The Best Saute Pans of 2022

Brown, boil, and saute your way to delicious meals with the best saute pans on the market.

By Stacey L Nash and Savannah Sher | Updated Dec 2, 2021 12:19 PM

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Best Saute Pan

Photo: amazon.com

For many home chefs, a saute pan is an indispensable tool. The best saute pans heat quickly and distribute heat evenly across the pan’s surface area. Not all saute pans are built the same, so the handle and lid design will affect the pan’s comfort and ease of use.

Materials and design make a difference in a saute pan’s performance, the most common options being nonstick, ceramic, stainless steel, anodized aluminum, and copper. Each has its pros and cons, factoring in your cooking style—casual or gourmet—and the amount of time you’re willing to put into the pan’s maintenance.

Keep reading for tips on how to select the best saute pan for your kitchen and to find out why these featured models are among the top performers.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Calphalon Classic Nonstick Saute Pan
  2. RUNNER UP: All-Clad E7859164 HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Saute
  3. BEST BUDGET: T-fal B36290 Specialty Nonstick 5 Quart Jumbo Cooker
  4. BEST MID-RANGE: Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless 5-1/2-Quart Saute
  5. UPGRADE PICK: All-Clad 6406 SS Copper Core 5-Ply Saute Pan 5-Quart
  6. BEST NONSTICK: Ninja Foodi NeverStick 5-Quart Sauté Pan C30150
  7. BEST ECO-FRIENDLY: Ozeri Stone Earth All-in-One Sauce Pan
  8. MOST VERSATILE: Rachael Ray Brights Hard Anodized Nonstick Saute Pan
  9. HONORABLE MENTION: Cuisinart 733-30H Chef’s Classic Stainless 5½-Quart
The Best Saute Pan Option

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Saute Pan

While it’s easy to assume that all saute pans offer similar performance, a number of factors affect cookware’s functionality. Keep reading to learn about several of the most important features to consider when choosing the best saute for your kitchen.

Size

Saute pans come in a range of standard sizes, each of which has its own intended use. While skillet sizes are measured in inches, saute pans sizes are measured by volume in quarts. Saute pans are sold in sizes ranging from 1 to 9 quarts; most products on the market have capacities of between 2 and 6 quarts.

  • 2- to 3-quart saute pans are ideal for cooking for one or two people.
  • 4-quart saute pans are the most versatile and are ideal for a family of four.
  • Saute pans with volumes of 5 quarts or higher are great when cooking for a crowd.

It’s also important to pay attention to a saute pan’s shape. A deep saute pan works best for frying in large quantities of oil, while a shallow pan is best for searing.

Material

Consider the main build materials for saute pans and their associated features, including longevity, heat retention, oven safety, and intended use.

  • Nonstick pans are coated in a chemical called polytetrafluoroethylene (also called PTFE or Teflon) that keeps food from sticking to the surface. This coating cuts down on oil usage and makes cooking and cleanup easier. Nonstick pans don’t last as long as non-coated pans because the coating wears off and scratches. Nonstick pans are the best choice for cooking foods that tend to stick to the pan.
  • Ceramic pans are considered a greener, healthier, nonstick alternative to PTFE. Ceramic pans are treated with a silica-based gel that prevents food from sticking. They are more delicate than uncoated metal pans, as they can be scratched with metal utensils and cannot take high heat. Ceramic saute pans are best used at lower temperatures for making foods like sauces, poached chicken, and veggies.
  • Stainless steel pans can withstand high heat and a lot of wear and tear. Multilayered pans with stainless steel layered over a copper or aluminum core base are ideal; these designs conduct heat more evenly than pans made of stainless steel alone. Noncoated stainless steel pans require oil or cooking spray to keep food from sticking. A good stainless pan is oven proof, lasts for years, and works well for frying and browning.
  • Hard-anodized pans are stronger than both commercial-grade aluminum and stainless steel. These pans get their nonstick abilities through their manufacturing process, not a special coating. They won’t scratch, even if you use metal utensils. While hard-anodized saute pans may be slightly more expensive than coated nonstick pans, they tend to last longer and don’t need to be replaced as often.
  • Copper pans are among the most expensive, and in turn have excellent heat conductivity. They heat up and cool down quickly, giving you more temperature control over delicate food that can be easily overcooked. Copper pans generally can only take temperatures up to 450 degrees or so. They’re a good choice for cooking seafood, melting sugar, and making candy and sauces.

