Sauteing is a great way to cook different dishes. It gives off a nice scent of fresh ingredients almost instantly when you turn the heat on. But cooking skills and fresh ingredients are only half the battle. A great sauteed dish also depends on the quality of your saute pan. Below, I list my favorite saute pans that you can add to your cookware.
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The 5 Best Saute Pans: My Top Picks
All-Clad 4403 Stainless Steel Saute Pan – Best Heavyweight Option
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The first one on my list is quite the investment. It costs a bit more than what you’d normally expect from stainless steel saute pan, but that’s justified by its superior quality.
It is made of premium 18/10 stainless steel, which is resistant to sticking. It also contains iron-clad material underneath the stainless steel, which helps create an even distribution of heat during cooking. The lid is made of stainless steel, too. This means that the entire pan (including the lid) is safe for oven cooking. You can also clean it in the dishwasher with no problem.
This saute pan is designed to work with induction cooktops, too.
- Safe for oven and dishwasher use
- Ensures even cooking throughout the pan’s surface
- Made of high-quality 18/10 stainless steel and iron clad.
- Because of the material and design, the pan is quite heavy to handle and move
- There is no warranty that comes with the purchase.
Calphalon Classic Nonstick Saute Pan – Best Nonstick Surface
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If you are particularly looking for a saute pan that has a non-stick feature, then this one is right for you. It’s also cheaper than our first contender above.
Calphalon is a leader in global cookware, and this saute pan is not an exemption when it comes to its quality guarantee. It comes with a Teflon-coated surface, giving you a seamless sauteeing experience, whether or not you use oil or grease.
Unlike other non-stick pans, this one is safe to use in the oven for temperatures as high as 450°F. Plus, its tempered glass lid ensures any spits and splatters. Because it is made of glass, you can monitor and check on your cooking without having to lift the lid.
The handles are my favorite part: they keep cool even during cooking. So you can transfer the pan to and from the stove, oven, or countertop without using mitts.
- Oven safe for temperatures up to 450°F
- Made of premium Teflon coating and cast stainless steel
- High-quality tempered glass lid lets you check on your cooking at any time.
- Does not come with a warranty guarantee for damages
- It is not safe for dishwasher use
- If cooking in the oven, you cannot include the lid inside.
Cooks Standard Multi-Ply Clad Deep Saute Pan – Best for Volume Cooking
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Here’s another great saute pan. It’s made of 2-ply iron clad material. It’s more affordable compared to the other more famous brands in our list, but it does hold up well when it comes to quality.
This is bigger than the others in the list. In fact, its depth and size is its biggest winning factor. You can cook larger amounts of food or dishes that contain liquids like soups or stews in this. It can hold up to five quarts.
Plus, you can use it in your oven, too. So aside from sauteing, it has a lot of uses: frying, making deep dishes, baking, and more. It is also safe for dishwasher use.
If you don’t want to break the bank but are looking for a nice and significant upgrade on your sauteing cookware, then this is a great product to go with.
- Its deep and wide surface area can handle more volume than other saute pans
- It is safe to use in the oven, the lid included
- Safe for dishwasher use.
- Because of its larger-than-usual size, it is quite heavy and hard to handle sometimes
- Because of its price point, the material is lower in quality than the other brand names: it has a 2-ply construction while others use 3-ply iron clad
- It does not come with a warranty guarantee.
Cuisinart 733-30H Chef’s Classic Saute Pan – Best Overall: Editor’s Pick
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Cuisinart is a huge name in cookware and kitchenware. It is beloved by home cooks and professional chefs alike all over the world. That’s why we can’t doubt the quality of their Chef’s Classic Saute Pan.
This saute pan can actually accommodate up to 5 1/2 quarts worth of food. That means it’s versatile, and you can use it for more than sauteing. If that is the case, then you are definitely getting more for your investment. And this pan is actually cheaper than the others on this list!
It is made with 2-ply cast stainless steel. The lid is made of steel, too. Both pan and lid are safe for dishwasher use. You can also use it for baking safely with no problem.
The great thing about Cuisinart pieces is that they look really luxurious. The overall aesthetic boasts of shiny and stylish cooking, even if the price point is relatively affordable. And compared to the others we’ve listed here, it comes with a lifetime warranty that guarantees you replacements if you incur any damages covered by the warranty.
- A reasonably priced saute pan that also includes a lifetime warranty coverage
- It is larger than other saute pans, making it perfect for large-volume dishes
- Oven-safe and dishwasher-safe.
- 2-ply cast stainless steel is less durable than 3-ply cast stainless steel.
