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The Best Sauté Pans To Buy In 2022

The sauté pan is one of the most multipurpose pans in the kitchen. You can use them in so many ways, from browning, searing and frying to steaming, poaching and reducing sauces. Many sauté pans are also oven-suitable too, expanding their versatility even further. So, given their usefulness, it makes sense to pick a sauté pan you know you can rely on. In this roundup review, let’s take a look at our top sauté pans for all kinds of chefs.

Calphalon 5 Quart Classic Non-Stick Sauté Pan with Cover – Best Overall

T-Fal Ultimate Hard Anodized Non-Stick 5 Quart Jumbo Cooker – Budget Pick

Cuisinart 733-30H Chef’s Classic Stainless 5 ½ Quart Sauté Pan with Helper Handle and Cover – Professional Choice

Breville Clad Stainless Steel 3.5 Quart Sauté Pan with Lid – Best for Solo Cooking

Farberware Non-Stick Jumbo Cooker/Sauté Pan with Helper Handle – Most Stylish

Sauté Pans – What You Need to Know

There are a few things you need to know about sauté pans before we dive into the reviews. We’ll cover the basics below.

Sauté Pans vs. Skillets

Sauté pans and skillets: what’s the difference? Most people aren’t too sure, and the terms are often used interchangeably. The only difference is that a sauté pan has straight sides, giving it a larger surface area. This helps when searing meat or reducing sauces, and also makes it less likely for anything to splash over the sides.

Skillets, on the other hand, have slanted sides. Skillets are often referred to as frying pans too. These slanted sides make skillets more suited to stir-frying and other quick cooking methods that involve moving your ingredients around a lot.

Sauté pans are also more likely to come with a lid, as their shape makes them more suited to cooking methods where you want to lock in heat and moisture. Skillets don’t tend to need a lid – when frying, you want to remove moisture as quickly as possible for optimum crisp and caramelization.[1]

But for the most part, you can use them interchangeably. One might be slightly better suited than the other for some cooking tasks, but in most cases, both pans will be suitable. (Note: if your main concern is frying perfect eggs, we don’t blame you! We’ve put together a guide to the best pan for eggs)

The Best Materials for Sauté Pans

Stainless steel is a great choice for your sauté pan. It is durable, corrosion resistant, and non-reactive, meaning it won’t change the flavor of your food. The only problem is, stainless steel doesn’t conduct heat very well. In order to combat this, stainless steel is typically layered or clad with another material that conducts heat better as an inner core, such as aluminum or copper. Stainless steel clad with either of these metals can result in high quality, long-lasting and highly effective cookware – so it’s perfect for your sauté pan.

Aluminum is also a popular choice by itself. An excellent heat distributor and conductor, aluminum is a great choice for your sauté pan. It’s also usually quite affordable. However, it is fairly soft and lightweight, making it prone to warping at high heats. It also scratches easily and is highly reactive to acidic foods such as tomatoes, lemon juice, vinegar or wine.

Luckily, there’s a solution to these problems. Anodized aluminum is aluminum that has undergone an electrochemical process that alters its surface chemistry, building up its oxide coating to produce a scratch-resistant, non-reactive and non-stick surface.[2] Hard-anodized aluminum has an even thicker oxide layer, making it more durable. However, anodized aluminum can’t be dishwashed, and comes at a higher cost than regular aluminum. 

A copper pan that has discoloured from use
Some pans are harder to look after than others

Copper is a great alternative if you’re looking for something that’s going to stand out in your kitchen. It shares many of its properties with aluminum, such as even heating and great conductivity. However, its more expensive, and on top of this, pure copper scratches easily and tends to react with acidic foods, altering the color and taste of your food. To prevent this, copper cookware tends to be lined or clad with another, less reactive material such as stainless steel.

Finally, ceramic sauté pans can be found in a wide range of eye-catching colors. These pans aren’t actually made from ceramic though. Instead, a metal, typically aluminum, is coated in a thin layer of ceramic because of its excellent non-stick properties. However, this coating is fairly sensitive and can be easily damaged by high-heat cooking, so try to stick to dishes that require a lower heat when cooking with ceramic pans.

