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How to Choose your Sauté Pan


A simple guide to help you choose the best sauté pan for your needs

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. 


WHAT IS SAUTE PAN?

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. 


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:


CARBON STEEL

Best for: searing, grilling, browning, and sautéing

PRO

  • 40% lighter than cast iron

  •  durable and long-lasting

  • conducts heat fast and evenly

  • environmentally friendly

Con

  • reactive to acidic foods (acidity can damage seasoning)

  • requires seasoning

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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.” 


STAINLESS STEEL

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

PRO

  • durable

  • responds quickly to temperature changes and conducts heat evenly

  • easy to clean, low maintenance, and dishwasher safe

Con

  • not completely nonstick

  • hard to hide fingerprints and smudges

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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


PRO

  • quick heat conductor 

  • lightweight

  • nonstick and easy to clean

Con

  • not dishwasher safe

  • prone to scratches with metal utensils 

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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.




COpper 

Best for: Anything and everything!

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

PRO

  • offers the best heat conduction and reactivity 

  • great for delicate creations, like caramel

  • impressive aesthetically

Con

  • bigger investment

  • requires some occasional polishing to avoid patina build up

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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!