There are many different types of pots and pans out there. The choice can be overwhelming. The right set will make your cooking easier for many years.
When choosing your pots and pans, you want to get the ones with a thick bottom. I know the thickness adds to the weight making it not as easy to handle. However, the extra weight is well worth it. The thick bottom helps retain and distribute heat evenly. When you place your steaks or vegetables into the pan, there won’t be much variation in temperature so your dishes will come out evenly cooked. The other benefit of a thick bottomed pan is that they are less likely to warp while cooking in high heat.
As for choosing between non-stick, stainless steel and cast iron, I find that the stainless steel is best. Stainless steel is less likely to get damaged and easiest to maintain. With proper care they can last decades. The other good thing about stainless steel is that it is compatible with all types of stovetops, including the new induction ones.
Having said that, the non-stick and cast iron are good for certain things such as frying eggs, making rice and pancakes. So I would recommend having one or two in your kitchen. Again, you don’t need to go all out and get a huge set. Just get the few high quality pieces I recommend below and add to your set as you go.
Please note: The size range in each recommendation is for your guidance only. Just buy according to your needs. If you are cooking for 1 or 2 persons, stick with the smaller size range. If you are cooking for a family of 4 or 5 go with the bigger size range.
1.5-2qt Sauce Pan With Lid
This sauce pan is perfect for making sauces, steaming vegetables, cooking smaller quantities of pasta or potatoes. It can be used for reheating leftovers, canned soups or just about anything that needs to be reheated
4.5-6qt Non-Stick Sauce Pan With Lid
7-10qt Pot With Lid
8-10in Cast Iron Pan
We use a cast iron pan for frying omelets, eggs and pancakes. It is also good because you can put it in the oven for casserole and other things. Be sure to put on your oven mitts when handling it. The handle does get as hot as the pan.
10-12in Saute Pan With Lid
Caring For Your Pots & Pans
Here are a few tips on how to take care of your pots and pans.
- All stainless steel pieces can go into the dishwasher.
- Deglazing is a really good technique to get everything off your pan. You only need to do this when cooking on high heat. What you do is, when you are done cooking, keep your pans on high heat. Then pour a cup of cold water into the pan and just let it boil and use the wooden spatula to help scrape off everything into the boiling water. At this point, your pan is practically cleaned.
- If you choose to clean the pots and pans by hand, just a bit of soap and water with a good scrub will do the trick.
- To protect the non-stick surface, avoid using stainless steel cooking utensils.
- Non-stick pots and pans last the longest when used only on low-medium heat.
- They usually come with plastic handles. To protect the handles, I don’t recommend washing it in the dishwasher as the dishwasher only uses hot water and high heat to dry.
- Just wash them under warm water with a bit of soup and a sponge. Don’t use a scrub as it might scratch the non-stick surface.
- The trick to cast iron is seasoning it after each use.
- When it is brand new, I recommend doing the following to give the pan a good seasoning from the get-go.
- First time seasoning: Pre-heat the oven at 325 degrees. Wash your pan with soap and a scrub to take off any coating from the factory. Dry it with a towel and put into the oven for 2mins just to make sure it is completely dry. Put a lug of olive oil and use a paper towel to coat the surface of the pan. Put it upside down in the oven and bake for an hour. After doing this, your cast iron is considered seasoned and now has a nice black non-stick coat and ready to use.
- When you are done using it, use the deglaze technique to get everything off.
- To clean it, do not use soap because you want to keep your pan seasoned. Just run it under hot water with a sponge. Towel dry it and coat it with a layer of olive oil before putting it away.