You need a Sauté Pan for sautéing, but it’s also important to understand the intended uses of different cookware. Different pots and pans are designed to serve specific functions particularly well, and once you know them, cooking becomes much easier and much more enjoyable.
There are many, many different pieces of cookware out there, and they can look pretty similar. Sure, some are a bit taller or shorter, and some are a bit wider or smaller, but do you really need all the different styles of pots and pans? You need the essentials, and a Sauté Pan is one of the essentials.
For most of us, being casual cookers, it’s understandable that you might think you can just reach for any old pot or pan, and it will do the trick. They’re all just about the same anyway, right? Mmm, kind of, but no. No, they’re not.
Having the proper tools for the task at hand makes everything much easier and much more enjoyable. This is especially true in the kitchen with cooking and baking. The abundance of kitchen tools, gadgets, and gizmos we see walking down the kitchenware aisle can be a little intimidating. But once getting comfortable in the kitchen and familiar with your tools, walking down that kitchenware aisle starts to feel like being a kid in a candy store. Specialty cookware really does make everything easier, and they do, in fact, serve their specific function really well (perfectly).
Take knives and spatulas, for example. Any respectable knife set comes with at least five knives because each of the five has a designated and intended use. There will be a chef’s knife that is best for cutting large foods, a bread knife for cutting loaves of bread, a paring knife for smaller fruits; you get the idea. And the same goes for spatulas. There are flippers for heavy foods like burgers, scrapers to use with mixing bowls, spreaders for spreading sauces and icing, and so on.
This principle of having varied designs of kitchenware, intended for specific uses to serve one function really well, extends to the world of cookware. You have your Fry Pan (perfect for eggs, flipping pancakes, and sautéing veggies), Sauce Pan (for risotto, mac and cheese, soups, and sauces), and your Dutch Oven (your best friend for pasta, stews, and all one-pot wonders).
What is a Sauté Pan?
A Sauté Pan has a wide, flat bottom, and relatively tall, straight sides.
A Sauté Pan is the epitome of its namesake. In French, “sauté” means “to jump.” So, if you think about it, “Sauté Pan” is a very suitable name given the jumpy nature of sizzling oils and sliding food, which Sauté Pans do such a great job of keeping contained.
Of all the pans and if any, a Sauté Pan is the most important. In other words, if you can only have one piece of cookware, make it the Sauté Pan, trust us. The versatility of a Sauté Pan makes it your one-stop shop for dinner parties, meal prepping, and more. Its bigger size is designed to hold larger volumes of ingredients without overcrowding and allows for even cooking. Its straight, higher sides and accompanying lid also work to lock in heat and steam.
For our herbivore friends, a Sauté Pan’s steam trapping ability makes it the perfect cookware for your next veggie dish, veggie stir fry, or steaming of corn on the cob. (Friendly reminder that corn season is in August). We’d also like to thank Sauté Pans’ large size, allowing for as many voluminous vegetables as the heart desires. Oh, and the straight, tall sides also work wonders for holding liquids like broth, oil, and sauce from splashing all over the stovetop. Vegetables and broth? Perhaps a veggie stew is on the horizon.
Our carnivore friends, we didn’t forget about you, and you’re in for a real treat. Sauté Pans quickly conduct heat, keep heat contained, and facilitate even cooking. AKA, a Sauté Pan turns braising meat or shallow frying from dreaded to delightful. And with upcoming barbeques and backyard parties, a Sauté Pan can double duty as an extra vessel for searing.
Why do you need a Sauté Pan? You need it for sautéing, braising, frying, and searing. Come dinner time, a Sauté pan is your right-hand man for all three courses: sautéing vegetables for starters and then braising meat for the main course. You can rely on a Sauté Pan for more than just dinner. Whip up a healthy bread pudding that will showcase not only your taste in delicious desserts, but your taste in a versatile cookware that can go from the stovetop to the oven without breaking a sweat. The versatility of a Sauté Pan makes it a lifesaver and your best friend in the kitchen.
Choosing the Best Sauté Pan
You need a Sauté Pan, so now what? When shopping for your new cookware, three things to consider are its size, material, and oven compatibility.