Emeril Lagasse 62928 Nonstick Hard Anodized Saute Pan – Runner Up
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The final saute pan on my list comes from no humble origins. If you have lived anywhere, but under a rock, then you know who the incomparable Emeril Lagasse is. He’s got TV shows, restaurants, cookbooks, and an entire cooking empire. So it only makes perfect sense that he has his own line of cookware.
This hard anodized saute pan is no joke. It comes with a copper-coated base that ensures even cooking all throughout the surface.
It is made of 2-ply cast steel, and the surface has a Teflon non-stick coating, ensuring easy and seamless cooking. The lid is heat-tempered, so you can check on your dish at any point without removing it. It’s also oven-safe up to 350°F.
This pan is actually quite affordable, and it comes with a limited warranty, too.
- Reasonably priced saute pan with a limited warranty
- Can accommodate up to 5 1/2 quarts of food
- Oven-safe up to 350°F, and dishwasher-safe.
- You need to remove the lid when using it in the oven.
Things You Need to Know When Buying Sauté Pans
Depending on your final choice, saute pans can cost quite some money. That’s why it is important to find some time to think about some factors before making a choice. Below, we will discuss some of the must-haves of each saute pan, as well as different features for different kinds of (home) cooks.
Brand and Quality
The first thing you need to check is the quality of the pan. Oftentimes, the brand of the product can tell you a lot about its quality. At least for popular and reputable brands, this is true. For those who don’t have all the time to do their research, the easiest (and often safest) thing to do is to go with the most known and renowned brands. There’s absolutely no problem with this. Often, the branded ones come with good warranty terms.
However, if you are working with a limited budget, I recommend doing the research instead. It’s no secret that you usually pay more for the “name” of the brand. So if you can’t afford the convenience, then keep on reading.
One of the best “tells” of a cookware’s quality is its weight and sturdiness (unless you’re specifically springing for lightweight cookware). Go for saute pans that are made of heavy-duty metal. Check the handle to see if it wiggles or is sturdy.
Another big thing with saute pans is that you’d want to get one that’s oven-safe. I’m willing to bet that you’d want to use this purchase for more than just sauteing. Having an oven-safe pan lets, you enjoy it for far more dishes. With this in mind, it’s also good to look for pans with a nonstick surface. This isn’t just going to make it easy for you to cook; it will also save you from hours of scraping and difficult cleaning later. If you do not prefer non-stick models, then I’d recommend ceramic saute pans.
Construction and Design
Finally, if you want to delve deep into your research, you’ll want to check the saute pan’s construction. This aspect is essential because it doesn’t only indicate the longevity and quality of the cookware, but it will also let you know in which capacities you can – and are allowed to – use it.
Can it serve multiple purposes besides sauteing food? Can you use it as a skillet, wok, baking dish, or saucepan? In conjunction with this, you’ll need to consider the size of the saute pan. If you are sure that you’ll use it for merely sauteing and light frying, a shallow pan will do.
But if you can see yourself using it for soups, stews, sauces, and other high-volume dishes, then go for larger-sized pans. We’ve included some deep pan options in the list above. Typically, saute pans are 12-14 inches, but there are a lot of varieties available today.
The actual material that makes up the pan is important. Mostly, saute pans are either all cast iron, stainless steel, or heavy iron-clad pans. Like the Emeril Lagasse 62928 Nonstick Hard Anodized Saute Pan we featured earlier; there are some saute pans that have copper bottoms. This choice will give you an even cooking surface. However, copper bases will not be induction-compatible.
On that note, if you are going to use an induction cooktop, make sure to choose an induction-compatible saute pan.
Check the material of the lids and handles, too. The lids today are often tempered glass or pure steel. Each has its pros and cons. Tempered glass lids are lighter and allow you to check your dishes during the cooking process without having to remove the lid and return it multiple times. However, they are not safe for oven use. You’ll have to use the pan without the lids.
Lids that are made of materials other than glass (such as metal) are safe for oven use. If the recipe requires cooking in the oven with the lid on, go for this option.
It took some debating, but I ended up with a clear winner for this round: the Cuisinart 733-30H Chef’s Classic Saute Pan. It’s reasonably priced, oven-safe, dishwasher-safe, non-stick, and can hold a good volume of food. Its material makeup of it is also impressive. Plus, you get a nice warranty that comes with the purchase.
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Jen Lin-Liu is the founder of Black Sesame Kitchen. A Chinese-American writer and a nationally certified Chinese chef in Beijing. Jen is the author of two memoirs, Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China and On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome with Love and Pasta.