Best sauté pan

Cookware

A sauté pan is different from a skillet: sauté pans have taller, straighter sides and come with a matching lid. Skillets have shallower, sloping sides and are measured in terms of width instead of quarts.

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Which sauté pan is best?

The sauté pan is a staple in every kitchen. It’s useful for cooking any kind of meat, simmering sauces, frying foods to golden brown and almost any other method of cooking you can imagine. There are many areas of the kitchen where it may be safe to skimp, but the sauté pan isn’t one of them.

One high-quality sauté pan is the OXO Good Grips Pro Hard Anodized Aluminum Ceramic Frying Pan. The triple-layered nonstick coating, induction stove capabilities and the overall quality of its materials and construction make this sauté pan almost impossible to top.

What to know before you buy a sauté pan

Material

Aluminum: One of the more inexpensive options, aluminum sauté pans are almost always anodized, making them harder and more durable via a chemical process. They’re very conductive to heat and typically include nonstick finishes as well.

Stainless steel: Stainless steel pans have a wide range of qualities, thanks to the fact that they require using other metals in their core like aluminum or copper to conduct the necessary amounts of heat. Cheap stainless steel sauté pans have a core that only covers the bottom of the pan, while higher-end stainless steel sauté pans have a core that spreads over the entire pan.

Copper: This very high-cost material is the most beautiful and most difficult to maintain. Copper pans are highly conductive, but they’re prone to scratching and discoloration that requires frequent polishing to avoid.

Cast iron: Cast iron is the most durable material you can find, though admittedly, a solid cast iron sauté pan is quite rare. They’re reactive to acidic foods and must be seasoned with oil regularly, but they can last for generations.

What to look for in a quality sauté pan

Stove-to-oven

Just about any sauté pan can be placed into the oven to finish off your recipe, but pay close attention to the manufacturer’s guidelines for maximum oven temperature before you do so.

Handle

Some sauté pans attach their handles using screws, which can wiggle loose over time. Try and select a sauté pan with handles attached with rivets to ensure they’ll stay in place. Also keep in mind that metallic handles can become too hot to hold without an oven mitt — some sauté pans have silicone-coated handles to avoid this issue.

How much you can expect to spend on a sauté pan

Sauté pans can be found for prices as low as $20 and as high as a few hundred dollars. Cast iron sauté pans are the only lower-cost sauté pan with a vastly higher quality than the $30 price would suggest. Otherwise, you’ll want to spend around $50-$75 on a good-quality sauté pan of other material types.

Sauté pan FAQ

Can you safely put a sauté pan in the dishwasher?

A. It’s considered best practice to hand-wash any cookware, not just sauté pans, as opposed to throwing it in the dishwasher. The temperatures and humidity can wear out nonstick coatings, discolor copper and rust cast iron. If it’s listed as dishwasher-safe, just make sure it won’t hit anything in the dishwasher during the cycle.

Which size of sauté pan is best?

A. The right size sauté pan depends on how many people you’re regularly cooking for. A 3- to 4-quart sauté pan is better for one or two people, with 5- and 6-quart sauté pans better handling the amount of food necessary for larger families and gatherings.

Should you buy cookware individually or in a set?

A. That depends on your personal needs. If you’re setting up your kitchen for the first time, it can be much easier to buy a set that contains all the necessities. If you already have most of what you need or you’re replacing old cookware, feel free to purchase what you want individually based on exact specifications and desires.

What’s the best sauté pan to buy?

Top sauté pan

OXO Good Grips Pro Hard Anodized Aluminum Ceramic Frying Pan

OXO Good Grips Pro Hard Anodized Aluminum Ceramic Frying Pan

What you need to know: You’d be hard-pressed to find a sauté pan of higher quality than this OXO Good Grips selection.

What you’ll love: It is dishwasher-safe and able to be placed into an oven at a maximum recommended temperature of 430 degrees Fahrenheit.

What you should consider: If you have an induction stovetop, look elsewhere, as this sauté pan is incompatible.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond and The Home Depot

Top sauté pan for the money

Utopia Kitchen 11-Inch Nonstick Frying Pan

Utopia Kitchen 11-Inch Nonstick Frying Pan

What you need to know: This is a great entry-level pick due to its affordability and moderate quality.

What you’ll love: This sauté pan can be used anywhere on any type of stovetop, including induction and even on a hot plate.

What you should consider: This pan doesn’t last, frequently needing replacement after a year, and using metal utensils will only speed up that process.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Calphalon Classic Nonstick Sauté Pan with Cover

Calphalon Classic Nonstick Sauté Pan With Cover

What you need to know: It isn’t perfect, but with a great lifetime warranty and plenty of interior space for cooking, you won’t be disappointed.

What you’ll love: A nonstick surface, strong stainless steel handles and a maximum oven temperature rating of 450 degrees round out the feature set of this sauté pan.

What you should consider: This sauté pan has been known to warp and chip after a few uses.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s

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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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