Why Do You Need Different Sized Saucepans? [3 Important Reasons]

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When it comes to your kitchen, one saucepan simply won’t do! 

Why do we say that?

Because cooking demands variety. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to quality cookware. At the very least you will need one large saucepan and one small. Not to mention a good frying pan as well. 

From freshly-scrambled eggs in the morning to mac and cheese for a quick lunch to a sumptuous stir-fry in the evening — let’s get you eating well!

Saucepans are available in so many different sizes to suit many varieties of cooking styles. We’ll go over why you need them, what sizes to get, and more in this knowledge-packed article.

The FAQ section at the end will offer valuable insight into the world of pots and pans, don’t miss it!

What is a Saucepan?

A saucepan is actually more of a pot than a pan. They are deep, have a long handle, and usually come with a fitted lid. They can come in a wide range of sizes — hence the importance of this article!

Let’s figure out some details and get you set up for culinary success.

How Many People Do You Need to Feed?

Do you have a big family? Or is it just you and your partner? 

Perhaps you roll solo (or with a furry friend!).

Whatever your situation, there’s a saucepan or two that will best suit your needs. And even if you’re used to cooking for only one or two, more saucepans means you can invite friends over for homecooked meals!

Even if it’s just yourself, you can’t always get by on only one saucepan. 

What if you wanted to meal prep for the entire week? What if you want to boil pasta, steam veggies, and sear meat? All for the same meal?

That’s three separate sized pans right there. 

Interested in finding the best cooking pans to buy?

Read our article on How to Buy the Best Cookware Set for your Money to make an informed purchase for your home. 

Keep scrolling for our next case for why you need different sized saucepans.

Isn’t It Time You Tried Some New Recipes?

A person cooking with a stainless steel saucepan

Doctors agree that cooking from home is better for your health.

If you’re interested in trying out some new recipes at home, different-sized cookware will really help you out! 

If you want to try your hand at say, Italian-style cuisine, the best sizes for saucepans for your endeavors would be small, medium, and large! Perhaps even one extra-large stockpot if you wanted to invite over the extended family for spaghetti night!

If you’d like to explore the world of Indian-style cooking, you may wish to invest in a heavy-duty saucepan.

What is a heavy saucepan?

Something like this cast iron pan that can go from stovetop to oven! 

Cast Iron Pan

Click on the image to check it on Amazon

If you’re a vegan home, you may like to throw together savory soups as nutritious weeknight meals. In that case, a dutch oven might be a wise investment for your family.

dutch oven

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And now for our third point.

How Much Space Do You Have for Cookware?

If you have a smaller home or kitchen, you may not have a lot of room for cookware. But, if you invest in a good set of saucepans, they should all stack neatly inside one another. 

And if you have a larger kitchen?

You can definitely invest in an even wider range of pots and pan sizes! Maybe even an extra-large stockpot for big batches of chili in the autumn season. 

Just imagine — you’ll be the star of the harvest block party! (And if you got that cast iron pan from point #2, check out this recipe: Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread and really wow the neighbors.)

If you’re limited on cupboard space in your home kitchen, you can always consider a wall-mounted pot rack

Check out our comparison article on T-Fal VS vs Calphalon Cookware to find out more about which brand stacks and stores better. 

But wait — we have more info!

Saucepan Size Guide

While there is no hard rule about the size of a saucepan, here is what you’ll normally find:

Small Saucepan Size

1-quart. You can use this little pot to heat veggies or beans!

dutch oven

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Medium Saucepan Size

2-quarts. Use the next size up to heat sauces or make homemade gravies.

dutch oven

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Large Saucepan Size

At least 3-quarts. Now you’re in the territory of making pasta, rice, quinoa, couscous, or oats!

dutch oven 

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Other popular pot and pan types:

Stockpot Sizes 

Once you go over 3-quarts, you’re generally in the stockpot realm of cookware. Your standard set regularly comes with a 4-5-quart stockpot. However, larger sizes and much larger sizes are available!

Here’s an exquisite option in 8-quart size, the Cuisinart MCP66-24N MultiClad.

Need something even larger? How about this 20-quart? The IMUSA L300-40317 is a whole lot of stainless steel for a very affordable price tag!

What Size Frying Pan Do I Need?

No kitchen arsenal is complete without a reliable frying pan. You will probably want at least a 10 or 11-inch frying pan. 

Great for cooking up a hearty breakfast to get you off to work satisfied and smiling. Eggs, chicken sausage, even pancakes! Try out a nonstick option for easy cleanup. 

Click here to see reviews on the Utopia Kitchen 11 Inch Nonstick Frying Pan.

You may also wish to buy a larger skillet, for bigger meals in the evening. Use these to fry fish, pan-fry burgers, or make a quick stir fry. 

T-Fal makes one that’s both nonstick and dishwasher-safe. Saving you time and effort in the kitchen. Take a look at the T-Fal E76598 Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick 12 Inch Fry Pan with Lid for yourself. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some common questions about saucepans. We hope the answers help guide you in finding the perfect pan for your culinary adventures.

What Size Pots & Pans Should I Buy?

Using our three reasons above as a baseline, establish your individual cookware needs. You will need at least one small, one medium, and one large for saucepans. Plus a frying pan and perhaps even a stockpot.

You may also find this article about How to Tell the One Big Difference Between a Pot Vs a Pan helpful as well!

How Big is a Large Saucepan?

Your typical size “large” saucepan should fall into the three-to-four quart range. Any larger and you may cross over into stockpot territory. 

A saucepan is usually a one long-handled pot, while a stockpot will have a two-handed grip. This is because a stockpot is often used for boiling large quantities of liquid and you need a more secure grip when dumping it out. 

What is the Size of a Medium Saucepan?

A medium saucepan is typically two quarts. Besides sauces, as the name suggests, you can use this size for small servings of soup, batches of oatmeal, rice, or the popular quick meal — mac and cheese! 

Since the base is small and the walls are high, it isn’t the best option to use for evenly cooking meats. 

What Do I Need a Small Cooking Pot For? 

If you cook for many people, you’ll find yourself reaching for a small saucepan most often when you need — sauce! Or gravy! 

If you’re on your own, a small pot is great for single meals. Small soups, one serving of oats or rice, pasta, etc. Or you can boil water for tea or coffee.

What is the Smallest Size Saucepan?

It’s rare to find a saucepan that’s under ½-quart size. Unless you’re shopping for children’s toys!

What Size Saute Pan Should I Buy?

For any household, a medium (10 to 14-inch) saute pan will suit your needs marvelously well. It should come with a fitted lid and have a long handle. 

Use your saute pan for searing meats, then add sauce, veggies, grains, and make it an amazing one-pot meal!

What Kind of Cookware Do Chefs Use?

In a professional kitchen, besides the standard stainless steel/aluminum, you’ll find a lot of copper, carbon steel, and cast iron cookware. 

Interested in your own set of copper cookware? Check out what users are saying about this Red Copper 10 PC Copper-Infused Ceramic Non-Stick Cookware Set.


To sum it all up for you, here are the four main points we figured out today:

  • Cooking from home is healthier!
  • You need at least a few different-sized saucepans
  • Look for durable materials that last
  • Take your home storage into consideration

Since your well being is of utmost importance, also take the time to look at our article on the 10 Best Cookware Materials for Health.

Eat better food — enjoy life more!

Last update on 2024-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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