best in class

The Very Best Saucepans

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of Amazon

In this article

A good saucepan should last you a lifetime. As my parents celebrate their 25th anniversary, my mom still regularly cooks with the set of saucepans gifted to her on her wedding day. Smaller and more maneuverable than a pot, with higher, flatter sides than a skillet and a single handle, saucepans are ideal for preparing soups, grains, vegetables and, well, sauces. So it’s safe to say that when you buy an all-rounder like a saucepan, you’re making an investment. But does this investment have to cost a fortune? And how do you identify a pan that will last you for years to come? These are just some of the questions I considered as I compiled this list of the very best saucepans. Below, you’ll find everything from inexpensive options beloved by home cooks to slightly fancier pieces reached for by renowned chefs day in, day out.

What we’re looking for


All of the experts I spoke to recommended saucepans made from stainless steel, aluminum, or copper. This is because both copper and aluminum heat up quickly and uniformly, which, as well as being time-saving, means there’ll be no uneven hot spots in the pan as you cook. Stainless steel is durable and easy to keep clean, so your pans will keep looking good for their whole, lengthy life span. It’s also easy to get similar-looking stainless steel pans from various companies as you add to your collection over the years so your cookware won’t look mismatched. Copper pans do tend to be pricier and require more maintenance but can look truly stunning, so you may find it worth the splurge.

One expert also told us about saucepans with a nonstick coating. If you tend to find pans harder to maintain, or you want to cook with less oil, this could be a good option for you. However, nonstick coatings tend to wear out after a few years, which makes the pans they come in no longer usable. Cast-iron saucepans, which another expert told us about, don’t require any extra seasoning to prevent your food from sticking to the pan. They’re more of an indefinite nonstick option, as with proper maintenance they’ll retain this quality for as long as you cook with them. One last thing to think about is the material of each pan’s handle: Pans with wooden handles, for example, can’t go in the dishwasher or the oven.


While a saucepan is only as good as the material it’s made of, taking good care of your pan is also key to its longevity. Certain rules such as using the appropriate heat apply to every pan listed, but I’ve also made a note of how to keep each specific pan clean and shiny (and where running it through the dishwasher is simply not an option).


I’ve made a note of the weight of each pan, in pounds. This will help you figure out if you’ll be able to lift and store them, and if they’re suitable for cooking with kids.


Finally, I’ve listed the volume of each saucepan in quarts. Almost every pan is available in bigger and smaller sizes than listed here, so it’s worth clicking through if you don’t spot the model you want in quite the right size.

Best saucepan overall

Material: Stainless steel and aluminum | Weight: 2 pounds | Care: Dishwasher safe | Size: 1.5 quarts

Four of our experts recommended the saucepans from All-Clad, with the 1.5-quart size being the most popular. Lili Dagan, a culinary director at Blue Apron Kitchen, describes the pan as a gateway piece into nicer cookware. “It’s reliable and sturdy, and it will show your parents that you have decent taste,” she says. “Not so heavy it’s impressive, but really holds its own — the Volvo of pans, if you will.”

The pan features an aluminum core — allowing it to heat up quickly and evenly — sandwiched between two layers of durable stainless steel. It also comes with a drip-free pouring rim, known as a pour-lip,’ which lets you neatly pour liquid from the pan “without any annoying drip,” says Patch Troffer, a former chef at Marlow & Sons and now a recipe developer at Row 7 Seeds. The pan is easy to clean — with either soap and a sponge or a run through the dishwasher — and has remarkable longevity. “I know it’s not a particularly riveting choice,” admits Troffer. “But it will get the job done, always and forever.”

Best less expensive saucepan

Material: Stainless steel and aluminum | Weight: 3.35 pounds | Care: Dishwasher safe | Size 1.5 quarts

For about a third of the price of the All-Clad pan, you can get this pan from Cuisinart. It also features a stainless steel finish and rapid-heating aluminum core. Strategist senior editor Winnie Yang has had hers since 2017 and uses it at least five times a week for cooking grains or heating soup. She says that the “quality is exceptional for the very reasonable price,” and that the pan is super-easy to keep clean — she just sticks hers in the dishwasher on the bottom rack.