Quality Construction

The quality of a saute pan’s materials and construction determine the durability, conductivity, and effectiveness of its nonstick surfaces. The most common food-grade stainless steel used in cookware is Type 304 or 18/10. High-quality stainless-steel cookware is typically available as 18/10 or 18/8 grade.

For hard-anodized cookware, focus on pans made of medium- or heavy-gauge hard-anodized aluminum. Cookware with a stainless steel base can help food cook more evenly than anodized aluminum, but it will also be more expensive. High-quality saute pans typically feature layered construction made up of a combination of stainless steel, aluminum, and copper.

While stainless steel is easy to maintain, it doesn’t heat evenly, which is why aluminum and copper cores are used in stainless steel cookware for improved heat conductivity. This type of construction is often referred to as tri-ply because it features three layers, but five-layer and seven-layer designs are also available.

Stovetop Compatibility

Before choosing a saute pan, first consider the type of stovetop in your kitchen. When purchasing a saute pan, be sure to verify the stovetop compatibility in the product description. Not all saute pans work the same way, so there are some general rules to follow concerning which cookware materials can be used on which cooktops.

  • Stainless steel saute pans are universally compatible, working well on all stovetop types, including gas, electric, glass-top, and induction.
  • Aluminum saute pans are not compatible with induction cooktops unless they are clad with stainless steel construction.
  • Copper saute pans can be used on gas and electric stovetops but are not induction compatible.
  • Hard-anodized saute pans are not induction compatible but can be used on electric and gas stoves.
  • Nonstick pans vary in their material makeup, so it’s important to verify the specific product for stovetop compatibility.
The Best Saute Pans Handle & Lid Features

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Handle & Lid Features

The best saute pans come with tight-fitting lids, which expand their functionality. Some saute pans include metal lids that are lightweight and are generally oven safe up to a certain temperature.

  • Clear glass lids allow you to keep an eye on your food as you cook, but they’re heavier and could potentially break.
  • Higher-end tempered glass lids are shatter-proof and are generally oven safe at temperatures of 350 degrees and lower. Lids can be either vented or unvented.
  • Vented lids allow steam to escape through a small hole, which prevents the contents of the pan from boiling over. Unvented lids, on the other hand, contain moisture but necessitate more careful attention when cooking.

Saute pan handles vary in material and additional features.

  • Stainless steel handles are generally oven and dishwasher safe but become hot to the touch when exposed to high temperatures.
  • Cool-touch handles are typically made from either silicone or stainless steel and regulate the handle’s temperature separately from that of the pan.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Cookware lasts longest when you give each piece proper care, so it’s essential to consider if a set is safe for the dishwasher, oven, and/or microwave. Suitability for the dishwasher and microwave are a yes or no feature, while a pan’s oven safety is indicated by a maximum temperature limit. A stainless steel saute pan is able to withstand high temperatures, typically up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nonstick pans maintain their coating most effectively if washed by hand. The coating can be scratched in the dishwasher, and the heat from the drying cycle can weaken it over time. Skip metal utensils when cooking with nonstick pans as well, which can scratch off the coating. If you prefer dishwasher compatibility over a nonstick coating, choose non-coated stainless steel, aluminum, or copper pan, many of which are designed for machine cleaning.

Note that metals (including PTFE cookware) should never be placed in a microwave, where they’re likely to explode. Some ceramic cookware is microwave-safe, but pieces with any metallic compounds are not to be nuked.

The Best Saute Pans Our Top Picks

Photo: amazon.com

Our Top Picks

The top picks represent the best saute pans on the market. Included are different materials, sizes, and price ranges. There are models for gourmet chefs, first-time cooks, and everyone in between.

