Skip to content

Using a Frying Pan vs. a Saute Pan 2023

    Using a Frying Pan vs. a Saute Pan 2023

    The article offers a quick comparison between frying pans and sauté pans. The terms skillet, frying pan, and sauté pan all refer to the same kind of cooking vessel, yet even the most experienced chefs often get them confused. This is just one of many factors that has made shopping for cookware a laborious and complicated task in the past. Please bear with us as we try to clear up the confusion between a saute pan and a frying pan so that you can easily comprehend your cookware needs.

    To quickly tell the difference between these two pan types, just look at the pan’s rim. A frying pan, also known as a skillet or fry pan, has slanted sides and is used for cooking food. A sauté pan has straight-sided handles and is used for sautéing.

    Pancake Pan

    Frying food requires a special kind of pan with slanted edges called a frying pan. Stir-frying and sautéing, in which food is cooked fast in a very little amount of oil or fat, often at high heat, to maintain taste and texture, are two common uses for skillets. Cooking time is cut in half and food is tossed and turned more often when using a skillet with angled sides. One reason why vegetables are called “jumping” is that when they are sautéed or stir-fried in a pan, they physically “jump” about the pan.

    A frying pan, because of its multiple uses, is also considered one of the most versatile kitchen tools. When time is of the essence, a stainless steel frying pan is the best tool for quickly searing meat, chicken, or fish and whipping up a few staples like pasta meals or pan sauces. In layman’s terms, Simply said, an iron frying pan is one of the most flexible tools you may have in the kitchen.

    Saute Pan

    If you want to cook anything, you need a pan with straight edges, which is what a sauté pan is. This, as mentioned before, is the primary contrast between a sauté pan and a skillet or frying pan, both of which have slanted edges. While a skillet is fine for shallow frying and braising, liquids may easily leak over the slated edges, so a sauté pan is preferable for these tasks.

    A sauté pan may be used for the same purposes as a skillet, including sautéing, stir-frying, and searing. While a sauté pan is the obvious option for this task, some chefs claim that their training has taught them to use the slanted sides of a skillet instead.

    Fry Pan vs. Saute Pan


    When comparing a sauté pan to a frying pan, keep in mind that the straight sides of the former allow for more liquid to be contained inside the same amount of oven area. Further, while moving the pan or putting it in and taking it out of the oven, liquid is less likely to leak out along the pan’s straight edges. Since the lid may be secured in place with greater precision, less liquid is lost to evaporation as a result. Having a little more space is a tremendous assistance when undertaking tasks like shallow-frying a pan full of meatballs in half an inch of oil or braising a dozen chicken thighs in white wine.

    Exposed Area

    Unlike pots, which are measured by the diameter of their cooking surface, pans are measured by the diameter of their lip. Most stove tops at homes have a maximum diameter where a pan may fit comfortably, and that’s just around 12 inches. A 12-inch sauté pan has a large cooking surface that is 12 inches in width due to its straight sides (about 113 square inches). However, despite its apparent size advantage, a skillet’s cooking surface is really just 10 inches wide when completely stretched, losing at least an inch on each side in the process (about 79 square inches). This means that a skillet has 30% less cooking surface than a sauté pan of the same diameter, and vice versa. That’s not a little amount of cash.


    The speed with which a sauce cools and the ease with which moisture drains from food may depend on the form of the cooking vessel used. Some people believe that the steeper the edges of a pan are, the faster the moisture generated by food cooks off, leading to a better sear. This is true, but only if the kitchen layout remains the same. That’s why a 12-inch skillet with a 10-inch cooking surface is preferable than a 10-inch sauté pan for searing food. The corollary to this is that the greater surface area of a sauté pan does not give any substantial benefits over a skillet when cooking a similar quantity of food that needs searing over very high heat (for example, certain steaks) since you will still have to cook in batches just as frequently.

    Ability to Toss

    Contrary to popular belief, a skillet performs well as a substitute for a sauté pan. Sautéing is a method of fast cooking in which food is cut into small or medium pieces and cooked in hot oil with frequent stirring. A skillet with sloping edges is ideal for the jump-flip motion, a favourite among chefs who use it to show off their talents. But there’s more at play here than just haughtiness. The most efficient way of redistribution in the pan ensures that food is cooked uniformly throughout the pan.

    To keep food from adhering to the bottom of a straight-sided sauté pan, constant swirling and rotating with a wooden spatula or spoon is required.

    What’s Your Take?

    It’s not easy to decide between a sauté pan and a frying pan. Many people use the two terms interchangeably due to the lack of clarity between them. Toss in a cast-iron skillet, which passes for a saute pan in everything but name, and we’re back where we began.

    So, here’s a simple strategy for knowing when to use each pan.

    Choosing the Right Saute Pan If:
    • You are making a dish that has a lot of liquid.
    • You want the evaporation rate to be lower while cooking anything for a long period.
    • This is the perfect recipe for making lengthier sides to go with dishes that need frying, braising, poaching, or cooking in just one pot.
    Here are some options to think about if you need a new skillet:
    • If you want to flip anything, you’ll need a spatula, and you won’t have that unless it’s within easy reach (i.e., eggs or fish)
    • It’s best to have a shallow container so that liquid may be evaporated quickly.
    • Prepare time-consuming stir-fries that need constant stirring.

    Summary of the Saute Pan vs. the Frying Pan Debate

    • Fry pans are cooking pots with a flat base, sloping sides, and no lid. When it comes to cooking, a saute pan is a straight-sided pan with a lid.
    • The frying pan’s greater depth means it can hold less liquid, while the sauté pan’s shallower depth means it can hold more.
    • The sauté pan has replaced the frying pan as the go-to appliance for high-heat cooking.
    • It’s best to use a sauté pan and stir the food while cooking. To counter this, flipping the food in a frying pan is a fast and easy process.
    • As opposed to the narrow, rounded base of a frying pan, a sauté pan has a wide, flat base.
    • Chicken and other meats may be sautéed in a saute pan without burning or drying out. Meat and other meals may be steamed and browned in a frying pan at the same time.
    HomePageMonterey Bay Restaurant Equipment
    Kitchen EquipmentClick here