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When it comes to cookware, bigger isn’t always better. You probably have a lot of saucepans in your home; they’re one of the most commonly used kitchen tools around, used for making pretty much every meal you’ve ever made. But a large saucepan can be an issue if you’re trying to make small quantities of something.
You might not think about it, but putting a small amount of liquid in a large saucepan makes it spread out too much. It will heat up faster and likely evaporate or thicken too much unless watched over very carefully.
So, grab a smaller saucepan, it’s as easy as that/ Let’s take a look at some of the best around, and exactly what kind of things I like to look for in saucepans on the smaller side.
Here are the best small saucepans you can buy:
- Farberware Class Series Stainless Steel Butter Warmer
- Cuisinart Saucepot and Basting Brush
- All-Clad Stainless Steel 1.5 Quart Saucepan with Lid
- Kuchenprofi Stainless Steel Saucepan with Clad Bottom
- Stone & Beam 1 quart Saucepan with Lid
- Outset Saucepot with Nesting Basting Brush
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
9 Best Small Saucepans (2020 Reviews)
1. Best Overall - Farberware Class Series Stainless Steel Butter Warmer
This nice little saucepan is great for its namesake: making (or just heating up) sauces.
The small .65 quart capacity is perfect for preparation purposes. It can fit a fair amount of liquid without any issue, and is great for reducing all sorts of sauces or gravy, save the exceptionally thick varieties (like a sausage gravy). Take now that when you want to remove the oil slick from the gravy then you’ll need a gravy strainer other wise it’s going to be a hassle to scoop it out manually.
The stainless steel construction is thick and sturdy, with a nice comfortable handle. From experience I know that while the handles are comfortable, they do often work their way loose over time, but this is easily fixed with a screwdriver. Still, it’s best to be careful when using this brand of saucepan the loosening handle can lead to mishaps.
The spout for pouring is the final nice touch. It makes it easy to pour gravy, sauces, or butter as the name implies. Smaller saucepans like this are also great for preparing and pouring water for a cup of tea or French Press coffee, making them nicely multimodal, and easy to clean as well when made of stainless steel like this option.
Handy pouring spout
Comfortable ergonomic handle
Oven safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Great for sauces and gravy
Handle has a tendency to loosen frequently
2. Runner Up - Cuisinart Saucepot and Basting Brush
This is a fun little gadget. It works as a stovetop pot for sure, being made of stainless steel it’s completely heat safe to any temperature within reason.
But the exact design is something to take note of. This is a specialized sauce pot, it’s not really made to be used for anything else. You heat and maybe mix sauces in this, and then use it to keep them nice and warm during and between basting sessions.
The lid is sturdy, with a very comfortable handle. It has a very thick design that plugs up the sauce pot perfectly, keeping the heat locked in much better than most standard lids. It also has a silicone basting brush built into it, so everything exists as one unit; you can easily just pull the lid off, baste, dip it back in, and repeat.
It’s a very nice design, and handy if you need something just for sauces and similar purposes around. The only drawback is that it’s obviously completely one note.
Sturdy stainless steel construction
Very handy design with built in basting brush
Excellent heat insulation
Thick and sturdy but comfortable lid with handle
Very specialized in what it does; can only be used for sauces primarily
This is a very nice sauce pan, with larger than average capacity for one of these small pots (1.5 quarts) but still boasting a compact design. The handle is very comfortable with an offset, angled design that keeps your hands far away from the heat and with great ability to maneuver the pot as needed.
The lid is one of those nice fitted affairs that keeps the steam inside perfectly; it’s neither vented nor opaque, so it’s good for long simmering sessions where you want to keep as much moisture as possible in to make sure it stays wet rather than thickening up.
The all stainless steel construction is very sturdy and makes this pot a high performance, long lasting cooking utensil that would fit well in your kitchen at any time.
Unfortunately it’s very difficult to justify the price. This thing is ludicrously expensive, and while very well made it’s not the leaps and bounds ahead of similar pots that it justifies a 10 times higher than normal price tag; you could buy an entire set of similarly well made cookware for not much more than the price of this single pot.
Extremely good 3 ply stainless steel construction
Good 1.5 quart capacity is sizable but still small and compact for sauces
Great fitted lid
Ludicrously expensive for a single small saucepan
This is a nice little stainless steel saucepan. Much like the one above, it’s great for sauces and pouring. It has two spouts this time, making it easier to use for left handed users. The overall construction is solid and versatile, with a clad bottom to help round out the inherent disadvantages of stainless steel construction. It heats up faster than a pure stainless bottom would, and gives it a nice flat surface that makes it usable with induction stoves, as well as all other kinds (gas, hard top, standard spiral eyes, etc.).
