An electric skillet can be an extremely useful – and convenient – tool to have in your kitchen! With the right meal types, you can enjoy fuss-free cooking, and without the need to fire up saucepans and ovens.
So, what can you cook in an electric skillet? The answer is basically anything you can cook in a regular skillet – and a whole lot more besides.
In the rest of this guide I’m going to answer some of the most common questions readers have about this side of kitchen life.
It starts with an overview of how electric skillets work, goes over some good uses for this particular kitchen tool, then covers some useful tips for caring for and maintaining your electric skillet.
After that I’ve got some buying tips to help you out if you’re shopping around!
(Head back to my massive cookware guide when you’re done for more help with this side of kitchen life)
Jump ahead to:
Let’s start with a basic overview of what an electric skillet is, how it works, and why you might want to add one to your kitchenware collection.
What Is An Electric Skillet?
Although they’re often looked down on as the stuff of dorm-life, an electric skillet can be an invaluable part of your home kitchen arsenal.
These electrically heated pans offer a huge amount of versatility, and – crucially – something you can’t always guarantee with a stovetop skillet: a perfectly consistent cooking temperature.
This kind of consistency means food is cooked evenly, whether you want to fry or sear something quickly, or slow-cook a hotpot for later on in the day.
Think of an electric skillet as a swiss army knife that can tackle a whole host of cooking jobs conveniently and discretely.
How Does An Electric Skillet Work?
An electric skillet works in much the same way as any other heating element you’ll have in your home – think your hairdryers or heaters!
First of all, an electric current is passed through a resistor. The resistor converts that current into heat, which is then distributed over the cooking surface of the electric skillet.
A thermostat regulates the temperature, and most electric skillets have a number of different settings to choose from. These keep the electric skillet cooking at a steady, precise temperature.
How Many Watts Does An Electric Skillet Use?
The wattage consumed by an electric skillet depends of course on the make and model of the pan you’re looking at.
Here’s an example for you though.
The Presto 16-inch electric skillet is one of the most popular models on the market. This requires 1500 watts of power.
Bigger or larger electric skillets will have their own wattage requirements, but 1500 watts of power draw is a reasonable average to expect.
Why Use An Electric Skillet?
There are a few good reasons to own and use an electric skillet in your own home:
– You want to achieve perfectly even heating of your food, without having to constantly monitor progress
– You have a small kitchen space, and need a single appliance that can cover a lot of tasks (think everything from frying to searing, to slow cooking to baking!)
– You want to be able to enjoy a slow cooked meal, but don’t need a dedicated appliance for the task.
– You want fine control over the temperature of your cooking, without having to resort to a meat thermometer.
This is one of those super-convenient kitchen tools you’ll only find more uses for the longer you own it.
Using An Electric Skillet
In this next section I’m going to answer some common questions about using an electric skillet.
Can An Electric Skillet Be Used As A Slow Cooker?
Electric skillets are excellent substitutes for slow cookers. What matters with a slow cook meal is maintaining a low and steady temperature.
As the temperature is electronically controlled, you can set the electric skillet to a low temperature, add your ingredients, and be confident that you’ll return to a perfectly slow-cooked stew,
Can An Electric Skillet Be Used As An Oven?
You can indeed use your electric skillet as an oven. In fact, they’re particularly useful for making baked items like cornbread, biscuits and potatoes.
Just make sure your electric skillet has a temperature setting that’s suited to the job at hand.
Can You Cook Anything In An Electric Skillet?
Anything you can cook in a regular skillet can also be cooked in an electric skillet.
The advantage you get here though is accurate, consistent cooking temperatures with minimal fuss on your part.
Electric skillets can also tackle more tasks than a regular skillet can. For example, you can saute, grill, slow stew or even bake cakes in an electric skillet.
Can You Cook Rice In An Electric Skillet?
Yes, you can cook rice in an electric skillet. In order for the water to boil, it must reach a temperature of 212F / 100C. Most electric skillets are capable of reaching a temperature far, far higher than this, but check the product description as always before buying one.
Not only does plain rice cook really well in an electric skillet, you can also combine it with the rest of your meal so the rice absorbs all those other juicy flavors!
Can You Bake A Cake In An Electric Skillet?
Yes, but with some limitations. You’ll notice that the cakes you bake in an electric skillet have nicely browned sides and bottoms, but softer tops.
It’s best to play to your baking strengths here, and focus on recipes where a softer cake top is not a problem.
Can You Boil In An Electric Skillet?
