What is a French skillet?

  • By: Emma
  • Date: May 19, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

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What is a French skillet?

Have you ever wondered what is a French skillet?

A french skillet is a cooking utensil that has sloping sides and typically has a long handle. It is used to cook food slowly in oil or butter over low heat. They can also be oven-safe, meaning they are able to go from the stovetop to the oven for browning dishes like casseroles or gratins.

History of French skillets

In 1934, as part of their “Art Deco” line, Le Creuset first introduced its signature French skillet to America. The term ‘French Skillet’ refers not only to one specific pot or pan but rather is a generic name for any heavy-bottomed round-bottomed cooking vessel with two handles and no lid which features enamel finishing on the outside.

In France, these pots are often referred to as “camping” skillets due to being lightweight enough for carrying while backpacking or camping. They have been used in home kitchens ever since including by Julia Child who once said that her favorite piece was her beloved “blue french oven”. While it is most often used as a casserole dish, it can also be used for frying.

Why are they called French skillets?

Concerning its name, there are several theories about how this style of pot or pan came to be known as a French Skillet:

  • One theory claims that the term was coined by Le Creuset itself in order to make their own product seem more appealing and exotic.
  • Another theory is that they were originally manufactured during World War II when steel became scarce. As an alternative, cast iron skillets were created with enamel on them instead which made them lighter weight than traditional pots and pans at the time. These new “french” skillets quickly gained popularity among outdoorsmen making it easier for soldiers who were backpacking or camping to bring them along.
  • Finally, there is the theory that these pots were actually designed by French soldiers during World War I in order to cook food while they were on patrol without giving away their location with smoke from fires. These cooking vessels would be hung over trench walls so as not to emit any smoke and made it possible for soldiers who didn’t have access to stoves or ovens – such as field kitchens – to still be able to enjoy hot meals even if only boiling water was available.

What makes French skillets so great?

Well, there are many reasons but some of them include: being multipurpose, providing more surface area for cooking with less oil absorption, being nonstick without any harmful chemicals added into it which you might find in Teflon pans!

How is a French skillet different from a frying pan?

Here is a list of differences between a french skillet and a frying pan:

  1. The first difference between a french skillet and a frying pan is cooking speed. The frying pan’s cooking speed is slightly higher due to the low volume of food present in the pan. The fast flow of steam also makes it possible to cook the meal in a short time. On the other hand, the french skillet has an average cooking speed. It cooks the food at a normal rate and prevents the large volume of food from cooking or burning.
  2. Frying pans are usually shallow and have a low volume. This low volume makes it possible to cook a small amount of food in the frying pan. The volume of the french skillet is higher compared to the frying pan. It holds a greater quantity of food in one go. Due to the larger volume, it prevents the food from over-frying or browning.
  3. The frying pan comes in a range of sizes from 8 to 12 inches. The pan’s larger size does not mean that it has more depth than standard frying pans. Usually, the depth of the pan remains the same. French skillet is deep and comes in varying sizes from 9 to 11 inches. The skillet’s depth may vary with the size of the larger pans deeper.
  4. Frying pans have longer handles, making it easy to stir, toss, and flip the food inside. French skillets come with standard-sized handles, which are relatively shorter than the frying pans.
  5. Frying pans sometimes come with an edge, making it more friendly to quickly pour sauces and liquids. French skillets have smooth edges, as the large food volume is not directly poured from the skillet to the plate.

What is the purpose of a French skillet?

The French skillet’s primary purpose is to cook a large volume of food at one time. It offers the same luxury as the standard skillet combined with the frying pans’ flared edges. It is not like the frying pan, which instantly cooks the food due to the higher heat distribution. Instead, it takes some time to cook and does not lead to the browning or over-frying of food.

The best part of the french skillet is that it offers more space, making it possible to cook a lot of food in a given time. It is suitable for those dishes which do not need a simmer operation. Usually, these skillets are not coming with lids, making it challenging to slow cook the food in these skillets. If food requires slow heat distribution, then the standard skillets are the best choice.

The French skillet is also suitable for deep frying operations requiring a large oil amount. In large volume deep-frying operations, it can substitute the frying pans. It is also ideal for cooking food outdoors.

French skillets – Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Here is a list of frequently asked questions about french skillets:

Are there any types of food that can be cooked using this type of skillet?

Yes, it is possible to cook almost all kinds of foods with this type of fry pan including fish fillets and steaks, vegetables like onions or peppers, etc.,

What does ‘french’ mean when mentioning skillets?

As mentioned above, these skillets also go by the term “French Skillet” due to their origin from France which has given them more than other names over the years.

What is a low-sided frying pan?

A low-sided fry pan has a depth of around one inch and can be considered as deep skillets or shallow pans, depending on how you look at them. This type of skillet usually comes with flared sides which makes it more similar to high-sided skillets than standard frying pans. It offers an average cooking speed and prevents food from getting burnt due to its large volume capacity.

What sizes of French skillets are available?

Frying pans come in a range of sizes from eight to twelve inches. The pan’s larger size does not mean that it has more depth than standard frying pans. Usually, the depth of the skillet remains similar with some varieties having deeper skillets while others have shallow ones.

Are French skillets better than common skillets?

Yes, the French skillet is better than most common skillets in terms of its larger volume capacity. It prevents food from being overcooked or burnt which are two major issues with standard frying pans.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, a French skillet is a type of fry pan with a flared edge that offers the luxury and comfort of frying pans. It has a larger volume capacity than standard skillets due to its deepness. The best part about these cookware items is that they come in varying sizes from small to large including low-sided varieties as well for different types of foods and cooking requirements.

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