A Chip Pan is actually a pot; a deep pot used to fry chips (aka “French Fries” in America) in on stove-top burners.
For electric ones, see the entry on Deep Fat Fryers.
Chip Pans are made from aluminum or stainless steel, and come with a wire basket for handling the chips with. Older ones are cast iron. Not all modern ones are dishwasher safe; ask before purchasing if this is important to you.
To use, place on a stove-top burner, fill the Chip Pan one-third full of frying oil, no more than that, and turn the burner on to heat the oil. When a piece of bread crisps quickly in the oil, it’s hot enough. If smoking starts, turn the heat off.
Pat food dry before putting it in the oil, or you can get an explosion of oil out onto the burners which may go up in flames.
Chip Pans cause 12,000 fires a year in the United Kingdom, resulting in 4,000 injuries and 50 deaths a year, not to mention structural damage.
They must never be left unattended, even for a second. You need to be fully cognizant when using one — in Britain, many chip pan fires burn down houses because people try to use one to cook up chips after a night at the pub. The handle must not project out from stove.
If a fire starts, don’t move the pot, don’t put water on the fire or use a fire extinguisher on it. Turn the heat off if you can reach the heat knob safely, and try to cover the pot with a lid or a plate or a water-soaked towel, and leave it covered for at least half an hour — the fire can start up again, otherwise.