Want to get flash in the pan department? We've picked the best saucepans to suit all cooks and budgets
Whether you’re a keen cook or occasionally dabble, finding the best saucepan or best saucepan set is a must. If you’re moving into a new home or want to spend more time in the kitchen, we think a full set is the easiest way to kit yourself out. It saves you money and also means you won’t be caught without the right pan for any kind of food. For more established cooks, it’s most cost effective to choose a specific saucepan tailored to your needs.
A good saucepan will be comfortable to carry and hold. Most combine multiple materials to ensure that the heat is transferred efficiently and evenly, without hotspots. However, you should make sure you choose one that is suitable for the type of hob you have. While all pans will be compatible with gas and electric hobs, if you have an induction hob you’ll need to check that your favoured set will work.
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A good way to do this is by testing the base using a magnet. If it sticks, it should be fine for use on induction. As a general guide, pans made from stainless steel and cast iron will be induction compatible and all pans will tell you which types of hob they’re suitable for if you’re buying brand new.
Not sure which set to buy? We’ve tested single pans and saucepan sets at a range of prices, so you can choose the perfect kitchen partner.
How to choose the best saucepans for you
What saucepan material is best?
Most pans use a combination of materials. Aluminium is used to spread heat evenly and keep the pan light, while stainless steel is essential to make sure the pan works on all hobs.
If you have an induction hob, or might upgrade to one in the future, check that pans are induction-compatible before buying – all the pan sets featured here are.
Handle-wise, the trend is for metal. These have a professional feel and can withstand high temperatures, so they’re oven-friendly, but be warned that some can get hot so you may need to use an oven glove.
Non-stick interiors and anodised exteriors are both great for cleaning but even though coatings are far tougher than they used to be, they need handling with care. All the pans featured here say they’re dishwasher safe, but read the small print and they often say hand-washing is better for the pans. If you’re concerned about the chemicals that go into Teflon non-stick coatings, ceramic-coated pans are a good alternative.
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How long should a saucepan set last me?
It’s important to know that some types of cookware will maintain their good looks and last longer than others. Stainless steel is considered to be one of the best in this respect, so if you’re looking for a long-lasting set, be sure to make this your material of choice.
Will I have enough pans?
It’s pretty rare to use more than three pans at a time, so this is less a question of whether your saucepan set includes enough pans and more a question of whether they’re the right size or not.
Two smaller (16 and 20cm) pans plus a frying pan are enough if you’re looking to save space. But if you have a family, love entertaining or batch-cook big dishes like soups, you’ll definitely need a large pan or stockpot. Some sets, like the Tefal Jamie Oliver pans, feature a good-sized stockpot. If your set doesn’t, supplement it with one large pot – you can usually buy extra pans to match a set.
How we test saucepans
We cook on every saucepan we test for at least two weeks, putting it through its paces to assess durability and useability. For non-stick pans, we’re looking at how well they stand up to the stickiest foods and if anything does stay put in the pan, we assess how easy those marks or caramelised bits come off when washed by hand using a non-stick scourer. For both non-stick and other types of saucepan, we test how easy they are to clean generally and give extra points to those that can withstand the dishwasher.
When cooking with our selected pans, we also look for good heat retention and heat distribution. A good cast iron or stainless steel saucepan should be able to hold its heat for some time after the hob or oven is turned off, while a quality non-stick saucepan, and indeed any other type, should offer even heat distribution, with no cold spots. Other factors we consider are size and value for money, particularly when testing saucepan sets.
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The best individual saucepans you can buy in 2023
1. Blackmoor Saucepan: Best budget saucepan
Price when reviewed: £17 | Check price at Amazon
Hitting the mark for quality on a budget is this 18cm saucepan from Blackmoor. With its stylish marble-effect coating and suitability for use on any hob type, it’s an ideal addition to your current saucepan collection. It should stay looking fresh too, as it has a scratch-resistant coating. If you’re really concerned about longevity though, Blackmoor also makes anti-scratch pan protectors.
Most crucially, cooking and cleaning are made simple, as, despite its low price, it has a tough non-stick coating and sturdy, forged aluminium base. Priced at a little over £15, this is a great budget pick if you’re only after a single pan.
