Buying a set of essential pots and pans for your kitchen is a tempting move. Because you will typically go from naught to fully stocked with a single click. Finding a one for all type of solution is just impossible. Look around and you will see that probably you already have needless duplicates in your kitchen.
So, we offer you a solution! Types of pans and pots which are absolute essentials are here for you. But we also advise you to buy only what you require and when you need it. We’ve built the list starting with types of pans for cooking, types of pans for baking, and the essentials and also offering a few words on materials, buying tips, and brands you should consider.
Different Types Of Pans For Cooking
One of the best investments you can make for your kitchen is great cookware. But there are many choices out there. Picking the correct product can be a difficult task.
The first and foremost thing you should consider is what kind of cooking you want to do, perhaps on a daily or weekly basis, how many people you are most likely to be cooking for and finally, your level of cooking expertise. You should set up your selection by picking out basic pieces first and then start adding specialty pots and pans that you desire for your kitchen.
A chef’s pan is a sizeable, all-purpose pan formed like a saucier. But larger than an actual saucier, and sometimes comes with a domed lid. Best for making flavor-filled reductions. Or whipping up delicious sauces, custards, or risottos that need a lot of whipping.
A cooking tool that is traditionally made of cast iron. It is a short walled pan. It is used to cook searing hot innards such as fish, seafood, meat, and vegetables for quesadillas or fajitas. Fajita pans/skillets can also be used for searing, sautéing, and cooking an array of foods.
It is a large rectangular pan with low sides. It allows the oven’s heat to reach the food as much as possible. Often used with a roasting rack to help raise food up on the cooking surface. It’s best for cooking at relatively high temperatures in the dry heat of the oven. An essential pan for roasting chickens, turkeys, and other roasts. A pan that is both used for cooking and baking.
It has a flat, large, or ridged surface. It can be used to cook breakfast foods like pancakes, eggs, and hash browns. It can be shaped square or round. Does not possess a long handle like a frying pan. Small ridged surface pans are great if you are trying to make those grill marks.
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It has a rounded bottom and straight, tall sides. They are a versatile cookware choice. Generally used for cooking all kinds of soups and sauces. You can use them with or without a lid to manage evaporation levels. Also ideal for reheating leftovers, preparing grains, and boiling noodles or eggs.
It is meant for sautéing traditionally. So you will be able to fry food while moving it around in the pan, while the lid is on. Sauté pans are alike to fry pans. They too have a flat bottom, but the difference between sautéing and frying is that sauté pans made up of straight sides. Their other uses are searing, deep-frying, and preparing particular sauces like marinara.
Cast Iron Skillet
Similar to fry pans, however, the key difference is the material and the care they are made out of. When buying a Cast Iron Skillet, make sure to check if that is pre-seasoned otherwise the food will stick to it in the first few times of cooking.
A must-have in the types of pans for cooking in your kitchen. They are designed with rounded sides and a flat bottom. It makes them ideal for fast cooking with oils over high heat. Typically they do not come with a lid.
The outer wall is low which makes it easier to turn the crepes than it is in a regular frying pan. It has a flat surface, making it a flexible pan that can be used to fry other foods as well. By construction, the pan has no way to evacuate fat quickly or easily. Perfect for frying less juicy foods such as omelets, tortillas, and hash browns.
They are like frying pans but with shallow and sheer sloping sides. It allows an omelet to be rolled against the pan’s sides and when cooked, to slide out smoothly.
Shallow and flat with sloping sides. It helps paella cook evenly and allows for the toasting of rice. Comes with pair of side handles which allow for easy mobility. Generally, they are compatible with all heat sources.
Comes with flat or rounded bottoms for high heat absorption. Round bottom woks need a wok ring to sit on a casual burner. Ideal for stir-frying and deep curved sides provides excellent movement of foods.
The bulky base for a slow good simmering. Great for soups, stocks, vegetables, pasta, and seafood. Its diameter is smaller than the height. That allows to preserve liquids longer and forces them to rise up through the food ingredients, bumping up flavor transfer.
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It heats up evenly with no hot spots so foods cook finer with no chance of scorching. Ideal for baked dishes or stews. Resistant from sticking and rusting. Easy to maneuver around a busy kitchen. Dutch ovens are also oven-safe cookware ideal for baking bread or braising meat.