Best Overall

The Best Saute Pan Option: Calphalon Classic Nonstick Saute Pan
Photo: amazon.com

The Calphalon saute pan features a dual-layered nonstick interior cooking surface. The two layers work together to help release food from the pan, making it easier to cook eggs and other notoriously sticky foods. At the same time, those layers don’t get in the way of even and consistent heat distribution. The base layer is made of 3 millimeters of medium-gauge aluminum that’s durable enough for daily home use.

This nonstick pan’s aluminum also gives this pan excellent heat retention and distribution, eliminating hot and cold spots. A clear lid lets you keep an eye on the food while it cooks. Also, the pan (not the lid) is oven safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Product Specs

  • Size: 5 quarts
  • Material(s): Medium-gauge aluminum
  • Comes with: Tempered glass lid and long stainless steel handle

Pros

  • Dual nonstick layers
  • Eliminates hot spots; even heat distribution
  • Oven safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
  • PFOA-free

Cons

  • Lid is not oven safe
  • Not dishwasher safe

Runner Up

The Best Saute Pan Option: T-fal B36290 Specialty Nonstick 5 Quart Jumbo Cooker
Photo: amazon.com

The All-Clad pan has a combination of anodized aluminum, stainless steel, and a PFOA-free nonstick coating. You get the best of three worlds—aluminum’s excellent heat distribution, stainless steel’s heat retention, and the ease of cleaning a nonstick coating. The stainless steel base holds the heat, while the aluminum quickly and evenly distributes that heat. Those qualities add accuracy and efficiency while cooking, whether browning meat or sauteing vegetables.

Additionally, this top pick comes with a matching frying pan. Both pans share a clear lid that seals to lock in heat and moisture for better results. Transparent lids also offer the opportunity to glance at the food while it cooks, eliminating the need to lift and release heat to peek at the food’s progress. Finally, this saute pan is dishwasher and oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the lid cannot be used in the oven.

Product Specs

  • Size: 4 quarts
  • Material(s): Anodized aluminum and stainless steel
  • Comes with: Frying pan, 2 clear lids, and stainless-steel handles

Pros

  • PFOA-free nonstick coating
  • Even heat distribution
  • Dishwasher and oven safe

Cons

  • Lids are not oven safe
  • Not suitable for use with metal utensils

Best Budget

The Best Saute Pan Option: Ozeri Stone Earth All-in-One Sauce Pan
Photo: amazon.com

Available at an excellent price, the T-fal saute pan offers even heating and a patented Thermo-Spot indicator to alert users when the pan is warmed and ready to go. T-fal’s Thermo-Spot technology includes a ring on the inside of the pan that turns red when the pan reaches the optimum temperature to start cooking food. It’s not a necessity, but it’s a nice extra, especially if one’s cooking skills are closer to a beginner than a gourmet chef.

This nonstick saute pan’s interior makes it easy to cook with as well as clean. If you want to be cautious, you can hand-wash; however, it’s dishwasher safe, meaning less work for you. The ergonomic handle allows it to be comfortable and maneuverable, making the pan easy to handle even when it’s full.

Product Specs

  • Size: 5 quarts
  • Material(s): Aluminum
  • Comes with: Clear lid and stay cool, riveted handles

Pros

  • Nonstick interior
  • Thermo-Spot indicates the optimum cooking temperature
  • Dishwasher and oven safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Cons

  • Lid is not oven safe

Best Mid-Range

The Best Saute Pan Option: All-Clad E7859164 HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Saute
Photo: amazon.com

Tri-ply cookware tends to be pricey, but Cuisinart’s MultiClad line is an excellent mid-range option. It features an aluminum core with a bonded stainless steel exterior. With a 5.5-quart capacity, this saute pan is large enough to prepare food for four to six people.

The tight-fitting stainless steel cover seals in moisture while the cool-touch handles prevent burns and other accidents. The handle’s thumb rests make it easier to grip and maneuver. This pan is safe for the dishwasher and the oven up to 550 degrees. It’s compatible with induction as well as gas and electric cooktops.

