The sauteuse is a little-known multitasker that deserves a little time in the spotlight. A good sauteuse is like a combination of several of the best pieces of cookware. I’m here to help explain what it is, how to use it, and why it can be a game-changer in your kitchen.
I’ve used this type of pan extensively in a restaurant setting and spent hours researching the different options available to you. Today I’ll be using my professional experience and thorough research to break down the ins and outs of choosing the very best sauteuse for your kitchen.
In This Article
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: All-Clad D3 4-Quart Stainless Steel All-In-One Pan
You will come across a lot of sauteuse designs (as well as on this list) that are made with two loop handles. Unfortunately, a two-loop handle design is really only useful for lifting and carrying the pan. All-Clad on the other hand has opted for a more traditional design using a straight handle, which makes all the difference in the world when you’re actually using the pan.
Their 4-quart all-in-one pan features a long handle like you would find on a saute or frying pan, and a loop helper handle on the opposite side. The simple addition of a long handle makes this option more versatile and easier to use for just about every application.
The large cooking surface, rounded corners, and deep sides make this an incredible multitasker and worthy of its “all-in-one” name.
The construction and build quality are also top-notch. This is a fully-clad, tri-ply stainless steel pan. It’s built with a thick aluminum core that distributes heat very evenly from base to rim. Surrounding the core is a durable stainless steel exterior. That means the pan won’t require any special maintenance, is safe to use with all ingredients, and should last a lifetime.
The stainless steel lid adds even more versatility and is great for braising and steaming.
The smart design and high performance of this pan are well worth the price and it will definitely become one of your favorite options in the kitchen.
What we like
- The handle design makes it more versatile and easier to use than most
- Industry-leading quality and durability
- Very even heat distribution from base to rim
What We don’t
- Not very budget-friendly
Best For Entertaining: Le Creuset 3.5-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Sauteuse
The Le Creuset enameled cast iron sauteuse is a beautiful, high-performing pan that’s perfect for entertaining.
The cast-iron construction means it has some of the best heat distribution and retention that you’re going to find. Pair that with Le Creuset’s incredibly durable enamel coating, and you have an extremely versatile pan that’s easy to take care of. It’s even dishwasher safe.
The reason this is such a good option for entertaining is how seamlessly it can go from stove to oven, and directly to the table. It’s as functional as a cooking device as it is an attractive serving dish.
Because it retains heat so well, food will stay warm throughout the entire meal. That way you don’t have to make trips back and forth to the kitchen when anyone wants seconds.
Now, this is another option that’s not cheap. But, what you’re getting is a pan that has an endless number of uses and is built to be passed down from generation to generation.
What we like
- Some of the best heat distribution and retention around
- Doubles as a beautiful serving dish straight from the stove or oven
- Built to last for generations
What We don’t
- Not very budget-friendly
- Quite heavy at around 10 pounds
My other top picks require a bit of an initial investment. So, for a high-functioning multitasker that’s a lot easier on the budget, take a look at the Cuisinart 12-inch everyday pan.
Similar to my best overall pick, this option is constructed from durable stainless steel. The big difference here, and one of the reasons for the huge cost savings, is the cladding method used by Cuisinart on this pan.
This option is “disc-clad” which means there is a multilayered base, but the sides are constructed from a single layer of metal. The base is built with an aluminum core for fast and even heat distribution. Surrounding that is durable and low maintenance stainless steel.
The tri-ply base does a great job distributing heat evenly across the bottom of the pan. But, you may notice that the thinner sides are less consistent when it comes to heat distribution.
So, this option may not offer industry-leading performance like my other choices, but it’s still a functional and very good-looking pan. And, for about a quarter of the price, I would say that’s a pretty good trade-off.
What we like
- Very inexpensive
- Good heat distribution across the bottom of the pan
- The domed lid allows you to fit large roasts or other big items
What We don’t
- Sidewalls are quite thin and don’t distribute heat well
Other Options That Are Great But Didn’t Make The Cut
The Calphalon hard-anodized non-stick everyday pan is easy to cook with and even easier to clean. The overall look of this sauteuse is very modern, with a tempered glass lid and attractive stainless steel handles. It’s definitely a good non-stick option that will get a lot of use.
But, a sauteuse is such a good multi-use pan that it’s likely to stay in heavy rotation in a lot of kitchens. Because of that, I think durability is one of the keys to choosing the best option.
Calphalon offers some of the best and most durable non-stick coatings around. But, for sheer durability, it’s no match for stainless steel or enameled cast iron.
Buyers Guide: Choosing The Best Sauteuse
Size: Choosing The Most Versatile Option
Most options hover between 3 and 4-quarts and I think that’s the best and most versatile size for a sauteuse. That size is big enough to feed between 4 and 6 people, but it’s not so big that it would feel cumbersome when cooking for less.
Even if you are only cooking for 2, this is a great size and shape for stir-fries that require a large cooking surface.
