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Frying Pan vs Skillet! What’s The Difference You Need To Know?

The debate between frying pans and skillets often stirs up a confusing array of opinions, especially when you’re faced with the task of choosing the right cookware for your kitchen. The terms are often used interchangeably, but there are nuanced differences that could greatly affect the outcome of your culinary endeavors.

Understanding these distinctions is essential for anyone—from casual home cooks to professional chefs—interested in optimizing their cooking techniques and food quality. Factors such as shape, material, size, heat conductivity, non-stick properties, durability, handle design, maintenance, price, and the intended purpose and audience for each type of pan come into play.

Let’s delve deeper into each of these aspects to clear up the ambiguity and help you make an informed choice.

Related: Best Frying Pan


Frying Pan vs Skillet! What’s the difference?



Frying pans typically have sloped sides, which make it easier to toss and turn food while cooking. This shape is conducive for stir-frying, sautéing, and flipping pancakes or omelets.

Skillets, on the other hand, usually have more vertical sides, providing more cooking surface and making them ideal for tasks like searing or frying that may require deeper oil or liquid.

The shape dictates the utility and efficiency of each pan in performing specific tasks—understanding this will influence the kind of dish you can easily prepare in each.


Frying pans are commonly made from materials like aluminum, stainless steel, or a combination of both, sometimes coated with a non-stick layer.

Skillets, particularly cast-iron skillets, are made from iron and often come pre-seasoned.

The material influences heat distribution, reactivity with acidic or alkaline foods, and overall longevity. While aluminum pans heat up quickly, cast-iron skillets are known for their heat retention and even cooking but may react with acidic foods if not well-seasoned.


Both frying pans and skillets come in a range of sizes, usually measured in diameter.

However, frying pans are often shallower and lighter, making them more maneuverable for quick cooking tasks.

Skillets are generally deeper and heavier, particularly when made from cast iron, which offers a large cooking surface and more volume for foods that require depth, like stews or deep frying.

Heat Conductivity

Aluminum-based frying pans are excellent conductors of heat, providing quick and even heating.

Cast-iron skillets, although slower to heat up, maintain and distribute heat more evenly over time.

Your choice here will depend on whether you prioritize speed and efficiency or the consistent, slow-cooking capabilities of cast iron.

Non-Stick Properties

Many frying pans come with non-stick coatings, making them ideal for foods prone to sticking and for easier cleaning.

Cast-iron skillets can also be non-stick but require seasoning and careful maintenance to retain this property.


In terms of durability, cast-iron skillets are nearly indestructible if well-maintained.

Aluminum and stainless steel frying pans, although durable, can warp, scratch, or lose their non-stick coatings over time.

Handle Design

Frying pans often feature long, easy-grip handles designed for quick movements like flipping and tossing.

Skillet handles are usually shorter and may come with a helper handle to manage the heavier weight.


Frying pans, especially those with non-stick coatings, are generally easier to clean.

Cast-iron skillets require meticulous care, including seasoning and avoiding soap to maintain their non-stick properties and prevent rusting.


Frying pans are often less expensive upfront, especially those made from aluminum or coated with non-stick material. These can range in price from as low as $15 to upwards of $100 for premium brands with multi-layered coatings or stainless steel construction.

On the other hand, cast-iron skillets may have a higher initial cost, often ranging from $25 to $200 depending on the brand and size. However, they are generally more cost-effective in the long run due to their remarkable durability. A well-maintained cast-iron skillet can last for generations, effectively amortizing its initial cost over a much longer period.

Thus, while frying pans may seem more economical at first glance, the long-lasting nature of cast-iron skillets can make them a more financially savvy investment in the long term.

Purpose & Audience

Frying pans are versatile and suitable for everyday cooking needs, making them a staple in most household kitchens.

Skillets, particularly cast-iron ones, are favored by enthusiasts and professional chefs for their unique cooking properties and are essential for specific tasks like deep frying and baking in the oven.


What are the pros n Cons of a frying pan?


  • A frying pan can be used to fry meats without flipping them over or using much oil.
  • The frying pan can also be used for frying meat or vegetables, braising meat, searing meat, quick-cooking, and crisp frying.
  • A frying pan does not require much oil to cook in the pan as well as clean up.
  • A frying pan has a flat bottom and the heat spreads evenly across it.


  • A frying pan cannot be used on an induction cooktop if it doesn’t have magnetic properties.
  • It is also not suitable for omelets or pancakes as well as searing fish fillets in oil before baking them in the oven.

What are the pros n Cons of a skillet?


  • The main uses of a skillet are cooking omelets or pancakes and eggs.
  • The major benefit of using a skillet is that it has shallow sides which make it easier to flip the food.
  • It can also be used for cooking, searing, caramelizing, browning, sautéing, and even baking but it cannot be used on an induction cooktop if it does not have magnetic properties.


  • The bottom of a skillet is not flat and it cannot spread heat as well as other pans.
  • It is also not suitable for searing meat and is used only for cooking omelets or pancakes.



When you are deciding between a frying pan and a skillet, you should consider what you want to cook and how much you are willing to spend on the pans.

If you are just starting out with cooking, it is better that you invest in a skillet because it will serve all your basic needs for cooking omelets or pancakes, eggs, and searing.

On the other hand, if you are an advanced cook and you want something that can be used for other purposes, then a frying pan would be a better choice because it has more uses than a skillet.

If you’re Looking for the best Frying Pan, we recommend Cuisinart Chef’s Classic that will cost you around $42.00

Frying Pan vs Skillet! Whats the Difference?