The best saucepans tried and tested
The BBC Good Food team reviewed everyday saucepans to discover which models are the best for heat distribution, easy cleaning and resilience.
A good quality saucepan is a kitchen essential. Whether you’re warming baked beans, boiling potatoes for mash, making jam, or melting chocolate in a bain marie, these humble little pans are not only versatile, but essential.
If you’re like us and you love high-quality cookware or even if you’re simply being practical as your old saucepan is on its last legs, there are myriad questions you need to ask yourself before you buy. How much space do you have? What size do you need? What hob type do you have? To name but a few.
We’d advise choosing the best saucepan you can afford as you’ll likely be using it daily and thin, cheap saucepans are not built to last.
If you’re looking for a whole new collection, head over to our best pan sets review. We’ve tested a whole host of pans, including the best frying pans, best sauté pans, best casserole dishes and many more.
Read on to discover which saucepans stood out in our thorough expert tests. For hundreds of buyer’s guides, visit our product reviews section and read about how we test products. Also find reviews of the best pan sets, best non-stick frying pans, best cast iron skillet pans and much more.
Best saucepans at a glance
- Best saucepan: Ninja Foodi ZEROSTICK, £54.99
- Best stainless steel saucepan: Crane stainless steel cookware, £115
- Best blowout saucepan: Samuel Groves stainless steel tri-ply saucepan, from £70
- Best hybrid saucepan: Circulon C Series SteelShield 3-piece saucepan, £90
- Best investment saucepan: Le Creuset 3-ply stainless steel saucepan, £75
- Best saucepan for students: Judge Vista 3-piece saucepan, £29.64
- Best basic saucepan: Lakeland stainless steel saucepan, £34.99
- Best small saucepan: ProCook Professional anodised saucepan, £29.99
- Best microwave safe saucepan: Kitchen Craft 900ml microwave saucepan, £9.90
Best saucepans to buy 2022
Ninja Foodi ZEROSTICK
Best saucepan set
- Available from Ninja Kitchen (from £54.99)
Sleek in appearance with an impressive non-stick coating, these Ninja pans thoroughly impressed us in our tests. They’re currently available in sizes 16cm and 20cm and are an absolute must-buy if you’re in the market for a new non-stick saucepan.
Nothing stuck to this pan, it distributed heat evenly and we felt fully in control cooking with it.
For a review of the full range, read our Ninja Foodi ZEROSTICK review
- Available from Ninja Kitchen (from £49.99)
Crane S1 stainless steel cookware
Best stainless steel saucepan
- Available from Crane (£86.24)
If you’re into your cookware you’ll have seen the brand Crane all over Instagram. Their cookware is minimalist in design, but packs a punch in terms of performance.
Despite being stainless steel, this saucepan was entirely non-stick when we added a spot of oil. Water came to the boil quickly and it responded well to changes in temperature. The saucepan did not overboil with the lid on.
This gorgeous pan is the jewel in the crown of any cookware collection.
For a review of the full range, read our Crane stainless steel cookware set review
- Available from Crane (£86.24)
Samuel Groves stainless steel tri-ply
Best high-quality saucepan
Handmade in England, this saucepan from Samuel Groves is expensive, but it is an absolutely worthwhile investment piece. This versatile and beautifully designed saucepan is oven-safe up to 260C and is metal utensil-safe.
Like the Crane above, although it's an uncoated saucepan, nothing stuck. We found it easy to control and maintained heat well on both high and low temperatures. Although the lid rattled a little, the saucepan did not boil over when cooking pasta.
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These pieces are built to last and come with Samuel Groves’ “pan for life” scheme.
For a review of the full range, read our Samuel Groves stainless steel tri-ply three-piece set review
Circulon C Series SteelShield saucepan
Best hybrid saucepan
- Available from Circulon (from £80)
You’ll notice our top two saucepans have two seemingly opposing qualities: one is non-stick, the other is uncoated. Both are desirable qualities in a saucepan and Circulon has managed to create a hybrid of the two. This saucepan cooks like non-stick but produces a stainless steel-like finish.
All in all, this saucepan cooked very well: it’s quick to come to temperature and cooks food gently and at a high-sear very well. Our one gripe with this pan is that it’s difficult to get foods super smooth as bits gather in the Circulon grooves at the base of the pan, so foods like custard have the potential to become lumpy.
