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Apr 25, 2010 12:40 PM

grill pan vs skillet

So, what's the difference? I have a Foreman grill and just saw what looks like a great Cuisenart skillet (green) and considered buying it, but how do they really differ? Thanks!

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  1. A grill pan has raised ridges in an attempt to mimic grilling - you'll get those grill marks that everyone seems to love, and the food won't sit in its own fat or juices.

    A skillet (usually) is flat and is ideal for searing foods, as well as sauteing, pan frying, etc.

    Some pans labeled 'skillets' also have raised ridges and in these cases there is no difference between the two.

    1. As cowboy said, the difference is ridges. And while they may be fine in potato chips (or not - whatever happened to Ruffles?) they're a pain in the a$$ in pans. A good-quality flat-bottomed skillet is a hundred times more useful than a grill pan.

      5 Replies
      1. re: BobB

        "A good-quality flat-bottomed skillet is a hundred times more useful than a grill pan."
        Agreed, though that's sort of like saying a chefs knife is a hundred times more useful than an oyster knife. A grill pan is useful when you specifically want a grill pan and useless at any other time.

        1. re: cowboyardee

          Well, yes - sort of. But an oyster knife is a necessity for shucking oysters. A grill pan is a necessity for nothing, except maybe putting those marks on food - and if you're going to be pan searing a steak, you'll get a ton more flavor letting the whole surface hit the hot pan, not to mention that nice fond as a base for a sauce (try stirring a sauce in a grill pan).

          Plus they're a pain to clean, unless they're non-stick - in which case they can't be heated high enough to do a decent job of grilling.

          1. re: BobB

            Yes, it is for putting grill marks on food without the use of a grill. And there are times when it is perfectly desirable to do so. Presentation matters. While it would never be my first choice of how to cook a nice rib eye, there is a lot more to stove top searing than just steak. I got one as a present and have used it a mere handful of times. And each of those times, it served its purpose very well. I especially like it as a quick treatment for slices of marinated or glazed vegetables.

            Of course I'd recommend getting a whole lot of things before a grill pan, but I don't agree with you that it's useless.

            1. re: BobB


              I don't have a grill pan because I think a plain pan is much more versatile. That being said, I won't said a grill pan is for nothing. I know some people advocating a grill pan allows the foods to sit above the liquid (juice as well as oil). So you get to cook the foods without frying or boiling them.

          2. re: BobB

            Thanks all. You just made up my mind. I came here to find a good grill pan that works on an electric stove and now I think I'll stick with my good old cast iron skillet to make my steaks! I love it!