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Do I need a 4-qt saute covered saute pan?

I am running out of storage space (thank goodness for a 2-car garage, but only 1 car!) but I'm jonesing for some new cooking equipment! I've decided to postpone the $700 Musso ice cream maker--perhaps that would be a nice gift to myself next year. But I've been cooking some pretty quality meals with old Revereware, the kind that was still made in Clinton, Illinois, a couple of Staub enameled cast iron pieces (soup pot and 5 qt dutch oven), and some odds and ends (soon-to-be pitched nonstick skillets from my grad school days, plus a 12-in Calphalon "everyday" pan that I use quite regularly). Now, as a singleon, I typically cook for 1 or 2 (me and/or a bf or close pal), but occasionally host smallish dinner parties. Also, I may cook an entire recipe and freeze the extra portions for lunches (as long as it serves fewer than 5 or 6, since I don't want to eat the same thing all the time, even if I space it over a couple of months). So, do you think a 4-qt saute pan would be a good investment? I also have family that visits for several days at a time and a larger pan would be nice to have then. Might a 3-qt be too small? I'd rather err on the side of too large than too small, plus I also want something that will last for a while. Of course, there is always the Musso ice cream machine, which should pack about 50 lbs on me in no time!

Also, could you 'hounds be so kind as to recommend brands? Thanks!

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  1. I can't see why you would since you already own the Calphalon everyday 12" pan which is covered. I have the same pan in the tri-ply stainless and I use it for roasting, things like mussels and greens, one-pot type cooking and so on and for when I have more people around. It's big enough and deep enough and there isn't anything that you can do in a 4qt saute that you can't do in the everyday pan. I also cook for 1 or 2 mostly, and have frequent "1 guest" meals and occasional dinners for 4 - 6 people. I don't have the real estate in my freezer to freeze lots of things and I will usually freeze 'flat' in a ziplock to save space. I'd say stick with your Calphalon and use your money for some other fantastic piece of kitchen equipment!! I also have a smaller saute pan that I use when it's just for 1 or 2 people. Space is also a consideration, I have run out of space everywhere and it's forcing me to really really think about everything that comes into my kitchen!

    1. I'm facing the same decision - and I'm leaning toward the 3 quart. I currently have a 3 qt covered saute pan but it is nonstick and I want to replace it with a tri-ply stainless. My three quart does pretty well for a lot of dishes - and I'm cooking for 2 adults and a toddler. I do sometimes cook for more people too, although I am typically cooking multiple dishes rather than one large one. And I cook in batches for some things like lots of poached fish or huge amounts of greens.
      Some of the four quart saute pans are only deeper than the three quart ones, not larger in diameter, so keep that in mind. How many meals would be too big for a three quart saute pan that you couldn't cook in in your 5 qt dutch oven on the stovetop?

      1. If your Calphalon is non-stick, obviously it can't go from stovetop to the oven without jeapardizing the non-stick coating. So if you want a pan that you can use to sear on the stovetop, then finish in the oven, a 3- or 4-quart saute would do the trick. Saute pans because of their straight sides are also good for tossing your cooked pasta with a sauce. From your description, a 3-quart would probably be adequate most of the time, but for your dinner parties you might want something a little larger. The 4-quart isn't that much bigger and should be able to accomodate larger groups. So in your situation, a 4-quart might make more sense. Just make sure that the handle is as oven-proof as the pan

        1 Reply
        1. re: chuckl

          Calphalon can't go from stove top to oven? I find this hard to believe. I don't own any, but my
          Berndes non-stick goes from stove to oven, and at the prices Calphalon gets, I assume they must too.

        2. Thanks, all. I will give this some thought (I never buy kitchen equipment impulsively, anyway--been thinking about this for a couple of months now). I am leaning toward buying this, though, mostly for the times I cook for a small group. The 3-qt might be too small IF the 4-qt has a larger diameter. It certainly would be nice to be able to place 4 chicken breasts in a pan at once, without the crowding issues associated with having additional ingredients in the pan.

          3 Replies
          1. re: nofunlatte

            I have the AC SS 3 and 4 qt. The 4 qt is a bit deeper, but the diameter is the same. If this is the line you're looking at, I'd say go for the 4 if you can, but if you find a great deal on the 3.. you'll probably be happy with it as well.

            Here you go: All Clad Stainless
            3qt -
            Product Dimensions: 10.5"diameter x 2.56"H

            4qt-
            Product Dimensions: 10.5" diameter x 3.25"H

            1. re: grnidkjun

              I've got the 3 quart AC too, and it works out pretty well. But for more than the 3 people I generally cook for it might get a little crowded. the next step up would be 6 quart, which are ginormous

              1. re: chuckl

                There's a special purchase AC 5qt some vendors are carrying now.
                Not sure of the diameter on that one though, I can't find it.
                But it's the 5qt, lid and splatter screen for 199. Not sure if anyone offers it at a discount somewhere.. but that one might be a thought in this line as well.. the 6 is a big one for sure!

          2. As long as your Everyday pan isn't non-stick, I don't think there's anything that can be accomplished in a saute pan that can't be accomplished just as well with the one you already own. Mine is certainly deep enough to deal with pasta, etc and goes to the oven easily

            1. If storage is a real problem then I don't think you need an additional saute pan. Between the 5 quart dutch oven and the 12 inch Calphalon, most of your cooking needs should be covered. I would not recommend the 3 quart saute. I have one and I rarely ever use it.

              I have an obsession with cookware so I have (or want) a pan of every shape and size just in case I may need it for something someday. I LOVE LOVE my 6 quart All-Clad saute pan but at 6 quarts, it is pretty large for most people. (I only cook for two.) For most recipes, the 12 inch All-Clad frying is adequate. If I need to cook something with more liquid, I also have a 5 1/2 quart and a 6 3/4 quart Le Creuset french oven.