Best saucepan for perfectly cooked rice: Top 5 helpful non-stick tools

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  April 14, 2021

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Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

You find a delicious rice recipe, but then you realize it calls for a saucepan, and yours make the food stick.

Perhaps your pans are old, and you can’t even find the matching lid anymore. That’s when you know it’s time to get a suitable saucepan that’s versatile for cooking all kinds of ingredients.

If you’ve cooked rice in a saucepan before, you know it’s different than using a rice cooker.

Best saucepan for rice

Whether you’re using a saucepan for cooking rice because you don’t have a rice cooker or looking for great pans that make cooking rice dishes easy, I’ve got you covered with a selection and review of the best saucepans for cooking rice.

If you struggle cooking rice that doesn’t stick and doesn’t get mushy, then you need a tall saucepan with a non-stick coating.

The best overall saucepan for cooking rice is this Calphalon Classic Nonstick Sauce Pan with Cover because it is affordable, doesn’t let the rice stick to the bottom, and has a tall shape with a thick base. These features make it the perfect rice cooking saucepan that is also sturdy and easy to clean.

You can check the table for a quick overview of the best saucepans here and then scroll down to read a detailed and thorough review of each one down below.

Saucepan for cooking rice Images
Best overall non-stick saucepan for cooking rice: Calphalon Classic Nonstick with Cover Best overall non-stick saucepan for cooking rice- Calphalon Classic Nonstick with Cover

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Best budget saucepan for cooking rice: Farberware Buena Cocina Nonstick 3 Quart Lid Best budget saucepan for cooking rice- Farberware Buena Cocina Nonstick 3 Quart Lid

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Best saucepan for cooking rice for induction cooktops: Nonstick Induction 2 Quart Pot with Lid and Stay-cool Handle Best saucepan for cooking rice for induction cooktops- Nonstick Induction 2 Quart Pot with Lid and Stay-cool Handle

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Best premium & cast iron saucepan for cooking rice: Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Best premium & cast iron saucepan for cooking rice- Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature

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Best saucepan for cooking rice for large families: AVACRAFT Top Rated Stainless Steel 6 Quart Stockpot with Glass Strainer Lid Best saucepan for cooking rice for large families- AVACRAFT Top Rated Stainless Steel 6 Quart Stockpot with Glass Strainer Lid

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What is a suitable saucepan for cooking rice?

The real question is, what makes a pan suitable for cooking rice dishes? Does it need to have special features?

Indeed, the answer is yes.

Not all saucepans are created equal, and when you cook rice, you need a pan that won’t cause the rice to stick to the bottom.

There’s nothing worse than preparing a tasty pilaf or fried rice, only to realize it’s all burnt and stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Who knew cooking rice on the stovetop could be challenging? But it CAN if you’re using the wrong tools.

Certain qualities make a pan good for cooking rice:

Best saucepans for cooking rice reviewed

The following list of the best saucepans for cooking rice includes various pans of varying sizes, materials, and prices.

I’ve broken it down to “best for…” and the most common needs you have when cooking rice. Keep reading to see my top picks and why they made the cut!

Best overall non-stick saucepan for cooking rice: Calphalon Classic Nonstick with Cover

Best overall non-stick saucepan for cooking rice- Calphalon Classic Nonstick with Cover

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The saucepan’s key feature is its non-stick coating.

This is important to have when you cook rice because if you’ve cooked rice on the stovetop before, you know it’s the type of food that always sticks to the bottom of the saucepan.

How many times have you had to scrape rice from the bottom of the pan?

It’s a hassle to clean, and that’s probably why you want a better saucepan. But this pan is not only cheap, but it also doesn’t make the rice stick, and it’s pretty heavy-duty.

See some of the benefits of Caphalon pans here:

The pan is made of aluminum which makes it an excellent heat conductor and cooks the rice evenly. The saucepan also has a long stainless-steel handle which makes it sturdy and easy to maneuver.

