What size skillet?

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Joined Sep 14, 2014
I'm a home cook and I cook for two unless Holidays or Birthdays are involved. The skillet that needs replacing is a non-stick 10" Tramontina Pro 3004. I have been very pleased with this pan for several years but the finish has just started to deteriorate. I plan to replace this pan with an 8" version of same (unless there are better alternatives), as the non-stick is primarily used for omelets and fried eggs, and get a multiply stainless steel skillet. Since I am really impressed with my Made-In 12" sauté pan, I will likely go that brand or perhaps Demeyer as I own a saucier from this company which is fantastic. Currently, I cook a lot of food in a 10" cast iron skillet and a carbon steel Wok. The Made-In sauté pan is very useful but "I" can't use it as a skillet like many seem to be able to (tossing food). Long story short, what size skillet would be more useful for the number of people I cook for....10" or 12"? I have your typical cheapie 4 burner home stove if that helps with suggestions.
 
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
The size pan is not really determined by the number of people you cook for. Instead, its determined by the ingredients, the cooking method and the desired end result.

For example, if you're searing proteins, the general rule is that you would want a larger pan to prevent overcrowding which can hinder the searing process.

A larger pan is also generally good for pan sauces, especially those that are reduction based. A larger pan has more surface area which means faster reduction times.

In your case, however, given the fact that you're mostly cook for two people, either the 10" or 12" pan will do just fine as a replacement for your 10" pan. However, I don't see the advantage in replacing a 10" pan with an 8" pan, as you suggested.

Good luck. :)
 
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Joined Sep 14, 2014
I appreciate the feedback sgsvirgil. The reasoning behind the 8" non-stick pan is for making 2 egg French omelets. I've never worked in a commercial kitchen nor ever plan to :) but in my experience the 10" non-stick creates more of a crepe like French omelet. But then again, what do I know....I'm just an average Joe who has developed a joy for cooking and likes to learn. I think I'll order the 12" Made-in 5 ply. If I cook anything that doesn't require the real-estate, I can just use my cast iron 👍
 

phatch

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Joined Mar 29, 2002
I agree with sgsvirgil. The 12 will cook most everything as well as the 10 inch and more for those times you have guests. The 10" doesn't scale up. The main exception in my mind is omelets. For 2 eggs, I like how an 8" pan cooks for that amount of egg. For 3, I like a 10".

The other thing I do with a 10" skillet is Dutch Baby. I prefer the crust a cast-iron or carbon steel pan give over a non-stick for this use. But non-stick isn't bad by any means.

Skillets nest well. Buy (at least) one of each size. Nesting non-stick skillets is risky to the finish, but you can lay a towel between each pan to protect them as you put them away. You can buy dedicated felt products for this purpose as well. I found some inexpensively at a discounter one day and have been pleased with that purchase. Search on pot pan protector on Amazon or your preferred vendor to see what I'm talking about.

So yes, I have 8, 10, 12 inch nonstick. In clad stainless, I only have a 12. I have cast and carbon 10" I use as well as 12" cast iron I use the most.
 
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Joined Sep 14, 2014
Thanks phatch....I will definitely check out the felt liner products 👍 Since I have a tiny kitchen, pot/pan (and lids especially) space is at a premium. My stove has one decent burner, two that are "meh" and one that is basically worthless for other than melting butter (even the "big" burner does better at keep something just in the warm stage). A 12" sauté and soon to be 12" skillet does well on the "big burner". The twin "meh" burners work pretty well with my 10" cast iron skillet....should work even better with an 8" non-stick. Little by little, replace so so pots/pans with good and work on technique 👍
 
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For omelets, both 2- and 3-egg, I prefer a well-seasoned 9-inch carbon steel pan. The bottom is actually 8 inches. Less egg = thinner but still an egg and not a crepe.

When nesting ALL pans I put paper plates between them. Very affordable option. 67C6677A-65D6-4E4C-95DE-16D15030FB94.jpeg
 
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Joined Apr 26, 2012
A 12" skillet is going to be the most versatile. Even if you prepare a small meal, 12" is a good size.
 
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