Solid looks, with top-notch materials and construction that translate to good performance.
Definitely a budget buster.
This is a beautiful pan, but the size limits its use to sauces and other low-volume liquids.
Manufactured of American steel in the old industrial heartland near Pittsburgh, All-Clad is the gold standard (er, stainless standard) in American cookware. CHOW Senior Editor John Birdsall has a set of All-Clad stainless pans that have been in almost daily use for 30 years, and that show few signs of wear (even though he once mistakenly left a saucepan on the stove, returning home to find the liquid boiled away and the pan dangerously hot but otherwise undamaged). All-Clad’s signature structural feature is what it calls "tri-ply construction," three layers of metal bonded together. The core aluminum is clad on the exterior by a layer of induction (i.e., magnetic-grade) stainless steel, and on the interior with a heavy-duty layer of 18/10 stainless steel. (By the way, 18/10 refers to the percentages of chromium and nickel, respectively. Chromium gives stainless steel its strength, nickel its shine and resistance to rust; 18/10 is a high percentage of both.)
The construction of All-Clad's Stainless Collection centers on a three-ply bond (aluminum, induction stainless steel, and high-chromium, high-nickel stainless). The volume of this saucepan, obviously, is 1 1/2 quarts, but it’s the dimensions that are critical. The outside diameter is a relatively narrow 6 inches, meaning less surface area for whatever liquid it’s going to contain (that’s important when you need to reduce sauces or other liquids that could easily scorch). It stands 3 1/4 inches tall and has a 6-3/4-inch-long stainless steel handle riveted to the pan proper. The sides are straight, the bottom rounded to help small whisks or wooden spoons reach the edges. It’s induction-burner-friendly, thanks to the magnetic-grade stainless on the pan’s exterior. The lid has an edge that extends slightly beyond the saucepan’s rim, with a sunken dome—both features help prevent evaporation of the pan’s contents. All-Clad says both pan and lid are dishwasher safe, though you might want to hand-wash to preserve the shiny finish. There’s a limited lifetime warranty.
Hot chocolate: No scorching, even for our high-chocolate, high-fat recipe. The lazy slope of the corners made it easy to whisk.
Caramel sauce: Cooked up beautifully—smooth, thick, and drizzly.
Marmalade glaze: Even this relatively low-volume, high-sugar glaze cooked up nicely, with no scorching on the pan’s sides.
General stuff: This is a fantastic pan for making sauces and warming even small amounts of liquid. The uses here are pretty sauce-specific—the volume and dimensions of this pan make it awkward for steaming rice or making normal-size batches of soup or oatmeal. This is just not going to be a saucepan you reach for all the time, so beware of buyer’s remorse. You might be able to get by with a less pricey saucepan (we paid $89.95 at Sur La Table for ours), but if you want to round out your show-pony stainless steel cookware arsenal (or have a birthday coming up and can ask someone to splurge on you), this is a sturdy and dependable acquisition. Personally, we'd rather invest in an All-Clad Saucier for saucemaking—the sloping sides make it even easier to get into the corners with a whisk, and prevent drips when you pour. But this 1.5-quart saucepan is certainly a lovely piece of cookware. And hey, maybe it’ll inspire you to make regular batches of hot chocolate to cozy up with before bed. That'd be nice.
Photos by Chris Rochelle