Best Saucepans

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

124 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
291 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best saucepans

Last Updated October 2019

A saucepan is the workhorse of the home kitchen. Think about it. You probably use one every time you cook. Whether you’re boiling vegetables, preparing pasta, making soup, whipping up a sauce, or doing any other kind of simmering or searing, the saucepan is your go-to tool.

Not all saucepans are created equal, however. When looking to buy one, there are several things to take into consideration. Does the pan cook evenly? If not, you’ll definitely notice when you sit down to eat. Is it easy to handle? If not, expect lots of straining and probably a few spills. Is cleanup easy? Not all saucepans can be put in the dishwasher. Many require a little elbow grease. Does it have a tight-fitting lid? After all, you don’t want the heat to escape.

At BestReviews, our goal is to answer these questions and help you make the best purchase for your needs. If you’re ready to buy a saucepan, check out the product list above for our favorites. For more information on how we decided and what we took into consideration, keep reading.

Since the saucepan is a kitchen workhorse, consider spending a little more money for a high-quality one.

Saucepan features

There are several features you should look for when shopping for a saucepan. Here are some things to consider before making your purchase.

Size

You can find saucepans as small as 1.5 quarts. These are ideal for melting butter or heating milk but not much else. A truly versatile saucepan holds 2 to 3 quarts of liquid. If you regularly entertain or cook for lots of people, you might want one that holds 4 to 5 quarts. Just remember: a larger saucepan is harder to maneuver around the kitchen.  

Some saucepans come with strainers you can use to separate the food from the cooking liquid.

Shape

There is no standard shape in the world of saucepans. Some are tall and skinny; others are shorter and wider. They can also have flared sides. There is no wrong choice. Each style has benefits and drawbacks. For everyday cooking, however, the shorter, wider saucepans are more versatile and easier to handle.

Some saucepans have a rounded lip to make pouring easier.

Lid

Whichever saucepan you choose, make sure that it comes with a tight-fitting lid. Most lids are made of metal, but some are glass. Glass lids are useful for seeing what you’re cooking without lifting the lid and letting out the heat. Be careful when lifting the lid off the saucepan: it can be very hot.

Some saucepan lids have convenient built-in strainers.

Handle

Don’t underestimate the importance of a saucepan’s handle. They vary in shape, thickness, and material. Stainless steel handles are sturdy, but they can also get very hot, so be sure to have an oven mitt or towel handy. Silicone-coated steel handles won’t burn you, but they’re bulkier and less durable. Plastic handles are even less durable, and they can be unwieldy and slippery when wet. And don’t forget the handle on the lid. Many users prefer large, circular handles to the more fashionable center knobs.  

EXPERT TIP

The handle should be secured to the saucepan by strong metal rivets.


Staff  | BestReviews

Saucepan materials

Aluminum and steel

Some of the most desirable saucepans are made from three or more layers of metal. Most feature a layer of highly conductive anodized aluminum sandwiched between layers of stainless steel. Anodized aluminum pans are good heat conductors and can last a long time if properly cared for. This design is best for heat conduction and durability. Some economical pans only have the aluminum on the bottom.

Nonstick

These saucepans feature coated aluminum. They have to be treated carefully to avoid scratching the nonstick coating.

If you bake regularly, make sure your saucepan is wide enough to accommodate a large whisk.

Ceramic

These pans are readily available. They are nonstick and heat evenly, but some users complain of a lack of durability, particularly concerning the nonstick coating.

Copper

These saucepans are very durable, aesthetically pleasing, and great heat conductors. Cleaning and polishing them can be a chore, but many people find that the benefits of copper outweigh the negatives. These pans are expensive.

EXPERT TIP

Your saucepan should be hung on a rack or placed in a cabinet with plenty of space around it.


Staff  | BestReviews

Saucepan prices

The price of saucepans varies widely depending on size, material, and brand.

$15 to $30: For this price, you’ll get a smaller pan – some hold less than one quart – made of aluminum or steel. A common complaint about bargain pans is that the handles aren’t securely connected to the pan and can fall off.

$30 to $50: At this price, you’ll start to see recognizable brands. Most of these saucepans are made of stainless steel and hold two to three quarts. These pans can be a good value; just make sure they’re sturdy and the lid fits securely.

$50 to $100: This price buys a high-quality saucepan from a name-brand company. These pans are usually made of aluminum sandwiched between layers of stainless steel. For a quality saucepan that will last, this price range is probably your best bet.

Over $100: You’ll get top-of-the-line performance from saucepans made of the highest-quality materials, including brass. These pans will usually have extra features like pouring spouts, rounded lips, and strainer inserts. Most will also include some sort of warranty, ensuring the performance of the pan.   

Even if you plan to buy your saucepan online, go to a kitchen store and handle a few to test the feel and balance.

FAQ

Q. What’s the difference between a saucepan and a saucier?
A.
Although you can use them interchangeably in most circumstances, the major difference is the side wall. A saucier features rounded sides and a wide mouth, while most saucepans have straight sides and are usually taller. Sauciers are great for making things that need to be stirred often, such as risotto and pastry cream.

Q. Do saucepans work on induction cooktops?
A.
Some do. You should read the description carefully to make sure the saucepan you are getting works on induction burners. You can also perform an easy test: hold a magnet to the bottom of the pan. If it sticks, it’s safe to use on induction burners.

Q. How do I prevent my food from sticking to my saucepan?
A.
Turn down the temperature. Food is less likely to stick if the pan is over low to medium heat. Also, make sure the pan is level on the burner. For the record, some sticking isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Those browned bits stuck to the pan are called fond and can be very useful in making a pan sauce. Just add a liquid like wine or stock to break down the fond. This process is known as deglazing. Let the liquid condense a little, and you’ll have a tasty sauce to serve with your meal.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Heather
    Heather
    Chief Content Officer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Kristin
    Kristin
    Designer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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