Best Sauce Pans For Versatile Cooking

Stir up a hundred-and-one dishes with a trusty sauce pan.

best sauce pans

by Natalie Knowles |
Updated on

Cook with confidence using the best sauce pans. Reduce the risk of sauces catching and grains sticking to the pot with safe non-stick coatings. Go for tri-ply stainless steel or aluminium pans that conduct heat efficiently and evenly, eliminating hot spots and uneven cooking. The best pots and pans are durable and stain-resistant. For delicious pilaf and risotto, choose brands that are well-known for premium quality cookware. From creamy custards to chocolate ganache, a variety of sauce pans with tight-fitting lids and strong riveted handles are essential kitchen arsenal.

It's fun to dust off the old cookery books and try out some retro recipes. Any professional chef will tell you that a sauce pan with a thick base is a must. This surface is in contact with direct heat and a lesser pan will buckle under the high temperatures. You may have heard of inferior quality induction hob pans no longer working because the flat base has warped and can no longer form a magnetic connection with the hob.

Best Sauce Pans At A Glance:

Best overall sauce pan: Zwilling Pro 18/10 Stainless Steel Saucepan – View on Zwilling
Best sauce pan for style: Alessi Sauce Pan – View on Amazon UK
Best for versatility: Le Creuset, 3-ply Non-Stick Milk Pan – View on Harts of Stur

There are various types of sauce pan designed for specific cooking needs. A pan with a pouring spout is perfect for heating milk and soup. Non-stick pans have a coating that means tricky foods like eggs won't stick; also non-stick is easy to clean. Wide sauce pans have the same benefit as a sauté pan; the large surface area makes it easier to reduce sauces and evaporate off excess liquid. Once you have a set of sauce pans, you can be whipping up béchamel, fluffy mashed potatoes and glazes for meat that simply cannot be replicated in any other kitchen apparatus.

When it comes to investing in a sauce pan, the saying "buy cheap, buy twice" is apt. If your budget allows, opt for quality cookware from brands such as Zwilling, Kuhn Rikon, and Samuel Groves. The latter offers a refurbishment service so you really are buying a pan for life. We've selected some pan-tastic options, offering durability, compatibility with induction hobs and non-stick properties. For more information about choosing the right cookware for your household, scroll to the FAQs below.

Best Sauce Pans

Best overall sauce pan

Zwilling Pro 1810 Stainless Steel SaucepanZwilling

Cooking on a hob is easy-peasy with the Zwilling Pro 20cm 18/10 Stainless Steel Saucepan. Indeed, any piece of Zwilling cookware is going to elevate the joy of meal preparation. Designed by Matteo Thun and Antonio Rodriguez, this sauce pan features a multi-layered SIGMA Classic+ sandwich base that stores the heat and distributes it optimally, helping to save energy during cooking. The large stainless steel handle stays cooler for longer during cooking, making it comfortable to handle. The thoughtful design extends to the glass lid, wide pouring rim and measuring lines. This 20cm sauce pan is perfect for browning, tossing and heating. It's suitable for all hobs and ovenproof up to 200°C.

Customer review: "Lovely pan. Looks good, easy to clean, does the job. Love the glass lid."

Pros

  • Professional quality
  • Robust base
  • Glass lid so you can monitor food as it cooks

Cons

  • Not specified as non-stick

Best sauce pan for style

Alessi SaucepanAmazon/Alessi
Price: $115.00

It's all gravy with the Alessi Saucepan, we love the unusual lid handle that denotes a range of pots and pans designed by Jasper Morrison. Alessi has been making cookware since 1921, and the quality in its sauce pans is second to none. The 18/10 polished stainless steel is suitable for all hob types. The unique design is practical too, as the flared rim makes it easy to pour from the pan and also forms a tighter seal with the lid. This 1.89-litre capacity sauce pan will ensure even heat distribution, whether you're making peach puree or whipping up a creamy polenta dish.

Customer review: "Good looking, easy to clean, good quality saucepan. I loved it so much I bought the 14cm and the 18cm. They are just too gorgeous to put away in the cupboard."

