A saucepan is an important piece of cookware in both home and restaurant kitchens.
Although the name suggests that it’s meant for making sauces, a saucepan can do much more.
So, what is it used for?
- 1. Make Sauces
- 2. Make Soups
- 3. Cook Pasta and Grains
- 4. Thicken Gravies
- 5. Deep Fry Ingredients
- 6. Make Boiled or Mashed Potatoes
- 7. Make Vegetable or Meat Stock
- 8. Make Tea, Coffee, and Other Beverages
- 9. Make Preserves
- 10. Seal Pickles in A Water Bath
- 11. Braise in The Oven
- 12. Blanch Vegetables
- 13. Make Custard and Other Desserts
- 14. Make Breakfast
- 15. Use as A Double Boiler
Uses of A Saucepan
A saucepan has a unique shape and design.
It consists of a deep pot and a long handle that makes it perfect for cooking liquids.
You can heat or boil small quantities of liquids and make sauces, soups, and stews in a saucepan. It can also be used for boiling vegetables, grains, and lentils on the stovetop. Oven-safe saucepans can even be used for braising.
Let’s look at these and more uses of the saucepan in closer detail.
15 Ways to Use a Saucepan
Saucepans come in different shapes and sizes. They can also be made of different types of materials.
Depending on the dimensions and the material used for construction, you can use this kitchen vessel in different ways.
Here are 15 ways to put your saucepan to good use.
1. Make Sauces
From the very name, you can make out that saucepans are good for making sauces.
You can use them to make all types of sauces, including those for pasta, pizzas, and even sweet sauces for desserts.
Since saucepans are deep, you can conveniently stir different ingredients together to create a homogenous sauce.
The high walls will hold the liquid in place. Meanwhile, the flat base allows even heating of the contents.
Saucepans with a thick base are better for cooking sauces since the base will not get scorched.
The multi-ply metal construction also ensures that the heat is evenly distributed and the ingredients mix thoroughly.
2. Make Soups
A deep saucepan with a thick base can double up as a crockpot for small quantities of soups.
You can sauté vegetables in oil or butter and add the aromatics before pouring the liquid in.
Since the entire process can be completed with a single utensil, cleaning up becomes a lot easier.
Some saucepans also come with lids, making it a lot easier to cover the contents and let them simmer until done.
You can also use the same utensil to reheat the leftover soup.
In either case, the shape and handle of the saucepan also make it very easy to transfer soup into serving bowls.
3. Cook Pasta and Grains
When cooking grains or pasta for a small group, it’s better to use a saucepan than a stock pot.
The smaller dimensions of a saucepan will speed up the cooking process, and your grains or pasta will be ready much faster.
You can use it for cooking rice, couscous, semolina, and pulses.
The high walls of the saucepan will hold enough liquid for the grains and pasta to cook.
The pan is also wide enough, making it easy to stir the contents.
An added benefit is that the handle makes it a lot easier to drain the remaining water from the grains into the sink.
Some stainless-steel saucepans even come with a straining lid that acts as a built-in colander to remove excess liquid.
Nonetheless, we suggest using saucepans with a thick base to cook grains and pasta to allow for faster and even cooking.
4. Thicken Gravies
You can use your saucepan to thicken gravies or sauces and reduce them to the desired consistency.
By heating the gravy in a saucepan without a lid, the excess liquid will evaporate and leave you with a thicker gravy.
Since the saucepan has a thick base, you can just leave the liquid to simmer till it loses excess moisture and thickens.
You can also add a thickening agent like a flour slurry to the gravy or liquid to give it more texture and make it less runny.
5. Deep Fry Ingredients
A saucepan isn’t traditionally used for deep-frying.
Nevertheless, it will work when you don’t have a dedicated pan for the purpose.
The high walls of the saucepan can hold enough oil.
The base will also heat up slowly and evenly, making it possible to deep-fry different ingredients without burning.
However, when using a saucepan for deep-frying, ensure that it has a thick base and walls.
Lightweight saucepans will end up heating too fast.
This can burn the food and make it less appealing.
Also, be careful not to fill the saucepan to the brim with oil because it can splatter.
