A frying pan, frypan, or skillet is a flat-bottomed pan used for frying, searing, and browning foods. It is typically 200 to 300 mm (8 to 12 in) in diameter with relatively low sides that flare outwards, a long handle, and no lid. Larger pans may have a small grab handle opposite the main handle. A pan of similar dimensions, but with vertical sides and often with a lid, is called a sauté pan or sauté. While a sauté pan can be used like a frying pan, it is designed for lower heat cooking methods, namely sautéing.
Copper frying pans were used in ancient Mesopotamia. Frying pans were also known in ancient Greece (where they were called téganon) and Rome (where they were called patella or sartago). Pan derives from the Old English panna. Before the introduction of the kitchen stove in the mid-19th century, a commonly used cast iron cooking pan called a spider had a handle and three legs used to stand up in the coals and ashes of the fire. Cooking pots and pans with legless, flat bottoms were designed when cooking stoves became popular; this period of the late 19th century saw the introduction of the flat cast iron skillet.
A versatile pan that combines the best of both the sauté pan and the frying pan has higher, sloping sides that are often slightly curved. This pan is called a sauteuse (literally a sauté pan in the female gender), an evasée (denoting a pan with sloping sides), or a fait-tout (literally "does everything"). Most professional kitchens have several of these utensils in varying sizes.