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What's the Best Sauté Pan? A Few Reviews of Good, Nonstick Options

Updated on March 15, 2015

What's a Good Sauté Pan for Gourmet Cooking?

Having difficulty sautéing? You not alone!

Like any craftsman, a good cook depends on the tools of the trade. You'd be amazed how much a good set of pans can make or break the final product. Unfortunately, most people use the wrong pan for the job, and the result is underwhelming.

Did you know there are specific pans made for sautéing? It's true! Whether you're frying up some onions, reducing a sauce, or perfecting your Thai techniques, it's worthwhile to have the right cookware for the job.

This article looks at a couple of the best sauté pans around today. For ease of use, I'll be focusing on nonstick options, and my reviews will focus on all-purpose cooking, rather than a specific style. Ready to find the right tool for the job? Let's get started!


What is a Sauté Pan?

A sauté pan is a specific culinary tool. But what makes it special, and what is the difference between a skillet and a sauté pan anyway?

A sauté pan has deep, flat sides, which make it ideal for creating or reducing a sauce. The flat sides also maximize surface area, meaning you have a bit more space to work with. Those high sides prevent sauce and juice from splattering over the edge.

A skillet has slanted sides, which reduce your surface area but make access with a spatula a bit easier. Skillets are generally better for stir-fries and things where you want to move the contents around a bit more, but less effective with messier foods.

A good sauté pan is best suited for searing mushrooms, garlic, onions, shallots and vegetables, as well as chicken and certain types of meat. Deglazing is easy to do with a top quality sauté pan.

They're also fantastic at creating a fantastic sauce or reduction, with their even heat and high sides. Many sauté pans come with lids as well, giving you some flexibility.

Here are some signs you need a proper sauté pan:

  • Your food comes out unevenly cooked
  • Cleaning your pan afterwards is a herculean effort
  • You always end up scorching food with your current setup

Rachael Ray: One of the best sauté pans around with a unique feature

The Rachel Ray sauté pan is one of the best ones around for a few reasons. It's versatile, large enough to cook big meals, and has a unique feature you won't find anywhere else.

That feature is its shape: the Rachel Ray sauté pan is oval shaped, which affords it a serious advantage.

First and foremost, you can fit more pans around your range this way. A large, deep sauté pan would typically dominate your stovetop, limiting your ability to cook other dishes at the same time. With its unique footprint, you have loads of flexibility.

The deep sides and lid let you use it for a myriad of tasks. Risottos, stews, sauces and veggies are a quick task in this pan. It's well made with a great non-stick coating (Teflon) which makes cleanup a breeze. The whole thing is even oven safe!

The Rachel Ray is one of the best sauté pans around. With great reviews and a sizeable following, it's well worth your time to check out.

GreenPan: A good, safe sauté pan with awesome reviews

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard of the dangers of nonstick coatings. Teflon, in particular, is known to be dangerous if cooked at too high of a temperature. I've also heard that a chipping coating can be dangerous if ingested.

The GreenPan is a safe alternative, one of the best, nonstick sauté pans for sale today. With it, you can rest easy knowing that you'll be safe from fumes, chips and heavy metal residues.

It's a deep, 11 inch pan with high, slightly curved sides and a stainless steel lid and handle. The nonstick coating is ceramic, which is a durable and effective solution that makes cleanup a snap. It also allows you to cook with less oil, which is a good thing for your health.

The pan is rated up to 850° Fahrenheit, so it's a safe piece of cookware no matter how high the temperature. Its all-metal construction means you can place it in the oven or broiler without worry of melting the handles. It conducts heat really nicely, and you'll find yourself using it frequently due to its easy-to-use and easy-to-clean features.

The GreenPan isn't super well known yet, but I hope it will gain some posterity. It's a great sauté pan with excellent reviews.

All-Clad: A stainless steel sauté pan with killer reviews and good durability

Stainless steel is probably the best thing to happen to the kitchen since the invention of fire. This non-reactive metal is tough as nails and looks amazing and professional even after years of use.

I wanted to include a good, steady, stainless steel sauté pan in this article. It's a standby that few cooks can do without.

Stainless steel is naturally stick resistant, and therefore you won't find any special coating here. The interior of the pan does have a convenient capacity indicator, however, so it's a simple task to determine if your meal will fit in the cookware. (It takes about 3 quarts total.)

You may have heard that steel doesn't transfer heat that well. True! Fortunately, the All-Clad features an aluminum core, so it heats quickly and distributes that temperature evenly.

The lid locks really tightly with the pan, so you can manage moisture and steam easily enough. It's heavy and well made, expect this to last for many years.

Overall, this All-Clad deep sauté pan is a good choice and it will serve you really well. No nonstick coating, no fancy bells and whistles, just fantastic construction and excellent heat conduction. You won't be disappointed!

What kind of nonstick coating do you prefer?

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What about cookware sets?

A popular option right now is to buy a large cookware set from a 'big box' store. While this is an economical way to outfit your kitchen, it's not something I'd recommend if you have culinary ambitions.

I find that it's much better and more satisfying to source each piece of your kitchen set individually. Find pots and pans that are specifically created to cook the kind of food that you prefer.

This is often a more expensive route, but it can be practical too: most of those big sets include a couple of pots or pans that you'll never really utilize anyway.

For sautéing, I think it's worthwhile to pick up the best sauté pan you can source and using it heavily until it falls apart. Get a worthy pan, take care of it, love it, and your table (and dinner guests) will reap the benefits. Thanks for reading folks!

Have a good sauté pan review you'd like to contribute? Leave it here!

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