Casserole vs. wok pan: what are the major differences?

Updated on 25 Jul 2023
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If cooking is not your thing, chances are your kitchen cabinets only have a set of saucepans and a frying pan. Do you like to cook and do you regularly dive into the kitchen to try something new? Then you can’t avoid expanding your range of cooking utensils. After all, with the right pans you can take the result of your dishes to an even higher level. When it comes to the different pans, a frying pan and a wok pan are often confused with each other.

Not very surprising, since both pans have a high rim and often a long handle. They also come with a lid in most cases. What are the differences between the frying pan and the wok pan? You can read about it below.

What is a frying pan?

Many people also call a frying pan a deep skillet. It is indeed very similar to a frying pan, but it has a higher and usually straight edge. It allows you to prepare numerous dishes, such as pastas, curries, stews, one-pot meals and sauces. Although some variants have a slightly more rounded edge, it is meant to make stirring easier and prevent spilling. This makes cooking even more enjoyable.

What is a wok pan?

The name of this pan says it all: you use it mainly when you want to make a wok dish. So you use it for recipes from oriental cuisine, stir-frying meat or fish, vegetables and possibly a sauce. Stir fry on high heat for a short time. A wok pan is quite large and convex in shape.

What exactly is wok?

The terms wok and stir-fry are often confused, but they are actually two different forms of preparation. Wok cooking is done over high heat in a wok pan. You use finely chopped pieces of meat, fish and vegetables and only a little oil. Vegetables retain their crispness and, not unimportantly, their vitamins, minerals and flavor. Stir-fry on lower heat and with food that has been cut into larger pieces. You can use a frying pan for this. Although the traditional wok pan does not have a non-stick coating, most modern versions, like the frying pan, do.

The differences between the frying pan and the wok pan at a glance

All in all, then, a few differences between the frying pan and the wok pan can be noted:

  • The frying pan has a high, straight rim. The wok pan is also deep, but has a more convex rim.
  • You use a wok pan for quick preparation of -mostly Oriental- dishes, while you use a frying pan for preparations that take a little longer.
  • A frying pan has a non-stick coating as standard, a wok pan only if you go for the modern versions.

The difference in the use of cooking fats

Finally, one last difference between the frying pan and the wok pan should be named. Because you wok at a very high temperature, the cooking fat you use must have a high smoke point. This is the temperature at which the fat begins to decompose and as a result becomes indigestible. That’s why you use vegetable oil like rice oil, sunflower oil or peanut oil for wok cooking. You cannot use olive oil for this purpose. If you work with it at such high temperatures, even harmful substances are created. Olive oil, like butter, can be used for cooking in a frying pan.

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