As one of the most versatile cookware pieces, a saucepan often does the most work in your kitchen. Whether you're simply cooking pasta on a weeknight or preparing gravy for a large feast, the saucepan does it all. A saucepan is best for cooking that requires a fair amount of liquid, such as simmering, boiling, cooking grains, and making sauces. Finding the right saucepan will depend on your existing cookware options, the type of food you plan to make, and your general price point. We explain the types of saucepan materials, capacities, and more below so you can find the ideal saucepan for your cooking needs.
0-2 quarts: Best for sauces or single servings 2.1 - 4 quarts: Most common and versatile size 4.1 - 6 quarts: Ideal size for frying and soups 6.1 - 8 quarts: Professional size for large batches
Saucepan Base Construction
Solid: Solid saucepans feature a solid construction with layers of metal that make up the bottom of the pan. 3- or 5-Ply: Layers of construction with different metals allow for better heat conduction and options for use with different types of stoves. 7-Ply: High-end saucepans that are made with copper in the base for optimum heat distribution and durable stainless steel for durability and versatility.
Require little oil for low-fat dishes and healthy cooking
Ideal for eggs and pancakes
Cannot use with metal utensils
Require handwashing to preserve nonstick coating
Don't brown or caramelize ingredients as well as unlined metal
Saucier: A saucier is a small saucepan with a thick base for evenly heating sauces and cooking with smaller amounts of liquids.
Butter Warmer: These saucepans feature subtle curved dips on one or both sides of the pan for easy pouring.
Double Boiler:Used to heat materials gently to fixed temperatures without burning the ingredients. Ideal for warm sauces and chocolate. The pan with ingredients sits above boiling water at the bottom.
For larger saucepans, look for a small helper handle on the far side of the pan for easier and safer maneuvering.