For a review of the full range, read our Circulon C Series Steel Shield three-piece pan set review
- Available from Circulon (from £80)
Le Creuset three-ply stainless steel saucepan
Best investment saucepan
Combining good looks with second-to-none construction, this saucepan will be used in your kitchen for years to come. The triple-layer stainless steel ensures even, constant heat and the solid lid make cooking with less water possible, locking in steam and flavour.
Laser-etched measurements inside the pans and curved rims for no-spill pouring only made us love them more. The saucepan may be on the heavier side for some, but an extra 'helper' handle makes lifting easy, even when full.
For a review of the full range, read our Le Creuset three-ply stainless steel saucepan set review
Judge Vista saucepan
Best saucepan for students
No student should start uni without a new saucepan. The Judge Vista saucepan comes with an inbuilt strainer, so you can take colander off the to-buy list. Additional useful features include pouring lips either side of the pan and volume markings inside.
This saucepan excels at basic cooking tasks that will be student staples, such as heating through sauces and cooking pasta. But if you’re a budding chef, you might need something more versatile as this pan is only oven safe to 150C and we did notice some sticking.
For a review of the full range, read our Judge Vista 3-piece saucepan set review
Lakeland stainless steel saucepan
Best basic saucepan
This simply designed saucepan has all the basics covered. It features a stay-cool silicone handle, is dishwasher-safe and is also oven-safe to a decent 200C.
This pan is quick to heat up and it didn’t boil over when we cooked pasta. We did notice some sticking and residue in the saucepan after cooking our scrambled eggs and porridge, but everything soon loosened up after soaking.
For a review of the full range, read our Lakeland stainless steel saucepan set review
ProCook Professional anodised saucepan
Best small saucepan
- Available from ProCook (from £34)
Available in sizes 14cm-20cm, this saucepan is ideal if you’re looking for something non-stick or if you’re after a small saucepan.
This is a versatile saucepan that can go in the oven up to 250C and is dishwasher-safe. It also comes with a 25-year guarantee. It cooks very well and the non-stick coating is effective. When testing out the larger saucepan (18cm) we noticed some straining in the wrist.
For a review of the full range, read our ProCook Professional Anodised Cookware set
- Available from ProCook (from £34)
Kitchen Craft 900ml microwave saucepan
Best microwave safe saucepan
Who says that you can't use pans in the microwave? If you like to grab the first thing you can to warm up baked beans or that handful of frozen peas this may become your new favourite gadget!
It's made from stain-resistant plastic (so hopefully won’t go bright orange the first time you cook carrots in it) and has the handy design of dual pouring spouts, which is a bonus for left handers. The two side vents open to cook in the microwave and close to store food in the refrigerator.
We bet that once you start using one of these you’ll be amazed at how much more efficiently your microwave works – it's a great way of cooking frozen spinach for one.
How to choose the best saucepan
For lots of detailed buying advice, head to our best pan sets review to find all the best information about materials, weight, hob suitability, oven proofing and cleaning preferences.
As a general rule of thumb, your saucepan should be “just right” weight-wise; not too heavy that it causes your arm to strain, but equally not so light that it’s easily knocked or feels cheap. If you like to put your pans in the oven to finish cooking, choose one that’s oven-safe to a high temperature – we'd suggest anything over 180C. Although we’d generally recommend always hand-washing your pans, life is busy for many of us, so dishwasher-safe pans are a real plus.
Many of the brands on this list offer saucepans in a range of sizes. Decide which size you need before you buy.
- 14cm: great for heating up small quantities, like single servings of milk or heating through small sauce garnishes.
- 16cm: still for small quantities, good for single soups or baked beans.
- 18cm: for two portions of pasta, a small portion of pasta sauce, also a good size for using a bain marie for hollandaise or melting chocolate.
- 20cm: ideal for three or four portions of pasta sauce, great for family-sized portions.
Pans 22cm and above move into stockpot territory.
How we test saucepans
When testing saucepans we look at four key areas:
- How efficient it is to cook with
- Whether its well built and built to last
- Nicely weighted and balanced on the hob
- Easy to store
Each saucepan was tested by cooking a variety of simple and commonly cooked foods. To test how easy the saucepan is to clean and its non-stick capabilities, we cooked porridge. We tested how controlled the saucepan was when cooking at lower temperatures by slowly caramelising onions. And to check that the saucepan distributed heat evenly by boiling water for pasta, we boiled the pasta with the lid on to check that the saucepan wouldn’t boil over.
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