Other Uses for Your Sauté Pan

Sauté pans are perfect for sautéing or slowly frying foods like onions, peppers, zucchinis and potatoes in oil. The straight sides also make them perfect for preparing sauces, and bigger sauté pans are great for one-pot meals too.

Some methods of cooking with a pan will require a lid. It’s a good idea to use the lid in any situations where you’re trying to keep heat and moisture inside the pan – such as blanching veg, steaming tamales or poaching eggs. On the other hand, if you want to thicken a sauce or sear a cut of meat, you’d be smart to leave the lid off so that steam can escape. All of the pans reviewed below come with a lid, enabling you to expands the ways you can use your sauté pan.

Often, you’ll want to pop a sauté pan in the oven for baking, roasting, or just to keep food warm. In these situations, it’s important to make sure your pan is oven suitable to avoid any problems. All the sauté pans reviewed below are oven safe, and we’ve listed their maximum temperatures too.

two non-stick blue saute pans

Looking After Your Sauté Pans

There are a few things you can do to make sure your pans last longer. The first is to make sure you preheat your pan properly before using it. Just heat on a low- to medium heat for two or three minutes before cooking, then add your oil. Don’t preheat on high, as this makes your pan more likely to warp.

It’s also a good idea to avoid sudden changes of temperature for the same reason. As well as whacking the heat up, this means don’t run a cool tap on your sauté pan before giving it time too cool down.[3] The steaming may sound cool, but it’s not worth ruining your pan for!

Although a number of pans below are dishwasher safe, we would recommend normally washing your sauté pans by hand. Due to the non-stick coatings on some of the pans below, this can be as simple as wiping round with a paper towel. If not, warm water and a mild detergent should do the trick. Save the dishwasher for really tough stains – or when you’re feeling really lazy!

Finally, for pans with non-stick coating, try and avoid using metal utensils, which might scratch or damage the coating. The best materials to use are plastic, wood and silicone utensils instead.[4]

The Best Sauté Pans Available In 2021

Now that we’ve covered what sauté pans are, the best materials to make them from, some cooking methods, and how to care for your sauté pans, let’s dive into our top picks to find which pan is best suited to your kitchen needs.

Calphalon 5 Quart Classic Non-Stick Sauté Pan with Cover – Best Overall

·      Material: Hard-anodized aluminum

·      Dimensions: 24.38 x 15.5 x 4.25 inches

·      Weight: 7.3 pounds

·      Lid included: Yes

·      Dishwasher safe: No

·      Induction safe: No

·      Size: 5 Quart

As we saw earlier, hard-anodized aluminum has loads of great characteristics that make it perfect for cooking. Calphalon have a long history of using hard-anodized aluminum for their cookware – in fact, the Ohio-based brand was the first cookware brand to adopt the technology from the aerospace industry back in 1968.[5]

This 5 quart pan has a durable hard-anodized aluminum construction paired with a dual layer non-stick, providing reliable and even heating with high durability. The tempered glass lid seals the pan well, and enables you to see your food as it cooks. A lip on one side of the pan makes pouring easy, and helps ventilate the pan too.

At 7.3 pounds, this sauté pan feels reliably weighty, but remains easy to lift due to the lengthy stay-cool steel handle and helper handle – a feature we love. However, the rivets on the inside are prone to catching food, which can be quite frustrating when it comes to cleaning up. 

It’s a shame this pan isn’t induction-compatible, however, it is suitable for gas, electric, halogen and glass hobs. It’s also oven safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can easily transition from stovetop to oven.

Due to its anodized construction, we recommend that you only wash this sauté pan by hand, using non-abrasive sponges in order to protect the non-stick coating.

This sauté pan is our top pick overall, due to its reliable construction. For anyone who wants a versatile sauté pan you know you can trust, we recommend this Calphalon 5 quart classic sauté pan.

