Sautéing is one of the most popular cooking techniques in the culinary world. I love it because it produces a crisp brown crust on my vegetables or meat in short order. It is a personal favorite when it comes to quick and hassle-free meals.
Read on to find the best non stick sauté pan for perfectly sautéing your favorite food.
Sautéing: What You Need To Know
What Is Sautéing?
To sauté is to fry food in a small amount of fat or oil. It is also commonly known as pan-frying. But, do not confuse this with the usual deep frying. The amount of fat or oil used in sautéing is what really differentiates it from frying.
It is particularly ideal for food that needs to be lightly cooked, like steaks, chicken breasts, fish, or tender vegetables. I also sauté aromatics before putting them in my stew or meats.
Sautéing Vs Frying
There is much argument about the difference between these sautéing and frying. Almost every chef or cook will religiously hold onto their opinion. To set things clear, let me start by stating my understanding:
Sautéing is frying food in a small amount of fat or oil, preferably with a high smoke point. (The smoke point is the temperature at which oils start to burn). This thin coat of oil prevents food from sticking, and aids in the conduction of heat from the pan to the food. By keeping it to a minimum, you get a nice crispy crust on your food.
Oils with higher smoke points include refined vegetable oils, ghee, and rendered fats. Sautéing is a quick-cooking method, so you need a pan that rapidly conducts heat and distributes it evenly.
Frying, on the other hand, is cooking food in a bath of hot oil or fat. In fact, frying is more of a bracket term. It includes deep-frying, sautéing, and stir-frying. .
Can I Use My Sauté Pan for Other Cooking Needs?
Sauté pans are versatile while it comes to cooking. You can use them for braising, sautéing, frying, searing, or deglazing. So, yes, you can use your sauté pan for other types of cooking. The bigger pans can even double up as saucepans.
You can also sauté with normal skillets. It helps if they have higher sides.
Once you get comfortable with the sauté pan you may find it becomes your go to pan.
What Should I Look for In A Sauté Pan?
Choose a pan that is big enough to fit all the food in a single layer. Remember, sautéing works by directly transferring heat to your meal.
A lid is always helpful to contain the mess. With a sauté pan, it is a must.
Sauté is actually a conjugation of the French verb “sauter” – to jump. Well if you want to stop the oil from jumping out of your pan, a lid and high sides help!
See-through lids are ideal, since you can check on progress at a glance.
In my experience, most sauté pans come with a lid.
As sautéing involves tossing food, your pan’s handle needs to be kept cool. Pans with handles that heat quickly can make it harder.
Also, ensure the handles are smooth and comfortable to grip.
For your food to sauté well, you need a pan that evenly distributes the heat. A heavy-bottomed pan will do this and maintain a hot surface.
Pans designed for sautéing will have a thick bottom. In contrast, some frying pans have thin bases making them less suitable for sautéing.
Non stick sauté pans, cast-iron skillets, stainless steel sauté pans, and aluminum fry pans are all excellent options for sautéing. Each one has its pros and cons though.
For me, non stick pans are ideal for sautéing. This is because they prevent food from sticking as long as the non stick layer remains intact. I also find them best for sautéing delicate food like fish, which tends to stick easily.
Although they conduct heat quite well, stainless steel and cast-iron pans are prone to sticking if not seasoned well. This can actually be a good choice when searing a steak, but works less well when sautéing.
Elevation of the sides
Sautéing involves heating the smallest amount of oil over medium-high heat. Let’s face it, the oil is going to want to jump out of the pan at this heat and as you move it around. So, it’s crucial for your pan to have high sides.
Ease of Assembly
Did you ever imagine you would be reading about assembling cookware? It’s certainly a strange idea.
One of the pans I’ve included, which I think is pretty good value, does need to be assembled. I know! But it’s a great pan, for the price, so I’m including it to give people the option. I guess the manufacturer saves a bit of money by offering it as self assembly.
Clearly, if you do need to assemble it yourself, it better be easy to do. It’s not a great experience being stuck with a bolt without the slightest idea of where it should go.
