Do-anything tool: 12-inch frying pan


Only one pan is big enough to inspire great recipes and devotion from its users — the 12-inch frying pan.

Better Homes and Gardens magazine asked six of its favorite skillet fans to spend some one-on-one time with this do-anything kitchen tool, and these dishes are the result.

Have a skillet session of your own and enjoy these easy, casual meals, plus dessert, in America’s most popular pan.

Paula Deen is a TV chef, restaurateur and cookbook author. Her most recent book is “Paula Deen’s Kitchen Wisdom and Recipe Journal (Simon & Schuster, $18.95.)

“My 12-inch skillet never leaves the stove, and my fried chicken wouldn’t be the same without it. A big pan gives the chicken plenty of elbow room so the buttermilk-herb crust comes out crisp,” Deen said.


Prep: 30 minutes

Chill: 2 hours

Cook: 14 minutes

1 3-pound chicken, washed and cut into 8 serving pieces

2 cups all-purpose flour

1‚Ñ2 cup snipped fresh sage or parsley

1 teaspoon. cracked black pepper

3 eggs

1‚Ñ2 cup milk

Peanut oil for frying

Small fresh sage leaves

Lemon wedges

1. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Refrigerate, covered, 2 to 4 hours.

2. In bowl combine flour, the 1‚Ñ2 cup herbs, and pepper; set aside. In shallow dish whisk together eggs and milk. Dip chicken in egg mixture then coat with flour mixture. Repeat.

3. In deep 12-inch skillet add oil to depth of 1 inch (oil will rise as chicken is added.) Heat oil to 350 degrees over medium-high heat.

4. Gently lower four chicken pieces at a time into hot oil, (oil may spatter). Cook 14 to 16 minutes, turning after 8 minutes, or until brown and crisp and chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees for breasts, 180 degrees for thighs). Oil temperature will drop when chicken is added; adjust heat as needed to maintain oil temperature at 325 degrees. Drain chicken on wire rack or paper towels. Place in preheated 300-degree oven while frying remaining chicken. To serve, top with sage leaves and lemon wedges. Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition facts

Calories 694, total fat (g) 45, saturated fat (g) 11, monounsaturated fat (g) 19, polyunsaturated fat (g) 11, cholesterol (mg) 223, sodium (mg) 544, carbohydrate (g) 35, total sugar (g) 2, fiber (g) 2, protein (g) 37, vitamin C (DV percent) 30, calcium (DV percent) 8, iron (DV percent) 24, percent. Daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Mario Batali takes his love for food to Spain in his new PBS series and accompanying book with Gwyneth Paltrow, “Spain: A Culinary Road Trip” (Harper Collins, $34.95).


Prep: 25 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

1 to 2 teaspoons. saffron threads ( 1‚Ñ2 gram) or Spanish paprika

7 to 8 cups vegetable broth (two 32-oz. boxes)

2 cups arborio rice or short-grain rice

1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped

1 medium red sweet pepper, coarsely chopped

1 small turnip, peeled and chopped

1‚Ñ2 small acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1 cup cremini mushrooms, quartered

1‚Ñ2 medium zucchini, chopped

5 to 6 tablespoons olive oil

Fresh thyme leaves

1. In small saucepan combine saffron and 1 cup water; bring to boiling. Remove from heat. In large saucepan bring broth to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and keep warm.

2. In 12-inch skillet combine saffron mixture and rice; bring to boiling over high heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, until most liquid is absorbed. Add carrot, sweet pepper, turnip, squash, and 1 cup broth; bring to boiling; reduce heat to medium. Simmer and stir until most liquid is absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed and rice is just tender (about 20 minutes, adding 5 cups broth total).

3. Add green onions, mushrooms, zucchini, and 1 cup broth. Cook and stir until liquid is absorbed. Add remaining 1 to 2 cups broth. Cook and stir until vegetables are tender and rice is tender yet slightly firm in the center (about 10 minutes, adding 2 to 3 cups broth total.)

4. Remove from heat; stir in 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. To serve, drizzle with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with thyme. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 263, total fat (g) 9, saturated fat (g) 1, monounsaturated fat (g) 6, polyunsaturated fat (g) 1, cholesterol (mg) 0, sodium (mg) 840, carbohydrate (g) 43, total sugar (g) 4, fiber (g) 2, protein (g) 4, vitamin C (DV percent) 46, calcium (DV percent) 2, iron (DV percent) 13 percent. Daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet

Lisa Lillien sends out daily e-mails with weight loss ideas and recipes from She’s author of “Hungry Girl Recipes and Survival Strategies” (St. Martin’s, $17.95.)