T-Fal Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick 5 Quart Jumbo Cooker – Budget Pick

·      Material: Hard-anodized aluminum

·      Dimensions: 20.59 x 11.89 x 5.12 inches

·      Weight: 6.78 pounds

·      Lid included: Yes

·      Dishwasher safe: Yes

·      Induction safe: No

·      Size: 5 Quart

Our budget pick is a 5-quart sauté pan from French cookware manufacturers T-Fal, the leading kitchen appliances brand worldwide. The hard-anodized aluminum construction is reliable, and the titanium-based coating is reliably non-stick. The pan has a comfortable silicone handle, and the addition of a helper handle is a nice feature, especially on a cheaper sauté pan. 

T-Fal are famous for their Heat Mastery System, a three-step checklist consisting of superior and longer lasting non-stick coating, an even heat base with anti-warping properties, and their patented Thermo Spot technology, which ensures perfect preheating every time. The Thermo Spot heat indicator features a ring in the center of the pan that turns solid red to indicate when the pan is properly preheated. Preheating your pan is an essential step which can help to cook food evenly, so this feature is really useful for taking an element of guesswork out of your cooking.

This pan is also oven safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and the tempered glass lid can go up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, this sauté pan isn’t induction-compatible, but the addition of a heavy magnetized base would certainly drive up costs. However, any chef on a budget with a gas or electric hob ought to consider this sauté pan from T-Fal.

Cuisinart 733-30H Chef’s Classic Stainless 5 ½ Quart Sauté Pan with Helper Handle and Cover – Professional Choice

·      Material: Stainless Steel

·      Dimensions: 23.2 x 11.8 x 4.5 inches

·      Weight: 6.15 pounds

·      Lid included: Yes

·      Dishwasher safe: Yes

·      Induction safe: Yes

·      Size: 5½ Quart

With its understated stainless steel construction, this Cuisinart sauté pan would look right at home in a professional kitchen. An aluminum-encapsulated base ensures this pan heats quickly and provides an even heat distribution, while the riveted stainless steel handle stays cool.

Cuisinart also provide a range of features useful to both the home cook and the professional chef, such as the helper handle for support when lifting heavier meals, a tapered rim for drip free pouring and measurement markings on the inside, which is useful on any pan. The generous 5½ quart volume gives you a little more room for cooking in larger quantities too.

The stainless steel lid locks in moisture, which is great for cooking methods like poaching, boiling, stewing, and steaming. It’s a shame that you can’t see through it to monitor your cooking, but it seems to seal more tightly than the glass lids, so it’s a matter of preference.

The pan is versatile and can be used on all stoves including induction hobs. It is also oven safe to over 425 degrees Fahrenheit. One quick tip is that this pan really benefits from heating properly before use to improve its non-stick capabilities. Just heat the pan for two or three minutes before adding your oil and ingredients, and you’ll have a much easier time cleaning up. And if you’re feeling lazy, you’ll be pleased to hear that Cuisinart say this pan is completely dishwasher safe.

Overall, this solid, functional sauté pan from Cuisinart has a range of useful but discreet features, earning it our professional choice award.

Breville Clad Stainless Steel 3.5 Quart Sauté Pan with Lid – Best for Cooking for One or Two

·      Material: Stainless Steel

·      Dimensions: 19.75 x 12.75 x 5.13 inches

·      Weight: 5.3 pounds

·      Lid included: Yes

·      Dishwasher safe: Yes

·      Induction safe: Yes

·      Size: 3 ½ Quart

This smaller 3 ½-quart sauté pan from Breville is perfect for smaller cooking volumes. The stainless steel construction with tri-ply aluminum base delivers even heating and a high level of durability, and we were pleased with how quickly the pan heats up compared to the larger 5-or-more quart sauté pans. The laser-etched volume markings on the inside of the pan are great guidelines for eyeballing measurements, and the rolled edge rim provides drip-free pouring.

A contoured and double-riveted handle makes moving this pan around easy. There’s no helper handle, but it’s not needed due to the lightness of the pan and smaller volume.

The lid fits tightly, locking in moisture for poaching, boiling, stewing, and steaming, but its stainless steel construction means you can’t see through it to monitor the food you’re cooking. Again, this isn’t too much of a problem, just a matter of preference.

This pan works on all different types of stovetops. As well as being induction safe, this pan is suitable for oven temperatures up to 500 degrees, affording you more cooking options in the kitchen.