Best stainless-steel saucepan with spout

Material: Copper core with stainless steel and aluminum outer | Weight: 5 pounds | Care: Dishwasher safe | Size: 3 quart

Strategist kitchen and dining writer Emma Wartzman likes this pot from Material for a few simple reasons: “It’s really well built, feels super-sturdy, and still looks brand new with regular use,” she says. Wartzman also says the pan has a subtly nicer appearance than similar options, particularly All-Clad’s. “At first glance, all saucepans look kind of the same, but this one is particularly sleek in my opinion,” she says. “I like the shape of the handle and the design of the lid.” Wartzman also appreciates the small spout, which reduces the likelihood of spills when draining the saucepan.

Best less expensive stainless-steel saucepan with spout

Material: Stainless steel and aluminum | Weight: 2.8 pounds | Care: Dishwasher safe | Size: 2.5 quarts

Ali Slagle, author of I Dream of Dinner, likes the added “bells and whistles” of this Avacraft saucepan, like its in-pan liquid measure, non-drip spout, and lid with built-in strainer, all of which fully “eliminates the need for a liquid measuring cup and colander.” It has five layers of stainless steel and aluminum but is still lightweight — which is one of the reasons why Slagle purchased hers. She also finds it easy to keep clean — she uses warm, soapy water, but the pan is dishwasher safe — and at 2.5 quarts, it’s “the perfect size to make soup for two.”

Best nonstick saucepan


Material: Aluminum, stainless steel, and Stratanium | Weight: 4.1 pounds | Care: Dishwasher safe | Size: 2 quarts

“I am a Scanpan nonstick evangelist,” says Dagan. “Somehow this nonstick doesn’t creep me out like your dollar-store Teflon.” Instead of Teflon, Scanpan uses its own patented Stratanium, which is a ceramic-titanium nonstick coating (which the brand claims has a longer shelf life than Teflon). While Dagan can’t say if that’s for certain, she did tell us it’s almost miraculous how the pan never chips or peels, even when she uses metal utensils (which Scanpan says are safe to use with Stratanium). The pan also has a fast-heating aluminum core and a shiny stainless steel lid, and it’s dishwasher safe.

Best copper saucepan

Material: Copper | Weight: 3 pounds | Care: Hand-wash only | Size: 3.5 quarts

“When I cook with this, I imagine I own a château in France,” says Dagan. “It’s a wonderful investment.” Much like aluminum and steel pans, copper pans heat quickly and evenly (with no heat spots), and they too will last for decades. They are notoriously tougher to maintain, however, and require polishing if you prefer a shiny finish over the inevitable patina they will develop. But if you take great care — and only wash it by hand — then the pan is a truly lovely addition to your cookware. “It’s my go-to for any sauce work … or Annie’s mac and cheese,” Dagan tells us. “We are a highbrow-lowbrow family.”

Best copper-bottom saucepan

Material: Copper and stainless steel | Weight: Not listed | Care: Hand- wash only | Size: 2 quarts

For cooking both at home and at work, chef and restaurateur Alex Raij likes vintage Revere Ware. “I grew up with it, and I love that it’s lightweight and my kids can lift it,” she says. Revere Ware unites the form and function of both copper and stainless steel pans; the copper base heats up quickly and evenly, while the stainless steel vessel and lid retain its shine. The cookware also features comfy handles that Raij says never get hot to the touch. The company that originally made the pans was bought out by World Kitchen many years ago, and the newer line of Revere Ware introduced by World Kitchen differs quite a bit from the older pans. This means the vintage pans have become something of a collectors’ item, and while they can’t be bought new anymore, there’s plenty available from Etsy, eBay, and other secondhand sellers

Best cast-iron saucepan

Material: Enameled cast-iron | Weight: 5 pounds 3 ounces | Care: Hand-wash only | Size: 1 ¾ quart

