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How Big do Frying Pans Get? A Guide to Large Frying Pan Sizes

  • 17 min read

For the enthusiastic cook, having a variety of frying pans at your disposal is a must. Frying pans, which come in a broad range of sizes, offer the versatility to perform a host of different tasks in the kitchen. They are essential for everything from a simple morning egg to an elaborate seared steak dinner. But have you ever wondered how big frying pans can get? In this article, we dive deep into the world of large frying pans, discussing their uses, benefits, and features.

What is a Large Frying Pan?

A large frying pan, or fry pan, is a pan with a wide flat bottom and low, sloping sides, which offers a spacious cooking surface for preparing a variety of dishes. It is designed for frying, browning, and sautéing food. Frying pans come in different sizes, but a large frying pan typically has a diameter of 12 to 14 inches or more. These larger pans provide ample space to cook multiple items at once or handle bigger food pieces like a whole fish or a large batch of vegetables.

Understanding the Large Frying Pan

When you think of a large frying pan, what likely comes to mind is a wide, flat surface that heats evenly and quickly. This kind of pan offers more than just space; it offers versatility. Whether you’re sautéing a medley of vegetables or frying a family-sized batch of chicken, a large frying pan gets the job done.

But it’s not just about the size. The quality of a frying pan also significantly affects how food cooks. The pan’s material, construction, and design all play a role in how it performs on the stovetop.

Stainless steel frying pans with stainless steel handles are a popular choice for many home cooks. They heat up quickly and maintain a steady temperature, ensuring food is cooked evenly. Stainless steel handles are also typically oven-safe, allowing you to transfer your pan from the stovetop to the oven without a hitch.

On the other hand, pans with a nonstick surface have become increasingly popular, as they allow for easy cleanup and require less oil to cook food. However, it’s worth noting that nonstick pans are usually not compatible with metal utensils, which can scratch and damage the nonstick coating. Also, not all nonstick pans are dishwasher safe or oven safe, so be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions before you shop.

Large frying pans from high-end brands like All-Clad are often favored by professionals and serious home cooks. All-Clad pans are renowned for their superior heat distribution, durability, and oven-safe stainless steel handles. They are often compatible with metal utensils and are typically dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.

How to Use a Large Frying Pan

A large frying pan is incredibly versatile and can handle the same tasks as smaller pans while allowing you to cook more food at once. This extra cooking surface can be a game-changer when preparing meals for a crowd.

One great use of a large frying pan is sautéing. The spacious surface area allows you to sauté large batches of food, like vegetables or meat, without overcrowding the pan. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking and steaming instead of the desired browning.

Large frying pans are also excellent for pan-frying and searing. The wide cooking surface allows heat to distribute evenly, ensuring that your food gets a good, consistent sear. Whether you’re searing a big steak or a whole fish, a large frying pan is your best friend.

When cooking with a large frying pan, it’s crucial to preheat the pan correctly. The pan should be heated over medium heat until it’s hot enough that a droplet of water sizzles on the surface. This ensures that your food will be properly seared and cooked evenly.

Caring for Your Large Frying Pan

Proper care and maintenance will extend your large frying pan’s lifespan, regardless of whether it’s a high-end All-Clad or a more affordable alternative.

For nonstick pans, avoid using metal utensils, which can scratch and damage the surface. Wooden or silicone utensils are a safer choice. Although many large frying pans are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup, washing your nonstick pan by hand can help preserve its coating.

Stainless steel pans, on the other hand, are typically more robust and can handle metal utensils and dishwasher cleaning. However, it’s essential to ensure the pan is thoroughly dried after washing to prevent water spots and rusting.

Regardless of the type of pan, always allow it to cool before washing. Immersing a hot pan in cold water can cause it to warp.

In conclusion, a large frying pan is an indispensable tool in any kitchen. It provides ample space to cook large quantities of food and carries out the same tasks as its smaller counterparts with ease. By understanding your pan’s specific requirements – from its cooking surface to its handling and care instructions – you’ll be able to maintain it for years to come. Happy cooking!

