Short answer: It’s subjective, but pots are shallower and commonly used for frying while pans are deeper and commonly used for boiling liquids.
My nephew JP proposed this question, and it’s a fascinating one.
If you do any cooking at all, your kitchen is probably filled with pots and pans. Well, what is a pot and, what is a pan? How deep does a pan have to be before it’s considered a pot? Of course, we all know when to use a pan and when to use a pot, but what is the actual difference?
No single definition differentiates what a pot is from what a pan is that I could find. Here are a few tidbits I came across on the internet:
- Many pots have two handles, while very few pans have two handles.
- If the sides are equal to or greater than the radius of the bottom, it’s probably a pot.
- If you can fill it up with enough liquid to boil water for spaghetti, it’s probably a pot.
- If the sides are less than a 1/4th the size of the radius of the bottom, it’s probably a pan.
In conclusion, a pot can be called a pan, but a pan can’t be called a pot. Got it?
Can you think of a better way to differentiate between a pot and a pan?