6. Make Boiled or Mashed Potatoes
Saucepans can hold enough water to boil potatoes for mashing or other uses.
Fill the saucepan with enough water to cover the potatoes and leave them to cook covered.
Once the potatoes are done, you can drain the water and use the same pan to mash the potatoes.
The deep base makes it easy to beat up the potatoes and whisk them with milk, cream, and aromatics, as the recipe suggests.
You can also exercise better control over the mashing process by holding the handle in one hand and using your other hand to mash the ingredients.
7. Make Vegetable or Meat Stock
Whether it’s to make soup or whip up pasta or a stew, it’s always helpful to have some stock at hand.
You can conveniently make homemade vegetables, meat stock, or broth in a saucepan.
Simply add the ingredients and herbs, if any, to the saucepan, top it with enough liquid, and leave it on the stove to simmer to make fresh, homemade stock for all your needs.
If you don’t overfill the saucepan, the liquid will not boil over but gently simmer and infuse with flavor and nutrients from the ingredients.
8. Make Tea, Coffee, and Other Beverages
A saucepan is the perfect kitchen utensil to boil milk or water and prepare tea, coffee, and other beverages.
Depending on the size of the saucepan, it will be able to hold enough liquid for several servings at once.
You can stir the ingredients on the stovetop gently and transfer them while they are still piping hot into serving mugs or cups.
9. Make Preserves
A saucepan makes it easy to stir different ingredients like fruit, sugar, and liquid together when making jams and preserves.
The deep base makes it easy to stir ingredients without splattering, while the handle proves useful for holding the saucepan.
10. Seal Pickles in A Water Bath
When making pickles for later use, the last stage of the pickling process is sealing the bottles in a water bath.
This ensures that the contents are isolated from air and moisture and remain fresh for months.
You can use a deep saucepan for the water bath to seal the pickle jars.
It should be deep enough to hold enough water to immerse the containers.
The flat saucepan base will also make it easy to place the pickle jars evenly without colliding with each other when the water boils.
11. Braise in The Oven
Saucepans made of oven-safe materials can be used for baking and braising.
This makes it easy to directly transfer a dish from the stovetop to an oven for finishing.
Cover the dish with a secure lid to prevent the liquid from evaporating, and place it in an oven for braising.
The food will slowly stew in the closed container and be infused with flavors. It will also become moist and tender.
However, when using a saucepan for braising in the oven, ensure that the handle is also made of oven-safe material to prevent it from melting or getting damaged.
12. Blanch Vegetables
Blanching is a method of cooking where you boil vegetables in water for a few minutes, followed by quickly plunging them into cold water to stop the cooking process.
It helps to retain the nutritional benefits and keep the color of the vegetables intact.
Blanching is essential for vegetables that are to be frozen.
Now, you can use a saucepan to cook the vegetables or to hold the cold water for plunging them in.
13. Make Custard and Other Desserts
You can use a saucepan to whisk ingredients like milk, egg, and sugar to prepare the homemade custard.
This vessel allows for easy whisking and keeps the heat under control while cooking.
You can also use saucepans to make desserts and dessert sauces with chocolate and other ingredients.
It’s suitable for simmering white chocolate, hot cocoa, and other desserts and beverages.
14. Make Breakfast
You can prepare breakfast dishes like oatmeal in a saucepan.
Add oats with milk or water into the saucepan with flavoring agents like sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.
Allow it to simmer gently till the oats are cooked.
You can also make porridge with other grains like buckwheat or quinoa in a saucepan.
15. Use as A Double Boiler
A double-boiler or a Bain Marie is essential for preparing delicate sauces and desserts like melting chocolate or Hollandaise sauce where precise heat control is required.
However, a double boiler is an expensive piece of equipment that has few other uses in the kitchen.
Instead of buying a double boiler, you can create a makeshift version with a saucepan and a bowl or another saucepan.
The saucepan should fit inside the rim of the lower vessel, and the base should not touch the liquid in the lower pan.
If these requirements are met, it will work just like a double-boiler.
You can use this arrangement to conveniently melt chocolate and whisk eggs for delicate cheese sauces that will curdle if overheated even slightly.