Making caramel is one of life’s little pleasures. Whether you’re topping ice cream or whipping up classics like caramel apples, you’re going to need the right tool for the job. So, what’s the best saucepan for making caramel?
First thing’s first, let’s talk about the best pan for those delicious sweet concoctions.
In today’s article, we’re going to explore that question in depth, telling you a little about selecting the right saucepan, followed by showing you 10 of the best options on the market. We’ll throw in a few tips along the way and also share our favorites and you can see if you agree.
Even if you don’t like our choices, by the time we’re done you’ll have everything you need to choose the perfect saucepan for your caramel-making needs. Let’s talk about the best saucepan for making caramel and what you need to know to find it!
Our Top 3 picks at a glance
Before we get this ball rolling, we realize that some of our readers are sipping their coffee and getting ready for work, and so for those folks we’ve got a sneak peek at today’s favorites! We’ll elaborate more on what we liked about them at the end of the article, so be sure to bookmark this and you can read about these and other showcased saucepans later on at your leisure. With that said, these were our 3 favorites:
- Best personal saucepan – Cuisinart 1.5 Quart Saucepan w/Cover – If you just want to treat yourself and a special someone from time to time, this Cuisinart pan is just about perfect. The base encapsulates aluminum for even heating, the sides are deep to avoid splashing, and it’s got a lifetime warranty to boot!
- Best overall value – MICHELANGELO Saucepan with Lid, Granite Saucepans with Lids, 1Qt & 2Qt & 3Qt Saucepan Set – This Michelangelo set is a great value, as you get 3 saucepans with a superb non-stick coating and a lovely granite finish that looks great in your kitchen. Use the 3 quart for your caramel and do whatever you like with the rest!
- Best for caramel in quantity – Cyrosa Stainless Steel Saucepan with Glass Lid, 4 Quart – Tri-ply stainless steel, pour spouts, and measurement markers inside, along with shatterproof glass and a strainer? You can make a lot of caramel in this Cyrosa and it will double for all kinds of other favorites. It doesn’t hurt either that it’s constructed durably enough that you’ll be getting years of happy use out of it!
Finding the best saucepan for making perfect caramel every time
When you are hunting for a saucepan to use for making caramel, there are a few basics that you’ll want to keep in mind. Here are some important things to consider when you are making your choice:
- Ensuring that the sides of the pan are tall enough can be a game-changer for preventing spills when the sugar syrup begins to bubble.
- Aluminum vs Stainless Steel – Some folks prefer aluminum, and others swear by stainless steel. Which one is the best? Well, they both have their perks. Stainless steel, especially layered, heats more slowly and evenly, but aluminum can get the job done quickly if you are careful and also lets you make a makeshift double-boiler.
If you’re just getting started, we’d recommend stainless steel until you’ve made caramel a bunch of times, as aluminum can burn it quickly if you haven’t practiced.
Moreover, the best pan for making caramel will have a good conductor of heat to avoid hot spots that can cause the sugar to burn instead of melt smoothly.
- Consider the thickness – Thicker saucepans will heat more slowly and thinner ones more quickly, so keep this in mind when you are purchasing your saucepan. Those making a wet caramel, which involves cooking sugar with water, may prefer a heavy-bottomed saucepan for the best results as it helps the sugar dissolve evenly over medium heat.
- Depth is important – When you are cooking caramel, it’s going to bubble a bit, and if the saucepan is too shallow then this can be a big problem. Make sure that the saucepan you choose has a little depth to work with and you’ll be much happier for it. Deeper pans are also helpful for making a larger batch of caramel sauce recipes without worrying about splashes over the sides of the pot.
- Non-stick or not – Nonstick surfaces are easier to clean, although you can butter or use oil in standard pans as a workaround. The only caveat of nonstick options is that eventually, the coating may flake, so if you go with one of these, research their coating option to make sure there are no complaints.
When opting for a nonstick pan or non-stick pan, consider that caramelization involves high temperatures which can be taxing on nonstick surfaces. For the most delicious caramel, ensure your pan can handle the heat without damaging its surface.