Material: Weighing The Pros And Cons
Stainless steel brings the most versatility to this type of pan. It’s durable enough to last for ages, can handle high heat, and doesn’t have any special maintenance or cleaning requirements.
The downside to stainless steel is that it can be rather expensive (but doesn’t have to be) and it is not non-stick. If you’ve never cooked with it before, it can also take a little practice to get used to it.
Enameled Cast Iron
Enameled cast iron is another great option. It’s also incredibly durable, and it offers the best heat distribution and retention available.
Enameled cast iron can also be quite pricey, and it’s always very heavy. While the weight adds to the positive cooking attributes, it also makes this option less maneuverable and quite similar to a Dutch oven.
A non-stick sauteuse can be a great choice for convenient and easy cooking. Eggs and stir-fries are a couple of examples that can be a little more challenging in stainless steel or cast-iron models. Plus, cleanup is a breeze.
The downside of nonstick is the lack of durability. Non-stick-coated pans almost always have to be replaced within a handful of years. And, you’ll always have to remember to avoid using metal utensils, which can quickly damage the cooking surface.
Design: Lid, Handles, And Shape
When it comes to the handles, most options feature two loop handles, one on each side. But, a more traditional and I think much more useful design is one long handle and a helper handle on the opposite side.
My All-Clad pick is a prime example of this superior (in my opinion) handle design. It makes it easy to move around the stovetop, toss ingredients, and will still fit in almost any home oven.
A lid is a useful and commonly included accessory for a sauteuse. The heavy cast iron lid on the Le Creuset sauteuse turns the pan into something similar to a Dutch oven and is perfect for stews and long braises.
Price: You Get What You Pay For
My All-Clad and Le Creuset picks aren’t cheap. Choose either one and you’re looking at a price between $150-$200. Some of the important things that you’re paying for are durability, even heat distribution, and well thought out design.
For less than a third of the price, the Cuisinart sauteuse is a perfectly functional option. It won’t heat as evenly and it likely won’t last for generations. But, if you only plan on using it occasionally, it will get the job done and might be the smarter choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Sauteuse Pan Used For?
A sauteuse is an incredible multitasker that can be used as a frying pan but is also deep enough to hold larger amounts of food and liquid.
The flat cooking surface can be used to sear and the tall sides make it useful for simmering and braising.
It’s also a pan that can be used similarly to a wok. The high, sloping sides make it easy to toss and flip ingredients in the pan. This is just one of the reasons that the long handle on the All-Clad sauteuse is so beneficial.
Sauteuse vs. Dutch Oven vs. Saute Pan vs. Wok: What’s The Difference?
A sauteuse is really like a combination of a Dutch oven, saute pan, and a wok. It has a flat bottom like a saute pan, so it can be used to sear and pan fry. It has rounded sides like a wok for tossing and stir-frying. And, it should have a heavy bottom and tight-fitting lid so it can be used to braise like a Dutch oven.
While I love and have each of those pans, a sauteuse can really pull triple duty and save you money and cabinet space.
Is A Sauteuse The Same As A Braiser?
A sauteuse and braiser share a lot of similarities and can both be used for braising. A braiser has a very large flat cooking surface for browning, and shallow sides for fast evaporation with the lid off. A Sauteuse on the other hand has slightly deeper sides that are more curved for tossing and stirring.
Also, a braiser always has two loop handles for transferring from stove to oven and should be made from a heavy and well-insulated material. The Le Creuset sauteuse is very similar to a braiser, but it has curved sides for easy and efficient stirring and whisking.
Do Chefs Use A Sauteuse In Professional Kitchens?
Yes, and almost always a version similar to my All-Clad pick where the long handle is a key feature. In a professional kitchen, they are used like a large, wide saucier. They are excellent for quickly reducing a sauce, cooking and glazing vegetables, or tossing and coating pasta.
What Does Sauteuse Mean In French?
Sauteuse translates to skillet in French, and this is where a debate rages, or is gently spoken about between cookware geeks like myself:
In culinary school, I was taught that a sauteuse is the same as a frying pan. Flat bottom, shallow angled sides, and a long handle. But, in much of the world, and in many kitchenware stores, a sauteuse is its own pan like the options that I’ve highlighted here today.
What Should I Make In My Sauteuse?
A sauteuse has almost an infinite number of uses, but one of my favorites is to use it for steaming mussels or clams. The wide bottom of the pan is perfect to build your base flavors. Maybe something like bacon, garlic, and shallot. Then toss in your bivalves, some nice glugs of white wine, add the lid to quickly steam, and dinner is served.
A sauteuse is one of the best multitaskers around. And the All-Clad all-in-one pan, with its long handle, makes it significantly more versatile and easy to use than almost any other option.
If you already have an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, you might not get much added value from the Le Creuset sauteuse. But, if you don’t, this is an excellent option that can do it all, from braising and boiling to frying and baking.
And, if you want an option to use a few times a year, the Cuisinart everyday pan will get the job done and keep more money in your pocket.