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Saute pan vs. skillet

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Do most people generally have one or the other? Should both of them be used for different cooking techniques, or is it a matter of preference?

If so, when would you use a skillet vs. a saute pan?
post #2 of 3
A traditional saute pan will have a flat bottom with short straight sides and has a cover. A skillet generally refers to a pan with sloped sides. Skillets facilitate easier turning/flipping while a saute pan is essential when braising, because of it's cover.
Though many cooks freely substitute one for the other, each pan is designed with specific functions in mind.
A skillet's sloping side allows you to turn and remove food such as scrambled eggs more easily. In contrast, the comparatively high, vertical wall of a saute pan interferes with these cooking tasks. The rationale behind its construction is different: The design is meant to reduce the amount of oil that splatters beyond the saute pan's rim when, for instance, the cook pan-fries chicken.
The sides of a saute pan, incidentally, should not measure more than 2 1/2 inches. Higher walls cause excess steam to build up in the pan as gaseous water molecules are released by the frying foods. Moreover, some of the imprisoned steam molecules then con-dense and fall into the oil, needlessly causing extra splatter and lowering the oil's temperature at the same time.

Note: Similar to a saute pan's design, a cast iron "skillet" is more like a saute pan than a skillet.
The meaning of life is to give life meaning.
The meaning of life is to give life meaning.
post #3 of 3
Thanks for your post and the explanation. While I knew all that, I couldn't explain it as well as you did.

I agree with this 100%, and is one of the reasons I use smaller capacity sauté pans. The pans made by some companies get their extra capacity by using taller sides and maintaining the same diameter as lower capacity pans. FEH!

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