Watching competitive cooking shows like MasterChef and Top Chef not just whets your appetite for food, they also make you want to buy you the amazing cookware that contestants use.
It is very alluring to own cookware that is used and recommended by master chefs.
You may have noticed that this cookware is very glamorous looking (some pots are so pretty you can use them to serve food directly from the stovetop to your dining table) but that’s not all they are good for.
The best kind of cookware allows you to make food in the way it is supposed to be made.
No matter how good your grandma’s recipe is, if you do not have the right cookware, you will always feel there is something a little bit missing in your food.
With the huge variety of cookware available in the market, from copper and aluminum to cast iron and porcelain, it can be quite a chore to decide which ones are right for your home.
In this guide, we will give you the ultimate cookware list so that you can decide which ones fit the bill.
If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of household cookware, we got you covered:
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- 1 What Every Cookware Set Should Contain?
- 2 Ultimate List of Cookware For Your Household
- 2.1 Subtypes of Pans
- 2.2 Saute Pan
- 2.3 Subtypes of Pots
- 2.4 Subtypes of Cookers
- 3 Bottom Line
What Every Cookware Set Should Contain?
If you don’t want to go to a hassle of selecting individual pieces of cookware, a cookware set is a great option.
Although it may be tempting to choose a 16-piece set, bigger sets don’t necessarily add value for you.
They are more likely to add clutter to your kitchen by offering you pieces that are overly specific or are just filler items.
Therefore, you may end up wasting both your storage space and your money. However, just a few cookware items can help you make a large variety of decisions.
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay recommends every house should have:
- A nonstick pan. Ramsay uses ScanPan, but any pan with a solid bottom is a good option.
- A saucepan
- A frying pan with a lid
With only these three pieces of cookware, you can make a smorgasbord of food.
Ultimate List of Cookware For Your Household
Although a few pieces of cookware can go a long way, most households need a bigger variety, especially if they have a large family or they like to entertain guests.
So here is a list of pots, pans and other cookware that you can buy, depending on your specific needs.
Subtypes of Pans
Pans come in various subtypes. Although one or two pan can do a lot of work, certain pans are made to fry certain things.
Everyone knows what a frying pan. It is a shallow pan with sloped edges and a long handle.
They are one of the most basic and essential cookware in any kitchen and are great for frying eggs, making pasta, or grilling fish, even.
Best material: Frying pans are made from a stainless steel, cast iron, carbon-steel, ceramic, and more. Most chefs recommend heavy-bottom pans with nonstick features. Make sure the non-stick feature does not come from Teflon as it can be hazardous to health. Instead, use ceramic glazed pans. Many chefs also love stainless steel pans though they can result in hot spots which can scorch your food. So you need to be extra vigilant when frying food in stainless steel pans.
An egg pan is a small frying pan with nonstick coating that is used to fry eggs.
So the question is why would anyone need an egg pan when they have a perfectly good frying pan?
The answer is that many people are very picky about how their eggs are made.
With larger frying pans, the eggs can spread wide, making them thinner than one actually want.
You can also more easily flip your egg with a spatula in a smaller frying pan.
For most people, an 8-inch egg pan is a great deal since they are big enough to make a great omelette as well.
Best material: Same as a frying pan, though the surface needs to be non-stick to prevent the eggs from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
A saucepan is like a hybrid between a pot and a frying pan.
It has a long handle but is much more deep-bottomed and higher-walled than a frying pan.
This prevents liquid from splattering or sloshing over the sides.
As the name indicates, it is used to make a wide variety of sauces, with the handle giving the user the convenience to move the ingredient around.
Most saucepans come with glass lids as well. Aside from sauces, saucepans can also be used to make soups, noodles, pasta and rice.
Best material: Like the frying pan, saucepans can be made from many different materials and can be coated. Some chefs recommend multi-clad stainless steel is the best type of material for saucepans. These saucepans have a layer of aluminum sandwiched between two stainless steel layers, which allows for more even cooking.
Saute pan are lower-walled versions of the saucepan.
They have flat bottoms and come with lids and have higher walls than frying pans, which prevent the liquid inside from evaporating too quickly.
