a saute pan contains yummy seafood

Best Sauté Pan


A saute pan is a versatile workhorse in the hands of a skilled chef. Being able to hold much more food that a frying pan, a saute pan can be used for cooking whole meals as well as preparing a larger amount of sauces, meat or veggies.

It can even double as a baking dish so a top saute pan delivers excellent bang for your buck - if you choose the right one. We have selected and reviewed 7 top-rated stainless steel and nonstick pans so all you need to do is pick from the list and will not be disappointed.

Sauté Pans in This Review

*We select and review all products independently, based on our opinion and customer feedback. Some links on this page are affiliate links and if you make a purchase we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. You can read more info on our disclaimer page.

Top pick

1. Cuisinart Green Gourmet Hard Anodized Nonstick Saute Pan

- Base material: hard-anodized aluminum
- Interior: ceramic nonstick
- Cooktops: gas, electric, glass top

Our Rating

9.2

Best for large families

2. T-fal Ceramic Nonstick Jumbo Square Saute Pan

- Base: aluminum w. magnetized plate
- Interior: ceramic nonstick
- Cooktops: gas, electric, glass top, induction

Our Rating

9.1

Best high-end

3. All-Clad Stainless Steel Bonded Tri-Ply Saute Pan

- Base: tri-ply stainless steel w. aluminum core
- Interior: stainless steel
- Cooktops: gas, electric, glass top, induction

Our Rating

9.3

Great value

4. Cooks Standard Stainless Steel Multi-Ply Clad Saute Pan

- Base: stainless steel w. aluminum core
- Interior: stainless steel
- Cooktops: gas, electric, glass top, induction

Our Rating

9.0

Best budget

5. Cuisinart Contour Stainless Steel Saute Pan

- Base: stainless steel w. aluminum core
- Interior: stainless steel
- Cooktops: gas, electric, glass top, induction

Our Rating

8.8

Best nonstick

6. Rachael Ray Brights Hard Anodized Nonstick Saute Pan

- Base material: hard-anodized aluminum
- Interior: nonstick
- Cooktops: gas, electric, glass top

Our Rating

9.3

Most durable

7. Calphalon Premier Stainless Steel 3-Ply Saute Pan

- Base: stainless steel w. aluminum core
- Interior: stainless steel
- Cooktops: gas, electric, glass top, induction

Our Rating

9.2

Top pick

1. Cuisinart Green Gourmet Hard Anodized Nonstick Saute Pan

- Base material: hard-anodized aluminum
- Interior: ceramic nonstick
- Cooktops: gas, electric, glass top

Our Rating

9.2

Best for large families

2. T-fal Ceramic Nonstick Jumbo Square Saute Pan

- Base: aluminum w. magnetized plate
- Interior: ceramic nonstick
- Cooktops: gas, electric, glass top, induction

Our Rating

9.1

Best high-end

3. All-Clad Stainless Steel Bonded Tri-Ply Saute Pan

- Base: tri-ply stainless steel w. aluminum core
- Interior: stainless steel
- Cooktops: gas, electric, glass top, induction

Our Rating

9.3

Great value

4. Cooks Standard Stainless Steel Multi-Ply Clad Saute Pan

- Base: stainless steel w. aluminum core
- Interior: stainless steel
- Cooktops: gas, electric, glass top, induction

Our Rating

9.0

Best budget

5. Cuisinart Contour Stainless Steel Saute Pan

- Base: stainless steel w. aluminum core
- Interior: stainless steel
- Cooktops: gas, electric, glass top, induction

Our Rating

8.8

Best nonstick

6. Rachael Ray Brights Hard Anodized Nonstick Saute Pan

- Base material: hard-anodized aluminum
- Interior: nonstick
- Cooktops: gas, electric, glass top

Our Rating

9.3

Most durable

7. Calphalon Premier Stainless Steel 3-Ply Saute Pan

- Base: stainless steel w. aluminum core
- Interior: stainless steel
- Cooktops: gas, electric, glass top, induction

Our Rating

9.3

Cuisinart Green Gourmet Hard Anodized Nonstick Saute Pan

Design:

This 5.5-quart round sauté pan features straight edges, a flat bottom, and a stout riveted handle that tapers slightly so it's broader at the end. A looped handle is affixed to the opposite side. While the pan itself is black, both handles and the flat lid are silver in color.

Materials:

The pan itself is constructed of hard anodized aluminum with a ceramic nonstick coating. The lid and handles, meanwhile, feature a stainless steel construction.

