Though she be but little, she is fierce.
Medium and large frying pans have rightfully earned their place in our cookware repository. Whether cooking a weeknight pasta recipe or searing a ribeye, any pan 10” or larger is up for the task.
So where do frying pans on the smaller end fit into the equation? Typically 8” or smaller, these pans are typically used for single servings—so if you’re not cooking for one, you’ve likely skipped over adding a small pan to your cookware collection. Here’s why you should reconsider that.
Though there’s no official designation of what is considered a small frying pan, this category typically encompasses any pan measuring in at 8” or smaller. Keep in mind that frying pans are usually measured from rim to rim, meaning that the actual cooking surface area will be smaller than the total pan size—i.e. our 6” Stainless Clad Frying Pan has a cooking surface diameter of 4.7”.
If you’re on the fence about adding a small frying pan to your roster, here are some of our favorite uses to demonstrate just how essential they can be.
The most prevalent use for a 6” or 8” frying pan is a single serving, be it a single fried egg, pancake, omelette, or frittata. The small cooking surface area means your pan heats up faster (especially when made with high-quality materials like Stainless Clad) and your ingredient cooks quicker.
This is also a great size for a quick sauté of small vegetables, like mushrooms or a handful of spinach, instead of dirtying a larger pan.
Whether spices for at-home five-spice powder or pine nuts for pesto, a small frying pan is ideal for toasting—much for the same reasons it’s perfect for single servings. A small surface area prevents burning or hot spots, and it won’t take up too much space on your stovetop if you’re working with multiple moving parts of a dish.
Garlic butter, browned butter, or garlic confit are vital parts of some recipes or an excellent finishing addition to a dish. If prepping a small amount, a 6” or 8” pan can come in handy when warming up a small amount of liquid—that is, if you don’t have a Butter Warmer available.
If you’re on the fence about adding a small frying pan to your lineup, consider how often you single servings or small amounts of food (like toasted nuts or spices). If you’ve long been using a larger pan for a small task, then it may be time to add a 6” or 8” pan to your culinary roster.
Ultimately, a small frying pan has many more benefits than it does drawbacks, and is more than worth the space it takes up in your cabinet or on the stove. If you reach for it once a week or once per month, you’ll be glad to have it on hand.
While there’s a place in our hearts (and cookware cabinets) for large frying pans, there’s certainly a time, place, and recipe for small frying pans, too. That’s why we’re so excited about the most recent addition 6” to our line of Award-Winning Frying Pans in both Non Stick and Stainless Clad, perfect for anything from searing to slow simmers.