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Electric Frying Pan / Skillet


Pam R
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I was just having a debate about electric frying pans with a friend. I like mine and pull it our for a variety of recipes, but he doesn't have one and hasn't missed having one (though he does see that they can be useful).

So I'm curious, do you have one? If you do, do you use it or does it stay in the back of the cabinet?

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My mother has one: I can see their usefulness when you are cooking for a family and need the expansive 18" diameter but also want something fairly shallow. There's no reasonable way I could put a saute pan that size on my stove, so if I wanted to make something that required it I'd be out of luck. What do people use theirs for? I generally only cook for two, so I never need that much space.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I got two handed down from my parent's kitchen. They still have one. We both use it for pan frying things outdoors as an odor control matter. I have also used mine on several occasions for table-top cooking or when I want to keep something warm on my central island for a buffet service.

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I'll be watching this topic ... I've just bought one for whilst my kitchen is being renovated ... got no idea what to do with it.

They seem to be something that you've been brought up to use or not ... my step-mother loved hers and used it all the time ... my mother never had one.

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Isn't that funny this should come up? We hosted a wedding shower for a cousin this weekend, and one of the gifts was an electric skillet. I hadn't seen one in years, and I didn't think they still made them. My husband was adamant about us not getting one when we got married, since, in his words, "I soon as I saw it sitting on the counter, I knew nothing good would come out of it." Electric fry pans are inextricably linked to "spanish rice" and cheap sausages from his childhood. Of course, it wasn't the skillet's fault - his mum just wasn't a very good cook. But they always make him shudder.

I knew someone who swore by using hers to temper chocolate. She used it as a hot water bath and had another pan with chocolate in it set inside. She liked it because she could regulate the temperature.

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I had a great uncle who began a long, successful career as a wholesale electronics distributor as a wholesale rep for a company in Ohio that made electric skillets. Somewhere in a box in storage I have a pair of cufflinks that he gave to his brother (my grandfather) in the shape of electric skillets.

All my grandparents had electric skillets. I think I remember them using them for potato latkes and maybe fried chicken.

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Both my mother and grandmother had one, mostly used for frying and freeing up a burner during family gatherings. What's nice is the thermostat, it can be set for a specific temperature (assuming it's accurate) verses playing with a gas or electric dial to keep temperatures in a specific range.

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I have one and never use it, but I have a friend who swears that fried chicken is the best done in one..

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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In the back of my mind, I'm remembering Julia Child talking and/or writing about an electric skillet as being a very good thing. I think I'll look for one at Goodwill next time I drop stuff off.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Sure, I have one: The outline is nearly square. It's great for doing four slices of French toast at once.

Thing is, my diet doesn't have much room for French toast!

It's nicely wrapped in a transparent plastic bag to keep the dust off and stored in the pantry.

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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I have a Farberware electric skillet that my Mother bought with S&H Green Stamps. (That tells you how old it is--and how old I am). Mother has another electric skillet at home that she still uses. I'm not sure of the origins of the skillet Mother uses today, it probably came to her through redeeming green stamps or a coupon that she pulled out of a box of soap.

My electric frying pan sat for years in a dark corner of the pantry cabinet--only to be resurrected about two years ago and I've been using it regularly ever since. I was somewhat embarassed to use it--a silly thought since I cook alone and no one would ever know, (until today), that I use this decidedly "retro" piece of cookware. But now I openly admit it--I love my electric frying pan.

It is just over 12" in diameter and nearly 3" deep. It has an incredibly reliable thermostat and heat control. It is quite good at searing pork chops, but the best use of my electric skillet is for frying oysters. The skillet only uses about 1/2" of oil. The oil is heated to 350 in just a few minutes, and the skillet automatically adjusts the temperature of the oil to keep it constant throughout the frying process.

I'm guessing my electric skillet is about 45 years old, and while it's showing some battle scars, I'm hoping it will last for many years to come.

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I think another advantage of using an electric skillet is that in the dead heat of summer, one doesn't need to heat up or grease up the entire kitchen. Heck, run an extension cord out on the patio, or in the yard on a cement block, and voila! The house is cool, and you have fried food. Always a good thing.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I was pulling mine out this afternoon to work on a recipe that's loosely based on one that my mother used to make -- and she always made it in the electric skillet. It's a recipe that would work in a good frying pan or skillet, but it's too large. The electric skillet is perfect.

Not something I make often, but if you ever get a hankering for homemade donuts, one of these works well. Relatively shallow oil with lots of surface area. It's perfect. I've also made fried chicken a couple of times and it worked fine.

Finally, every December I have to make hundreds of potato pancakes and there's no way I could do that number without one. Well, three. The consistent heat and large surface area work well.

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We were given one as a wedding present, and I have to admit have used it maybe twice in nearly 12 years. However was recently at my parents' place and cooking a stir fry for 4 - they have no wok and a normal frying pan on the stove was not big enough - so I used their electric frying pan. The size and depth are useful as several posters have said.

