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Best Sauce Pans

Updated December 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
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.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
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.
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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.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    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.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    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.

    Shopping guide for best sauce pans

    Last Updated December 2018

    A sauce pan 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 sauce pan is your go-to tool.

    Not all sauce pans are created equally, 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 sauce pans 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 sauce pan, 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 sauce pan is a kitchen workhorse, consider spending a little more money for a high-quality one.

    Sauce pan features

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

    Size

    You can find sauce pans as small as one and a half quarts. These are ideal for melting butter or heating milk but not much else. A truly versatile sauce pan holds two to three quarts of liquid. If you regularly entertain or cook for lots of people, you might want one that holds four to five quarts. Just remember: a larger sauce pan is harder to maneuver around the kitchen.  

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

    Shape

    There is no standard shape in the world of sauce pans. 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 sauce pans are more versatile and easier to handle.

    Some sauce pans have a rounded lip to make pouring easier.

    Lid

    Whichever sauce pan 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 sauce pan: it can be very hot.

    Some sauce pan lids have convenient built-in strainers.

    Handle

    Don’t underestimate the importance of a sauce pan’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 sauce pan by strong metal rivets.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Sauce pan materials

    Aluminum and steel

    Some of the most desirable sauce pans 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 sauce pans feature coated aluminum. They have to be treated carefully to avoid scratching the nonstick coating.

    If you bake regularly, make sure your sauce pan 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 sauce pans 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 sauce pan should be hung on a rack or placed in a cabinet with plenty of space around it.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Sauce pan prices

    The price of sauce pans 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 sauce pans 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 sauce pan from a name-brand company. These pans are usually made of aluminum sandwiched between layers of stainless steel. For a quality sauce pan that will last, this price range is probably your best bet.

    Over $100: You’ll get top-of-the-line performance from sauce pans 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 sauce pan online, go to a kitchen store and handle a few to test the feel and balance.

    FAQ

    Q. What’s the difference between a sauce pan 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 sauce pans 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 sauce pans work on induction cooktops?
    A.
    Some do. You should read the description carefully to make sure the sauce pan 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 sauce pan?
    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
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Chris
      Chris
      Editor
    • Heather
      Heather
      Chief Content Officer
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Kristin
      Kristin
      Designer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor

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