Pros

  • Italian style
  • Quality stainless steel
  • Tight-fitting lid
  • Easy to pour from

Cons

  • Lid handle can get hot

Best for versatility

Le Creuset, 3-ply non-stick milk panHarts of Stur/Le Creuset

Imagine tempering chocolate on an induction hob in your very own Le Creuset, 3-ply Non-Stick Milk Pan. The exact temperature control of an induction hob makes melting chocolate possible, whereas, in the past, a bain-marie would has been essential. In addition, this Le Creuset pan features multi-layering technology in its construction. Aluminium is sandwiched between stainless steel, making it a fast, gentle and even heat conductor. Use metal utensils without fear of scratching the PFOA-safe non-stick coating. This 1.3 litre capacity pan can be used in an oven too, and is heat-resistant up to 260°C. For best results, condition the inside of the pan by rubbing vegetable oil in with a paper towel. Then rinse in hot water and allow to air dry.

Customer review: "Very good pan, heats up very quickly, would definitely recommend. Would be nice if you could purchase a lid for it though."

Pros

  • High-quality construction
  • Riveted handle for strength and durability
  • A brand that's synonymous with style and long-lasting cookware

Cons

  • No lid

Best for longevity

Samuel Groves Classic Non-Stick Stainless Steel MilkpanAmazon/ Samuel Groves

This classic and versatile pan can be used for much more than heating milk for your cocoa. Make cheese sauces, custard and nursery puddings that are a nostalgic delight. The high sides of this professional piece of cookware offer superb results. Tri-ply stainless steel combined with two coats of British non-stick coating makes this a long-lasting investment. In addition, Samuel Groves offers a refurbishment service called Pans for Life. This pan has a long, arched handle for ergonomic comfort, it's riveted too, for increased strength.

Customer review: "The design is great. Featured on the Great British Menu. Love this pan."

Pros

  • Pan for Life scheme
  • Used by professionals
  • High-quality construction

Cons

  • Not many reviews

Best for tough non-stick

Kuhn Rikon Easy Pan SaucepanKuhn Rikon

For cookware that can withstand heavy use, Kuhn Rikon is top of the list. This Kuhn Rikon Easy Pro Saucepan combines forged aluminium with a resilient non-stick finish. The aluminium pan body is excellent for even heat distribution as it efficiently absorbs, stores and spreads heat. The Easy Pro range are sturdy, induction-ready and oven-safe cookware making sticky pasta a thing of the past. Additionally, Kuhn Rikon has a range of recycled and recyclable cookware called New Life Pro, that's made in Switzerland from locally sourced aluminium cans and stainless steel.

Customer review: "A top quality saucepan that performs perfectly. Great for induction hobs too."

Pros

  • Renowned for robust quality
  • Versatile
  • Great for induction hobs
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Doesn't specify what the non-stick coating is

Best eco sauce pan set

Prestige Eco 5-Piece Pan SetAmazon/Prestige
Price: $446.59

If you’re willing to pay more for something that lasts a little while longer and is better for the environment, we recommend Prestige’s Eco range. In an unusual green marble, this Prestige Eco 5-Piece Pan Set is made from recycled materials – including the aluminium itself. Easy to clean and scratch-proof, this pan has a soft grip stay-cool handle and boasts even heat distribution for great results. Prestige plants a tree for every pan sold. Also, it's an Amazon choice product with over 1,000 positive reviews.

Customer review: "What an amazing product re its non stick properties but could do with additional base magnetic metal for efficient use when using an induction hob. It does work but it is slow to heat up."

Pros

  • Made from recycled materials
  • Suitable for dishwasher and induction hobs
  • Popular on Amazon

Cons

  • Some customers report surface discolouration

Best budget sauce pan

Viners Everyday Sauce Pan With Glass LidAmazon/Viners
Price: $35.61

Treat them with love and they'll last, Viners cookware is a great budget option. The brand has been making cutlery and stainless steel cookware for over 110 years and it's designed for practicality. Viners Everyday Sauce Pan With Glass Lid features a soft touch handle for a comfortable grip and a glass lid so you can keep an eye on your food. Made from premium quality stainless steel that's rust-resistant and suitable for dishwashers, this sauce pan will last even longer if you hand wash it.