I have also ear-marked my own one for outside cooking, although have not done so yet.

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I have electric skillets, two owned for at least thirty years, one bought just after I moved up here in '88 and a year or so ago I bought this one because I wanted the larger area and I wanted one that was NOT non-stick.

I wanted something I could use at the table (actually on a tea cart next to the table).

I bought one prior to this but returned it as it did not have a very accurate temp setting. (I checked the surface heat with my Thermapen Combo (incidentally is now reduced to $69.00).

This one has preformed as well as I could wish. The slightly sloping sides make it easier to use than my others which have straight sides.

At 1500 watts, it heats rapidly and maintains the correct heat even after dumping a bunch of cold vegetables into it. I also like the glass lid as my others all have metal lids and I have to remove the lid to see how the cooking is progressing.

I've used it for sukiyaki and it worked beautifully and is attractive enough to use on any table.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I cooked for myself out of an electric skillet for two years when I was in college. I had one of those cube fridges and I put the skillet on top. It was square and non-stick with a cream colored (deep lid).

I loved that thing and still think about it nostalgically. You name it, I cooked it in there, including pot brownies. You can use it as an makeshift oven.

I'm not sure that's an endorsement for one in a regular kitchen, but they are dandy devices.

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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I cooked for myself out of an electric skillet for two years when I was in college.  I had one of those cube fridges and I put the skillet on top.  It was square and non-stick with a cream colored (deep lid).

I loved that thing and still think about it nostalgically.  You name it, I cooked it in there, including pot brownies.  You can use it as an makeshift oven.

I'm not sure that's an endorsement for one in a regular kitchen, but they are dandy devices.

Sounds like a West Bend or Presto. They both made square, non-stick electric frypans with cream or "bisque" colored lids - one had a vent, one didn't. Both made skillets that were sold through Sears.

Look familiar?

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I loved that thing and still think about it nostalgically.  You name it, I cooked it in there, including pot brownies.  You can use it as an makeshift oven.

Could you share your pot brownies recipe? I got mine yesterday, and looked through the provided recipes, and although it says you can make cakes, it didn't include a cake recipe! Since I'm more of a baker, I'm trying to find pastries/cakes that I might be able to make in it.

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My SIL has had one since I've known her (19 years). She uses it regularly to do sausage gravy at large family breakfasts. She recently got a new one as a present from her husband and I got her old one. I don't usually do sausage gravy but do find it useful for the few times I've made my husband pancakes (something I know he wished I did more often). Once you find the temp you want....works great!

Donna

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I think these are the greatest. Have had one since we got married 44 years ago. Have used them when we had our kitchen being repaired and when we lost gas power in a different house.

Currently on our second or third one and use it many times a week. Hard to find the very large truly square ones now. Most are slanted or circular. Our is a Black and Decker but they no longer are produced. The heat control light doesn't work so the temp is based on instinct. Still continue to use it and enjoy it. Would really miss not having one.

On the other hand none of our children use them in their homes. Times change I guess.

Kay

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I think these are the greatest. Have had one since we got married 44 years ago. Have used them when we had our kitchen being repaired and when we lost gas power in a different house.

Currently on our second or third one and use it many times a week. Hard to find the very large truly square ones now. Most are slanted or circular. Our is a Black and Decker but they no longer are produced. The heat control light doesn't work so the temp is based on instinct. Still continue to use it and enjoy it. Would really miss not having one.

On the other hand none of our children use them in their homes. Times change I guess.

Kay

WalMart had one like this Presto on sale a couple of weeks ago for less than $35.00.

The local senior center bought several for use in their communal self-service kitchen as they feel they are safer for some of the elderly to use than the gas ranges.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I have a flat square one and a wok one, which takes less product to 'fill.' I tend to use mine to keep cooked/caramel sugar at a liquid temperature for dipping -very useful for croquembouche. And, to keep the post on topic, I will point out that some people make pate choux with bacon drippings and fill the resulting cream puffs with a savory filling before assembling a croquembouche.

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I use mine mostly for making pancakes and Pain Perdu.

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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I was just having a debate about electric frying pans with a friend.  I like mine and pull it our for a variety of recipes, but he doesn't have one and hasn't missed having one  (though he does see that they can be useful).

So I'm curious, do you have one? If you do, do you use it or does it stay in the back of the cabinet?

We love caramelized onions and use them often, especially in the winter. After years of trial and error I started following the Bouchon technique for chopping and caramelizing onions, definitely the best, although NOT a " quick and easy" way of doing it. Because I multitask in the kitchen I use my electric skillet for onions. Works like a dream.

When my daughter left for college I had to buy a second electric skillet. She hated cafeteria food and fed herself pretty well using electric skillet, tiny rice cooker and a microwave. We also take it with us when we go to the beach where most restaurants have long lines and greasy fried food.

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