The Best Saucepans for Cooking Literally Everything

A saucepan can bring you oatmeal for breakfast, soup for lunch, and tomato sauce for dinner. It’ll be there for you for small tasks, too, like boiling eggs, steaming rice, and whipping up boxed mac-and-cheese for your niece who’ll eat nothing else. In short, a medium-sized saucepan is a tool that even the most bare-bones kitchen must have. For everyday tasks, a tri-ply, 3-quart, stainless steel one is your best bet. It beats cast-iron for versatility, aluminum for steady heat, copper for ease-of-care, and will last a lifetime if maintained properly. Plus, it’s the perfect size for most everyday kitchen tasks.

In testing ten saucepan and saucier (aka chef’s pan) models from nine top-rated brands, we found that most tri-ply stainless steel varieties out there are very good. The material is beloved by cooks and chefs for a reason: It heats evenly, has the right heft, and is versatile across the various heating elements. Plus three quarts is the perfect size because it can take on both individual servings of soup and larger batches of oatmeal. In our tests, the top saucepans stood out only wigs singapore by narrow margins. But we did find a favorite. It came down to small details that made for more comfortable, and more exacting cooking. Read about our top picks for 3-quart stainless-steel saucepans below. For more details about testing and what to look for in a saucepan scroll to the bottom of the page.

A Note on Sauciers vs. Saucepans

If you’re going to have just one medium saucepan, it should be the one that can do everything. For this reason, we find a saucier—also called a chef’s pan—to be more versatile for the home cook than a standard saucepan. The sides of a saucier flare from the base, meaning that it’s got rounded edges and has a greater wig malaysia surface area. The rounded, sloping edges are particularly useful for stovetop cooking that requires a whisk—such as custards or caramel sauce—because the whisk can easily scrape into the corners, preventing sauces from scorching at the edges.

The Best 3-Quart Saucier for Every Cook: Misen

For quality at a great value, we found the Misen 3-quart saucepan to be the best option. It excelled at every test, offering thorough and even heat distribution, easy pouring from the rimmed lip, an ultra-comfortable stay-cool handle, and a snuggly-fitting lid that allowed little to no steam to escape. Most importantly, it has even heat distribution thanks to “5-ply” construction—which means that there are five layers of steel and aluminum all the way up to the lip (rather than contained only in the base). The Misen pan was thicker, with a heavier bottom than many of the pans we tried. This meant it heated noticeably more evenly when melting sugar for caramel—and a bit more slowly, too. Slower heating may seem like a disadvantage at first, but for making lemon curd (or any custard), which can go from glossy and undulating to scrambled in a matter of seconds, it’s a good thing. A thicker, heavier pot, which heats up the pan more gradually, gives you a bit of a buffer for delicate jobs like this one.

The Misen’s rounded base allows a whisk to easily reach the corners of the pan. And, again, this saucier-style pan offers a greater surface area than a saucepan, which makes it possible to poach an extra egg or two in a big batch for brunch. It also means that more steam will collect on the surface and liquids will reduce more quickly; depending wigs online on the job at hand, this is either an asset or a liability (though you can always partially cover the pan to slow down evaporation). The Misen has an extra-thick, angled handle, which we found more comfortable and convenient to hold than many of the other pans. At around $85, it’s an affordable, high-quality option for every kind of cook that will serve you well in a myriad of everyday kitchen tasks.

Misen 3-Quart Saucier

$85.00, Misen


A Luxe Runner Up (And a Pick for Those Who Prefer a Traditional, Straight-Sided Saucepan): All-Clad 3-Quart Stainless Steel Saucepan

To call anything by All-Clad a “runner up” is almost sacrilege. All-Clad is the Cadillac of cookware, and both their 3-quart saucepan and saucier are fail-safe investments with a high-quality finish you won’t find in other pans. The “clad” in All-Clad means that the tri-ply, aluminum core goes all the way up the sides of the pan, rather than just on the base—of course, this is also the case with the top-ranked Misen pan, but All-Clad has a reputation as the industry standard pick for long-lasting, even-heating pans.

If you’re looking for a standard 3-quart saucepan specifically, the All-Clad should be your pick. The traditional saucepan has straight edges, but it’s wider and shorter than most saucepans, and its base has slightly rounded edges, which allows for narrow whisks to easily access the corners. The saucepan is made of thick, high-quality metal, with a heavy bottom that ensures slower, more even heating and allows for absolute precision in making delicate caramels and custards. (We also tested their saucier, which is a great luxury pick for cooks looking to invest more in this style of pan, though we think the added cost doesn’t outweigh the benefits of the Misen model.)

Like the Misen, the All-Clad saucepan has a flat, angled handle, rather than a rounded one, which we found more comfortable to grip—it’s also nice and thick, and stays cool longer than other saucepan handles. This is an upgraded pick for more serious cooks who are ready to invest in a forever piece of cookware, or those who prefer a more standard saucepan shape.

All-Clad 3-Quart Stainless Steel Saucepan

$150.00, Amazon


How We Tested

To test the saucepans, we devised a list of their primary uses like heating soups, poaching eggs, and “whisk jobs” like making polenta or caramel sauce. They should heat evenly and thoroughly, and you should be able to cleanly pour a thin liquid from the saucepan to a bowl. So for each saucepan, we cooked a batch of lemon curd, melted sugar for caramel sauce, and poured broth from the saucepan to a bowl. We also tested how long it took to boil a quart of water in each pan (the amount of variance between all the pans was just a minute, which is to say, negligible) and poached eggs in all of them.

