How to Use an Electric Skillet
Have you ever wondered what you would do without your oven and range top? For some of us, this is not a question at all, but an everyday part of life.
I have been using an electric skillet frequently for the last several years, because it cooks more evenly than my stove top frying pan, and cleaning it is a breeze.
As such, I am here to teach you how to use an electric skillet. Believe it or not, there is almost nothing that you cannot cook with one of these things! There are multiple electric skillet uses such as frying, slow-cooking, boiling, baking, etc.
Whether you’re an occasional user of electric skillets or a hardcore user like myself, this little tutorial should help you to increase your skills and thus become a true electric skillet master!
Table of Contents
What You Will Need To Follow This Tutorial:
A standard-size electric skillet: Some manufacturers make models that are exceptionally large or small, but these are special tools for special purposes. This tutorial will focus on the standard-size device, which will be roughly 1 foot by 1 foot. Don’t worry if yours is off by an inch or two, as this will make very little difference.
A lid that fits your skillet: This is not necessary for all dishes but is absolutely required for some. Most electric skillets on the market come with a lid.
A thick extension cord (optional): Like any appliance that contains a heating element, these devices can be a fire hazard if used improperly. Unless you situate them right next to an electrical outlet, you will probably need an extension cord. The cord needs to be good and thick to handle the power load without heating up.
A well-stocked kitchen: We will be making various things in this tutorial, so you’ll need to have some basic ingredients handy. These ingredients will include: beef, bell peppers, white onions, mushrooms, salt, pepper, spices, garlic, flour, squash, tomatoes, Parmesan, eggs, cooking oil and potatoes.
A heat-resistant slab (optional): This can be used underneath the skillet as extra protection for the surfaces of your kitchen from heat damage. A wide ceramic tile is a good choice, as is a block of stone such as a granite cutting board. Ideally, your heat slab should be at least one square foot.
A strong set of tongs(optional): These are handy because it is harder to use a standard potholder when removing an item from your e-skillet. A large pair of tongs will make it much easier.
The standard temperature controls on electric skillets range from simmer or warm to 450°F on a dial, depending on the model. Because of this, you will have more control over the temperature than you would using a frying pan on a stovetop. To learn all about electric skillet temperatures, read this article.
Most electric skillet models available today have a non-stick coating, whether it be teflon or ceramic. As such, it is important to stay clear of metal utensils, unless you are using a stainless steel model. Instead, opt for wooden, plastic or silicone cooking utensils.
Sauté With Your Electric Frying Pan
Pretty much anything you can do with a frying pan, you can do with an electric one and then some. Sautéing is a very common cooking method that utilizes a skillet. It will require a little cooking oil and turning the heat up on the dial until it reaches the desired temperature. While the skillet is heating, an indicator light will remain on. Once the skillet reaches the correct temperature, that light will go off.
Here are some examples of of what you can sauté in your electric skillet:
I Believe I can Fry
Yes, that was a 90’s pop music reference. If you didn’t get it, don’t worry. Electric frying pans are great for frying foods! It is important to note that although you can fry in your electric skillet, you normally cannot deep dry in it. There are some models that are deeper than others, but in most manuals I’ve seen, they warn you against deep frying and note how much oil you can add to the skillet.
Here are some recipes you can fry up:
Or, try these Squash Cakes:
First, get a small bowl and fill it about halfway with all-purpose white flour. Add a pinch of salt and a little bit of lemon pepper, then add a little bit of water and stir.
It is important to get the consistency right, so add your water a little bit at a time until you have something that is about the consistency of pudding. Here’s another of those cooking videos to help you get the right idea.
Next, take a nice big squash (I recommend yellow squash but any kind will do), and slice it, making sure to discard the end pieces. Each slice should be about twice as thick as a quarter, but don’t worry if you can’t get it exactly right. Add a little oil or butter to the electric frying pan and turn the dial to 350°F.
Now add just one or two drops of water from your fingertips. This water will tell you when the oil is ready. Be sure not to use too much oil, as it is wasteful and results in a greasy and unhealthy meal.
PRO TIP: Use a large knife when cutting the squash. A smaller knife will bend and produce uneven cuts.
When the oil begins to pop, take your squash slices one at a time and dip them in the batter before putting them face-down in the skillet. Put the lid on and wait about ten minutes.
Using a plastic or silicone spatula (for use on a non-stick skillet), carefully flip each piece and allow to cook for about five more minutes. When the breading is nice and brown, you are done, but one more step is needed to make it right.
Take some cherry tomatoes and cut out their centers, filling them instead with Parmesan cheese. Put one loaded tomato on top of each squash cake and it’s ready to serve.
PRO TIP: Cube steak can be used as a quick fry in the e-skillet as well.
Slow Cooking With Your Electric Skillet
Slow cooking/braising is probably the easiest way to use your electric skillet, as it involves a lot of down time. For this, it is recommended that you have a relatively deep skillet, as some of the more shallow ones are not well-suited for this recipe.
PRO TIP: If your roast is a thick slab that prevents you from covering the skillet with a lid, you may need to slice it in half first.
All you have to do to slow cook is preheat the skillet and place the meat in the empty skillet and sear the outside.
PRO TIP: Using tongs can help you to easily maneuver the roast around in the skillet.
Next, add in your vegetables, broth and spices and simmer with the lid on. Now for the simmering. All you need to do is set your skillet to 200°F or ‘SIMMER’ and let it cook nice and slow. You may want to check the meat with a thermometer every now and then, and you may also want to check the vegetables for softness.
Other recipes you can slow cook in your skillet:
Using Your Electric Frying Pan As An Oven
Most of you don’t really need to do this, because you should have a standard oven in your house. However, you may still want to consider this method as a way to save electricity and avoid heating up the kitchen, as a full-size oven is a major power hog.
I personally love baking in my electric skillet, as it’s very easy and I seem to be less likely to over-bake bread and cakes, etc.
If you think about it, the only real difference between a range top and an oven is confinement. By confining the heat, the entire surface of the food is cooked evenly and efficiently. Therefore, we just have to confine the heat. There is no special trick to this, as you just use the lid.
You can bake a lasagna in your electric skillet!
However, we still have one little difference between our e-skillet with a lid and our oven. The other difference is the rack. An oven cooks its payload by elevating it above the heat source.
This keeps the bottom from burning as easily. To duplicate this effect in an electric skillet, you just need a small metal grate that will fit the floor of your e-skillet. Only an inch or two of elevation is needed.
If you don’t have anything like this, you can line the bottom of the skillet with metal skewers (careful not to scratch) for a similar effect. Doing this will give you a skillet that can be used as an oven, though you will need to cook at slightly lower temperatures to get similar results.
Try these baking recipes in your skillet:
Or even a quick & tasty pizza!
Cool & Clean
Once you have finished cooking a delicious electric skillet meal, it is important to unplug the unit and let it cool before carrying on to the next step: cleaning. Here is a detailed tutorial on how to clean your electric skillet.
Was this tutorial helpful? I hope so, because I have tried very hard to impart my e-skillet wisdom to you in a way that is both informative and entertaining. As you can see, it is fully possible to cook nearly anything in your e-skillet.
I believe it is important for people to be familiar with alternative methods for all of life’s essential tasks, of which cooking is definitely one. After all, you never know when your standard methods might become unusable.
The electric skillet cooking possibilities do not end here. There are many recipes available to help familiarize yourself with how to use this handy tool.
Is that song still in your head? Feel free to leave your comments below, and to share this article with anyone else who might be interested.
Some more tasty recipes to try in your electric skillet: