In a general sense, cooking equipment is made differently and should be used for its specific functions. Some people who spend minimal time in the kitchen may think that saucepans and pots can be used interchangeably. The truth of the matter, each pan and pots inside your kitchen is used for different tasks.
Using the right cookware will create the optimal condition for your meal—producing accurate flavor, texture, and color for your meal. Saucepan and pot may come in similar sizes, but their structure and function differ significantly. Matching which metal cookware you’ll be using will prevent unwanted mistakes of your doing.
What is the Difference Between a Pot and a Saucepan?
Every type of cookware has its unique aids—if you use the right one for your specific this. Knowing the differences between a pot and a saucepan will give you an edge for your cooking task. A stockpot and a saucepan can be differentiated according to their physical appearance, material used, and functions.
What is a stockpot?
You can quickly identify a stockpot since it is commonly the most extensive cookware in the kitchen. It is made with high, straight walls with a small base. The cylindrical shape of this cookware allows more significant amounts of fluids inside the pot. This also prevents moisture from heating up without evaporating.
Due to their large size, stockpots have two loop handles to provide balance while lifting your heavy equipment. For larger batches of cooking, using a stockpot is better than a saucepan. This will fasten your cooking time while preparing it at a single time, rather than scheduling it by batches.
Most of the time, a saucepan and a stockpot may appear the same. Both of the cookware have high walls and two loop handles. However, you can tell them apart by checking the pan’s base. Stockpots have narrower grounds than sauce pots. The stockpot’s base provides better heat distribution and retention.
Using a stockpot is a better option for cooking meals that don’t require thickening or reducing. Boiling, steaming, and simmering are the best assets of a stockpot. If you want to reduce or thicken your sauces, soups, and fruit jams—consider using a saucepan instead.
What is a saucepan?
The saucepan is the most versatile cookware in your kitchen. Saucepans are lightweight cooking utensils with easy grabbing long handles. Long handles are essential to provide comfort when lifting your hot pan while keeping your fingers and hand free from scalds and burns.
Like a stockpot, a saucepan has tall, vertical sides with a narrow base. This allows the heat source to disperse heat quickly and evenly. Saucepan’s tall sides allow more significant liquid quantities to be filled—but not extensive enough on what stockpots can handle. However, the narrow base can provide heat retention like no other.
Due to its small size, a saucepan promotes liquid reduction (if cooking without a lid). Reducing your sauces produces richer, intense flavor while adding thickness to the overall consistency. Using the saucepan is the best option if you want to create various sauces, stews, and fruit jams.
Suppose you are cooking a single-serving pasta, noodles, or vegetables. In that case, you can use a saucepan to simmer and boil your liquids. For larger batches, using a stockpot is better since it will prevent liquids from evaporating quicker. You can do the same thing by securing a lid on your saucepan to retain your food’s moisture.
In a general sense, a saucepan can function as a pan and a pot simultaneously. If used without a lid, this cookware can reduce liquid like a pan. Using the cover will reverse the saucepan’s function—providing the same position as a stockpot.
What is Considered a Saucepan?
A saucepan is a piece of cookware with a circular vessel with high sides. The high sides provide more significant amounts of liquid to be filled into the cookware. Another highlight of this cookware is its long handle—which provides comfort on your hands without strain and burn marks.
The saucepan’s high sides function in two ways. As mentioned earlier, it allows more liquid and food to fit inside the cookware. Another purpose is it provides an even heat surface since the walls offer more significant surface area by surrounding the entire pot.
Saucepans are not only limited to creating thick sauces and dips. You can use this cookware to braise, deep fry, and boil—thanks to its depth.
Typically, this cookware is made with stainless steel and aluminum. Aluminum cores are encapsulated in between thick layers of steel, providing support and anti-reactive properties. Stainless steel heats quickly, and it can be improved further by the aluminum’s heat retention.
Due to its material composition, most saucepans are dishwasher-safe. This provides convenience in cleaning and storage compared to those requiring hand washing (like cast-iron, glass, and enamel-coated variants). The only downturn of this cookware is its small size, making a large batch of cooking impossible.
Can I Use a Pot Instead of a Saucepan?
A saucepan can function as a pot and a pan. If you want to cook more significant amounts of soup—you can consider using a stockpot instead of a saucepan. A stockpot is specially created for cooking that requires large amounts of liquids. This cooking vessel is used for cooking pasta, rice, vegetables, seafood, and others. You can also use this cookware to boil soup, stocks, tofu, and vegetables.
The saucepan can retain the liquid, thanks to its tight-fitting lid. Like stockpots, saucepans have steep sides that provide even heat distribution. This prevents hot spots from scorching your stock—while the sides encapsulate the liquid to heat it faster than other pots and pans.
Unlike the saucepan, the stockpot is made with different materials like aluminum, copper, and cast iron. On the other hand, Saucepan is essentially made with stainless steel, which is the best choice since it is a lightweight yet durable material. The material changes also affect the heat distribution and flavor of the food.
Aluminum and cast iron are both reactive metals. Acidic foods may react to these metals—which can break down their metal properties. This produces an acrid, metallic taste that can be unpalatable to some eaters. The same materials are not dishwasher-safe and must be washed by hand. This may be inconvenient for some that don’t have the same passion for cleaning utensils.