Today we’re taking a deep dive into saucepans and sauciers, those small, everyday vessels we use for everything from heating sauce and soup to melting stuff.
No matter your budget, size requirements, or desired cookware material, there is a pot out there for you. Our buying guide will cover our favorite picks based on quality, price, and overall customer reviews (as well as our own kitchens and test kitchen!).
Why You Should Consider Saucier Instead
Okay, you might be here for the saucepans, but first let me make an argument for the saucier.
An easy way to describe a saucier is to say it is a saucepan with flared sides. The mouths are wider and rounded sides make it so much easier to stir risotto and oatmeal or whisk gravy or cheese sauces (and stuff doesn’t get stuck in the corners!). To me, the saucier is more versatile because I make so many things that require stirring and whisking.
Having said that, I can still see the value of having a saucepan as well. The flared sides aren’t perfect for everything and can be cumbersome or messy with some liquids (lookin at you, marinara sauce). But if you have a saucepan already, I strongly encourage you to check out sauciers (which may also be called a chef’s pan). With that in mind, let’s kick off the list with sauciers.
I stuck with around 3-quarts and only stainless steel for this category. 3 quarts is a useful size in a saucier even if it feels a bit large initially, and stainless is the way to go for most things you’ll want a saucier for. If you’re only interested in a nonstick option, check out this Viking saucier.
Top Pick: Demeyere 5-Plus Stainless Saucier
Demeyere may be less visible than, say, All-Clad, but it is a premium cookware brand that deserves a lot of attention. The saucier from Demeyere is beautiful and functional, and it’s less expensive than All-Clad. 5-ply construction offers even, fast heating and superior longevity.
The handle is comfortable and the rounded shape will make short work of whisking and stirring whatever you put in it. Available at fine cookware stores and on Amazon.
Budget: Cusinart Chef’s Pan
The saucier sometimes moonlights as a “chef’s pan,” but the idea is typically the same. That’s the case for this Cuisinart Chef’s Pan, which is actually the one I purchased when I decided I had to have a saucier.
It’s significantly less expensive, which is nice, but that lower price tag is reflected in the quality. This particular pot is not fully-clad — instead, it features a disk bottom. The sides are quite thin, but I’ve had mostly good experiences using it. It sticks and could burn a bit more easily versus a clad pan, so be sure to stir the contents more frequently.
Another Take: Le Creuset Saucier
To give you one more option to look at, I thought I’d share the saucier that Cook’s Illustrated chose as their top pick. Le Creuset’s saucier is gorgeous and boasts positive reviews across the web. It is, however, a lot more expensive than those we’ve covered so far. At $250, this is an investment piece for sure.
If it’s in your budget, this is a wonderful and versatile cookware piece that has Le Creuset’s signature look in a stainless pan. The helper handle is a nice addition, though it’s fairly lightweight anyway.
While we recommend stainless steel for saucepans, we’re including a few other options, including nonstick and copper. Most brands we discuss have various size options, so be sure to seek out the best size pot for your kitchen. Not sure what size to get? We’ll chat a bit about the best sizes for different purposes after our list, so scroll down for more info!
Top Pick: Kitchara 5-Ply Saucepans
Kitchara’s newly-offered (previously only available in a set) saucepans in 2- and 4-quart are premium pots that will last a lifetime. The 4-quart includes a helper handle, which is useful given the heft of these 5-ply pieces. The brushed stainless looks gorgeous and washes up well. This brand’s premium stainless pieces are induction-ready, dishwasher safe (though hand washing is recommended), and super versatile. These might be priced higher than our runner-up, but it’s a solid investment if it fits your budget.
Runner Up: Cuisinart MultiClad Pro
Cuisinart takes a top spot here due to affordability, versatility, and warranty. It’s not a perfect pan, but it works well enough for most folks’ everyday cooking. Unlike the Chef’s Classic line (like the Cuisinart saucier we discussed above), this has full cladding rather than the disk bottom, so you’ll see the expected thicker walls and heat retention. We also like that it has a stainless lid rather than glass.
