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Oct 3, 2013 01:29 PM

Do I need a stainless saute pan?

Here's my current cookware lineup:

10" carbon steel skillet
12" cast iron pan
Big carbon steel wok
Big stainless steel soup pot

Right now, if I want to deglaze with wine or cook a tomato sauce, I have to drag out the stainless soup pot which is a hassle, plus it's irritating to try and saute in it. I'm thinking about a stainless saute pan for acidic cooking and to be able to do that cool wrist shake/flip move (which I can't do in a sloped skillet). What do you all think? Is a $100 stainless saute pan worth it?

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  1. Is it worth that much money to you to be able to perfect the wrist-flip? If not (and it's not to me), no. I'd opt for an enameled cast iron pan or Dutch oven (preferably the latter), or a quality nonstick saucier (a.k.a. chef's pan) or saute pan. The latter would allow the wrist-flip. There's a wide range of styles manufacturer's call sauciers and chef's pans; I mean flat bottom curving up to straight sides about 4" deep, with two small handles or a long handle and short helper handle. I really like this type of pan - it's a fabulous multi-tasker and you can find a quality 4qt one for $50-75. If I could have only one pan, it would be this.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      Thanks, but I have an aversion to nonstick that comes from watching my mom replace her nonstick pans every year because the coating was flaking off. I'd like to be able to use metal utensils to cook and steel scouring pads to clean.

    2. Hi, RMJ:

      Yes, I generally think adding a saute to your batterie for $100 is worth it. It's a very basic piece. Given what you already have, I would opt for an 11"/4Q. I think you would then find that you'd use your others a lot less, depending on what you cook.

      It isn't clear what configuration your CI pan is. Is it also a skillet?

      FWIW, you can jump/flip food in a carbon steel skillet, you just have to be more careful. If it's a CI skillet, though chances are that the handle is 'way too short.


      2 Replies
      1. re: kaleokahu

        Yes, the CI pan is a sloped skillet. It is too heavy to easily do the wrist flip though.

        1. re: RealMenJulienne

          Hi, RMJ: "...too heavy to easily do the wrist flip..."

          A big part of the problem with jumping in most CI pans is leverage--the cast handles are too short. The same weight pan with a long handle is far easier to jump. I would not be too afraid of weight until you get >10lbs (unless you have really weak wrists).


      2. I don't think need it, but I do think it is very nice to have. Of course, everyone makes the decision based on their own needs, and I think greygarious hit it just right.

        You said it. You have to drag out the stainless steel soup pot and tried to saute in it.

        So the question is: How much will you give so that you don't have to do that for the next 10-15 years? $20? $100? $200? I think your answer will help guide your decision.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          I think I have already convinced myself to buy it, the rest is just an attempt at rationalization haha

        2. You are far too kind to your pans. I deglaze in carbon steel, and they bounce right back.

          1. I like a stainless saute or chef's pan myself. I use one often for all sorts of things.

            I don't flip with it though.

            You are right, you can deglaze in one of these with wine or tomato product.