Best Non Stick Sauté Pans
Once again, All-Clad shines. This flawlessly made 4-quart (3.8 liter) sauté pan oozes quality. What I most love about it is its flat base and tall sides which are great for browning, searing and deglazing. Its large surface area and straight sides hold in the food, preventing any splatter and allow for easy turning of the food.
This pan is great at heating evenly. It features a stainless steel bonded anti-warp base optimized for induction.
The pan also comes with a lid to lock in the heat and moisture.
If cared for, this is the type of pan to last you a lifetime. The only issue I have with it is its price. It is expensive for just one pan. But, if you are ready to spend some extra money for good equipment that lasts, this is one of the best non stick sauté pans you can have.
- Incredible non stick properties
- Flat base and straight sides suitable for browning
- Optimized for induction
- Distributes heat evenly
- Comes with a lid
- Dishwasher safe although handwash recommended
- Oven safe up to 260 °C (500°F) without lid
- Some users report handle getting uncomfortably hot
- Expensive for just one pan
When you are passionate about cooking, you want your sauté pan to do three things. Cook evenly, clean up quickly, and maintain that good look. And this Cuisinart pan does just that.
With a capacity of 3.5 quarts (3.3 liters), this versatile cookware is wide enough to fry food without crowding but deep enough to comfortably simmer with.
Made with hard-anodized aluminum, this pan evenly distributes heat both on the base and sides. It also comes with a tempered glass lid to prevent splattering and seal in the flavor.
I also love that the handles stay cool during cooking and are made of steel, thus making them oven safe.
I also like the lip around the edge that gives you drip free pouring. It’s a little detail but helps avoid mess.
Unfortunately, there are complaints of the pan losing its non stick properties over time. Some users also report it is is also prone to chipping and appears to rust after a few uses.
There are plenty of satisfied customers though. This pan is very good quality. I wonder if the complaints stem from it customers putting it in the dishwasher. Unfortunately it isn’t dishwasher safe, but then it’s so easy to clean up – why would you put it in the dishwasher?
This is an OK sauté pan for those looking for a reasonable quality but affordable option. The outside will likely scratch a bit if you’re not careful. Avoid the dishwasher if you want to keep it non stick.
Treat it well and it should last. It’s definitely not All-Clad but it’s a sweet pan and a much more reasonable price.
- Cool grip handles
- Tempered glass cover
- Even heat distribution
- Oven safe up to 260 °C (500°F)
- Drip-free pouring
- Reports of losing non stick properties over time
- Some users complain it chips easily
- Not dishwasher safe – it can rust
- Not induction compatible
Perfect capacity, even heat distribution, and easy to clean, this pan is great for sautéing. The manufacturer claims it’s built to last a long time without peeling or flaking.
Unfortunately it lacks a lid. This isn’t great for sauté pans.
The handle is well riveted and should stay in position for a long time. As they have a silicon coating, the handles are quite comfortable to grip and do not get hot during cooking.
Although the manufacturers advertise it as a natural stone product, it contains PTFE. This means it’s basically Teflon with another name. It’s not a big deal to me, but if you are looking for PTFE free, this might not be your best option.
All the pans in this review contain PTFE so are similar to Teflon. It is a review of non stick sauté pans after all! Why do I highlight it with this product in particular then? Well, I dislike the wording “APEO & PFOA-Free Stone-Derived Non-Stick”. It implies it is more natural in some way than other non stick products. It isn’t.
There are reports of the pan losing its non stick properties over time, as well as being prone to chipping and warping.
I guess if you’re on a budget and want a pan with a nice coloring this could be OK. Personally I’d look for something a bit more durable though!
- Easy to clean
- Induction suitable
- Well secured, comfortable, silicon handle
- Even heat distribution
- Oven safe up to 230 °C (450°F)
- No lid
- Not a natural stone product and contains PTFE (Similar Teflon)
- Reports of the pan easily chipping, warping, and losing its non stick properties over time.
This T-fal pan is by far the best 5qt sauté pan I have had. When I purchased it, I was immediately taken by its size, design, and build quality.