Splurge: Viking Culinary Saucepan
There are a few ‘splurge’ options to choose from, from premium brands like All-Clad, DeMeyere, Made In, and more, but if we have to choose just one, we’re going with Viking. Viking cookware products are beautifully designed and make an excellent, elevated addition to the kitchen. Their ergonomic handle is slightly u-shaped, but not as severe and uncomfortable as All-Clad’s.
Viking stainless cookware is made in the U.S., and the Culinary line is 3-ply and less expensive than the 5-ply Professional pans. We recommend checking out this brand if you’re ready to upgrade!
Splurge: Scanpan Pro IQ
Danish-made Scanpan has something of a cult following, though reviews across the web are at times uneven. The brand offers a lifetime warranty and is revered by many home cooks who swear by the product. The saucepans in the Pro IQ line are definitely worth a look if you’re willing to splurge a bit.
We strongly suggest reading through Scanpan’s recommended care procedures if you do choose this brand as their nonstick products require a different sort of care than you might be expecting. Scanpan is available at high-end kitchen retailers and is offered on Amazon.
Budget: Utopia Kitchen
If you’re not interested in spending a whole lot on a saucepan, there are plenty of lower-priced options out there. Don’t expect it to last forever, but do expect to be able to find one that will work effectively! Utopia’s saucepans are overall highly rated and are exceptionally priced.
We like this brand for the design, which matches some features you’d expect on higher-end brands, and for the solid price (under $20!). Plenty of folks have had good experiences with Utopia’s customer service, too, so you won’t be left in the cold if you have any issues.
Copper cookware is beautiful and très French, but it also has plenty of useful benefits as well. If you’ll be using copper for the first time, be sure to learn about proper care and use for this particular material. Here are a few copper saucepans worth considering — we’re including both copper with stainless interior and full copper pieces.
Logostina Martellata (Stainless Interior)
The Logostina copper saucepan is beautiful and pretty affordable to boot. Currently this 2-quart is priced under $85, so it’s significantly less than some others on the market. The exterior is hammered copper for an extra dose of fanciness. The combined copper, stainless, and aluminum core means you’ll get fast and even heating with great heat retention. Having a stainless interior means it’s actually more versatile than solid copper, but you’ll still need to pay special attention to the copper care procedures.
Mauviel M’heritage (Stainless Interior)
Mauviel is one of the premier names in copper cookware, so it’s definitely one to watch if you’re interested in copper pieces. This 1.9 quart from the M’heritage line features a stainless interior like the Logostina above, but the exterior is smooth rather than hammered. A single pot from Mauviel will set you back a bit, but the brand offers a lifetime warranty and many cooks find their copper lasts a lifetime.
Mauviel M’Passion Sugar Saucepan (Full Copper)
Much of Mauviel’s full copper cookware is designed for specific purposes, like the 1.2-quart “sugar saucepan.” This is helpful as many cooks seek copper for certain uses, like candy making or reducing sauces. Again Mauviel pieces are expensive, but you can expect to pay a premium for copper across the board.
Here is a brief overview of popular saucepan sizes and uses to help you in your research.
Recipes that call for a “small saucepan” typically mean 1.5 or 2-quarts, though some sizes are even smaller (such as a 1-quart or 1.2-quart). These are common in many kitchens, but aren’t really a necessity as larger sizes can do the job just fine. Small saucepans are best for heating small portions of rice or sauce, making oatmeal, or heating soup.
A medium saucepan can be something around 3-quarts, depending on the recipe. I would call 3-4 quart saucepans ‘medium,’ though those are about the largest sizes out there (any larger and it’s more likely a stock pot). These are very versatile sizes that work for most individuals and families.
As mentioned above, around 4 quarts is usually the largest size still designated a saucepan. A recipe that calls for a large saucepan probably needs around 4 quarts worth of room to cook whatever it is.
My favorite combo? A 2- and 4-quart saucepan cover all my bases when cooking for my family of 4.