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Saucier, saute, or frying pan?

I'm looking to step up to some nicer cookware.

I do rather basic stuff as it is, but I'd like to buy a pot that can accomodate me as I develop more advanced skills and techniques.

Keeping this in mind, if you could have only one, which would you choose and why?

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  1. Have you any ideas about the kind of cooking you'd like to do? I think that would make the answer easier to find for you. Personally I think the saute would offer the most versatility as a starting place than the other two. It will offer more diameter surface for one thing; and while you'd get depth with a saucier, it wouldn't work as well if you wanted to use it in the oven. That is assuming you will choose an oven-safe pan. I use mine in the oven routinely as well as stovestop. I have a saucier and I like it but I can't see it as having the same stovetop to oven usefulness.

    I've used my saute pan to poach; roast; stew; fry; saute. It's great for making a pasta sauce and tossing the pasta right into the pan. In contrast, I tend to use the saucier for sauces; risottos; stir fry etc but the smaller cooking surface means it just isn't going to be as useful as the saute pan.
    As to the frying pan - lack of depth and sloped sides ( both very desirable qualities in a frying pan) mean it isn't going to be as useful for anything but saute/frying

    12 Replies
    1. re: knet

      A good assessment. Thank you.

      Oven safe is important to me. What I'm using currently isn't oven safe and there have been a few things I've wanted to try but couldn't because of this.

      The diameter of the saucier is the biggest downside to that piece. The saute pan has a much larger cooking area.

      1. re: knet

        This makes me think of another question:

        Is it possible to buy a pan that's too big? If I have a choice between a 9.5" and 11" saute pan, am I making a mistake going with the 9.5"

        1. re: NotJuliaChild

          how big is your burner? if you have pan that goes off the burner, it will be colder than the rest. not a problem if you're doing "stir fry"... but for sauces?

          1. re: Chowrin

            I have burner's of various sizes. I was thinking more along the lines of pan size relative to the amount of food in it.

          2. re: NotJuliaChild

            Yes! Go for the 11". I can't think of too many instances where you would WANT crowding in a pan. Even for small amounts of food, large surface area is better for sauteeing/browning/searing. I suppose if you were doing a stew or a braise, you would need slightly more liquid to accomodate for the larger size, but this is a pretty good trade-off if you ask me. And yes, out of your three choices, I would choose the saute pan if I could only choose one - MUCH more versatile.

          3. re: knet

            I take the opposite position. There's nothing I do in a saute or frying pan that I can't do in my 4 qt saucier (oven-safe to 350), which I can also use for soups, stir-fries, and cooking pasta. I much prefer making sauces and tossing them with pasta in the deeper saucier. Since the first week I got it - and it's OLD - I have always said that if I could have only one pan, it would be a large saucier. (Allow me a second and I'll add a cast-iron Dutch oven).

            1. re: greygarious

              + 1 for a large saucier. My 3.0 qt saucier is perfect for all the tasks mentioned. I particularly agree the making sauce and toss with pasta better in larger saucier than the flat saute pan. Also, I cannot imagine I would use a flat saute pan for stew. When I cook stew, I at least cook it for 3-4 hours. For this a saute pan is just too shallow and even has a risk to burn things.

              I were forced to pick up only one pan, it would be the saucier. ( Needless to say, it is not applicable to a smaller saucier, such as 2qt. They are good for reduction but not big enough unless you are solo or two as all-round purpose. Also many times too small to use a whisk in it.)

              1. re: hobbybaker

                I see your point about pasta, but if I were cooking a stew I would be more inclined to do it in my DO.

                Given a choice between a similarly sized saucier and saute pan, I'm leaning toward the saucier. Just seems easier to use.

            2. re: knet

              Call a Williams Sonoma outlet and see if they still have any left of the All-Clad saute and simmer pans in the stainless. Do a search on the net for them. It's a 12.5 fry pan, saute pan, braiser and it's also shaped like a saucier as the bottom is rounded. They were only $65 a few months ago so not sure if any are left but it's worth a try. Than pan was exclusive the WS, but they now have the d5 version for about $150 i think.

              1. re: blondelle

                Thanks, Blondelle. You're talking about this:

                http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                I have this on my radar.

                1. re: NotJuliaChild

                  Yes, that the one. It's even less than I remember. It serves all the functions you need. It will be very useful for any level of cooking skills. It can do just about everything!

                  1. re: blondelle

                    Just fyi, it's slightly more in the stores ($10-20) - or at least it was in my store! I was surprised as I'd assumed consistent pricing across distribution channels.

            3. NotJuliaChild: "I'd like to buy a pot that can accomodate me as I develop more advanced skills and techniques. Keeping this in mind, if you could have only one, which would you choose and why?"

              O.k., I am going to give you a response that you will promptly dismiss and ignore for the wrong reason.

              The Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Duo: http://www.amazon.com/Kuhn-Rikon-6-Pi...

              Oh, no! You asked for a frying pan or equivalent; but what I have recommended is two pots (one of them a frying pan) with two different lids, each of which fits both pots. And it has the POISON words "pressure cooker" in the description. Three strikes and you're out.

