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If you’ve ever tried making risotto, you’ll know how beneficial it is to have the right pan. Does that mean you must rush out and buy a risotto pan to make one dish? Before I did, I did some research and found I already have good options in my cupboard.
What Is the Best Pan for Risotto?
The best pan for risotto is a broad, shallow sauté pan with sloped sides, typically made of stainless steel or tri-ply construction. This design allows even heat distribution and facilitates liquid evaporation, crucial for achieving the creamy consistency of risotto. A heavy bottom and comfortable handle are also essential features.
Below are three of the best pans for making a perfect and creamy risotto:
1. A Chef Pan Or Saucier
A chef pan (saucier) is the best pan for making risotto. These French-inspired pans cross between a sauté pan and a saucepan and are ideal for making creamy dishes. Most sauciers are made from stainless steel, and some have copper lining for improved heat distribution.
Pros Of A Chef Pan
- The rounded bottom allows you to stir the ingredients more efficiently.
- The large cooking surface area and the lower, slightly flared sides help to reduce sauces efficiently.
- Chef pans usually have heavy bases to prevent burning.
Cons Of A Chef Pan
- The rounded bottom of a chef pan could be better for electric stovetops.
- Only some sauciers have a copper lining.
- They are less readily available than regular pots and pans.
2. A Large Stainless-Steel Sauté Pan
The next best option for making risotto is a large stainless-steel sauté pan or skillet. I use this because I don’t have a saucier or the space to store more cookware, and it works well for me. It’s also one of the ideal pans for cooking steak.
Look for the following properties in a sauté pan when making risotto:
- A large, flat, heavy-bottomed base.
- Medium-height sides.
- About three-quarter capacity for six servings.
Pros Of A Sauté Pan
- They have a large cooking area to facilitate stirring and evaporation.
- Most stainless-steel pans have a thicker base to prevent burning.
- Stainless steel pans are commonplace, and you can select from various sizes.
Cons Of A Sauté Pan
Despite being a practical choice for most households, there are some cons to using a sauté pan for making risotto:
- The sides need to be higher for larger servings, this could cause spills and uneven cooking.
- Risotto can dry out too quickly or stick to the bottom of the pan if it is too shallow for constant stirring.
3. A Seasoned Cast Iron Pan
Cast iron pans are also a fantastic option for making risotto, especially if you don’t have a stainless steel saucier or sauté pan. These heavy pans are great for distributing heat evenly through food. Still, you would need to preheat yours before cooking risotto. This is because cast iron takes a while to heat up evenly, and your risotto needs a maximum of 20 minutes of cooking time.
The cast iron pan you use should have a large base and surface area and medium-height sides for even cooking. Additionally, it should be seasoned to prevent the ingredients from sticking to the sides. Cast iron pan is also one of the best cookware for high heat cooking.
Pros Of A Cast Iron Pan
- These heavy pans (or pots) often come with a bucket-like handle to hang them over a fire. (When my family goes camping, I sometimes make risotto over the fire – that wood smoke adds a delicious flavor to the dish.)
- Even Heat Distribution: Cast iron pans distribute heat evenly, helping prevent hot spots and promoting uniform risotto cooking.
- Retains Heat: Cast iron retains heat well, which is excellent for maintaining a consistent temperature during the slow cooking process required for risotto, ensuring a creamy texture. Cast iron is also an alternative pan I use in cooking steak.
Cons Of A Cast Iron Pan
Below are some of the disadvantages of using a cast iron pan for your risotto:
- You must preheat the pan before cooking.
- The dark-colored pan makes it challenging to monitor the ingredients.
- If the pan isn’t seasoned, the ingredients will stick to the inner surfaces, and the dish might taste metallic.
What Can I Use If I Don’t Have A Risotto Pan?
If you don’t have one of the three pans listed above, you can use a pan (or pot) with the following properties:
A large or wide cooking surface area to spread and stir the risotto.
A heavy-bottomed base.
Metal that conducts heat evenly and effectively.
Medium to high sides, but not too high.
A flat bottom with straight sides if cooking on an electric stovetop for better heat conduction.
Can You Cook Risotto In A Stock Pot?
Although not ideal, you could make risotto in a stock pot. Stock pots generally have high sides designed to keep most of the moisture. This means you have to cook your risotto longer with the potential of it turning mushy
How Do You Keep Risotto From Sticking To The Pan?
You can prevent your risotto from sticking to the pan by stirring it frequently during cooking. Additionally, using non-stick types of pans or seasoned pan with a thick bottom can reduce the chances of food sticking to it.
The best pan for making risotto is a saucier or chef pan. These pans are a sauté pan and saucepan hybrid, and their dimension ratios are ideal for making creamy dishes. If you don’t have a chef pan, consider using a large stainless-steel sauté or cast iron pan instead. Whichever you choose, ensure the sides are high enough, and the pan is large enough for even heat distribution.
Richmond Howard started Meal Prepify in 2019 and has helped over a million people learn how to meal prep, get better at meal planning, and create a kitchen they love to use. He’s an avid home chef and loves to bbq, grill out, and make awesome food for family and friends. He’s been featured on MSN, Renaissance Periodization, and Good Financial Cents.