A sautéuse and a Dutch oven have a lot in common, but there are some distinct differences between these pans.
A sautéuse is a covered pan that has a wide base and sloped sides, and it is designed to work on the stove or in the oven. A Dutch oven is similar, but deeper, with straight sides. It is more suitable for casseroles, stews, and one-pot meals. When pans are of cast iron construction both can withstand high heat.
In this comparison article, I refer to enameled cast iron Dutch ovens and as some call a sauteuse oven as the two are the ones I use during my cooking process. Both types of cookware can be found are made from different materials like stainless steel, ceramic, and those nonstick coating.
They are also known by various names including French ovens, stock pots, soup pot, and all-in-one pots, and are good alternatives if a heavier pan of cast-iron construction is not for you.
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What Is a Sautéuse?
A sautéuse is a large pan that comes from the French word for sauté pan or frying pan. The size and material of this pan can vary, but it is always designed with a large, flat base, and sides that slope gently upward.
This gives you a deep pan for cooking in, while the sloped sides make it easy to use a spatula or a whisk in it. Any dish that needs a lot of stirring is best cooked in a sautéuse because you can thoroughly stir the food inside without having to fight with the pan’s angles. It is easy to sweep foods down to the base to mix them.
Sautéuse pans are designed to be used on the hob and then transferred to the oven. They generally have a well-fitting lid to trap moisture in, but the sides are not enormously deep, and if you want to make a dish with a lot of liquid, choose a different pan.
What Is a Dutch Oven?
Dutch ovens are similar, but the sides are much more angular, and they tend to be quite a lot deeper. This makes it hard to use a spatula or a whisk inside a Dutch oven but does give you a lot more scope for creating moisture-rich dishes. Casseroles and stews are delicious when cooked in a Dutch oven.
A lot of people opt for Dutch ovens, and they are popular for use on campfires as well as in the kitchen. This means they are a particularly adaptable piece of equipment, and you can fit whole meals in them.
Like the sautéuse pan, a Dutch oven is designed to work on both the stove and in the oven. You can transfer the pan between the two. Many Dutch ovens are made of cast iron, but they are not material specific, and other materials could be used.
Which Is Easier to Use?
This depends on what you are trying to make, unfortunately, and some chefs swear by having both pans available to them. A sautéuse may be easier if you are making shallow fried foods because you can get the spatula in to toss them around.
Similarly, a Dutch oven will be easier if you are making liquid dishes. Both of the pans are quite heavy, but most designs feature two handles, making them easy to hold and much more stable in your hands. They are comfortable to grip and can be slid in and out of the oven easily.
Really, there is not much between the two, because it is so dependent on what you are making. Both a Dutch oven and a sautéuse can be very useful in the kitchen. They are non-fuss, versatile pieces of equipment that serve a wide range of purposes.
What Can You Cook in a Sautéuse?
A sautéuse is your best choice if you are making sauces. This is because the pan has rounded sides, so you can easily lift the sauce away and minimize the risk of burning it. It’s also easier to whisk ingredients in and make sure they are evenly distributed because of the rounding.
The edges may not be as deep as a Dutch oven’s sides, but they are still reasonably deep, which can help reduce splatter if you’re cooking foods that spit. You get quite a lot of volume in the pan, despite the fact that it’s not tall, so you can simmer stocks in it for a long time, especially if you put the lid on.
You can also steam foods nicely in a saute pan because it holds moisture well. Simply put the lid on, add the liquid, and let the food inside gently steam for as long as necessary. If you are slow cooking anything, this is an excellent method that gives you good heat distribution and minimal risk of burning the food.
You can also do reductions in these flexible pans, this time by leaving the lid off. Because the pan has a lot of contact with the stove, the liquid will quickly evaporate, which is ideal if you’re reducing foods or cooking something like rice, where you want to make sure the liquid boils off.
What Can You Cook in a Dutch Oven?
A Dutch oven has, even more, uses, although the steeper sides do make it a little more difficult to cook sauces in because it’s trickier to get a whisk into all the corners of the pan. However, it can still be done.
Dutch ovens are ideal for a wide range of cooking purposes, including casseroles, soups, stews, braised meats, baked pasta dishes, and more. You can even bake bread in a Dutch oven; their ability to conduct heat evenly makes a delicious loaf that everyone will enjoy.
Fried food is also possible in one of these clever pans, and if you don’t have a deep fryer, it’s probably the answer to any frying you wish to do. Because the heat conduction is so even, you don’t need to worry about the meat getting overcooked in places and undercooked in others, which can make cooking so much more relaxing.
In short, you can make almost anything in a Dutch oven, and they are popular all over the world.
Which Is More Versatile?
Both pans are pretty versatile and you can use whichever suits you, but on the whole, a Dutch oven probably wins on versatility. This is simply because it has deeper sides, so it’s easier to cook liquids in it. A sautéuse may not be suitable for stews and soups.
However, both can be used for most kinds of cooking, and they are a great option if you often want to cook on the hob and then transfer the dish to the oven to finish baking.
Which Is More Expensive?
The prices for both kinds of the pan can vary a lot depending on the material used for the pan and the size and brand that you buy. Dutch ovens cost between $25 and $350, which is an enormous range. The higher-priced pans tend to be the cast iron enameled ones, as these are considered superior.
