Skillet vs. Saute Pan: Are They Same?

saute vs skillet pan

Most people think that the skillet and the sauté pans are the same. But this is a myth. Sauté pan and skillet are two different kitchenware items. If we talk to the chefs or any cooking experts, they can give you a variety of differences regarding these two most commonly used cookware items like they sauté pan is better for holding the heat. Let’s cover each of them one by one.


  • Without lid
  • Lesser surface area
  • Curvy/ slanted sides
  • Less versatile and used for the limited purpose
  • Provides evenly cooked food

Sauté Pan

  • With lid
  • More surface area
  • Straight edges
  • More versatile and multi-purpose
  • Food sometimes get over or less heated from some sides.


Skillet is a pan with the slanted or curvy edges. Most people think it is also called as frying pan or fry pan. But in reality, the frying pan is also different from the skillet. The slanted and the curvy sides of the pan hold an edge over the pan. It makes the pan perfectly suitable for preparing meals which require constant stirring of the meal.

skillet pan

The major difference lies in their shape and size. The skillets usually have curved sides and most of the time come without the lid. The main focus of the design is on the tasks which do not require the covering of the food.

However, sometimes people do use the lid over the skillets to lower down the evaporation process. The skillets are usually made of cast iron with deeper space.

Skillets usually have a single long handle to form a nice grip and it also enhances the design of the skillet.

The curvier sides of skillets provide less surface area for cooking. As they provide less surface area, they are faultless better for shallow or dry cooking.

large skillet

Types Of Skillets:

  • The French skillet is having a bit higher walls as compared to normal skillet which is better for searing, frying and even for the baking.
  • Another type of skillet is with the two small handles. These skillets are denser and best for roasting.
  • A pan usually comprising of two compact handles with the glib are often called rondeau. It is a portable pan which can easily fit into the oven.
  • The non-stick skillets are often one of the best purchases only if you are an omelette lover. They are most suitable for making eggs and fish.

Uses Of Skillets:

  • The pan is usually used for dry cooking. The food is usually cooked in the less or low amount of oil or any other liquid.
  • The pan is suitable for cooking only when you don’t require any covering. As skillets come without lids.
  • As the pan has low walls, it is perfect to do chef toss.
  • The pan is ideal for using high flame cooking.

what is a skillet

Sauté Pan:

The sauté is derived from the French language, meaning to jump having a wide and flat surface area. A sauté pan is a mixture of two different pans and providing dual benefits in the purchase of one. It is a concoction of saucepan and frying pan.

The sauté pan is one with the straight sides. These pans usually have one handle on each side with a lid over them. The size difference between both the skillet and sauté pan isn’t much. Because of the straight edges, the surface area of the pan is comparatively more than a skillet. The sauté pan is usually used for both the dry and wet cooking. The sauté pan comes with the lid which makes them more versatile.

One single sauté pan acts as a multiple purpose kitchenware item. You can fry, sear, and in a pinch, even stir fry in the pan. The big walls of the pan make them perfectly fit for making large quantities of food with no fear of spilling out.

best saute pan

Type Of Sauté Pans:

  • The deep sauté pans are often one having higher walls in comparison to the other normal sauté pans. The handles are the peculiar features of the sauté pans. Handles not only add to the design of the pan but also makes them a little heavier and a little harder to move.
  • Sauté pans comprising of two tiny handles and with a lid are often called as sauteuse pan.
  • Brazier or Rondo pots usually provide wider and better surface area which is most suitable for cooking vegetables or meats in the limited quantity of liquid.
  • Straight sided sauce pan provides better maximum heat conduction. The lid helps to control the evaporation and helps in faster cooking of the meal.

what is a saute pan

Uses Of Sauté Pans:

  • They are perfectly suitable for high heat cooking.
  • They are an ideal purchase for wet and dry cooking. (Example: Your food won’t get ruin if you add more or fewer amounts of liquid like oil in it.)
  • They come with a lid which reduces the evaporation process and is quite useful for poaching or simmering etc.)
  • These pan acts as a multipurpose pan.


No pan is waste of purchase only if you know how to use it. Both the pans are having their own pros and cons and it completely depends upon you what meal you are cooking in them. Both of them are great purchasing options. They are almost identical in the design and their working but as sauté pan comes with a lid that makes it more versatile and better option for purchase.