Prep: 35 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

4 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons cooking oil, divided, or nonstick cooking spray

1‚Ñ2 cup canned tomato sauce with Italian seasonings (See note).

1 cup whole bran cereal shreds (such as Fiber One original or All-Bran)

1‚Ñ4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (1 oz.)

1 tablespoon snipped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed (optional)

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, crushed

1‚Ñ4 teaspoon salt

1‚Ñ2 cup fat-free egg product, thawed

2‚Ñ3 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese (3 oz.)

Red pepper flakes (optional)

Snipped fresh oregano (optional)

1 recipe Pasta with Sweet Peppers, recipe follows

1. Between sheets of plastic wrap, pound chicken breast halves to even thickness (about 3‚Ñ8 inch thick); set aside.

2. In 12-inch skillet cook onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon hot oil until tender. In bowl mix onion mixture and tomato sauce; set aside.

3. In food processor or blender process or blend cereal to the size of bread crumbs. In shallow dish stir together cereal crumbs, Parmesan cheese, oregano, Italian seasoning, and salt; season with pepper.

4. In another dish place egg product. Dip chicken in egg product then crumb mixture.

5. In skillet cook chicken in remaining 1 tablespoon hot oil for 4 minutes per side or until cooked through (170 degrees) over medium-high heat. Spoon sauce on chicken. Sprinkle mozzarella. Reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, 2 to 3 minutes, until cheese is melted. Sprinkle red pepper flakes and oregano. Serve with Pasta with Sweet Peppers.

Note: Heat and pass remaining canned tomato sauce, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

6. To make Pasta with Sweet Peppers: Cook 6 ounces whole-grain fettuccine according to package directions, adding 1 large red sweet pepper cut in strips, the last 1 minute of cooking. Drain well. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh oregano.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 566, total fat (g) 17, saturated fat (g) 4, monounsaturated fat (g) 3, polyunsaturated fat (g) 7, cholesterol (mg) 113, sodium (mg) 719, carbohydrate (g) 53, total sugar (g) 5, fiber (g) 10, protein (g) 55, vitamin C (DV percent) 98, calcium (DV percent) 27, iron (DV percent) 36. Daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet

Nancy Wall Hopkins is deputy food editor of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. The 12-inch cast iron skillet that she purchased just out of college is still a favorite tool of hers.


Prep: 35 minutes

Bake: 45 minutes

Cool: 30 minutes

Stand: 30 minutes

23‚Ñ4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon. ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)

1‚Ñ2 teaspoon salt

1‚Ñ4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup full-flavored molasses

2 tablespoon butter, melted

2 tablespoon butter

1‚Ñ4 cup fresh peeled ginger, cut into slivers

1‚Ñ2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate

1 recipe Simmered Oranges (recipe follows)

Chopped crystallized ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In bowl combine flour, ground ginger, baking soda, baking powder, pepper, salt and cloves; set aside. In a small bowl combine molasses, 1 cup water and 2 tablespoons melted butter; set aside.

2. In 12-inch oven-going skillet cook and stir 2 tablespoons butter and slivered ginger over medium heat just until butter is melted. Remove from heat; set aside.

3. In mixing bowl beat the 1‚Ñ2 cup butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating 1 minute after each. Alternately beat in flour mixture and molasses mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until combined. Stir in chocolate. Pour batter over butter-ginger mixture in hot skillet.

4. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in skillet on rack 30 minutes (center may dip slightly). Serve warm topped with whipped cream, Simmered Oranges and crystallized ginger. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

5. To make Simmered Oranges: Slice 4 oranges crosswise about 1‚Ñ4-inch thick. Discard seeds. In 12-inch skillet over medium heat bring 11‚Ñ2 cups sugar, and 1‚Ñ4 cup each water, orange juice and lemon juice to boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes or until syrupy. Add orange slices. Return to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 3 minutes or just until oranges are tender, turning occasionally. Transfer to serving bowl. Cool. Serve with Chocolate Gingerbread.

Nutrition facts

Calories 559, total fat (g) 18, saturated fat (g) 11, monounsaturated fat (g) 5, polyunsaturated fat (g) 1, cholesterol (mg) 66, sodium (mg) 328, carbohydrate (g) 99, total sugar (g) 68, fiber (g) 3, protein (g) 5, vitamin C (DV percent) 22, calcium (DV percent) 9, iron (DV percent) 22. Daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet

Bob Rae is president of Meyer Corp., which includes BonJour Gourmet. He designed its clad metal line of pans, including the 12-inch skillet in this story.

