What Is a Saucepan and What is It Used For? (Updated 2024)

What is a Saucepan

We will be taking a deeper look at what a saucepan is, what it looks like, and what it is used for. Read on to learn more.

There are various types of cookware available in the world. Among the most used and highly sought-after cooking vessels is the humble saucepan.

A truly hardworking piece, it has no doubt earned its place in almost every kitchen. Contrary to its name, the saucepan is not just for cooking sauces.

As a matter of fact, it is one of the most versatile pieces you can have in your kitchen. Because of its similarities to other types of pots and pans, it can be hard to distinguish what a saucepan truly is.

What Is a Saucepan?

What is a saucepan used for

The saucepan is a type of cooking vessel. In many ways, it stands between a pot and a pan. It has a circular base with high sides. These sides come with straight edges.

More often than not, a saucepan comes equipped with a long handle for a better and more controlled grip. Most of the time, it also comes with a lid.

Saucepans come in different materials, the most common being stainless steel.

Stainless steel is a great conductor and ideal for even heat retention. Plus, it is also easier to clean and maintain, which may be one of the reasons why this is a popular option for professional chefs and home cooks alike.

Saucepans can also come in ceramic, cast iron, copper, nonstick varieties, and many other options.

Design and Functionality of a Saucepan

The high, straight sides of a saucepan are made with various intentions and purposes in mind. One is that because of its height, it can accommodate more food, including both liquid and solid items.

This type of pan also creates a larger surface area, providing more even cooking, thanks to the combination of the high walls and the smaller base. Additionally, the high walls of the saucepan prevent spilling.

This means that it is effective not only in keeping kitchens clean but also in preventing problems from arising in high-traffic kitchens.

Shape and Size of a Saucepan

Saucepans are much smaller than stockpots. Despite their smaller size, they effectively create even heat distribution and cooking.

Though they do come in many sizes, they usually hold around 2 to 4 quarts. The former is enough for cooking smaller quantities, such as when cooking for one person.

On the other hand, the latter is ideal for larger quantities and is ideal for around 2 to 4 people.

How a Saucepan Is Commonly Used


As mentioned earlier, a saucepan is among the most versatile cooking vessels you will come across. True to its name, it is great for handling liquids, and of course, sauce creation and reduction.

Besides these, saucepans are also useful for other types of cooking. It can be helpful for deep frying, boiling water, braising liquid, making stock, or even making soup.

It is even great for stews, simmering liquids, and making pasta sauce.

However, since it can only handle smaller quantities compared to a stockpot, make sure to plan the amount accordingly.

For those making boiled or mashed potatoes, making rice, or boiling grains, this is also a useful pot you can turn to.

The main course isn’t the only thing a saucepan is good for. It is also great for churning out desserts or sweet endings such as hot cocoa, making sweet and thick jams, reducing coulis, and the like.

The list goes on with this multipurpose vessel.

What to Look For

If you still don’t have a saucepan in your kitchen, it’s time to get one. After all, this tool will fulfill a lot of duties.

What you want to start with is a stainless steel or metal-based saucepan that is non-reactive. This allows you to cook acidic foods with a breeze and without disrupting or destroying the material.

Plus, it makes for easier cleanup.

The Bottom Line

Getting a saucepan in your kitchen arsenal is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Not only is it a fantastic workhorse that does the job of other pots and pans, but it also allows you to create numerous dishes from appetizers to desserts.

Now that you have learned what is a saucepan and what it’s commonly used for. You can add it to your cooking toolset.

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