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Put Some Sizzle in Your Kitchen

If you're in the market for a new frying pan, you've probably wondered if you need a skillet or a saute pan. While the two pans are similar, they have important differences in design and function that matter to the type of cooking you will be doing with them. Skillets or fry pans have curved or sloped sides and usually don't come with a lid (though some do). Saute pans will have straight sides, a flat bottom, and always come with a lid. Both come in a variety of materials including stainless steel, nonstick, copper, cast iron, aluminum, and ceramic. A skillet is ideal for stove top tasks such as pan frying, stir frying, and sauteing, cooking quickly without the need for a lid. The more sloped the sides, the smaller the cooking surface. You can use a saute pan for sauteing and pan frying too, but you can also use if for liquid cooking methods such as poaching, braising, and cooking greens. The straight sides mean slower evaporation and are safer for cooking liquids because they will be less prone to slosh over the sides as you stir.

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