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A self-draining vessel. It is designed to boil and cook your pasta. It comes with a strainer and a boiling pot. It helps to separate the boiling warm water from pasta into the strainer. You can also cook beans, strain chickpeas, hard-boiled eggs, and other vegetables and fruits using the pot.
Types of Pans and Pots for Baking
A bread pan or a loaf pan is bakeware in which bread is baked. The most usual shape of the pan is like a narrow rectangle. The pan’s deep assembly allows for high rising while baking. Perfect for cake, bread, and pudding. It has excellent heat management which permits low-temperature baking for best results.
It has straight sidewalls for an easy and clean release. Widely used for baking cakes and deep-dish pizzas. Some have a tubular design with a hollow core. Which allows for even heating for the cake. Some have two-piece construction and removable sides. They are used for tortes, cheesecake, quiche, and other dishes that are difficult to detach from a standard pan.
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A jelly roll pan is typically 10.5×15.5 inches. It is a smaller version of a verged baking sheet which is about 12×18 inches. You can use it to roast a large amount of vegetables, bake cookies, or a large sheet cake. A jelly roll pan is one of the nice-to-have inclusions. It’s ideal for a roll cake and for toasting nuts or cooking asparagus. Also, you can clean it in a dishwasher.
A type of pan for baking muffins. The pan generally will have six or twelve separate round pockets or holders connected to the pan/tin. The pockets are formed in the shape of a muffin. As the muffin bakes, the tops form over the pockets while the base of the muffins is baked in the mold of the pocket.
Muffin tins are usually available in three sizes stretched from those that bake miniature or a small muffin that is one to two inches in diameter upwards to pans/tins that hold bigger muffins round about four inches in diameter.
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If you’re thinking about if a cupcake pan is one and the same as a muffin tin/pan, the answer is yes, you are correct! Even though generally known as muffin pans, they can also be used to bake cupcakes and even other savory cakes, like egg cups.
Quiche pans are specifically straight-sided verge designed pans for making quiches. The size ranges from four to twelve inches. Smaller ones are called tartlet pans.
Different from pie pans, quiche pans have straight-walled as against sloping ones. It allows more filling and crust and makes a professional look. The edges of the sides can be often fluted, to form a fluted-edge end.
They can be made from metal, ceramic, or silicone. Tinned steel pans are the most common type. These pans are not produced to be dishwasher safe.
A round and shallow pan with fluted or smooth sides. Some varieties of them have removable bottoms. So the tarts can be removed cleanly and easily while retaining the shape made by the fluted sides of these pans.
Tart pans can be found in various sizes. The small pans are three to five inches in diameter. The large pans are sized from nine to eleven inches in diameter. Please note that Quiche pans and Tart pans are almost the same and they are each other’s substitute.
A round-shaped baking dish with shallow one to one and a half inches deep slanted sides. The pan’s common sizes are 8 to 10 inches in diameters. Pie plates or pans are used to bake single layer and double layer pies. The deep-dish pie pan is regularly used for baking savory dishes.
A pizza pan just like its name suggests is for baking pizza. It is an aluminum disk, about 18inches or 450 mm in diameter. It has lots of small holes to let steam out for a crispy crust. Aluminum pizza pans should not be washed with caustic oven cleaner to avoid damaging the pan.
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Popover pans are differentiated from a muffin pan by their steep-sided and deep wells. This lets the batter move upwards and creates a popover with crispy sides and a puffy dome. Popover pans create a uniform circulation of air and heat as they welded the cups to a wire rack.
Baking Sheet Pan
The thrall of amongst the types of pans for baking. It’s a thin sheet perfect for baking cookies, bread rolls, sheet cakes, pastries, cookies, Swiss rolls, and pizzas. Its lips are upturned to prevent foods from sliding off and at the same time allow for easy handling. A baking tray or baking sheet, a sheet pan is a rectangular shaped leveled metal pan used in an oven.
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A broiler pan is also called an oven roaster, oven broiling pan, or broiler roaster. This specific cookware is used to broil foods in the oven. Such as roasts, steaks, or various cuts of poultry, meat, and vegetables. Typically made of heavy gauge steel or stainless steel.