Key details – Measurements: 18cm; Induction compatible: Yes; Dishwasher safe: No
2. Circulon SteelShield C-Series non-stick saucepan: Best premium saucepan
Price when reviewed: From £90 | Check price at John Lewis
If you’re looking to splash out on a piece of cookware that’ll last for decades, this is it. Circulon’s C-Series saucepan has a traditional non-stick coating suitable for use with metal utensils, but it’s set apart by its unique design.
Inside, you’ll find small rivets, which reduce the contact your utensils have with the surface. In theory, this minimises the risk of scratches on the non-stick surface, prolonging the life of the pan. Outside, it’s made up of a durable, tri-ply stainless steel and is oven-safe up to 260ºC and dishwasher-safe too.
In testing, we found it as effective on an induction hob as it was on gas, and it had no problem shrugging off traditionally sticky foods. It also retained heat incredibly well, with no hotspots. After cooking, cleanup was easy and despite the addition of rivets, we didn’t find ourselves stuck scrubbing for hours. It’s beautifully designed, too – an absolute must-have for keen cooks.
3. Russell Hobbs Saucepan with pouring lid: Best budget saucepan with strainer
Price when reviewed: From £18 | Check price at Amazon
In the kitchen, the smallest things can make a big difference, and a saucepan with a built-in strainer is most certainly one of them. The pouring lip design on this pan makes draining your veggies, pasta or anything else much simpler and is ideal if you don’t have a suitable colander. It also has a tempered glass lid with a steam vent, which matches well with the polished stainless steel body and black, soft-touch handle.
At 16cm (internal rim-to-rim measurement), this saucepan is a great size and works with all hob types, including induction. It’s also dishwasher safe, though handwashing is recommended to maintain the finish.
4. Ninja Foodi Zerostick: Best individual stock pot
Price when reviewed: £85 | Check price at Ninja
If homemade soups, stews and stocks are a regular occurrence in your household, you need a robust and long-lasting saucepan. This 26cm stock pot from Ninja is just that. Not only is it incredibly roomy, but its non-stick, scratch-resistant coating is also ideal for confident home cooks.
In testing, we were able to sauté veggies and meat evenly with no sticking, and we found it held onto heat incredibly well. It has a 9.1-litre capacity, but this is its absolute maximum and we’d always recommend underfilling slightly. The handles stayed relatively cool while on the hob, except for when the pan was filled to the brim. What’s more, the tempered glass lid did an excellent job of releasing steam during cooking.
Like the rest of Ninja’s Zerostick cookware range, this stock pot is oven-safe up to 260ºC, making it ideal for all kinds of “low and slow” oven cooking. This isn’t the cheapest stock pot you can buy, but it’s a good compromise between durability and price – especially if you can’t stretch to a super-premium £150+ saucepan. Most importantly though, it will see you through years of daily cooking, even with metal utensils.
The best saucepan sets you can buy
1. Salter Non-Stick Megastone Collection: Best value set
Price when reviewed: £50 | Check price at Amazon
Salter’s forged aluminium saucepan set hits that sweet spot between affordability and quality. The pans are weighty enough that they’re well-balanced on top of a gas stovetop but not so heavy that they’re a chore to use and clean. Soft no-grip handles make for easy transportation, while the special non-stick coating means the pans can be used with metal utensils and are dishwasher-safe. All of this allows you to spend more time cooking and less time caring for and cleaning your pans.
There are three different sized pans in the set, suitable for a range of tasks. The small and medium pans are best for sauces or pasta for one to two people, while the largest is perfect for boiling veggies and pasta for up to four people. If you already have a couple of pans in your kitchen but need a decent budget set to top up your kitchenware, we highly recommend this set.
Key specs – Measurements: 16, 18, 20cm; Induction compatible: Yes; Dishwasher safe: Yes
2. GreenPan Venice Pro 3-Piece Nonstick Saucepan Set: Best ceramic set
Price when reviewed: £180 | Check price at GreenPan
If you would rather steer clear of the chemicals found in Teflon pans, these ceramic saucepans are a fantastic alternative. Despite being PFOA-free, they still have an easy to use non-stick coating, which is ideal for things like curry and bechamel sauce – two things notoriously guilty of sticking. In the set, you get three decent sized pans measuring 16, 18 and 20cm – ideal for everything from boiling veggies to warming sauces.
