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How Does an Electric Skillet Work?

The electric skillet works in more or less the same way an electric heater or hair dryer works. A high-voltage electric current is run through a resistor. The resistor resists the flow of electricity, converting the energy into heat. The heat then flows upward onto the surface of the skillet. The whole thing is controlled by a thermostat. Electric skillets generally don't get quite as hot as gas grills, but they can get pretty hot. Their main advantages are that they can get even heat over a wide surface with good temperature control.


Electric Skillet Basics

The electric skillet works in more or less the same way an electric heater or hair dryer works.  A high-voltage electric current is run through a resistor.

The resistor resists the flow of electricity, converting the energy into heat.  The heat then flows upward onto the surface of the skillet.

The whole thing is controlled by a thermostat.  Electric skillets generally don't get quite as hot as gas grills, but they can get pretty hot.

Their main advantages are that they can get even heat over a wide surface with good temperature control. 


Uses

Electric skillets can be used in a variety of ways.  They can be used to sautee foods, to grill steaks, and even to stir fry.

A large electric skillet can also be used to prepare several dishes at once.  Some skillets are designed to be cooler near the sides, which gives a cook more flexibility.

food can be seared in the middle and finished off to one side One of the more interesting possibilities with an electric skillet is steam cooking.  Add a few drops of water and put a metal cover over a dish while it cooks.

It will cook faster and heat more evenly, and not dry out while it cooks. 


Maintenance

All electrical cooking devices will eventually burn out, and there isn't a lot you can do about it.  In addition, most electric skillets don't have surfaces that can be replaced, so be careful not to scratch yours.

Use wood or plastic spatulas, and keep your skillet clean, dry and free of bumps and jolts that can shake the electronics loose.  Because they can not be stuck in a dishwasher, electric skillets require more care than many post and pans.

Clean yours off as soon as it cools down using a damp cloth or sponge. 

About the Author

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.