The flat bottom makes this pan suitable for use on a variety of cooktops, including glass. However, because it's not advertised as induction-ready, we would not advise its use on induction ranges.

Usability:

This sauté pan is oven safe at temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, in addition to being broiler safe. These qualities, coupled with its generous capacity, make it a great fit for casseroles and other stovetop-to-oven dishes. We especially appreciate the extra looped handle, as it makes the pan easier to transfer when it's chock-full of ingredients.

The stainless steel lid fits neatly into the pan, trapping any heat and moisture inside for even cooking. Both handles are designed to stay cool while the pan heats on the stovetop (although you'll certainly need a set of quality oven mitts when removing it from the oven).

Because of the ceramic coating, we would avoid the use of metal utensils on this pan. Also note that it should only be washed by hand—the dishwasher may damage the finish.


Pros

  • Generous capacity
  • Efficient lid included
  • Excellent heat distribution
  • Easy to clean
  • Double handles add stability

Cons

  • Nonstick coating requires regular maintenance
  • Hand wash only
  • Lid gets extremely hot on the stovetop

T-fal Ceramic Nonstick Jumbo Square Saute Pan

Design:

The T-fal Ceramic nonstick sauté pan has a square shape with gently rounded edges. Copper in color, it features a broad, flat silver handle that's affixed to the pan via a pair of strong rivets. A second, looped handle is attached to the opposite side. A transparent glass lid with a silver knob-style handle is also included with the purchase.

Materials:

This pan is made of heavy gauge aluminum with a nonstick ceramic coating that's strong enough to withstand the use of metal utensils. The surface is PTFE- and PFOA-free, in addition to being free of cadmium and lead. The T-fal Ceramic sauté pan can be used on any type of cooking surface, including induction.

Usability:

The rounded edges of this unique sauté pan make it easy to scrape every last bit of sauce from the corners, despite the square shape.

The long handle is broad and easy to grip, while the looped handle lends stability to the hefty 6-quart unit. Because we like to keep an eye on our ingredients, we're big fans of the transparent glass lid, which features a steam hole to ensure accurate results.

Users should be aware that while the pan can withstand stovetop temperatures of up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit, it's only oven safe to 350 degrees.

However, the fact that it's induction-ready gives it added versatility in this category. The durable nonstick surface is also suitable for the dishwasher.


Pros

  • Can be used to prepare a variety of foods
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Induction-ready
  • Clever, eye-catching design

Cons

  • Nonstick coating is prone to flaking in humid weather
  • Lid is of noticeably lower quality than the pan itself

All-Clad Stainless Steel Bonded Tri-Ply Saute Pan

Design:

The All-Clad Stainless Steel sauté pan has a sleek, elegant appearance, with a rounded base and straight sides. The pan is low-profile, with a long angled handle on one side and a looped handle on the other. A matching stainless steel lid rounds out the set.

Materials:

Composed of 18/10 stainless steel with a triple-ply construction, this set is built to withstand years of use. The material heats quickly and efficiently, and is suitable for most cooking ranges, with the exception of induction stovetops.

Usability:

While this 3-quart pan has a lower capacity than many of the models listed here, the straight sides help keep splatters to a minimum. The tight-fitting lid keeps the heat and moisture from escaping, and the main handle is long enough to keep your hands cool during cooking. We think the balance can be slightly ungainly when the pan is full, but the looped handle helps to alleviate that issue.

The bottom of the pan has a capacity marker etched into it—another handy touch. The set is broiler and oven safe, and the stainless steel surface makes it ideal for browning mushrooms.

It also puts a good char on seared meats, although you'll want to wash the pan as soon as possible afterward to keep the film from sticking to the bottom.


Pros

  • Attractive design
  • Great for searing and browning
  • Durable construction
  • Oven and broiler safe

Cons

  • Balance can be awkward
  • May require special care to keep the surface in prime working condition
  • Relatively high price point

Cooks Standard Stainless Steel Multi-Ply Clad Saute Pan

Design:

With a squat, round base, straight sides, and a strong riveted handle, this 4-quart pan is heavy enough to achieve proper balance yet light enough to hold in one hand. A second looped handle has squared edges to give it a more reliable grip. The set, which includes a flat lid with a generous lid and a looped handle, is silver all over.

Materials:

The Cooks Standard sauté pan features a unique multi-ply construction, with an aluminum core along the base and the walls and a dual layer of stainless steel. The aluminum heats quickly and efficiently, while the stainless steel gives the finish an elegance and strength that aluminum can't provide.