The fact that it also comes with a superb quality glass lid is a major plus, given its relatively low price point.
I love that this pan is lighter than other T-fal pans I have used, making it so much easier to carry the food around. It cooks evenly, nothing ever sticks and stains come out of it with ease.
This is a pan I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a high-quality large capacity sauté pan.
If it’s available, at a reasonable price, then buy it!
- Large capacity (5 quarts)
- Glass lid
- Great value
- Genuinely non stick
- Dishwasher safe
- Oven safe up to 205°C (400°F) without the lid
- Easy to clean
- Even heat distribution
- ‘warped’ bottom design
- I find availability is limited and sometimes you can’t order it
With its 5-quart capacity and 12-inch diameter, this pan can accommodate anything from omelets to big family sauces. I love that the pan remains non stick regardless of what you cook (sauces, pasta, gravies).
The pan also comes with a tempered glass lid that fits well and a heat resistant handle. Although the manufacturers claim that its dishwasher safe, handwashing is recommended (stand by your products!). There are also complaints of the need to assemble the pan (although not difficult) and the handle getting loose over time.
If you’re happy to assemble this pan, then do consider it. It’s a good quality pan at a very affordable price.
- Great value
- Large capacity
- Tempered glass lid
- Even heat distribution
- Heat resistant handle
- Easy to clean
- Zero burning at the bottom of the pan
- Only oven safe up to 170 °C (338°F) without the lid
- You have to put it together
- Reports of handles getting loose over time
Best Budget Non Stick Sauté Pan
The Vremi 12 Inch, 5 Qt Nonstick Sauté Pan is an amazing pan. It’s versatile, durable and so easy to use.
It’s the best sauté pan with a lid. Remember the lid is really helpful for containing the mess!
I’m a little put out by having to assemble it myself, but it’s not hard!
This is a good choice of pan if you’re prepared to build it. It might not last as long as the T-fal (below), though. So check that one out as well. Prices change but if they are similar when you come to buy, perhaps consider the T-Fal.
Anyway, if on a budget, I’d be happy with this pan!
Best Non Stick Sauté Pan
I would choose the T-fal E76582 Ultimate 5 Qt Jumbo Cooker as the best nonstick sauté pan.
In fact I’d be tempted to say it’s the best deep sauté pan on the market full stop.
As well as being versatile, it has a great capacity (enough for a big family meal). What’s more, it’s genuinely nonstick, lightweight, affordable, and dishwasher safe.
I’m a bit nervous declaring it the overall winner as it doesn’t always seem to be available, and the price seems a bit changeable.
If you are looking for one pan to use for many things, and you can actually find this pan, for a reasonable price, then I’d recommend it.
Smaller Non stick Sauté Pans
I wanted to have a category of best 5 qt sauté pan, but both the pans I chose above were 5 quarts (4.7 liters)! So pick either of those if you want the best large sauté pan.
It’s true that a big size undoubtedly helps with the versatility as you can even use it as a sort of saucepan.
Yet it’s not for everyone. Some people prefer to have the space in their kitchen and their dishwasher. If you’re cooking for one, it can also a little bit sad to see a small quantity of food in the middle of a large pan.
Well if you want smaller I have two options for you!
Best Smaller Capacity Sauté Pan
Firstly the Cuisinart 633-24H 3.5 Qt Nonstick Hard-Anodized Sauté Pan is a pretty decent and affordable pan. I am a little bit troubled by some of the quality reports. My suggestion is: if you want a small pan, are on a budget, and will look after it – get the Cuisinart.
Best High Quality Sauté Pan
Alternatively if you are prepared to spend (quite) a bit more and are looking for quality then consider the All-Clad E7853364 HA1 4 Qt Hard-Anodized Nonstick Sauté Pan. To be honest, quality wise it beats all the pans in this review (and they are all pretty decent pans!).
But you pay for that quality. Remember it is non stick and I’ve yet to see a non stick pan last forever. It should last a good few years, and longer than the other pans but it isn’t a lifetime investment.
If I had the budget and was looking for a 4 quart (3.8 liter) sauté pan, I think I’d be tempted by this one.