Saute Pan vs Skillet


Saute pan and skillet are two of frequently compared cooking wares. The do resemble each other in one way or another. Both of them have the same circular shape, with short sides and a handle. Both of them also can be used almost interchangeably and many people are currently doing so. The fact that they are similar to each other does not mean they don’t have any single different. Even though they have the same circular shape and low sides. One of them have a slightly flared outward sides. This might relate to its intentional use. In this article we will talk about Saute pan and skillet also their differences.

Saute Pan

Saute pan is a cooking pan made for the purpose of Sauteing. It is commonly made from various materials such as, stainless steel, copper, enameled cast iron and anodized aluminum. Saute pan have a look similar to frying pan and skillet, it has wide bottom, and short sides. It also featured with long handle on one side and sometimes sold with a lid. Like it has been said before, Saute pan is made to do Sauteing. Sauteing is a cooking method, which use little oils and cooking the food in a medium-high heat in a particularly short period. When cooking food using this method the food will tends to retain its texture, taste and freshness, but the skin will be browned. (You can see also comparison between Frying Pan vs Saute Pan)

Saute word came from French which means ‘jumped or bounced” in reference of tossing the food while cooking it. When sauteing we required to use a high smoke point oils such as, clarified butter, rapeseed oil, and sunflower oil. The oil must have high smoke point to allow cooking in medium-high heat where the Sauteing is done. The amount of the oil also needs to be considered. Use enough oil to cover the surface lightly, if the oils is too much the food will be fried instead of easily sliding in the pan. When Sauteing, all the ingredients are heated at once, and cooked quickly. This is why Saute pan in having wide flat bottom, this featured will ease the food to be cook all at once and evenly. When Sauteing it is common to jerk the pan back and forth to make all the ingredient get the same amount of heat. The short sides of Sauteing pan also allow quick evaporation and escape of steam. The Sauteing techniques is done by gripping the Saute pan handle firmly, and used a sharp elbow motion to jerk the pan back and forth, the process is repeated to ensure all the ingredients is cook evenly.


Skillet is a type of cooking ware, which have a look similar to Saute pan. Skillet shape is rectangular, with a flat bottom, and short side, which slightly flared out. Skillet also featured with a long handle, but unlike Saute pan it does not comes with a lid. Also unlike Saute pan, which have a straight sides, so the top and bottom are the same. Skillet in the other hand having a slightly flared out sides makes it have a narrower bottom. Approximately a same size Saute pan and a skillet will have at least 30% gap in the cooking area. Just like many others cooking wares skillet is made from various materials, but the most commonly used is cast iron. We still can find stainless steel skillet but it is somehow not widely used.

Skillet is a versatile cooking ware, which can be used to deep or shallow frying, Sauteing, grilling, stewing and roasting. Skillet may come with a lid or not and in each sides of the pan it usually have side lips to enable simple and mess-free pouring. Since most popular skillet material is cast iron you need to pay attention when using it. For example, do not cook acidic food in cast iron, since the acid will loosens trace amounts of molecules from the metal that might contaminated your food and the acid can cause the seasoning on cast iron skillet to break down. And avoid using detergent to wash the cast iron skillet. However using small amount in the sponge will do not do any harm. When trying to remove stubborn crust on the skillet, try scrubbing it gently with kosher salt to avoid damaging the skillet.

Saute PanSkillet Pan
- Intentionally made to do Sauteing- Intentionally made to fry food
- The sides is straight- The sides is slightly flared outward
- It does not have side lips to ease pouring- Commonly have side lip to ease pouring


When it is about Saute pan and skillet many of us might be able to use it interchangeably. It is true that they were made to do their specific job, but it does not mean the other can’t perform the same task. Saute pan was made to do cooking using the Sauteing method, which is cooking food quickly in a high heat and stirring them frequently. While skillet commonly used to fry and stir-fry food. You can use skillet for Sauteing and Saute pan to fry food. There is no fixed rule, you can choose which one you are more comfortable with.

Add comment