If you are like me who loves to make candy recipes and treats even if it’s not Halloween, you will enjoy today’s post. Caramel is one of the main ingredient (and sometimes the only ingredient too!) of our favorite candy treats, so getting a pan that is actually designed to cater to this task will surely make our cooking as fun as the eating part.
I know, there’s a thousand different pans out there claiming to be the best one to use, but how do you really identify the best pan for making caramel? This comprehensive list may just help you decide getting the secret weapon to your perfectly chewy caramel candies.
Choosing the Right Pan for Your Caramel
This is the aspect that causes a lot of controversy, regular or nonstick pans. Honestly, it’s not that big of a deal if you’re only going to use it for caramel making. The only difference is that using nonstick pans will make it easier for you to pour and clean sticky caramel from the pan. However, the downside is, it is a concern that nonstick pan coating tends to peel off once it wears out and may blend into your caramel mixture, when this happens then it is a sign that you need a new pan.
This is probably the most important factor to consider when choosing your pan. You want your caramel to be smooth and have the right consistency. This can only be achieved if your pan is a good conductor of heat – it should heat up fast yet should also be able to maintain and evenly distribute the heat throughout the pan. You don’t want burned bits on your caramel sauce, and we all know how quickly that can happen.
There’s usually two types of pans, stainless and aluminum. Stainless steel pans can be exasperating to use if you are on a rush because it takes a while to completely heat up, but once it does, it’s worth the wait. It evenly maintains the heat giving you that beautiful caramel drizzle. The fact that it’s easier to clean is a bonus. Meanwhile, aluminum also has superb heat conduction however I find it heats up too quickly, putting your caramel at a higher risk of burning and you might end up with a big ol’ chunk of burnt sugar.
Depth and Size
Another cause of online arguments is whether to use regular flat pans or narrower, pot-like saucepans. It really doesn’t have anything to do with making the caramel itself, but with the cleaning you would have to do afterwards. It’s true that regular flat nonstick pans does the job well just as much as saucepans, but it doesn’t have the tall sides of a saucepan to protect your counters from getting caramel puddles once it starts to bubble, especially if you are making big batches.
Top 10 Best Caramel Making Pans in the Market
Scanpan Classic 2-Quart Covered Saucepan – Best Overall
This underrated saucepan is a great gift to caramel-makers. It is made from 100% recycled aluminum, and its enforced aluminum base guarantees optimum heat distribution and well-sustained heat. One of its best features is its ceramic titanium surface which is nonstick and more importantly, scratch resistant. These combined features makes it one of the best pans to cook caramel.
The pan can endure up to 500°F heat, so it’s also oven safe. It has high pan walls, so your caramel will not flow over once it starts bubbling. It has the perfect size for daily average use at 14” x 8.3” x 4.7” and great weight at 3.33 pounds. This also comes with a lifetime limited warranty from Scanpan.
- Safety: There is no PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) used in manufacturing the nonstick surface of the pan, so it’s safe from harmful chemicals. The handle is also scald free because of its stay cool handle design.
- Spill free: The pan has easy pour sprouts on both sides, therefore allowing you to pour any kind of liquid without it going all over your stove or countertop. It also has a tight fitting tempered glass lid which is also shock resistant, so your mixture won’t splash everywhere when it starts to boil.
- Easy clean: You can simply hand wash the pan with just a gentle foam and mild soap or you can also put it in your dishwasher, just make sure there’s no sharp utensil that can scratch the surface of the pan.
- Some reviews say the nonstick coating get worn out in less than a year which is sooner than they expected. This can be avoided depending on how frequent you use the pan and how well you maintain it.
- The handle is quite fragile as it is not screwed or riveted to the pan’s body but is using a Scanpan patented technology to attach the handle to the pan itself.
Cuisinart MCP19-18N MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel – Best Nonstick
Cuisinart has been making professional cookware for the last 30 years, that’s 3 decades of expertise applied into each product. The Cuisinart MCP19-18N MultiClad Pro is constructed with a durable triple-ply technology, it has a combed stainless steel exterior, a genuine aluminum core, and a smooth stainless steel interior – promising stable heat distribution with every use. It’s also compatible with any type of stovetop, may it be electric, gas or induction.
Its dimension 15.2” x 8.1” x 4.9” is equally balanced with its weight of 3.5 pounds, which makes it comfortable to carry, like when you’re pouring caramel to another container. This pan is backed by a Limited lifetime warranty from its manufacturer, Cuisinart.
- Mess free: This pan has a thinned out rim for a more convenient spill free pouring, as well as a tightly fitted stainless steel cover that not only seals all the nutrients, but also the splatter inside.