              Please, hear me out. The recommendation above is completely valid even if you never, ever, use either pot as a pressure cooker. Forget (for the time being) the "pressure cooker" part. Erase it from your mind.

              From a materials and construction quality standpoint, you will not find a better frypan or sauté pan than the frypan half of the Duo. It has a thick aluminum disk on the base to spread heat evenly, and the body of the pan is indestructible thick gauge stainless steel. The handle is large and comfortable, and the pan goes straight into the dishwasher without worry. You will find it one of the most versatile pieces of cookware you ever have encountered. Even if you never use it as a pressure cooker.

              The "other" pot in the pair is a perfect size for cooking pasta for four. Or for two. Or for up to six. It is the "right" size for many different cooking tasks. It, too, has a thick, heat-spreading disk on the bottom, and solidly constructed sidewallls and comfortable handles (with a helper handle on the far side, all but a necessity when the pot is full of liquid). It is the perfect starter pot. Even if you never use it as a pressure cooker.

              The "regular" top that comes with the set fits both of the pots perfectly. You save storage space having one lid that works with both.

              The set comes with a steamer trivet, which fits perfectly in the bottom of either the frypan or the stockpot, and allows you to cook vegetables above, but not in, the boiling water, enhancing flavor in a manner that you cannot get with boiled vegetables.

              And then there is the OTHER lid, the one that allows either pot to be used as a <whisper> pressure cooker.

              You do not need to use the pressure cooker lid only to engage in pressure cooking. The best way to cook pasta -- trust me -- is to bring the pasta (dropped into boiling water to which salt has been added) to a boil, then remove the pot from the burner, put on the pressure top, and let the pot stand -- away from the burner -- for the recommended cooking time. When you take the top off, the pasta will be perfectly cooked, al dente, and the water it was cooked in will be crystal clear: the starch will not have leached out of the pasta to make the water cloudy, as you expect it to do when you cook pasta over an "on" burner.

              Do you like artichokes? You can cook them faster, and they will emerge dark green, not yucky yellow-green, if you cook them above the boiling water on the trivet in the frypan, with a touch of pressure cooking. You never will cook artichokes any other way once you have tried that method. Same for cooking corn on the cob.

              O.k., I have strayed into the Masters Class on pressure cooking, which is probably farther than you were prepared to go. So let's back up. You want a starter pot that will allow you to grow. Get the Kuhn-Rikon Duromatic Duo set, and take it as it comes to you.

              10 Replies
              1. re: Politeness

                I love my pressure cooker set (Fagor Futuro, two sizes), but these including the KR can't go in the oven due to plastic parts, right? This might be a consideration.

                1. re: iyc_nyc

                  iyc_nyc, neither piece of the Kuhn-Rikon Duromatic Duo is oven-safe. You are correct.

                2. re: Politeness

                  Most of the Amazon reviews are raves but so often people rate an item that they haven't yet used much. So I tend to give slightly more weight to the negative ones and one of CH's own, StriperGuy, found it performed very badly. Most people who buy this set are interested in pressure cooking and a serviceable pressure cooker can be had for less than a quarter the price of the KR set.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    I know we're getting slightly off topic here, but I just want to note that while StriperGuy didn't like his KR cooker, other Chowhounders have been very happy with that brand. I own two of them, I've used one or the other (for pressure cooking, not regular cooking) at least once a week for more than five years, and they have always performed beautifully.

                    Nevertheless, I'm really starting to covet both that All-Clad saute/simmer pan and tanuki soup's carbon steel evasee! (I also covet whatever program it is that allows tanuki soup to produce an "e" with an accent mark.)

                    1. re: Miss Priss

                      "I also covet whatever program it is that allows tanuki soup to produce an "e" with an accent mark."

                      LOL. I haven't figured that out either -- I just cut-and-pasted "evasée" from the Wikipedia article I quoted ;-)

                      1. re: tanuki soup

                        Aha! Sauté, evasée--en français! (Cut and pasted from Word.)

                      2. re: Miss Priss

                        Miss Priss: "I also covet whatever program it is that allows tanuki soup to produce an "e" with an accent mark."

                        If your codepage is set to one of the standard Western codepages (850, 437 8859-1), simply hold down the Alt key while entering 130 on the numeric keypad. The same technique works for all high-ASCII (characters 128 to 255) characters; for instance Alt-213 is the euro symbol € and Alt-248 is degrees (° Celsius or ° Fahrenheit).

                        1. re: Politeness

                          If that is too daunting, click the Start button at the bottom of your screen, followed by All Programs, then System Tools, then Character Map. You can then right click to create a shortcut to the Character Map. If this sounds like I even REMOTELY know my way around a computer, I don't. I stumbled my way to it, strewing breadcrumbs all the way.

                          1. re: greygarious

                            Thanks to you both! Actually, Politeness's method is one that I dimly recall from the distant days of my 286 computer, a thousand Word versions ago. Glad to know it's still possible! And reaching the character map through the Windows Start menu is new to me, so I'm delighted--I mean, enchantée--to have learned it.

