Pans may look similar from one to another. Due to its wide bottom and long handles, pans appear the same as those with minimal knowledge inside the kitchen. However, if you want to provide the best cookware for your cooking needs, identifying different pans variants is the first step of your cooking career.
When you glance at your kitchen rack, you might begin scratching your head out of confusion. What’s the difference between a saucepan and a frying pan? The answer relies on your sharp intuitive skills in classifying the size, material, color, and function—one pan against another.
What’s the Difference?
As mentioned above, you can quickly identify the difference between these two pans by checking their appearance and determining their function. There is a high possibility that you possess these two pans, and you did not happen to identify them already.
Deep versus shallow
The saucepan is deep cookware with raised, vertical sides. One of the notable features of a saucepan is its more considerable depth compared to its narrow base. This cylindrical shape, however, helps in the overall function of the saucepan.
The saucepan’s structure allows the base to retain heat faster and better — while the sides help distribute the heat, speeding up the cooking time.
The frying pan is a standard piece of equipment in the kitchen, known for its broad base and shallower depth. The wide base allows large-sized protein like beef and lamb to fit on the pan’s surface.
The frying pan’s structure is responsible for dispersing the heat directly on the food. This prevents some sides of the food from getting undercooked.
Lid versus wide base
Most of the saucepan has a lid included, commonly tight-fitting. This allows the heated liquid to condense, which is later on collected by the saucepan’s cover. Vapor drippings are then returned to the food—retaining its moisture and juices.
On the other hand, the frying pan’s broad base provides easier access for the heat to surround the food. This aggressive heating evaporates the food’s moisture faster—drying up your meat. Frying creates a crispy exterior and a moist, juicy interior.
Retain liquid versus reduce liquid
Due to the saucepan’s shape and lid, it can heat more significant amounts of liquid. The cover helps retain the fluid as much as possible since it prevents vapor from quickly escaping into the pan’s surface.
The frying pan’s structure is intended to draw out as much liquid as possible. Fluids are released faster due to the pan’s wide, open bottom. The frying pan’s shorter sides allow vapor to escape effectively—creating a crispy and juicy meal.
Can You Use A Saucepan as a Frying Pan?
Due to the saucepan’s structure, it is impossible to recreate the frying pan’s output. The saucepan’s high wall prevents liquid from escaping, which can collect on the pan’s base. The accumulated fluid will boil your food instead of frying it.
Cooking your cured bacon with a saucepan will produce moist, sluggish meat slices. The vapor will draw out the bacon’s flavor, making it a bland protein. Refrying your “boiled” bacon on a frying pan will splatter liquids, which can hit your face and skin.
Using the right cookware will prevent the same incident from occurring again. The saucepan can only reduce liquid to thicken it—but not enough to draw out all the liquid, which a frying pan can offer. The saucepan’s structure can restrain excess water from evaporating.
On the other hand, using a frying pan for cooking your sauces can be risky. The frying pan’s broad base will make the liquid to be much exposed to heat. This may quickly evaporate the liquid—caramelizing your food.
If not appropriately observed, the caramelized food will soon scorch on the pan’s surface. Burnt sugar leaves a bitter taste to your sauce, and it can be introduced on high carcinogen content. Consuming carcinogens can promote cancer-related symptoms.
However, you can use your saucepan in deep-frying your food. Saucepan’s deep vessel can accommodate large amounts of oil, the critical factor in deep-frying. The straight sides can also allow the oil to heat evenly, which can fry your food evenly. Sloping sides restrain room for the food to fry, producing an uneven frying texture.
In a general sense, you cannot interchange a saucepan with a frying pan. Investing in the two pan types will prevent unwanted food preparation disasters in the future. For boiling purposes, use your saucepan. Frying your meal should be done on a frying pan.
When Should I Use Saucepan and Frying Pan?
Identifying the purposes of your saucepan and frying pan is essential. This will prevent misplacing your meal on the wrong vessel, affecting your meal’s quality and flavor. Listed below are short reminders when to use your saucepan and frying pan.
- If you need a cooking vessel to boil your food, consider using a saucepan. Saucepan retains moisture, texture, and color to your cooked meal—providing the best-steamed meal.
- Creating a crispy, juicy meal can be done with a frying pan. A frying pan draws out excess liquids and allows the food to release natural oils. The oil creates a crisp layer to your food.
- Deep-frying can be done with a frying pan, but you can consider using a saucepan. The saucepan’s deep surface allows oil to cover the food better than the frying pan’s surface area.
- A saucepan can reduce liquid by releasing the lid while the liquid is boiling. This process produces rich and intense flavor—with a thicker consistency. However, this is not enough to draw out the fluid in which frying pan can provide.
- The saucepan is commonly made with stainless steel while frying pans can be made with various materials. Aluminum and cast-iron is not a suitable material to cook acidic meals (like sauces and stews). And use a saucepan in cooking acidic food to prevent the metal from reacting into the food, producing a metallic taste.
- The saucepan is generally dishwasher-safe. Stainless steel is a durable, heat-resistant material, and it can resist the conditions inside a dishwashing machine. On the other hand, frying pans must be inspected thoroughly before placing inside the dishwasher (cast-iron and aluminum can corrode inside the dishwasher, making it unsafe for dishwashing).