© Denzil Green
Frying Pans are wide, shallow pans with a long handle and sloping sides.
If the sides are straight, it's a sauté pan. The idea behind the slanted sides is to allow steam to escape so that frying and searing can happen.
That being said, a Frying Pan can be used for sautéing or frying or steam-frying, though not for deep-frying or stir-frying.
Frying Pans come in varying widths. 8, 10 and 12 inches (20, 25 and 30 cm) are the most common. The problem with 12 or 14 inch (30 or 35 cm) frying pans can be that burners on most home stoves aren't big enough to properly heat it evenly.
Very wide ones often have a small helper handle on the other side.
Frying Pans are usually round, sometimes square. Occasionally, you'll see square cast iron ones divided into compartments, usually 1/2 and 2 quarters. These are meant for bacon in one part, eggs in another, or something like that.
Stainless Steel with copper bottoms
© Denzil Green
Some lighter-weight metal ones can warp, getting a slightly-raised dome in the middle of their bottom if they are used over heat that was too high for them.
Not all Frying Pans come with lids. If your frying pan doesn't have a lid, but you want one for it, you can often find generic-sized ones sold at some stores (though they won't necessarily match in colour and quality.)
Literature & Lore
-- Joni Mitchel. "My Old Man". 1971.
"Frying Pan" used to be the term in New England; "Skillet" was the term in the American south.
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