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Skillet Cooking

Skillet Cooking

Using a skillet is a great way to create quick and healthy meals. The skillet can be used to cook many things and you do not need a fancy skillet to make great meals.

Foods that can be made in a skillet

A simple skillet can be your best friend in the kitchen. Here are some things can cook in a skillet:

  • Vegetables
  • Meat and protein foods
  • Sauces
  • Stir-fries

Things to consider when selecting a skillet:

Look for an 8-12 inch skillet (with a lid) that is easy to handle. Skillets that are too large are heavy and can be hard to wash and store. If you are cooking for one or two people, a smaller skillet may be a better choice.


Types of skillets

  • Stainless steel: These last a long time and are easy to clean.
  • Cast iron: This is a great pan, and usually cost less. Cast iron can be heavy to lift and require extra care.
  • Teflon: Teflon is great for non-stick cooking-especially eggs. They scratch easily and you need to be careful with them.  Teflon is not good for high heat cooking.
  • Electric skillet: This skillet, or frying pan, is heated by plugging it into an outlet. It is nice because it frees up space on the stove and in the oven. An electric skillet allows more control over temperature than a skillet on the stove.

How to care for your skillet

Follow these easy tips and your skillet can last a lifetime!

  • Wooden spoons and spatulas are best for stirring. Metal spoons will scratch non-stick coatings and can damage the surface of metal pans.
  • After using your skillet, always let it cool before cleaning. DO NOT pour cold water into a skillet while it is hot. A sudden change in temperature may cause the metal to warp.
  • Wash pans in hot soapy water, NOT the dishwasher. Use regular dish soap and a non-abrasive scrubber. When you have stubborn food stuck to the pan, let it soak for a while with a little soap and water.
  • A cast iron skillet needs to be “seasoned.”  You can do this with a combination of fat and heat.
    • First, wash and dry the pan.
    • Set the oven to 350º F.
    • Heat the pan on the stove over low heat. With a paper towel, spread about one tablespoon of vegetable oil all over the inside of the pan. Do not leave any excess oil in the pan.
    • Place the warm pan in the oven and bake for one hour.
    • Turn the oven off and leave the pan in until it is cool.
    • To maintain the seasoning, always dry the skillet after each use. Every once in awhile, place the dry pan on the stove, heat it on low, add a little oil with a paper towel, and let sit on low heat for a few minutes. Wipe out any excess oil, cool, and store.
    • Over time, the pan will darken, become smooth on the inside.

Skillet cooking terms

You may see these terms in recipes.  Here is what they mean:

  • Sauté: (to ‘jump’ or ‘sizzle’) To cook quickly in a small amount of fat on medium-high heat
  • Stir-fry: To cook covered in a small amount of fat on medium-high to high heat while stirring
  • Braise: To cook covered in a small amount of liquid after browning or searing first
  • Pan-broil: To cook quickly, to brown either with a small amount of fat, or without fat on high heat