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

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

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

When you step into your kitchen to whip up a delightful home-cooked meal for your loved ones, you instinctively reach for your trusty pot or pan as you embark on another culinary adventure. It's a familiar routine that brings joy and satisfaction to your passion for cooking. But here's a little secret that could elevate your cooking game to new heights — the right cookware can genuinely transform your dishes, enhancing the cooking process and the flavors that grace your family's table.

By the end of this article, you'll be well-versed in distinguishing between a saute pan vs. skillet, ensuring future cooking endeavors are backed by knowledge and finesse while learning how to use each pan type.

Differences Between a Sauté Pan and a Skillet

At first glance, a sauté pan and skillet look very similar. You've likely used both at some point in your life. Many people unknowingly use the terms interchangeably, but they are actually entirely different cookware items. Skillets and sauté pans certainly have similar shapes and sizes and are equipped with handles. If you look closely, you will notice they're built for different reasons. Let's start with a sauté pan. 

This type of cookware is characterized by a wide base and straight, shallow sides that help keep liquids inside. The walls on this pan are typically around two inches or higher, which means you can use them for a variety of meals and reduce spillage. Generally, sauté pans come with lids to help trap heat. Skillets do not often come with lids, as they serve a different purpose. 

Though most skillets also have a relatively wide base for cooking larger ingredients, their sides tend to be more slanted or tapered than a sauté pan. A skillet is most often compared to a frying pan because of their similar design and functionality. Compared to a sauté pan, the skillet is much flatter and often smaller in diameter than a sauté pan.

 Applications of Sauté Pans

Applications of Sauté Pans

Sauté pans are versatile pieces of cookware that can change how you make meals. For instance, you might have used a skillet in the past to make dishes that had just a bit too much liquid in them, causing the sauce to nearly overflow or splash onto your stove. You can make cooking more efficient when you use the correct cookware. Sauté pans are ideal for the following applications:

  • Sautéing
  • Searing
  • Stir-frying
  • Braising
  • Shallow boiling 

With this wide variety of cooking methods, the possibilities are endless. Thanks to its straight sides, a sauté pan can fit plenty of ingredients and provides you with a wider cooking surface to make all your favorite meals, from making meatballs and tomato sauce to searing a steak to perfection. 

You can cook saucier foods, like rice pilaf or creamy pasta, because sauté pans come with lids. Other common applications include sautéing vegetables until tender, making a mouthwatering risotto, reducing sauces and glazes or making a comforting grilled cheese sandwich. 

The depth of this type of cookware, especially when made with certain materials, makes it easy to get a delicious crispy, browned texture on meats and breads without having to douse your entire pan with oil. You can also transfer your dish to an oven as long as the pan is made of a thermally conductive material.  

Applications of Skillets

Skillets, widely known as a frying pan, are probably the most common type of cookware you'd find in any kitchen. Many people tend to use skillets for the bulk of their meals as this piece of cookware is extremely versatile and can cook just about anything. Common applications for a skillet include:

  • Searing
  • Baking
  • Roasting
  • Frying 
  • Toasting

Though a sauté pan is primarily designed for sautéing, you can actually use a skillet for the same thing. In some cases, you may even prefer to sauté your vegetables in a skillet, depending on the size of the pan and the dish you're cooking. Skillets are also the pan that chefs use to expertly “toss” food when frying vegetables or an egg. 

If you use a deeper skillet, you can make many one-dish meals, including deep-dish pizza, cornbread, skillet cookies and skillet hash. Skillets are perfect for cooking homemade tortillas for taco night or frying up some fresh salmon. A skillet is the perfect choice to use for most meals if you're a beginner or trying to make healthy meals at home. 

It's even easier to fry, sear or flip your food to ensure everything is cooked evenly and efficiently because of the flared sides and absence of a lid.

What Material Maximizes the Benefits of Cookware?

For the culinary enthusiast who takes pride in preparing delightful meals for their family, the quest for the perfect cookware material can be a journey filled with trials and tribulations. You may have explored numerous skillets and sauté pans, only to encounter less-than-ideal materials that fall short of your expectations. We understand the frustration of investing in cookware that lacks durability or versatility, leaving you unable to explore your culinary aspirations fully.

Enter the realm of all-ceramic cookware, where the possibilities are as boundless as your imagination. Unlike its counterparts, all-ceramic cookware material stands the test of time, offering a sustainable, reliable companion. With all-ceramic cookware gracing your kitchen, you can unleash your creativity and experiment with new cooking techniques without the burden of constantly switching pans.

Versatility is its virtue, as all-ceramic cookware embraces your ovens, stovetops, broilers, and even grills, accommodating all your cooking needs under one trusty lid. Say goodbye to the days of limited cookware — now you have the freedom to explore and elevate your dishes without constraints.

What sets all-ceramic cookware apart, beyond its practicality, is its minimal impact on the environment. Embrace the consciousness of sustainable living as this durable material is crafted to last not just for years but for decades.

Cook More Intentionally With All-Ceramic Cookware From Xtrema

For those who cherish the joy of cooking and seek to maximize the benefits of their cookware, we proudly present Xtrema — a beacon of excellence in kitchen essentials. With a commitment to craftsmanship and an unwavering dedication to sustainability, Xtrema is a paragon of all-ceramic cookware and bakeware.

Allow your culinary creations to shine with cookware that epitomizes longevity, versatility and safety. We handcraft each piece of ceramic cookware, ensuring it embodies the perfect balance of form and function. From the elegant skillets to the versatile sauté pans and dependable Dutch ovens, our collection is designed to empower you in the everyday kitchen.

Bid adieu to concerns about harsh metals and chemicals leaching into your food, as our all-ceramic cookware is committed to your family's well-being. Xtrema's products are PFAS-free and California Proposition 65 compliant, instilling confidence in every dish you prepare. We invite you to browse our all-ceramic cookware collection today!

Cook More Intentionally With All-Ceramic Cookware From Xtrema

about the author

Erik Bergstrom

Erik Bergstrom

Erik Bergstrom is the Digital Media Manager at Xtrema Cookware, and he oversees the online presence of the company! Erik has personally seen family members struggle with chronic illness, and it fuels his passion for helping others understand the importance and value of cooking clean. Erik enjoys cooking, educating, and creating healthy meals for his friends and family. He is always seeking out new information from wellness professionals to grow his knowledge of what toxins do to the human body and the value of cooking without them!

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Saute Pan with Lid


The do-it-all, never-metal, always handcrafted, 100% ceramic Sauté Pan (lid included) makes healthy cooking a breeze. Designed with a larger cooking surface and deeper side walls this sauté pan is ideal for simmering dishes with stock, roasting, searing, and more. Our artisanally- crafted Sauté Pan’s sleek design effortlessly transitions from daily meals to dinner parties.