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When Does a Pan Become a Pot?

When does a pan become a pot? When it feels like it! In all seriousness, frying pan are characterized by its wide diameter and low sidewall. They are mostly meant to sear and saute food. Where as a pot is designed to hold a lot of liquid.

Height Differences Between a Pot and a Pan

A good rule of thumb when deciding if a pan is a pot is to look at its height. Most pans do not have sidewall that is higher than 3 inches. If you go pass that, what you will typically get is high walled saute pan. Pans that are generally 4 inch and above would be considered a pot.

Angle of the Sidewall

Another factor to consider is how the angle of the sidewall is like. Frying pan usually have a sidewall that is angled instead of straight up. The reason for this is to aid cooks in turning over food. A wall that is straight up will make it very difficult to move a spatula or fork under the food. To give you an idea, try searing a piece of food in a traditional saucepan. More than likely you would have to reach for a tong just to grab it. In a pan, you should be able to use a fork to flip the food.
Typically, most of the frying pans that I have tested, have a 2 inch reduction size from the top of the lip. Meaning the base diameter are usually 2 inch smaller than the top diameter of the pan. You can use this as a general guide for determining if it is a pot.

Height to Width Ratio

I like to use a ratio when determining if a pan is a pot. If the height of the pan is roughly 20-30% of the pans diameter, I would call it a pan. If the cookware height is around 50-80% of the diameter, I would consider that to be a pot.

When does a pan become a pot?

To summarize, here are some easy bullet point when considering whether a pan is a pot or not.
-If the cookware height is 3 inch or higher, those are usually pots.
-Angled sidewalls are usually meant for frying pan.
-A pot typically has 50-80% sidewall height of the diameter of the cookware.
If those three bullet point check out, you should be able to determine if it is a pot or a pan. I hope this was helpful, please let me know if you have any additional questions.

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For my review of the best pots and pans, please visit the Pots and Pans Review page.

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