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A-to-Z of Pans

A-to-Z of Pans

Not sure about what piece of cookware does what? This guide will help you understand the difference between different types of pans and what they are used for.

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Not sure about what piece of cookware does what and want to know what you need to complete a specific cooking task? Don't worry, you are not alone! This guide will help you understand the difference between different types of pans, what they normally look like and what they are used for.

Bain Marie: an insert for setting over a pan of boiling water to give a gentle heat for making custard, melting chocolate etc.

Blini pan: a very small frypan, traditionally made in cast steel, used for cooking pancakes.

Casserole: a round or oval pot, for use on the hob or in the oven, with two small handles.

Chip pan: a saucepan with a removable inner basket for deep frying.

Cocotte: French term for a type of casserole.

Crèpe pan: a one-handled frypan with very low sides.

Deep fat fryer: a deep, two-handled pan with a removable inner basket for deep frying.

Dutch oven: a large, deep saute pan or casserole.

Egg poacher: a shallow saucepan with insert for holding poaching cups above boiling water.

Fish kettle: a large, long two-handled pan with lid and inner lifting rack for boiling or steaming fish.

Fishpan: an oval fish frypan.

Fryng pan (frypan): a low-sided, one-handled open pan with sloping or curved sides. 24cm is the most popular size.

Griddle: a round or square sheet with no sides used for cooking steaks, drop scones etc. Often made in cast iron or cast aluminium it can be smooth or ribbed with a single handle, two small handles or a bucket handle.

Grillpan: a medium-sized frypan with a ribbed base which holds the food above the oil and gives it charred stripes. Grillpans are usually made in cast iron, steel or aluminium, and can be round, oval or square.

Maslin pan: a very large pan, with two handles or a bucket handle, for making jam.

Milkpan: a relatively shallow, one-handled open saucepan. Between 12cm-16cm in diameter it can have one or two pouring lips and is usually non-stick coated.

Milkpot: similar in diameter to a milkpan but with high sides to help prevent boiling over. It has a mug handle making it suitable for bringing to the table. Sometimes called a saucepot.

Omelette pan: a low-sided, open pan, usually with curved sides and smaller than a frypan. Often 20cm in diameter

Porringer: Is a double saucepan similar to a bain-marie used for cooking porridge. The porridge is cooked gently in the inner saucepan, heated by steam from boiling water in the outer saucepan. This ensures the porridge does not burn and allows a longer cooking time so that the oats can absorb the water or milk in which they are cooked more completely.

Pressure cooker: an aluminium or stainless pan with a lid which clamps tightly in place. When it's heated the pressure inside rises above atmospheric levels and the food cooks very quickly.

Saucepan: a fairly deep, straight-sided or bellied pan with a lid. Saucepans range in diameter from around 16cm; large ones may have a helper handle in addition to the single, long handle. Saucepans may also be referred to as stewpans.

Sautè pan: a straight-sided or bellied pan with a lid deeper and usually larger than a frypan. It normally has one handle but very big ones may also have a helper handle. Sometimes called a sauteuse.

Skillet: a shallow or no-sided, medium size frypan usually in steel or cast iron. Often with an integral metal handle it is suitable for use in the oven and under the grill as well as on the hob. Some skillets have pouring lips.

Steamer: a perforated-base pan insert for setting over a pan of boiling water It can be supplied on Its own for use in an existing pan or complete with pan.

Stewpot: like a casserole but suitable only for the hob.

Stir-fry pan: a deep frypan with curved sides and flat base, with one or two handles, and with or without a lid.

Stockpot: a large saucepan. Often has two small handles to aid lifting.

Wok: a large, curved-sided pan for stir-frying. It can have a rounded or flat base, one or two handles, and come with or without a lid or accessories such as a tempura rack.


To find the perfect piece of cookware to complete any cooking task, visit our extensive cookware collection.

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