Choosing your sauté pan is one of the most important decisions a cook can make. A good sauté pan is like your culinary main squeeze- it’s probably the pan you’ll be reaching for the most, so it’s a decision you want to make wisely. The right choice means you’ve got a tool that will last forever. 


You probably already know the answer to this, but because the line between a sauté pan and a skillet can be a little blurry, let’s clarify. First, a little French lesson. The word sauter means “to jump”! A sauté pan functions as the ideal playground for your food to jump around, moving freely and easily across the surface as it cooks, but within a contained environment. A skillet, on the other hand, has sides that flare outward, allowing food, like a fried egg, to slip out with ease. 

What Size Saute Pan Should I Buy?

When selecting the proper size sauté pan for your needs, there are a few key factors to consider. The most common sauté pan sizes range from three to six quarts, balancing capacity and versatility. However, your ideal size depends on your household size and cooking preferences.

For smaller households or individuals, a three-quart sauté pan may be sufficient. It provides ample space for sautéing vegetables, searing meats, and preparing smaller portions of dishes. It is also a more manageable size in terms of weight and storage space.

If you frequently cook for larger groups or enjoy making larger batches of food, a six-quart sauté pan might be a better choice. It offers more cooking space and can accommodate larger cuts of meat or larger quantities of ingredients. Remember that a larger sauté pan will take longer to heat up and retain heat longer, so you'll need to factor in the additional cooking time.

It's essential to visualize the cooking surface diameter when considering the size of the sauté pan. Even a difference of one or two inches can significantly impact the pan's capacity. Consider the types of dishes you frequently prepare and ensure that the sauté pan you choose can accommodate them comfortably.

When is the Best Time to Use a Saute Pan for Cooking?

A sauté pan is a versatile tool used in various cooking scenarios. Knowing when to use a sauté pan can enhance your culinary experience and help you achieve optimal results.

Here are some key instances when a sauté pan shines.

Using the Oven

Unlike some other pans, sauté pans are often oven-safe, allowing you to transition from stovetop to oven seamlessly. This feature is handy when you want to finish off a dish by giving it a final bake or broil.

Whether you're preparing frittatas, casseroles, or roasted vegetables, a sauté pan can be your go-to choice.

Making Saucy Dishes

Sauté pans with their straight, vertical sides are excellent for cooking dishes that involve sauces. The deep sides of the pan helps prevent spills and splatters, keeping your stovetop clean.

Whether simmering a flavorful curry, preparing a luscious pasta sauce, or creating a savory stir-fry, a sauté pan provides the perfect environment for saucy dishes.

Browning Meat

Achieving a perfect sear on meats is a skill every cook aspires to master. A sauté pan with ample cooking surface area allows you to brown meats effectively.

The pan's even heat distribution and high sides help lock in the flavors and juices, resulting in beautifully caramelized and flavorful meat.

Sautéing Vegetables

As the name suggests, sauté pans are ideal for sautéing vegetables. The wide cooking surface area provides enough room for even cooking and proper browning.

Whether preparing a medley of colorful vegetables or caramelizing onions, a sauté pan ensures consistent heat distribution and excellent results.

Is a Saute Pan the Same as a Frying Pan?

No, a sauté pan is not the same as a frying pan. While they may appear similar, there are distinct differences between the two. A sauté pan has straight, vertical sides, which make it ideal for sautéing, simmering sauces, and braising.

On the other hand, a frying pan has flared, sloping sides that make it easier to flip and slide food, particularly when frying or tossing ingredients.

The straight sides of a sauté pan provide a larger cooking surface area and more space to work with, while the flared sides of a frying pan facilitate easy food movement.

How many different types of sauté pans are there?