- What size do you need? – A 1.5 quart is good for making 2 – 3 caramel apples, topping ice cream, or other personal needs. A 2 quart can do a little more, but if you’ll be making a lot of caramel, then 3 quart is a good minimum size to go with. After all, it’s always better to have more than you need, than to not have enough when you need it!
For those interested in making smaller batches, perhaps for homemade salted caramel sauce or just a few homemade caramels, smaller saucepans may be the best small saucepan for your needs.
The Best Saucepans for Making Caramel
In this section we’ve collected 10 of the best saucepans for making caramel and we’ll give you some important information on each. We’ll let you know the size and weight, what type of coating they have(or don’t have), and other useful info so that you can get an idea of exactly what you’re getting.
We’ll also touch briefly on the pros and cons of each, so without further ado, let’s take a look at those saucepans!
We’re starting off the list with a familiar name – Cuisinart! This Cuisinart 1.5 quart saucepan is made of stainless steel and measures in at 7.2″D x 13.3″W x 4.7″H, weighs about one pound, and just look at those rivets – nice and secure. This is a smaller saucepan, but quite deep, so you can make a little caramel without worry of any splashing along the way.
While the body is stainless steel, the base encapsulates an aluminum core, so you’ve got quick and even heating from your new favorite saucepan, and it will work on all cooking surfaces – induction included. Since it’s Cuisinart, you also get a lifetime warranty, so you’ll be getting a lot of good years of use out of it!
This is a really well-made saucepan. With the added layers on the bottom and the solid riveting, it’s really built to last and great for caramel, sauces, and whatever else you feel like cooking in it.
At 1.5 quarts, it is a bit on the small side, which is great for a personal saucepan but might not be a good fit for a family.
We wanted to include a nice copper saucepan and this Demmex 1mm thick 1.7 quart hammered and uncoated dessert pot is a real beauty. Measuring in at 7.8″D x 14.1″W x 6.7″H and weighing in the neighborhood of 1.94 pounds, it’s a durable little saucepan, and it comes with a hammered copper lid for when you need to cover it.
These saucepans are handmade in Turkey and they have no lining or lacquer inside, so that you’ll never have to worry about residue or non-stick coating flaking into your desserts, and it also has a brass handle and an additional loop handle on the side for easy movement of your pan. Finally, as this is a copper pan, it is NOT induction compatible but will work on all other stoves.
If you’ve been looking for a dessert pot that’s great at its job and guaranteed to turn heads, then this Demmex might just be a perfect fit!
Heavy, gorgeous, and the go-to choice for many chefs when it comes to making desserts, this is a fantastic pan that you’ll love adding to your collection.
You’ll need to stick to desserts – unlined copper isn’t designed for anything acidic – so if you want a multipurpose saucepan, then another model might be a better choice.
3. MICHELANGELO Saucepan with Lid, Granite Saucepans with Lids, 1Qt & 2Qt & 3Qt Saucepan Set
Next up we have this 3 piece Michelangelo saucepan set that gives you a 1, 2, and 3 quart saucepan to add to your collection. Made of aluminum with a granite finish and an alloyed base for even heating, each pan is handled by a securely riveted stainless steel handle and the largest measures 9.8 x 16 x 9.3 inches – plenty of room for caramel and all kinds of other goodies.
PFOA and PFAS-free, these pans also feature an excellent non-stick coating, so you won’t have to worry about stuck caramel or sauces, and each one comes with a fitted glass lid so that you can cover them and still keep an eye on what’s inside. Even though these are aluminum, with the alloyed base they WILL work on induction stoves, so if you’re looking for a great saucepan set instead of a single pan, then this Michelangelo offering might just be a perfect fit!
You get 3 well-made, good looking, and non-stick saucepans to use individually or all at once for a little creative candy making.
If you don’t have a lot of space at home, then a single, high-quality saucepan is definitely a better choice.
4. GreenLife Soft Grip Healthy Ceramic Nonstick, 1QT and 2QT Saucepan Pot Set with Lids
If you’re looking for a tough pan that goes with your kitchen décor, then take a look at this GreenLife SoftGrip Healthy Ceramic Non Stick saucepan set! Each set includes a 1 and a 2 quart saucepan, made with recycled aluminum and a ceramic non-stick coating, as well as stay-cool bakelite handles and a fitted glass lid for each.