A sauté pan should have a wide bottom so that all the ingredients are not clumped inside.
The flat bottom also promote even distribution of heat.
The concept behind sauté is to quickly cook food using very little amount of butter and oil over a high flame.
In French, sauté means to “jump” as expert chefs use the pan to flip and toss the ingredients inside.
Saute pans can be used to make versatile food, like poached or scrambled eggs, frying veggies, or searing meat.
Best material: Saute pans are made from different materials like copper, aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron, or a combination of these materials. The best material for even heat conductivity is copper; however, they can be quite expensive and you will have to go to a lot of pain to keep them shiny. They can also react with food. Chefs recommend using anodized aluminum sauté pans as they conduct heat evenly, do not react with food, are easy to clean and are a lot cheaper.
Crepe pans are similar to frying pans but they have very low, usually straight sides.
The pan is designed so that it is easier to slide in your spatula beneath a paper-thin crepe without the hindrance of a higher lip.
As the names suggests, they are primarily used to make crepe, though you can fry other items in them that require little oil.
Best material: Cast aluminum is a popular material when it comes to the exterior of crepe pans as it heats up evenly. Anodized aluminum is also a great choice for the same reason. Cast iron is another great choice as it lasts a long time. The inner of the pan needs to be nonstick and as such is often coated by ceramic, cast iron or QuanTanium. Avoid any coating with toxic substance like PFOA and PFTE.
A griddle is a large, flat cookware without any edges.
It is a very versatile cookware and you can use it to make breakfast food like eggs, French toast or pancakes, but it can also be used to cook hamburger patties.
The best part about a griddle is that it is large enough to cook several eggs, pancakes, steaks or patties simultaneously, so you can cook more in less time.
Note that griddles will occupy two or more burners at a time.
Best material: Anodized aluminum, stainless steel and cast iron are usually used for steel griddles. However, since cast iron and stainless steel do not heat evenly, it is best to get griddles with copper or aluminum cores.
Woks have a deep and very rounded bottom with a sloping edge.
They are equipped with twin handles so it is easy to pick up the cookware or move the food around without using spoons or spatula.
Woks are a staple cookware in Asian cuisine and are used to quickly stir-fry veggies.
However, they are deep enough that they can also accommodate you if you want to steam dumplings or deep fry food.
Best material: Traditionally, woks are made of wrought iron or carbon steel; however, these days, you can also find woks made of stainless steel and copper, and with nonstick surfaces.
Paella pans are round, wide, and relatively shallow dishes with sloping sides and two or more handles.
This type of pan is designed to cook rice that is spread out in a flat layer.
This allows the rice to retain more water and flavor and it makes for the perfect paella.
Among chefs who make Spanish cuisine, a paella pan is a must-have cookware.
Best material: Cast iron is a very popular choice when it comes to making paella pans. You may also opt for carbon steel pans since they are more lightweight and can heat up and cool down quickly.
A skillet is the basically the same as a frying pan but it has taller edges.
Skillets have virtually unlimited uses and can be used for frying, blackening, and even searing and roasting tender cuts of meats.
You can use the skillet both on the stove top or an oven, provided it has a metal handle.
Best material: A skillet is made from cast iron, so special care is required so that it doesn’t rust. Most chefs recommend washing it with mild soap and water and then rubbing it with some oil so the food remains seasoned and the metal does not corrode.
A roasting pan is a large, rectangular pan which is oven-safe. It typically looks like an oversized baking dish.
It can also be used with a metal rack that is designed to sit inside the pan so that meat juices and fats can drip into the pan and from a gravy.
Roasting pans are used to cook lasagna, veggies, gravy and large cuts of meat.
Best material: Roasting pans are usually made of stainless steel or cast iron and also come in enameled and non-stick varieties. Most people prefer stainless steel pans since cast-iron pans can be quite heavy.
Subtypes of Pots
Pots can be any variety of cookware that is deep-bottomed and round. Pots typically have two handles on opposing sides and a lid.
Stockpots are large pots with straight sides that are taller than the pot is wide. These pots are designed to make stocks, broths and soups, and steaming vegetables.
