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What's your go-to pan?

I want to invest in a good pan that I can get as much mileage out of as possible. I'm thinking a 4 quart all-clad saute pan will be roomy and deep enough to do lots of things with. But what about sateuse pans? And is 4 quarts enough? Should I go for the 6 quart even though I have relatively small burners (apartment stovetop)?

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  1. A 4qt sauté is plenty, unless you have more than 4 people to cook for.

    They can be used as a sauté or and frying pan in a pinch, and can go into the oven as a braiser. I have the 2 and 3 quart, plus the 3qt. saucier, and they are the pans that I typically reach for.

    1. I have an All Clad chef pan, which is kind of in between a flat bottom wok and a sauté pan. You can use it for general purpose sautéeing pretty well, but it'll also work well for risottos, stir frys, etc.

      I'd say that and a cheap Lodge cast iron skillet should cover your needs pretty well.

      1 Reply
      1. re: will47

        And I have an All-Clad "stir-fry pan" which is basically a flat-bottomed wok. I use it all the time -- it and my 4-quart Cuisinart pot sit on top of the stove most of the time because there's no point on putting them away. But it really depends on you: what kind of cooking you do and how many people you're cooking for. The stir-fry pan wouldn't be nearly as useful if I were cooking for more than two, since the flat area isn't big enough to hold more than two portions when used for conventional "frying."

      2. i'll chime in as the first to mention a 10" cast iron skillet. i barely think anymore, grab it, turn on the burner and start cooking whatever.

        2 Replies
        1. re: KaimukiMan

          Me, too. I reach for that 10" cast iron skillet 2:1 over any other pot or pan I own.

          1. re: JoanN

            Oh yes, I have 9" and 12" cast iron skillets. I guess I'm in need of something with deeper sides...

        2. The pan that lives on my stove top is Calphalon Commercial Hard-Anodized 12-Inch Everyday Pan with Lid .
          Its not non stick but for some reason it is stick resistant---and for me nothing sticks to this thing. On the rare occassion it does a little Bon Ami does the trick.
          Mind you my sister got one and put it in the dishwasher---afterwards everything stuck. She bought another one and she loves it ---no dishwasher this time---and it has retained its stick resistant properties.
          Its about 4 inches deep---and I really do use it everyday---great for eggs as well as stir-frys--
          Love it and you can't beat the price---can be had as low as 19.99 on Amazon.
          Goes from the stove right into the oven with no problem and comes with a lid----

          1. I have 7 sauce pans, a saute pan and 7 or so frypans (probably 4 frypans unnecessary). For most cooks, probably 4 saucepans is the minimum. Which pan I use depends on what I'm fixing. Been using Calphalon and Magnalite anodized saucepans for 20 years (with wood spoons) with no signs of wear but dumped Calphalon frypan after surface apparently began scraping down. So now use frypans with stainless steel, enameled cast iron, nonstick (fo eggs) interiors. Sounds like you might want a saute pan (vertical sides) but that's awkward for use with a spatula.