You can generally buy sautéuse pans for as little as $35, but they again range up to about $250 or $300. They are often a little cheaper than Dutch ovens, but this will depend on the brand that you choose. Le Creuset is particularly famous for producing sautéuse pans, but these cost approximately $240 each.
Both can therefore be purchased either cheaply or expensively, and which you should opt for depends on your budget and how high quality you like your kitchenware to be.
Can You Use a Sautéuse Like a Dutch Oven?
This will depend on what you are cooking. The two kinds of pans can sometimes be used interchangeably, but if you are making a dish that contains a lot of liquid, a sautéuse pan will not be ideal because it doesn’t have enough depth. In such cases, you wouldn’t be able to swap it for a Dutch oven.
Equally, if you want to make a sauce or fry things that need regularly moving with a spatula, you will find a Dutch oven less convenient than a sautéuse. You can probably still use a Dutch oven for this purpose, but it won’t be as easy and you might have more problems with foods sticking.
Do You Need Both Kinds of Pans?
This depends on how much cooking you do and how varied your dishes are. If you focus predominantly on stews and soups, you might find that you have little use for a sautéuse, and vice versa if you do a lot of frying.
However, if you vary your dishes a lot, you may find it surprisingly useful to have both a sautéuse and a Dutch oven. You can then pick whichever is best suited to the dish you are currently making or use them in conjunction with each other if that works better.
If you are on a tight budget or short of space in your kitchen, a Dutch oven will probably prove a slightly more versatile and useful piece of equipment, but you should weigh up the pros and cons of both before you make a decision.
Sauteuse and Dutch Oven Comparision Table
Trying to find the best sauteuse pan for your needs. This quick reference comparison table breaks down the differences between the two most popular materials in this type of iron cookware. As a further comparison, I have added a clad stainless steel saute pan.
|Le Creuset Sauteuse Pan||Le Creuset Dutch Oven||Stainless Steel Pan|
|Made In||France||France||Clad is made in Canonsburg, PA handle is made in China|
|Uses||Sautéing, simmering, frying, searing, browning, reduction, size-appropriate baking, and roasting||Slow Cooking, sautéing, simmering, frying, searing, browning, reduction, baking, roast||This pan works more like a frying pan or wok due to its fast cooking capabilities. So while it can carry out searing and reduction of sauces its inability to retain heat makes slow cooking difficult|
|Dishes||Casseroles, sides, soups, frying,||Stews, soups, casseroles, stocks, sauces, frying, deep frying, roasts, bread||Shallow frying, stir-frying, sauteing, browning, sauces|
|Design||The shape of the Le Creuset sauteuse makes it look like a shallower Dutch oven but for the rounded base and sloping sides.||The shape of the signature Le Creuset Dutch oven is that of classic iron ovens. This is a versatile shape and has a flat bottom, straight sides integrated handles heavy lid.||Clad tri-play stainless steel with aluminum core for quicker heating. Its versatile pan includes a large cooking surface and rounded easy pour edges. The long handle, helper handle, and high rounded sides open you up to the types of dishes you can prepare.|
|Interior & Exterior Finish||Sand-colored interior enamel and bright-colored enamel exteriors||Sand-colored interior enamel and bright-colored enamel exteriors||All-Clad tri-play stainless steel exterior with aluminum core|
|Height||5.79 inches||5.6 inches (plus different sizes)||6 inches (plus different sizes)|
|Lid||Heavy and tight-fitting||Heavy and tight-fitting||Stainless steel lids|
|Ergonomic Handles||Large loop handles||Curved small handles||Long handle and helper handle|
|Weight||3.5-quart weighs 10.1 pounds||3.5-quart weighs 8.75 pounds||4-quart weighs 3.93 pounds|
|Heat Sources||Electric, gas, ceramic, halogen, glass, induction||Electric, gas, ceramic, halogen, glass, induction||Electric, gas, ceramic, halogen, glass, induction|
|Performance||Heats up slow like all cast iron. High heat retention and even heating||Heats up slow like all cast iron. High heat retention and even heating||Heats up fast with the aluminum core at high temperatures|
|Dishwasher Safe||Yes, hand washing is recommended for maintaining the enamel surface||Yes, hand washing is recommended for maintaining the enamel surface||Hand washing is recommended for maintaining the surface|
|Price||Expensive||Expensive||Affordable to Expensive|
Get the Best Price
Of course, you can go to the Le Creuset website or the Sur la Table website but why not check out my article Best Prices for Le Creuset: Locations, Sales, Clearances? Sales can be found there all year round not just on Black Friday.
What is the Difference Between a Sauteuse and a Braiser?
The main difference between a sauteuse and a braiser is the size and shape of each piece of cookware even though they are of the same capacity. For example, a Le Creuset 3.5-quart sauteuse measures 9.5 inches and 3 inches high while a Le Creuset 3.5-quart braiser measures 13.6 inches in diameter and 4.6 inches high.
Wrapping Up: Sautéuse vs Dutch oven
A sautéuse and a Dutch oven may look quite similar, but they are different enough that many chefs like to have both options available to them.
A sautéuse has sloped sides that make it easier to cook sauces and whisk together ingredients, and the wide base is perfect for browning meat. A Dutch oven is a versatile, deep, and wide pan that can be used to cook a whole range of meals.
One-Pot Cooking Rocks