Sauté Pan vs. Skillet – What to Consider When Purchasing One?

There’s nothing better than the Sunday morning breakfast that includes a fried egg topped with freshly ground pepper, a medley of fried mushrooms and tomatoes inside a French toast, and two pieces of honey roasted bacon with a dash of paprika.

Sauté Pan vs Skillet

If you’re willing to make these delicious dishes, you should have the right cookware, like a sauté pan or a skillet, in your kitchen. Some people interchangeably use these pans, but they’re not the same and have a few subtle differences between them.

What’s the Difference Between a Skillet and a Sauté Pan?

Sauté Pan vs Skillet - Main Difference
The main difference between a saute pan and a skillet exists in their shape. Usually saute pan comes with straight sides, whereas a skillet typically has slanted sides. Furthermore, this major difference in shape also brings the difference in their weight, surface area, volume, evaporation, and tossing capacity.

The most significant difference is that a sauté pan has straight sides and a flat bottom, while a skillet has slanted sides that outward at an angle. Sauté pans usually have a larger surface area than skillets for searing meat perfectly.

So, if you’re opting for a new piece of cookware in between a sauté pan or a skillet, you may ask yourself the most common questions: should I get a sauté pan or a skillet, or do I need both? In our opinion, the differences between the two will be the answers to your queries.

Now, we’re going to talk about the factors that show you the differences between a sauté pan and a skillet. We’ll also share what to consider when purchasing one and which one is the better choice for you.

So, let’s dive into the main topic!

What is a Saute Pan?

A sauté pan is a piece of cookware that features straight sides and slightly. Typically, the cookware is slightly deeper and comes with a lid. Although it can be used for frying and sautéing, it’s mainly used for liquid cooking methods, such as braising and poaching.


  • Comes with more cooking space than a skillet
  • Heats up pretty quickly
  • Suitable for high heat cooking


  • Doesn’t contain heat for long
  • A bit more heavyweight than a skillet

What Is a Skillet?

A skillet is a piece of cookware that features sloped sides and less cooking surface than its dimension. As skillets are designed for cooking methods that don’t need covering, they don’t come with a lid. In a skillet, you can do stir-frying, pan-frying, and sautéing without any hassle.


  • Made of the durable material
  • Retains heat for a long time
  • Delivers a naturally nonstick surface


  • Needs more time to cook
  • Difficult to clean

Saute Pan vs. Skillet: What are the key differences

Saute Pan vs. Skillet

Now that you know most of the differences are available in shape, we’re going to discuss some factors related to the shape, including surface area, cooking capacity, weight, handle construction, tossing ability, and many more.

Surface Area

Depending on the diameter of the lip, the surface area of cooking pans is measured. Most home stovetops usually fit an around 12-inch pan. Thanks to the straight sides, a 12-inch sauté pan comes with a 12-inch cooking surface.

On the other hand, due to the flared sides, a skillet loses an inch on each side. So, the surface area of the skillet becomes only 10 inches wide. Therefore, a skillet has less cooking surface than a sauté pan in the case of equal diameter.

Cooking Capacity

As a sauté pan has straight sides, it allows you to fill it with a higher liquid volume than a skillet. When you move it around, the sauté pan is less likely to splash out the liquid due to the straight sides.


The weight of a sauté pan or a skillet depends on the construction materials of the particular cookware. Although this is a debating factor, sauté pans might be slightly more massive than the equivalent skillets due to the wide base and an extra helper handle.

Handle Construction

Skillets usually have a short handle and an additional handle on the opposite side, while sauté pans come with a long handle with a helper. If a skillet has a long handle, it won’t usually include an extra helper handle.

Tossing Ability

A skillet is much superior in tossing and sautéing to a sauté pan, thanks to the sloped sides. Although you can sauté in a straight-sided sauté pan, you’ll require constant stirring and have to turn the food with a spatula or a large spoon.

What to Consider When Purchasing One?

You should keep in mind a few things when purchasing either a saute pan or a skillet. If you overlook the most essential considering factors, you may buy one that won’t fulfill your requirements.

Triple-Layer Construction

If you’re going to choose either a sauté pan or a skillet, you should opt for one that comes with triple-layer construction. At this moment, a question may be lingering in your mind that, what triple-layer construction is?

This means a piece of cookware made of triple layers consisting of a layer of aluminum-clad between a couple of stainless steel layers. The aluminum layer is inserted between the other two layers to make sure that it transmits heat quite fast throughout the surface.

Nonstick Cookware

A stainless steel pan is far better than a nonstick cookware piece, although a nonstick one is excellent for preparing pancakes, eggs, and super-delicate fish. If you’re purchasing a skillet or a sauté pan for the first time, you should choose a stainless steel one.

This is because you may overheat the pan, and the nonstick coating may get mixed with your food, causing harmful diseases to you. Using a stainless steel pan reduces the chance of overheating and stuck-on food on the pan’s bottom.

Riveted Handles

Whether you purchase a skillet or a sauté pan, your new cookware should have riveted handles because they usually last for a long time. However, welded handles are prone to fall off after the use of a couple of months.


Regardless of the differences in shape, sauté pans and skillets are different in cooking methods. With the straight sides and a lid, a sauté pan is usually used for implementing a few cooking methods, such as braising, poaching, simmering, etc.

Saute Pan vs Skillet

On the other hand, with flared sides and a flat bottom, a skillet is the better option for frying, stir-frying, and deep-frying. With ensuring faster evaporation, this piece of cookware allows you to maneuver the food easily.

Now, if you’re looking for a piece of cookware that allows you to maneuver a particular recipe, you should have a skillet in your kitchen. But, if you’re after a quality pan that offers versatility, a sauté pan will be the right option for you.

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