Broiler pans have two sections, a shallow walled pan part and an upper cooking flat that is the broiler plate cover. The cooking surface or cover contains open slashes and small holes. It holds the food as it broils meanwhile the pan beneath catches exudes. The cooking surfaces range from six to twelve inches in width and ten to eighteen inches in length. A broiler pan can be sized to fit a wide range of ovens.
Essential Pots And Pans To Have In Your Kitchen
The crux of the matter is whether you are a newbie home cook or a foodie devotee, you are going to need a few cooking essentials pots and pans. This is particularly true if you actually want to relish the task of cooking!
In this part of our article, we will share the types of pots and pans we think should be found in your cookware and bakeware list and essential for all levels of home-cooks. To put it another way, everyone should have ALL of these. So it will let you cook an array of dishes.
Two Non-Stick Skillets (6 or 8 inches and 12 or 14 inches)
One of the essential pans for kitchen regardless of how seasoned the cook is or not. Always keep a 6 or 8-inch non-stick skillet only for frying your eggs. Nothing else meets this pan but eggs. Unless you are cooking a western-style omelet. In that case, you can delicately sauté some bacon or vegetables in it.
We will also advise you to keep a 10 or 12-inch skillet. It can be used for sautéing vegetables, frying fish, reheating leftovers, Salmon Cakes, making Paleo Pancakes, or Searing Scallops. It’s ideal for cooking over medium-high to low heat and of course when you don’t want any sticking.
Never, put these skillets in your dishwasher. Also do not use anything but silicone or a wooden spatula on them. Wash them with the soft side of a sponge and soapy warm water immediately after each use.
When stacking each pan, either use place pieces of cut-up cardboard or buy a set of felt protectors in between.
Cast Iron Skillet (10 or 12 inches)
A cast-iron skillet is safe, practical, affordable, versatile, and, with proper care, it will outlive you. You can throw it in the oven, use it on the stovetop, or even cook with it over an outdoor open fire.
Everyone should own a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. It’s large enough to cook but not as clumsy as a 12 inch.
A well-seasoned, cast-iron skillet will be effectively non-stick cookware. The difference from non-stick skillets to cast-iron is in its capability to withstand high temperatures. Most non-stick skillets can only stand up to 400-450F. Anything above that will cause the materials to break down. On the other hand, cast-iron can handle temperatures beyond 500F. That means cast-irons are secure for almost all home ovens. You can cook Perfectly Seared Steak, Breakfast Hash, Crispy Eggs, Cajun Roast Chicken, and everything in between in a cast-iron pan.
Enameled Cast-Iron Dutch Oven (5.5qt or larger)
The enameled coating saves the cast-iron from rusting. Even though it takes a bit of time to heat up, but it maintains and evenly distributes heat very well. Best suited for oven cooking and stovetop. It means they’re practical and versatile. You can do everything from the sear, boil, roast, fry, braise and bake in them. They’re also popularly used for soups!
We recommend purchasing a Dutch oven minimum of 5.5 qt. This specifically sized pot will be able to tackle stews, ragus, larger batches of soups, and braised whole-cuts of meats. A 5.5qt Dutch oven can do all the tasks of a 4qt. But 4qt Dutch oven can’t do a job of a 5.5qt. So make a safe bet here since the price difference won’t hurt you that much.
Use your Dutch oven for dishes like Bolognese, Beef Stew, Osso Bucco, Barbacoa, Shepherd’s Pie, and much more!
Sauté Pan (5qt)
One might think a sauté pan is not among the essentials. But you won’t say that when you will find yourself cooking with it almost every day.
The high walls of a sauté pan fend off oil splatter. You can use the pan to cook foods in smaller batches. Such as soups and stews, meatballs, pan-roasts, and stir-fries. Also can be used to shallow-fry dishes.
Just like a Dutch oven, it’s safer to go a bit bigger here too. 5qt is a good sample size. Surface area is key since the pan is often used for browning foods. The larger the size the better to pull off everything in it.