Most stock pots are used on stovetops and are not designed to be used in an oven, so they shouldn’t be used to cook braised dishes.
Best material: Stock pots can be made from a variety of material including stainless steel, copper, aluminum and enamel-coated metal. The best types of stockpots are made with two or more layers of metal to improve heat conductivity.
A rondeau pan is also known as a braising pan or a brazier pot and is one of the favorite pots in a chef’s arsenal.
It is a wide, round, and relatively shallow pot with straight sides, two loop handles and a lid.
The shape is perfect for frying, roasting, searing, braising, and simmering a wide variety of dishes.
It is wide enough hat it helps to absorb flavors but deep enough that food is effectively poached or braised.
Best material: Most rondeau pots are made of stainless steel. However, aluminum and carbon steel pots are also good choices.
If you are looking for a versatile pot that can be used to make soup, sauces, pasta, stews, braises, and even bread, look no further than a Dutch oven.
Dutch ovens are like braising pans but with a thicker built. They can also be used in ovens, unlike stockpots.
Dutch ovens are a great investment since they can last you for a very long time. Additionally, you can use them to serve the food at your dinner table as well.
Best material: Many Dutch ovens have a solid cast-iron construction and some good-quality varieties come with enamel-coated nonstick interior which prevents food from sticking to the bottom.
A tagine is a Moroccan earthenware pot. The pot is usually rounded and quite shallow.
It is fitted with a high cone shaped lid that allows condensation to form and drip down on the food as it cooks.
This means the food retains much of its flavor and moisture content. The pot is used to make the famous Moroccan dish, tagine.
Best material: Tagine is traditionally made fromunglazed clay or ceramic, so it contains no harmful heavy metals or toxic substances.
Subtypes of Cookers
A cooker is a type of deep pot with a specially designed lid that retains vapor or allow it to escape in a more controlled manner.
These pots usually require large amounts of liquid to cook the food.
A slow cooker, also known as a crock-pot, is a great cookware for inexperienced cooks.
It is a countertop electrical cookware that is designed to simmer food at low temperatures for several hours, as opposed to quick cooking methods like frying and boiling.
A huge number of dishes can be made in slow cookers including stews and soups, as well as hot chocolate and bread.
Best material: Slow cookers are made of metal that are coated with a porcelain or ceramic layer. Since they are electrical devices, they also contain an electric heating element. The lid is made of glass so that you can look at the state of your food without lifting the cover and allowing steam to escape.
A pressure cooker is a large pot that comes with a special lid that traps all the steam inside the pot.
As a result, food is cooked under pressure and the cooking process is accelerated as much as 70 percent.
Pressure cooker requires a lot of water to cook food successfully.
Since these cookers involve a lot of air pressure, if you don’t close them correctly, you can risk blowing up the lid, which would allow scalding steam and food to spatter everywhere.
However, modern models are much better rated for safe cooking.
Best material: Pressure cookers are usually made of aluminum, anodized aluminum, or stainless steel. Stainless steel models are becoming popular since the cookware is shinier; however it does not conduct heat as well as aluminum. To resolve this, multi-clad pressure cookers have become available in the market. But they can be pretty pricey.
Most top-notch chef kitchens have rice cookers.
Rice cookers come in various forms though the modern versions are mostly electric and come with a deep pot that houses the grain and water.
A rice cooker is used to cook not just rice but can also boil and steam grains like bulgar wheat, barley, quinoa, polenta, oats, and split pulses.
Some simple rice dishes like couscous can also be made in a rice cooker.
Best material: Most modern rice cookers come with aluminum inner pots, although some models also use stainless steel. More expensive versions may be made with copper, or coated with porcelain or diamond-powdered coating, for better taste and heat conductivity.
Do you really need to buy all the pots and pans in our cookware list?
Of course not, but this list can help you decide which type of cookware best fits your cooking needs.
Making the final decision on buying a certain type of pot or the material of the cookware depends on your personal preferences as well as budget.
When choosing a cookware, it is important to do good research and take your time, so that you can buy a product that is of good quality, affordable, and can last you a long time.