Sauté pans are somewhere between a frying pan and a saucepan, with resemblances to both these types of cookware.
Although it’s not an indispensable item in the kitchen, it’s versatile and works well in a variety of situations.
So, what is a sauté pan used for?
Noteworthy Uses of A Sauté Pan
As the name suggests, sauté pans are meant for sautéing ingredients.
This pan is slightly taller and larger than a skillet with straight edges.
The unique shape and construction of a sauté pan make it suitable for a variety of tasks besides sautéing. You can also use it for deep-frying, poaching, braising, and stir-frying.
Let’s dive into this topic in more detail.
10 Different Things You Can Do with A Sauté Pan
The sauté pan is a very useful piece of cookware with raised edges, a flat base, and a long handle.
You can use it for multiple things in the kitchen. Let’s look at what they are.
1. Sauté Ingredients
Sauté pans are very useful for stir-frying ingredients like meat and vegetables.
The long handle makes it easy to toss and turn the ingredients in the pan.
So, you can add meat or vegetables and toss them with oil and seasoning till they mix well and the vegetables and meat are well-flavored.
Now, the wok is traditionally used to prepare stir-fries.
The sauté pan has a flat base, unlike the wok, which is round.
So it doesn’t have different heat zones like a wok.
The flat base of the pan distributes heat evenly.
This may prevent the ingredients from developing the characteristic smoky flavor that you get in a wok.
Nonetheless, they will be thoroughly cooked when you use a sauté pan.
2. Sear Meat
There are two main requirements to sear meat.
Firstly, the pan should be deep enough to hold the meat.
Secondly, it should be wide and evenly heated for the meat to cook thoroughly.
Sauté pans satisfy both of these requirements.
These pans have a large working surface, bigger than frying pans.
The high edges ensure that the meat is completely within the pan and cooks properly.
With a sauté pan that is large enough, you can even sear large cuts of meat.
Smaller sauté pans are better suited for browning smaller pieces of meat.
Recommended Reading: 6 Things to Consider While Picking the Perfect Sauté Pan Size
3. Prepare Sauces
The flat surface and high edges of a sauté pan make it suitable for preparing sauces, especially when you need to work with a lot of liquid.
The deep base will allow you to cook the sauce properly without the liquid sloshing outside.
The long handle makes it easy to control the heat and stir the ingredients of the sauce.
The thick metal base will also allow heat to be distributed evenly.
This will ensure that the sauce achieves a uniform consistency.
You can also use sauté pans to make saucy dishes and curries.
The large surface area makes it easy to stir the ingredients before letting them simmer on the stovetop.
Not all sauté pans are suitable for oven use.
If your sauté pan is made of cast iron or stainless steel and comes with an oven-safe handle, you can safely place it in the oven for cooking.
It’s an excellent utensil for cooking meat and vegetables in a liquid.
You can cook different ingredients in some wine, stock, or broth to prevent them from becoming too dry.
By shutting the lid and placing the dish in the oven, it will cook thoroughly, and the ingredients will remain moist and tender.
5. Oven Cooking
Sauté pans can be very useful for preparing frittatas and pasta bake that begin on the stovetop and end in the oven.
The best thing about using a sauté pan for these dishes is that you can complete most of your cooking with a single utensil, which makes cleaning up a breeze.
However, you should make sure that the sauté pan is oven-safe.
Most pans with a heavy metal base are suitable for oven use if they have oven-safe handles.
You can find out whether it’s safe to place a sauté pan in the oven by looking for the oven-safe symbol on the handle or base of the pan.
6. Deep Frying
Sauté pans are deep enough to hold large amounts of oil.
If you must deep fry a large batch of food, you can use a sauté pan instead of a regular frying pan.
The high edges will prevent the oil from splattering.
The base is also wide, making it convenient to move the ingredients around.
However, sauté pans have a large surface area.
Hence, you may end up using more oil than you would with a frying pan.
So it’s best to use these pans for deep frying only when you need to prepare a large batch of food.
7. Make Curries and Chili
The vertical and tall sides of a sauté pan, and its deep base makes it perfect for preparing curries, chilies, and other dishes with various ingredients.
One of the main benefits of using a sauté pan is that you can complete the entire cooking with this single utensil.
It’s easy to stir the contents inside the pan because of the convenient handle.
When cooking liquid-based dishes, sauté pans are very useful because the liquid will usually be contained within the walls. It doesn’t slosh and splatter.
8. Moist Heat Cooking
Most sauté pans come with a compatible lid that fits snugly.
So you can use it to cover the sauté pan for dishes that can cook in their own moisture.
The lid will prevent any moisture from escaping outside and allow the dish to cook slowly and thoroughly.
You may use this technique to prepare stews, casseroles, gravy-based dishes, and puddings.
9. Prepare Desserts
If you must whip up a large batch of dessert sauce or custard, you can use a sauté pan instead of a saucepan.
The sauté pan works just as well because it’s deep enough to hold enough liquid without splattering.
Additionally, you can also whisk the ingredients properly inside the pan.
Another advantage is that the thick base will ensure even heat distribution, so the sauces don’t break or curdle due to overheating.
Interesting Further Reading:
10. Double Boiling
Certain recipes, like melting chocolate or Hollandaise sauce, require precise heat control.
They are typically made using a double boiler that uses gentle heat to cook the ingredients slowly.
However, most people don’t invest in double boilers because they are expensive and aren’t frequently used in home kitchens.
They are needed only to make sauces and aren’t required for regular cooking.
In such cases, you can make your own DIY double boiler with a sauté pan and a dish that fits inside it.
The dish used as the insert pan should have the same diameter as the sauté pan.
You can pour water of the required quantity inside the sauté pan.
It shouldn’t touch the base of the insert pan when boiling.
Then add the cooking ingredients to the insert pan and let it cook in gentle heat from the boiling water.