Stainless steel is a safe choice. Look for a pan that has a heavy bottom. A thin bottom will carry heat too quickly and char your food at high temperatures.
Sauce Pan (3qt)
Having a small saucepan is perfect for making smaller batches of soup, blanching vegetables, reheating leftovers, making sauces, or boiling potatoes. The long grip and smaller surface area also offer more suitability to reduce sauces cooking over your stovetop. You can also use them to make big pots of Turkish coffee (Yes, that’s our bonus tip).
Stockpot (6qt or larger)
A Stockpot having a fitted steamer basket is quite practical. Almost all the time it comes at no extra fee. So you might as well try to buy a model that provides one. We recommend you use it for steaming cauliflower, broccoli, and other vegetables. It serves as a built-in colander when you cook pasta in it.
A 6qt pot is quite sufficient for a small-sized family. If you want something bigger than this, go with an 11qt or higher. Don’t buy anything in between.
Baking sheet with Oven-Safe Wire Rack (13 x 9 inches)
Whether you do bake cookies or not you will use a baking sheet very often at home. Perfect for sheet pan dinners like Salmon or Spanish Chicken. You can also use them to cook Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Roast Chicken. The standard size is 13 x 9.5 inches. It’s perfect for any family-sized meals.
Ceramic Roasting Dish (13 x 9 inches)
A ceramic roasting dish is not only great for baking lasagnas and casseroles lasagnas, but you can also use them to serve your food on the table. We will recommend ceramic to glass because ceramic makes for better presentation pieces.
Most recipes demand a 13 x 9 inches pan size. So safe choice is to get that exact size.
Know Your Pots And Pans: How To Choose The Right One
Open Stock vs. Cookware Sets
Determine what is missing from your cookware inventory. Individual pieces or open stock are amply available. Open stock is definitely a cost-saving way for you to go, and it’s a popular practice now.
Consider Cooking Style
Imagine what you cook regularly and go for those types of pans and pots. This will sway your choice of materials. If you sear meat frequently, cast iron pans will give you even browning. If you like to cook low and slow, go for a Dutch oven.
Match Your Cookware to Your Cooktop
Consider how your new cookware will sit with the cooktop. Flat-bottomed pans which are the most popular type are required for a smooth-top stove. Woks (rounded bottom) will need a vented ring positioned on top of your burner to support. Cookware with magnetic properties is a must for an induction cooktop.
Coating vs Cladding: What’s the Difference?
When the soft surface of almost pure aluminum has been changed to a hard surface that is called coating. It is not related to the nonstick coating, which ensures food brown without sticking to the skillet or pan.
Cladding is a process of layers of metal combined together to create cookware. The inner and outer layers of the pan may be made of stainless steel. But the inside layer may be made out of copper or aluminum, or another magnetic or conductive material. It can also mean a material was added for enhancing the heat transfer on the bottom of a stainless steel pan.
Choose Your Pieces
If you’re setting up a set of cookware afresh, depending on how many people you cook for and how you cook, you will want a mixture of pots and skillets, a stockpot, and lids. In a boxed set, makers count a lid as a piece. And it might fit more than one piece of kitchenware in your set. So, a set that includes multiple pieces is not the smartest choice. Chances are you will use a few of them. The rest will eat up space in the cabinet. Even a cookbook and utensils can count as parts of a set.
Pick It Up
We recommend you handle the cookware if possible. Ensure that the handles are simple to clench. The pot or pan should be well-balanced. Handle attachments should be tight and sturdy. Read instructions to check whether the cookware can be rinsed in a dishwasher.
These enable you to see what’s happening inside your pot without lifting the lid. Which would have left the steam escape. But they can break and add weight, which could be a problem with kids.
From Stove to Oven
Check the specifics even if the box states the cookware is oven-safe. Know the temperature safe for this cookware. Some cookware can be used in ovens at 350°F. But others can manage up to 500°F.
Cookware Top Brands For You
Le Creuset is well known for maintaining the authenticity and tradition of its cookware since its first products in 1925.
It is a French cookware manufacturer known for its premium, beautifully designed, and colorful products. Apart from enameled cast-iron pans, they also manufacture saucepans.
