A saucepan is a type of cookware that does a lot of work in the kitchen. It is ideal for boiling, simmering, making sauces, cooking grains, and any cooking that requires a moderate amount of liquid. Whether you are preparing for a feast or a weeknight meal, saucepans are your best friend in the kitchen.
Choosing the best saucepan for your home depends on the type of food you will cook, your existing cookware in the kitchen, and your budget.
What makes a good saucepan?
A good saucepan is something that can heat evenly and quickly. It should have the ability to prevent burning the food you cook. When shopping for a saucepan, opt for those that come with heavy gauge metal, as their sides and bottom are of the same dimension.
Aluminium pans are heat conductive, lightweight, and durable. Anodised aluminium is a great material for cookware. This electrochemically treated aluminium is nonreactive, heats fast, relatively non-stick, and incredibly hard.
While stainless steel is a poor heat conductor, it is highly durable, non-toxic, nonporous, and nonreactive, making it a suitable cooking surface. It also makes food brown well, which is a vital factor in enhancing flavour.
Other good options are saucepans that are clad in stainless steel and designed with a layered aluminium core. These pans are also responsive to heat, cook evenly, and more affordable than models made from copper.
What about handles?
A saucepan with a good handle is sturdy, robust, and stays cool to the touch. A wooden handle offers the best grip, although it is not suitable for oven use; thus, limiting the pan’s versatility. A plastic handle can hold out against oven cooking up to 250C temperature, but it will melt in a broiler.
A saucepan handle that is constructed from stainless steel is safe for oven use, having the ability to keep cool for a certain amount of time. Look for a stainless-steel handle that is hollow and wide. But, even so, it is better to keep potholders nearby all the time.
On the other hand, a handle that is attached to the saucepan using rivets is durable and strong. But, constant use over time can loosen the rivets. A handle that is forged from and bonded permanently with the cookware using the same metal will also not fail you.
The option of choosing non-stick surfaces
A saucepan with a non-stick handle requires less oil and easy to clean compared to a traditional pan. One drawback of a non-stick is that it does not promote browning when cooking as much as a metal surface.
Teflon coating has become more durable in time through continuous innovations. But Teflon can emit hazardous fumes, particularly in above 350C. Pans with anodised aluminium are resistant to scratch as well as non-toxic. They perform better at browning and searing, although they stick more compared to coated cookware. You can also find revolutionary ceramics from manufacturers that want to produce non-stick surfaces more efficiently.
Non-stick surfaces come with both pros and cons. In the end, your personal preferences will determine if you want non-stick cookware or do without it.
Invest in high-quality saucepans considering that they have more uses than other cookware items in your kitchen. Consider buying pans of different sizes, to meet more kitchen needs.