“With a good skillet, almost everything becomes convenience food — especially when the recipe can go straight from stove top to table,” Rae said.


Start to finish: 30 minutes

4 6-ounce beef tenderloin steaks (1‚Ñ2- to 3‚Ñ4-inch thick)

1tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon cooking oil or olive oil

4 shallots, halved if large, or 1‚Ñ2 medium red onion cut in wedges

2 tablespoon cognac, brandy or dry red wine

1‚Ñ2 cup beef broth

1 tablespoon butter, softened

Snipped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

Crushed pink peppercorns (optional)

1 recipe Braised Swiss Chard, see recipe

1. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. In 12-inch skillet heat 1 tablespoon butter and the oil over high heat. Cook steaks 1 to 2 minutes, until bottoms are browned. Reduce heat to medium. Turn steaks; cook 6 minutes more or until desired doneness (145 degrees for medium-rare). Remove steaks; keep warm.

2. Add shallots to skillet. Cook 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove skillet from heat. Add cognac; return to medium heat. Cook 2 minutes, stirring to scrape up browned bits from pan. Add broth. Reduce heat to medium-low. Whisk in 1 tablespoon softened butter until smooth. Return steaks to skillet. Heat, spooning sauce over steaks. Top with parsley and peppercorns. Serve with Braised Swiss Chard.

3. To make Braised Swiss Chard: Trim stems from 1 pound Swiss chard; rinse and dry. In Dutch oven preheat 2 tablespoons cooking oil over medium heat. Add chard, cover; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 434, total fat (g) 25, saturated fat (g) 9, monounsaturated fat (g) 7, polyunsaturated fat (g) 6, cholesterol (mg) 129, sodium (mg) 763, carbohydrate (g) 7, total sugar (g) 2, fiber (g) 2, protein (g) 40, vitamin C (DV percent) 57, calcium (DV percent) 11, iron (DV percent) 27. Daily values are based on a 2,000- calorie diet.

Debbie Shore finds her 12-inch skillet just the right size to bring dinner to the table for her daughter, Sofia, and herself. To learn more about Shore and the organization Share our Strength, visit

“There is so much hunger in the world, I try to treat every meal as a gift. Bringing out the best in every dish is part of that, and a big skillet is the secret to my perfect omelet — not too thin, not too thick,” said Shore.


Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 13 minutes


1 medium poblano or green sweet pepper, roasted (directions below), seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons butter

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1‚Ñ2 medium avocado, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

1‚Ñ4 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced (optional)

1‚Ñ4 cup manchego cheese, shredded (1 oz.)

Crushed red pepper

1 recipe Fresh Tomato Compote, recipe follows

1. Roast poblano pepper (directions below); set aside. In 12-inch nonstick skillet heat butter over medium-high heat. Add eggs; gently swirl to spread eggs to edge of skillet.

2. When eggs begin to bubble, sprinkle with poblano, avocado, and jalapeno.

3. When omelet is very lightly brown at edges, add cheese. With spatula loosen egg from sides; fold half the omelet over filling.

Season with black pepper and crushed red pepper. Serve with Fresh Tomato Compote and toast.

4. To make Fresh Tomato Compote: In medium skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add 1‚Ñ2 cup thinly sliced onion; cook 5 minutes or until tender. Add 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, 1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley, 1‚Ñ8 teaspoon each salt and ground black pepper. Heat through, serve with omelet.

To roast pepper: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Halve pepper lengthwise; remove stems and seeds. Place halves, cut sides down, on foil-lined baking sheet. Roast 20 to 25 minutes. Wrap pepper in foil; let stand 10 minutes. Gently pull off skin in strips, using a sharp knife to help loosen. Makes 2 servings.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 509, total fat (g) 37, saturated fat (g) 15, monounsaturated fat (g) 14, polyunsaturated fat (g) 3, cholesterol (mg) 262, sodium (mg) 703, carbohydrate (g) 35, total sugar (g) 8, fiber (g) 7, protein (g) 16, vitamin C (DV percent) 276, calcium (DV percent) 29, iron (DV percent) 32. Daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

More like this from

Subscribe Today

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive daily news.

Want more? Click here to subscribe to either the Print or Digital Editions.