Le Creuset produces its cast iron pans using the normal sand casting process. They hand-coats pans with two layers of enamel before releasing them to the market. This is why they are long-lasting and reliable. The exterior coating protects from physical damage when in use.
Abbio is the new kid around the block brand that has gained a good amount of popularity. Mostly amongst semi-professional and amateur home cooks.
Their products are top-notch and also with a fair price bracket. The quality of their non-stick range is just exceptional. And for just 67$ you can have a stainless steel construction pan with a nonstick coating.
But we must admit to our readers that, Abbio have a limited range of products. They sell individual stainless steel pans and pots and one set with 9-pieces.
Cuisinart is a US-based brand that has a big market share in the kitchenware industry. They are under the ownership of Conair Corporation since 1989. They started with food processors before it expanded to other cookware. Now they specializ in producing a wide range of products that are preferred by the top chefs around the world.
Cuisinart holds a special position for producing the first environment-friendly anodized stainless nonstick kitchenware. They are known for innovative and unique designs. They are categorized among the best eco-friendly products in the market. Cuisinart cookware comes in a wide range of colors that are kitchen friendly. It has constructed handles that give its users an easy cooking time in the kitchen. Their product has perfect finishing too.
All-Clad is another famous traditional cookware brand from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. They are known for using durable and the strongest American steel. They are of the most sought-after cookware brands all over the world.
Type 304 stainless steel is being used for the cooking surface of their cookware. The benefit of this substance is that it is nonreactive. This means that your cooked food in such types of pans and pots will hold its natural taste.
Their stainless steel cookware is covered up with a nonstick layer. The stainless steel is ISO 9000 certified and compatible with the ASTM A240 standards. This means their steel is good for cooking purposes.
Its popular metal finishes include brushed stainless steel, brushed aluminum alloy, copper core, pure stainless steel, and a hard coat of black anodized aluminum.
The finishing is done to its perfection. Which gives the cookware a refined look. All-Clad is overall high-performance cookware manufactured by experienced artisans. It is also one of the highest quality and affordable stainless steel cookware set.
Bialetti is an Italian cookware brand and has been in the industry for near a century. They are known for crafting innovative and beautifully designed kitchen products.
Bialetti cookware is not just kitchenware, they also give your kitchen a brand new look, thanks to its variety of color options.
They craft simplistic style and design which is appealing to the eye. Also eco-friendly cookware as no chemical elements found on the interior and exterior. Their water-based coating does not respond with food. Their pan is made of aluminum, so it’s easy to handle. Their ceramic cookware set is one of the best for induction cooktops.
Known for crafting innovative cookware that injects a wave of life into any kitchen.
The pans have distinct loop handles which makes them easy for users to handle. The feature is magnified by a flat bottom. So it will be easy to toss the food around.
They use classic stainless steel. That means it can go for centuries. Their stockpot has carved fill lines. Which makes it easy to cover food as it gets cooked. Calphalon guarantees easy usability and high levels of safety.
T-Fal utilizes their Thermo-spot technology to offer stress-free cooking. Their cookware set features comfortable silicone inserts that ensure the comfortability issues.
They come in a wide variety of bright and vivid colors that will brighten up your kitchen. T-Fal cookware includes aluminum, ceramic, stainless steel, and hard anodized materials.
They are high-end and among the best types of pans for cooking. Their pans are expensive. But we must admit it’s worth every penny.
Their best seller is exterior hard-anodized and interior 18/10 stainless steel pans. The full stainless steel set with a mirror-like interior that has a brushed exterior comes in the second.
Their 5-ply version is one of the best pans and pots sets ever. If you are searching for the undeniable best stainless steel pans, it’s theirs. Their pans are suitable for every cooktop.
They do have their signature stay-cool handle which is safe, anti-slip, and ergonomic.
Whether just discarding the old and outdated equipment or, you’re building up your new kitchen’s arsenal, it can certainly be a challenge to know which pots and pans you really need to pick out from the shop. Or which ones you will be using rarely and which ones are just taking up your cupboard space like forever.
Our article here takes the mystery mask out of it all. We covered the cookware and bakeware, and their pros and cons. Our list is comprehensive and stood the test of time for modern efficient kitchens. So, Bon Appetit!!