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Oct 25, 2009 01:36 PM

All Clad 13" French skillet vs. saute pan

The French skillet is substantially cheaper than the 6 qt. saute pan I was eying and about the same size. Am I really beating the system by getting the French skillet? Am I missing something? Besides the handle angle I can't really see what the big difference would be. I went to Williams Sonoma to see if they had the French skillet on display so I could look at it in person but no luck. Any thoughts?

French skillet:

6 Qt saute pan:

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  1. I have both. I've had the 6 quart saute for around ten years, and just got the French skillet (and lid) recently. A few differences: the saute seems to be about 2" deep; the skillet only about 1.5 to 1.75 inches deep (can't tell exactly). Because the sides of the skillet are so flared, it takes up MUCH more space on your stove top. But the sides on the saute have no flare at all, which I've occasionally found frustrating. The French skillet is made of slightly lighter weight stainless steel (or less aluminum in th core?)--alas, this seems to be the case with lots of new All Clad (I tested a 10 quart rondeau , new, against an old 6 qt. stock pot, and the comparable weight-per-ounce of capacity was about 20% less on the newer model.)

    I'd say IF you're not concerned with having very high sides, the French skillet would do just about everything you would want to do in the saute...and the cooking surface is bigger, which my 17 year old daughter just pointed out as an advantage in that you don't get the "oops, I steamed instead of sauteed" effect as easily.

    1. What do you want to use the pan for? If it's mostly for frying, I don't see why you couldn't go with a regular fry pan or the French skillet. Be aware that All-Clad's French skillets don't have a lip, so they aren't as easy to pour from as some other pans, if that's an issue for you. If you'll be sauteing larger quantities of food, you probably want more height than the French skillet offers. AC makes sauteuses (saute pans) in several sizes. If you really need something as large as 6-quart, you should also take a look at the AC 5 1/2 quart saucier, which has a rounded bottom and has higher sides than the sauteuse, although it is not as wide in diameter. There is also an AC saute/simmer pan with a 12" diameter and a 4-quart capacity that is a Williams-Sonoma exclusive and currently on sale for $129.95. I recently bought this on the recommendation of another Chowhounder and am very pleased with it.

      4 Replies
      1. re: cheesemaestro

        I'll have to check out the WS special, that sounds like it could work. Essentially I want a pan large enough to brown up a few chicken thighs or other protein for a small crowd. There are only two of us so the AC skillet that's about 10" is the workhorse of my kitchen. I want something large enough for when I am feeding 4-6 people. The only 12" pan I currently have is nonstick which I am not that fond of. Generally I wouldn't need to pour off liquids of anything, I am looking for surface area so I don't have a crowded pan and unintentionally steam the food.

        Thanks for the input!

        1. re: mels

          If it's surface area you want, I suspect that the 13" French skillet will have the most. AC and Calphalon (in the Contemporary line) also make 14" fry pans for large burners.

          1. re: mels

            12 In. Cast Iron maybe?

            Have Fun!

            1. re: mels

              i just went into my kitchen and pulled out my pans to measure. The WS exclusive may not work for you. The surface is slightly larger than my 10" frying pan (only by a smidge) and it flares up. I like it because it is my all purpose pan but if you want it to brown chicken, you may want something with more cooking surface than your current 10". The french skillet may be the way to go but make sure you can find a lid that fits.

          2. Are they both 6 quarts? I can't seem to find how many quarts the french skillet holds. Maybe someone who owns the pan can answer this question. I know Williams-Sonoma and Sur la Table both carry the french skillets. Williams-Sonoma has a two french skillet set (9" and 11") for $99.

            If you decide to go with the french skillet, keep in mind that the french skillets do not come with lids. All-clad lids are pricey. I wanted a lid for my 12" frying pan. I ended up buying the 4 quart saute/simmer pan from Williams-Sonoma because it came it a lid that fits my 12" frying pan. I love the pan and it is an awesome deal for both the pan and the lid. (I think I was the chowhounder that recommended the pan to the chowhounder below.)

            I find the 4 quart saute/simmer suitable for most of my cooking (the 3 quart is too small). I also have a 6 quart deep saute that I only use occasionally. (I got the pan and lid for less than $70 when Macy's was clearing out their LTD line.)

            1 Reply
            1. re: malisa0607

              Actually, you can get lids. I bought one from (the all clad outlet) and I don't recall it was very much money...

            2. as regards lids for 12" pans, I use a baking sheet. It works quite nicely, but I dislike lids that fit so snugly they seal. They tend to sputter. I got the idea from all of my other lids which are old fashioned flat copper lids with cast iron handles. They just of lay over the tops and don't fit into the pans or seal. I, too, vote for the 12" frying pan as being more frequently used. It is so nice not to crowd things. Of course if I had a 12" saute pan, it would do even more, I guess. I have noticed that All Clad prices are getting pretty high and tin lined copper does not seem to be skyrocketing (although stainelss lined does seem to be getting insanely pricey).

              1. There's another A-C pan you should consider and that's their 13" braiser with domed lid. It acts as a frypan, saute pan, braiser, roasting pan, and serving piece. Because of the domed lid it's more versatile than the 6 saute, and the domed lid makes it great for braising higher pieces of meat. It's an awesome pan and you can pick one up on Ebay for about $100 or so.