Saucepan vs Pot: What's the Difference?

What's the difference between a saucepan vs. pot? Learn more with our comprehensive guide.

George Steckel|Aug 17, 2021

When it comes to choosing which pot is suitable for the job, there can be a few different options facing you. For example, you need to choose between

stainless clad

, ceramic, copper, etc. No matter what, whether you’re making beans, boiling water, or making gravy, using the right pan is extremely important. While saucepans and pots are similar, there are specific differences both in construction and usage. In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at the difference between



stock pots.

What is the Difference Between a Saucepan and a Stock Pot?

The main difference between a saucepan and a stock pot is the size and the construction. Saucepans will have long handles and often a smaller helper handle on the other side. Stock pots will have two small helper handles, as their size is too big for one large handle.

Saucepans range in sizes, commonly in the two to four-quart range, while stock pots can hold more volume than saucepans, usually starting at around six quarts and going as high as 24 or even 48 quarts (the latter would be in restaurants, not home kitchens!)

What is a saucepan used for?


What is a stock pot?

When it comes to discussing use cases, there isn’t a whole lot of difference. Saucepans and stock pots can do a lot of the same things. They can boil water, make stock, make chili, sauté vegetables, caramelize onions, reduce sauces, and more. So why are they both considered

essential pots and pans

to have and why do you need both in your kitchen? 

It isn’t practical to boil 8 quarts of water in a pasta pot. If you’re making pasta for one, you’ll of course want to use a smaller saucepan. And you don’t want to have to use a 4-quart saucepan to make chili for a large dinner party. So not only is making sure you have the right tools necessary for the kitchen task at hand, but making sure the pan or pot has the right size cooking surface is extremely important.

When cooking for large groups of people or cooking large volumes of food, use a stock pot. If you’re cooking for a few people or cooking a meal that doesn’t require a huge pot, then use a saucepan.

Can a Saucepan Replace a Stock Pot?

Yes and no. Like we’ve talked about, they serve similar functions, but they cannot ultimately replace one another. Therefore, it is extremely important to have both a stockpot and a saucepan that can perform exceptionally well.

When searching for a saucepan, sauce pot, or stock pot, look for one that features 5-ply construction. This means that there are five layers of metal used to make the cooking vessel. It is important to make sure that the 5-ply construction is throughout the entire body of the pan, rather than just the bottom. This will ensure that your liquids and sauces will cook evenly and efficiently.

For saucepans, look for stay-cool handles, meaning that they won’t get hot while the nonstick pan is on the burner (unlike a seasoned cast iron pan, for example). You also want saucepans and stock pots to come with a matching lid, as they are essential to cooking with pots.

The Bottom Line

The difference between saucepans and stock pots comes down to size and use case. It is essential to have both pieces of cookware in your kitchen. Use a saucepan with a non stick coating to make sauces, make grains, and reduce liquids that aren’t large in volume. Use a stock cooking pot to boil pasta for a large gathering, make a large batch of chili, boil corn, and make large batches of sauces. Whenever you’re ready to add to your cookware collection, be sure to check out our own

cookware collection.