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How Big is Your Favorite Saucepan?

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I'm looking for the Perfect Saucepan, and I already know what kind I want--I think--but I don't really know what size I need! I'm one person, cooking mostly for myself, but occasionally for other, much bigger eaters. So, I want something extremely flexible--big enough to make a batch of candy but not so big that I won't use it except out of necessity.

Happily, I know my fellow Chowhounders will have some suggestions... so, please, tell me all about your favorite saucepan: what it does, what you use it for, what it's made out of, etc etc etc. I am all ears! : )

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  1. For what you are talking about my "favorite' is our 5 qt Le Crueset Dutch Oven. We use it pretty much everday and never gets put away because of it.

    It's just so perfect because it can make stews, soups, braise. roast and it's not too heavy (We also have the 7 qt for monster jobs and I dunno how people could even DEAL with the 9 qt!)

    It's enamel cast iron, holds heat like nothing else, and if using the right tools, should last you a lifetime! :)


    1 Reply
    1. re: Dommy

      Yes, that is a perfect 'saucepan', although technically called a Dutch oven. Le Creuset makes the best, Emile Henry would be a close second. They are expensive, but the last pot you will ever need.

    2. My 2.5-quart, nearly-30-year-old Cuisinart has always been my favorite, best saucepan, and I have used it nearly every day for as long as I've had it, usually cooking for one or two people. I do have bigger pots for times when I need to cook bigger quantities.


      1. Can I list three?
        --3.5 quart ancient MagnaLite alumnium saucepan (the sole survivor of a multi-pot set)
        --2-quart All Clad master chef saucepan
        --10" Lodge cast-iron skillet
        With these three items, I do 80% of my daily cooking. One qualification: my household has only 2 people. Perhaps I'd use the larger pots more often if I cooked for more people on a regular basis. I'd love the whole set of AllClad MC pots, but can't justify the rather high cost. So until the handle falls of the Magna Lite, I'll keep on cooking with it.

        1. I regularly cook for two people. Every month or so we have 2-4 people over for a meal and I cook from scratch. For the last 3 years, my only saucepan was a flimsy but roomy (about 4 to 5 qts) steel one from a Tools of the Trade set that I got as a wedding gift. I used this for boiling pasta, making soups, curries, risottos and sauces in. It got hot spots and wasn't too good at holding heat, but was roomy enough. Recently I bought a Calphalon One Infused Anodized 4.5 qt saucepan that I love. It is heavy and so no hot spots, roomy enough for my needs. The only thing I like about my old one is that it has a rounder, flared base, while the Calphalon one has straight sides. I haven't cooked a bechamel in it yet, but whisking with a balloon whisk might be a problem. However, I don't make sauces often enough to have opted for any of the various sauciers available. Calphalon One pans are super easy to clean and maintain and just a joy to cook with. If you have those Bed, Bath and Beyond 20% off coupons, even better!

          1. My All Clad 12" pan...3" deep...no non-stick.

            My mom's old Revereware sauce pan..2 qt.

            Oh..and my All Clad non-stick 12" round grill pan.

            1. I'm usually cooking for 2, though I like to prepare food in larger amounts to freeze and eat later. Listing pots from most frequently to least frequently used, their sizes are as follows:

              My favorite size is probably a 3 qt saucepan, I have two of these by Calphalon. These are my all-purpose pots for just about anything.

              I have 2-3 pots in about 5-6 qt sizes which are good for boiling pasta, soups and braises. I also have 2 2-qt saucepans which I use for sauces. They're mostly anodized aluminium by Calphalon, plus some enamelled cast iron by Copco.

              My big pots are 8 qts and up, for big stews, braises, ragus etc. Some are enamelled cast iron, some Calphalon.

              The monsters are 12 qts and up, for stock and large lots of chutneys and preserves. These are heavy stainless with aluminium/stainless bottoms.

              1. I find that i use my 3 quart All-clad sauce pan and my 2 quart saucier almost equally. I have the master-chef line and I love it.

                1. I have what must be a one quart All-clad and it's very convenient, small and light and simple to clean. I often cook for one so maybe it wouldn't be best for everyone.

                  1. I have two 3qt. All-Clad sauce pans that get a lot of use. One with a stick handle and one with a small handle on either side. There is enough room in them for boiling a 4 portion box of pasta and to cook smaller batches of soup. If i were really trying to make a lot of high attention sauces then they might be a bit big. But since i cheat on bernaise and hollanaise and charon sauces and the like and make them in the microwave i don't worry too much about it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: frankiii

                      I have that same 3qt mini dutch oven pan and it is by far the pan I use the most. Funny because it was part of a set and I probably never would have bought it. A close second is my 2 qt saucepan. I have the 3 qt saucepan but I find it a little bulky and awkward - I think I've used it once.