How to Measure a Frying Pan




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If you’re a proud owner of a frying pan or you’re planning on buying one, you may want to know how to measure its dimensions.

Now, while this is certainly no nuclear science, there are still a couple of things you need to know to get the best frying pan for your needs in the first go. (In case you’re buying one.)

The thing about frying pans is – you have to measure it the proper way, or you risk buying the model that’s the wrong size for what you need. Since frying pans don’t typically vary in size drastically, so to speak, if the measurement you get is off by only a couple of inches, the problem can be that you buy a bigger or smaller pan than you originally intended to.

For example, a 10-inch frying pan is great for preparing two chicken breasts at the same time, while a 12-inch pan can ‘house’ three chicken breasts. So, if you routinely make dinner for three, buying a smaller pan than you need means you will have to cook two times in a row, instead of just once. So, not only are you wasting time, but you’re also likely to have to use more oil in the process, too.

To help you avoid this unfortunate turn of events, in this article, we’re going to explain how to correctly measure a frying pan, so that you always know how much food you can cook in it.

Here’s the deal.

How to measure a frying pan

As we said above, measuring a frying pan is a pretty straightforward business.

To do this, you’ll need either a measuring tape or a long ruler. The important thing to keep in mind is not so much the type of measuring tool, but more the way you measure the pan.

The thing is, you don’t want to measure its bottom part, but measure it starting from one side of its top rim to the other, going precisely through the center so that you know exactly how much space is in it.

Of course, this approach will only work for oval pans, as square ones need a different measurement method. (We will talk about this, too, in the passages below.)

Use Measuring Tape (or a long ruler)

So, when it comes to measuring an oval frying pan, the most important parameter to take into consideration would be the diameter of the inner circle.

So, what you do is you take your tape measure or ruler and then measure the pan from one side to the other, going through the center. The important thing to keep in mind here is that you shouldn’t measure the ultimate limits of a pan, but only start on the inside top part of it. This way, you will understand how much room there is in the pan for the food you will prepare in it.

Of course, this is only the first such measurement, so you will have to take into consideration the depth and the height of the pan, as well.

Height of the Pan

Once you’ve determined the diameter of the pan, you might also want to know what its exact height is.

Now, the way of establishing this is fairly easy.

First, you measure the height of the entire pan from the outside, and then you measure the thickness of its base. Then, simply subtract the thickness from the overall height and you will have an idea about how deep the pan is.

Of course, you can also measure the height of the ‘cooking part’ (sans the base) by directly measuring it from inside the pan, but this can be tricky as you won’t know where the pan ends vertically. You would then need to tie a string that follows the line of its diameter, which complicates things.

Measuring the Size of Square Pans

As we promised earlier in this article, here’s a paragraph or two about how to measure a square frying pan.

Although square frying pans are not as popular as oval ones, there are some pretty good models of these out there on the market today, so in case you find a square pan that you like, having an idea of how to measure it can come in handy.

To measure a square frying pan, the thing to remember is that you don’t want to measure its diagonals, because this will give you a false idea about how much food you can put in it. (When you do the equation, you will get a larger number than the actual volume of it is.)

So, to get an accurate measurement, what you want to do is measure the pan from side to side, but starting and finishing from the middle part of a side. The tape measure or the ruler should also go through the center of the pan.

A Pan’s Frying Surface

Once you’ve measured the diameter and the height of a pan, to get a more precise idea of its overall volume, you will also need to take the base diameter into the equation. (Unless it’s a square pan, of course.)

The thing is, with the vast majority of modern-day pans, the base diameter is visibly smaller than its top diameter, so if you were to assume it’s the same size as the top part you measured already, the results coming from such an equation would certainly be wrong.

Measuring this correctly will give you the necessary piece of info to figure out what the overall volume of the pan is.

Contact Surface

While the contact surface dimensions may not seem like that much of an important thing when it comes to buying a new frying pan, it’s still useful to measure it because it may save you a lot of trouble down the road.

The thing is, if you know the contact surface of a frying pan, you can determine whether or not it would fit on your stove. In case the stove burner is larger than the surface area of the pan, you run the risk of ruining the coating on the sides of the pan, or getting its handle too hot to touch after a while.

On the other hand, if the frying pan’s contact surface is too large for the burners you have on your stove, you won’t be able to cook as much food at the same time, because the burners won’t be hot enough to prepare the meal you want relatively quickly.

All things considered, obtaining a brand-new frying pan can be a great way to massively enhance your kitchen prowess, so to speak. Thanks to their versatility, ease-of-use, as well as the variety of sizes they come in, frying pans can be a great option for not only frying, but also sauteing, and also for performing a wide variety of cooking styles.

As long as the frying pan is big enough to fit all the food you want in it and you make sure you take good care of it at all times, you can rest assured that your pan will serve you well for years to come. We hope you found this article helpful and we wish you plenty of luck preparing new exciting dishes with your frying pan.

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