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The Difference Between a Saute Pan and a Skillet

George Steckel|Jan 11, 2021

Saute pans and skillets look similar and are often used interchangeably, but no kitchen is complete without a

saute pan

and a


. Despite their similarities, these two types of pans have many differences, and their unique traits lend each piece of cookware its special place in your cooking routine.

Keep reading to learn about the difference between these two cookware superstars and find out how and when to use each.

What's the Difference Between a Saute Pan and a Skillet?

A skillet (also called a frying pan) has one long handle and sloped sides. While the sloped sides reduce the size of the pan's cooking surface, they allow for easy access. As a result, skillets are best used for quick cooking techniques like stir-frying, flipping foods, and even serving foods straight from the pan like frittatas.

A saute pan has one long handle, plus a small helper handle on the opposite side. This offers added stability for simmering meats in sauces or preparing heavier dishes. In addition to the helper handle, saute pans also have straight sides and traditionally come with a tight-fitting lid. Although they don't offer the easy spatula access of skillets, saute pans' straight sides provide a deeper vessel and a flat bottom of the pan, perfect for shallow frying and braising. They can also have a larger surface area for cooking.

When to Use a Saute Pan and When to Use a Skillet

If you don't know when or how to use all your different types of cookware, then there's really no point in cluttering your cabinets with pots and pans you seldom use. However, understanding the proper way to use your frying pans and saute pans will help you create perfectly cooked, better-tasting meals with less effort. Although


and saute pans can be used interchangeably, they do have their intended functions, and you'll perform better in the kitchen if you know the difference.


Skillets are best used for quick-cooking techniques that require you to be present with a spatula the entire time. If you're frying up breakfast, choosing a skillet with sloped sides will allow you to flip your eggs and pancakes with ease. They're also perfect for searing a steak with high heat.

Saute Pans

Saute pans are a better choice for meals that need more time to cook and less interference from you. When you simmer sauce, braise meats, or create a one-pot meal, the saute pan will keep the moisture locked in and accommodate all your food without any sauce sloshing over its sides.

Meet Your New VIPs (Very Important Pans)!

When it comes to picking out your go-to frying pans and saute pans, look for high-quality pieces made with durable, attractive materials that offer high-function. Whether you prefer

stainless steel


non stick

, or

carbon steel

, Made In offers professional chef-quality cookware at a pricepoint your home kitchen can afford. With Made In, you can find the perfect pan and skillet for your home kitchen and enjoy frying, braising, and searing to your delight!

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