Why You Should Trust Us
Anna Perling, who wrote the 2019 update to this guide, is a kitchen writer at Wirecutter and has covered everything from electric pressure cookers to hand mixers. She spent over 20 hours researching and testing nine different saucepans, which included reading editorial reviews from Serious Eats and The Spruce Eats, scouring big-name retailers and newer startup brands for new models, and making over a gallon of pastry cream.
This guide builds on the research and testing of senior kitchen writer Lesley Stockton. Lesley has been in the culinary business for more than two decades and has covered all kinds of cookware for Wirecutter, from Dutch ovens to nonstick pans. In 2014, she also interviewed three culinary producers and recipe developersNora Singley, Sarah Mastracco, and Clare Langan about what makes a good saucepan.
The Best Small Saucepan
After testing nine saucepans, we recommend the Tramontina Gourmet Tri-ply Clad 2-Quart Covered Saucepan.
A small saucepan is a workhorsea pan you can use for everything from boiling pasta water to whipping up a bechamel for lasagna. We recommend the Tramontina Gourmet Tri-ply Clad 2-Quart Covered Saucepan because it heats evenly, pours cleanly, and has the most comfortable handle of any pan we tested.
This fully clad saucepan heats evenly and was the most comfortable to hold.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $51.
We prefer the Tramontina Tri-ply Clad 2-Quart Covered Saucepan for its quality construction and even heat distribution. This pan showed no hot spots in our tests and has rounded corners that are easy to reach when stirring sauces or scraping a pan clean. Its also part of the same line as the cookware set we recommend, although the set includes only a 1½- and 3-quart saucepan.
Although its expensive, this all-purpose saucier works for large batches and both advanced and basic cooking tasks.
Vigor Stainless Steel Cookware
Reliable cookware is a must-have in the food service industry. With Vigor cookware, you’ll be equipped with durable, long-lasting pots, pans, braziers, and a wide range of other pieces to ensure that each and every dish is prepared to perfection!
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D5 Stainless Brushed 3
Because of its shape, this All-Clad d5® STAINLESS Brushed BD55203 3 Qt. sauce pan pan is ideal for making sauces, heating liquids, cooking food in liquids and reheating. With high, straight sides and a smaller surface area, the sauce pan holds heat well and limits evaporation. The classic sauce pan is a versatile essential found in a variety of sizes in every well-equipped kitchen, and it can be used with or without its lid to control evaporation. The only cookware of its kind, All-Clad d5® STAINLESS features a patented technology of five alternating layers of responsive aluminum and durable heat-diffusing stainless steel. d5 STAINLESS cookware heats slowly and evenly, which means perfectly browned proteins throughout, from the center all the way to the edges. The 5-ply bonded cookwares 18/10 stainless steel interior with a highly polished starburst finish offers natural stick resistance, and prevents food from picking up a metallic taste, while its fingerprint-free brushed stainless exterior offers exceptional beauty. Made in the USA, All-Clad d5 STAINLESS cookware provides pouring lips, large handles with bolsters, dishwasher-safe convenience, and is optimized for induction. Experience a lifetime of cooking enjoyment with All-Clad d5® STAINLESS.