- Safety: It has an ergonomically designed handle that stays cool while you cook, you won’t get burned palms or fingers while cooking with this pan.
- Some reviewers noticed that it gets brown stains after being used for boiling, like water spots. It seems that this is caused by putting salt on the water which reacts to the materials used for making the pan.
- The rivets used to attach the handle to the body of the pan are not made from same stainless steel and may end up rusting. It is best practice to make sure to wipe your pan dry before putting in storage to avoid rust and corrosion.
Cuisinart 719-18P Chef’s Classic Stainless – Easiest to Clean
Cuisinart combines the best of both worlds with the Cuisinart 719-18P Chef’s Classic Saucepan with its fused stainless steel surface and aluminum encased base. This means that this pan heats up evenly and maintains that heat while you cook.
It also has this classic looking mirror finish, so all of its 3.5” x 12.5” x 6.5” and 3.1 pounds will not be an eyesore in your kitchen. Make sure to follow its maintenance manual to keep it shiny like new even after years of usage.
- Spill free: This pan takes away the worries of accidentally pouring all of your precious, delicate caramel while transferring it to a cooling container, it has both an easy pour sprout and a straining lid. This is very helpful especially for clumsy cooks like myself.
- Safety: The handle of the product is designed with cool grip technology, so your palm will not get scorched even if you accidentally touch the handle while you cook.
- Easy clean: It also has an easy clean design, due to its efficient nonstick surface, you can either hand wash it with mild soap and water, or put it on your dishwasher after use.
- The pan seems to be prone to rust spots after some months of use. This can be avoided with proper maintenance and cleaning. Always use your pan on low to medium heat, and do not use cooking spray on it.
- Some users notice that the rivets connecting the handle to the pan are not made of stainless steel and have observed it to leach some kind of substance when boiling water.
Simply Calphalon Nonstick 4-Quart Saucepan – Best Pan for Big Batches
This is by far the pan that I found the easiest to use. It has handles on both sides of the pan, a long handle on one side, and an ear shaped handle on the other. There is also a pouring sprout on each side. This will be comfortable to use for both the right and the left handed.
The Simply Calphalon Nonstick 4-Quart Saucepan is perfect for making big batches of caramel because it is 19.8” x 11.1” x 7.9” and 6.2 pounds, it has walls high enough to ensure your mixture won’t spill over the top once it started to boil. This product is also backed by a 10yr warranty from Calphalon.
- Spill free: It has easy-pour sprouts on both sides of the pan, and those sprouts have the same strainers installed on the pan’s lid, making it guaranteed spill free.
- Durability: The lid is made of shock and scratch proof tempered glass, while the pan itself constructs of durable hard anodized aluminum and two layers of nonstick surface. This also probably why it comes with a 10yr warranty. Calphalon expects this product to last that long, or maybe even longer.
- Safety: Both of its handles are guarded with silicon, so it stays cool throughout your cooking process.
- Reviews say that the metal part of the lid may get dents easily. To make sure your lid stays in shape, be extra careful not to drop it, and be mindful of how you store the lid in your pan cabinet.
- The handle may get hot since it is made from stainless steel and is only covered with a silicon layer so if the pan gets too hot, the handle will be hot to touch as well.
- The surface of the pan is not scratch proof and may tend to chip. You need to be careful which utensils to use when cooking. Avoid sharp, pointed objects when using, washing or storing the pan to keep it from getting scratches.
Duxtop Whole-Clad Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Saucepan, 3 Quart- Best Heat Distribution
The Duxtop Tri-Ply Saucepan is made up of an extra thick layer squeezed between magnetic stainless steel on both sides using Whole Clad merging technology, guaranteeing perfect consistency on your caramel or chocolate ganache every time.
Despite its solid construction, this lightweight pan is only 1.2 pounds and measures 14.5” x 8” x 2.5”, perfect for making small batches. This may be a good pan if you want to practice how to do a flambé.
- Durable: This pan is too good for its price, it has guaranteed durability thanks to the Whole Clad technology used to build this pan. Even its lid is made from the same stainless steel used on its body. It is not just dishwasher safe, but freezer safe too.
- Spill Free: The edges of the pan are tapered, making it easy to pour its contents to another container. It also has a stay cool, easy to grip handle that is riveted to the body of the pan, and won’t get too hot for you to drop the pan and everything else in it.
- Since the lid is also stainless steel, its short handle tends to get hot and is hard to pick up after you set it down on the countertop.
- If you normally cook with pans that has a glass lid, this stainless steel lid may take some getting used to. Customers needed time adjusting not being able to see what is happening inside the pan. It’s also a little harder to keep peeking inside since as mentioned, the handle of the lid may get hot and cause a scalding.