Dishwasher safe, as an added bonus these feature a rivetless design, so while the handles are still secure, you won’t have any pesky cleaning issues around the rivets like you would with most pots – simply wipe it clean or toss it in the dishwasher when you’re done. They’re also oven safe up to 350 degrees and guaranteed to be PFAS, PFOA, cadmium, and lead free and good for any cooking surface BUT induction.
We’d mentioned being able to accessorize with your kitchen décor and we weren’t kidding – these sets come in black, black and cream, blue, bright pink elderberry, gray, hibiscus, red, soft pink, turquoise, and yellow. Needless to say, these GreenLife pans are some serious saucepans with style!
These are beautiful saucepans and very well made, and we also like the rivet-free design, as well (they can really be a pain to clean sometimes!).
Not everyone will be keen on the lack of rivets and that might be a dealbreaker for some.
5. CAROTE 1.5Qt & 2.4Qt Saucepan Set
Our next saucepan set is this lovely pair of 1.5 and 2.4 qt saucepans from Carote. Ade of aluminum with an elegant and non-stick white granite finish, they’re definitely easy on the eyes, and they also feature a pour spout and pretty wooden handles. Did we mention that they come with a wide, stainless steel base? That’s right – this is an aluminum body pan, but you can use it for an induction stove or any other cooking surface you like!
As far as measurements, the 1.5 quart measures in at 5.7” wide at the base and 6.3 inches wide at the top, 3.35” tall, and features a 6.1” handle. The 2.4 quart is 6.5” at the base and 7.87” at the top, 3.35 inches tall, and has a 6.1” handle. When you add in that they are dishwasher safe, you’ve got the makings of a fine set that you’re really going to LOVE!
We love the classic white granite finish and that it has the stainless steel base to make it compatible with induction stoves – it’s really a nice mix of old-school elegant and modern, especially with the attractive wooden handles.
While it’s dishwasher safe, we’re deeply distrustful of doing that with wooden handles. Sure, they’re sealed, but over time that seems like a recipe for disaster – it’s probably best to go with hand-wash only for these and not everyone is going to like that.
6. AVACRAFT 2.5 quart Stainless Steel Saucepan with Glass Strainer Lid
This shiny number is the Avacraft 2.5 quart stainless steel saucepan with a glass strainer lid and it’s a fine piece of cookware to have in your kitchen. Measuring in at 8″D x 14.5″W x 7.5″H and weighing about 2.68 pounds, the Avacraft features solid and secure riveting, dual pour spouts, and even has measurements inside so that your recipe is always exactly right.
The glass lid also has strainer holes, just in case you feel like ditching the caramel for a quick personal pasta, and the handles are silicone coated so that you won’t have to worry about burning your hands accidentally. While the body is 18/10 stainless steel, it also has a 5 ply base that incorporates an aluminum layer and magnetic stainless steel, so that you get quick, even heating and compatibility with induction stoves, as well as any other stove surface. If you’d like a solid, medium-sized saucepan, this Avacraft definitely delivers!
With the coated handles, interior measurements, dual spouts, and a strainer lid, it’s a versatile saucepan and made well enough that you’ll get serious mileage out of this saucepan.
Unless you need a larger capacity, this is a very solid option.
7. Caraway 3 quart Nonstick Ceramic Saucepan with Lid
Looking for an aluminum saucepan that works on induction and brings a bit of style to the table? If so, then Caraway has got you covered! This Caraway 3 quart non-stick ceramic saucepan measures 17.99 x 10.47 x 5.75 inches and weighs about 4 pounds and you can tell right away from the heft of it that it’s going to LAST.
Free of PFOA, PTFE, PFAS, lead, and cadmium, these fantastic saucepans are also oven safe up to 550 degrees, and they come in a lot of colors to ensure that you’ve got a good fit for your décor scheme. You can get your Caraway in marigold, black, cream, gray, navy, peracotta, sage, or white and each saucepan is fitted perfectly with a matching lid with a wide-grip handle. If you love it when style and utility meet right in the middle, then this Caraway comes highly recommended!