Overall, Breville have delivered a reliable stainless steel sauté pan. Its smaller size makes it perfect for couples’ cooking together or for cooking solo. (Breville also offer a 5 quart sauté pan too, with helper handles!).

Farberware Non-Stick Jumbo Cooker/Sauté Pan with Helper Handle – Most Stylish

·      Material: Aluminum

·      Dimensions: 21.5 x 12.25 x 4.25 inches

·      Weight: 4.3 pounds

·      Lid included: Yes

·      Dishwasher safe: Yes

·      Induction safe: No

·      Size: 6 Quart

Back in 1900, S.W. Farber made his first cookware from tin and copper.[6] Ever since then, Farberware has remained committed to bringing convenience, dependability, and value to America’s kitchens. 

Farberware’s family first philosophy definitely comes through with this huge 6 quart sauté pan, which is a great option for any kitchen with lots of mouths to feed. Constructed from a heavy duty aluminum, this sauté pan heats quickly and evenly, and it’s also dishwasher safe.

The handle is double riveted to the body of the pan, but the plastic material doesn’t have quite the same reliable feel as the other pans listed. Although the pan is surprisingly lightweight at just 4.3 pounds, the helper handle is a must-have when the pan is filled with food!

The pan and shatter resistant glass lid are both oven safe, but only up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also not suitable for induction hobs, but will work on all other types of stovetop.

Alongside the blue pictured above, this sauté pan is available in red, classic black and classy champagne colors. You’re bound to find something that fits into your kitchen! For this reason, we have awarded this Farberware sauté pan our most stylish award.

The Final Verdict – The Best Sauté Pan

That concludes our line-up of the best sauté pans for your kitchen in 2021. We’ve covered a range of different pans, but our top choice is the Caplhalon 5-quart classic sauté pan. The aluminum construction is as reliable as you’d expect from America’s number 1 hard-anodized cookware brand, and the double-layered non-stick makes cleanup a breeze. As long as you don’t have an induction stovetop and are happy washing it by hand, it’s our top pick overall.

Calphalon 5 Quart Classic Non-Stick Sauté Pan with Cover

FAQs

Is a sauté pan Suitable For Making Soups and Sauces?

A sauté pan is versatile enough to use for making soups and sauces, but it sounds like you might be better off with a saucepan instead. For a more comprehensive guide to the different pots, pans and other cookware, we’ve put together the best guide to pots and pans on the internet.

What size sauté pan should I get?

This really depends on what you’re cooking and how many you’re cooking for. If you’re typically cooking for just one or two, a smaller pan will do the trick, anything between 1- and 3 1/2-quart should be fine. If you’re cooking for a family, or regularly entertain guests, it might be better to size up and go for something between a 4- and an 8-quart, depending on the size of your family or how many guests you’re planning on having! If you’re entertaining a larger number but haven’t got a huge 8-quart pan, there’s nothing wrong with using two smaller pans on different burners.

I have a glass stovetop that I don’t want to scratch. what would you recommend?

We’ve dedicated a whole article to the best pans for glass stovetops, so maybe take a look there!

References

[1] Science of Cooking (date unknown), ‘What is the Caramelization?’. Accessed at: https://www.scienceofcooking.com/caramelization.htm.

[2] Aluminum Anodizers Council (date unknown), ‘What is Anodizing?’. Accessed at: https://www.anodizing.org/page/what-is-anodizing.

[3] Chef Chang (23 January 2019), ‘Why do Frying Pans Warp? (Plus How to Fix It)’. Accessed at: https://sliceofkitchen.com/why-do-frying-pans-warp-plus-how-to-fix-it/.

[4] Mariette Mifflin (27 June 2019), ‘Using and Caring for Nonstick Pans’. Accessed at: https://www.thespruce.com/nonstick-pans-care-1908563.

[5] Calphalon (date unknown), ‘Our History’. Accessed at: https://www.calphalon.com/about-us.html.

[6] Farberware (date unknown), ‘Our Story’. Accessed at: https://farberwarecookware.com/pages/our-story.