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skillet to compliment 12" saute

I'm buying some new cookware, and I would like to get a 12" saute. Either the 12" deep Tratomina or the 5.5quart Cuisinart multi-clad pro. In either case, I would like to compliment this pan with one skillet (I have an 8" I like). I was thinking a 10" because the saute is 12", but then I realized maybe that was silly and a 12" would be more useful all around. Any advice on this would be appreciated.

Should I even consider no big skillet?

BTW: first time posting. These forums have been a great resource in learning about cooking and cookware.


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  1. I find that small skillets are relegated to toasting spices. Once you have experienced the joy of cooking in a skillet large enough that nothing gets crowded there is no turning back. I'd go for a larger than 8" and give carbon steel a try, like the DeBuyer mineral line.

    1. We just bought the 9.5" de Buyer steel skillet for omelets, pancakes, french toast, etc. Seasoned it twice before using and it is completely stick free. Wonderful! Good handle. Not heavy at all. Not tippy when empty.

      We've just ordered the 12.5" fry pan and the 12.5" country fry pan to go with them to round out our skillets based on this experience.

      We're buying all new cookware to go with our soon to be installed induction cooktop. So far we have a 12pc Emrilware ProClad starter set which we really like. Nice handles and rolled edges on everything. Got a few more pieces to add but we're mostly done.

      Good luck


      1. Small skillets can have their use. However, if you are not sure, then maybe a 12" is slightly safer especially you have a 8" skillet. It is really up to you.

        Aside from stainless steel cladded cookware, you may want to try a carbon steel pan (skillet) -- just for a change. I have a deBuyer carbon steel pan like tim and mdgolfbum, but there are other carbon steel pans as well.

        1. I cook three meals (sometimes more) a day, and I find that i use the 12" skillet very rarely. When I need something that large, I end up using the cuisinart saute pan that you have. And unless you have a 36" or bigger range, it'll be hard to fit more than a 12" skillet and 2 smaller pans. If you cook for a lot of people, or cook in large quantities, it may be worthwhile. Either one you choose, a 10" or 12" pan, I would recommend a high quality tri-clad stainless one .

          1. I like my 12" All-Clad tri-ply stainless frypan enough that I would like to buy a 10". Haven't used their saute pan, but I'll bet I'd like it. All of that said, I'd probably try Regal Ware's American Kitchen line, also made in the USA, but cheaper than All-Clad.


            6 Replies
            1. re: Jay F

              Sounds like I should just get the 12". Thank you all for your advice.

              I've been reviews of as skillets and the cuisinart seems to have more complaints about sticking. Is there really any difference between different triply SS pans? My 8" is HA Calpalon, which is very good for not sticking, but I've read the manufacting has changed is not as good.

              1. re: curiousburke

                Is your Hard anodized Calphalon the pure hard anodized aluminum Calphalon? Calphalon had the Calphalon Commercial Hard Anodized cookware. Those are pure hard anodized, but they have been discontinued for some time now.


                Most of the Calphalon hard anodized cookware now are with nonstick cooking surface, like this:


                So they are very nonstick.

                I am not sure which one you have.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  i have the pure HA one. It was manufactured in Toledo, OH

                  1. re: curiousburke


                    In that case, I don't think Calphalon makes these pure hard anodized cookware anymore. A few years back Calphalon has announced that Calphalon Infused One will replace Calphalon Commercial (the one you have). However, it also seems like Calphalon Infused One may be on its way out.

                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Out of curiousity, if you know, why did the company discontinue the HA line? I have at least 7 pieces owned for 20+ yrs used weekly if not daily and continue to use with excellent results. I don't like the non-stick version & had a small skillet that the coating appeared to peel or wear off. Although the product comes with a lifetime warranty, we elected not to replace it. Thank you, I've learned so much from this board.

                    1. re: smittycdm


                      I think it just didn't sell very well after awhile. Yes, Hard Anodized aluminum cookware was all the rage back then, but really not many consumers buy them now. Just think about the last time you see pure hard anodized cookware in a stores. Major manufacturers pretty much gave up in marketing them.

                      Calphalon Infused One was Calphalon's last attempt to revive the Hard Anodized cookware business. The Infused One cookware has nonstick material embedded with the hard anodized. It is to create something in between the two. A bit more nonstick than the pure hard anodized aluminum cookware, but much tougher than simple nonstick Teflon cookware.


                      It read like a good idea. Guess what? It didn't sell. Costumers just want real nonstick cookware. After seeing the Infused One for two years or so in the department stores, they disappeared.

                      Just read these reviews:

                      Titles: "EVERYTHING STICKS" and "Disappointment in non-stick performance"


              2. Hi, curiousburke:


                Here's my take: You're getting a 12", and you already have an 8". So I say go with a 10" to round things out. All the better if the 10" is oven safe--you can use it as a roaster. 26cm skillets are very versatile.

                But you also need to ask yourself if you need a 12" skillet. What are you cooking on? Most home hobs are undersized for 12" pans. And many home cooktops only have 2, 8" burners and 2, 6" burners. Where are all these big pans supposed to go?

