What is the Difference between a Grill Pan and Frying Pan?

December 28, 2022 4 min read

Bacons on Atgrills electric grill

Grilling is a popular method of cooking, and so is pan-frying.

According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association’s (HPBA) survey, approximately 64% of U.S adults own a grill or a smoker.

In addition, about 72% of Canadian adults own a grill or smoker. On the other hand, almost every household owns a frying pan/skillet.

What is the difference between a grill and a frying pan? The main difference between a grill pan and a frying pan is their cooking surface and design. A frying pan features a round shape and flat bottom cooking surface, while a grill pan is mostly rectangular/square with a series of parallel ridges on the bottom cooking surface.

If you have been confusing between the two, we got you covered in this article. 

What is a Grill Pan?

A grill pan is a pan with raised grill lines about 0.5cm high and 2cm apart. When cooking on a grill pan, it makes grill and char marks on the foods and allows juices from the food to drip down.

Unlike a grill itself, a grill pan can be used indoor on other types of indoor cooking surfaces such as stovetops and induction cooktops. Generally, grill pans act out cooking foods on a typical grill but over indirect heat.

What is a Frying Pan?

A frying pan is a flat-bottomed, shallow pan with a long handle for different cooking methods. They include frying, browning, and searing. Also, they are round-shaped.

Frying pans, cook food on moderate to high heat and evenly. Also, their wide surface area, lightweight, and angled side allow tossing and shaking of food.

Note: frying pans are also called skillets.

Cooking pancake on frying pan

Differences between a Frying Pan and a Grill Pan 

As highlighted above, frying pans and grill pans are two different cookware items. They share a few similarities yet serve other purposes and cook different foods.

So let’s go ahead and distinguish the two based on the following aspects.

Construction Shape

Frying pans feature a round shape with a diameter of about 7 to 12 inches and shallow angled sides.

Additionally, some frying pans (specifically cast iron skillets) are designed with a pouring spout on the side. 

On the other hand, grill pans feature a rectangular or square shape. However, few models come in a round shape.

A typical grill pan is about 10 inches, but others are as small as 8 inches and 13 inches large, depending on the manufacturer. Almost all grill pans have a pouring spout.


Both frying pans and grill pans have long handles. However, most grill pans and particularly the huge ones, have a small helper handle on the opposite. 

Additionally, handles on both cookware items may be riveted or attached directly to the pans. However, some grill pans may have collapsible handles.

Cooking surface

The bottom side of the two items is a unique cooking surface. Frying pans have a flat cooking surface, while grill pans have a non-stick surface with raised ridges.

The raised ridges are what make char and grill marks on foods. They also allow them to drip juices and oils.

The cooking surface area of grill pans is relatively larger than that of frying pans.


These two cookware are made of different materials. However, some frying pans are made of materials that make grill pans, such as stainless steel and cast iron.

Most grill pans are made of cast-iron, Teflon-coated aluminum, or enameled cast iron.

Cast iron and enameled grill pans are the most suitable for making grill marks because they heat evenly and maintain heat. Teflon grill pans are easy to use, and food does not stick on them. 

Other grill pans are made of stainless steel. However, they are as practical as the above three types. 

On the other hand, most frying pans are made from carbon steel, stainless steel, cast-iron, copper, and aluminum.

Copper and aluminum frying pans heats more quickly and has even heat distribution. Most ceramic frying pans are made of aluminum core.

Stainless steel frying pans have the exterior made of stainless steel clad combined with other better-conducting metals such as aluminum. Lastly, cast iron frying pans take longer to heat but are versatile.


Another significant difference between frying pans and grill pans is their uses. Each serves a unique purpose in the kitchen. 

Below are uses of frying pans: 

  1. Sautéing 
  2. Pan-frying 
  3. Braising 
  4. Cooking in ovens

Among the foods cooked on a frying pan are bacon, eggs, fish fillet, pancakes, cheesy meals, crepes, eggplants, thin pork cut chops, onions, etc. 

On the other hand, a grill pan is used for grilling, i.e. cooking foods on a rack over a heat source. Due to the heated and raised ridges on the cooking surface, foods drop juices and fats. 

So, what food can you cook on a grill pan? It’s versatile cookware; you can cook various foods such as vegetables (mushroom, zucchini, onions, carrots, etc.), shrimps, steak, lamb chops, and burgers.

Final Thought

From the above comparison, the difference between grill pans and frying pans is that their cooking surfaces, i.e. one is flat, and the other has raised ridges. Additionally, each has its specific uses in cooking.

However, both of these kitchen items are versatile in their uses: each cooks a variety of food. Check out Atgrills indoor electric grills and griddles to cook food on a cookware with natural stone coating.

Also in Cooking

The Art of Perfectly Grilling a London Broil: Unlocking BBQ's Best Kept Secret
The Art of Perfectly Grilling a London Broil: Unlocking BBQ's Best Kept Secret

January 23, 2024 3 min read

Read More
Sizzling Secrets: Perfect Hot Dogs Without the Grill
Sizzling Secrets: Perfect Hot Dogs Without the Grill

January 23, 2024 2 min read

Read More
Grilling to Perfection: Master the Art of Bratwurst Preparation
Grilling to Perfection: Master the Art of Bratwurst Preparation

January 22, 2024 3 min read

Read More
RuffRuff App RuffRuff App by Tsun