three saucepans on burst background
Credit: Allrecipes Illustration

The 5 Best Saucepans, According to Our Tests

Here are our favorite saucepans and why we love them.
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

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Every home cook should invest in a quality saucepan. As kitchen workhorses, saucepans can be used to boil water, cook and reduce sauces, make rice, reheat leftovers, and so much more. This essential piece of cookware comes in different sizes and materials, so you can easily find one suitable for your needs. Best of all, you don't have to break the bank to get a top-rated model. 

To help you pick the right saucepan to add to your cookware collection, we put various models to the test. Cuisinart's Contour Hard-Anodized Saucepan came out on top after evaluating each saucepan's overall feel, quality, value, and ease of cleaning as well as timing how long they took to boil water and how well they melted and simmered alfredo sauce. Below is our list of the best saucepans on the market as well as the other models that didn't make the cut.

Our Favorites

Related Items

Best Overall: Cuisinart Contour Hard-Anodized Saucepan

View at Amazon ($55)

Why It's Great

  • Heats up quickly
  • Cool-grip handle
  • Functional contoured design

Grain of Salt

  • Hand wash only

Cuisinart's saucepan stood out from the rest because of its contoured design and nonstick interior. The pot was easy to clean and didn't show smudges after use, and the glass cover allowed us to watch the water and sauce heat up. With boiling water inside, we were able to carry it with one hand without an oven mitt thanks to its lightweight construction and cool-to-the-touch handle.

Because of its wide base, this saucepan boiled water quicker than all the other tested models, except for a tie with the All-Clad saucepan. When it came to testing Alfredo sauce in the saucepan, it was no surprise that it simmered at a rapid pace. We even had to turn the heat down slightly, but the results were smooth and not too thick. 

The contoured body made the sauce easy to pour out without dripping down the side of the pan, and the nonstick interior allowed the liquid to effortlessly flow out of the pot. Although it's not dishwasher safe, the saucepan was very easy to clean. Overall, this is a quality, oven-safe, easy-to-clean saucepan at a reasonable price. 

The Details: Hard-anodized aluminum pot with glass lid; 3-quart capacity; oven safe up to 500 degrees

Best Budget: Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Saucepan

View at Amazon ($35)

Why It's Great

  • Doubles as a colander
  • Features pour spouts 
  • Tight-fitting lid

Grain of Salt

  • Oddly shaped handle

There's a reason Farberware has been a leader in the cookware industry for many years: The products are reliable and reasonably priced, and this saucepan is no exception. It heats up quickly and evenly, washes easily in the dishwasher, and features a straining lid that's essentially a built-in colander. 

Like the other stainless steel saucepans we tested, this model produced a thick sauce consistency with the cream reducing the most during its simmering time. As a bonus, we didn't have to adjust the temperature to prevent the cream from sticking. 

The saucepan was incredibly light; the cover fit snugly; and the pour spouts on both sides made for a seamless sauce transfer from pan to bowl. For an easy cleanup, you can pop this pot in the dishwasher. 

The Details: Stainless steel pot and lid; 3-quart capacity; oven safe up to 350 degrees

Best Nonstick: Calphalon Premier Nonstick Saucepan

View at Target ($60)

Why It's Great

  • Quick and even heating
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Attractive appearance

Grain of Salt

  • Heavier than other nonstick models

Calphalon's nonstick saucepan is equal parts functional and sleek. The black aluminum pot, stainless steel handle, and glass cover make it one of the more attractive saucepans of the models we tested. The saucepan's handle has a ergonomic shape that feels comfortable in your hand, making it easy to maneuver despite being slightly heavier than some of its nonstick counterparts. 

What it lacked in lightness, it made up for in the fast heat transfer. This saucepan had the second fastest water boiling time, one of the fastest cheese melting times, and produced the thickest and creamiest sauce of all the nonsticks. Best of all, one swipe with a spoon removed all the sauce from the pan, making cleanup a cinch. 

The Details: Hard-anodized aluminum pot with glass lid; 2.5-quart capacity; oven safe up to 450 degrees

Related: The Best Cookware Sets for Every Type of Home Chef

Best Stainless: Avacraft Stainless Steel Saucepan

View at Amazon ($47)

Why It's Great

  • Heats up quickly
  • Has side spouts and strainer lid
  • Useful measurement marks

Grain of Salt

  • Can be difficult to clean

As a woman-owned cookware company, Avacraft thoughtfully designs its products to be more lightweight and ergonomic. This stainless steel saucepan was super light and easy to move with one hand, and its curved handle itself was arguably the most comfortable to hold of all the pans tested. Thanks to measurement marks inside the pot, this model didn't require a measuring cup when adding water. 

The saucepan heated up fast and produced a thick and creamy sauce. Unlike some stainless steel saucepans, this one has a glass cover that allows you to easily see inside the pot while cooking. When hand washing, we had to scrub the sides; however, it's also dishwasher safe. Other features we love about this option is that it has two pouring spouts (for right and left hand people), lid straining holes, and a silicone-coated lid handle. 

The Details: Stainless steel pot with glass lid; 2.5-quart capacity; not oven safe

Credit: Williams Sonoma

Best Cast Iron: Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Saucepan

View at Williams Sonoma ($215)

Why It's Great

  • Works well on high heat
  • Withstands wear and tear
  • Helper handle for easy transport
  • Available in multiple colors

Grain of Salt

  • Heavy 
  • Expensive

Le Creuset's Signature Enameled Cast Iron Saucepan is a winner for many reasons: It has an attractive design, is built to last, and works on any cooktop including induction cooktops. For recipes that require high heat, this saucepan is a great option as it is oven safe up to 500 degrees.  

