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Frying pans & skillets are the best pans for your kitchen

If you want to fry an egg, flip a pancake, or sear a steak, you’re going to need a frying pan or skillet to do so. Available in a variety of styles and materials, this type of cookware is the workhorse of the kitchen.

What is the difference between a skillet & frying pan?

You’ve probably cooked with both, but a frying pan and a skillet are not the same . To tell the difference, take a look at the shape of the pan. A frying pan, also known as a sauté pan, has straight sides and a wide, flat bottom.

A skillet has a narrower bottom with slanted sides, making it the perfect pan for stirring and moving food. Skillets are must-have pans if you love stir-frys, while a frying pan does duty for a variety of foods.

Choosing the best frying pan for you

There are a few important features to consider when choosing a frying pan or skillet, and the first choice you’ll make is of material.

You can find frying pans and skillets in a variety of material including non-stick, stainless steel, ceramic, cast-iron, copper, and aluminum. The type of material you choose will dictate the way you cook your food in your new pan, and it can affect the taste of your food too.

Three of the most popular materials in frying pans and skillets are cast iron, stainless steel, and non-stick.

Cast iron frying pans

A cast iron frying pan is a great choice if you plan to go from stove to table or oven to table. They’re perfect for searing meat, but they also slide straight into the oven to make the perfect mac and cheese. They heat and transfer heat evenly, and are both heavy and durable.

While the coating of a cast iron pan is not as easy to use as non-stick, you can season cast iron pans to provide an easy-to-flip cooking surface.

Stainless steel frying pans

Stainless steel frying pans and skillets are designed to be so sturdy and durable, and they’ll be your go-to pans for a long, long time. They are perfect for everything from sauces to browning ground beef. The best part? A stainless-steel frying pan is non-reactive; meaning you won’t have any added flavor in your food from the type of pan you’re using.

Non-stick frying pan

A non-stick frying pan is one of the more popular choices, and that’s because it has a surface food practically slides off of. You can find non-stick frying pans with Teflon coating or ceramic titanium coating to make cooking and cleaning up quick and easy, and they’re non-reactive too.

Ceramic, aluminum, and copper frying pans

Ceramic frying pans, aluminum frying pans, and copper frying pans are also popular choices for the kitchen.

Ceramic frying pans and skillets are designed with bonded to a non-stick surface. These pans are safe for high heat, easy to clean, and the non-stick surface makes them perfect for eggs, sauces, and more.

Aluminum frying pans and skillets are similar to ceramic in that they are bonded to a non-stick surface. They don’t require as much heat to use as some pans, and they heat evenly.

To add a splash to your kitchen cookware, choose a copper frying pan or skillet. These multi-purpose pans look gorgeous on your range. Because they can withstand temperatures up to 850 degrees, are the perfect oven-to-table pan. They have non-stick coatings and can be used on induction ovens.

Griddles and their uses

A griddle is different from a frying pan or skillet in that a griddle is long and flat. This style of frying pan is perfect for pancakes, shallow frying, or browning meat because it’s easy to reach in and flip or stir whatever you’re cooking.

One of the most popular griddles is a pancake griddle. These griddles are non-stick, so your pancakes won’t be hard to flip. They also let you cook your pancakes without the use of oils or sprays.

A pancake griddle can look like a standard pan, but they are also unique in that you can find them with molds you can use for perfect pancakes. No matter what style you choose, they are the best option for cooking pancakes because of the even heat distribution. Your pancakes will come out golden brown all over instead of dark in some parts and uncooked in others.

Don’t forget the lids

Most frying pans and skillets, despite the type you choose, will not come with lids. If you’d like to cover food during or after the cooking process, you’ll want to add a pan lid to your purchase.

Want more info? Check out some of our resources on the Best Buy blog:

Everything you need to know about cookware for your induction range

Cookware buying guide

Kitchen Essentials for Every Type of Cook