advantages, and disadvantages, between a skillet and a frying pan, you should choose wisely. Ensure that you get that which suits your desires. 

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