I find the handle design a bit lacking. It’s very bare and uncomfortable, a simple loop of steel that gets the job done but does not make this saucepan very pleasant to use, and gives sit very little heat resistant properties.
On the other hand, this means it’s fully oven safe for what little that might be worth for such a small saucepan. The lid is also quite nice, with a large easy to grip handle and glass construction for easy viewing, as well as a vent hole to keep things from getting too pressurized.
The wide top also makes this a very good saucepan to use as a sort of mixing bowl, being easy to add ingredients and stir without spilling anything.
Perfect for right or left handed people with a spout on each side
Easy pour spouts
Wide mouth construction for easy adding and mixing
Great clad bottom
Sturdy steel construction
Uncomfortable overly simplistic handle
A nonstick pot this time with everything that brings with it. The anodized aluminum construction is sturdy and heats up extremely fast, which makes it great for boiling liquids fast.
The overall construction is well done, with thick walls and bottom, and a very comfortable angled grip on the handle for easy maneuvering. The tempered glass lid is vented and has a sturdy, but uncomfortable handle; it’s a little too shallow for my tastes and makes it easy to scorch your knuckles when gripping it.
The nonstick properties are achieved via a PTFE coating in this case which does have its drawbacks. This saucepan is not dishwasher safe, as the coating can be scoured off by the rough water, or too vigorous scrubbing while hand washing for that matter (use the soft side of a sponge or a rag, not the harsh side). There are also potential hazards with getting PTFE into foods, so be sure to use a soft spatula and spoons as well so you don’t scrape the bottom.
Easy to clean
Hard anodized aluminum construction is sturdy
Small lid handle is uncomfortable
PTFE coating can be dangerous and flimsy
This nice little outset pot is very small (only 1.5 cups) but has a lot of very nice design features that make it worth adding to your collection.
The first is simply that it’s made of cast iron. Cast iron is such a reliable material, and good for so many things. It heats fast enough and stays hot for a long time, making it perfect for sauces. You can leave a cast iron pot out at room temperature for close to an hour with maybe a small towel covering it and it will keep your sauces warm enough to use.
The shape of this one is nice, with a comfortable handle and a left side spout that’s easy to pour with. As an added bonus it has markings on the interior for measuring, so a separate measuring cup isn’t needed. The handle is also hollow, allowing the included basting brush (or another) to comfortably rest inside it, limiting mess and keeping the brush close at hand for when it needs to be used.
This is a very nice addition to most kitchen collections, and well worth giving a look.
Made of cast iron, giving it excellent durability and performance
Included basting brush
“Nesting” design makes it double as a spoon rest
Interior lines mark off measurements, helping to save time and clean dishes
Cast iron does have specific care instructions that can make it annoying to use if you’re not prepared to deal with it.
This is a very nice granite non-stick saucepan. While giving the appearance of a rustic wood and earthenware pot, it is in fact a mix of cast aluminum for the interior with a granite coating, and bakelite meant to look like wood.
The materials make it lightweight and high performance (cast aluminum is almost as sturdy as steel, and heats up much faster) while not sacrificing on looks. Granite is also an excellent nonstick material, with a sturdy, PFOA free design that is much harder to scratch or scuff than the standard PTFE, and it’s also much easier to take care of in every other regard as well.
The glass lid rounds things out, with a nice fit and no vent, since the left side pour spout allows for a natural steam channel.
This is overall just a very well designed saucepan, with the only real drawback being the bakelite. It’s a sturdy material, but unsafe to use in an oven at high temperature (though is quite safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit). While I don’t highly value that feature it’s something that does add to the versatility, and worth mentioning as a comparison to fully stainless steel or cast iron cookware.
Great nonstick granite interior
Looks very nice
12 month warranty
Good glass lid
Lid handle in particular ensures knuckles stay away from the lid surface
Less oven safe than other pots
A two for one this time, this set of saucepans (1 quart and 2 quart) is very well made. Another nonstick design, this one different from the other two as well: a ceramic coating.
Of the three designs ceramic sits somewhere between granite and PTFE for me. It’s much better, safer, healthier, and sturdier than PTFE, but falls a bit short of granite in terms of both looks and performance, being a bit easier to scratch. On the flipside though, it’s also a bit more nonstick than granite, foods sliding smoothly around similar to how well a brand new PTFE coating works, and it lasts a lot longer.
