12 Saute pan recommendations and guide on how to choose the best one

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BEST VALUE
Made In Cookware 3.5-quart Saute Pan

This saute pan by Made In offers the best performance for the money:

  1. 5-ply construction offers superior strength and warp resistance.
  2. Induction compatible. Dishwasher safe and oven safe up to 800F.
  3. Beautiful design. Comes with a lid.
  4. Made In Cookware sells directly to consumers so they can offer premium quality for half the price.
  5. Made in Italy and has a limited lifetime warranty.
BEST OVERALL
All-Clad Tri-Ply 3-quart Stainless Steel

The best saute pan is All-Clad Tri-Ply 3-quart Stainless Steel sauté pan. It's well designed and offers superior strength, heat conduction, and durability. This pan is incredibly versatile and will stand the test of time.

While this pan is more expensive than many other sauté pans, customers who have purchased it are thrilled with the pan. The only complaint some have is that the handle is a little uncomfortable to hold but with regular use, they become quite comfortable with it.

Characterized by its wide flat base, tall straight sides and a tight-fitting lid, a sauté pan is incredibly versatile. The large surface provides enough room for movement as the meat and vegetables are flipped or tossed in the pan so that they are not overcrowded and the tall sides make it easy to access the food with a spatula while retaining liquids and preventing splattering. The technique of sautéing uses moderately high heat and a small amount of fat to quickly cook foods, retaining their texture and flavor.

Our selection of the best sauté pans:

1. All-Clad Tri-Ply 3-Quart Stainless Steel

BEST SAUTE PAN
All-Clad 4403 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe 3-Quart Saute Pan with Lid, Silver
  • A versatile piece featuring a large surface area for searing, with straight sides to hold in liquid and prevent splattering and lid to lock in moisture
  • Classic tri-ply construction, made with a responsive aluminum core bonded together with 2 layers of durable, stainless steel all the way around for maximum durability and fast, even heat distribution
  • Secured with riveted stainless-steel handles to ensure a safe grip and to add a bit of style with stainless-steel lid to match

Things to love:

  • Features And Performance: This pan has an aluminum core, with a magnetic stainless steel exterior and a stick-resistant stainless steel interior, and it works very well on medium temperatures. It heats evenly from base to rim, holding its heat very well, and releases the food once it is cooked. It is a nice size for the average family with enough surface area for dry heat and good depth for moist heat. It is sturdy but not heavy and the stainless steel lid fits well to facilitate heat control and retain moisture when braising. The pan is oven safe to 500F, but not broiler safe, and while it is advertised as dishwasher safe the manufacturer recommends hand washing.

  • Quality And Durability: Excellent materials are used in the 3-ply bonded construction of this pan, from the thick-gauge aluminum to the 18/10 stainless steel and they deliver a top-quality pan that is extremely durable. The design offers warp-resistant strength and ultimate heat conduction. All-Clad offers a limited lifetime warranty.

User Reviews:

While this pan is more expensive than many other sauté pans, customers who have purchased it are thrilled with the pan. The only complaint some have is that the handle is a little uncomfortable to hold but with regular use, they become quite comfortable with it.

Our score: 4.6 out of 5.

2. T-Fal 6-Quart Copper Ceramic Nonstick

BEST NONSTICK SAUTE PAN
T-fal Saute Pan Square Pan with Lid, Ceramic Nonstick Jumbo Cooker Cookware, 6 Quart, Copper
  • Nonstick Ceramic coating is metal utensil safe and PTFE, PFOA, Cadmium and lead free
  • The heavy gauge aluminum with ceramic coating offers superior stain resistance, superior scratch resistance and is the most durable ceramic cookware for T-fal
  • Cooking surface able to reach 700 Degree F; oven safe to 350 Degree F; Dishwasher Safe

Things to love:

  • Features And Performance: T-fal has added an eco-friendly ceramic nonstick to this pan that is PTFE, PFOA, Cadmium and lead-free. Food does not stick to this pan, it slides out easily and the pan is very easy to clean. The cooking surface can reach 700F, offering even heat distribution and is oven safe to 350F. The pan is suitable for use on an induction hob and is dishwasher safe. This sauté pan is unique with its square shape pan, stainless steel handles and air vent in the lid. Keep in mind that this is the aluminum pan, not a real copper pan.