All-Clad 4204 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Sauce Pan – Most Durable
This premium saucepan from the legendary cookware maker, All-Clad is a little on the expensive side but it is compensated by the durability that comes with the product. Being constructed from a triple combination of heavy duty stainless steel encasing its aluminum core and a stainless steel interior, you’ll surely get every penny’s worth with this pan.
The pan measures 16.6” x 8.2” x 8.1” and weighs 4 pounds, so it’s good for making sauces, soups or simply boiling vegetables. All-Clad also offers a limited lifetime warranty to those who invested on this saucepan.
- Safety: The pan comes with a stainless steel, contoured handle that is designed with Stay-Cool technology. So, no burnt palms here. This handle is riveted to the body of the pan itself so it stays in place.
- Nonstick Surface: Its surface is designed with a starburst finish, ensuring stick-resistance and easy mixing and transfer of food from the pan.
- The lid is also made of stainless steel, therefore is not see through so you will have to open it every time you want to peek inside the pan and see what’s happening with your food. This is made easy by the good sized handle that is also screwed on the lid.
- Some reviews complain that there is no easy pour sprout designed into the body of the pan, as some of the newer saucepans already have. The pan comes with a tight fitting lid, it seems designed to lock the flavor inside the pan, which can be ruined by putting an easy pour sprout.
Cooks Standard 3-Quart Multi-Ply Clad Stainless Steel Saucepan – Best Value
This midrange pan is ergonomically designed to be convenient and efficient to whoever will use it. Combining the ability of aluminum to maintain even heat distribution and the durability of stainless steel, the Cooks Standard Saucepan is really a must have in the kitchen. This product is recommended by professional chefs and home cooks alike, saying they tried to cook everything from sticky roux to big batches of soup, and it worked just as well.
This is a 4-quart pan measuring 14.5” x 8” x 5” and weighing 4.55 pounds, this may just be the Goldilocks of saucepans. Just big enough to make the right amount of caramel for candy making, and just the right weight to keep the pan stable despite its longer handle.
- Safety: Cooks Standard used air flow technology to keep the perfect grip handle of the pan as cool as it looks. This handle is also riveted to the body of the pan, so no need to worry about the handle suddenly detaching from the pan and dropping everything inside it.
- Easy to clean: Its scratch resistant exterior and interior is easy to clean, can be with mild soap and water and is dishwasher safe too.
- There is no pour sprout on this saucepan, making it a little tricky when pouring sauces to another container. It does have a tapered lid that should be able to help minimize the spill this may cause.
- Some reviews say discoloration may occur on the pan’s interior surface after a few times of boiling water or vegetables in it. This may be because of the salt added in the water.
AVACRAFT Stainless Steel Saucepan with Glass Lid- Best Midrange Pan
Heavy duty lid Has glass strainer lid, easy pour sprout on both sides for left and right handed, good sized cool grip lid handle, dishwasher safe, lifetime guarantee for the product bought from AVACRAFT with 100% refund!
The AVACRAFT Stainless Steel Saucepan has caught the attention of customers because of its ergonomic design. It has a straining lid, measuring lines on the interior of the pan, and easy-pour sprouts on both sides of the pan, making the left handed people happy. This is made of 3 layers of pure stainless steel and enforced aluminum core that maintains heat evenly.
The pan is only 2.5 quartz, perfect for those who are still learning to cook as it is not too big or too small for an average serving. It measures 14.5” x 8” x 7.5” and weighs 2.8 pounds.
- Convenience: The pan has everything you need to feel comfortable using it. Its handle is longer than regular pans, and has a shape that conforms to the palm, making for an easier grip. The lid also has a silicon handle, making it more convenient to take the lid on and off. The best part is the pouring sprouts on both sides of the pan and the strainer built in on the lid itself.
- Heavy Duty Lid: The lid is made of shatterproof glass, so it won’t just break if you accidentally drop it.
- Warranty: This product is backed by Avacraft with a lifetime guarantee or 100% refund if you’re not happy with the product. Reviews also show that the company has a great customer service system.
- A few reviews mention that a rainbow-ish discoloration may occur at the bottom of the pan after some months of use. This may be avoided with proper maintenance, do not use cooking spray to grease your pan, it is also best to hand wash even if the product says dishwasher safe.
- The product may seem a little unbalanced and tip over especially when its empty because of the longer, thicker handle.
Faberware Classic Series Stainless Steel – Best Vintage Design
Faberware has been long known for its high quality kitchen products, they have been making cookware since the 1900. This timeless, elegantly designed saucepan has a stainless steel bottom that embraces its hard-pressed aluminum core for better heat distribution.