These are fantastic saucepans and you can tell right out of the box that they’re going to last. With a 3 quart capacity and a decent depth, you can also make a goodly sized batch of caramel or whatever else you like.
We would have liked a silicone coating on the lid handle, as it can get a little hot, but otherwise we had no complaints.
8. T-fal Signature Nonstick Saucepan 3 Quart
This lovely saucepan is the T-Fal Signature Non-stick 3 quart which comes with a titanium reinforced non-stick and non-scratch interior coat and it can withstand both the rigors of cooking AND your dishwasher. Measuring in at 16.54 x 10.79 x 6.97 inches and weighing approximately 4 pounds, it’s certainly built to last, and it features comfort grip, heat-resistant handles and a fitted glass top.
As it is aluminum, it will work on any cooking surface except induction, and in the oven it is heat-resistant up to 350 degrees, and as a final touch you’ve got measurements inside to make sure you’re using exact amounts when following important recipes.
If you don’t have an induction stove but you need a sturdy, deep saucepan for caramel, the T-fal Signature is definitely worth a closer look!
It’s got the weight, so this is truly a sturdy saucepan, and the non-stick interior is pretty fantastic – you can use this saucepan often without worry of it flaking on you.
It’s not induction safe – sadly, most aluminum pans are not without a modified base, but otherwise it’s a solid saucepan with 3 quarts of volume for you to work with.
9. Cuisinart 6193-20 Chef’s Classic Non-Stick 3-Quart Nonstick-Hard-Anodized, Saucepan w/Cover
Cuisinart makes our list again with the 6193-20 Chef’s Classic Non-Stick 3 Quart saucepan and its anodized aluminum to make this saucepan both lightweight and extra-tough! Measuring in at 8.78″D x 15.55″W x 5.12″H and weighing a mere 2.9 pounds, it’s a sturdy saucepan that won’t tire you out if you use it on the regular, and that’s always a nice perk.
Inside the Chef’s Classic is a Quantanium coat, which is a non-stick option that incorporates titanium to make the insides scratch-resistant and slippery for whatever you’re cooking, like you’d oiled it in advance. Finally, the handle on the pan and the fitted glass lid are stay-cool stainless steel and it’s resistant to up to 500 degrees in the oven.
As it’s aluminum, you won’t be able to use it on an induction stove, but it will work on any other cooking surface. If that’s not a problem, then this is a fine saucepan to have at ready in your kitchen!
Cuisinart cookware is always a pleasure and this Chef’s Classic does not disappoint. It heats evenly and the anodized aluminum is tough, but at just 2.9 pounds, using it is a real pleasure that won’t tire you out quickly.
We would have liked a modified base to make this saucepan induction compatible, although that probably would have impacted the weight of the design. If you have an induction stove, then you’re going to need a different saucepan.
10. Cyrosa Stainless Steel Saucepan with Glass Lid, 4 Quart
Our final entry is this Cyrosa Saucepan with a glass lid and it’s made of durable triple-ply 18/10 stainless steel! Measuring at 8.7″D x 15.8″W x 2.8″H and weighing 4 pounds, this saucepan also features a shatterproof glass lid with strainer holes on two sides so that when you aren’t making caramel then soups, pasta, and other yummy dishes are going to be much easier to make.
This saucepan also has two pour spouts, as well as handy measurement markings inside to make your recipes a breeze. Finally, if you decide you want to pop it in the oven, this saucepan is heat-resistant up to 550 degrees (or 400 degrees, if you’ve got the lid on it).
Good on any cooking surface, this saucepan also comes with a 1 year warranty that you can extend if you like, and that’s always a comfort with a favorite piece of cookware. If you are looking for a saucepan that can take a beating, give you a 4 quart capacity to work with, and stand the test of time, then the Cyrosa might just be your new favorite saucepan!
This is a solid piece of cookware that heats evenly, gives you considerable volume, and that you can get many years of happy use out of.
The stainless steel makes this incredibly durable, but the caveat is that the handle can get hot and you’ll need to handle the saucepan with care.
It’s almost time for us to render our official Verdict on our top 3 favorites, but before we do, we’ve got a few frequently asked questions about making caramel with a saucepan that we thought you might find useful. Let’s take a look and then we’ll continue to our verdict!
