A frying pan, frypan, or skillet is a flat-bottomed pan used for frying, searing, and browning foods. It is typically 200 to 300 mm (8 to 12 in) in diameter with relatively low sides that flare outwards, a long handle, and no lid. Larger pans may have a small grab handle opposite the main handle. A pan of similar dimensions, but with less flared vertical sides and often with a lid, is called a sauté pan. While a sauté pan can be used like a frying pan, it is designed for lower heat cooking methods, namely sautéing.
Copper frying pans were used in ancient Mesopotamia. Frying pans were also known in ancient Greece where they were called tagēnon (Greek: τάγηνον) and Rome, where they were called patella or sartago. The word pan derives from the Old English panna. Before the introduction of the kitchen stove in the mid-19th century, a commonly used cast iron cooking pan called a spider had a handle and three legs used to stand up in the coals and ashes of the fire. Cooking pots and pans with legless, flat bottoms were designed when cooking stoves became popular; this period of the late 19th century saw the introduction of the flat cast iron skillet.
A versatile pan that combines the best of both the sauté pan and the frying pan has higher, sloping sides that are often slightly curved. This pan is called a sauteuse (literally a sauté pan in the female gender), an evasée (denoting a pan with sloping sides), or a fait-tout (literally "does everything"). Most professional kitchens have several of these utensils in varying sizes.
A grill pan is a frying pan with very low sides, with a series of parallel ridges in the cooking surface or a removable metal grid. A grill pan cooks food with radiant heat (like a grill) on a stovetop. It is referred to as a "griddle pan" in British English.
A "rappie pan" is a pan used to make rappie pie, an Acadian potato dish. The pan is made from Aluminum or Stainless Steel.
Traditionally, frying pans were made of cast iron. Although cast iron is still popular today, especially for outdoor cooking, most frying pans are now made from metals such as aluminium or stainless steel. The materials and construction method used in modern frying pans vary greatly and some typical materials include:
A coating is sometimes applied to the surface of the pan to make it non-stick. Frying pans made from bare cast iron or carbon steel can also gain non-stick properties through seasoning and use.
A process for bonding Teflon to chemically roughened aluminum was patented in France by Marc Gregoire in 1954. In 1956 he formed a company to market non-stick cookware under the "Tefal" brand name. The durability of the early coatings were poor, but improvements in manufacturing have made these products a kitchen standard. The surface is not as tough as metal and the use of metal utensils (e.g. spatulas) can permanently mar the coating and degrade its non-stick property.
For some cooking preparations a non-stick frying pan is inappropriate, especially for deglazing, where the residue of browning is to be incorporated in a later step such as a pan sauce. Since little or no residue can stick to the surface, the sauce will fail for lack of its primary flavoring agent.
Non-stick frying pans featuring teflon coatings may give off toxic fumes, as the coating decomposes when heated beyond approximately 240 °C (464 °F). Such temperatures can be reached within minutes on gas or electric ranges using high heat.
An electric frying pan or electric skillet incorporates an electric heating element into the frying pan itself and so can function independently off of a cooking stove. Accordingly, it has heat-insulated legs for standing on a countertop. (The legs usually attach to handles.) Electric frying pans are common in shapes that are unusual for 'unpowered' frying pans, notably square and rectangular. Most are designed with straighter sides than their stovetop cousins and include a lid. In this way they are a cross between a frying pan and a sauté pan.
A modern electric skillet has an additional advantage over the stovetop version: heat regulation. The detachable power cord/unit incorporates a thermostatic control for maintaining the desired temperature.
With the perfection of the thermostatic control, the electric skillet became a popular kitchen appliance. Although it largely has been supplanted by the microwave oven, it is still in use in many kitchens.
The cooking surface of a frying pan is typically coated with a layer of oil or fat when the pan is in use (though greasy foods like bacon do not need additional oil added). In pan-frying, a layer of oil has four functions: it lubricates the surface; increases contact between the food and the pan; acts as a thermal mass to reduce cooking time; and increases flavour and colour.
The depth of the oil will vary depending on the food being cooked. When frying battered fish or chicken, for example, the oil generously covers the inner pan surface, but when frying pancakes, the oil is but a thin film to keep the batter from sticking.
Some frying techniques do not require added oil. "Blackening" dredges the food itself in fat, and uses a layer of spices to keep the food from sticking to the pan. These recipes also call for an intensely heated pan, which quickly sears the food being cooked.
The handle of a frying pan may have a non-metallic covering. This can be very helpful to prevent burns
Cast iron and carbon steel frying pans must be seasoned before use and periodically afterwards, and should be cleaned with care not to remove the seasoned coating.
Frying pans made from copper are tinned to prevent toxic reactions between the copper and the food being cooked and may occasionally need re-tinning. Some cooks also polish the exterior to remove tarnish.
Uncoated aluminium and stainless steel frying pans require very little maintenance.
Frying pans with non-stick coatings such as Teflon cannot safely be heated past the decomposition point of their coatings (about 260 °C (500 °F), though high-heat coatings are available). See above.
Afrikaans Braaipan ▪ العربية مقلاة ▪ Башҡортса Таба ▪ Беларуская Патэльня ▪ Беларуская (тарашкевіца) Патэльня ▪ Български Тиган ▪ Brezhoneg Paelon ▪ Català Paella (estri) ▪ Чӑвашла Çатма ▪ Čeština Pánev (nádobí) ▪ Dansk Stegepande ▪ Deutsch Pfanne ▪ Eesti Pann ▪ Ελληνικά Τηγάνι ▪ Español Sartén ▪ Esperanto Pato ▪ Euskara Zartagin ▪ فارسی ماهیتابه ▪ Français Poêle (cuisine) ▪ Gaeilge Friochtán ▪ Gàidhlig Aghann ▪ Galego Tixola ▪ 한국어 프라이팬 ▪ Hornjoserbsce Pónoj ▪ Hrvatski Tava ▪ Ido Padelo ▪ Bahasa Indonesia Alat penggorengan ▪ Íslenska Steikarpanna ▪ Italiano Padella ▪ עברית מחבת ▪ ქართული ტაფა ▪ Kurdî Rûnbirêşk ▪ Кырык мары Селмӓ ▪ Latina Sartago ▪ Latviešu Panna ▪ Lëtzebuergesch Pan (Kichen) ▪ Lingála Kikálúngu ▪ Magyar Serpenyő ▪ मराठी फ्राय पॅन ▪ Nederlands Koekenpan ▪ 日本語 フライパン ▪ Norsk bokmål Stekepanne ▪ Occitan Padena ▪ Oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча Tova ▪ Polski Patelnia ▪ Português Frigideira ▪ Română Tigaie ▪ Runa Simi K'allana ▪ Русский Сковорода ▪ Sicilianu Padedda ▪ Simple English Frying pan ▪ Српски / srpski Тигањ ▪ Srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски Tiganj ▪ Suomi Paistinpannu ▪ Svenska Stekpanna ▪ Татарча/tatarça Таба ▪ తెలుగు పెనం ▪ ไทย กระทะ ▪ Tsetsêhestâhese Tónovâhonónestôtse ▪ Türkçe Tava ▪ Українська Сковорода (посуд) ▪ Vèneto Farsora ▪ Vepsän kel’ Rehtil' ▪ 粵語 平底鑊 ▪ Žemaitėška Patelnė ▪ 中文 平底锅 ▪