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Sep 4, 2013 12:25 PM

Omelette pan or skillet?

I have a basic cookware question: what is the difference between the so-called omelette pans and the skillets I see listed in 8-, 10-, or 12-inch sizes? I'm looking for what I grew up calling a fry pan. Please explain!

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  1. You're opening a huge can of worms. According to America's Test Kitchen, an omelet pan is straight-sided and a skillet has sloped sides, which is PRECISELY the opposite of what makes sense. What's a fry pan? That depends on what your family called their cookware. Even more absurd are the diverging definitions of saucepans and chef's pans/sauciers.

    1. Omelet pans may have a different angle to the sides, or may just be marketing jive to get you to buy another pan or both.

      1. Hi, Stewart:

        They are more the same than different. Like greygarious, I consider a skillet to have straighter sides, whereas I think of a dedicated omelet pan to have more obtuse angles (and sometimes curves) to aid in rolling and slipping the omelet out of the pan. I think most Americans think this way because of the long tradition here of cast iron skillets that were designed to hold a lot for their footprint.

        In Europe, most poeles have the more splayed sides, and are used for both frying and omelets. I think that shape is what most Americans consider a "frypan".

        True omelet pans are a specialty item, and tend to be very thick aluminum for lightness and heat stability


        1. Hmm, like grey said this is a tough question to answer because everyone is a bit different about this. This is not a black and white question like: pot vs pan.

          Personally, I think of a fry pan for having a steeper side, while an omelet pan for having a shallow side. In addition, an omelet pan may also be thinner.

          However, like grey has said. Many has the opposite definition. America's Test Kitchen calld a straight-side an omelet pan. In Japan, an omelet pan is also the straight side one. This has a lot to do with how one makes his/her omelet

          2 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            On the other hand you have this omelette pan also from Japan, with sloped sides:

            Seems like no one knows!

            1. re: Sirrith

              Hmm, you are right. I guess, I was just thinking so much about this specific kind of Japanese omelet making. As you can see, it is necessary to have high and 90 degree angle high side to do this kind of omelet.


              It is known as Tamagoyaki.


          2. In my opinion the smaller one is the omelet pan and the larger is the frypan. That is how I use them. The smaller one has not, in its nearly forty years, had any use but omelet making, and it is pretty much nonstick. The frypan gets a lot more abuse, including deglazing with acidic things, and is fairly but not totally nonstick.