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The 4 Best Saucepans

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When it comes to cookware, it can be easy to overlook the humble saucepan. Often purchased as part of a set of pots and pans, we reach for them to boil water and warm-up sauces. But the best saucepans are capable of much more — you just have to know what to look for when buying one. There are dozens of saucepans to choose from, so here are a few things to keep in mind as you shop for this indispensable kitchen tool.

Depending on what you plan to make, look for a saucepan that’s big enough to allow for ingredient expansion when cooking grains, beans, or small batches of pasta, and, at the very least, hold standard store-bought jars of soups and sauces. As a general rule, the best saucepans will measure between 2 and 4 quarts of liquid volume (or 8 to 16 cups) to offer the most versatility.

For durability and performance, consider investing in a stainless steel saucepan, ideally one with tri-ply construction. "Tri-ply" means that three layers of metal are bonded together, with a highly conductive metal like aluminum at the core. Tri-ply saucepans have some weight to them and heat evenly, preventing hot spots and burning. You can also find nonstick saucepans, but keep in mind, their surfaces tend to wear out over time. Lastly, a tight-fitting lid is essential for steaming, cooking grains, and storing recipes, so avoid buying a standalone saucepan.

With the right care, the best saucepans below will last for years, no matter what you use them for.

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1
The Best Saucepan: All-Clad Stainless Steel Tri-Ply 3-Quart Saucepan

All Clad makes a range of different stainless steel pans, and while they’re some of the most expensive, they’re built to last and come with a limited lifetime warranty. This 3-quart saucepan from All Clad’s D3 line is made from three alternating layers of stainless-steel and aluminum. The heavy construction weighs about 3 pounds and is designed to distribute heat evenly to prevent scorching. This even heating is particularly important if you make low-simmering or delicate recipes like custards, reductions, or caramel. The tight-fitting lid sets into the pan, so it retains moisture for excellent grain cooking and steaming. No matter what kind of cooktop you have (even induction), the All Clad is compatible, and since it is heat-proof up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be placed in the oven for braised or broiled recipes.

2
The Runner-Up: Cuisinart 3-Quart Stainless Saucepan With Cover

This 3-quart saucepan from Cuisinart is made from bonded stainless steel and has Cuisinart’s PowerBond high-impact base, which heats quickly and distributes temperature evenly all over. Like the best pick above, the Cuisinart is heavy (it weighs over 4 pounds), and can work on any cooktop surface as well as in the oven, where the pan is oven- and broiler-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The glass lid is tempered and allows for viewing of food as it cooks, so you don’t have to remove it and risk releasing precious heat or steam. One of the best features of the Cuisinart is its tapered rim, which allows you to pour directly from the saucepan, for mess-free serving or transferring to containers.

3
The Best Nonstick Ceramic Saucepan: TECHEF 2-Quart Ceramic Nonstick Saucepan

For those looking for a nonstick surface, this 2-quart saucepan from Korean brand TECHEF has a toxin-free, fine ceramic coating called "Ceramica." The heavy-gauge aluminum construction features a stainless steel base, so the saucepan heats consistently and can be used on any type of cooktop, including induction. The TECHEF is ideal for cooking foods or sweet sauces that can otherwise get stuck or burnt onto stainless steel pans, and it makes cleaning up easy. The light color of the ceramic coating also allows for easy viewing of browning and caramelization, so you can monitor your recipe’s progress. Both the glass lid and saucepan itself can be heated up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven and are dishwasher-safe, too. If you’re looking for a bigger option from TECHEF, they also make a 5-quart saucepan.

4
The Best Value: P&P CHEF 2-Quart Saucepan

If you’re on a budget but still want a quality saucepan, this 2-quart stainless steel model from P&P Chef is an affordable option for just over $20. Constructed with pure 18/10 stainless steel, it has a weighty base and a heatproof bakelite handle that’s easy to grip. The glass lid has a metal rim that sits snugly on the saucepan, and its transparent design lets you check on your recipes’ progress without taking it off. A small vent hole reduces the risk of overflow if recipes boil up during cooking. Though this saucepan and lid are not oven-safe, they can be cleaned in the dishwasher and used to store recipes in the refrigerator.