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What is an Electric Skillet?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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An electric skillet is just as it sounds, a skillet or frying pan that instead of being placed on the stove is heated by plugging it into an outlet. The best skillets provide an even heating surface, not always the case with stovetop cooking.

The electric skillet may be round or square in shape. One variant that is very popular is the electric wok, making stir-frying quite simple. In the past many stoves featured a center griddle, useful for making pancakes or french toast, but now to save space, few stoves offer this feature. An electric griddle, similar to a skillet, may be just the thing for cooking pancakes, because of its even heat features. Pancakes made in a pan on the stove are frequently challenging because pans often have hot spots.

The size of the electric skillet can be as little as a 12 by 12 inch (30.48cm) square or a 12-inch diameter round pan. Some may be considerably larger, about 18 inches (45.72 cm) per side or featuring an 18-inch diameter. They really are very useful when they can be purchased in this size, because this normally exceeds the diameter of pans you can put on a stove. Make sure that you have enough room to safely house one of the larger skillets.

The electric skillet may feature temperature control, have a non-stick surface and be dishwasher safe. Just don’t forget to remove the plug that plugs into the wall before putting it into the dishwasher! Some also have a “keep warm” function, which allows food to be kept slightly warm, similar to a chafing dish, if dinner needs to be delayed. This chafing dish feature allows electric skillets to work well for buffets.

Most electric skillets are made of aluminum with non-stick coatings. A few may be stainless steel. Don’t forget that with any non-stick coating, you should not use metal stirring or serving utensils, as these will scratch the coating. If your coating begins to flake, it’s time to get a new skillet.

If you have young children, you should be careful when using an electric skillet, and any area where you plan to use it should be off limits. Keep the skillet far back from the edge of counters so little hands can’t accidentally pull it down. When you’re using an electric skillet the stovetop might seem the natural place to place it. But, if you’re cooking other things on the stove, or in the oven, this additional heat could pose a fire hazard. A safer method is to cook with the skillet near the stove, but not on the stovetop.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon82495 — On May 06, 2010

i love the electric skillet. my mom and i use it all the time. and it is great for when i want to cook breakfast food. i can put the eggs hash browns and sausage all in it at the same time. it is amazing.

By herffm — On Jun 26, 2008

I was reading a recipe that said cook dish covered in 350 oven for 50-55 min. Later it stated that the person uses her electric skillet (still bake at 350), this way she plugged it in and kept it warm. Was she referring to transferring the dish to the electric skillet for warming after baking in oven or can you cook the dish in the electric skillet at 350 and not use the oven.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
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