Product Specs

  • Size: 5.5 quarts
  • Material(s): Aluminum and stainless steel
  • Comes with: Stainless steel cover and updated cast-stainless-steel handle

Pros

  • Large cooking surface
  • Dishwasher and oven safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Compatible with multiple cooktops

Cons

  • Expensive

Upgrade Pick

The Best Saute Pan Option: Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless 5-1/2-Quart Saute
Photo: amazon.com

Those looking to invest in one of the highest-quality saute pans on the market should consider this model from All-Clad. It features 5-ply construction and a 5-quart capacity, making a large saute pan that’s perfect for cooking for a crowd. The thick copper core provides excellent heat conductivity, while aluminum and stainless steel layers add strength and prevent warping. The 18/10 stainless steel exterior is stick-resistant and non-reactive.

The riveted stainless-steel handles are contoured to ensure a comfortable grip. This saute pan is ideal for induction cooking as well as cooking on gas or electric stoves. It’s extremely heat-resistant, with a maximum temperature capacity of 600 degrees. While it is dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended.

Product Specs

  • Size: 5 quarts
  • Material(s): Copper, aluminum, and stainless steel
  • Comes with: Stainless steel cover and riveted stainless steel handles

Pros

  • 5-ply construction
  • Nonstick and non-reactive
  • Compatible with multiple cooktops
  • Max heat capacity of 600 degrees Fahrenheit

Cons

  • Not recommended for the dishwasher
  • Expensive

Best Nonstick

The Best Saute Pan Option: All-Clad 6406 SS Copper Core 5-Ply Saute Pan 5-Quart
Photo: amazon.com

This pick from Ninja isn’t your average nonstick saute pan. While it offers all the benefits of a traditional Teflon pan, it’s also scratch-resistant, allowing cooks to use metal utensils without worrying about chipping away at the pan’s finish. It’s also oven safe at temperatures as high as 500 degrees.

The stainless steel-rimmed tempered glass lid is shatter-resistant and oven safe, while the ergonomically designed riveted stainless steel handle stays cool on the stovetop. The hard-anodized exterior is scratch-resistant, while the thick aluminum base provides excellent heat conductivity.

This pan even has a stainless-steel induction plate, making it compatible with gas, electric, glass-ceramic, and induction stoves. Scrub the pan by hand or throw it in the dishwasher without worrying about damaging the nonstick coating.

Product Specs

  • Size: 5 quarts
  • Material(s): Stainless steel and aluminum
  • Comes with: Tapered glass lid and riveted stainless steel handle

Pros

  • Scratch-resistant
  • Shatter-proof lid
  • Compatible with most cooktops
  • Oven and dishwasher safe

Cons

  • Requires preheating
  • Expensive
  • Heavy

Best Eco-Friendly

The Best Saute Pan Option: Ninja Foodi NeverStick 5-Quart Sauté Pan C30150
Photo: amazon.com

The Ozeri saute pan is made with an eco-friendly stone-derived nonstick coating. It’s free of PFOA, APEO, PFBS, PFOX, and problematic chemicals like NMP and NEP. That protective coating covers an aluminum core that holds and spreads heat across the pan.

It has a magnetized base for use on either standard or induction cooktops. A silicon-coated handle resists heat, so you can pick up the pan without a hot pad. Its lid seals in heat and moisture. This model also comes in three fun color combinations that stray away from some of the standard cookware color schemes, with gray and black, coconut brown and cream, and lava black and cream.

Product Specs

  • Size: 5.3 quarts
  • Material(s): Heavy-gauge aluminum
  • Comes with: Heat-resistant silicone-coated handle, side helper handle, and a tempered glass lid with steam release vent

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Works with standard and induction cooktops
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Comes in multiple colorways

Cons

  • Not oven safe

Most Versatile

The Best Saute Pan Option: Rachael Ray Brights Hard Anodized Nonstick Saute Pan
Photo: amazon.com

This 5-quart non-stick saute pan from Rachael Ray stands out due to its unique shape and high-quality construction. The pan’s oval shape allows cooks to work with longer cuts of meat and fish like whole tenderloins or large fish fillets. The hard-anodized construction ensures even heating and durability while the non-stick coating allows you to cook without butter or oil.