GreenLife Soft Grip Set in particular are just nice examples of their kind. They come in this great bright turquoise color, as well as a red. The handles are very comfortable and heat resistant on both the pots themselves and the lids on top. The overall construction is a standard aluminum with the ceramic coating, which is nothing special but quite good. Plus, it all comes in at a good price.
Two pot sets
Great ceramic coating
Lightweight aluminum construction
Completely unsafe for oven use
Doesn’t retain heat well, so it’s bad for keeping sauces warm for long periods
Another set, GreenPan Lima another solid ceramic nonstick set. Overall I like this one a bit less than the GreenLife set above, but there’s one thing I like better: the dual spouts on the smaller 1 quart pot. It makes pouring easy for both right and left handed people, and adds a lot of versatility to an otherwise fairly standard pot.
The handles are also much sturdier steel as compared to the plastic of that above set, and likewise the core material is a hard anodized aluminum so it’s a bit better than the standard aluminum of the above.
But the less well designed lids and less appealing looks of this set push it just slightly lower. There is an argument to be made for either being better, mind you, and I like both, so this is still a very valid option; I’m just valuing design a bit higher than materials between these two. The prices are pretty much identical as well, so no need to feel bad about that either.
Dual sided spouts make this excellent for all users
Two pot set is a great value
Lids are a bit less well designed
Very basic look
I like all of these equally, actually. Each has a lot to offer in terms of being an effective, cost efficient saucepan with something unique to offer in a lot of cases. The exception to this is All-Clad’s stainless steel saucepan. It is an objective well designed saucepan, better than any other on the list…but it’s simply too expensive to ever truly recommend. If you can find it on sale at a reasonable price though, it’s amazing.
The rest are various degrees of good, if not great. Some are a bit gimmicky, like the Cuisinart saucepan with the built in basting brush, but even that still makes a good addition to most kitchens, and makes a very nice barbeque companion.
What Do I Look for in a Good Saucepan?
As with any saucepan, construction is usually king. There are a few great materials to think about when getting your saucepan, the main three of which we’ll go over real quick.
The most common material for a saucepan is aluminum, which is a pretty good material. Aluminum heats up quickly, making it great for getting things to a rapid boil in a reasonable amount of time, or warming up something really fast that doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through. It’s a little less durable and prone to denting than other materials, however, meaning you’re likely to need to replace aluminum cookware after a year or two. Stronger versions of aluminum like cast aluminum and hard anodized aluminum keep the advantages, while shoring up those weaknesses a bit.
Steel is probably the second most common, with essentially the opposite properties. Steel is incredibly durable and likely to last you a long time. However, it takes a lot longer to heat up and hits much higher temperatures than aluminum, so if you need to heat something up past about 300 degrees, steel will get you there more consistently than an aluminum saucepan.
Cast iron, finally, is fairly rare, but is the best of both worlds. It heats up fairly fast (though not as fast as aluminum) and reaches high temperatures, which it maintains for a long time. Cast iron is a great material for warming sauces especially, since you can hit your target temperature, then set it aside for a while without worrying about it cooling down too much.
Choosing whether your saucepan should be nonstick is also important. Stainless steel cookware is never nonstick, and cast iron when well seasoned is inherently nonstick. Aluminum cookware then has three options: PTFE, ceramic, and granite.
PTFE, known also by the name brand Teflon, is the most common and by far the cheapest nonstick option. It is very nonstick and is great for cooking usually sticky stuff in as well as preparing vegetable slices for seasoning. However, PTFE coatings are unfortunately flawed. They flake easily over time, especially if not cleaned right; they’re ruined by dishwashers and even vigorous hand scrubbing. PTFE can also release toxic fumes if overheated, or leave chunks of itself in your food if you scrape too hard.
Ceramic is the safer, higher quality option. It sidesteps almost every issue with PTFE; it’s nontoxic, dishwasher safe, and much more durable. It can still be scratched, but it’s much harder to do so than PTFE.
Granite shares most of ceramic’s features but is even more durable, though a bit less nonstick.
When looking at a saucepan’s price, you’re looking at a few variables. For the very smallest ones, you’re paying maybe $15 to $20, but for slightly larger or better made ones, maybe $30 to $40, and the same for sets of otherwise cheaper options.
If you are looking for other copper saucepan, try to read our reviews of the copper cookware set.