Derived from the French word for sauce (same as in English) a saucier refers to the type of dish that sauces are made in. A saucier is also called chef’s pan and its shape is characterized by a wide mouth and rounded sloping sides. Unlike the square bottoms of regular saucepans, the rounded corners allow whisks and spatulas to get to the entire surface of the pan preventing burning and uneven cooking.
A saucier may or may not have pouring lips. Usually, the smaller sauciers will have a pouring lip and the larger ones will not.
What are sauciers used for? Beside the usual sauces (hollandaise, béarnaise, pastry sauces, custards, gravies etc) it is also a great pan to cook risottos, polenta, grits, oatmeal and other things that need stirring.
Famous chef and TV personality Jacques Pepin says it s his favorite type of pan and I couldn’t agree with him more. I use my large saucier to a make quick spaghetti sauces, braise leeks, and even make ratatouille.
What to buy.
Before you buy your saucier or chefs pan, decide what you are going to use it for. I happen to have a small and a large saucier for all my cooking needs. The larger one I use for risottos, etc and the smaller one I keep for sauces such as bechamels.
Find a wide pan. It will make the job of stirring easier and more enjoyable. Make sure it is made of thick material because a flimsy thin walled pan will burn your sauces quickly. A long, substantial handle will stay cool longer since you might be stirring that polenta for 10 minutes straight.
A good saucier will not be cheap so if you decide to get one, go for the gold. My recommendation is the All-Clad Stainless 3 Qt. Saucier featured below (Read my full review)