During testing, this saucepan had the fastest cheese melting time and was the most effective at retaining heat. There were minimal remnants of sauce left in the pan post-pour, and we were able to remove them with a gentle swipe of a sponge. The biggest downside to this saucepan is its weight. You need two hands to move this saucepan around; however, it does have a convenient helper handle to make transporting easier. 

The Details: Enameled cast iron pot and lid; 2.25-capacity; oven safe up to 500 degrees

Related: The 6 Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets

Our Takeaway

We chose Cuisinart's Contour Hard-Anodized Saucepan as our best overall pick because of its superior heating capabilities, contoured pot design, and easy-to-clean nonstick interior. Unlike other options, this saucepan was light enough to hold with just one hand.

How to Pick the Right Saucepan

Size and Weight 

Saucepans that range from 2 to 3 quarts offer the most versatility and can handle most kitchen tasks without taking up obscene amounts of storage space. Anything bigger is meant for recipes like one-pot pasta and chili. The weight of saucepans depends on their material and size. Cast iron saucepans weigh significantly more than stainless steel or nonstick.

Shape

Saucepans come in a variety of shapes, including ones with tall and flat sides as well as ones with wider and shallow sides. The former is going to heat more quickly, while the latter is going to do a better job of retaining heat without burning or evaporating ingredients.

Material

There are three main materials for saucepans: nonstick, stainless steel, and enameled cast iron. Stainless steel is most popular for its durability and its ability to retain heat. Plus, it's usually dishwasher safe, unlike many enameled cast iron or nonstick options. Nonstick is preferable for its easy-to-clean surface, allowing liquids to pour out effortlessly. Both stainless steel and nonstick saucepans are often made with an aluminum core, which is an excellent heat conductor. Enameled cast iron is made of heavy-duty cast iron coated with an enamel glaze that provides some nonstick qualities yet provides superior heat retention. Drawbacks to enameled cast iron include its heaviness and high price tag.

Cover

Saucepans usually come with lids, but they can differ in material and fit. Glass covers are convenient because they allow you to watch your food while it cooks, while stainless steel and cast iron lids are excellent at retaining heat. 

Handle

Sometimes, saucepan handles are made with the same material as the pan, and other times they feature heat-resistant materials or cushioning. Ergonomically shaped handles offer the most comfortable and natural grip. Another important factor to pay attention to is how the handle is attached to the pan. Handles attached by flush rivets are best. Be cautious of ones that are glued on or attached by a normal screw—these are unlikely to stand the test of time.

Other Features

While the above factors are most important when buying a saucepan, some models come with additional features, such as pour spouts, built-in strainers, and measurement markings. 

About Our Tests

Allrecipes Product Tester Alyssa Sybertz carefully researched and evaluated the best saucepans on the market. Each saucepan was tested for its ability to quickly come to temperature and retain heat, using two different testing methods:

  1. Boiled Water Test: Each pan was timed for how long it took for four cups of water to come to a boil. 
  2. Alfredo Sauce Test: Alyssa used each saucepan to make alfredo sauce, in order to test how well the cheese melts, how well the sauce thickens, and whether the cream would consistently simmer without scalding.

In addition to the performance tests above, we paid special attention to the following factors:

  • Overall feel: Is it attractive? Does the outside smudge? Is it hard to get out of a cupboard with one hand? Does it seem sturdy?
  • Cover: Is it glass? Solid? Rounded or flat? Does it have a hole to allow steam to escape? Does it have a pour spout?
  • Handle: Does it get hot? Do you need an oven mitt to move the pot?
  • Ease of cleaning: How much food sticks to the bottom? Can it go in the dishwasher?
  • Value: Is it worth the money?

The Leftovers: Other Saucepans We Tested

Related Items

Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron Saucepan

View at Amazon ($60)

The Tramontina saucepan's performance was almost identical to that of the Le Creuset, and it is an equally beautiful addition to your kitchen. The reason it didn't earn top marks: Its significant weight, which was more than the Le Creuset, was really a hindrance and made using it quite challenging. This was the only saucepan that was impossible to hold long enough to scoop out all the sauce, so we had to leave it on the counter while removing the sauce by the spoonful.

GreenPan Premiere Stainless-Steel Ceramic Nonstick Saucepan

View at Williams Sonoma ($120)

Stylish and dishwasher safe, this nonstick saucepan from GreenPan performed well on all the tests. However, it fell short of the Calphalon in two key areas: One, it is twice the price, and two, it is heavier. While not as heavy as the cast iron saucepans, we had to set it down on the counter once or twice before picking it back up to finish scooping out the sauce.

Utopia Kitchen Nonstick Saucepan

View at Amazon ($21)

Utopia Kitchen's Nonstick Saucepan performed relatively well given the very low price point. However, it took the longest to boil water and melt cheese, suggesting that it may not transfer and hold heat as well as some of the other brands. It was easy to clean and handle, though. 

All-Clad D3 Stainless 3-Ply Bonded Cookware Saucepan

View at Amazon ($120)

This All-Clad saucepan came in a close second in the stainless steel category. It produced a thick and creamy sauce and had the fastest water boiling time. Where it lost points: With the cover on, the saucepan is right on the verge of being too heavy to maneuver with one hand. We also thought the handle was too long and not the most comfortable shape to hold, and the cleanup process required some scrubbing to get it completely rinsed.

Why Take Our Word For It? 

Allrecipes shares community-driven recipes, products, and tips to millions of home cooks. Our Product Tester Alyssa Sybertz and Commerce Writer Melanie Fincher selected our favorite saucepans after testing and evaluating various models. Because of our hands-on research, we believe our list features the best saucepans on the market.