The handle is coated in silicon, preventing it from heating up, so it’s safe to use.

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It also has a tempered glass lid so you can see the rice while it cooks. Therefore, it’s easy to tell when the rice is fluffy and ready.

Another advantage of this particular saucepan is its tall shape which is ideal for cooking rice and other grains.

What really sells this saucepan is that it also has measuring marks, so you can tell exactly how much water to put. It’s so helpful because you don’t have time to use other measuring cups when you’re in a hurry.

And finally, since the pan has a spout, it’s easy to pour liquids out of it. Therefore, it’s the overall best because it’s very affordable and cooks rice well.

Check the price on Amazon

Best budget saucepan for cooking rice: Farberware Buena Cocina Nonstick 3 Quart Lid

Best budget saucepan for cooking rice- Farberware Buena Cocina Nonstick 3 Quart Lid

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If you want an affordable saucepan for cooking rice with a quality non-stick coating that won’t make your rice stick, then a Farberware saucepan is a good option.

The pan is also oven-safe so that you can make other rice dishes and all kinds of recipes. At under $40, this saucepan is made of durable aluminum and coated with a non-stick coating plus a red enamel exterior.

Not only is it a stylish piece of cookware that enhances the look of your kitchen, but you can count on its sturdy construction.

See the full range of Farberware Buena Cocina Non-stick pans introduced here:

It’s an ergonomic pan with a strong stainless-steel handle that makes it easy to maneuver, and because it’s lightweight, you don’t have to struggle to carry a full saucepan.

The advantage of using this saucepan is that it heats up very quickly, so your rice will start to boil in no time.

Plus, if you hate cleanup and those pans that require constant scrubbing, then you’ll enjoy this saucepan. It is dishwasher safe, and even if you handwash it, its enamel is resistant to scratches.

One criticism I have is that the saucepan is not suitable for use on induction cooktops. But, if you have an electric or gas stovetop, the pan performs very well and cooks rice evenly.

It has a balanced heat style of heat distribution which means that the pan doesn’t overheat on one side. This prevents pilaf and gooey rice dishes from sticking to one side.

Check prices and availability here

Best saucepan for cooking rice for induction cooktops: Nonstick Induction 2 Quart Pot with Lid and Stay-cool Handle

Best saucepan for cooking rice for induction cooktops- Nonstick Induction 2 Quart Pot with Lid and Stay-cool Handle

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A 2-quart saucepan is the perfect size rice cooking saucepan. This Hiteclife model is suitable for use with induction cooktops.

It’s the type of saucepan that doesn’t leave a chemical smell when you use it with your induction cooker.

It’s made of an aluminum base with a 3-layer non-stick coating so you can cook rice easily without worrying about stickiness.

The heat is evenly distributed in the pan so the rice is ready quickly and every grain is tender and fluffy!

An advantage of using this pot is that it’s free of harsh chemicals usually found in cookware, such as PFOA and PFOS, as well as toxic residue. Thus, you can feel confident the rice doesn’t become contaminated.

As far as design, this red-colored saucepan is a stylish addition to any kitchen. The pan’s material and paint are high-temperature resistant, so you don’t need to worry about damage.

Also, the saucepan has an ergonomic, lightweight design and light handle that doesn’t heat up when the rest of the saucepan does.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s a dishwasher-safe pan that makes cleanup a breeze.

Check out the price on Amazon

Also read: Best skillet for induction: top 5 reviewed & what to look for

Best premium & cast iron saucepan for cooking rice: Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature

Best premium & cast iron saucepan for cooking rice- Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature

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When you say quality cookware, one of the most common brands that come to mind is Le Creuset.

If you want a traditional cast iron saucepan that is perfect for cooking rice and a multitude of other foods an expensive yet premium pan is what you need.

The saucepan is made of cast iron that is then covered in durable enamel. It’s the type of cookware that will last you a lifetime, so it’s worth the investment.