How do you make caramel without ruining a saucepan?
It’s all about tilting and knowing when to add a little sugar. The goal is to keep the sugar cooking as evenly as possible, so when your caramel starts to liquify, you need to tilt the pan so that the solid bits start to liquify as well and get a brief respite from the heat.
If your caramel starts browning, quickly mix in a little sugar, and the gentle stirring motions will help to restore a lighter, more even heating, and this should keep it from burning to the pan and making a cooking headache for you later.
What size saucepan do you need to make caramel?
It really depends on how much caramel you want to make. For instance, if you are just making caramel ice cream topping for 2, then a 1.5 quart saucepan will suffice, but if you are making some candy to snack on, then you want at least a 3 quart saucepan and a 4 quart is even better.
When you are choosing your saucepan, you should also keep in mind that it needs to be deep, as well. That’s because your caramel is going to bubble up as it liquifies and a deep saucepan will make that much easier (and cleaner) to manage.
How do you melt caramel in a saucepan?
Probably the easiest example we can give you is to get a handful of Kraft caramels, remove the wrappers, and then add them into your saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water. You’ll want to cook this at a medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, tilting the pan as the caramel starts to liquify until all of the caramels are runny and melted.
If you are worried about burning them you can also simply use an aluminum saucepan with a larger saucepan that you’ve filled halfway with water and put on the heat to bring to a boil. Simply put your smaller aluminum pan in the boiling water and this will give you a ‘double boiler’ effect.
Cooking will take a few extra minutes with the double boiler trick, but the heat is less intense and this can minimize burning if your stove tends to cook a little hotter. You could also simply invest in a double boiler if you make caramel and other candies a lot, as it really simplifies things, but that’s up to you!
It’s time to wrap things up for today, but before we go, we’d like to share our verdict for the top 3 best saucepans for making caramel and we’ll tell you what we liked about each that set them apart from the rest. Let’s take a look and then we can call it a day!
Best personal saucepan – Cuisinart 1.5 Quart Saucepan w/Cover
If you like making 2 or 3 caramel apples or topping ice cream for yourself and that special someone, then the Cuisinart 1.5 quart Saucepan with a cover is just about a perfect fit. Not only is it dishwasher safe, but the durable stainless steel does NOT discolor, and the aluminum core base ensures perfectly even heating for making your caramel. When you add in that the sides are 7.2 inches deep, it makes for an excellent personal caramel saucepan that even comes with a lifetime guarantee. Just another reason so many folks love Cuisinart!
Best overall value – MICHELANGELO Saucepan with Lid, Granite Saucepans with Lids, 1Qt & 2Qt & 3Qt Saucepan Set
This Michelangelo set is a fantastic value, giving you a 1, 2, and 3 quart aluminum pan set that will work on induction stoves and which features an attractive granite finish that you’re sure to love. These pans are non-stick, their handles are securely riveted, and the 3 quart is deep enough for cooking an appreciable amount of caramel with the greatest of ease.
If you’re just starting your kitchen pan collection, this set will give you 3 excellent matching saucepans that you can immediately put to good use, all without breaking the bank.
Best for caramel in quantity – Cyrosa Stainless Steel Saucepan with Glass Lid, 4 Quart
Tough, well made, and at 8.7 inches deep, you won’t have to worry about that bubbling caramel! With the Cyrosa, you’ve got a heavy-duty tri-ply stainless steel saucepan with a generous 4-quart capacity, which also includes 2 pour spouts, measurement markings inside, and the fitted shatterproof glass lid even has strainer holes if you wanna cook some pasta or rice later when the candy is done.
Without the lid, it’s heat resistant up to a whopping 550 degrees, or 400 if you wanna keep the lid on. This is one saucepan that is definitely made to stand the tests of time, so if you want an option that you can really get your money’s worth from, this Cyrosa definitely delivers!
If our favorites didn’t match yours then don’t worry – all of the saucepans that we’ve shared today were the top in their class, so you can purchase with confidence if another pan really tickled your fancy. After all, ultimately it boils down to finding the right pan for YOU and your needs! Thanks so much for visiting and we hope to see you again soon!