The Best Sauté Pans for Home Cooks, According to the Pros

The sauté pans that guarantee delicious sauces and braises every time, starting with our top pick, the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless Steel 5.5-Quart Sauté Pan.

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best saute pans
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There are few things more frustrating than spending time perusing new recipes, finally choosing one to make for dinner, and then realizing it calls for a pan you don't have in your kitchen. While you can certainly use a stockpot for a recipe that calls for a saucepan or a saucepan in place of a Dutch oven, there are certain dishes that just come together best in the right pan.

If that dish is sautéed zucchini or chicken curry, that pan is going to be a sauté pan. "When I make a sauce that will require an hour or more of preparation in the pan, a sauté pan is essential," says Mark Perlioni, chef and co-author of the cookbook Mangiamo. "If I'm going to sear a piece of protein, deglaze the pan, and then finish the dish in the oven, a sauté pan works perfectly."

To find the best options on the market, we spoke with professional chefs and cookbook authors who use sauté pans on a daily basis, needing them to conduct heat well, fit multi-serving recipes, and earn top marks on durability. With durability, capacity, and ease of cleaning in mind, we named the Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless Steel 5.5-Quart Sauté Pan our winner. Read on to discover our full list of the best sauté pans of 2022.

Our Favorites

Best Overall: Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless Steel 5.5-Quart Sauté Pan

Best Saute Pans

Also available at Walmart and Wayfair.

Why It's Great

  • Even heat distribution
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Snug-feeling handles and fitted lid

Grain of Salt

  • All-metal lid

This pan is our top pick thanks to the speedy and even heat distribution of stainless steel, which ensures your sauces and sautéed apples won't burn in some places and undercook in others.

"I've had this 5.5-quart sauté pan from Cuisinart for six years," shares Talia Koren, cook and author of The Workweek Lunch Cookbook. "It's still my go-to pan, even though it's pretty big. I love it because it's my workhorse in the kitchen, especially for cooking larger batches of food for meal prep."

The tight-fitting lid and tapered rim mean you don't need to worry about liquids dripping or spilling. One downside to the all-metal lid is that when it's on the pan, you can't see your food cooking inside. The pan is relatively light despite its large size, making it easy to move from the stovetop to the oven and even into the dishwasher.

The Details: Stainless steel; 5.5-quart volume; 10-inch diameter

Best Budget: T-Fal Specialty Nonstick 5-Quart Jumbo Cooker

Best Saute Pans

Also available at Target and Walmart.

Why It's Great

  • Nontoxic, nonstick cooking surface
  • Heat indicator
  • Stay-cool handles

Grain of Salt

  • Only oven-safe up to 350°F

The nontoxic, nonstick surface of this T-Fal sauté pan makes cooking a breeze, especially when you're searing a protein over high heat and don't want to leave half of it stuck to the pan. It also comes with T-Fal's Thermo Spot technology, in which the ring around the "T" in the center of the pan turns solid red when the pan is preheated and it's time to add ingredients. The glass lid allows you to keep an eye on your ingredients, and the stay-cool handles let you move the pan around with ease. One thing to note is that it's only oven-safe up to 350°F, so make sure you take a look at the specified oven temperature before beginning a recipe.

The Details: Aluminum; 5-quart volume; 12-inch diameter

Best Nonstick: Calphalon Classic Hard-Anodized Nonstick 5-Quart Sauté Pan with Cover

Best Saute Pans

Also available at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Why It's Great

  • Sturdy and durable
  • Handle stays cool
  • Sleek two-tone look

Grain of Salt

  • Scratchy outer surface

Unlike some of the other nonstick pans, this Calphalon sauté pan is made from hard-anodized aluminum, ensuring that it never warps or corrodes over time. The pan has a long stainless steel handle that stays cool on the stovetop and features a stainless steel small handle, lid handle, and ring around the lid for an attractive and professional look. The nonstick interior makes it easy to clean, which is a good thing considering hand-washing is recommended.

The Details: Hard-anodized aluminum; 5-quart volume; 12-inch diameter

Related:Our Test Kitchen Found the Best Nonstick Pans

Best Cast Iron: Crock-Pot Artisan 3.5-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Deep Sauté Pan

Best Saute Pans

Also available at Bed Bath & Beyond and Home Depot.

Why It's Great

  • Even heat conduction
  • Very durable
  • Vibrant color options

Grain of Salt

  • Cumbersome

Chef Mark Perlioni's second choice after stainless steel sauté pans is cast iron. "It conducts heat so well and when properly seasoned; it's essentially nonstick," he says, adding, "It's heavy, but it's a great material that should last generations (I have a vintage one that is over 100 years old that I use all the time)."

With this sauté pan made by Crock-Pot, you get the quality and durability of cast iron, plus the ability to put it in an oven up to 500°F, for a reasonable price. Just keep in mind that it's on the heavy side and the handle gets hot, so you'll likely need two mitted hands to move it from the stovetop to the oven and back.

The Details: Cast iron; 3.5-quart volume; 10-inch diameter

Best Copper: BergHOFF Vintage Copper Try-Ply Sauté Pan

Best Saute Pans

Also available at Target.

Why It's Great

  • Striking appearance
  • Even heating
  • Very light

Grain of Salt

  • Doesn't come with a lid

This BergHOFF Vintage Copper Try-Ply 8-inch Sauté Pan is Chef Mark Perlioni's favorite sauté pan for sauces. "Making sauces is one of my favorite things about cooking, so it stands to reason this would be my favorite," he says. "This one heats perfectly and just feels like a small sauté pan should. It's also beautiful as the copper is hammered, and the stainless cooking surface lets you see what you are doing."