  • Quality And Durability: Manufactured using heavy gauge aluminum, the pan itself is extremely durable. The ceramic nonstick coating provides superior stain and scratch resistance and is more durable than most nonstick coatings. This pan is covered by a T-fal’s limited lifetime warranty.

User Reviews:

T-fal offers superior nonstick coating and customers are pleasantly surprised its durability. Some customers also commented that the lid handle gets very hot.

Our score: 4.3 out of 5.

3. Calphalon Tri-Ply 5-Quart Stainless Steel

BEST 5-QUART SAUTE PAN
Sale 18%
Calphalon Saute Pan with Lid, 5 QT, Silver
  • Heavy-gauge aluminum core distributes heat evenly, for exceptional browning, searing, and sautéing
  • Fully-clad, 3-layer metal construction delivers performance and durability for years to come
  • Long handles stay cool on the stovetop

Things to love:

  • Features And Performance: Calphalon’s tri-ply design combines aluminum and stainless steel to ensure even heating from base to rim. The wide, flat cooking surface is great for browning, searing and sautéing, and the sides are low enough to allow air to circulate, keeping foods crisp but tall enough to prevent splattering. The pan is dishwasher safe, oven safe to 450F, broiler-safe, and suitable for all stovetops including induction.

  • Quality And Durability: The combination of heavy-gauge aluminum and stainless steel make this classically designed sauté pan strong and durable. It is eye-catching with its polished stainless steel exterior and satin-finished interior. The long brushed stainless steel handle stays cool on the stovetop and the glass lid is tempered for durability. It is covered by a full lifetime warranty.

User Reviews:

Customers enjoy that this pan heats up quickly, cooks evenly, and is easy to care for. A few have found it heavy and too large for their stove and some have found that the bottom warps over time.

Our score: 4.6 out of 5.

4. Cuisinart Multi Clad Pro 3½–Quart Stainless Steel

Sale 29%
Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless 3-1/2-Quart Saute with Helper and Cover
  • Updated cast-stainless-steel handle stays cool to the touch and comes riveted for strength
  • Triple-ply stainless construction
  • Rims are tapered for drip-free pouring

Things to love:

  • Features And Performance: Cuisinart’s Professional triple-ply construction ensures even heat distribution across the bottom and up the sidewalls of this pan and eliminates hot spots, even on medium heat. The tapered rims ensure drip-free pouring and the stainless steel handles stay cool when cooking. The stainless steel lid is tight-fitting, locking in moisture, nutrients, and flavor when cooking. Oven safe to 550F, this sauté pan is also broiler safe and dishwasher safe. 

  • Quality And Durability: Cuisinart’s limited lifetime warranty backs this top quality pan. The triple-ply design of aluminum sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel is super strong and very durable. The handles are riveted for strength and every part of this pan is built so that it can be used for many years

User Reviews:

This is a strong, sturdy pan with a tight fitting lid and customers are overwhelmingly thrilled with its design, functionality, and durability.

Our score: 4.6 out of 5.

5. Anolon 5-Quart Nonstick

Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized Nonstick Saute Fry Pan with Helper Handle, 5 Quart, Gray
  • BIG ON PERFORMANCE: Spacious 5-quart sauté pan with lid and helper handle is perfect for a wide range of frying pan and sauté pan recipes
  • BUILT TO LAST: Heavy-duty, hard anodized saute pan is incredibly durable and delivers fast, even heat without the hot spots that burn foods
  • LET IT SLIDE: Premium nonstick inside and out delivers superior food release and effortless cleanup so pans look newer longer

Things to love:

  • Features And Performance: This hard-anodized aluminum base is covered with a modern graphite nonstick coating inside and out so that nothing sticks to the pan and it is easy to clean, even if you mess over the sides. The interior of the pan is covered with a triple layer of premium nonstick coating to provide superior performance. Anolon’s signature SureGrip handles are riveted to the pan, are extremely comfortable and heat resistant, and are oven safe to 400F. 

