Pot Vs. Pan: A Comparative Discussion And Which One To Use In Kitchen?

Are you an amateur cook? Do you often get the impression that you have no idea what you’re doing in the kitchen or what utensils to use when cooking?

Do you still mix up pots with pans and don’t know which one to use in a particular situation?

Then this article is for you. We are here to put an end to the pot vs. pan debate once and for all.

Difference Between A Pot And A Pan

pot vs. pan

If you are an amateur cook who’s still learning his/her way around the kitchen, then it is highly likely that you have mixed up pots with pans once in your life while following a recipe.

Whenever there’s a debate about pot vs. saucepan or any other pan in general, this one ultimate question rises in everyone’s mind: How to distinguish between pots and pans?

Even though the names sound very similar and interchangeable, they are actually very much different from each other.

You can tell the difference between them by noticing specific details such as shape, size, handles, usages, etc.

  1. Shape

Pots usually have a deeper body inside them and contain high & long sides that arise from a round base.

On the other side, pans tend to be very short in size and contain sides that stand very low (usually 1/2 inches) from their initial base.

The circular sides of the pan have the option to rise directly in the upper direction like a pot, or they may choose to bend up at a delicate angle.

  1. Handles

There are different kinds of handles for pans and pots according to their shapes. Usually, in any pot, there are typically two little handles situated on two opposite sides.

But in the case of pans, there is just only one long handle to navigate the cooking procedure.

  1. Usages

Another significant contrast that can be found among pots and pans is their usage in cooking specific items.

Pots are used for heating or cooking liquid items.

For example, they are heavily used to boil tofu and soups or making stews.

As the sides of a pot are high, it helps the warmth to spread equitably all around the fluid. As a result, fluids get warmed equally instead of just from the base.

On the other hand, pans are primarily utilized for frying different kinds of foods. As pans tend to have short sides and a broad circular base, it helps a slenderer and thinner layer of food to prepare rapidly and equitably.

Eggs, pancakes, meats, etc., are fried using a pan.

When Does A Pan Become A Pot?

From the above discussion, you might start to grow a clear idea about pots and pans. But before you presume everything, you should know that things are not as simple as they seem.

There are times when the terms ‘ pots’ and ‘pans’ start to overlap with each other. This is where things start to get interesting.

You can say that a pot is one kind of a pan. Technically a pot can act as a pan. But it doesn’t work the other way around. You can’t say the same thing about pans.

If you are told to give a pot, and you give them a simple pan, your choice would be inaccurate.

  • Saucepan Vs. Pot

When you first hear the name, you might get the impression that a saucepan is one type of pan that can be used like any other regular pan.

But this is one of the most common mistakes people make when cooking. Even though it shares a few characteristics with other pans, a saucepan is very different from a regular pan.

Moreover, it shares some characteristics with a regular pot; even though both of their purpose in the kitchen is mostly different.

One of the significant similarities between a saucepan and a pot is saucepans have only one single hand.

And as they also have steep sides over a round base, it helps them in heating liquid items very quickly, just like any other pots.

  • Saucepan Vs. Saucepot
    This is yet another pair of words that confuses people. As we have already discussed, a saucepan is mostly utilized in boiling water for pasta or making stew. In fact, you can puree with a saucepan without any blender as well!

And as the name suggests, a saucepot is the kind of pot that carries the task of making the sauce.

Pros & Cons of using a Pot

Whenever you are confused about deciding on using any particular product, the best solution that you can get is to make a list containing all the pros and cons of that product.

So, if you’re still suffering from indecision about whether to use a pot or not, you can take a look at the list of pros and cons of pots below and make up your mind.

  • Pros of Pot

Heat is evenly distributed inside a pot in order to achieve seamless heating for the liquid foods.

Pasta can easily sink deep inside the pot because of the high sides around it.

  • Cons of Pot

You cannot utilize pots to fry or sear foods because of their shape.

Pots that are made using stainless steel have a very poor performance when it comes to conducting heat.

Different Types of Pans 

Difference Between Pans

If you’re a beginner in the cooking area and still learning about new things every day, then you must acquire some basic knowledge about different kinds of pans.

There are varieties of pans available on the market, and all of them have different types of functions.

So, unless you want to make the mistake of using a griddle for deep frying instead of a wok, you might want to check these out.

  • Frying Pan

A Frying Pan is one of the most fundamental items of a kitchen. They are made using a level base and adjusted circular sides, which gives them the ability of quick frying using oil at a high temperature.

Frying pans usually do not have a lid. You can find various kinds of frying pans in the market, such as stainless steel, nonstick, cast-iron, ceramic, etc.

  • Sauté Pan

Sautéing refers to the act of frying food and keeping the food in rapid motion inside the pan. This act is done while the pan is concealed with a lid so that the food doesn’t go out.

Frying pans and sauté pans share a similar design. But the direct contrast between sauté pan and frying pan is that as opposed to having adjusted sides, sauté pans contain straight sides.

This depth gives them an extra edge, and they can complete some other functions such as searing, deep-frying, and setting up specific sauces, for example, marinara.

  • Wok

Woks are very popular all around Asia because of their high, sloping sides. As they have high sides, they can store a lot of oil in the middle, which is why they are the ideal choice for stir-frying, deep-frying, and steaming.

  • Griddle

Griddles can be found in a square or round shape & typically have a large surface that is used for cooking eggs, pancakes, etc., with a small quantity of oil.


Cooking can be incredibly fun if it is done right. That is why you need to learn which utensil to use in a certain situation.

Once you have a clear idea about your responsibilities in the kitchen, you will have the adventure of a lifetime all on your own.

So, the next time you find yourself in the middle of a pot vs. pan argument, you will have all the answers to everyone’s questions.

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