<h1 class="title">The Best Small Saucepan-INSET eggs poached</h1> <cite class="credit">Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Kate Buckens</cite>
Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Kate Buckens

Factors We Evaluated

What are the materials?

Tri-ply means that there are three layers of metal in the construction of the pan—typically steel sandwiches a layer of aluminum or copper (we ruled out copper in these tests because of its significant added expense). The combination of metals means utilizing the best properties of both: aluminum for its ability to heat up quickly and evenly, and steel for its durability. Most models we tested were fully-clad, save the lesser expensive models.

Does the pan heat evenly?

A saucepan should be made of thick, high-quality stainless-steel, and have a heavy bottom that ensures even heating. This is important especially for making delicate egg-based custards, but also comes in handy for everyday cooking tasks like making oatmeal and rice.

Does the handle stay cool? And is it comfortable to hold?

All “stay-cool” handles (every model we tested had one) will get hot over time, just at a slower rate than the rest of the pan, so the more important factor is being able to grip them comfortably with an oven mitt. This came to be very much a matter of preference—is a ridged handle that allows your thumb to sink into a divot preferable to a thicker, rounder one? We found our favorite handles to be thick, with a slight angle rather than a rounded slope.

Is it easy to pour from?

Almost all the models we tested had a rounded lip, designed to facilitate clean pouring from saucepan to bowl. We also tested pouring the thicker lemon curd, and it proved especially important—the one pot we tested that had a straight lip created quite a mess, with sauce dripping down the outside of the pan. One model had a spout carved into the lip, which seemed like a good idea at first, but soon felt limiting, since left-handed people will want the spout on opposite sides.

What’s the price?

A simple mechanism like a stainless-steel pot shouldn’t have to cost a fortune. Still, we wanted high-quality materials and a nice, sturdy construction.

How’s the lid?

Lastly the lid needs to fit snugly, preventing steam from escaping for tasks like steaming rice. Covered, on a moderate boil, only a minimal amount of steam should escape—but ideally none will. All the models we tested passed this test except the one with a pouring spout, which inadvertently functioned as a little steam-escape valve.

Other Products We Tested

As we said before, the differences between the pans were pretty minimal compared to their similarities. All are sturdy and boast a comfortable grip; all did a more-than-serviceable job with the tasks at hand; such that even a nit-picky cook would be satisfied enough. Selecting our favorite saucepan came down to finer details.

The handle on the Cuisinart French Classic Tri-Ply model has a genius little depression for your thumb—which makes it surprisingly comfortable to grip. But its thinner construction meant less even heating than the Misen or All-Clad pans. This was true for its sibling, the Cuisinart MCP193-18N MultiClad Pro, as well. The Calphalon Tri-Ply Chef’s Pan has an extra-rounded flare from the base, which makes it a bit shallower in depth than other sauciers we tested. This could be an advantage or disadvantage depending on your preferences. Its main drawback is the glass lid, which just isn’t as durable as a metal one. The Tramontina Gourmet Prima Sauce Pan is another solid budget pick, with a comfortable handle and shallower depth than other saucepans. It was difficult to reach into the corners of the pan with a whisk, though. Additionally, the tri-ply construction only appears in the base of the pan, so the heating isn’t as even along the sides of the pan.

With its retro-looking copper handles and super sleek design, the Great Jones Saucy, another 3-quart saucier, gets a perfect score for aesthetics, and like the All-Clad, has an extra handle opposite the primary one, which makes transferring a full pot from, say, the stovetop to the oven, extra comfortable and safe because you can securely carry it using both hands. But it didn’t heat as evenly as the similarly-priced Misen (or the much more expensive All-Clad), and the well-intentioned pouring spout creates an escape for steam that complicates tasks like making rice. But if you’re looking for a saucepan that you can serve from the table at a fancy dinner party, that’s the one.

For our 2020 update, we added two models to our saucepan review line up: the Demeyere Stainless Steel Essential Pan and the Made In Saucier. At six pounds, the Demeyere was the heaviest of the bunch, which made it sturdy to whisk in but difficult to pour from with one hand. Shape wise, it seemed to fit somewhere between a saucier and a standard saucepan, with sloping slides that hit the flat bottom at a more direct angle than some of the rounder options; this made it difficult to get into the corners while cooking. As for Made In, the five-ply construction and slightly offset handle were plusses, but the cost ($99) and relative thinness knocked it out of the running.

The Takeaway

A medium-sized saucepan will be a workhorse in any kitchen, and a tri-ply (or 5-ply!) stainless steel model will do the jobs with aplomb—for years if not a lifetime. Because of its layered construction of metals, this style of cookware both heats evenly and is sturdy, durable, and attractive, and all the models we tested passed our tests enough to earn a place in practically any kitchen. For maximum utility, we prefer a saucier to a traditional, straight-sided saucepan—with its rounded edge and wider opening it’s especially useful for whisk jobs, like making lemon curd and caramel sauce. Our favorite is the Misen 3-quart saucier, which is moderately priced, boasts 5-ply and fully-clad construction, plus a comfortable handle and snugly fitting lid. And for a traditional, straight-sided model, the classic All-Clad 3-quart saucepan is more of an investment. Still, it’s a classic beauty meant to last a lifetime—and with its shallower depth and rounded edges, it’s more amenable to stovetop whisking than other straight-sided saucepans.

Originally Appeared on Epicurious

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