  • Quality And Durability: Anolon is known for its premium design and quality and this sauté pan does not disappoint. Every single element used in the manufacturing of this pan is superior in quality from the aluminum to the graphite nonstick coating and SureGrip handles, and this is the reason for this pan’s incredible durability. This pan is guaranteed by Anolon’s lifetime warranty.

User Reviews:

Customers enjoy cooking with this pan. It is spacious, versatile and genuinely long-lasting. Many customers who have followed manufacturer’s guidelines, and have used the pan on a medium heat without any nonstick sprays, have used their pans for up to 10 years.

Our score: 4.6 out of 5.

6. Cuisinart 433-30h 5-Quart Stainless Steel

Cuisinart Contour Stainless 5-Quart Saute Pan with Helper Handle and Glass Cover,Silver
  • CLASSIC STAINLESS PERFORMANCE - Stainless steel surface doesn't react with food or alter flavors – the most elegant and efficient cooking material.
  • SUPERIOR HEAT DISTRIBUTION - Pure aluminum-encapsulated base heats up quickly and enables even heat distribution for consistent results. No more hot spots!
  • KEEP COOKING COOL - Maintain a solid grip with the always cool, always secure stick handles, contoured to your hand for extra comfort.

Things to love:

  • Features And Performance: This large sauté pan is made of premium stainless steel and has an aluminum-encapsulated base that heats up quickly and evenly distributes heat. The pan is oven safe up to 500F, and is also broiler and freezer safe, making this an extremely versatile pan. The tempered glass lids have a stainless steel rim and are oven safe to 350F.

  • Quality And Durability: Sturdy and well made, this pan is built for long-term performance. It is heavy and durable, with a well-fitting lid. The pan’s handles are stainless steel, very comfortable to use and firmly riveted to the pan. This sauté pan is guaranteed by Cuisinart’s lifetime warranty.

User Reviews:

This pan is so attractively designed that customers take it from the oven to the table to serve their guests. The glass lid fits very snuggly but the lid handles get hot. 

Our score: 4.4 out of 5.

7. Emeril Lagasse 5-Quart Stainless Steel

Emeril Lagasse Stainless Steel Covered Deep Sauté Pan, 5-Quart, Silver
  • Encapsulated aluminum base, which means that the cooking surface heats up quickly
  • convenient dishwasher-safe construction
  • magnetic stainless steel base is suitable for use on all stovetops, including induction

Things to love:

  • Features And Performance: This is a large and spacious sauté pan, ideal for cooking for large groups. Made with an encapsulated aluminum base, this stainless steel pan warms up quickly. Suitable for use on all hobs including induction, it is oven safe to 550F and the glass lid is oven safe to 350F. The lid fits well, locking in moisture during extended cooking. This pan is also dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. 

  • Quality And Durability: The material used in the making of this high-quality pan is solid and durable and the stainless steel handles are riveted to the pan. The encapsulated base is a sturdy design that adds to the pan’s durability.

User Reviews:

Customers have been pleasantly surprised how well this pan cooks large meals and how easily it cleans up afterward. It is a very large pan, sometimes covering a second stovetop burner and is quite heavy. Some customers commented that the lid handles get hot.

Our score: 4.4 out of 5.

8. Calphalon Classic 5-Quart Nonstick

Sale 19%
Calphalon Classic Hard-Anodized Nonstick 5-Quart Sauté Pan with Cover
  • Dual-layer nonstick for easy food release, and quick cleanup
  • Durable hard-anodized aluminum construction 3
  • Cast stay-cool stainless steel long handle

Things to love:

  • Features And Performance: Designed for everyday cooking, this sauté pan is made from hard-anodized aluminum with a double layer of nonstick coating. The aluminum heats up quickly and evenly distributes heat across the pan. The pan has a wide base and low sides making it spacious enough to sear meats and vegetables, allowing air to circulate and making it easy to stir and flip foods. The long, stainless steel handle stays cool while cooking and the oven-safe glass lid seals in moisture during cooking. This pan is oven safe to 450F.

  • Quality And Durability: Durable hard-anodized aluminum is used in the construction of this pan and the dual non-stick layer enhances its durability. It is covered by a full lifetime warranty.

User Reviews:

While most customers are generally very happy with the purchase of this pan and its durability, some have commented that the aluminum is too light and that the pan warps with time. Some have found that the helper handle and the lid handle get very hot.