The comfortable rubberized handles are riveted and provide a comfortable grip. A shatter-resistant glass lid allows you to monitor your food as you cook. Both the lid and pan are dishwasher safe and oven safe up to 350 degrees.

Product Specs

  • Size: 5 quarts
  • Material(s): Hard anodized aluminum
  • Comes with: Shatter-resistant glass lid and 2 riveted, rubberized handles

Pros

  • Large oval form accommodates longer food items
  • Even heat distribution
  • Oven and dishwasher safe

Cons

  • Expensive

Honorable Mention

The Best Saute Pan Option: Cuisinart 733-30H Chef’s Classic Stainless 5½-Quart
Photo: amazon.com

The Cuisinart saute pan has a large 5½-quart capacity. Even when it’s full, the stainless steel-covered aluminum base absorbs and distributes heat, so you have a predictable evenly heated cooking surface. The interior features measurement markings to help measure, gauge volumes, and be precise with recipes.

Seal in flavor and moisture with a tightly fitted lid. The stainless steel exterior and handles look sleek and professional, especially for those who like to display their cookware. This model also features a tapered rim so soups, sauces, and dips pour easily. Both the lid and pan are dishwasher safe.

Product Specs

  • Size: 5.5 quarts
  • Material(s): Stainless steel and aluminum
  • Comes with: Stainless steel lid and cool-grip, riveted stainless steel handle

Pros

  • Includes measurement markings
  • Cool-grip handle
  • Dishwasher and oven safe

Cons

  • Material tends to warp

Our Verdict

Selected for its sturdy construction, tempered glass lid, and long stainless steel handle, the Calphalon saute pan is our first pick. With a 5-quart capacity, this saute pan has dual nonstick layers and consistent heat distribution for easy cooking and clean-up. Plus, this option is safe to put in the oven (except for the lid).

Alternatively, if you are looking for something slightly smaller and would appreciate another frying pan, the All-Clad set is another great choice. Though there is a slightly steeper price tag, this pan set is made for those who are in need of multiple cooking tools that are PFOA-free, as well as dishwasher and oven safe.

How We Chose the Best Saute Pans

For avid cooks, a high-quality saute pan is a must-have kitchen essential. The best saute pans are ideal for browning, frying, and even baking. The ample capacity of 4-5 quarts means many of the featured picks also aid in cooking large cuts and group meals.

The best saute pans are also compatible with multiple cooking surfaces, allow for the heat to be evenly distributed, provide nonstick cooking, and ensure clean-up is easy. The above selection is made from predominantly sturdy stainless steel and aluminum with many options including nonstick coatings.

With these constructions, many of the above pans can be used in the oven or broiler and can go in the dishwasher. These picks also come with the advantage of stay-cool or riveted handles, tempered glass or shatter-resistant lids, side helper handles, and tapered edges for easy maneuvering during the cooking process.

FAQs 

Though you now know more about saute pans, you might still have questions about how to use them. The following are answers to some of the most common questions about selecting and using a saute pan in your kitchen.

Q: What is a saute pan used for?

Saute pans can be used for a number of cooking tasks, but they’re best suited for searing meat and fish, finishing pan sauces, and cooking with large quantities of oil.

Q: What is the difference between a saute pan and a skillet?

Saute pants have straight sides, whereas skillets have curved sides.

Q: What is the difference between a saute pan and a frying pan?

The terms skillets and frying pans are used to describe the same type of cookware: a shallow pan with curved sides.

Q: What sizes do saute pans come in?

Saute pan sizes generally range from 1 quart to 9 quarts.

Q: How do I choose a saute pan?

Choose a saute pan based on your cooktop surface, the size of your household, and the type of cookware material you prefer.