Yes, you can boil just about anything in an electric skillet. What matters here is that the electric skillet has enough power to push any given liquid past its boiling point.
Can I Use An Electric Skillet For Hotpots?
Electric skillets can be used for making hotpots, but the deeper the pan is, the better the results you’ll enjoy.
Treat your electric skillet like a slow cooker when making a hotpot. Set a low, steady temperature, add your ingredients, and get ready to tuck into a juicy stew at the end of a hard day’s work!
What Temperature Should You Use On An Electric Skillet For Grilled Cheese?
The best temperature for a grilled cheese sandwich is around 275F / 135C.
When you use an electric skillet to make one, you want the cheese to melt and the bread to toast in harmony together – nice and quickly too! Just cook the sandwich at this temperature for around 5 minutes on each side.
You can tweak these timings to suit your preference, but this is about the right time and temperature to aim for at your first attempt.
How To Clean & Maintain An Electric Skillet
As with all kitchen appliances, caring for your electric skillet is a key part of getting value for money out of your investment.
Here’s what you need to know about maintaining your new piece of kitchenware.
Is An Electric Skillet Dishwasher Safe?
It depends very much on the brand of electric skillet you own. Some are designed to be fully immersible, but it’s essential to check the product listing carefully.
If you want to know if your existing electric skillet is dishwasher safe, check the manual. If you’ve discarded the manual, look your model up on Amazon.
Most manufacturers make a big deal when it comes to dishwasher safety. If you don’t see it mentioned in the product description, it’s better to assume your electric skillet needs to be washed by hand.
How To Clean An Electric Skillet
If you need to wash your electric skillet by hand, the process is pretty simple:
– Step 1: Make sure it’s disconnected from the mains power supply. Unplug the cord from the electric skillet too if possible, and put it to one side.
– Step 2: Drain any grease from the electric skillet into a suitable container. Don’t pour this stuff into the sink! Instead, let it solidify and then scoop the fat straight into the trash. Not a very nice job, but better than a clogged drain!
– Step 3: Add the disconnected electric skillet to a sink full of warm water and let it soak for a few minutes. This will help release the worst of the grime from the surface.
– Step 4: Use a cleaning sponge and standard kitchen detergent to gently clean the surface. You might find this easier to achieve under running warm water.
– Step 5: Dry thoroughly! Get in every nook and cranny and ensure the electric skillet is bone dry before reconnecting it to the power supply. I like to leave mine upside down on the washing rack for a good airing too.
How To Clean The Bottom Of An Electric Skillet
Follow the instructions above to get the bottom of your electric skillet back to great condition!
Remember, just use standard dish soap, a gentle sponge, and a little elbow grease to get this job done.
Buying An Electric Skillet
The last section of my guide explains how to shop for an electric skillet, and the brands and models you might like to keep an eye out for.
Where Can I Buy An Electric Skillet?
You’ll have no trouble buying an electric skillet from most department stores. For convenience’ sake, Amazon has a good selection of the most popular electric skillet brands.
(Heads up! If you click on a product link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I never recommend a product I wouldn’t use in my own kitchen, and this helps keep the site running. Thank you.)
What’s The Best Electric Skillet To Buy?
Presto is the go-to brand for electric skillets. I think the company’s 16 inch skillet is perfect for the average household.
It gives the best balance between budget and performance for my money.
- Heavy cast aluminum base features a deluxe nonstick surface, inside & out. skillet pan & cover are dishwasher safe with the heat...
- Built-in spout for pouring liquids from skillet doubles as a spoon & spatula holder when cooking & serving
- Fold down handles to detach skillet pan from base. With handles folded in, the base & handles store in skillet for compact storage
- Pan dimensions: 15. 75" x 11. 87" x 2. 87" approximately
- Tempered glass cover & stay-cool handles allow skillet to double as a buffet server
What’s The Best High-End Electric Skillet?
If you’re going to be doing a lot of cooking with your electric skillet, you might consider investing a little extra in Breville’s flagship skillet instead.
This is a 6-quart electric skillet that has an impressive collection of 15 different heat settings. That will serve you well for pretty much anything you want to throw at it! It’s non-stick too, and very easy to clean up as a result.
- 15 heat settings, from simmer to high sear
- Pan tilt lever allows fat and juices to drain from food
- To make cleaning easier, fry pan is coated twice with a premium PFOA free non-stick surface
- Large 6 quart capacity
- Dual-ply construction of aluminum bonded to stainless steel for optimal heat retention and distribution
That should cover pretty much anything you could want to know about buying & using an electric skillet.