Baking with an Electric Skillet

Baking with an Electric Skillet featured image

Baking with an Electric Skillet


Electric skillets are amazingly versatile kitchen items that can be applied for cookery, serving and baking.

For skillet use, they are almost unparalleled in their uses form pancakes to fried chicken. What many may not know is that most electric skillets can be easily used to bake potatoes, cornbread, coffee cakes, muffins, snacks, biscuits and even cake mixes. The sides and the bottom of the items will be baked brown with nominal coloring on the top parts, this still gives the finished product a very attractive appearance.

An electric skillet has the heating coil looped around the bottom, usually visible on the back as a raised ridge. Since this is the only heat source, it will cycle on and off creating hotter areas immediately above it. Keeping the air hot is different than just heating the skillet. When baking it will actually be cycling more, since it doesn’t have anything directly on top of it, which will hold in some of the heat.

Getting good baking results from a skillet means that you do not have to turn on the oven, using less energy and not heating up your kitchen quite as much. You will have to develop the correct technique to get it right, and some minor changes will have to be made such as using aluminum foil or a wire rack to help. The best advice is to simply use a baking pan that fits well inside your particular unit.

The key to baking is airflow and the ability for the heated air to circulate around the food being cooked. So, a baking pan that fits means at least one inch of clearance for the edges. Underneath, you want a rack that will keep the bottom of the pan ½ inch or more above the skillet’s surface to prevent scorching the bottom surface of your food.

The same applies if you are cooking food not in a pan, for example a baked potato. You want to keep these off the bottom allowing for air to cook them to that delightful stage of fluffiness we all love. Some foods, meatloaf for example, can be just set right in the bottom surface typically inside the ring of the element. It will brown more on the bottom, giving you a tasty crust, similar to the top and sides of a traditional oven baked loaf. You can also throw carrots or spuds around it to give enjoy a pot roast type meal.

The most enjoyable aspect of using a skillet to bake is that you get to experiment with your favorite recipes, something all true bakers love doing. That, and you can observe the whole process much more closely. You still need to be aware that removing the lid, like opening the oven door, will result in loss of heat in your cooking environment. One big difference between using your skillet versus the oven is how brown the top surface of your food will get. Without the large airspace of an oven, it is problematic to get heated air to the top section and brown the upper parts of your food. Make sure that the item you are cooking will allow for some airflow at the top as well as the bottom.

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Before you get started you will need the following items

  • An electric skillet
  • A wire rack and some aluminium foil
  • The ingredients you wish to use
  • A baking tin that fits in the skillet

Here are the different methods you can experiment with

The first method – Using the baking pan


This is by far the easiest way bake in a skillet and the most popular

These are the steps in this process

  1. Turn on your electric skill, ensure the lid is secured
  2. Turn the thermostat to the recommended temperature as per the instructions
  3. Prep the mix you will use as per usual or according to the recipe
  4. Fill the baking pan with the mixture
  5. Remove the lid from the skillet and place a wire rack in the base of the skillet,
  6. Place the baking tin in the center of the rack
  7. Place the lid back on leaving the small vent in the lid open
  8. Let the mix bake for the recommended time
  9. Remove item from the skillet and switch it off

The second method – Using aluminum foil for baking


This one is a bit trickier and will give you a slightly different result, most notably little to no coloration on the top surface. For a cake, this works pretty well. Line your cold skillet with aluminum foil, pressing it well into the corners and smoothing everything out as much as possible.

You are creating the pan in which the food will actually cook. So, for a batter recipe, like a cake, the fewer wrinkles and such the better. Yes, frosting will hide many sins, but it will also be much easier to remove the smoother the interior surface. To remove the foil lining with the food in it, you are best off unplugging the skillet, placing a larger sheet pan or such over the top and inverting the whole thing. This should release your foil pan, cake and all, onto the sheet for the next steps, removing the foil and finishing your dessert.

Some Tips:

If you do not have a rack that fits well in your electric skillet, there are ways to work around that. The first is to make five or six equally sized balls of aluminum foil. Spread these evenly around the bottom of the skillet, and use them to hold the baking pan above that surface. Another option is to use skewers to hold the pan off the bottom. Not ideal, this will work in a pinch.

The versatility of an electric skillet is based heavily on having a thermostat. Being able to work with a controlled consistent temperature is what makes this device, like an oven, so effective.

Like all of the tools that we have in our kitchen, the electric skillet makes a lot of cooking much easier. Considering they’ve been in the market nearly seventy-five years, they must bring something to the countertop! In this day and age of downsizing and tiny houses, a device that meets more than one need will always have a place in the kitchen

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