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stainless saute pan

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm looking to replace my warped calphalon (anodized) 5qt saute pan.

I've searched for and read numerous threads about cookware in this forum and on several other sites. I've come to the conclusion that I want stainless steel. It's obviously impossible to come to a consensus other than that All Clad is very good (if possibly over-priced).

There are so many companies making stainless steel pans that it's very difficult to choose. It seems to me that what most of you recommend is to find a pan that:
  • is stainless steel
  • has an aluminum core that comes up the sides of the pan (as opposed to just the disk on the bottom).
  • has riveted handles (and is otherwise well-made)
  • has a good-fitting lid
Is everything else just a matter of style and warranty?
My budget precludes top of the line pans like All Clad, so I'm looking for something a little more reasonable, but of very good quality. Let me know if I've left anything out.

post #2 of 9
Cook's Illustrated tested a number of sauté pans, and rated the All-Clad highest. However, the second rated pan, the Gourmet Standard Tri-Ply was rated a best buy. It's less than half the price of the All-Clad, slightly thicker (which I like), and only a scosh smaller in diameter. Heating time was a little quicker.

CI said this about the pan:

"If it weren't for the absence of a helper handle, the near tie for first place might have broken in this modestly priced pan's favor. (It) aced every test thrown its way, and a thicker gauge helped it maintain composure in the steak test just a hair better than our winner."

Amazon.com: Gourmet Standard Professional Series Stainless Tri-Ply 10 Inch Saute Pan

One of the reviewers of this pan said that their pan came with a helper handle. Maybe the pan has been modified since the CI review.

I have a 30 year old All-Clad that has done a very good job over the years, but thes CI "best buy" sounds like an excellent alternative, especially for someone with budget constraints. CI, unfortunately, doesn't test for durability, nor could they, so it's hard to say how well the Gourmet Standard may hold up over the years. In any case, if the helper handle is something you can live without, it may be worth a try or at least looking into.

BTW, Macy's has, or had, a deal on an All-Clad sauté pan that sounds very good as well.
Amazon.com: Macy's All-Clad Stainless 3.5-Quart Saute Pan with Domed Lid

However, ypu may want to check directly with Macy's macy's all clad domed saute pan as Amazon seems to be out of stock. I like the idea of the domed lid, but the slightly deeper pan may be a detriment to good sauteing ....

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 


Thanks for your very helpful reply. I just got back from Bed, Bath and Beyond. They had an All Clad 6qt saute for 159.00. With the (ubiquitous) 20% coupon, that came to less than 130.00. It's the regular All Clad stainless. Am I missing something, or is that a great deal? The calphalon tri-ply 5qt was 179.00!

This pan is fairly deep and narrower than the average 5qt saute (11 inches). I'm wondering if there is any dis-advantage to that type of design or not.

BTW, the Gourmet Standard series looks great. I'll be checking those out as well.

thanks again.


Looking around online, I see that this is the going price for this pot. Any reason why I would want a shallower pan for sauteing? Forgive my beginner questions! :)

post #4 of 9

Glad to be of help.

I prefer the shorter sides of the lower capacity pans, especially if the pan diameters are the same. My reaoning is that the deeper the pan the more evaporation is hindered, and, in some situations, such as when the pan may be a little crowded, you may end up steaming the items in the pan more than may be desirable, and browning and the creation of fond may be compromised. It may also take liquids longer to evaporate, which could be an issue in some situations.

Maybe I'm picking nits, but I have three 2 1/2 quart saucepans, each of different heights, and the ones with deeper sides don't promote evaporation as much as the ones with shorter sides. Depending on what's cooking, one pan may be a better choice than another. When making a sauce that calls for a reduction, the wider, shorter sauce pan is a better choice. When preparing a soup, the deeper narrower pan is the better choice.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
That makes a lot of sense and based on the type of cooking I want this pan for, I think I'll be returning it and getting a shallower one. So much for my brief visit to the world of All Clad! :-)

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Just to follow up, I took Shel's advice and ordered the Gourmet Standard saute pan and also two sauce pans. I am extremely happy with the quality of these pans! They look and feel great and they seem to be very well-made. If anyone is reading this and wondering what to buy because All Clad is out of your budget, I can certainly recommend Gourmet Standard.

I purchased them through cookware.com and the shipping was free! :-)

post #7 of 9
Hi Jack ...

Great news! So glad to hear that you got a good deal and that so far you're pleased with your purchase. Did you get the Professional Series?After you've used the pans a bit, let us know how they cook. It looks like the sauté pans now come with the helper handle - a nice feature - and, based on the CI review, would have moved the pan to the top of the pack in their tests.

A number of people are sometimes dissatisfied with SS cookware because they don't use it properly and don't know how to clean the pans properly. I've read many reviews of SS cookware, all different brands, by people who have found food to stick and who have used steel wool and other harsh methods to clean their pots and pans (That was me many years ago before being taught the correct techniques - I almost ruined an All-Clad Ltd. skillet because of my ignorance). If you have any problems, or are unsure of cooking or cleaning techniques, just ask.

I would, however, recomment that you get some Bar Keepers Friend - Bar Keepers Friend -and keep your pans very clean. I'm convinced that it helps in cooking and to minimaze sticking. Even if the pans look clean there can sometimes be a light film on them, and when cleaned with BKF you can see how much cleaner the pans get.

What sauce pans did you get?

Kind regards,

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi Shel,
I did get the professional series pans- I now have the 12-inch (5qt) saute pan, a 2qt sauce pan and a 3qt sauce pan.

Thanks for the advice on maintaining the pans. I'll definitely pick up some Bar Keeper's Friend.

post #9 of 9

As I've posted several times here, the manufacturers of the MPS Stainless line - now discontinued - included instructions for a really scorched-on residue on their pans. I have succeeded in doing that several times.

They take a tablespoon of dishwasher detergent and bring it to a simmer in a quarter-inch of water for fifteen or twenty minutes with your kitchen vent fan on HIGH to get rid of the gagging fumes this creates. Lifts the carbonized crud off every time I've tried it. Good for any stainless pot, but will take the anodizing off of anodized aluminium such as Calphalon, which is why I only have a couple, and ain't getting any more.

travelling gourmand
travelling gourmand
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