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The Best Saucepans for Smaller Cooking Jobs

Cooks rely on a number of utilitarian tools, from a trusty wooden spoon to a quality blender. A reliable small saucepan is on the list of must-haves for anybody with culinary leanings. The small pot can pretty much do it all. You know the type — the small, handled vessels you see stacked ceiling-high in the kitchen of your favorite restaurant. There are many reasons why they’re so beloved. A small saucepan can boil, simmer, reduce, thicken, congeal, and more. They’re great for making sauces, naturally, but also reductions, glazes, and even single-serve or double-serve entrees like lasagna, cornbread, soup, or sauteed vegetables.

Need to quickly melt some butter and whip up some chocolate sauce? Need to boil a small bit of pasta? Fine-tuning your homemade barbecue sauce or baked beans recipe? Making some mulled wine for a small group? The small saucepan is your savior. Like a chef’s knife or apron, it should be one of the most-used and most accessible items in your culinary arsenal.

Cuisine-art-saucepan on gas burners.
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While the small saucepan is useful for every household, it’s especially so for those living solo or just with a partner. You can use the pan to prepare just about any dish for two, making cleanup all the easier. They can take a licking if you’re not the most graceful home chef and they’ll just keep on delivering. They’re also great to have on hand when cooking for kids since they’re usually chomping down on smaller portions. We suggest just keeping one on the stove (or hanging above it) at all times and keeping a backup or two in the pantry. One is enough, but if you really like to cook at home and tackle more complicated recipes it’s wise to have several.

Now obviously, some are better than others. Here are five to shop for if you don’t have one already.

Finex Cast Iron Sauce Pot

Finex Sauce Pot on a white background.
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The advantage of this pot is not only its stylish looks but the fact that it’s made of cast iron. That means it can stand up to being thrown into the oven or even atop some outdoor flames if you’re baking or grilling. It’s the best looking of the bunch and an ideal size for efficient, smaller-batch cooking.

Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Saucepan

Cuisinart Chef's Classic Saucepan on a white background.
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With even heat distribution, a helpful lip at the top, and an elegant handle, there’s a reason they call this one a classic. It’s great for the price and is a real workhorse in the kitchen. For those just starting to carve out their roles in the kitchen, this is a great starting point. In fact, you’ll probably want the whole set after working with this pan.

Five Two Essential Saucepan

Five Two Essential Saucepan on a kitchen counter.
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This fantastic saucepan is easy to clean as there are no rivets on the inside. It can also stand up to 600°F temperatures, with a durable handle and helpful volume markings etched into the interior of the pan. There’s a handy gap in the cover to allow proper venting so it can be particularly good for steaming.

Le Creuset Signature Saucepan

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Saucepan on a white background.
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Another cast-iron number, this one from Le Creuset beams with the brand’s signature and eye-catching color options. It’s heavy and comes in three different sizes, all on the smaller end of the spectrum. Best, it’s enameled and rather artistic, meaning you’ll want to cook with it as well as bring it to the table and use it as a serving dish.

Ginkgo Japanese Yukihira Saucepan

Ginkgo Yukihira Saucepan on a white background.
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Oh, the delicious look of a beveled pot or pan. We love the build of this one and it’s as functional atop the stove as it is easy on the eyes. The wooden handle offers a nice accent while the texture of the pot itself appears hand-forged, boasting a honeycomb-like pattern.

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Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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