You’ve probably come across a skillet and wondering what it is, and how it’s used, maybe because you are thinking of buying one as an addition to your kitchen.

Well skillets are a piece of cookware very similar to a frying pan, and they are specifically used to sear meat.

In this article, I’ll be talking about what a skillet it, and everything you need to know about skillets.

What is a skillet?

A skillet is a cooking utensil that has been primarily used in preparing food either on the stovetop or in an oven but could also be used outdoors. It is extremely similar to the shape of a frying pan.

Skillets are designed with rounded edges that allow food to be cooked in a single layer without spilling over onto adjacent pans or counter surfaces. They are also designed with 2 handles, the main handle which you will be familiar with on cookware, and a helper handle, this is because skillets are typically heavy due to being made from cast iron.

A variety of materials can be used to make the skillet including cast iron, stainless steel, and aluminum. The material for the skillet will sometimes include some type of nonstick surface coating, for example you can commonly find enameled cast iron skillets.

What is a large skillet?

Sometimes recipes can call for a large skillet, so you may be wondering what exactly does a large skillet mean?

A large skillet is typically a skillet that has a diameter that is about 12 to 16 inches, and is designed for use in preparing larger portions of food. They are commonly used for recipes such as making casseroles and roasting poultry.

What is a small skillet?

A small skillet is typically a skillet that has a diameter of 8 inches, and is designed for use in preparing smaller portions of food. They are commonly used for recipes such as boiled fish, omelettes, smaller casseroles and much more.

What is an electric skillet?

An electric skillet is a cookware that has a heating element and a lid, the heating element is used for cooking food on the stovetop or in an oven. They typically have a non-stick coating on the inside as well as adjustable temperature settings. Electric skillets simply plug in to the wall, and heat up using electricity rather than gas.

The reason people love electric skillets, is because they can set the exact temperature they need, and keep it consistent. This is very beneficial for the less experienced cooks.

What is a skillet made of?

Cast iron is one of the most common metals used to make skillets, this is because cast iron can reach very hot temperatures, and it retains it’s heat very well. Not only that, but you can season them and create a very good non stick surface on cast iron, which prevents sears from sticking and increases the longevity of the skillet.

What is a skillet used for?

The most common use for skillets is to sear food, this is because they are made from metals that can reach high temperatures, such as cast iron or stainless steel. However, they can also be used for various cooking techniques such as grilling, saute, roasting and baking. Skillets also are used for various other purposes such as making cookies, cheesecakes and other desserts.

What is a skillet food?

A skillet food is simply specific foods that can be cooked in a skillet, some foods shouldn’t ever be cooked in a skillet, for example tomatoes.

This is because tomatoes are acidic, and this acidity causes iron to leech into the tomato, and ruin it’s taste. If you cook tomatoes in a cast iron skillet, it will taste metallic.

This also applies to some other foods, so if you are ever reading a recipe, and it’s calling a food a skillet food, it means it’s ok to cook it in a cast iron skillet.

What is a skillet meal?

A skillet meal is a meal that can be cooked in a skillet, sometimes recipes require specific ingredients to be cooked in other cookware, such as woks are sauce pans.

A skillet meal means you can cook all the ingredients in the skillet.

What is a skillet breakfast?

A skillet breakfast is just like a skillet meal, it means you can cook the entire breakfast in the skillet. For example bacon and eggs is a skillet breakfast, as both can be cooked with eachover in a skillet.

What can you cook in a skillet?

Skillets are great for a lot of different foods, and some they are not so great for. So whether you need a skillet realistically depends on what food you like to cook the most.

Here is a list of foods you can cook in a skillet:

  • Eggs – eggs are one of the most popular foods to cook in a skillet, there are various different ways you can cook eggs depending on your preference, but the most common way to cook an egg in a skillet is to fry it.
  • Bacon – another popular food that people love cooking in skillets is bacon, because it gets crispy very fast.
  • Steaks – you can prepare delicious steaks using a skillet, if you feel like spoiling yourself or family for dinner then a good steak could be just what you need.
  • Mushrooms – mushrooms are a fantastic addition to any meal and can be prepared in a skillet, the great thing about this is they only take a few minutes to cook.
  • Chicken – chicken is also easy to cook in a skillet and can be seasoned before hand with herbs or spices.
  • Pancakes – if you have been craving pancakes but don’t want to go through the trouble of making them on your stove top then you can create them in a skillet. You are able to create some of the fluffiest pancakes possible, while still being able to enjoy the delicious taste of a traditional pancake.

You can also make a variety of different desserts in a skillet, some of the most popular desserts are:

  • Cheesecake – you will need a large skillet for this, and you will need to make sure it is oven safe. To create this delicious dessert you will need; eggs, cream cheese and sugar.
  • Cookies – cooking cookies in your skillet is also easy if you have the right recipe, cookies are one of the most popular desserts made in skillets because they only require using a few simple ingredients. You will need; butter, white sugar and chocolate chips to create these delicious cookies.
  • Cakes – cakes are one of the most popular desserts cooked in skillets, they can be prepared very quickly, and only need a few ingredients. Making cakes in your skillet will require; butter, flour, eggs and some type of sweetener.

How do you know if a pan is a skillet?

Skillets can normally be identified two ways, the first is by the helper handle, skillets will have helper handles, which is a second handle opposite the main handle that you hold. This is because skillets, especially cast iron skillets are very heavy, so you need two hands when picking it up, especially when it’s hot.

The second way to identify a skillet is by checking if it comes with a lid. Although this isn’t a guarantee, most skillets come with a lid to expand the recipes they can cook.

What is the difference between a skillet and a frying pan

Well the main difference between a skillet and a frying pan is a skillet is used to braise sauces, cook vegetables, bake, roast or even broil.

A frying pan is used to shallow fry, sear meats, brown foods, sautéing and even stir frying. Don’t be so quick to rush off your feet though, because there are more crucial differences.

You can often use them interchangeably, as they are very similar, but if you are wanting the specifics, that’s the main differences in terms of usability.+


Skillets, frying pans, and saute pans all belong to the same family, however they are all different, even if the definitions for skillets and frying pans are the same.

If you are looking to up your cooking skills and produce some quality flavors from your recipes, then getting one of each pan is the best route.

However, if you are on a budget, then your best option would be to get a frying pan, it might not be able to sear or braise as good as a skillet, and it might not be able to sauté like a sauté pan, but it will certainly cook foods that require those techniques to a moderate standar

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