Don’t know the difference between a sauté pan and a sauce pan? Both pans are built for specific uses and have distinct characteristics. Here is a look at the difference between a sauté pan and a sauce pan.
Sauté Pan – The Kitchen Workhorse
A sauté pan has a wide and flat bottom, a long handle, straight (as opposed to tapered) sides, and a secure lid. It is your kitchen workhorse. The word “sauté” comes from the French “sauter” which means “to jump.” The concept of sautéing is cooking food quickly over high heat. Food is typically sautéed in a small amount of oil or fat, or even a small amount of liquid.
In buying a sauté pan, you want to make sure it has a wide, flat cooking surface, so as not to crowd foods and allow for proper browning and even heat distribution. It’s got flat sides that aren’t too high; just high enough to keep sauces and allow food to be flipped or shaken. The handle needs to be long to allow you to move the pan around the burner while remaining far from the heat source. Also, the lid on the pan should fit snugly in the event you need to steam something in the pan.
Sauce Pan – For Cooking Variety
Sauce pans come in all different sizes ranging anywhere from one to four quarts. The pans are typically thicker to allow for a slower, more even cooking process to prevent the sauce at the bottom of the pan from burning.
Sauté Pan vs. Sauce Pan –The Verdict
The sauce pan is easily the most flexible. It will adapt to a variety of uses. Just be sure it has a cover for when you are trying to trap heat, or trying to keep splattering messes to a minimum. When buying pans, always avoid cheaper, lower quality pans that will impact your ability to heat things evenly and cook them properly. In terms of material for the pans, copper is the best material for conductivity and even heat distribution. But you have other, less expensive choices like stainless, aluminum, cast iron and composite metals.
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