“The superior saucepan in my kitchen would have to be my Le Creuset,” says cookbook author Rachael DeVaux. “I use it for anything from melting chocolate and heating up bone broth to mixing together a quick sauce for dinner. The rounded edges make it ideal for a variety of different uses.” Enameled cast iron heats evenly and quickly, and DeVaux says that a huge bonus of the pan is that it requires no extra seasoning or oils to cook with. Although the pan can’t be run through the dishwasher, DeVaux says it’s exceptionally easy to clean by hand, and with proper care it’s sure to last for years to come. Le Creuset also offers a limited lifetime warranty, meaning your pan will be covered indefinitely so long as it isn’t misused or neglected.

Best large saucepan

Material: Stainless steel and aluminum | Weight: 4.14 pounds | Care: Dishwasher safe | Size: 4 quarts

Pineapple Collaborative founder Ariel Pasternak only had space for one saucepan in her city apartment, so she chose the four-quart pan from All-Clad. She says it’s “the perfect size for anything you could ever want to cook.” Yang is also a fan of the larger saucepan and uses it several times a week, running it through the dishwasher every time with no issues. Both agree that the saucepan is durable, and despite only owning it for a year, Yang says, “I expect it to last longer than me.” To help lift and maneuver the bigger volume of the pan, there’s an added stainless steel loop handle, making it easy to hoist with two hands.

Best saucier

Material: Stainless steel | Weight: 4.6 pounds | Care: Dishwasher safe | Size: 2.6-quart

Sauciers are a slightly different version of saucepan: Instead of having straight sides and a flat bottom, the sides and bottom of a saucier are round. “When it comes to soups, pastas, sauces or just liquid in general, I am a huge fan of the saucier pan,” says Gabe Kennedy, chef and co-founder of Plant People. “The shape is a highlight with its slightly sloped sides helping liquids and sauces evaporate quicker.” While expensive, the pan has been in Kennedy’s kitchen for years, and it’s suitable for cooking over both heat and induction, so he says the investment can truly last a lifetime.

Best less expensive saucier

Material: Stainless steel and aluminum | Weight: 2.8 pounds | Care: Dishwasher safe | Size: 2 quarts

Sauciers are a slightly different version of saucepan: Instead of having straight sides and a flat bottom, the sides and bottom of a saucier are round, with no corners. This All-Clad saucier is Troffer’s go-to pan for its versatility and because it’s easy to maneuver a whisk or wooden spoon into every part of it as you cook. “If I could only have one saucepan, I would own a saucier such as this,” he says.

Best Japanese saucepan

Material: Stainless steel | Weight: Not listed | Care: Hand-wash only | Size: 1.25 quarts

Troffer also enjoys cooking with a Yukihira pan, a traditional Japanese pan that he thinks is a great mix of traditional saucepans and sauciers. Scaly in appearance, each pan is hammered to increase its surface area, meaning liquids inside will stick less and boil faster. While Troffer says he’s never timed it, he does believe his Yukihara pan heats up quicker than any other saucepan, while also looking nicer than the rest too. As they pair well with steamer tops, Yukihara pans are a great option for steaming dumplings, fish, and vegetables, and they’re also pretty handy when preparing soups. And while they are available in a range of metals, Troffer likes this affordable stainless steel option.

Some other saucepans we’ve written about:

Our experts:

Lili Dagan, chef and culinary director at Blue Apron Kitchen
• Rachael DeVaux, cookbook author known as @rachaelsgoodeats
Gabe Kennedy, chef and co-founder of Plant People
Ariel Pasternak, founder and CEO of Pineapple Collaborative
Ali Slagle, author of I Dream of Dinner
Patch Troffer, chef and recipe developer at Row 7 Seeds
Alex Raji, founder, chef, and owner of La Vara, Txikito, and more
Winnie Yang, Strategist senior editor

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatmentsrolling luggagepillows for side sleepersnatural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

The Very Best Saucepans