Our score: 4.5 out of 5.

9. Cuisinart 3½-Quart Chef’S Classic Nonstick

Sale 8%
Cuisinart 633-24H Chef's Classic Nonstick Hard-Anodized 3-1/2-Quart Saute Pan with Helper Handle and Lid , Black
  • Hard anodized exterior
  • Interior pan Measurement markings
  • Unsurpassed heat distribution

Things to love:

  • Features And Performance: Hard-anodized aluminum and Cuisinart’s signature Quantanium nonstick coating make up this sauté pan. Food does not stick to the Quantanium layer and the pan is really easy to clean. It heats quickly on medium heat and the heat distribution is excellent. Oven safe to 500F, this pan is not dishwasher safe and must be washed by hand. The steel Cool Grip handles are securely riveted to the pan and the flared rim offers drip-free pouring. 

  • Quality And Durability: Covered by a lifetime warranty, this is a strong pan. While it is not very heavy, it is very sturdy. The multi-layer nonstick coating is strengthened with titanium particles making it extra strong and far more durable than average nonstick coatings. The hard-anodized exterior, Quantanium nonstick coating, Cool Grip handles and the tempered glass lid are all good quality and make up a durable nonstick sauté pan.

User Reviews:

Customers enjoy that this pan heats quickly and evenly. Some have commented that the handles get hot and that the lid does not seal well.

Our score: 4.5 out of 5.

10. Rachel Ray 5-Quart Nonstick

Rachael Ray Brights Hard Anodized Nonstick Saute Pan / Frying Pan / Fry Pan - 5 Quart, Gray
  • SAUTE PAN WITH HELPER HANDLE: 5-quart, oval-shaped nonstick sauté pan with lid and helper handle features hard anodized cookware construction for durability and even-heating
  • ENHANCED NONSTICK COOKWARE: Saute pan is covered with superior nonstick inside and out for effortless food release and easy, dishwasher safe cleanup
  • OVEN SAFE: Oven safe to 350 degrees F, the nonstick pan is dishwasher safe for convenience and works great with many other pieces in the Rachael Ray collections

Things to love:

  • Features And Performance: Uniquely designed, Rachel Ray’s oval sauté pan is made to fit on one stove plate while providing the full benefit of a large 5-quart vessel. Its modern rubberized orange handles are eye-catching and very comfortable to work with. Made from hard-anodized aluminum with a nonstick coating, it heats evenly releases food quickly and the shatter-resistant glass lid seals well to hold in moisture and flavor. The handles are all securely riveted onto the pan and glass lid. The pan and its handles are oven safe to 350F and are also dishwasher safe. 

  • Quality And Durability: This is a beautiful pan that performs well and the hard-anodized steel provides a sturdy structure. The nonstick coating on this sauté pan works well and is durable. This pan is only oven safe to 350F and the manufacturer warns that using the handles in the oven may cause discoloration. This sauté pan is guaranteed with a limited lifetime warranty.

User Reviews:

This pan is a good size for preparing a large meal and most customers are very pleased with its unique design and that it works well. Some customers found the pan warped slightly over time so that the lid no longer fitted tightly. 

Our score: 4.8 out of 5.

11. Cooks Standard Multi-Ply 5-Quart Stainless Steel

Cooks Standard 11-Inch/5 Quart Multi-Ply Clad Deep Saute Pan with Lid, Stainless Steel
  • Multi-ply clad has 2 layers of 18/10 stainless steel and an aluminum core along base and walls
  • Stainless steel for durability and appearance; Aluminum core for even/quick heat distribution
  • Secure-fitting lid traps in heat and moisture; Straight sides and flat surface to hold a large amount

Things to love:

  • Features And Performance: This 5-quart sauté pan is made of 2 layers of 18/10 stainless steel and an aluminum core offering excellent heat distribution from base to rim. Oven safe to 500F, the riveted handles stay cool and the tight-fitting lid seals in heat and moisture. This is a versatile pan that can be used on any hob and in the oven, but it is not broiler safe. An additional bonus in the design is that the base of this pan is scratch-resistant and it won’t damage your hob.

