budget saucepan for caramel making?


Live your best food life.

Sign up to discover your next favorite restaurant, recipe, or cookbook in the largest community of knowledgeable food enthusiasts.
Sign Up For Free
Cookware 20

budget saucepan for caramel making?

asfoch | Mar 15, 2013 09:16 AM

i've been trying to learn to cook over the past few months and one thing i've become taken with is making salted butter caramels. however, i use a very cheap ikea saucepan which not only is too small (the bubbling of the caramels means i can only make so much at once), but it conducts heat poorly and unevenly and it gives me much trouble.. i've learned i must melt the sugar in several waves and run the whole process at very low heat or i will risk burning the sugar or ruining the caramel texture, meaning something i might be able to accomplish in <30m takes me something in the neighborhood of 90m.

i have read that the premium option for cooking sugar (or delicate sauces) is copper but i am a cheap and functional minded person and $200+ for a saucepan does not strike me as the most cost effective option. i don't care if the pot looks pretty, has a lid, or can even go in the dishwasher and i am totally ok with a more "disposable" lifespan if the price matches. i just want something that will heat up my sugar well and not mess with the taste or anything.

i want something in the 1.5-2qt range and i'd really prefer it to be a bit on the narrow/tall side in design (height at or more than 60% the diameter) so my thermometer will not have trouble reading the temperature

from my research my options seem to be

-industry style bare aluminum saucepan. i do not know if bare aluminum is ok for what i want to use it for, but i do know that it's inexpensive. a vollrath "arkadia" 1.5qt saucepan is quite narrow and should be <15$

-consumer brand stainless steel w/ aluminum disc bottom saucepan. - ofc these vary in price hugely by brand and whether i get it off amazon or bed bath and beyond but should be somewhere from $20 to $50. this is also what i'm cooking in now so i'm hesitant, but i'm open to it on the assumption a higher quality mfr would be a better experience

-antique stainless steel with copper bottom saucepan. - i've noticed that one can buy used revereware saucepans from the 60's with a little bit of looking which are stainless steel with a copper base. i should be able to find one in decent looking quality for $20-30. a downside is these seem to be rather wide from my research, sides are ~50% the diameter in 1.5 and 2qt options.

-steel/aluminum clad - the all clad 2qt is the perfect dimensions but way too pricey, so i'd be looking at cuisinart or tramontina or one of the other bargain clad options where i should be able to get a saucepan in the ~$50 range

-sitram stainless steel with copper base - this was the only copper/stainless steel disc style i could find, runs like ~$70 on amazon for a 1.5qt which is kinda pricey.

edit: forgot to mention i have a gas range.

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound