Before we started Made In, we interviewed home cooks about what wasn't working in their kitchens. We knew that we'd hear a lot about the quality of cookware, the design of pans and handles, and the pricey cost of premium brands, but we didn't expect so many people to light up over lids. The lid drawer is a huge issue for consumers, and and it makes sense. As home cooks ourselves, we hate the lid drawer. We have a collection of mismatched lids that don't stack, can't go in the oven or dishwasher, and only fit ONE pot or pan. It's annoying. It's a total oversight on the part of cookware brands. We've made it our mission to de-culture your cabinets and make a better cooking lid that could fit on ALL of our pots and sauce pans. We spent a year iterating on lid concepts to find one that was great...and we learned a lot about lids along the way. We want to give you a peek into our design process (don't worry - we won't show you all 21 iterations...).
We first tried using metal, but metal can be tough. For one, it's hard to change its form. You can't add multiple ridges that fit the lips of each pan without creating a wonky balance. If you remove the ridges and worry less about a precise fit and more about covering the surface area, you end up with a huge metal disc. We've seen a few of those universal discs online and instore, but they get SUPER hot, and customer reviews on metal "universal lids" reveal a lot of hate...
We moved on to silicone with a nylon core, which is used in most utensils. We thought, "hey this will still stay cooler than metal and it can fit all of our pots and sauce pans perfectly." Unfortunately, it let out heat on the stove and started to warp when we cranked up the heat in the oven.
We knew we were on the right track, but we needed to make some tweaks. We found a premium, FDA approved silicone and added a metal stainless steel core to our design. We knew the metal would prevent warping and help maintain shape. Plus, the metal would give us more weight - we wouldn't have to worry about steam pushing the lid off.
We first tried a design that looked like a cross between a U and V, but it went too deep into shallow pans like our 4 Qt Saute, and we knew it could pose a problem with handles if we continued to create more stainless steel products (which we do).
We then played with the idea of creating a dome-like shape over our pans. The result created convection cooking, but created tough to clean crevices and we worried about steam escaping on smaller sauce pans. We pivoted. Instead of a uniform shape, we thought "let's create a set of lips on our lid to fit the circumference of each pan." We designed a lid with offset concentric circles, which lets us accommodate the long handle on pots like the 4 qt Saute, Saucier, or Sauce Pans.
When we got the prototype, we knew it was the one. It trapped heat and steam, maintained its shape in the oven, and fit every Made In Saucier, Saute Pan, Sauce Pan, and Stock Pot...and any pots that we'll dream up in the future. Plus, it's flat and slim shape was perfect for stacking and storing.
The Universal Lid
, now in our store for $49.