  • Quality And Durability: A multi-element alloy aluminum core is used throughout to attract heat and evenly distribute it throughout the pan. Top-quality stainless steel is bonded to the aluminum core inside and out, and is also used in the lid and handles creating a pan that is beautiful and very durable.

User Reviews:

Most customers enjoy using this pan and find it efficient and versatile. Unfortunately, quite a few customers have commented that the base warps within a short space of time.

Our score: 4.5 out of 5.

12. Woll Diamond Lite 5-Quart Nonstick

Sale 8%
Woll Diamond Lite Saute Pan, Diamond Reinforced Nonstick Skillet for Kitchen Use, 11-Inch
  • THE ULTIMATE SAUTÉ PAN: Woll's Diamond Lite Sauté Pan is made in Germany and is designed with five layers for enhanced longevity: a diamond reinforced topcoat, a long lasting nonstick layer, a unique anti-corrosion layer, a cut resistant base layer, and a sandblasted aluminum layer. The durable topcoat cooks and cleans with ease and delivers excellent heat retention for efficient heating and even browning.
  • NONSTICK SAUTÉ PAN: Woll cookware represents the next generation of diamond reinforced nonstick pans using real diamonds for extreme durability. These skillets are produced in a modern factory in Germany, developed exclusively for applying this coating. The diamond reinforced topcoat layer provides the long lasting nonstick effect and excellent release properties, which means that cleanup couldn't be easier.
  • VERSATILE: This nonstick pan is suitable for most all types of stove tops, including electric and gas! It features an ergonomic, bakelite handle that ensures a comfortable, secure grip. Whether you need to sear a steak or cook perfect vegetables, this professional grade pan will elevate your cooking experience. This premium quality sauté pan allows you to become a chef in your own kitchen.

Things to love:

  • Features And Performance: Hand-cast in Germany, this aluminum sauté pan is covered in Woll’s signature ultra hard nonstick coating that contains diamond crystals and very fine nanoparticles. This composition creates a PFOA-free coating that is extremely scratch resistant, and to which food does not stick. The diamonds in the coating are excellent heat generators and together with the aluminum offer good heat conductivity. The cast handle is firmly affixed using a threaded brass insert and is safe to use, but on a pan this size there should be a helper handle. The pan is oven safe to 500F but the glass lid is only oven safe to 480F.

  • Quality And Durability: This pan itself is well designed and very durable. The handcrafting process ensures that the aluminum is unstressed and free of air pockets, which would decrease the pan’s durability. The extra-tough composition of the nonstick coating is strong enough to be used with metal utensils. This pan is covered by Woll’s limited lifetime warranty.

User Reviews:

The nonstick feature of this pan is a huge hit with users and it works very well. Unfortunately, quite a few customers have commented that the nonstick feature only endures roughly 6 months of regular use before losing its effectiveness. 

Our score: 4.3 out of 5.

How to Choose the Right Saute Pan

Before we can start looking for a sauté pan we need to understand what sautéing means. Sauté comes from the French word ‘sauter’ which means ‘to jump’. In culinary terms, to sauté food is to cook it quickly over high heat in a little oil or fat in a wide pan.  

What is a Sauté Pan?

A sauté pan is very similar to a frying pan or skillet. The main difference is that the sides of a sauté pan are straight or vertical whereas the sides of a frying pan are slanted. A sauté pan usually has a longer handle. A sauté pan is designed to cook large amounts of food without overcrowding so it is usually wide. Ingredients are cooked on high heat in a little oil and are tossed continuously allowing them to cook evenly without becoming soggy. They should be browned on the outside and cooked through on the inside. Sautéing locks in the flavor and the good as no vitamins and minerals are lost to the water as in boiling. This makes it a very healthy and delicious way of preparing food. 

What Foods Cook Best in a Sauté Pan?

Sautéing is the perfect cooking method for most vegetables as it locks in their flavor and keeps them crisp and fresh tasting. Thinner cuts of meat such as chicken fillets, fish and pork, and beef medallions sauté very successfully. All other meat can be sautéed if cut into strips first. Sauteing is the best cooking method for most sea foods. 

