Sauté Pan vs Skillet: Differences (Best Options to Buy)


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A saute pan and skillet get used interchangeably and although they look the same, both definitely have some differences and most wonder if there is a difference in cooking when you decide to use one instead of the other, a saute pan comes with a straight side while a skillet comes with slanted sides which your food might come out with quite a big difference.

Most people tend to go for a skillet first before getting a saute pan as very little space area is required and you can make just as much food as you can with a saute pan but saute pan is one of the most versatile pans in your kitchen and can be used with variety of cooking techniques to make many dishes and also you can get 2 or 3 saute pans in different sizes.

They are constructed from the same kind of metal and are available in the same diameter.

How do you decide between a saute pan and a skillet? 

Both saute pan and skillet can be an amazing pan in the kitchen however if you need to choose one this article has all you need to know before choosing between a skillet and a saute pan.

What is a saute pan?

A saute pan has straight sides and a larger surface area which makes it ideal for tasks like searing meat or reducing a pan sauce however a saute pan is used for more these days, it can come in quite handy in the kitchen, it is sort of hybrid between a saucepan and a frying pan and it is an extremely versatile addition to your kitchen.

You can use a saute pan sauteing and pan-frying and you can also use it for liquid cooking methods like poaching, braising or cooking down batches of greens.

What is a skillet?

Two Vintage cast iron skilletTwo Vintage cast iron skillet // Image: Envato Elements

A skillet is a pan with slanted sides, it has a sloped but not curved side, there are various ways a skillet is formed and most do look like a saute pan but with lack of a lid, it is still a skillet.

Skillets pan are sized by the diameter of the rim in either inches or centimeters.

Most skillets like cast-iron skillet can be used for pan frying, sauteing, searing, baking, braising, broiling, roasting and more amazing cooking techniques.

Difference Between A Saute Pan And A Skillet

The difference between a saute pan and a skillet is quite confusing as both could easily serve the same purpose, a saute pan is also sometimes called a frying pan or a frypan as the slanted sides makes it suitable for frying and quick cooking, it is easy to move ingredients around in this pan wand this only makes the difference more confusing as a skillet pan can do most of these too.

The difference between a saute pan and a skillet boils down to the shape, a saute pan and skillet differ in shape and a saute pan can be heavy as well but a skillet can be a saute pan but a saute pan can’t be a skillet.

A saute pan has straight sides and a larger surface area which makes it easy to move ingredients around in it without sloshing things over the side.

When to use a saute pan?

skillet vs saute pans

Saute pan is a subtle pan but a very important one in the kitchen and things it can be used for makes it an interesting choice of the pan to get.

Saute pan can be used for both wet and dry cooking and you can worry less about your food burning with a saute pan and below are a couple of things you can do with a saute pan.

  • Saute pan can be used for both wet and dry cooking either using a small and high amount of liquid/oil.
  • When you need a lid for searing, poaching, simmering, braising or cooking greens.
  • It can be used for general sauteing, pan-frying or stir-frying
  • High heat searing.

Best Saute Pans to Buy In 2024

When to use a skillet pan?

A skillet pan is also very easy to use and comes with slanted sides, skillets are originally deep and there are different types of skillets, each with its different and uses.

Iron cast skillet is the most chosen form of the skillet and it can be used for sauteing, pan-frying, baking, braising, roasting, broiling and even more cooking techniques are used.

Skillets cast iron gives better cooking flavor in whatever you are cooking from cornbread to chicken.

Best Skillets to Buy In 2024


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In Conclusion

When it comes to the choice of cookware to use, it can be quite confusing hence your choice of a pan should be based on the purpose and space in your kitchen, a saute pan can be a really versatile frying pan and there are more uses for it than a skillet pan.

Saute pan and a skillet is a subtle and important pan to have in your cooking but if you are getting one for the first time then it’s best to go for a saute pan first.

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