Almost every household owns a skillet, but not all have a sauté pan in their kitchens. However, both cookware is versatile, but some people tend to use frying pans for functions meant for sauté pans or vice versa. For this reason, some people confuse the two and find it hard to decide what to cook on sauté pans or how to use them.
So, how can you use a sauté pan? Sauté pans are efficient for sautéing vegetables, cooking saucy dishes, braising, shallow frying, etc. Generally, sauté pan are an all-around piece of cookware that you need in your kitchen. This article is a guide on how to use sauté pans.
What is a sauté pan?
It’s a type of pan that features a long handle, a lid, and a large base with vertical yet straight edges that form a right angle. They are made of various materials and finishes such as enameled cast-iron, aluminum, stainless steel, non-stick coating, etc.
What are the uses of a Sauté Pan?
As highlighted above, sauté pans are very versatile; thus, they can handle a variety of cooking techniques. Below are some uses of sauté pans.
Searing is a cooking technique that entails cooking foods at high temperatures until it attains a brown crust exterior on minimal cooking oil. It’s a process achieved through the Maillard reaction.
Sauté pans are the best for searing meats such as chicken wings, steaks, etc. Depending on the sizes of your sauté pan, you sear large steaks.
• Cooking saucy dishes
The straight vertical and deep sides of the sauté pans make them efficient for cooking saucy dishes. Therefore, there is enough space in the pan to accommodate liquids and prevents spillage while cooking.
Another common use of sauté pans is sautéing foods. It’s a cooking method involving cooking in small amounts of oil (enough to lubricate the sauté pan) over medium-high heat. Additionally, sautéing entails tossing and flipping foods on the pan while cooking.
• Oven Cooking
Sauté pans can play a significant role when you want to cook in an oven. However, your sauté pan has to be oven safe and should not have a plastic handle. For instance, sauté pans with non-stick coatings are not safe for oven cooking.
If you want to shallow fry or deep fry, a sauté pan will easily handle such cooking. The deep side walls create space to accommodate oils and significant amounts of cooking oils that are needed for such frying methods.
Check out our guide on how to fry in a sauté pan.
In summary: Sauté pans are versatile cookware that will handle most of the cooking in a kitchen, from frying, sautéing, searing, and oven cooking to cooking sauces. Therefore, a sauté pan is not only meant to sauté foods. In brief, sauté pans are best for the following:
1. Dry and wet heat cooking
2. General-purpose cooking such as sautéing, frying, searing, or cooking that needs a lid.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is a sauté pan the same as a frying pan?
Sauté pans share similarities with frying pans, but they are not the same. To distinguish between the two cookware, you’ll notice that a sauté pan has deeper vertical sides than a frying pan. Additionally, sauté pans have an additional small loop handle on the opposite side of the long handle. Frying pans have shallow and sloped sides.
Similarly, sautéing is not frying. Sautéing involves quick cooking in oils over high heat in a hot pan. The difference is that in frying, you use less oil or butter for cooking.
Read our article on the differences between a frying pan and a sauté pan.
2. Can I simmer in a sauté pan?
Sauté pans are perfect for simmering. Why? These types of pans come with lids, and the walls hold up liquids efficiently.
3. What do you cook in a sauté pan?
You can cook a variety of foods in sauté pans such as vegetables, starches, and meats. The specific cooking techniques you’ll be using to cook in a sauté pan will determine the exact type of foods you cook and vice versa. However, it’s always good to cook foods of reasonable sizes in a sauté pan for better cooking results.
4. How big of a sauté pan do I need for cooking?
The exact size of sauté pan you need for cooking depends on several factors, such as the number of people you’re cooking for and the amount of food you want to cook. The market offers to sauté pans of all sizes, i.e., small, medium to large ones.