sauteed mushrooms

Best Saute Pan for Home Chefs: Why You Need This All-in-One Pan

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Tamara
April 21, 2022
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If you’re a home cook and love cooking like me, you probably have a few different pots and pans in your kitchen. But if you’re looking for the best all-in-one pan to add to your collection, then you need a saute pan! Sauté pans are perfect for cooking a variety of dishes, from seared meats with caramelized onions to vegetables to pasta and rice. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what saute pans are used for, what makes them different from other types of pans, and some of the best saute pans on the market today.

caramelized onions, saute onions, sauté onions, caramelized onion

My Top Saute Pan

If you’re just looking for a quick kitchen upgrade that will help you saute onions, simmer spaghetti sauce, and braise a roast like a pro grab the Made In Stainless Clad Saute Pan. Here’s why I love it.

  • The professional-grade 5-ply construction and riveted stainless steel handle mean it’ll last forever and perform like a professional piece of cookware with no hot spots so sautéed onions are a breeze.
  • Made in Italy with quality materials to prevent flavors from leaching into food. The pan can stand up to extremely high heat and high temperatures found in ovens. It’s oven-safe up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit!
  • Beautiful, quality, and limited lifetime warranty as long as you don’t intentionally destroy it you’ll be able to give this to your kids! I love the way mine looks so much I hand wash it just so I can feel this perfect pan!
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So What is a Saute Pan?

Sauté is the french word for ‘to jump’ and saute pans are specially designed to handle dishes with a bit of sauce or oil that jumps due to the application of heat! Why jumping? Because when you heat ingredients, usually vegetables, in fat over medium or medium-high heat with salt and pepper, which is what sautéing means the fat, imagine something like butter or olive oil, will pop as it heats. Saute pans are characterized by their high, straight sides and a large cooking area used simmer sauces, braise meats, shallow frying, and of course sauteing!

caramelized onions, olive oil, sauté onions

Saute Pans vs Skillets

A skillet, which can sometimes be called a frying pan, may sometimes be substituted for a saute pan in a pinch but there are a few differences you should be aware of. First, the similarities, saute pans and skillets both have flat bottoms and can both come in non-stick and stainless steel versions (skillets also come in cast iron). Now the differences, the sides of a skillet are sloped and shallow, while there is often only one handle and no lid. This means skillets are terrible for recipes with lots of liquid ingredients but are excellent for quickly cooking dry ingredients.

Saute Pans vs Woks

If you’ve been looking at woks and trying to decide between a saute pan, the decision is probably going to be much harder. Woks are excellent for many tasks that can also be accomplished with a saute pan, but the best woks are made out of carbon steel, which makes them poor choices for acidic ingredients like tomato sauces. So while both are excellent choices as starter kitchen items, if you lean towards foods with tomato-based sauces we recommend starting with a saute pan and leaving space in your collection for a wok later. However, if you prefer stir-fries, the wok is definitely the ideal choice.

What Else Can I Use a Saute Pan For?

In addition to being an all-purpose kitchen workhorse, the saute pan is also excellent for a number of specific tasks. For example, saute pans are the perfect size for cooking multiple servings of proteins like chicken breasts or pork chops. Additionally, their high sides make them ideal for simmering and braising dishes like stews. You’ll see the following common techniques in traditional recipes where a sauté pan is an excellent choice.

sauté pans, olive oil, caramelized onions,

Searing

Stainless steel saute pans are excellent vessels for getting the perfect sear, adding some chopped onions and getting your dinner to that perfect golden brown color! Plus as an added bonus you can use the same pan to braise the meat if you’re looking for something extra juicy and tender.

Braising

Braising refers to cooking a seared piece of meat in a small portion of liquid over low heat for an extended period of time. It results in very juicy and tender meats.

Simmering

If you’re looking to impress your family with a wooden spoon and your spaghetti sauce recipe, there’s really no other choice than a saute pan.

How to Choose the Saute Pan That’s Right for You

Two features you’ll want to look for are a lid to keep the mess to a minimum and a ‘helper handle’ which is the small handle opposite the large handle to enable you to carry a pan full of sauce with both hands without spilling it. But there are a lot of other variations you can choose from that will impact how happy you are with your saute pan, namely the type of saute pan and size. If you get one that’s not right for you, you won’t be as happy as a cook as you could be, so let’s learn a bit more about how to decide which saute pan is best for you!

What Size Saute Pan do you Need?

