Saute Pan Comparison
Saute Pan Buying Guide
Features to Consider
There are many features that are important and indicative of a good quality sauté pan. We have described these features below so you will know what to look for when you start researching the different sauté pans on the market.
- Design – sauté pans are designed with wide bottoms that are completely flat so there is plenty of room in the pan to avoid crowding ingredients. Sautéing food is quick browning it without burning the food or steaming it. If you have too many items in the pan you will only succeed in steaming the food or burning it rather than browning it. Another benefit to the flat bottom pan is that it is easier to slide back and forth than a pan with a curved bottom.
The sides of the sauté pan are supposed to be are straight and depending on the pan they may be tall or on the low side. They are lower than saucepan sides. The straight up and down sides prevent the sauces and food from being spilled out over the sides during the cooking process. Another benefit to the way the sides are designed is that they allow air flow to circulate which prevents soggy food.
- Handle Construction – Sauté pans have a long handle on one side and sometimes, depending on the style and brand, they may have helper handles, which are looped handles, on the side opposite the long handle. The long handle is good for sautéing because it makes it easier to shake the food back and forth while you are browning it.
Look for sauté pan handles that are attached to the pan securely through riveted or screwed on with long, sturdy screws. The handles need to be cool touch handles that the cook can hold onto without getting burned. You should still use oven mitts when using any pots with metal handles.
The Importance of Materials
Sauté pans can be made from many different materials including stainless steel, cast iron, aluminum or a combination of materials. There are positives and negatives to each type of material. Because of what sautéing involves, you want it to be made from a material that is extremely heat responsive. This means it gets hot quickly and cools off quickly too. This is the pan’s conductivity.
One of the best metals for conductivity is copper. Unfortunately copper can be super expensive and they are difficult to keep shiny but if you don’t mind these two drawbacks, copper would provide the best heat conductivity. The next choice is anodized aluminum. They are easy to clean, have good heat transmission and cost a lot less than copper. It is the anodized property of the aluminum that keeps it from reacting negatively with some foods.
Make sure that the pan’s bottom is thick and made of encapsulated aluminum. Thin bottoms are a recipe for disaster and will not provide the kind of results you want from your cooking. One of the most common problems with thin bottomed pans is the hot spots that can be present. This can result in unevenly cooked food or even burned food in places.
When it comes to a sauté pan, avoid nonstick varieties. You will be limited on what you can do with a non stick sauté pan since they can’t make the small browned bits also known as fond that you get from sautéing a piece of chicken, pork or beef.
Which is Better Individual Pans or Sets?
Sauté pans can be sold individually or you can purchase them in sets. Some sets will have other types of pans as well or they may be 2 or 3 sizes of sauté pans. Because new pots are coming out, it can be advantageous to purchase them one at a time. Start with a good size sauté pan such as a 5 quart size and go from there to see what other sizes you want to add as you go on.
If you prefer to buy sets, look for sets that have several sized sauté pans that you can use. Sometimes you may want to only sauté something very small and other times you may be making larger dishes. Having a variety of choices for cooking the dishes you want to cook will make your cooking adventures really enjoyable.
Choosing the perfect sauté pan isn’t overly complicated but it does involve understanding the different parts of the pan that combine together to make a high quality one. This knowledge can also help you understand where lower quality pans are falling down on the job. You want to avoid the low quality sauté pans because you will find that they don’t do a good job and you will end up replacing them often.
The three top rated sauté pans we have chosen and reviewed above are all from reputable, well known companies in the cooking industry. They are all made from high quality stainless steel and have anodized aluminum bottoms for the best heat conductivity. Your dishes, sauces and caramelized foods will come out perfect time and time again and your pan will last you a really long time.
The pans we featured offer great guarantees and warranties so if anything goes wrong with the construction of the pan. Having high quality cooking utensils and pans in your kitchen is a great way to continue loving to cook. The results you will get with these well made sauté pans will make the extra cost worth it.
- Cuisinart – https://www.cuisinart.com/
- Cooks Standard – http://www.cooknhome.com/
- Calphalon – http://www.calphalon.com/en-US