8-Inch Frying Pans and Their Main Uses

An 8-inch frying pan, although smaller than its larger counterparts, is a versatile and essential piece of cookware that should be in every kitchen. Despite its compact size, it is suitable for a variety of cooking tasks, making it an indispensable tool for both novice cooks and seasoned chefs. Let’s delve into the specific uses and advantages of an 8-inch frying pan.

Single-Serving Meals

Due to its size, an 8-inch frying pan is perfect for preparing meals for one. Whether you’re cooking a single chicken breast, fish fillet, or a serving of stir-fried vegetables, this pan size provides ample space without being overly large or cumbersome.

Egg Dishes

An 8-inch frying pan shines when it comes to cooking eggs. Its size is just right for frying a couple of eggs or making omelets. The pan’s smaller diameter makes it easier to flip or roll omelets without breaking them. Additionally, if the pan features a nonstick surface, it further ensures that the eggs release easily without sticking.

Searing and Browning

Despite its smaller surface area, an 8-inch frying pan can perform tasks like searing and browning with ease. It’s perfect for browning small batches of food, such as a couple of sausages or a few scallops, ensuring that each piece gets enough space for an even, delicious sear.

Sauces and Reductions

Due to its smaller size, an 8-inch frying pan is ideal for making sauces or reductions. Its compact size and shallow sides allow liquids to reduce more quickly than in a deep pot, making it an excellent choice for whipping up a quick pan sauce after searing meat.

Toasting Spices and Nuts

The flat surface of an 8-inch frying pan is perfect for toasting small quantities of spices or nuts. The pan’s size allows for even heat distribution, ensuring that every bit gets toasted uniformly without the risk of burning.


An 8-inch frying pan’s compact size makes it highly portable, perfect for camping or traveling. It’s easy to pack, lightweight, and can be used on various heat sources, from a campfire to a portable gas stove.

In conclusion, while an 8-inch frying pan might seem limited due to its size, it indeed proves its worth in various cooking tasks. Its suitability for single-serving meals, egg dishes, searing, sauces, and more makes it a valuable tool in any kitchen. Regardless of your cooking style or the size of your household, this humble piece of cookware can play a significant role in your culinary adventures.

Exploring 10-Inch Frying Pans and Their Key Uses

A 10-inch frying pan is one of the most common and versatile pieces of cookware found in kitchens worldwide. Its size strikes a perfect balance, making it suitable for a wide array of culinary tasks. Let’s delve into the specific uses and benefits of a 10-inch frying pan.

Meal Preparation for Two

A 10-inch frying pan is a great option when you’re cooking for two. It provides enough space to comfortably fit two pieces of meat, such as chicken breasts or steaks, or a decent amount of stir-fried vegetables without overcrowding the pan. Overcrowding can lead to steaming instead of frying, which can inhibit the Maillard reaction that gives fried food its characteristic browning and flavor.

Egg Dishes

Just like its 8-inch counterpart, a 10-inch frying pan is an excellent tool for preparing egg dishes. However, its larger size allows for more versatility, like cooking a larger omelet or scrambling more eggs at once. It also gives you ample space to toss and turn your eggs without the risk of them falling out of the pan.

Sautéing and Searing

The 10-inch frying pan is perfect for sautéing and searing tasks. Its wider surface allows for better heat distribution and more room for your ingredients to sear rather than steam. Whether you’re sautéing a mix of vegetables or searing a couple of pork chops, the 10-inch pan ensures every ingredient is evenly cooked.

Simmering and Reducing

While a larger frying pan might be better suited for bigger batches of sauce, a 10-inch frying pan can handle smaller quantities efficiently. Its wider surface area compared to smaller pans allows for quicker evaporation, making it suitable for simmering sauces or reducing liquids.

Toasting and Baking

In addition to stovetop cooking, a 10-inch frying pan can also be used in the oven (provided it’s oven-safe). This opens up a range of possibilities, from baking cornbread or a tarte tatin to toasting nuts and breadcrumbs. The pan’s ample space allows for even distribution of ingredients, ensuring a consistent result.