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- Made of durable 22- gauge stainless steel with a 4 mm aluminum-clad bottom
- Smooth, nonreactive construction promotes flavor neutrality
- Versatile construction can be used for induction as well as cooking on standard gas and electric cooktops
- Welded on handles allow for effortless transport in busy commercial kitchens
- Included cover helps retain heat and moisture to maximize flavors and prevent spills
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D5 Stainless Brushed 4
Because of its shape, this All-Clad d5® STAINLESS Brushed BD55204 4 Qt. sauce pan is ideal for making sauces, heating liquids, cooking food in liquids and reheating. With high, straight sides and a smaller surface area, the sauce pan holds heat well and limits evaporation. The classic sauce pan is a versatile essential found in a variety of sizes in every well-equipped kitchen, and it can be used with or without its lid to control evaporation. The only cookware of its kind, All-Clad d5® STAINLESS features a patented technology of five alternating layers of responsive aluminum and durable heat-diffusing stainless steel. d5 STAINLESS cookware heats slowly and evenly, which means perfectly browned proteins throughout, from the center all the way to the edges. The 5-ply bonded cookwares 18/10 stainless-steel interior with a highly polished starburst finish offers natural stick resistance, and prevents food from picking up a metallic taste, while its fingerprint-free brushed stainless exterior offers exceptional beauty. Made in the USA, All-Clad d5 STAINLESS cookware provides pouring lips, large handles with bolsters, dishwasher-safe convenience, and is optimized for induction. Experience a lifetime of cooking enjoyment with All-Clad d5® STAINLESS.
The Best Cookware Set
After researching over 60 cookware sets and testing 17, we think the Tramontina Gourmet 12-Piece Tri-Ply Clad Cookware Set is the best for most cooks.
Like all tri-ply cookware, the Tramontina saucepan works on induction cooktops. Its oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and is covered by a lifetime warranty. We also recommend the Tramontina Gourmet line in our guide to cookware sets. Although the set doesnt include this 2-quart saucepan, it does have 1½- and 3-quart versions that are comparable to our saucepan pick.
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All Clad Stainless Steel 2qt Sauce Pan W/lid
- Exterior compatible on all induction as well as traditional cooktops
- Essential cookware item for the novice or well-seasoned cook
- Perfect bridal or housewarming gift
- item shape:round
|32.39 x 15.56 x 13.97 cm 1.03 Kilograms|
|Dishwasher_safe, Broiler safe, Oven and broiler safe|
|4.5 out of 5 stars|
|Best Sellers Rank|
|Scarborough, ON M1V 0E2, CA|
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Stainless Steel, Stainless Steel / Aluminum Clad Bottom
Attention CA Residents: Prop 65 Warning
WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including lead, which are known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. For more information, go to www.p65warnings.ca.gov.
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|Stainless Steel / Aluminum Clad Bottom|
|Royal Industries ROY SS SAPT 3|
Overall User Rating:Vigor 3 Qt. Stainless Steel Sauce Pan with Aluminum-Clad Bottom and Cover
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The Single Best Piece Of All
All-Clads 2-Quart Stainless Steel Saucepan was the kitchen tool that I coveted most during culinary school and in my early test kitchen days. At the time, I was tinkering with candy making and the narrow pot was perfect for slow cooking caramels, fudge, and marshmallows. I bought a scratch-and-dent 2-quart pot for myself with my first post-culinary school paycheck. It was a lot for me to spend at the time but it brought me so much joy. While I only bought it for cooking sugar, I found myself reaching for that little pot every single day. Back then, I often used it to cook the quintessential broke college grad staple: ramen noodles. Buy: All-Clads 2-Quart Stainless Steel Saucepan, $155
A whole decade of use has passed and this 2-quart pot is still looking new and seeing daily use. It makes way more morning oatmeal and Annies Mac and Cheese now than candy, but thats part of what makes me love it even more.
D5 Stainless Polished 3
Because of its shape, this All-Clad d5® STAINLESS Polished SD55203 3 Qt. sauce pan is ideal for making sauces, heating liquids, cooking food in liquids and reheating. With high, straight sides and a smaller surface area, the sauce pan holds heat well and limits evaporation. The classic sauce pan is a versatile essential found in a variety of sizes in every well-equipped kitchen, and it can be used with or without its lid to control evaporation. The only cookware of its kind, All-Clad d5 STAINLESS features a patented technology of five alternating layers of responsive aluminum and durable heat-diffusing stainless steel. d5 STAINLESS cookware heats slowly and evenly, which means perfectly browned proteins throughout, from the center all the way to the edge. The 5-ply bonded cookwares 18/10 stainless steel interior with a highly polished starburst finish offers natural stick resistance and prevents food from picking up a metallic taste, while its stainless exterior offers exceptional beauty. Made in the USA and dishwasher-safe, All-Clad d5® STAINLESS cookware provides a lifetime of cooking enjoyment.
