The Sauté Pan Buying Guide

The Sauté Pan Buying Guide

21 March 2022

What is a sauté pan and why should we use one? Though it might sound complex, a sauté pan is one of the most versatile pans in your kitchen. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced chef, our pan buying guide will answer all your questions about this superb all-rounder.
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Don’t be put off by the name: though it might sound complex, a sauté pan is one of the most versatile pans in your kitchen. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced chef, our sauté pan buying guide will answer all your questions about this superb all-rounder.

We’ll also share some tips and tricks on what a sauté pan is used for, so you can get started straight away.

What is a Sauté Pan? 

On first glance, it might be easy to mistake a sauté pan for a frying pan. However, sauté pans are an essential part of any pan set. While the two look similar, there are a few crucial differences that make sauté pans better suited to certain dishes, tasks, and cooking techniques.

Firstly, sauté pans always come with a lid, unlike frying pans – and that’s exactly what sets the sauté apart. As with other types of pots and pans, the purpose of a lid is to trap heat and moisture. This feature keeps the steam inside the pan and enables you to braise, sear and simmer to perfection – techniques that simply can’t be mastered with a frying pan.

Sauté pans also have straight, vertical sides, and don’t taper outwards like frying pans. While this feature makes frying pans ideal for quick cooking and flipping, a fitted lid on a sauté pan gives the opportunity to develop complex, deeper flavours without any ingredients drying out.

If you’re looking to shallow fry or braise meat until it’s perfectly tender, a sauté pan could make a great addition to your kitchen. The possibilities don’t end there, though.

What is a Sauté Pan Used For?

Now you’ve learned more about the pan itself, you may wonder what you can create with it. The answer depends on the specific sauté pan you choose, since different sizes and depths can make a surprising difference to the dishes you’ll create.

For example, if you choose a sauteuse pan, you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of a sauté pan and finish off your sauces and stews in the oven. With some pans oven safe up to 260 degrees Celsius, you can whip up delicious one-pan recipes with your new pan.

Here are a few of the culinary uses of sauté pans:

  • Searing

Achieved through a chemical process known as the Maillard reaction, searing is a cooking technique that involves cooking food at high temperatures to achieve a brown crust or exterior and with little cooking oil. 

  • Sautéing

Sautéing also involves cooking with just enough oil to lubricate the pan over a medium-high heat. With this technique, you can also flip and toss the food as you like.

  • Simmering Sauces

The straight, deep sides on sauté pans make them suited to saucy dishes. With enough volume to hold liquids and prevent spillages, they’re an efficient, simple choice.

  • Braising

Sauté pans make the perfect companion for braised meat. To start with, you’ll brown the meat on a dry heat and then simmer the meat in a small amount of stock with aromatics. It can be finished in the oven in the same pan.

Whatever you cook, a good quality non-stick sauté pan will complete or transform any kitchen experience.

Can I use a Sauté Pan as a Frying Pan?

Sauté pans are specifically designed to create flavoursome, saucy dishes. However, as they are such a versatile piece of kit, you can use your sauté pan to fry or sear food if it doesn’t need to be turned too often.

However, in any professional kitchen, chefs prefer to delegate the right task to the right pan. While the vertical side walls of a sauté pan easily accommodate enough oil for shallow frying, they’re much better suited to cooking with a lid.

When it comes down to chefs pans versus sauté pans, the key difference is that almost all frying pans and skillets are designed to be used without a lid and a chef pan is a larger all-rounder to facilitate multiple tasks. If you do choose to sear meat in a sauté pan, it’s a good idea to learn how to care for your pan so you can get the best out of it with every use.

How to Cook Up a Storm with a Sauté Pan from Circulon

Now that you’ve learned what a sauté pan is used for and what sets one apart from the rest, you know the benefits of investing in one of your own. With a Circulon sauté pan, you’ll enjoy unrivalled cooking performance with the most durable, PFOA-free materials on the market.

Enjoy ultimate peace of mind with a lifetime warranty to keep you cooking to perfection, time after time. Plus, our Build a Bundle offer means you’ll benefit from 15% off if you buy three frying pans. If you have any questions about your order or any of our pans, don’t hesitate to get in touch.