The best electric skillet to buy is the one that most closely fits your individual circumstances. Read the following and compare electric skillet features to find the product that will help you cook a variety of dishes quickly and easily.
>> How will you use your electric skillet?
Before you start looking at the different skillets available, consider how you will use this convenient appliance. You can use your electric skillet as an alternative to your stove top or in conjunction with your current setup. If you are low on kitchen space or have no kitchen at all, such as in a dorm room, the ability to cook all kinds of foods with one small counter top appliance is very handy. If this is your situation, you might want to consider smaller models first.
On the other hand, if you will be using your skillet in a larger space or for sizable groups of people, you'll want to look at not only larger sized skillets, but skillets that are designed to cook a variety of foods in short order. You might also consider using your skillet outdoors alongside some patio and garden products to create a grilling oasis.
>> Consider size
As mentioned above, your planned use of the electric skillet will impact the size that's best for you. As you further decide upon the best electric skillet to buy by thinking about what size skillet you'll require, think about the following electric skillet sizes:
Size Serves Best use Mini (7 inches or smaller) 1 person Compact skillets are ideal for singles. Using these small kitchen appliances results in greater energy savings. Small (8-10 inches) 1-2 people Small electric skillets are often used in one or two-person households. Their compact design allows for easy storage. Medium (10-15 inches) 2-3 people Electric skillets in this size are the most common among electric skillet brands. They are large enough to comfortably prepare most meals for small families without taking up too much space in the kitchen. Large (15-18 inches) 4-5 people Large electric skillets can be used to prepare everything from stir-fry to spaghetti and meatballs. Extra-large (18 inches or larger) 6 people or more Extra-large skillets are the best electric skillet to buy when feeding a number of people or looking to prepare more than one type of food at the same time. >> Consider the shape
After you have settled on a size, you can start to think about a skillet's body shape. Skillets are usually square, rectangular or oval in shape, with square and rectangular being the most popular. The best electric skillet to buy will depend on the intended use. If you use your skillet to prepare stir-fry, an oval-shaped skillet is the easiest to handle. However, you'll find that square or rectangular skillets offer the most cooking area for their size in regard to length and width.
>> Consider lid features
One of the main differences between griddles and skillets is the absence of a lid on griddles. While both appliances can be used to prepare some of the same foods, skillets are more versatile because of their lids. Lids help trap heat to better cook foods.
When comparing electric skillet features, pay attention to each skillet's lid. Most types of electric skillet come with glass lids, but there are also those that come with aluminum or stainless steel lids. Glass lids are beneficial because they allow you to easily monitor the progress of the food you are cooking. Skillets with opaque lids are better used for meals that don't require constant attention.
Whether you buy an electric skillet with a glass or metal lid, make sure that the lid has at least one steam vent. Steam vents allow steam to quickly, easily and safely escape. Vents also keep liquids from bubbling over the sides of the skillet due to pressure.
>> Consider temperature controls
When searching for the best electric skillet to buy, take note of the temperature controls. Some skillets have only three or four settings while others have various settings for different types of electric skillet uses, such as frying, broiling, warming, dry frying and simmering. You might also want to choose an electric skillet with a warming setting. This setting will keep sauces and snacks at a desired temperature while entertaining.
>> Consider the skillet's materials
Like most kitchen appliances, electric skillets can come in many different materials. A majority of skillets are made of aluminum, but you can also choose from stainless steel electric skillets. In both types of electric skillets, the surface is often manufactured with a permanent, non-stick coating. Skillets without a coating will require seasoning to help keep foods from sticking to the skillet.
>> Which cooking features do you need?
While looking over various electric skillet brands, pay particular attention to each model's method of heat distribution. Some electric skillets are slightly bowl shaped. These are perfectly fine and even recommended for meals such as stews as the heat is concentrated at the bottom and slowly makes its way up the sides. However, if you want to prepare pancakes or omelets, you will find that skillets with flat, smooth surfaces and even heat will provide better results. When preparing foods such as sausage or meatballs, consider a skillet with a textured bottom so that oil can drain.