Known for being heavy, this particular saucepan is one of the lightest in its category.

The saucepan has a thick base, high-density, and even heat distribution system that won’t burn your rice.

Also, Le Creuset cookware is known for excellent heat retention, and it’s one of those brands that celebrity chefs love to use.

See this quality pan in action here:

The high-quality enamel is resistant to scratches and the wear and tear of cooking. As well, enamel coating is a key material if you don’t want your rice to stick to the pan.

One of the best ways to cook rice in a cast iron saucepan is to pour water until the rice is completely covered. Then, bring the rice to a full boil and let it boil uncovered for about one minute. Reduce the heat and then cook it for another 5 minutes or so.

A cast-iron pan is ideal for cooking rice quickly, but it’s essential to consider the type of rice you cook and the quantity.

Check prices and availability here

Best saucepan for cooking rice for large families: AVACRAFT Top Rated Stainless Steel 6 Quart Stockpot with Glass Strainer Lid

Best saucepan for cooking rice for large families- AVACRAFT Top Rated Stainless Steel 6 Quart Stockpot with Glass Strainer Lid

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When you have a large family and cook for many people, you know that you need cookware that saves you time and works just like it’s supposed to.

You don’t have time for burnt rice and lots of scrubbing afterward. Thus, a sizeable 6-quart saucepan like the Avacraft stainless steel one is the perfect kitchen companion.

AVACRAFT as a brand has an interesting origin story by the way. I always like to hear these stories, check it out here!

The AVACRAFT stock pot comes with a glass strainer, so you can multitask by cooking and straining the rice with this saucepan set.

The pan is induction cooktop safe so that you can use it on all types of cooktops. This makes it very versatile.

You can cook more than just rice because it’s the type of non-stick pot that you can use to make all kinds of foods, including soup, stews, sauces, and cooking all sorts of meats, veggies, and grains.

It even has handy measuring marks, making it easy to pour in just the right amount of water or liquid. This way, you can say goodbye to mushy or sticky rice for good.

The try-ply capsule bottom is thick, which is one of the main characteristics a rice cooking pot must-have. It means that it distributes the heat evenly and stays warm for longer.

Since it’s made of stainless steel, this saucepan is healthier than the aluminum ones because it doesn’t have that nonstick coating.

It’s also resistant to rust and corrosion, so it’s the piece of cookware that you can have in your collection for years to come.

One thing to note is that it has two small handles on each side instead of one long handle, but it’s easier to maneuver.

Check the price on Amazon

Saucepans for cooking rice FAQ’s

Saucepan vs. other pans and why you need a saucepan

In this post, I’m focusing on saucepans for cooking rice only, although there are many types of pots and pans you can use to cook rice, including a good rice cooker.

The main thing to note is that there is a big difference between a saucepan compared to a stockpot, sauté pan, saucier, etc.

A saucepan is usually made of metal like stainless steel or aluminum, and it has high sides, a circular shape, and a long handle.

Some also have an additional helper handle. The high sides and circular shape are the defining and most important features.

If you want to see a tutorial on cooking rice the Japanese way on a stovetop, check out this video. They use an enamel cast-iron saucepan like the Le Creuset I recommend:

Her method is not limited to this kind of pan though, you can use stainless steel and non-stick aluminum, too, and the rice will be tasty and the perfect texture.

Why are the high walls of a saucepan so important?

Well, they increase the volume of the pan, so more food fits in the pan. As a result, the saucepan has a larger surface area.

Since saucepans have a smaller base, they heat the contents of the pan more evenly.

The pans are taller than the width, and therefore the heat is distributed on all sides of the pan and helps you cook evenly.

Saucepans are used mainly for cooking and reducing sauces, deep-frying, braising and boiling water, and cooking grains, like rice. Oven-safe saucepans can help you make all kinds of dishes like baked beans.

If you ever crave a hot cup of cocoa with milk, you can make it in the saucepan.