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Other Products We Tested
As we said before, the differences between the pans were pretty minimal compared to their similarities. All are sturdy and boast a comfortable grip all did a more-than-serviceable job with the tasks at hand such that even a nit-picky cook would be satisfied enough. Selecting our favorite saucepan came down to finer details.
The handle on the Cuisinart French Classic Tri-Ply model has a genius little depression for your thumbwhich makes it surprisingly comfortable to grip. But its thinner construction meant less even heating than the Misen or All-Clad pans. This was true for its sibling, the Cuisinart MCP193-18N MultiClad Pro as well. The Calphalon Tri-Ply Chef’s Pan has an extra-rounded flare from the base, which makes it a bit shallower in depth than other sauciers we tested. This could be an advantage or disadvantage depending on your preferences. Its main drawback is the glass lid, which just isnt as durable as a metal one. The Tramontina Gourmet Prima Sauce Pan is another solid budget pick, with a comfortable handle and shallower depth than other saucepans. It was difficult to reach into the corners of the pan with a whisk, though. Additionally, the tri-ply construction only appears in the base of the pan, so the heating isnt as even along the sides of the pan.
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All-Clad 4202 Stainless Steel 2-Quart Saucepan with Lid
Make sauces, cook in liquids, and reheat food with the All-Clad 2-Quart Saucepan. The smaller surface area and tall, straight sides allow it hold heat, while the lid limits evaporation. This pan is constructed with bonded stainless steel for exceptional heating. Its stick-resistant, 18/10 stainless steel interior and long, comfortable handle will make this an essential tool for your kitchen.
For Sauces, Cooking in Liquids, and Reheating
This classic saucepan’s smaller surface area and high, straight sides allow it to retain heat efficiently. Its shape is ideal for a range of recipes and meals, such as sauces, cooking in liquids, and reheating food. This 2-quart pan has a lid for controlling evaporation as well as a long, cast stainless steel handle.
Premium Stainless Steel Construction
Cooking with Stainless Steel Cookware
Oven and broiler-safe All-Clad stainless steel cookware is designed to distribute heat quickly and evenly, preventing hot spots and sticking. Preheat your cooktop on low to moderate heat high heat should only be used for boiling.
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Durable Stainless Steel Construction
This pan is constructed of 22 gauge stainless steel with a heavy-duty, aluminum-clad bottom, so it’s tough enough to withstand the rigors of every day use and will serve as the workhorse of your commercial kitchen. With its durable construction and superior performance on gas, electric, and induction stove ranges, this sauce pan is sure to impress.
Who This Is For
A small saucepan is useful for all kinds of everyday cooking tasks, from boiling eggs to making oatmeal to warming leftover soup. Even if you claim that you dont cook, you may want to eventually heat water for ramen or have a vessel to stir the sauce into your boxed mac and cheese. A small saucepan is also helpful for recipes that go beyond providing basic sustenance, like making a small batch of ice cream base, a quick caramel sauce for an impromptu sundae bar, or to reduce pan drippings into a rich gravy.
If your current saucepan scorches foods easily or is full of nicks and dings, it may be time to upgrade. We also think you should switch to a stainless steel, fully clad pan if youve been using a nonstick saucepan. A nonstick coating wears out over time and though its useful for cooking delicate items like eggs, you dont need it for most things youd make in a saucepan. You can read more about why we didnt test nonstick pans in the How we picked section.
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D5 Stainless Polished 5
Top of the line cookware featuring 5 alternating layers of stainless steel & aluminum for exceptionally even heating.
