What is a saute pan?
A saute pan is an essential piece of cookware. Saute pans typically have straight sides and are deeper, compared to a frying pan which tends to have curved, slanted sides. Saute pans and frying pans can be used interchangeably, however, a saute pan is perfect for the following uses:
- Browning meats for stews and casseroles
- Reducing sauces and warming through gravies
- Cooking risottos and pilafs
- Sauteing vegetables
- Making the perfect grilled cheese sandwich
The main benefit to the straight sides is that it is easier to keep liquid within the pan and prevent spillages, perfect for cooking sauces. Another advantage of low, straight sides is that they prevent condensation and allow excess humidity to evaporate. This is essential for the Maillard reaction to occur – the reaction that gives browned and caramelized foods their distinctive flavor.
Some saute pans have curved sides. These pans are ideal for sauteing diced vegetables with a rolling, ‘flipping’ motion.
Conical saute pans are also popular for anything that might need a lot of stirring – making roux-based sauces, custards, risottos, even fudge! That’s because the gently curved sides mean it’s easy to move food away from corners during cooking.
Do you need a saute pan?
Saute pans are a great all-round piece of cookware. If you don’t have lots of space, saute pans are perfect – they can be used as you would a frying pan, but they’re deep enough for making sauces and stews. Saute pans come in all sizes and are made of different materials. And it’s likely to become the most used pan in your kitchen. Here’s what makes each saute pan unique:
What makes a good quality Saute Pan?
A good quality saute pan is made from multiple layers of durable stainless steel with three layers of aluminum in the core. This combination of materials means the pan is very reactive to temperature changes – the pan will heat up quickly, and cool down quickly when removed from heat, giving greater control with your cooking. The durable stainless steel also means this pan is long-lasting.
The ergonomically designed handle is cast from stainless steel and riveted to the pan for durability. Stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat so the handle will stay cool, and as the handle is riveted, the heat won’t travel up as easily, making it easier to lift and hold. This pan is also induction compatible.
How do I use a saute pan?
Saute pans are primarily for use on hobs. Depending on the material your pan is made of, it may also be oven-safe.
How you use your saute pan also depends on what you’re cooking, so it’s always worth reading the recipe first! For warming through sauces, gravies, and jus, you’ll want medium heat and it’s important to keep stirring to prevent the liquid from catching.
For browning meat in a saute pan, you want to make sure the pan is very hot, add a little oil, space the chunks of meat apart in the pan, and leave until caramelized. You can shake the pan and gently flip the meat to brown all over.