Cast Iron Skillet vs Frying Pan – Which one is Best?

Are you among those that confuse cast iron skillet with a frying pan? Why wouldn’t you? With striking similarities, the confusion is understandable. However, if you are among those caught up in this confusion, today you will understand the difference.

Despite the similarities, each ware cooks particular food well. If you use them interchangeably, today you will learn the difference between the two cookware. You will also get a guide on when to use which one of the two. To help you understand better, you will get a comparison of cast iron skillet vs frying pan, Which one is best? Continue reading to find out.

cast iron skillet vs frying pan – Comparison

Here is the comparison between these two utensils, but firstly let’s get an overview of each of them.

What is a cast iron skillet?

Cast iron skillet is a heavy-duty cooking utensil. First made in China in the 6th century BCE using molten metal. Believed to have high heat retention and nonstick. This cookware is common in our kitchens. Weighing around 4 to 12 pounds, this cooker comes with a high volumetric heat capacity. Below are the advantages and disadvantages of a cast-iron skillet.

Advantages of Cast Iron skillet

  • Chemical-free- cast iron skillet contains no harmful chemicals like TEFLON. This is owing to its making process—using molten metal and sand mold.
  • Non-stick- your food won’t stick when using this cookware. This feature allows it to use less cooking oil while cooking.
  • Durable- the material from which this cookware is made gives sit a long-life span, hence can serve you longer.
  • The cheap- making of cast iron doesn’t require expensive material, in turn, the end product is cheap compared to other utensils of the same features.
  • Easy to clean- since food doesn’t stick on the surface of the pan, cleaning it is easy.

Disadvantages of Cast Iron skillet

  • Poor conductor of heat- in as much as cast iron skillet retains heat, it takes longer for even heat distribution to the pan.
  • Heavy- this cookware is heavy and awkward to maneuver, more so to beginners.
  • The poor handle makes- being made from a single piece of metal, cast iron skillet handles are part and parcel of it. During cooking, the whole part heats up, the handle includes.

Then, on the other hand, is a frying pan. Let’s look at it now.

What is a frying pan?

A frying pan is a 20 to 30-centimeter-wide cookware with low sides which flare outside. It comes with a long handle and is relatively shallow. Frying pans come in different make. These include nonstick, stainless steel, ceramic, carbon steel, and hard anodized. Mostly used this pan for scrambled eggs, searing, frying, and browning. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of this cookware.

Advantages of frying pan

  • Faster cooking- frying pan has high heat conduction since it is light, this results in fast cooking.
  • Even cooking- frying pan’s wide surface allows a large volume of food to fit and evenly cook.
  • Retains food taste- owing to its fast cooking, the food prepared in a frying pan retains its taste.
  • Easy maintenance- some pans come with a nonstick coating that helps when cleaning. Furthermore, the frying pan has a long insulated handle to help you operate the pan while cooking.

Disadvantages of frying pan

  • Uses a lot of oil- since most of the frying pan isn’t nonstick, you require a lot of oil to cook.
  • Difficult to regulate heat- frying pan’s high heat conductions make it hard to regulate heat. High or temperature may result in food burning. You will require attention to get the temperature right.
  • Safety- nonstick frying pans are coated with chemicals that reputable research results shave proven to be dangerous.

cast iron skillet vs frying pan – What’s The Difference?

As you have read so far, this cookware has striking similarities, but what sets them apart? The difference that makes them suitable for different needs are:

· Shape

To differentiate a cast iron skillet from a frying pan, you will look at the shape. The skillet has a depth of around 5 centimeters while the frying pan is shallower. The reason being, most frying pan cooking techniques don’t require much depth.

Despite both being flat bottomed, there is a difference when it comes to the sides. Skillets have sharp angled sides compared to frying pans.

· Material

There is a big difference in materials that make cast iron skillets and frying pans. You will find frying pans varying from aluminum, ceramic, stainless steel, among other combinations. However, cast iron skillets, are made from molten iron. This makes them heavy and can withstand high heat.

The frying pan, on the other hand, comes in light materials. This helps when flipping food during cooking. Another notable difference is the handles. For the frying pan, the handles are long and made from insulating materials such as phenol. This helps to protect you from burns during use.

For skillets, the handle is shorter and attached to the pan. This calls for great care when handling a skillet. For example, when removing it from an oven, ensure that your hands are protected.

· Usage

When it comes to usage, these two differ. In as much as you can use any of them, if you are yearning for great results, use each for a specific method of cooking. This is because the method depends on the pan’s size, shape, and heat distribution.

Cast iron skillets are best for roasting, sauces, sautéing, stir-frying, frittatas, stews, and casseroles. Whereas, the frying pan is suitable for browning, searing, and shallow frying. However, you can also sauté and stir-fry in a frying pan.

To conclude, let find out which one is best between cast iron skillet and frying pan.


As a regular cook, what you need is comfort when cooking. This among other factors such as what type and volume of food would determine which one you will use between cast iron skillet and frying pan.Since the two can be used interchangeably. If you are a beginner, you can get one of them. However, for seasoned cooks who want a specific result, you should get each.

It’s needless to say that any of this cookware outdo the other. Since with proper care and maintenance, they will serve you well. But for durability, go for a cast-iron skillet.

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