When sauteing you must use the correct oil. There are so many different oils available these days that it can become quite confusing. when sauteing you should use oils with a moderate to high smoke point. A smoke point is the temperature at which the oil starts to smoke. At this point the oil breaks down producing harmful compounds and disagreeable flavors. Although coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil have a relatively low smoke point they work well for sauteing as they are stable oils. 

The following are good oils to use for high heat and medium heat sauteing:

  • olive oil
  • coconut oil
  • avocado oil
  • grapeseed oil
  • peanut oil
  • vegetable oil
  • canola oil
  • corn oil
  • soy bean oil
  • For medium heat sauteing butter and drippings can be used.

When sauteing, let the pan heat first for about half a minute. Add the oil and watch. When the oil starts to ripple add the food. The temperature will drop due to the cold food being added. Stir continuously. You may need to reduce the heat to prevent burning as the pan heats up again. 

What are the Best Metals for a Sauté Pan?

The ideal sauté pan is sensitive to temperature changes. How quickly a pan responds to temperature change is known as ‘responsiveness’. For a good sauté pan you are looking for a pan with good responsiveness.

The best sauté pans are made of copper and lined with tin or stainless steel. Sauté pans need to react quickly to changes in temperature. Copper is the best conductor of heat after silver thus has the best responsiveness. Unfortunately copper reacts with the natural minerals and acids in many foods. This can discolor the food and impart a metallic taste into the food being cooked. To combat this downfall copper pans must be lined with a nonreactive substance such as tin or stainless steel. Traditionally tin was used to line copper pans as it is responsive and nonreactive but tin would eventually wear through, allowing the copper to contaminate the food in the pan. Pans could be re-tinned by a professional. Today, stainless steel is more commonly used as it will not wear through. As stainless steel is not very responsive it compromises the responsiveness of the copper. The best performing sauté pans thus have a thick layer of copper coated in a very thin layer of stainless steel. These modern stainless steel lined copper pans are found in high end kitchens around the world.

Two small drawbacks of copper pans are that they cannot be used on induction ranges as copper is not magnetic, and they cannot be placed in the dishwasher. They need to be hand washed and polished if you want to keep them shiny. The only real disadvantage of copper cookware is the cost. As copper is a precious metal it stands to reason that a pan made of copper will have a high price tag. If you are a perfectionist or an avid chef it will be worth the cost to get yourself a copper sauté pan. Copper pans distribute heat evenly and thus guarantee even browning, crisp textures and perfect caramelization. They are a pleasure to use and add a touch of beauty to your kitchen. 

The second best option for sauté pans is 3 and 5 ply stainless steel pans. These encapsulate heat-conductive metals such as aluminum and copper between layers of stainless steel. The combination of metals ensures even heating, good responsiveness and durability. These can be used on any hob and are oven and dishwasher safe. 

Aluminum pans are not recommended if you are looking for a good quality saute pan. Aluminum is the second most responsive metal used to make cookware. Unfortunately, it reacts with the natural minerals and acids in the food being cooked. It imparts a metallic taste and gives the food a grey tinge. So aluminum pans need to be lined with a nonreactive metal. This is usually stainless steel or a non-stick coating. Aluminum pans can also be anodized which prevents them from reacting with the food. Anodization is a process that hardens the surface giving it a very dark grey color. Anodization is becoming more popular as it makes pans more durable, more attractive and easier to clean. 

The disadvantages of aluminum pans are that those not clad in steel are not magnetic and thus will not work on an induction range. Some are not dishwasher or oven safe. You would need to read the specifications when you buy your pan. The advantages are that they are light in weight, responsive and affordable. If you are looking for a good saute pan, aluminum pans are not recommended. 

Carbon steel is a relatively responsive metal making these pans popular sauté pans. They can achieve very high temperatures and hold their heat well. The downside of these pans is that if they are not looked after and seasoned (oiled) regularly they will begin to rust. Carbon steel retains heat which is not ideal for sauteing. Carbon steel reacts with very acidic food thus imparting an unpleasant flavor into the food.

The upside is that if you do care for them properly they will develop a natural non-stick quality, they are inexpensive and very durable. 

 The following are not recommended for sauté pans:

Single-ply stainless steel: on its own, stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat and thus is very slow to respond to temperature changes. 