                How many people at a time are you cooking for? Can you--the way you cook now--imagine yourself with your 8" skillet and new 12" saute already on the stove, and going "Damn, I need another big shallow pan."?

                How long have you been cooking? Most of us evolve and develop proclivities over time, and shift in what we really like to cook in. Years ago, and far, far away, I thought Le Creuset ECI was the epitome of gourmet cookware. If you jump in and buy sets, and you fall out of love with that set, well, you are pretty much forced to start over. I wish I had not spent so lavishly on LC, had that $$$ back to spend on better stuff piecemeal.

                Why not buy your 12" saute and play with it awhile--see what (else) you think you need in 6 months?


                5 Replies
                1. re: kaleokahu

                  I agree - while it's true that you can use less in a bigger pan more easily than using more in a smaller pan, I think a 9.5" or 10" skillet is the main "must-have", esp. since you already have a large size sauté pan. This is the most common and most useful general purpose side for most people.

                  1. re: will47

                    It's true I could wait. I have not bought the 5.5 saute, so I still have my 2 old 10" pans. I should just keep one and see if i still use it alongside the sauté. I think I'm eager to get a 12" because I often find they are too small. However, the saute will correct this.

                    The only thing I really image wanting a 12" skillet for is pancakes :) Since everything else I have thought of I think I can do in the saute. Oh, and the other advantage of a 12" is that it would fit the saute lid. I had considered getting a large "everyday pan" which I think is just a saute with slopped sides and 2 helper handles instead of the saute, so it would be like a big skillet too. Is that right?

                  2. re: kaleokahu

                    Good point regarding the size of your range top (hob). For my last kitchen remodel, I spent the extra money for a 36" range because I cook so much, but never had enough room for all the pans! Something to consider.

                    1. re: Zinful

                      I Have gas and they all the same size. I'm assuming that a good tri-ply would distribute the heat evenly even though the heat is only applied in center. Is this true?

                      I don't expect to use more than one pan at a time. However, this means I should a 10" for when I'm using the 5.5qt

                      1. re: curiousburke

                        " I'm assuming that a good tri-ply would distribute the heat evenly even though the heat is only applied in center. Is this true?"

                        Not really. The better the thermal heat conductor, the better the heat distribution. A good triply cookware is certainly better than a cast iron cookware, but you will never get a truly even heating surface when you put a oversized pan on a small stove. By boundary conditions, there have to be a temperature gradient, and therefore cannot have an uniform temperature surface.

                  3. Maybe someone here can tell me exactly what the differences are between a skillet and a saute pan.

                    I thought that a skillet is a pan with straight sides that can also use a lid and a saute pan is a pan with rounded or flared sides that does not accept a lid, but a quick Google search of each item showed similar pictures of each piece.

                    So...what's the difference??

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Philly Ray

                      For most manufacturers, a saute pan has straight and relatively deep side also larger, and a frying pan has an angled shallower side. A few manufacturers use a different definition, like Tramontina. Here is a Tramontina saute pan:


                      and an All-Clad saute pan:


                      A skillet to me has a implication of cast iron skillet.

                      1. re: Philly Ray

                        Hi, Philly:

                        Good question. As far as I can tell, the similarities far outweigh the differences. Both are shallow, and are designed to cook and brown food in fat or oil. Even the authoritative Larousse Gastronomique is silent as to differences. That being said, the closest I can come to an answer for you is to invoke *convention*: dedicated saute pans typically have vertical, taller walls (the better to maximize cooking surface area). In contrast, skillets--aka "poelles"--tend to have curved or splayed (or roundly-radiused), shorter walls. Both skillets and sautes can have a long handle (and some have either an additional loop "helper", or two loops in lieu of the long), but only skillets have short single handles, which reflects the general idea that skillets are not tossed or jumped, but this isn't a hard and fast rule, either.

                        Here's what Chef James Peterson says about the difference:

                        "Many cooks, including professionals, confuse straight-sided saute pans (plats a sauter or rondeau) with sloping-sided saute pans--what Americans call frying pans, and the French poeles. The difference is important. A straight-sided saute pan is excellent for making integral sauces, because meats, vegetables, and other ingredients can be browned in the pan and the sauce made in the same pan used for sauteing. This is difficult in a pan with sloping sides where a sauce can scald or burn during reduction. Straight-sided saute pans should be constructed of heavy-gauge copper, aluminum, or copper-bottomed stainless steel [as opposed to poeles, which are commonly made of seasonable carbon steel or cast iron]."

                        Another semi-functional distinction is that skillets, by virtue of their stubby handle, are generally at home in ovens as well as on the cooktop. A saute, on the other hand, tends to either not fit in the oven or hogs it all to the exclusion of everything else (including racks). The rondeau is the exception to this rule.

                        Hope this helps.


                      2. We have the 12" deep Tramontina SS tri-ply saute pan, 12" Tramontina SS tri-ply skillet, and two 10 inch Calphalon tri-ply skillets. We use the deep saute pan the least. (We also have a Cuisinart SS 12" skillet and the Cuisinart 3-1/2 quart saute). Our problem is the configuration of our flat-top stove only lets us use one 12" pan at a time so the 10" skillets come in handy.