Saute Pan vs. Wok

Saute Pan vs. Wok : Which One to Use When Preparing Food?

When it comes to stir-frying, we mainly opt for either a sauté pan or a wok. While both of these cooking appliances might seem very similar, they have quite a few differences.

So, if this is your first time purchasing cookware like this, which one should you choose? What are the uses of both of these cooking appliances? And which one is used for what?

You need to know what these individual appliances do to choose one that can cater to your needs. Today we'll find out which utensil you should choose between a saute pan vs wok.

So, let's get started, shall we?

What Is a Saute Pan?

What Is a Saute Pan

 If you like to cook or have a little bit of experience with cooking, you already know what a saute pan is. This tool has become a pretty common cooking appliance in almost everyone's kitchen.

A saute pan can be differentiated because of its unique shape and size. Unlike most of the frying pans that we own, a saute pan is a bit straighter and has higher sides. Saute pans usually come with their handles and lids.

Advantages of Using a Saute Pan

Advantages of Using a Saute Pan

Saute pans can come in handy for a lot of cooking tasks. Let's take a look at a few of the advantages that this cooking appliance has to offer.


Most of the people who buy a saute pan go for the tool because of its size. The pan is not too big and not too small. Therefore, the pan can be placed on a stovetop quite easily. But the pan is also large and wide enough to hold large amounts of food.


The shape of a saute pan is quite similar to the usual frying pans that we own. It's flatter and therefore easier to store. This cooking appliance doesn't need a special storage place.


You can cook almost anything on a saute pan. From sauteeing vegetables to cooking meat, everything can be done on this pan. Because the saute pan is flat, it can be used for a variety of cooking chronicles. A saute pan can be used for stir-frying vegetables and cooking steaks or fish.

Any food that needs to be cooked in a flat state can be cooked on this pan.

Disadvantages of Using Saute Pan

While a saute pan might look like a fantastic cooking appliance to own, it does have a few drawbacks. Let's look at a few of the things that we don't like about this cooking pan.

Hard to Toss Food

Hard to Toss Food

Saute pans are pretty flat. Therefore, if you are cooking something that needs to be tossed, for example, fried rice, a saute pan might not be the right option.

Large size saute pans might give you a lot of space, but they don't give you the ease of tossing. If you toss too vigorously, the food might overspill and fall off of the pan entirely.

No Variety in Temperature

The entire saute pan works at only one temperature. Therefore, it cooks the food at a single regulated temperature. Every part of the pan stays hot.

So, if you have food that is done cooking, you cannot push it to the side. It has to be taken off of the saute pan and kept aside. When you are cooking in bulk, this small feature can result in a delay in work.

What Is a Wok?

What Is a Wok

A wok is a cooking appliance mainly used in Asian cuisine. Woks can be identified easily because of their deep structure.

The bottom or center of the pan has little space to offer. A wok has an outward sloping side and is usually quite broad.

These cooking appliances are usually made out of carbon steel. You also get to choose between cast iron or non-stick options.

Advantages of Using a Wok

Advantages of Using a Wok

Woks are primarily used in Chinese or Asian cuisines. But they have slowly but surely made their way into our kitchens at home.

Let's look at a few advantages of using a wok in the kitchen.


Woks usually have a lot of space to offer. The center is a bit tight, but it has a lot of space on the sides. It allows the food to be moved continuously.

When you're cooking with high heat, this can be beneficial, preventing food from burning.

Easy Tossing

Woks are great for tossing. They have a lot of space on the side that lets you toss food as vigorously as you want, without having to worry about food spilling.

You can easily move the wok in a dip and flip motion for easy tossing.

Can Be Used in High Heat

Woks are made with very high-quality material. So, the product can be used with extreme heat without having to worry about its durability.

In Asian cooking, woks are used for flash cooking. Using high heat, you can get crunchier vegetables and more chard and flavorful meat and fish. The appliance is great for adding additional flavor to food.

Different Temperatures in The Same Pan

Different Temperatures in The Same Pan

The sides of the wok are cooler than the center. Therefore, if you have food compiled together that needs to be cooked at a different temperature, you can use a wok.

Already cooked food can be pushed to the side of the wok, while the remaining ones keep on cooking.

Disadvantages of a Wok

A wok is a superb appliance for flash cooking with high heat. But just like everything else in the world, this tool has a few disadvantages as well.

Hard to Store

Woks have a very deep design. That is an odd or more unique shape than the other pans that we have in the kitchen.

So, storing the wok can be a bit difficult. You will probably have to clear out or make some space for storing this tool correctly.

What Are The Key Differences Between Saute Pan and Wok?

Differences between Saute Pan and Wok

After knowing about the pros and cons of both of these appliances, making the final decision between the two can be a bit difficult. Both the cookware have unique features that can draw customers. But when it comes to investing, which one should you choose?

Let's compare a few features of the two products to determine which one will better suit your needs.


Saute pans have a similar design and shape to regular pans. Therefore, storing them is not that much of a hassle. You can keep them beside your existing frying pans in the kitchen.

On the other hand, storing a wok can prove to be a little bit more complicated. If the design is a bit more unique and deeper, the product might be difficult to store.

You will undoubtedly have to clear out space for storing a wok safely. So, when it comes to storage, saute pans are easier to keep.


You can use a saute pan for sauteing vegetables, reducing sauces, cooking steaks, fish, chicken to make risottos, and for curries as well.

Woks are great for a variety of dishes. You can use this appliance for stir-frying, rice dishes, eggs, small pieces of meat, and many other things.

Cooking Speed

A wok is used on very high heat. It's used for flash cooking and is great for cooking meals when you're in a rush.

Saute pans, on the other hand, take a normal amount of time to cook food. So, if you are in a hurry and need your food cooked quite fast, we would suggest that you go for a wok.


Saute pans do not need that much maintenance. Depending on the pan's material, you will either have to wash them or throw them in the dishwasher.

Woks require a lot of maintenance. You have to oil woks and temper them as well. Most of the woks are made with cast iron that need to be hand-washed. So, only go for a wok if you're ready for the commitment.


When it comes to durability, woks are the clear winner. Woks are generally made with a much stronger material than saute pans.

Saute pans can be made out of aluminum or lightweight steel. But woks are made with cast iron. It means that a wok that you buy today will last you for several years.

Final Verdict

As we mentioned before, choosing between a wok vs. saute pan can be difficult. As you have already seen, both of these appliances have great uses.

We would suggest that you go for a wok if you are quite an experienced cook. Because this tool requires a lot of maintenance, it can be hard to deal with if you are a beginner.

If you want a cooking appliance that you can use to saute vegetables and cooked steaks and meat on as well, a saute pan might be the better option for you.

Ultimately the choice between the two is entirely subjective! It really depends on what you're going to be using the appliance for. is a participant in the Amazon Associate program and will earn from qualifying purchases.