One-Pan Meals

One of the significant advantages of a 10-inch frying pan is its capacity to handle one-pan meals. Its size is perfect for cooking dishes like frittatas, skillet lasagna, or paella where all the ingredients cook together. The pan’s depth and wide base allow it to accommodate a substantial amount of food, making it a one-stop solution for busy weeknight dinners.

In conclusion, a 10-inch frying pan is a highly versatile tool, perfect for a variety of cooking tasks. Its optimal size makes it suitable for everything from searing and sautéing to simmering and baking, proving its value in any kitchen. Whether you’re cooking for one, two, or even a small family, this dependable piece of cookware is sure to serve you well in your culinary exploits.

The Versatility of 12-Inch Frying Pans

A 12-inch frying pan is an essential piece of cookware that combines the functionality of a large pan with the versatility of a skillet. It’s the perfect size for family meals or when entertaining guests. From pan-frying to sautéing, baking, and beyond, a 12-inch frying pan has an impressive range of uses. Let’s explore these in detail.

Cooking for a Crowd

The 12-inch frying pan is your go-to pan when cooking for more people. Its larger surface area and deeper sides allow you to cook larger quantities of food without overcrowding the pan. From stir-fries to large batches of scrambled eggs, this pan size ensures your food cooks evenly.

Pan-Frying and Searing

The broad surface of a 12-inch frying pan makes it ideal for pan-frying and searing larger pieces of meat, like steaks or pork chops. The extra room ensures each piece has enough space to sear properly, providing the Maillard reaction’s delicious browning and flavor.


A 12-inch frying pan’s generous size is perfect for sautéing. Whether it’s a large batch of vegetables, several chicken breasts, or an ample amount of shrimp, this pan size gives your ingredients plenty of room to move around and cook evenly.

Braising and Poaching

The depth and breadth of a 12-inch frying pan also make it suitable for braising and poaching. It’s deep enough to hold a good amount of liquid, and its broad surface allows heat to distribute evenly. Whether you’re poaching fish in a flavorful broth or braising chicken in a savory sauce, a 12-inch pan has you covered.

One-Pan Meals

A 12-inch frying pan is perfect for one-pan meals, from skillet pizzas to Spanish tortillas. The large surface area and depth mean you can build layers of ingredients, and the pan can go straight from the stovetop to the oven (provided it’s oven-safe).


Oven-safe 12-inch frying pans can also be used for baking. You can bake a large cornbread or a family-sized frittata right in your pan. The pan’s size allows for even heat distribution, resulting in consistent and delicious baked goods.


A 12-inch frying pan is great for toasting larger quantities of nuts or spices. Its large surface area ensures every bit gets evenly toasted.

In conclusion, a 12-inch frying pan is a powerhouse in the kitchen. Its generous size makes it an excellent choice for cooking larger meals, whether you’re pan-frying, sautéing, braising, or even baking. Regardless of what you’re cooking, a 12-inch frying pan can handle the job with ease, making it a must-have item in any well-equipped kitchen.

Unveiling the 16-Inch Frying Pan

A 16-inch frying pan is a hefty piece of cookware, offering ample space and versatility for various cooking tasks. It is particularly useful when catering to large families, entertaining guests, or preparing meals in advance. Despite its sizable dimensions, this pan’s utility in the kitchen is vast and impressive. Let’s delve into the main uses of a 16-inch frying pan.

Large-Scale Cooking

The most significant advantage of a 16-inch frying pan is its ability to accommodate large quantities of food at once. Be it a family reunion or a party, this pan can handle everything from big batches of scrambled eggs for brunch to stir-frying a heap of vegetables or sautéing multiple chicken breasts for dinner. The large surface area ensures each ingredient has enough room to cook evenly, avoiding the dreaded steam effect that comes from overcrowding smaller pans.

Pan-Frying and Searing

When it comes to pan-frying or searing larger pieces of meat or fish, a 16-inch frying pan stands out. Its expansive surface allows for multiple large cuts to brown simultaneously without overlapping, ensuring a proper sear. This can elevate the flavor and appearance of your dish, making it more appetizing.