Size. Unlike other pots and pans, which are sized by the diameter of their lid, Sauté Pans are sized by their volume (which is another indicator they’re designed for cooking with liquids). Sauté Pans come in various sizes, generally ranging between three- and six-quart capacity. For reference, a three- or four-quart pan is comparable in size to a 10-inch skillet, while a six-quart pan would be similar to a 12-inch skillet. This Sauté Pan holds four and a half quarts and measures 11.8 inches, which seems to be the sweet spot for size by maximizing volume and considering practicality.
Material. Sauté Pans are available in all the standard cookware materials such as copper, aluminum, cast iron, stainless steel, and ceramic. Due to the nature of sautéing, you’ll want to choose a material that is responsive to heat, enabling it to get hot quickly and then cool off just as fast. The different metals conduct heat differently, but the more conductive it is, the better a job it will do to distribute heat evenly throughout your food.
When it comes to non-stick, this is where things can get tricky. As America explores healthy eating for longer, it’s expanding beyond considering just food itself. Not all cookware is created equally, and in some cases, chemicals in cookware leach into our food. Unfortunately, these chemicals don’t discriminate against organic food, either. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been studying PFAS - a group of human-made chemical ingredients in 95%+ of non-stick cookware appliances - and there is a growing body of research confirming that these toxins may be contaminating our food.
As of 2021, there are over 21 pieces of legislation in the United States trying to ban these chemicals because of their harmful effects. That’s about the strongest, clearest bad sign there could be. But does this mean you need to avoid all non-stick cookware? Thankfully, no. Caraway has already been making quality cookware without the chemicals, featuring naturally smooth and 100% non-toxic ceramic.
Discover a healthier way to cook with Ceramic Non-Stick. Ceramic non-stick is a mineral-based coating that won’t leach toxic chemicals into your clean and healthy ingredients. Its naturally slick surface works so well, it even requires less oil or butter for cooking and less scrubbing to achieve that spotless clean. So, when it comes to the material of your Sauté Pan, look for ceramic non-stick to ensure you’re cooking without the chemicals.
Oven Compatibility. There aren’t very many dishes that don’t become even better after quick finishing touch broil. Choosing a Sauté Pan that is oven-safe opens a world of possibilities for enhancing just about every dish under the sun. This Sauté Pan is oven safe for temperatures up to 550° (p.s. 500° is the temperature at which traditional non-stick cookware begins to release chemicals, but not this one). Caraways Sauté Pan is also stovetop agnostic, safe for induction, gas, and electric stoves.
Sauté Pan vs. Skillet
Sauté Pans are often confused or used interchangeably with skillets, so we thought we’d take a moment to differentiate them.
Both can be used for frying and as an everyday go-to pan, but they still differ in a few crucial ways. The key difference comes down to the shape of the pans’ sides and how this affects the cooking process.
We know a Sauté Pan has tall and straight sides. This differs from the skillet, which curves at its outer rim. The skillet's rounded edges make it ideal for flipping, while the Sauté Pan's straight sides create a larger surface area for cooking and allow for more volume when cooking with liquids. The more enclosed nature of a Sauté Pan also makes it the clear choice for dishes that involve moving from stovetop to oven (avoiding spills and overflows during the transfer process).
Sauté Pans are much more versatile than skillets. For light scrambling, stirring, and heating, a skillet will be a fine choice. But the Sauté Pan becomes superior because it can do almost everything a skillet can and much more.
You Need a Sauté Pan
No kitchen is complete without a Sauté Pan. Try their trusted companions: You have your Fry Pan (perfect for eggs, flipping pancakes, and sautéing veggies), Sauce Pan (for risotto, mac and cheese, soups, and sauces), and your Dutch Oven (your best friend for pasta, stews, and all one-pot wonders).
The versatility of a Sauté Pan really makes it the superior cookware. Every kitchen needs a Sauté Pan — at least one. Whether you’ve been cooking for years, are forcing yourself to learn, or land anywhere in between, a Sauté Pan is your trusty sidekick, right-hand man, and new best friend.