Following a recipe is only one key step to a great meal, using the right pan can also make all the difference in a perfectly executed dish. Keep reading to find the best pan for all your sautéing needs.
When To Use a Saute Pan
Whether you are making a batch of mouthwatering sauteed vegetables or a pan of delicious stir fry, a saute pan is a necessity for the at-home chef or everyday cook.
Because saute pans have so many uses they are a versatile pan to keep stocked in your kitchen.
Saute pans have straight sides, which means it’s bigger than a skillet which has slanted sides. The bigger size adds extra space which can be used to sear meat, saute vegetables, or any recipe that would benefit from a bigger pan.
Because of the saute pan’s lid and deep sides it is perfect for cooking things with liquid, such as spaghetti sauce or curry. Saute pans are also oven safe which makes recipes that start on the stove top and get transferred to the oven so much easier.
Click here to learn more about saute pans and what you can do with them.
Things to Look For in a Saute Pan
When buying a saute pan there are a few things you will want to keep in mind: Design, material, and size.
Saute pans have straight sides and a wide flat bottom. Pans are measured by their diameter going end to end (not including the handle.) That means that frying pans or skillets may say they are 8 inches, but because of the slanted sides the surface of the pan is actually smaller than 8 inches. The saute pan is has straight sides, so the surface of the pan is the size it is measured at.
Frying pans are great and have lots of uses as well, but if you are looking to buy a saute pan, make sure it has straight sides.
Most saute pans come with handles and lids. Actually, all of the top seven saute pans rated here have lids because lids are great for keeping heat and moisture in, and keeps the pan clean when it’s not in use.
Handles make it easy to move the saute pan from the stove to the sink, oven, or table. When buying a saute pan, you’ll want to look for one that has a nice long handle that is secured on tight. Some saute pans come with a little helper handle on the opposite side of the long handle, which adds a nice touch and is helpful when moving the pan around.
Straight sides, lids, and handles are things to look for while examining the design of a saute pan.
Next, you want to pay attention to the material of the saute pan you are looking to buy. Are you wanting cast iron, or stainless steel? Aluminum or copper? Nonstick or ceramic? Different material comes with different advantages and disadvantages when cooking.
Cast iron conducts heat very well and is oven, grill, and fire safe. Cast iron is also fairly inexpensive, and when it gets hot, it stays hot. It is harder to clean and heavier than other materials. Because iron is a reactive metal it can sometimes cause your food to taste a little off if it is mixed with certain foods, such as foods with high acidity. But, if you take good care of it and be sure to wash it well and oil it down it can be one of your favorite pans.
Stainless Steel Saute Pans
Stainless steel pans are oven and stove top safe, less expensive than some other options, and dishwasher safe. It isn’t reactive, and is pretty scratch resistant. Although it is recommended to avoid using metal utensils with stainless steel. When shopping for a stainless steel pan, you will see the labels of 18/0, 18/8 or 18/10. Those numbers refer to the amount of chromium and nickel in the pan. Chromium (the 18) helps the pan to not rust, and nickel (The second number) helps prevent corrosion, and adds a shine onto the steel. The higher the percentage of nickel the higher the polish and corrosion resistant the pan will be. A stainless steel pan that is 18/10 will be more expensive than one that is 18/0, but you will get your money’s worth. If you are looking for a nice addition to your kitchen, stainless steel saute pans are the way to go.
Copper Saute Pan
Copper is a really great heat conductor. It heats up quickly and adjusts to temperature changes fast. It is really expensive though. Because it is a reactive metal it usually needs to be lined with another material such as stainless steel or tin.
Aluminium Saute Pan
Aluminum is a very good heat conductor, and it is similar to stainless steel, though cheaper, and it can scratch more easily, which makes it harder to clean. It can also react to certain foods which may affect the taste or color of the food.
Nonstick Saute Pan
Nonstick gets it’s name because the pan is coated with a nonstick coating that will allow the food you are cooking to not stick to the pan. These types of pans are pretty handy, easy to use and clean, but typically can’t stand super high heat. Click here for a more complete comparison on cookware materials.
What Size of Saute Pan is Best
The last thing to keep in mind when buying a saute pan is the size. Size is more catered to personal preference depending on how many people you are cooking for and how big your recipes are. Saute pans are typically sized in quarts.
Now that you know what to look for in a saute pan, here is a list of the top seven saute pans on the market:
1. 3 quart Stainless Clad Saucier from IdaStone Kitchens.
This pan is 18/10 stainless steel, oven safe and has a nice secure handle. Made in Italy, and featured in the NY times. You can’t go wrong with this pan.
2. Premium Hard Anodized Nonstick Wear Resistant cookware set with stainless steel handles.
Great option with a nice color on the pans. Dishwasher safe, scratch resistant, and it comes in a set.
Durable, nonstick, reinforced with titanium, and scratch resistant, this set is the one for you. Comes with a thermo spot indicator, riveted handles and vented lids, each pan is dishwasher and oven safe and definitely needs a place in your kitchen.
This aluminum pan is one that will never stick or chip or flake. It is a great option for a nonstick pan that can last a long time.
5. T-fal ultimate hard anodized Nonstick 5 quart Jumbo Cooker Durable nonstick, scratch resistant anti warping, and perfect for your weekday meal needs.
A classic great stainless steel saute pan. Dishwasher, and oven safe with flared sides for easier pouring.
Durable, easy food release providing quick cleanup, oven and dishwasher safe, comes with a little helper handle and a lifetime warranty which makes for a great pan.
There is the list of the top seven saute pans on the market. Once you have you saute pan you can start making delicious home cooked meals. For a quick review on how to saute, check out this article here.