Saute pans are sold in a variety of sizes which are usually denoted by volume in quarts. You can find pans as small as 1.5 quarts and as large as 5.5 quarts. While it can be tough to convert pan volumes into what you need when shopping, it’s helpful to remember that there are 4 quarts per gallon and a 3.5 Qt saute pan will be about the same size as a 12″ frying pan.

In most cases, if you want something that’ll handle everyday needs, up to and including occasionally cooking for guests I’d recommend the 3.5 Qt size. Smaller sizes can’t hold that much liquid and you really only need large sauté pan if you cook for more than 6 adults (or very hungry teenagers) regularly or if you regularly break out a large skillet.

What Type of Saute Pan is Best?

Saute pans are generally classified based on their cooking surface material either, stainless steel or non-stick. In the past, there were only stainless steel options available but with advances in materials and coatings, non-stick is becoming a more popular option. So which one should you choose?

Stainless Steel Saute Pans

If you’re looking for a saute pan that will last forever and can go from stovetop to oven without issue, then stainless steel is the way to go. Additionally, if you want the option to use your pan for cooking at very high heat then stainless is still the best choice because non-stick coatings can start to break down at higher temperatures.

Non-Stick Saute Pans

If you’re looking for an easy-to-clean saute pan that’ll make cleanup a breeze, then non-stick is the way to go. Non-stick surfaces are ideal if you’re looking to get a sear without the mess.

Our Best Sauté Pans

As we said there are two main choices you need to make when choosing a saute pan; material and size, both of which can be personal preferences. So we’ve decided to pick one from each category that we think is the best option for someone looking to start sauteing!

Best 5.5 Qt Stainless Steel Saute Pan

Cuisinart 5.5 Quart Saute Pan with Helper

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Looking for a saute pan that will heat quickly and evenly, without discoloring your food or altering its flavor? Look no further than the Cuisinart Saute Pan. This professional-grade pan is made with an aluminum encapsulated base that ensures even heating and comes with measurement markings for ease of use. The cooking surface is also dishwasher safe, so you can clean it easily. Plus, the Drip-Free pouring feature prevents messes in the kitchen. And if anything ever goes wrong with your pan, don’t worry – it comes with a lifetime warranty!

Best Stainless Steel Saute Pan 3.5 Qt

Made In Stainless Clad Saute Pan

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This pan is a must-have in any kitchen! The Made In Stainless Clad Saute Pan has maximum heat control than to 5 layers of premium metal for professional-quality heat distribution. The wide surface area and durability make it an option for every essential cooking need. Straight walls allow for easy execution of braising and sauce-based dishes, and the stay-cool handle combined with the side handle helps with the added weight of loading this pan up with simmering sauces. Plus, it’s a looker too – you’ll end up using this pan as a serving dish and Instagram prop too!

Best 5.5 Qt Non-Stick Saute Pan

T-fal 5 Quart Titanium Non-Stick ProGrade Saute Pan

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The T-fal ProGrade Titanium Nonstick Saute Pan with ThermoSpot is a durable nonstick pan that has been reinforced with titanium to help prevent warping. The interior surface is scratch-resistant and toxin-free, and the ThermoSpot heat indicator lets you know when your pan has reached the perfect temperature for cooking. This T-fal saute pan features a stay-cool handle and helper handle for extra stability while cooking or serving.

Best 3.5 Qt Non-Stick Saute Pan

Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Saute Pan

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Looking for a saute pan that can handle professional-level cooking? Look no further than the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Saute Pan. This hard anodized pan features superior heat distribution and unsurpassed durability, making it perfect for everything from searing steaks to whipping up a batch of your favorite sauce. The Quantanium nonstick coating provides amazing results with minimal effort, while the cool grip handle ensures safe, comfortable handling. The tempered glass lid makes it easy to keep an eye on your food, and the drip-free pouring design prevents messes on the counter so everything is easy to clean!

Wrap-Up

We hope this guide has helped you understand the different types of saute pans available and find the perfect one for your needs! Whether you’re looking for the best stainless steel saute pan that will last a lifetime or the best non-stick option that will make cleanup a breeze, we’ve got you covered. Saute away!

What’s your favorite dish to cook in a saute pan? Let us know in the comments below! Thanks for reading and please share if you found this useful!

Tamara

Tamara is an avid foodie and successful restaurateur. She has dedicated a large chunk of her life to researching healthy food recipes and diet plans, and also teaching people how to improve their eating habits. Using Eatomology, Tamara shares the very best diet plans, cookbooks, and more. Also, for those on a quest to improve their kitchen, Tamara shares some awesome and high-quality kitchen equipment recommendations as well as buying guides on her website.