This set can be used on any type of stovetop, including gas, electric, ceramic, glass, and induction. It's also oven safe to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and suitable for the dishwasher.

Usability:

The tapered lip is arguably the most appealing feature that this pan has to offer. Not only does the lid rest more securely in place, it allows you to pour soups and sauces neatly, without unsightly drips.

The overall construction is equally impressive, providing great balance and superb heat retention. Air-flow technology helps to keep the main handle cool on the stovetop, but remember to use protection when removing the pan from the oven.

For all its fine qualities, the Cooks Standard set is not broiler safe, so keep that in mind when planning your next recipe. While it is dishwasher safe, we would recommend washing it by hand whenever possible, especially if it's been used for high-heat cooking applications like searing.


Pros

  • Impressive multi-ply construction
  • Ergonomic design
  • Tapered lip for easy pouring
  • Provides good value for the cost
  • Induction-ready

Cons

  • Looped handle can get hot on stovetop
  • Not broiler safe
  • Outer layers are prone to pitting without proper care

Cuisinart Contour Stainless Steel Saute Pan

Design:

This offering from Cuisinart is silver in color, with a transparent glass lid and straight sides. It has a 5-quart capacity and a long riveted handle, with a thick looped handle affixed to the opposite side. The lid also bears a loop handle, with a silver ring around the outer edge.

Materials:

An aluminum-encapsulated base is offset by a stainless steel surface, giving this unit excellent heat retention as well as durability. The stainless steel ring around the glass lid prevents it from cracking from contact with the pan. This unit is oven-, broiler-, freezer- and dishwasher-safe, and is equipped with a lifetime warranty.

Usability:

This sturdy material provides quick, even heating, with a surface that cleans up well after each use. The pan is also freezer safe, making it easier to store meals for future use.

The extra-thick looped handle gives it added stability when making the transfer from the stovetop to the oven. The main handle is designed to fit in neatly with the contours of your hand.

The tempered glass lid helps seal in flavor and gives you a view of the ingredients as they cook, which is ideal for making dumplings. The 5-quart capacity is generous enough to prepare meals for the entire family. Best of all, the price is so low that this pan should pay for itself after just a few uses.


Pros

  • Low price point
  • Cleverly designed glass lid
  • Long, contoured handle
  • Fast, even heating
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Should be thoroughly dried before putting away
  • Sides don't heat as effectively as the bottom
  • Bottom of pan is prone to pitting

Rachael Ray Brights Hard Anodized Nonstick Saute Pan

Design:

With its clever oval shape and bright-orange coated handles, this pan can't be mistaken for any other. The exterior is dark charcoal gray, with a nonstick interior and rubberized handles. The glass lid also features a loop-style handle with a rubber coating. The pan is narrow enough to easily fit atop a single burner.

Materials:

The Rachael Ray sauté pan is made of hard-anodized aluminum, with a nonstick interior and shatter-proof glass lid. All three of the handles feature a rubber coating to make them easier to grip.

The pan is not induction-ready, but it can be used on all other cooktops. It's also oven safe to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, in addition to being dishwasher safe.

Usability:

While we think the oval shape takes some getting used to, this pan is actually a dream come true for certain ingredients. If you're making a dish of sausages and peppers or a skillet hash, the extra length gives the ingredients the space they need to brown properly.

While it might seem like overkill to use a sauté pan with a 5-quart capacity to make scrambled eggs, it does an excellent job with those as well.

Since the Rachael Ray is only oven safe to 350 degrees, we prefer to reserve it for stovetop use. Its narrow shape comes in especially handy when one of the larger burners is occupied by an oversized stock pot.


Pros

  • Eye-catching design
  • Easy-grip handles
  • Easy to clean
  • Fits easily on a crowded stovetop

Cons

  • Unconventional shape
  • Takes up a lot of cabinet space
  • Balance can be awkward when attempting to pour sauces or drain grease

Calphalon Premier Stainless Steel 3-Ply Saute Pan

Design:

Another 5-quart sauté pan, this one with straight edges and a basic utilitarian appearance. The pan is silver in color, with a tempered glass lid.

The main handle is long and contoured so that it's easier to grip, while the looped handles on the pan and lid have square edges. The pan feels heavy in your hand, but the overall balance is good.