- Features high, straight sides to assist with stirring a smaller surface area to hold heat and limit evaporation – perfect for making sauces or heating liquids
- 5-ply bonded construction with alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum for warp-free durability and supremely even heating that eliminates hotspots
- For an added touch of sophistication, it features our classic, high-polished finish and matching fitted, stainless-steel lids, with volume markings etched on the bottom
- Compatible with all cooktops and optimized performance for induction tops – also oven/broiler-safe up to 600°F
- Heat-resistant stainless-steel handles, designed a comfortable grip and permanently secured with stainless-steel rivets, and flared rims for drip-free pouring
- Bonded, Engineered, & Assembled in USA. Backed by All-Clad’s Limited Lifetime Warranty.
How We Picked
Over years of testing, weve learned that many saucepans perform similarly at basic tasks. But some still stand out for their materials, design, and construction. Based on our research, expert interviews, and personal cooking experience, we determined that a great sauce pan should meet the following criteria:
Fully clad tri-ply: We mainly focused on fully-clad tri-ply stainless steel pans. Tri-ply consists of an aluminum core sandwiched between layers of stainless steel. Aluminum heats more quickly and evenly than steel, but steel is more durable and holds heat betterby combining the two, tri-ply offers the best of both worlds. Fully clad pans have the aluminum core extending up the sides of the pan and heat more evenly throughout than pans with encapsulated bottoms, which have only an aluminum disk in their base.
Other multi-ply pans, like five- or seven-ply, are more expensive than tri-ply but dont always heat more evenly. Theyre also heavier and take longer to heat up, so generally we avoided them. We did make an exception for two five-ply sauciers from Made In and Misen, because they were relatively inexpensive, and we were curious to try out these new brands. But after testing them, we still think tri-ply is the best option for a saucepan.
Easy to clean: Some saucepans with rounder corners are easier to scrape clean and scrub out. Saucepans that arent fully clad tri-ply can also scorch and blacken, which can cause stains that wont come out even with baking soda.
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How We Tested
We put each saucepan through several cooking and cleaning tests. To see how easy it was to whisk creams or sauces in them, and to test for even heating, we made pastry cream. We noted how easily a whisk reached the corners of each pan and checked for any hotspots that led to scrambled eggs. To further check for even heating, we made a heat map by coating the surface of each pan with a thin film of oil followed by an even dusting of flour, then heating it on medium for three minutes, observing where flour darkened. While doing so, we also measured the surface temperature of each pan using an infrared thermometer. Then, we timed how long it took each to boil 1½ quarts of water.
We poured water out of each pan to test handle ergonomics and to see if liquids splashed or dribbled. We also tried grabbing the handle of each lid with a folded kitchen towel to see if it was big enough for us to get a secure grip.
We also cross-checked each pans specs by weighing it and then weighing how much water it held to check the capacity. Lastly, we washed all of the pans by hand several times to see how easy they would be to use in real life.
I know what youre thinking, though: A 2-quart pot seems too cute and small. Youre worried it might be too small and that it wont see much use in your kitchen? I say its not too small and that youll use it all the time. Heres why I love it, gift it, and think everyone should own one.
A saucepan is designed with taller sides and a wide opening to control evaporation, which is what makes it ideal for candy and sauce making. While most of us are probably only making gravy or béchamel sauce a few times a year, this design also makes this little pot ideal for cooking weeknight pasta and potatoes your water will come to a boil more quickly than in a wide pot! Im obviously a big fan of quick weeknight dinners, but this shape also helps oatmeal cook more evenly and keeps small batches of stovetop popcorn from scorching as the popped kernels rise up the cylindrical shape.
I know what youre thinking again: That you could get a 2-quart saucepan from another, less expensive brand and save yourself some money. And Id say thats a bad idea. All-Clads stainless steel heats up incredibly evenly. And it cleans up so easily. Ive been able to scour off everything from burnt caramel to day-old mac and cheese with ease. Those are two things I cant say for the less expensive pots Ive owned.
Do you have a favorite piece of cookware? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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