Separates itself from the rest of the pack in terms of overall construction quality and durability. Exceptional design that is both extremely practical and aesthetically pleasing.
It's a costly model, but the price is what you'd expect for such high quality.
Boasts solid stainless steel construction from a trusted brand. Has an aluminum core and tapered rim for optimal performance.
Colander is relatively bulky compared to those of other models.
Impact bonded base provides precise heating. We love its pour spout and streamlined handle.
It's similar to our best of the best pick, but its construction doesn't seem as durable.
Stands out for its nonstick, environmentally safe, ceramic coating. Has silicone-coated handle for a secure grip.
Coating might scratch, especially if metal utensils are used with this model.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
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.
There are several features you should look for when shopping for a saucepan. Here are some things to consider before making your purchase.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
These saucepans feature coated aluminum. They have to be treated carefully to avoid scratching the nonstick coating.
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.
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.
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.
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.