Materials:

Calphalon products are known for their reliability, and this pan doesn't disappoint. With an aluminum core and dual stainless steel layers, it provides a cooking surface that heats rapidly, with no troublesome "hot spots."

This model is compatible with most stovetops, including glass and induction. Calphalon even provides a lifetime warranty with every purchase, underlining their confidence in this product.

Usability:

The handles on the Calphalon 3-Ply are designed to stay cool on the stovetop, and they're sturdy enough to provide a decent grip. That's a trait that comes in handy when transferring the pan to the oven—both the pan and the handle are oven safe at temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

This pan has many good qualities, but the stellar heat retention is at the top of the list. Everything we've prepared in it—from fried eggs to beef stew—has cooked to perfection, and in just the recommended amount of time.

While nonstick surfaces have their place, we prefer the superior searing and browning qualities that stainless steel provides. It's also dishwasher safe and comes clean easily, with minimum rinsing and scrubbing required. 

The price point on the Calphalon would be attractive enough even without the lifetime warranty, but that extra guarantee is the icing on the cake. When you invest in this set, you're getting your money's worth.


Pros

  • Quality construction
  • Excellent heat retention
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Induction-ready
  • Attractive design, moves well from stovetop to oven to table
  • Eco-friendly packaging

Cons

  • Some egg-based sauces may stick to the surface
  • Should be fully dried before storing
  • Some off-gassing during the first few uses

Buyers Guide - How to Choose a Sauté Pan?

What qualities should you look for in a sauté pan? Here are a few of the most important features to take into consideration:

Construction

The pan should have a durable construction with decent balance, as well as handles that are easy to grip. It also helps if the materials are oven safe. For more information on what materials to look for, see Best Materials for a Sauté Pan, below.

Design

Most sauté pans feature a flat bottom, straight sides, and a lid. A round shape is the most common, but as the above guide can attest, there are exceptions to every rule.

The flat bottom keeps the ingredients in place during cooking, while straight sides help to prevent spillage. For some cooking applications, a tight-fitting lid is essential to keep heat and flavors from escaping.

a man using the pan on high heat

Size

Look for a pan that's large enough for what you have in mind. A 5-quart capacity is standard, but bigger families might want to opt for a 6- or 8-quart pan. Bear in mind, however, that larger pans might not fit on all standard burners.

Versatility

If you have an induction stovetop, make sure the pan is induction-ready. Similarly, glass or ceramic ranges can only accommodate certain materials. Also, pay attention to the temperature range. If the pan is only oven safe to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, it won't be suitable for some dishes.

Ease of Cleanup

While nonstick surfaces have a reputation for easy cleanup, they're not always the answer. For one thing, they might not be dishwasher safe—and even if they are, hand washing is usually recommended. Stainless steel sauté pans can come clean just as easily, especially if they're washed immediately. Pay attention to what the customer reviews have to say about certain products before making a decision.

Warranty

Many manufacturers will stand behind their products by providing free lifetime replacements. If the company offers this guarantee, it's usually a mark of high quality.


Best Materials for a Sauté Pan

Most sauté pans are made of anodized aluminum, usually with a stainless steel finish. Some may also feature a ceramic coating, which has nonstick properties. Look for a product that advertises a dual layer or multi-ply construction, as these typically combine performance with durability.


FAQ 

What's the Difference Between a Sauté Pan and a Frying Pan?

The sides are the most marked difference between the two. While a sauté pan features straight sides, a frying pan (or skillet) has sloping sides that make it more efficient during stir-frying and other quick-cooking techniques. Also, sauté pans are typically equipped with lids, a trait that frying pans do not share.

What Size Saute Pan Do I Need?

A standard size of 5 quarts should do the trick for most sautéed dishes. However, devoted chefs may prefer to keep a variety of sizes on hand.

What Do You Cook in a Saute Pan? 

A sauté pan is suitable for a myriad of dishes. (1) Here are some of the most popular:

  • Braised chicken dishes, such as coq au vin
  • Stews
  • Casseroles
  • Stewed collard greens
  • Curried dishes
  • Sauces and chutneys

Is Sautéing Healthier than Frying?

While "frying" has negative connotations, sautéing isn't necessarily healthier. The key to healthier cooking is to cut back on saturated fats and use as little unsaturated fat as possible.

Another trick is to make sure the pan is hot enough before adding the food. If you add the ingredients before the oil has reached the proper temperature, the food will become saturated with fat, which gives it an unpleasant texture in addition to a high calorie count.

Tammy Kennedy
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