How to Use a Sauté Pan? – Beginners Guide!!

Have you ever seen a deep-lidded pan with straight sides? This pan is called a sauté pan. Sauté pan’s features differentiate from the curved and slanted frying pan. The name sauté comes from the French word for jump, “Sauter”. This pan is designed to cook a large volume of food with ease.

However, using it is challenging for beginners. The reason being, despite being used interchangeably with frying pan, the sauté pan has its distinctive functions. This informative piece will teach you how to use a sauté pan.

Reading it to the end will inform you of every element of this unique pan. To start, let’s see in detail the distinctive features of a sauté pan.

Distinctive features of a sauté pan

The following are the notable features that can help you differentiate a sauté pan from a frying pan.

· Shape

Sauté pan has a flat bottom, with high sides.

· Handle

This pan has a long handle and in some cases a helper handle on the opposite side. The handles are attached with crews or heavy rivets.

· Construction

Sauté pan’s bottom is made of heavy gauge, materials to withstand high heat. The pans are made from aluminum or copper for their high conductivity. Note that sauté pans are uncoated.

· Lid

The lid sets this pan apart from the normal frying pan. The lid is flat and fits the pan to lock in steam and heat.

· Dimension

This pan measures around 8″ to 12″ in diameter, and approximately 15 quarts in volume.
With these features, it’s important to know what you can use a sauté pan for.

What does a sauté pan do?

With a sauté pan, you can do the following:

· Sautéing diced vegetables

· Cooking sauces

· Making grilled cheese sandwich

· Cooking pilafs

· Browning meat for casseroles and stews

· Warming through gravies

Cooking these foods in a sauté pan is efficient owing to the features aforementioned. The pans’ straight sides enable sauce cooking and prevent spillage. The sides feature also prevents condensation by allowing excess humidity to evaporate.

If you are new to using the sauté pan, you shouldn’t worry. In the next section, you will find how to use it for efficient cooking.

How to use a Sauté Pan

There are two ways to cook using a sauté pan. These methods are using direct and indirect heat. The direct heat method involves placing the pan directly on the cooker. It is also called dry-heat cooking.

The food is cooked by the heat that is transferred from the heat source to the pan and the food. Cooking fat I used in this method of cooking. The direct heat method removes moisture from the food to attain its edible state.

In the indirect heat method, also known as moist heat, the moisture in the food is used as a cooking medium. In the absentia of moisture, water can be added. Apart from water, you can use milk, broths, juices, wine, or whiskey.

The dry heat method produces crunchy textured food, while the indirect method’s food is tender. For better results, use the following step when cooking in a sauté pan:

How to cook in a sauté pan using dry heat

Dry heat is used to brown food. To sauté using dry heat, you will need to heat the pan with little cooking oil. This method entails the use of flavors. For you to get the cooking right, you will:

I. Heat the pan

You will heat the pan to a satisfactory level. You will then add cooking oil and wait for the oil to heat.

II. Add food to the hot pan

After the fat heats, add the food to the pan. The fat coats the food for even browning. Despite the pan being deep, ensure that you add food that you can stir. Overcrowding will lead to steaming instead of sautéing.

III. Continuously stir the food

You will continuously stir the food for even heating throughout the cooking process. Once you feel the food is crunchy, you should plate it’s ready.

How to cook in a sauté pan using moist heat

In the case of moist heat, you will add liquid as a cooking medium. The sauté pan’s straight side and lid makes it suitable for cooking using moist heat. For example, if you were to make a soup, you will follow the following procedure:

i. Heat your pan

You will first heat your pan and add cooking fat using the direct heat method.

ii. Add the solid ingredients and stir

After the oil heats enough, add your solid ingredients and continuously stir until they turn brown.

iii. Transfer the cooked ingredients to another pot

Transfer the ready solid ingredients into another pot. You will then add your liquid ingredients and then bring them to a boil.

Note that the cooking process using moist heat partially involved direct heat too. Now that you have learned about how to use a sauté pan in cooking using both direct and moist heat, here are the advantages and the shortcomings of this pan.

Advantages of sauté pan

· Quick heat up

· Large enough for ingredients.

· Withstands high heat

Disadvantages of a sauté pan

· Faster cooling

· Heavy hence difficult to move a

For you to enjoy these benefits of using a sauté pan, there are factors you must consider when acquiring one.

What should you look for when buying a sauté pan?

These are what to look for:

· Material

The pan you choose should be of high conductivity material and heavy enough. The high conductivity will help with faster healing, whereas, the heavyweight will help the pan withstand direct high heat.

· Handle

Your sauté pan must have a handle or two. When cooking, the pan will heat to an extent that you will struggle to handle it in the absence of an insulated handle.

· Size of the pan

Sautéing requires a large pan. Settling for a smaller pan will prove challenging in stirring and flipping.


Using a sauté pan can be challenging for a beginner. However, armed with the information in this article, you should bed on your way to comfortably using this utensil. If you encounter any challenge, make a point of referring to this piece.

Leave a Comment