The Right Pan for the Job: A Guide to Different Types of Pans

Pans are essential kitchen utensils used for various cooking and baking purposes. They come in different types and materials, each suitable for specific cooking techniques and recipes. Here are four common types of pans:

1. Skillet or Fry Pan

Skillets, also known as fry pans, are shallow, flat-bottomed pans with slightly slanted or sloping sides. They are typically made of materials like stainless steel, cast iron, or non-stick coated surfaces. Skillets are versatile and commonly used for frying, sautéing, searing, and browning ingredients. They come in various sizes, with larger ones often having a long handle and smaller ones featuring a shorter handle.

2. Saucepan

Saucepans are deep, straight-sided pans with a long handle and a lid. They are typically made of materials like stainless steel or aluminum with a heat-resistant handle. Saucepans are used for boiling, simmering, and cooking liquids, sauces, soups, or small quantities of food. They come in different sizes, with larger ones often used for making stocks or boiling pasta.

3. Roasting Pan

Roasting pans are rectangular or oval-shaped pans with high sides and sturdy handles. They are designed for roasting meats and vegetables in the oven. Roasting pans are typically made of stainless steel or heavy-gauge materials that conduct heat efficiently. They often come with a removable rack that allows air circulation around the food, promoting even cooking and browning.

4. Baking Sheet or Sheet Pan

Baking sheets, also known as sheet pans, are flat, rectangular pans with a shallow rim. They are commonly made of aluminum, which provides even heat distribution. Baking sheets are primarily used for baking cookies, pastries, and other baked goods. They can also be used for roasting vegetables, toasting nuts, or even as a surface for assembling ingredients before transferring them to the oven.

These are just a few examples of the types of pans commonly used in cooking and baking. Other types include stockpots, woks, muffin pans, cake pans, and specialty pans for specific dishes or desserts. The choice of pan depends on factors such as the cooking technique, recipe requirements, preferred material, and personal cooking style.