If your kitchen is designed with the ability to hang pots and pans, this pan is a beautiful addition. But it's the only one on this list that doesn't come with a lid, so you might have to use one from a different pan depending on your recipe.

The Details: Copper and stainless steel; 2.5-quart volume; 8-inch diameter

Best Large: Farberware Nonstick Jumbo Cooker/Sauté Pan

Best Saute Pans

Also available at Target and Walmart.

Why It's Great

  • Comfortable, sturdy handle
  • Glass lid
  • Dishwasher safe

Grain of Salt

  • Not oven-safe at high temperatures

This Farberware sauté pan clocks in at a whopping 6 quarts — that's larger than the average slow cooker! With a pan featuring this much cooking space, it's a relief that it's also nonstick and dishwasher safe, especially if you're serving a crowd that you want to spend time with instead of standing at the sink scrubbing. The riveted long, small, and lid handles make it easy for you to hold onto the pan without risking any slippage or spilling of sauce. Like the other nonstick pans on this list, it's only oven-safe up to 350°F.

The Details: Aluminum; 6-quart volume; 12-inch diameter

Related: The Best Frying Pans to Buy Online, From Chef-Approved Options to Budget-Friendly Picks

Best Splurge: All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded 3-Quart Sauté Pan with Lid

Best Saute Pans

Also available at Crate and Barrel and Williams Sonoma.

Why It's Great

  • Great for big-batch recipes
  • Oven- and broiler-safe up to 500°F
  • Attractive shiny exterior

Grain of Salt

  • Hand washing recommended

If you're looking to go full-on chef mode, you can't beat this All-Clad sauté pan. Workweek Lunch Founder Talia Koren, says, "It's ideal for most ingredients and cooking techniques, and I believe every home cook should get comfortable with stainless steel."

This pan earns its price tag in its construction, which features an aluminum core and stick-resistant stainless steel interior for speedy, even heating and a perfect finish on every dish. At 5 inches deep, it's one of the deepest pans on this list, so you can rest assured any and all liquids are staying in the pan. The handle will stay cool to the touch, though it's quite long — just something to keep in mind as you're maneuvering the pan around other pots and dishes or in and out of the oven.

The Details: Stainless steel; 3-quart volume; 11-inch diameter

Our Takeaway

You can't go wrong with a stainless steel sauté pan, and the Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless Steel 5.5-Quart Sauté Pan is our best overall pick because it's reasonably priced while earning high marks for heat distribution, durability, and ease of cleaning.

How to Pick the Right Sauté Pan


While there are many options to choose from, Chef Perlioni recommends stainless steel. "If I could only have one, I would have to go with a 10- or 12-inch stainless steel pan with a copper core for better conduction," he says. "Stainless steel allows you to see what you are doing and ensures that sauces are not overly browning." Perlioni adds that while stainless steel is not the best material for heat conduction (hence the copper core in his perfect pan), this can actually come in handy in a sauté pan. "It can be good with sauces, especially dairy-based ones, to prevent scorching."

After stainless steel, cast iron is Perlioni's second pick. That said, if you are primarily using your pan for dishes in which sticking is a concern, such as searing protein over a hot flame, you may opt for a nonstick pan.


When it comes to size, Perlioni and Koren both agree: You'll likely get the most use out of a 5- to 5.5-quart sauté pan, even though the large size can be a bit unwieldy. If you're not making big-batch sauces or braising meat to serve a crowd, a 3-quart pan may be sufficient.

Ease of Cleaning

Sauté pans can get large and cumbersome when trying to maneuver their long handles into the sink for soaking. If you don't want to deal with hand-washing, opt for a nonstick or stainless steel pan; though it's important to note that since many of the recipes made in a sauté pan feature large amounts of liquid, there likely won't be too much scrubbing required.

At the same time, the long handle may mean that even if the pan is dishwasher safe, it may not fit in your dishwasher — unless you're willing to have it take up the entire bottom shelf. So if your dishwasher is on the small side and you don't foresee the pan fitting, it may be worth considering one that's hand wash only.

Common Questions

Is a sauté pan worth it?

It depends on the recipes you like to cook. Because of its shape and the fact that it can hold a lot of liquid, sauté pans are ideal for searing, poaching, making sauces, and preparing dishes that require you to deglaze the pan. Since sautéing typically happens over a high heat, a sauté pan will also prevent any splattering when you're cooking with butter.

What is the difference between a sauté and a frying pan?

In short, the difference between a sauté and a frying pan are the sides of the pans. "A sauté pan has straight sides and a frying pan has sloped sides," Perlioni says. The recipes you will want to cook in each vary as well. "A sauté pan is great for sauces, braising, and sauté en sauce techniques, in which the entire pan goes in the oven," he says. "If the pan is headed for the oven, a sauté pan is superior as the sauce will not slosh out of this straight-sided pan while moving the dish from the stove to the oven."

Frying pans are also lighter, which makes them ideal for dishes in which you are lifting the pan off the stovetop to toss the food around, a technique that would be tricky with a sauté pan — just as a recipe that uses a lot of liquid would be hard to complete with a frying pan.

Can you fry eggs in a sauté pan?

Sure! The problem you may run into is flipping the eggs, which is much easier in a slope-sided frying pan than a straight-sided sauté pan. But if you're able to shimmy your spatula beneath your egg successfully, it will be just as tasty cooked in either pan.

Why Take Our Word for It?

Alyssa Sybertz is an experienced home cook, recipe developer, and food writer who has covered cookware, cooking techniques, and all things kitchen for Allrecipes. For this piece, we consulted with classically trained chefs, professional cooks, and cookbook authors to determine the best sauté pans to fit your every need.

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