We believe everyone has gotten lost in the depths of homeware catalogues and the isles of home goods stores at least once while searching for the perfect cookware set. To some, the choices are overly exciting for some and extremely confusing for others – either way, we’ve created a list of five essential pots and pans that deserve a dedicated spot in your kitchen.
5 Most Essential Pots and Pans
You can get these in a variety of sizes ranging from 6’’ – 12’’ in diameter, and use them for basically anything. Due to the range of materials you can choose from, we’ve made a simple breakdown so you can choose what best fits your cooking style.
- Non-Stick Pans: Perfect for medium heat cooking, this pan is easy to clean and won’t require much scrubbing. They work perfectly when cooking foods that typically adhere to the pan’s surface, like eggs, pancakes, crepes, fish and anything with cheese! Take our advice and give it a lick of oil regardless of instructions, it’ll help with developing the perfect “golden crust” we all aim to achieve.
- Stainless Steel: A chef’s favorite! These simple looking pans are perfect when it comes to evenly distributing heat, which makes them the perfect tool for cooking vegetables, meats, and stir fry meals. They’re extremely sturdy and won’t give in to scratches from your utensils.
- Cast Iron: Second to none when it comes to getting a good sear, cast iron pans may take a bit of time to heat up due to their density, but the crust is worth it. We promise. Make sure to search for “Seasoned Skillet” when buying one of these, as it will help with the little bits that tend to stick to the pan. If you’re feeling ambitious, here’s how to season your own!
A classic cast iron or ceramic pot, also known as a Dutch Oven, the cocotte is perfect for slow cooking and gets the job done for those “one-pot” meals. Due to their thickness, they retain heat and slowly release it, keeping your creations hot while you get everyone to the table. They act as the perfect serving dish and won’t damage the aesthetics of your table set-up due to their versatility in shapes, colors, and sizes. This old school cooking vessel, one that has remained a staple on home chefs’ essential pots and pans list, is perfect for braising, baking, stewing, frying, sautéing, and even boiling. Feel free to start your meal on the stove and finish it up in the oven – and if you’re out in the wild, an open fire won’t do any damage.
Another favorite amongst chefs, the allure of this pot is its wide range of responsibilities.
The shape is similar to a cocotte, but it’s not nearly as deep, giving it the versatility of both boiling and stewing, as well as effectively evaporating liquids to achieve higher flavor intensity.
Use this pan to cook your favorite soups, stews, and curries. When choosing a rondeau, make sure to find one with a heavy base which will help with conducting and retaining heat. These pots typically come with a tight-fitting lid, and we recommend finding one that’s oven safe so you can finish – or even fully cook – your meals in the oven.
Don’t let the name or petit size fool you. These pans are more than what they’re named for and are the perfect choice when you don’t have much room but need to get the job done! Available in a variety of materials and finishes, look for ones that have a heavier base, as you would with a rondeau, to help with conducting and retaining heat. They’re a great choice for cooking grains, re-heating leftovers, portioned cooking and, of course, sauces.
Keep in mind that due to their small size, they heat up fairly quickly, so stick to the smaller burner and use medium heat.
Make room for this colossal pot as it’s going to save you some time! As we’ve learned with all pots and pans, they’re available in different materials, but we recommend being a minimalist on this one and going for stainless steel. It’s the perfect vessel for cooking large batches, and its size gives you the chance to speed up the process when boiling or steaming in large quantities. Use this pot to boil potatoes, pasta, stocks, and chilis. It’s a life saver if you’re working with large or oddly shaped foods such as crabs, lobsters, or gourds, which require a spacious cooking field and often cause overflows in regular sized pots. To utilize this jumbo-sized pot a step further, you can use it as a water bath when processing jars of jams and jellies.