                  2. I'd suggest a carbon steel evasée. Cheap, rugged, and basic. Also easy to season, oven safe, and works with induction cooktops.

                    From Wikipedia:

                    "A versatile pan that combines the best of both the sauté pan and the frying pan has higher, sloping sides that are often slightly curved. This pan is called a sauteuse (literally a sauté pan in the female gender), an evasée (denoting a pan with sloping sides), or a fait-tout (literally "does everything"). Most professional kitchens have several of these utensils in varying sizes."

                    Here are two pictures of mine (before and after seasoning):

                     
                     
                    4 Replies
                    1. re: tanuki soup

                      Your pictures look more like what DeBuyer calls 'The "Lyonnaise" is the traditional "granny-style" frying pan.'
                      http://www.debuyer.com/product.php?id...

                      The pictures I see on the web for an evasee or sauteuse show a pan with steeper sides (almost vertical at the top if curved).

                      1. re: paulj

                        My bad. I think you're right about the proper name for the kind of pan I mean. Mine was ordered from Amazon Japan and was listed as simply a "フライパン" (frypan).

                        PS. Actually, I'll be very happy to refer to my pan as a Lyonnaise pan in the future. It's a pain having to put the accent mark in evasée.

                      2. re: tanuki soup

                        tanuki soup,
                        The seasoning looks fabulous. Did you season the outside as well, it doesn't look like it from the picture. Should it be, to prevent rust? Thanks!

                        1. re: breadchick

                          Thanks, breadchick. You're right, I didn't do anything special to the outside of the pan. It just kind of turned darker on its own during the seasoning process on the stovetop.

                          I basically followed the instructions in a YouTube video about how to season a cast iron wok on the stovetop (in my case, an induction cooktop).

                          Specifically:
                          1. Scrub off all the protective lacquer coating from the inside of the pan with steel wool and lots of elbow grease. (I ended up doing this twice because I didn't get it all off the first time.)
                          2. Dry thoroughly.
                          3. Apply a very thin coating of safflower or canola oil to the entire inner surface.
                          4. Put the pan over medium-high heat and wait for the oil to start smoking.
                          5. Rub the oil all over the inside of the pan with folded-up paper towels held in a pair of tongs, adding a tiny bit more oil when necessary.
                          6. Kind of roll and tilt the pan during the process to heat up and treat the entire surface.
                          7. Allow to cool.

                          The "after" picture is after three such treatments performed one after the other. The result was a pretty robust, even, reasonably slick black coating as a good base for further seasoning in normal use. I personally don't have any problem cleaning the pan with soap and water, as well as the occasional gentle scrubbing with a Scotchbrite pad when needed. I dry it thoroughly after use and hang it up. I haven't had any problems with rust inside or out.

                          Hope this info helps. Good cooking!

                      3. Most of my shallow pans have flared sides. Since I have an electric coil stove (and induction hot plate) there isn't much point in having a fry pan with a bottom much larger than the largest coil.

                        I have some straight sided pans, but they deeper. For example, an aluminum dutch oven, 10" diameter, 3" deep, about 3 qts. I suppose the closest to a straight side shallow pan is my 10" Lodge cast iron skillet, which I use more often in the oven than on the stove top.

                        1. Only one? Agree with tanuki, at least as to configuration. But I would pick a different material. If you can afford it, copper (SS-lined if you want to roast/broil/sear in it over 400F). If you don't want to spend that much, anodized aluminum (just beware of drastic` temperature changes, else it'll warp). Falk usually has a "Try Me" copper pan at a serious discount.

                          That's if you're in the 95% of Americans who haven't bet on induction. If you're in the 5% who have (or are determined to), tanuki's 100% right.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            I have Falk's "try me" piece and love it.

                            But Falk's Fait Tout doesn't have a rolled lip. And the 11 inch Fait Tout is only 0.5" higher than the similarly sized saute pan. Of course, the Fait Tout has sloped sides whereas their saute pan has straight sides.

                            1. re: NotJuliaChild

                              NJC: In your OP you said you were looking to step up with one better-quality pan while you learn. I think most of us here responded assuming that your existing pans were wanting and/or few.

                              But you already have and love Falk? This (and the possibility of the minor issue of a lack of a rolled lip dissuading you) indicates that you already know what pleases you. And frankly, "stepping up" from Falk is not an easy concept to grasp! Vintage "Fort" Gaillard maybe?

                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                Not exactly. I only have the Falk "Try Me" Piece, which is a 1.5 quart saucier.

                                All my other stuff is RevereWare w/ plastic handles. This is what I'm looking to replace.

                                1. re: NotJuliaChild

                                  NJC: Ah so, I see. You have picked up the lingo and have the lines/models well in mind. Good job.

                                  PS: I still have my mom's set of Revereware, so I understand completely. Hang onto a piece or two so you can compare/contrast w/ other SS and high-carbon.