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Pans are the most important tool in the Kitchen. They sear, fry, saute and simmer. Without a pan, you wont be able to do most kitchen task. The two types of pan that is most commonly used is the Frying Pan and the Saute pan. However, they are designed very differently and perform different task. While they can do the task of the other pan, there are some things you should be aware. This Frying Pan vs Skillet vs Saute Pan article will take a closer look at these kitchen workhorse.
Skillet vs Frying Pan Nomenclature
There is some confusion on what is a skillet. Its just another way of saying frying pan. Although I would argue a Frying Pan is a more generic term. When most people skillet, most people assume its a low flaring cast iron pan. Both terms are correct but a frying pan is more all encompassing.
What about a Saute Pan?
Saute Pan are straight sided pan that is usually accompanied with a lid. They are great for trapping moisture and cooking liquid based dish. While they can fry and sear like a frying pan, they are not as convenient. The tall sides condense and collect moisture. As a result, things that will typically sear in a skillet will actually steam in a saute pan. You can overcome this by cooking food in smaller batches but that isnt always convenient.
Another problem with a saute pan is that the sidewall gets in the way. You cant flip as easily as a skillet and using a spatula is annoying.
Which should you get?
The pan that you get should really depend on your needs. I would argue that the frying pan is suitable for most cooks. They sear better and should generally do most task well. However, if you want a pan specifically for braising and even baking, then the saute pan is better. I like to cook tomato sauce and do braises in a saute pan. They are also great for cooking noodles.
Is a Saute Pan Necessary
A Saute Pan is not necessary but I recommend it. It wont be used everyday, but when you do need it, its a great pan to have. I like using it to cook stews and braises. They also pop into the oven easily. If you find that the handle gets in the way, then you can try and get a Rondeau Pan. These are essentially saute pan with a two loop handle.
Frying Pan vs Skillet vs Saute Pan Thoughts
You have many options for pans. I highly recommend getting a frying pan for everyday use. They sear better and is more useful for everyday task. However, a good saute pan is also a wise choice. They are better for braises and even shallow frying.