Aluminum: without a coating aluminum pans release metals into the food being cooked. Aluminum can warp at high temperatures and scratches easily. 

Cast Iron: cast iron is a poor conductor of heat and thus has a very slow reaction to temperature changes.  

Teflon: Teflon is a non-stick plastic coating. It can be toxic as the plastic releases harmful chemicals into your food. 

Lids

Although, strictly speaking, you don’t need a lid for sautéing, it is good to buy a sauté pan that comes with a lid as this pan is very versatile and you will find yourself using it for much more than sautéing. If the sauté pan you fall in love with does not come with a lid you can try buying a universal lid. It is always good to get a lid that is oven safe if your pan is oven safe. This allows you to transfer your dish from the hob to the oven with ease. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of different lids.

Glass: Glass lids are light in weight. They seal well and retain heat. Tempered glass can withstand relatively high temperatures and thus can be used in the oven. The disadvantage is that if dropped, they will shatter. 

Stainless Steel: Stainless steel lids are lightweight, durable and retain heat well. They are oven safe, easy to clean and seal well.

Aluminum: Aluminum lids are not recommended. If uncoated they release metals into the food. They tend to warp and thus no longer seal properly. As aluminum conducts heat well the lid can become hot very quickly.  

Cast Iron: Cast iron lids are very heavy. Uncoated cast iron will rust if not treated correctly. They will get hot very quickly due to the good conductivity of cast iron and will allow heat to escape. 

Knobs and Handles of Lids: When buying a lid be careful to check what the knob is made of. The lid may be oven safe but the knob may not be thus rendering the entire lid unsuitable for the oven. Plastic or silicone knobs are good if you do not want to place the lid in the oven. Plastic does not conduct heat and thus the knob will remain cool but it will melt in high temperatures. Wooden knobs remain cool as wood is a poor conductor of heat. Wood can withstand some heat but should never be placed in the oven. Metal handles and knobs are durable and heat resistant but they get hot and thus you will need an oven mitt when lifting the lid. Stainless steel handles are the best of the metal handles as stainless steel is the least conductive thus heats up the slowest. 

Handles

The handle of a sauté pan is generally longer than that of other pans. 

A stainless steel handle is probably the best option. Stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat which means it will heat up very slowly allowing the handle to remain cooler than the pan. Metal handles that are hollowed in some way will remain cooler.

Riveted handles are the most dependable because they are permanently and securely attached and never need to be tightened. The disadvantage is that the area around the rivets is inclined to gather grime and bacteria and needs careful cleaning. Some Riveted handles have rivets that have been covered over. This gives the benefits of rivets without the disadvantages. 

Removable silicone handle covers are convenient and can easily be slipped off for cleaning or when placing the pan in the oven. 

Plastic handles are not recommended if you are wanting to transfer your pan from the stove top to the oven. Plastic handles are good as they remain cool but they will melt under high temperatures in the oven or even from the open flame of the next burner on a gas hob. 

Copper sauté pans that are very heavy and designed for restaurant and professional use have iron handles. Home copper sauté pans have brass or stainless steel handles making them safe to go into the oven. 

A helper handle is an additional short handle add-on that can be attached to the pan. It distributes weight evenly which is particularly beneficial when the pan is very full. It makes the pan easier to maneuver without spilling and helps you carry the pan from the stove to the table with ease. It makes pouring the contents out of the pan easier. Helper handles remain cool and can be handled throughout the cooking process. 

Size

Sauté pans come in a range of sizes from 1 quart to 7-quart. A pan somewhere in the middle will be the most versatile. If you only want to have one saute pan a 4-quart pan is probably the way to go. The size of your pan will depend on how many people you are cooking for. If you are cooking for one or two people a 2 to 3-quart pan will be ideal. If you are cooking for four people use a 4 to 5-quart pan. Use a 6 to 7-quart pan when cooking for large families or groups. 

What Else Can I Do With My Sauté Pan?

Sauté pans are extremely versatile and can be used for a multitude of cooking techniques beyond sautéing. Their deep, vertical sides make them perfect for keeping ingredients in the pan while you stir and make them good for holding liquids. They are thus ideal for simmering, poaching, shallow frying, frying, braising and searing. It is probably the most versatile pan in the kitchen. 



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