Customer review: "Great for new induction hob."

Pros

  • Robust without the designer price tag
  • Large range of matching cookware
  • Value for money

Cons

  • A review comments that the handle can get hot

Best non-stick alternative sauce pan

CAROTE Saucepan with LidAmazon/Carote
Price: $55.00

A non-stick alternative to coated stainless steel, this CAROTE Saucepan with Lid is an extremely popular pick on Amazon. It's suitable for all hob types and derived from a granite extract that makes up a 5-ply thick non-stick interior. From oatmeal to runny eggs, this 1.5-litre sauce pan is a breeze to wipe clean. And the pouring lip makes it easy to serve soups, sauces and stews. Additionally, this sauce pan from the Carote Granite range is chip-resistant and has a
comfortable Bakelite handle that stays cool while cooking.

Customer review: "There’s nothing to dislike about this pan, I wish I bought one before. I like its quirky design. I made some cheese sauce in it from scratch, and it just rolled out of the pan, nearly squeaky clean. I would definitely recommend this pan."

Pros

  • 5x ultra non-stick performance
  • Easy to clean
  • Non-toxic coating
  • Great heat distribution

Cons

  • Handle can break if dropped

Best contemporary sauce pan for style

2.1 Quart Saucepan Set with LidAmazon/Bundlepro
Price: $24.99

If you've packed off a sibling to university or have just moved into your first home. This Bundlepro 2.1 Quart Saucepan Set with Lid is a wonderful gift idea for a loved one or for yourself. It's bright and has a tactile scalloped edge design. As well as being lovely to look at, this non-stick sauce pan is practical too, with an easy-to-pour lip and an ergonomic, heat-resistant handle. It's suitable for all hob types and comes with two silicone spatulas so you can loosen food from the corners of the pan with ease. Additionally, the handle has a ring, so it's easy to hang for storage.

Customer review: "Everything is as described on the website, well-packed, delivered on time, light weighted, cute pink colour, easy to clean, and heats fast. Have been using it for a week and so far so good. There was even a dish washing sponge included in the box – a surprise in a good way. I like it also because the handle can be removed when you move home, and easy to put together when you use it."

Pros

  • Stylish
  • Great size for everyday cooking
  • Ultra non-stick
  • Easy to pour
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • American measurements

Best overall pan set

Tested

ProCook Gourmet Non-Stick 6-Piece Cookware SetProCook

This ProCook Gourmet Non-Stick 6-Piece Cookware Set is made from aluminium for strength and durability. Suitable for all hob types, including induction, the premium six-piece set is oven and dishwasher-safe. Each saucepan comes with a lid, and all pieces have ergonomic CoolTouch® handles for comfort and safety. ProCook guarantees this set for 10 years and is a BCorp-certified brand. Set includes 14, 16 and 18cm sauce pans, a 24cm frying pan, a 24cm shallow casserole and a 20cm stock pot.

Pros

  • Non-stick
  • Pour design
  • Silicone handle for easy handling
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Induction-compatible

Cons

  • Metal utensils are not suitable on the non-stick

Our Verdict: Best Sauce Pans

We recommend the Zwilling Pro 20cm 18/10 Stainless Steel Saucepan for induction-ready cookware that makes stove-top suppers versatile, energy efficient and easy to clean up. The titanium-reinforced encapsulated base allows you to get the benefit of precise temperature control with an induction hob; using a pan that evenly conducts heat. When you need high heat for boiling, the thick base ensures that it won't warp. Indeed, use it on any hob type and pop it in the oven – this versatile sauce pan can be used in a number of ways. Stylish and functional (note the measuring lines on the inside of the pan) Zwilling are winning at cookware.

FAQs: Best Sauce Pans

What features should I consider when buying a sauce pan?

A sauce pan is a cooking vessel with high, straight sides and a long handle, typically used for heating or simmering liquids, making sauces, or cooking small quantities of food. "Saucepan" and "sauce pan" are used interchangeably. But there are distinctions between a sauce pan and a pot. A cooking pot typically has two shorter handles.

