Flared or straight sides for small to medium saucepans

If you have a small to medium saucepan with straight sides and a similar sized one with flared (or curved, what they now seem to call an evasee) sides, how do you assess them? Which, if either, do you use more frequently? If they are different materials, that may be driving your preference, but as much as possible I would like to consider similar materials.


I have one of each type, both approx the same size, and they are used interchangeably. One or the other is used almost daily, so usually only one is clean.

1 Like

I prefer the curved sides, especially for stirring custard or sauce. I think it’s so much easier to see the cooking progress in a pan with curved sides. My favorite is a decade-plus old Kitchen Aid clad 3qt saucepan with curved sides and a lid. This is also my go-to for cooking rice.
I also have a 2.5 qt straight sided nonstick from Le Creuset, and I reach for it if I need to heat up soup or something like that. This pan came in a mystery box from an LC Factory Sale, so I would probably not have bought this myself, but it’s a nice pan to have.


A Windsor of rim diameter X is going to have a capacity substantially less than a straight sided, and the curved bombee shape slightly less. This can be confusing, because they all look about the same size.

Windsors are nice because when doing reductions, the surface:volume ratio stays relatively constant. Therefore, you can use fewer pans than if you use straightwall saucepans. But smoke 'em if you got 'em.

1 Like

I have both, well, all 3. The straight-sided, the bowl shaped, and the Windsor flared straight sided, including a beautiful heavy tinned copper Windsor that I ought when a kitchen store was going out of. Usiness 3 decades ago. I’ve never used it -moto big for my needs - and now I can’t because my stove is induction. I had an old bare aluminum small Windsor - a Toro, which is long rehomed (induction again) which I was so kappa to get because it was like a restaurant saucepan (well, it was). The rest are Demeyere round ones, plus a large all-clad. I use those if I’m making a large quantity of sauce because they’re easier to stir in - also good for finishing pasta. The straight sides ones I use for heating up stuff or if I’m only making a small quantity.

1 Like

I understand that a Windsor will have a smaller volume than a saucepan of the same diameter, but the only time I fill a small pan remotely close to full is to boil or coddle eggs. For things requiring stirring and for reductions, it is easy to give the nod to the Windsor. For reheating, the saucepan might be slightly more efficient. It seems we are talking about close to imperceptible benefits, but hey, even making sloppy Joes out of leftover spaghetti sauce requires stirring. The question came down to something pretty shallow: Which is more fun? On a straight practicality comparison the Windsor has more pluses in its favor. I saw a lot of Windsors in restaurant kitchens and very few saucepans until you got into larger sizes (and more two handled pans at those sizes), but in most home kitchens the saucepan predominates. I don’t like sets, but I do not recall a set with a Windsor. My six inch saucepan will soon need its regular every forty years retinning. I saw a deal on a Windsor for about the cost of two nice pieces of cod more. It got me thinking.

The surface:volume ratio advantage of Windsors applies regardless of fill.

I knew that. All I was saying is that small pots are rarely brimful. That actually means just seeing what is going on is easier with a flared pan.

1 Like

I knew you knew. For that matter, few pans ever get brimful.

I think a better view is a better argument for sloped sides than is better whisking. That one gets all the love.

1 Like

Agreed. My senses are my absolute favorite cooking tools. Even hearing is important.

1 Like
1 Like

I just pulled the trigger on a Windsor last night. Measurements were in two systems, eight inch diameter and 2.1mm thickness. Hammered, iron handle, tin in near new condition, $130. The second martini made me do it.


Cool. You’ve been a big league bird dogger several times lately. Congrats.

If you have an 8" straightwall, please post the two capacities, so we can appreciate the volume difference…

Sorry, my straightwalls bracket 8" at 7 1/2" and 9".

So use those. I bet your 7.5 holds more than the 8" Windsor.

Of course it will, but I’ll compare when the Windsor arrives.

I agree. The whisking is a red herring if you are a regular user of tinned copper, for you either use wooden spoons and silicone whisks or you cook in a very high dollar place that is constantly sending pans out to be tinned and it’s on the owner’s tab. He/she makes up for it by charging almost ten bucks for a small pitcher of Bernaise.

Yes, please, so others know.

When I make nectar for hummingbirds, I’m always surprised at the difference. And displayed by rim size in an etagere, a Windsor is always seriously out of place capacity-wise.

(post deleted by author)

That’s a very nice pan. It has elan.

Not 100% sure the writeup is right. Note the similarities with this modern pan: https://www.ebay.com/itm/135142095930?itmmeta=01J2JGHWHQP2XDAAA8T2JVQ334&hash=item1f7718bc3a:g:JOgAAOSwktBmjuxm&itmprp=enc%3AAQAJAAAA4E%2FT0ygfKHPdmk7LRGMAHgtX%2B0jY9mKh31DgRvPBQjP14TdxuAhJe%2Bgkyj0NPycNX4Q4EN36mH5%2FfIxriGem8swxCvkr6oznEKZD1xRKfdU7MoU08li9795%2B9gowCWxcWjYCfSAa4bJr6jIloD6UJBg4XnwuJUarMV6T9ecr8aTU3TeMgIJiulGJrk6uum8e4IF1bA5gwlmOWyXaTBrWz3TZQEsScD2%2F0g87BEWnt00p%2BIUmrnA%2F25iQP6ASJMmjLGZCVQThXZp3Tag4p0I0i%2Fm8aoTmGeFRzP3Lw%2Fqwl5O1|tkp%3ABFBMhMnH0JRk

There have been a lot of postiche marks of late.

I wonder when Dehillerin stopped making pans…