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What Can You Cook In A Saucepan?

Published by: Chef Amy Hand • Updated: October 27, 2023 • Checked By: Chef Matty Riedel

What can you cook in a saucepan? Maybe we should be asking what can’t you cook in a saucepan?

The saucepan is a piece of cooking equipment that you may not getting the best use of, but this humble object is capable of so many things! Saucepan sets come in both nonstick and untreated varieties and can be made from metals such as stainless steel or cast iron that have their own unique properties and cook in slightly different ways. A stainless-steel saucepan will heat up and cool down very quickly while cast iron takes a long time to heat up but will retain that heat, which makes it perfect for slow cooking. Apart from the material of the actual pan you should always note the kind of handle you have, if you have a cast iron saucepan with the same material for the handle you can safely transfer it into your oven without melting the handle whereas some pans come with plastic handles that should stay on the stovetop.

What Can You Cook In A Saucepan?

If you have a good collection of various sized saucepans the possibilities of what you can cook are endless without needing to buy any expensive equipment you can’t afford! From breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and even dessert; it can all be done in a saucepan. One pot wonders are particularly well suited to a good saucepan so you can have a homey meal for the family with hardly any clean up! Some of these are even dishwasher safe all you need to do is rinse and chuck it in there, no bother, but always check beforehand so you don’t damage it accidentally. So, if you feel like you need a little inspiration here are some of the things you can cook in a saucepan:

Oatmeal And Porridge

Start your day off right with a good old-fashioned bowl of porridge or oatmeal with the help of a saucepan. This one pot breakfast merely involves some milk, oats or porridge and whatever delicious additions you want to make your breakfast more special like dried fruit, butter, honey and spices. Boil it up on your stove in your trusty saucepan and you can have a hot, nutritious breakfast on the table in minutes.

Stews, Casseroles And Curries

The king of one pot meals; stews, casseroles and curries are great dishes to cook in a saucepan especially in something heavy based like cast iron to prevent any burning. These can be started and finished on the stove or started on the stovetop and finished slowly in the oven if your saucepan is oven safe. These meals are also budget friendly as they often use cuts of meat that are inexpensive and work well when cooked low and slow.

what can you cook in a saucepan: stes and curries


As the name suggests, saucepans are perfect for sauces. Their depth and volume mean you can make a large batch of marinara, cheese sauce, satay etc. to add to any dish you like. If you want to make pasta into a one pot meal you can even cook the sauce in a large saucepan and add the dried pasta into it to impart more flavour and save on dishes of course!


A staple of most households, the egg, is perfectly suited to be cooked in a saucepan and in many different forms so you can change things up depending on your mood. You can poach them by boiling a water and vinegar solution, making a vortex, and cracking your egg right in. You can boil them by starting them off in cold water and bringing it to the boil; the ideal time once the water has boiled is 3-4 minutes for a nice runny yolk.

But that’s not all you can even make baked eggs in a saucepan! Contrary to what their name might suggest this Middle Eastern classic doesn’t have to be baked in an oven; all you need is your saucepan to cook up a delicious tomato sauce and crack the eggs right into it to poach gently.

what can you cook in a saucepan: eggs


Saucepans and soup really do go hand in hand to make the perfect wholesome one pot meal. They are self-explanatory. Start off with a food flavour base of carrots, celery and onions; add your main ingredients with some stock, cover and let it bubble away! You can even blend it in the same pot with a stick blender if you want to be very economical with your time.

what can you cook in a saucepan: soup

Deep Frying

Sure, you can shallow fry in a decent sized frying pan but if you need some fully submerged frying action then a saucepan is your best bet. Since you will be dealing with large amounts of oil temperatures are hard to get totally correct so we recommend using a candy thermometer to get your deep-frying spot on each time.


Yup, you can even make dessert is a saucepan! A classic English custard or crème anglaise if you want to be fancy, is made in a pot in the stovetop. Custards can even act as a base to ice cream, so you get two for the price of one! Apart from this you can make jam, stewed fruit, caramel, chocolate sauce and all manner of other saucy style desserts in a pot without the need for any fancy equipment.


You thought we were going to stop at desserts? Oh no! Even when you are peckish between meals you can turn to your saucepans to sate your cravings by making a pot of traditionally popped popcorn. In this world of microwave popcorn there is something nostalgic and uniquely delicious about popcorn straight from the stovetop. All you need is a splash of oil, a portion of popcorn kernels and some salt to finish it off and you can have this popular snack in your hands in minutes.

what can you cook in a saucepan? popcorn

What Can You Cook In A Saucepan: Summing Up

As you can see the humble saucepan is a multi-use item that you could use to feed yourself at any time of day. It really goes to show that sometimes the simplest choice is the best one. So why not go back to basics for your next meal and try your hand at some traditional, and delicious, saucepan meals!

Chef Amy Hand