Each pan has a magnetic base, which ensures heat is distributed more evenly and also means they are suitable for all hob types, including induction. We were also impressed by how oven-safe they are too. Thanks to their metal handles, you can pop them into your oven and they will be fine up to 220 degrees celsius. All of this makes it a superbly useable saucepan set that’s the perfect addition to your kitchen.
Key specs – Measurements: 16, 18, 20cm; Induction compatible: Yes; Dishwasher safe: Yes
3. Tefal Jamie Oliver Hard Anodised Premium Series 5 Piece Cookware Set: Best all-rounder
Price when reviewed: £229 | Check price at Amazon
These five pans cover all the sizes a keen cook might need. The three saucepans range from a very useful 2.1l pan up to a 5l stockpot, each with an attractive, curved lid. Plus there’s a good-sized frying and a large sauté pan.
All boast a titanium non-stick interior and the frying and sauté pans also have a Tefal Thermo-Spot that changes colour at the optimum temperature. Outside, the pans are anodised for an easy-to-clean finish in gunmetal grey.
The bases are induction-friendly but aluminium is used extensively in the base, for even cooking and making the pans surprisingly light in the hand.
But note that the handles are stainless steel with a nice-to-grip silicone insert, which means they’re oven-safe (175°C, 210°C without lids) but also means you’ll need an oven glove to pick them up if they get hot.
Key specs – Saucepans: 18, 20, 24cm; Frying pans: 22, 26cm; Induction compatible: Yes; Dishwasher safe: Yes
4. Argos Home 9 Piece Stainless Steel Induction Pan Set: Best large budget set
Price when reviewed: £85 | Check price at Argos
It’s unlikely that you’ll need nine pieces of cookware on an everyday basis but for those who like to spend their weekends in the kitchen boiling and baking, this value set can’t be beaten.
Alternatively, it’s a great buy for those who’ve upgraded to an induction hob only to find that their existing cookware won’t work. Plus, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll always have the right pan to hand with so many to choose from, whether you’re melting chocolate or simmering stock.
The highlights are a deep-sided frying pan, two casseroles that are perfect for stews, curries or soups and the steamer so you can cook fish, vegetables and more while preserving more of the food’s vitamins and nutrition.
It’s all made from stainless steel, with non-stick coatings on the frying pan and milk pan and glass lids for the pots.
Key specs – Saucepans: 16, 18, 20cm, 14cm milk pan, 2 x 20cm steamer, 2 x 5l casserole pots; Frying pans: 24cm; Induction compatible: Yes; Dishwasher safe: Yes
5. Tefal Ingenio Unlimited On: Best stackable set
Price when reviewed: From £84 (set)/£29 (individual) | Check price at Amazon
There are lots of space saving, stackable pan sets out there but we think the Ingenio Unlimited On are the ideal balance between style and functionality. We love the look of these pans and their thoughtful design touches on the lids, handles and pans make them well worth the money. The strong, anti-scratch and non-stick coating makes them a breeze to use and clean.
Unlike some sets, the Ingenio’s detachable plastic and stainless steel handle is easy to attach and remove, allowing you to quickly switch between pans if you’re cooking with multiple pots. It also feels incredibly sturdy in use – once attached, they will not budge, giving you peace of mind when carrying hot pots across the kitchen. The removable handle also makes it easier to store your saucepans without worrying about awkward stacking and it’s small enough to be stored away in a drawer or cupboard when not in use.
We also like that you can pick up this set in a variety of different size options. Our personal favourite for starter cooks is the full 13-piece set, which comes with six pans (saucepans and frying pans), two handles, two glass lids and two air-tight plastic lids for storing leftovers. Alternatively, for those looking for a more affordable, saucepan only option, we’d recommend the five piece set, which comes with four saucepans of varying sizes and a removable handle – though it’s worth noting this set doesn’t come with any lids.
Key specs – Saucepans: 16cm, 20cm, 22cm Frying pans: 28cm, 24cm Saute Pan, 26cm Wok; Frying pans: 24cm; Induction compatible: Yes; Dishwasher safe: Yes (not handle)