Sauce pans come in different sizes, commonly 16cm, 18cm, 20cm, and 24cm in diameter and can be purchased as a pan set along with a frying pan. The depth of the sauce pan can also vary and the capacity can range from 0.5 litres up to three litres. Larger stove-top cookware designed for simmering, boiling and braising includes stock pots and casserole dishes. A heavy pan offers better heat distribution, however it will be more difficult to handle.

Copper pans offer excellent heat conductivity but require maintenance. Instead, go for stainless steel sauce pans that are durable and stain-resistant. Pans made up of multiple layers, with an aluminium core, provide superior heat distribution. A pan with a tight-fitting lid is the best for trapping heat and flavours and results in more efficient cooking. Also, look for sauce pans with riveted and ergonomic handles for strength and a comfortable grip.

What are the benefits of cooking with a sauce pan?

The key benefits of a sauce pan are versatility and control. The high sides and long handle make it easy to stir delicate dishes and simply take it off the heat when close to boiling. Let's be honest, we don't all have room for countertop appliances and there's not much that can't be cooked in a sauce pan. Their compact design means storage is a whole lot less problematic; nest them in the cupboard and sit the lids in separator pads. In addition, the majority of new sauce pans are easy to clean thanks to non-stick coatings.

You can cook a wide range of dishes in a sauce pan. From tomato, chilli, or hollandaise sauces to boiling spaghetti or poaching eggs – it's a simple kitchen essential. To prevent stains and increase the longevity of your cookware, avoid overheating the pan, and use wooden or silicone utensils to prevent scratching.

How do I clean my sauce pan?

To quote Mrs Beeton's Family Cookery (1930s edition): "Aluminium utensils and vessels should be cleaned with a solution of hot suds and ammonia." Yikes! Don't do that. Nor do our contemporary pans need scouring with "silver-sand" or "sifted ashes". That book dates back to a time when sauce pans were commonly made of iron. The thought of using brick-dust or turpentine to clean cookware is rather staggering.

If you're struggling to get stubborn caramel off the bottom of your sauce pan, follow these simple steps:

Allow the pan to cool completely. Never plunge hot pots and pans into cold water – it will buckle them.

Fill the pan with warm, soapy water and let it soak for a while to loosen any stuck-on food.

Use a non-abrasive scrubber or sponge to gently remove food residue. In the same way it's best not to use metal utensils, avoid steel wool or abrasive cleaners that could damage the surface.

For tough stains, create a paste with baking soda and water, apply it to the stains, and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing. Note, salts in dishwasher tablets will get into the rivets of sauce pan handles and erode them, so ideally hand wash your cookware.

Rinse the pan thoroughly with warm water to remove all soap and residue.

Towel-dry the sauce pan or let it air dry.

If stubborn stains persist, you can try simmering a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar in the saucepan for a few minutes, then scrub again. Mrs Beeton would be proud.

What are the differences between types of stainless steel sauce pans?

You may have seen the material of a sauce pan described as 18/10 stainless steel and wondered what that means. It refers to the grade of stainless steel. High-quality stainless steel is an alloy containing 18% chromium and 10% nickel. This grade is more resistant to rusting and staining. Chromium gives stainless steel its non-reactive properties. Also, it gives it that mirror-like lustre.

18/8 stainless steel is similar to 18/10 (18% chromium and 8% nickel) and is still great quality, albeit with slightly less resistance to corrosion and staining. These form the part of the 300 series of food grade stainless steel, that is by far the most common type for cutlery and kitchenware. Look for 304 stainless steel. Combined with an aluminium core, this is the best material for a sauce pan. Stainless steel is non-magnetic, so it will need a disc in the base that's conductive in order to work on an induction hob.

While it's less expensive, 18/0 stainless steel (18% chromium and no nickel) is more prone to staining and rust. This is known as 430 stainless steel.

How do I know if my sauce pan is suitable for an induction hob?

It's simple, if a magnetic is attracted to the base of your sauce pan then it can be used on an induction hob.

Natalie Knowles is a Homes & Garden Product Writer for A Modern Kitchen, specialising in kitchen appliances. When she's not testing coffee machines, she flexes her creative flair as an artist.

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