How small is small? In the world of small electric skillets, it’s actually around 6-8 inches. Unlike standard manual skillets which can have mini-sizes (there’s even a 3-inch mini-skillet!), the electric ones tend to come in reliably standard sizes.
And by reliable, I mean, it’s a worthwhile kitchen tool to have for dorm and camper/RV living. Its size is portable enough so that you can tuck it away in a small drawer or cabinet. Or, if you’re living alone in a small space and can’t be bothered to cook fancy meals, a small electric skillet is a no-frills tool for easy cooking.
There are practical benefits to owning one. A small pan means that the heat would be quickly distributed evenly along its cooking surface. It’ll also reach hotter temperatures faster because of heat exposure from the pan’s walls.
The small size also means there’s less surface area for washing. And because they generally come with non-stick inner coating, you can just rinse them quickly and they’re good to go.
I like mine for cooking single servings of breakfast comfort food, like a pancake, a tortilla, or especially an omelet. Because of the small cooking area, the scrambled eggs are forced upward, resulting in a thick and fluffy appearance.
Or if I’m in the mood for a chicken breast, I’ll just season one and pop it right in, turn on the electric skittle and just wait until its cooked.
This is the cookware that any introvert should have since it’s good for making smaller servings. Why cook a meal for a single person on a large skillet, when one with just the right size will do?
Some professional cooks like to use this type of skillet for making side dishes. There are models that come with programmable temperatures so that one can just stick the veggies in, set the temperature, and go back to cooking the main dish without worrying that the side dish would be overcooked.
A small electric skillet is also best for reheating leftover food. Larger skillets have a wide cooking area which, when heated, tends to dry out leftovers. If you have leftover stew, you’ll have to add a bit of water to retain the moisture but then the flavor will be decidedly diluted. So you’re better off using a small one.
It’s also one of the best kitchen hacks for toasting nuts or spices. It’s just the right size for cooking particle-sized ingredients. Just put the spices in, add your butter or ghee, and watch them bloom.
Because small skillets are so handy, they’ve become popular enough to have so many models and designs in the market. I’ve checked out the ones online and here are my top five choices for the best small electric skillets in the market.
Five Essential Small Electric Skillets You Should Have
- Elite Gourmet Personal Non-stick Electric Skillet
- Nesco Electric Skillet
- Toastmaster Electric Skillet
- Nostalgia MyMini Personal Electric Skillet & Rapid Noodle Maker
- Maxi-Matic Elite Cuisine Electric Skillet with Glass
1. Elite Gourmet Personal Non-stick Electric Skillet
Its total length may be 8.5” but its non-stick cooking area is actually 7.5”. This stylishly red electric skillet uses 650W to quickly heat and cook your food. From pancakes to grilled sandwiches to stir-fry veggies, it can evenly cook your food within minutes.
Its tempered glass lid has a steam vent to prevent hot moisture build-up inside the skillet. It has a cool touch knob so that its easy to handle right after cooking.
Its nonstick coating is PFOA-free and the appliance is ETL safety approved.
- Burner covers the entire bottom pan; no uneven heating
- Has skid-free rubber feet to prevent scratching your countertop surface
- No heating dial; only OFF/ON switch
- Only the glass lid is removable and dishwasher friendly
2. Nesco Electric Skillet
This has a die-cast aluminum pan that’s coated with high quality Premium Whitford non-stick coating.
It has a 1.75-inch interior that can be used for sauteeing veggies, stirfrying shrimp or cook some stew.
At 800 watts, the skillet heats up quickly so you can cook your meals at the shortest amount of time possible. It has heat resistant handles so that you can handle it while cooking and comes with a thermostat control with a pilot light included.
- Heats evenly and quickly
- Elderly friendly; just the right size and weight for handling by anyone
- Temp control settings are not in Fahrenheit or Celsius; manual doesn’t show the temp equivalents of the 1 to 5 heat settings
- Not dishwasher safe; not immersible
3. Toastmaster Electric Skillet
Small and compact, this skillet is perfect for helping control your portions since it’s suited to cooking small servings. Whether you’re cooking eggs, frying bacon or grilling sandwiches, your meals will come out nicely cooked.
