A saucepan holds a special place among all the cookware such as grill pans and frying pans. Being one of the most practical and useful kitchen items, saucepans can help you prepare many delicious dishes. And that includes omelets, pasta, sauces, and many more. Besides, this piece of kitchen item is safe. So, let’s discuss what a saucepan is and other interesting facts.
What Is a Saucepan?
Typically, saucepans are cookware that functions like a deep, small pot used to cook liquids on a stovetop. Besides, they have steep sides and a flat bottom with a long handle like you find on a pan and straight edges that you get to see on a pot. In general, you can find them with a glass or stainless steel lid so that it can trap heat inside.
The straight sides in saucepans prevent the liquid from spilling whereas their diameter distributes heat evenly. Like other kitchenware, saucepans are available in different material types, including cast iron, copper, and even dishwasher-safe stainless steel.
Shape and size of saucepans
Saucepans have distinct shapes. They have deep, high sides along with straight edges. Also, they have long handles and lids, frequently. Because of their distinct shapes, saucepans are used for specific tasks that are done in pans in general. Besides, they have a small surface area that helps for an even distribution of heat.
While saucepans are commonly used on stovetops, you can also put them in ovens. However, check whether or not they are compatible with ovens. Also, they come in varying sizes with the larger ones holding up to 7 quarts of liquid and the smaller ones holding up to 2 quarts.
Saucepans can hold a higher volume of liquid that’s contained within a small area. Moreover, their height prevents spillage of liquid, unlike other forms of pans. For example, it might be dangerous when you boil liquid in a skillet if the liquid needs stirring a lot. Saucepans eliminate such issues because of their shapes.
However, you can find a wide variety of this specific cookware in its shapes and sizes. In short, they will depend on the purposes for which saucepans will be used. You can even find square and rectangular saucepans. Furthermore, some of them even come in weird shapes and sizes.
History of saucepans
Legends have it that saucepans first came into existence way back in the 17th century. Moreover, it was only used to make sauces. However, like other kitchen innovations, it didn’t take much time for people to figure out different ways to use saucepans.
Uses of saucepans
As you know, saucepans are one of the most versatile kitchenware you will find. It is excellent for handling all kinds of liquid required while cooking. And this includes the creation and reduction of sauces. Apart from that, saucepans are helpful items for other types of cooking.
Saucepans are helpful when it comes to boiling water, deep frying, making soup, making stock, and even braising liquid. Besides, this fantastic cooking vessel is great for simmering liquids, making pasta sauce, and even stews. However, it can handle smaller quantities.
Hence, make sure to plan your dishes accordingly or you can consider buying a stockpot instead. For people making mashed or boiled potatoes, boiling grains, or even making rice, saucepans can be helpful pots that you can turn your attention to.
Because of their unique size and shape, saucepans are useful in making risotto and lentils. Sometimes, the distribution of heat in the right way makes certain dishes delicious. And saucepans have that ability to deliver.
If it is oven-safe, you can even use it to braise food. However, most people prefer to use a saute pan for braising. And, when they come with a lid, you can use them as a mini Dutch oven. Keep in mind never to use saucepans with non-stick coatings in the oven.
Apart from that, saucepans are wonderful pieces of cookware that can help you churn out sweet endings or desserts such as making thick, sweet jam and hot cocoa. This is a never-ending list of this multipurpose kitchen item.
Drawbacks of saucepans
There is no denying that saucepans are handy for cooking dishes, it comes with some drawbacks, too. One of the common issues most people face is the limited volume that it can hold. That way, if you want to cook food for more than two people, the cookware can only help you to make the sauce.
To prepare another recipe, you need something to accommodate a large volume. For example, a bigger pot might be useful in this case. Also, because of the cookware’s distinct shape, you can’t use the hob for something else. Besides, cooking on saucepans means that you need to stir continuously or else the food might get burned.
Sometimes, the food might get stuck in the corners as well. Never forget that even if a small part of the food gets burnt, the entire meal will have an impact. In short, the taste will completely get spoiled. To save the food, you have to stir it continuously.
The situation worsens because the sides are at right angles, and you can have difficulties reaching the food with a wooden spatula. The same reason can be seen when it comes to cleaning the saucepans. Hence, saucepans that aren’t dishwasher-safe involve a lot of scrubbing and dipping.
What’s frustrating is that you can’t even clean it with a scrubbing wire. Or else the protective coatings and glaze will get damaged. Even the stainless steel models need a lot of care when cleaning. Perhaps the biggest drawback is that saucepans have long handles.
As a result, you will have difficulties transferring the heavy pan filled with food to the table by using only one hand. Also, you have to face problems when removing it quickly from the hob whenever needed.
What to Look for in a Saucepan?
If you are planning to add cookware, opting for a kitchen set containing several types of pans and pots should be the right choice. Although a quality kitchen set consists of at least five pieces, sometimes they might include eight items. But it may cost you a few hundred dollars.
That’s why most people tend to buy only the pots they need. However, picking up the right one for your needs might seem daunting if you need to buy a saucepan. If you have a dishwasher, the chances are that you won’t buy cast iron or copper saucepans. So, if you don’t want to use your hand while washing dishes, choose stainless steel saucepans.
Next, you have to decide what your budget should be. Keep in mind that you may need at least a couple of saucepans if you choose to cook every day. Besides, the number of cookware you intend to have will depend on the kind of food you will regularly prepare.
Also, it will depend on the amount you are willing to spend. In general, you can find a decent-quality set consisting of three saucepans at $100 or so. Moreover, the standard set contains three saucepans of varying sizes. And, you can use them for different purposes.
You can quickly reheat canned soup or vegetables in the small one. You can use a medium-sized pan to cook rice, prepare the sauce, and stew fruit. In contrast, the large piece can be used to make large quantities of mashed potatoes or risotto.
Alternatives to Saucepans and Difference
When you are about to equip your kitchen with all types of cookware that you may need, you will find out a few alternatives to saucepans. For example, pots and pans have similarities with them.
Despite that, keep in mind that a great saucepan can replace a few other dishes and help you save a considerable amount of space on your kitchen’s shelf. Therefore, to know what you need and what to avoid, it is always good to compare saucepans with other cookware used in kitchens.
1. Saucepans vs. Saucier
While both are quite similar in shape and can be used for similar purposes, saucepans are a bit different from sauciers when it comes to cooking at right angles. Because the saucier comes with rounded corners, you can easily use the whisk when cooking. However, the food tends to burn quickly if you are unaware of the saucepan’s upright sides.
2. Saucepans vs. Pot
Pots are commonly used to prepare dishes that require prolonged cooking. That’s why pots come with a wider space that can hold a larger volume than saucepans. But if you want to prepare the dishes quickly like pasta, saucepans are the best.
3. Saucepans vs. Saute Pan
If you are looking for cookware that combines the features of a frying pan and a saucepan, saute pans should be the right choice for you. A saute pan has a broad base and is considered essential kitchen cookware. Besides, they are suitable for searing and sauntering.