The short answer is plenty. But, if you’re looking for a long-term ally, the material-of-choice list shrinks considerably. The following styles are your best investments, listed with their pros & cons:


Best for: searing, grilling, browning, and sautéing


  • 40% lighter than cast iron

  •  durable and long-lasting

  • conducts heat fast and evenly

  • environmentally friendly


  • reactive to acidic foods (acidity can damage seasoning)

  • requires seasoning


Our Carbon Steel sauté pans, like our Mineral B Country Fry Pan are considered to be the most natural, safe, and environmentally friendly cooking material you can buy. This pan is our go-to for everyday steaming and sautéing. For stir-frying, the MINERAL B Wok is perfectly suited for tossing and stir-frying, a must-have for Asian dishes. Our Mineral B Collection is made from 99% iron and 1% carbon, making it lighter than cast iron, more heat conductive than stainless steel, and naturally non-stick after seasoning. They’re coated with natural beeswax to help prevent oxidation which can help in the seasoning process. These pans only get better the more you use them.

This material ranks favorably among professional chefs-and you don’t have to take our word for it. As Nancy Pollard, the trustworthy maven of high-quality kitchen tools said about our carbon steel, it’s “cookware to inherit”. She elaborates in her blog:

“While there is no one vessel that ‘does it all’ perfectly, there are manufacturers of good cookware that will last generations and not become part of a landfill. My mantra has been, if it is good enough for a serious restaurant kitchen, then it needs to be in mine. De Buyer’s carbon steel is one of them.” 


Best for: boiling and reducing sauces, jams, caramels, sautéing vegetables


  • durable

  • responds quickly to temperature changes and conducts heat evenly

  • easy to clean, low maintenance, and dishwasher safe


  • not completely nonstick

  • hard to hide fingerprints and smudges


Our ALCHIMY collection combines artisan style with professional-level performance. The ALCHIMY Rounded Sauté Pan is constructed using 3-ply stainless steel, making it quick to respond to temperature changes. Ideal for easy one-pan meals and side dishes. It also features a unique brushed exterior, less susceptible to fingerprints and staining. If that mirror-like, polished appearance is more your style, you’ll love the AFFINITY Rounded Sauté Pan for its sleek exterior shine. In addition to its classic shine, the AFFINITY line is constructed using 5-ply stainless steel, offering even better heat circulation and reactivity.

Nonstick Aluminum

Best for: expansion and combined cooking, reheating, and preparing delicate dishes with minimal oil


  • quick heat conductor 

  • lightweight

  • nonstick and easy to clean


  • not dishwasher safe

  • prone to scratches with metal utensils 


Our CHOC Country Fry Pan is free of harmful chemicals like PFOA and PFOS and has an easy-to-clean nonstick coating. Because it’s designed for professional use, it boasts superior resistance to scratches, making it ideal for daily use. Perfect for single pan meals, deep-frying, and stir-frying. Check out our 9.5" Choc Intense Deep Fry Pan made from ultra-tough forged aluminum. Its ultra-smooth surface gives this pan superior nonstick properties for graceful cooking and clean-up.


Best for: Anything and everything!

boiling and reduction cooking, searing meats, cooking delicate proteins like fish and seafood, thickening sauces, caramels, chocolates


  • offers the best heat conduction and reactivity 

  • great for delicate creations, like caramel

  • impressive aesthetically


  • bigger investment

  • requires some occasional polishing to avoid patina build up


Our elegant INOCUIVRE copper line is a thing of beauty. It’s got perfect copper thermal conductivity on the outside with the benefits of high-quality stainless steel lining on the inside. For everyday cooking, you can’t beat the beauty and functionality of the INOCUIVRE Tradition Sauté Pan.

Induction: Specifically designed for induction cooking, our PRIMA MATERA copper line functions on all cooking surfaces and is even oven-safe! For flawless, everyday cooking, try the PRIMA MATERA Sauté Pan. If you’re cooking for more than 4 people, our PRIMA MATERA Conical Sauté Pan gives you more room to work with.

Need some more inspiration for what to do with your sauté pan? Check out these ideas for family meals!

Find the Perfect Sauté Pan Using This Guide

At de Buyer, we understand the importance of choosing the perfect sauté pan for your culinary endeavors.

Consider crucial factors such as size, materials, and cooking techniques to find the ideal sauté pan that meets your needs.

With our vast range of high-quality sauté pans, including carbon steel, stainless steel, nonstick aluminum, and copper options, you can trust our commitment to durability, exceptional heat conduction, and superior performance.

Elevate your cooking experience with a de Buyer sauté pan that will be your reliable companion in the kitchen for years to come.

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