It has an adjustable temperature control so you can have more versatility in the dishes you cook. Its glass lid is tempered and the knob is heat-proof.
Its locking handle is removable so you can easily clean it by hand. So is its interior since it’s covered with non stick coating. Just wipe it dry with a moist cloth and it’s good to go.
- Lightweight and easy to use; one review said even a mentally challenged person can fry an egg with this
- Portable; can fit in a corner at the bottom of your luggage
- Not for deep frying since pan depth is only around one and a half inches
- Heating coil underneath is not encased unlike larger skillets; may cause some instances of uneven heating
4. Nostalgia MyMini Personal Electric Skillet & Rapid Noodle Maker
The smallest size among the items on this list, this personal electric skillet can also cook ramen noodles, pasta and steamed rice.
It’s also easy to use. Just plug it in and wait for 3 minutes until it’s preheated. It has an indicator light that shuts off when the cooking surface is sufficiently heated for you to start cooking.
It also has two cooking surfaces. The top is recommended for frying and cooking ramen noodles. The lower surface is best for burgers and pancakes.
The interior is coated with a non-stick coating for easy cleaning. It also has cool-touch handles so you won’t be burned when handling it right after cooking.
- Best for portion control eating; capacity is equivalent to a standard bowl of cereal
- ETL tested
- Only to be used for dishes with short cooking times; some reviews mention that the handle on the 2nd insert can heat up
- Serving size may be too small for American preferences
5. Maxi-Matic Elite Cuisine Electric Skillet with Glass
This skillet can be used for searing, simmering, steaming and frying. It has a non-stick coating surface that makes it easy to clean.
An adjustable temperature control allows you to choose what cooking method you would like to do. It also has the standard cool-touch knob and tempered glass lid.
- Removable handle; easy to clean by hand
- Quick heating
- Temp control doesn’t show the degrees; only Off to Max
- The circular heating element is not sealed but bracketed into the bottom of the pan
Buyers Guide to Choosing the Best Small Electric Skillet
An electric skillet, also known as an electric frying pan, has three basic elements in its design: a circular, rectangular or oblong cooking pan, a glass lid and a power cord. The temperature settings also follow a standard range of about 175 degrees Fahrenheit to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Obviously, because you’re reading this post, size is no longer a consideration. You want a small-sized electric skillet. So here’s what you need to look out for when choosing the best one for your needs.
You may not realize it but picking the right shape will give you optimal use of your electric skillet. Sure, its small size is good enough for a single person, but sometimes you might be more hungry than usual and you’d like to cook a bit more. The oblong or rectangular shape will give you a slightly bigger cooking space than the circular one so you can cook more than your usual portion.
Aluminum is often used as a material for cookware. That’s because they’re inexpensive to produce but durable and conducts heat well. In electric skillets, the aluminum is usually treated with a non-stick coating of Teflon, so that you can easily clean the pan after cooking.
Stainless steel is even better, but they’re usually used for more expensive electric skillets. There are also copper electric skillets available in the market, but they don’t count because they don’t really contain copper- they’re just colored with copper tones.
Check the handle; is it heat-resistant? Since the skillet is small, you shouldn’t have to bother using oven mitts when handling it.
Does it have a steam vent on its lid? Having one will help prevent liquid spillage along the sides because the heat tends to build up hot moisture within the interior space.
Is the lid dome shaped? Having a high dome will also add more cooking space so that you can prepare bigger single servings of your meal.
How thick is the bottom? If it’s thin, it may not conduct heat as even as thicker ones.
Does it have auto-shut down settings? Because it’s an electrical appliance, safety features that prevent the skillet from overheating is essential.
Can it maintain a consistent temperature? Most of the electric skillets in the market are manufactured overseas so the quality of their performances are not up to standard. Some are even prone to uneven heating.
Is the quality of the non-stick coating industry-standard? Some of these may not even last after a few rounds of cooking. Is the coating even safe for cooking?
After Sales Service
Check the product review pages. How does the company respond to complaints and requests for replacements? Some may have excellent customer service but since the manufacturer is located overseas, replacement parts may take a long time to arrive.