frying pan with steaks in it

French Skillet vs Fry Pan

What Is The Difference Between a French Skillet and a Frying Pan?

A French skillet is a thick, heavy saucepan with a long handle and low-sloping or straight sides, which is used for browning large quantities of food or for making pan sauces.

A frying pan is a broad shallow metal pan used in cooking, that should also have sloping sides.

The primary difference between the two, other than their shape, is that the French Skillet is primarily used for browning large quantities of food while a frying pan is traditionally used for shallow frying food such as eggs or French toast.

While the majority of frying pans are made of aluminum, stainless steel and cast iron, French skillets are typically made of copper or brass, which increases their heat conductivity. Other differences between the two pans include;

French Skillet: The handle on a French skillet is usually straight and short compared to the slightly curved handle on a frying pan.

Frying Pan: The sides of a frying pan are slightly rounded or sloping, while the sides of a French skillet are usually straight and flat.

French Skillet: A French skillet is often sold with a lid that protects the contents during cooking. A frying pan does not have such a lid and is typically made with an open design for better heat distribution.

History of the French Skillet

The French skillet was popularized in the United States by several chefs who emigrated from France, including Louis de Gouy, Charles Ranhofer and Auguste Escoffier.

The Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Fannie Farmer said that a French skillet was “made of copper with straight sides”; it also recommended the use of a lid for braising meat.

French skillets are still popular in professional kitchens because they offer excellent heat distribution for cooking. However, other home cooks have switched to frying pans over the years due to their perceived sturdiness and durability.

History of the Frying Pan

Frying pans were designed for cooking food using small amounts of oil over high heat. The effects of the introduction of stainless steel began in the early 1930’s by manganese-bronze cookware manufacturers and continued after World War II. However, it was not until the 1950s that stainless frying pans were mass marketed.

The first stainless steel frying pans were produced by companies that concentrated on the production of cookware rather than on other kitchen appliances. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, these companies had no interest in quality control or strong market demand, which made their products available at low prices.

In 1951, a company called Lifetime Stainless Products (of Chicago) introduced its “Commercial” line of stainless steel frying pans in the United States. The pans were designed to offer a cheaper alternative to high-quality frying pans, which was possible because they were made of metal rather than steel.

Several manufacturers followed: Georgeson, Amish, Calphalon and others.

What Can Be Cooked In A French Skillet?

French skillets can be used for various types of food, including those that are fried, boiled or braised. A French skillet is most often used for shallow frying or poaching liquids as opposed to deep frying.

What Can Be Cooked In A Frying Pan?

A frying pan can be used for shallow or deep frying food such as meats, vegetables and pastries. Lastly, a frying pan is a versatile cooking tool that can be used for multiple types of cooking, including sauteing, baking and roasting.

How to Clean a French Skillet?

In order to maintain the quality of your French skillet, be sure to properly clean and store it after each use. Rule number one for cleaning a French skillet is to never put it in the dishwasher because it can erode the pot’s finish.

The best way to clean a French skillet depends on what you cooked in it or where you store it. If the French skillet was used only for shallow frying food items, then go ahead and wash it with warm water and a mild soap such as dish soap. If the skillet was used for deep-frying, then use hot water and a mild abrasive cleanser such as a stiff sponge.

Conclusion

While the majority of frying pans are made of aluminum, stainless steel and cast iron, French skillets are typically made of copper or brass, which increases their heat conductivity. Other differences between the two pans include;

French Skillet: The handle on a French skillet is usually straight and short compared to the slightly curved handle on a frying pan.

Frying Pan: The sides of a frying pan are slightly rounded or sloping, while the sides of a French skillet are usually straight and flat.

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