Braising and Simmering

Given its depth, a 16-inch frying pan can comfortably handle braising and simmering tasks. Whether you’re preparing a family-sized pot roast or simmering a large batch of sauce, this pan provides enough space to hold a good amount of liquid while facilitating even heat distribution.

One-Pan Meals

A 16-inch frying pan is a boon for one-pan meals. Whether you’re whipping up a large frittata, a skillet lasagna, or a paella, this pan size allows you to build layers of ingredients and easily move the pan from the stovetop to the oven, provided it’s oven-safe.


Assuming your 16-inch frying pan is oven-safe, it can be used for baking as well. From skillet cookies to cornbread or deep-dish pizza, its broad surface area allows for even baking and browning, and the pan’s depth can accommodate more substantial or layered dishes.

Toasting and Roasting

A 16-inch frying pan’s vast surface area makes it perfect for toasting a large batch of nuts or spices. Similarly, it can be used for roasting vegetables or even smaller poultry, like Cornish hens, given its capacity to handle higher oven temperatures.

In conclusion, a 16-inch frying pan is a highly versatile and practical tool in any kitchen that often serves multiple mouths or caters to large gatherings. Its sizable dimensions make it a perfect choice for a variety of cooking tasks, from sautéing and braising to baking and roasting. While it may seem dauntingly large at first, mastering the use of this pan can significantly elevate your culinary game, delivering delicious, evenly cooked meals on a grand scale.

What is the biggest frypan size?

The biggest frying pan size that is commercially available is 15 inches. This pan is made by Crucible Cookware and is made of cast iron. It is a very large pan, so it is perfect for cooking for large groups or for meal prepping.

If you are looking for a slightly smaller pan, there are a few 14-inch frying pans on the market. These pans are still large enough to cook for a few people, but they are not as big as the 15-inch pan.

When choosing a large frying pan, it is important to consider the size of your stovetop. If you have a small stovetop, you may not be able to fit a 15-inch pan. In this case, you may want to choose a smaller pan.

Another thing to consider is the type of food you will be cooking in the pan. If you plan on cooking stir-fries or other dishes that require a lot of space, then you will need a larger pan. However, if you are just cooking for one or two people, then a smaller pan will be sufficient.

No matter what size frying pan you choose, make sure that it is made of a good quality material. Cast iron is a good option because it is durable and can withstand high heat. Stainless steel is another good option because it is easy to clean.

What is a large frying pan called?

A large frying pan is typically called a sauté pan. Sauté pans are typically 12 to 15 inches in diameter, making them larger than a traditional frying pan. They have sloping sides, which allow for more liquid to be added to the pan, making them ideal for cooking dishes like stir-fries and paella.

Sauté pans are also often made with a non-stick coating, which makes them easy to clean. This makes them a popular choice for busy cooks who want to save time in the kitchen.

If you are looking for a large frying pan, a sauté pan is a great option. They are versatile, easy to use, and easy to clean.

Here are some other names for a large frying pan:

  • Frying skillet
  • Sauteuse
  • Saute pan
  • Wok

What is the difference between a 24 and 28 frying pan?

The main difference between a 24 and 28 frying pan is the size. A 24-inch frying pan is 24 inches in diameter, while a 28-inch frying pan is 28 inches in diameter. This means that the 28-inch frying pan is 17% larger than the 24-inch frying pan.

The larger size of the 28-inch frying pan means that it can accommodate more food. This makes it a good choice for cooking for large groups or for meal prepping. The larger size also means that the 28-inch frying pan is better for cooking dishes that require a lot of space, such as stir-fries and paella.

However, the larger size of the 28-inch frying pan also means that it is heavier and more difficult to maneuver. This can make it a challenge to use on a small stovetop.

Ultimately, the best size frying pan for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you cook for large groups or meal prep often, then a 28-inch frying pan may be a good choice. However, if you have a small stovetop or find it difficult to maneuver large pans, then a 24-inch frying pan may be a better option.