It is made of 18-/10 food grade stainless steel and has been polished to achieve a mirror-like finish that stands the test of time. This pan can disguise as a classic decoration in your stovetop, with its size of 14.2” x 6.8” x 9” and weight of only 3 pounds so it is easy to carry it around the kitchen if needed.
- Easy clean: Because of its stainless steel composition and nonstick surface, this pot is easier to clean even after cooking food that leaves sticky residue like roux or ganache.
- Unique lid: The lid’s design is one of a kind and are only commonly seen in Faberware products. It has a bell-like shape and a round top handle that stays cool while you cook.
- Reviewers say discoloration may occur on the pan after some months of use. They noticed some rust spots on the inside surface of the pan, especially when frequently used for boiling.
- Some users also say that the inside of the pan may tend to chip, exposing tiny black marks that are suspected to be the aluminum core of the pan. Even if the surface of the interior is stainless steel, it’s still best to use utensils that are neither sharp nor pointed to avoid peeling off the bottom of the pan.
Utopia Kitchen Nonstick Saucepan – Best For The Money
This is what I found to be the best starter pan for those who want to learn how to make caramel or other sweets. It is inexpensive, but has all the features required to make delicate caramel. It is made of high grade aluminum alloy, and is tested PFOA, Lead and Cadmium free, so it is safe and efficient at the same time. It also has a two layer interior that are both stick and scratch resistant.
The walls of the pan are high enough to protect your countertop from splashes once your caramel started to bubble, it measures 13.9” x 7.8” x 4.1” and weighs only 2.35 pounds. You won’t hurt your arm lifting or carrying this pan since it is pretty lightweight for its size.
- Safety: The saucepan has been tested to have no harmful chemicals like PFOA, lead and cadmium. It also has a cool grip handle tightly riveted to the body of the pan itself.
- Easy to clean: This pan can easily be cleaned with hot soapy water, or you can simply put it in the dishwasher too, just make sure there’s no sharp or pointy things that can damage the pan.
- Some reviews say that the aluminum layer of the interior surface was exposed after it was taken out of the dishwasher. This can be because of either a strong detergent or sharp objects on the dishwasher.
- A number of users have received their pan slightly deformed, either the body itself or the lid doesn’t fit. This is not much to worry about since Utopia Kitchen responds to complaints and is quick to correct their mistake.
- Unfortunately, this pan is not compatible to induction burners like it’s advertised to. There had been customers who purchased this for their induction cookers but it didn’t heat up like it should.
Our Top 3 Recommendations:
- Scanpan Classic 2-Quart Covered Saucepan – This is the saucepan to purchase for average use, it has everything you need to learn how to make a perfect caramel sauce. Its ceramic titanium surface actively helps balance out the heat making it easier for you to get the right caramel consistency.
- All-Clad 4204 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Sauce Pan – I recommend this saucepan for heavy duty use because of its high quality construction. It is best for those who needs a durable nonstick pan like those who are in the baking business, needing to make several batches of ganache, caramel and other delicate dressings.
- Cuisinart MCP19-18N MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel – This saucepan is for those who need a high quality nonstick pan, it uses multi-clad technology so you’ll get even distribution of heat throughout the pan avoiding heat spots. So if you make roux or caramel every now and then, this is the best pan for you.
Cleaning and Maintenance
- Always wash the pans with hot soapy water before first use. This is to remove dust and other dirt collected by the product during testing and shipping process.
- Only use plastic, silicone or wood utensils when cooking on nonstick pans to avoid scratches. Even if the product says “scratch-free”, there’s no harm in using utensils that will not tend to chip the interior surface of the pans.
- Use low to moderate heat only when using a nonstick pan, you must also avoid drastic temperature changes so as not to damage its base and ensure continuous even heat distribution.
- Best to hand wash your pans instead of throwing them in the dishwasher. One reason is that the soap you are using may not be mild enough for the pan, another is that sharp utensils like forks or knives may scratch and damage the surface of the pans.
- Do not use cooking sprays as it may leave sticky residue that will be hard to remove and may ruin its nonstick surface. Since these are stick resistant pans you only need to use little to no oil for frying or sautéing.
Overall, you need to pick a pan that is best suited to your need. Analyze how often you will use it, what size do you need it to be and how much you are willing to spend before you decide which one to get. Remember that you don’t always have to pick the most expensive pan, check its features first and see if it matches what you are looking for in a pan. This is indeed a good investment to make especially if you love to cook, or even if you are still learning to. Hope our comprehensive buying guide have helped you make the right choice. ☺