What material are saucepans made of?

An excellent stainless-steel saucepan is one of the essential pieces of cooking equipment because the material is durable and handles high heat very well.

Advantages of stainless-steel saucepans

An excellent stainless-steel saucepan is one of the essential pieces of cooking equipment because the material is durable and handles high heat very well.

Stainless-steel saucepans are excellent because:

Another great saucepan material is non-stick aluminum.

Advantages of aluminum saucepans

It’s a cheaper alternative to stainless steel, but regardless, the pans are very durable and well-suited for cooking sticky foods like rice.

Generally, aluminum cookware is known for great thermal conductivity, which just means it’s an excellent conductor of heat, which then cooks food evenly.

One disadvantage is that aluminum reacts to acidity and high alkaline foods, but manufacturers solve this problem by adding a non-stick coating.

Advantages of cast-iron saucepans

The third best material for rice cookware is cast iron. You may be familiar with cast-iron cookware as the old-style and traditional cookware of the past.

But, it’s a great material to cook with because it’s healthy and once seasoned, it is the most durable type of saucepan. It will last you a lifetime.

While a bit heavy, a cast-iron saucepan will retain the heat for a long time, so once your rice is hot, it stays hot.

Read more: Why should you buy a cast iron pan? Tips and best buy

How long does it take to cook rice in a saucepan?

Depending on the type of rice and the quantity, it takes about 15-25 minutes to cook the rice. White rice and jasmine rice take a bit longer, whereas brown rice takes even longer than half an hour.

But, it also depends on how firm and how fluffy you want the rice to be. After cooking it, you need to let it absorb the water and then tenderize it with a fork.

For the perfect fluffy stovetop white rice, use a medium saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Bring it to a simmer and then lower the heat.

Allow the rice to cook for about 18 minutes with the lid on. It should absorb the water, and it becomes tender and perfect to eat.

Also read: How to cook sushi rice without a rice cooker

What’s the best saucepan size to cook rice?

Well, there isn’t really just one perfect size because it depends on how much rice you want to cook. Generally, a 4.5-quart saucepan can cook enough rice for a family of about six people.

If you’re just cooking for one, then get the smallest saucepan, and you’ll be fine. Just think of it like this: the recommended serving of rice per person is between 50-75 grams.

Why does rice always stick to the bottom of the saucepan?

When the water begins to boil, the pan’s bottom gets tons of heat and gets hotter than the rest. It becomes even hotter than the boiling water.

This causes the rice to bubble and move around quickly. And because it’s full of starch, it sticks. It’s the same thing that happens when you cook eggs, for example.

How do I keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot?

To prevent the rice from sticking, you need to remove some of the starch. That’s why it’s always necessary to wash and rinse rice before you cook it.

Thus, put the rice in a mesh strainer and run it under cold water for a couple of minutes. The starch makes the rice sticky, and so if you remove some of it, the rice grains become less sticky.

But, the saucepan matters a lot too. A suitable saucepan with a thick bottom will prevent burn and sticky rice.

Can you cook rice in a non-stick pan?

Of course, a non-stick pan is an excellent kind of saucepan for cooking rice.

The non-stick coating is a lifesaver when it comes to cooking rice because it prevents it from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan.

You can use a stainless steel pan, and it works well too.

Conclusion

If you want an alternative to a rice cooker, then a good quality stainless steel, aluminum, or cast iron saucepan is the best way to go.

Not only can the saucepan make the difference between burnt or the perfect fluffy rice, but it can also save you time and money by replacing useless cookware.

All of the saucepans I recommended are versatile, and you can use them for cooking any delicious recipe, not just rice. That makes them kitchen must-haves for cooks of all skill levels.

Even if you can’t really cook, surely you can boil the rice in a saucepan and throw together a yummy meal in no time.

So now you’ve cooked the rice, why not make this great Teppanyaki Fried Rice Recipe in 11 simple steps!

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.