Whether you spend every day and night crafting something delicious in your kitchen or you’re in there once a week, having high-quality cookware is essential. There are many different shapes, sizes, and materials that make up cookware, and with the increased popularity of cooking at home, telling which product is superior can be a bit confusing.
There are many different types of cookware, and in this post, we’ll take a look at the following:
- Stainless Clad
- Ceramic vs Non Stick
- Carbon Steel vs Cast Iron
Stainless clad cookware, also known as stainless steel, is the most popular choice among home chefs and professionals. Stainless clad cookware consists of cladded metals (hence its name) to form an item of cookware. Generally speaking, the more layers you have, the better the cookware. You’ll most commonly see the two outer layers consisting of stainless steel and the inner layers of different aluminum types. These metal layers allow your stainless pans to heat up evenly and efficiently, without any hotspots or cold spots. Aluminum pans, while cheaper, are not as high-quality and will need to be placed often. Stainless clad cookware can be used for any cooking application. Searing steak? Yes. Frying eggs? Yes. Sauteeing vegetables? Yes. There is no limit to what one can achieve with a high-quality stainless steel pan with all of its different sizes, whether it’s a stock pot or a frying pan.
Some aspects of a high-quality frying pan are that it isn’t too heavy, has a stainless steel handle that will stay cool, and, most importantly, you want a pan that will cook evenly. With even heat distribution, you can say goodbye to burnt food from a result of hot spots. If you’re cooking for a larger crowd, we recommend getting three different sizes, 8”, 10”, and 12”. If you’re just one person or two, definitely go for the 10” or 12”.
Saucepans and Stock Pots
As the most common piece of cookware used for making sauces and other large quantity dishes, it is imperative that your saucepans and stock pots have a 5-ply construction so that your food won’t burn. Another thing to look for with these styles of pots and pans is a heavy feel. Since you’re not going to be flipping or using lots of movement around the stovetop, lightness isn’t ideal. For sizing, you want to have at least an 8-quart stock pot and a 4-quart saucepan in your collection. For additional items, turn to smaller sizes, like a 2-quart saucepan or 6-quart stock pot.
A saute pan is one of the most useful pans to have in your kitchen. With a large surface area, it can sear, saute, and braise. This heavy-duty pan also consists of a stay-cool handle and a smaller helping handle on the side to help carry since contents can be heavy.
Probably my favorite pan, a saucier is a unique pan that you’ll quickly fall in love with. With curved sides, sauciers are usually used for whisking and stirring, as it’s tough for food to get stuck on the sides. A saucier is also great for making risottos and finishing pasta, as the sloped sides allow for easy tossing of your pasta and sauce together.
The smallest pan you’ll ever need is a butter warmer. Designed to warm and brown butter efficiently and effectively, this pan can also be used to reheat leftovers, make small quantities of gravy, and single servings of grains.
Non Stick vs. Ceramic
The question of Non Stick vs. Ceramic cookware has been heavily debated recently, and to be honest, there is a clear and obvious answer to which is of higher quality and longer-lasting. Ceramic cookware has gained popularity recently due to their bright colors and videos of eggs swirling around the pan like nothing. Ceramic pots and pans are not made of ceramic, but rather metal that features a sol-gel coating, a silicone oil impregnated into the cookware’s surface. This oil releases every time you cook with ceramic cookware, which provides the non stick coating. Yes, ceramic cookware is easy to clean, looks pretty, and has a non stick coating. However, there are not enough safety studies to adequately list it as safe. If you’re looking for a high-quality non stick pan, look for cookware that features a double coating of American-made PTFE and is PFOA free.
Made In’s Non Stick cookware has this double coating and is oven safe up to 500 F, perfect to use on all cooktops, and consistently delivers a genuinely non stick cooking experience. This line of cookware has been shown to outlast ceramic cookware by a factor of 30x. With all high-quality cookware, you must take care of it well. These pans are not dishwasher safe, but let’s face it. When it can be cleaned in literally a matter of seconds by hand washing, you won’t even be thinking about your dishwasher. It’s also best to avoid metal utensils and stick to silicone, wood, or plastic utensils on non stick cookware. For a non stick cookware set, look for a frying pan, a saucepan, and a saute pan, as those pieces will have you covered and ready to tackle any cooking situation thrown your way.
Carbon Steel pans are the workhorse of professional kitchens all around the world. Most popular in European kitchens, this cookware is ideal for searing and cooking at higher temperatures. Carbon steel can reach temperatures unlike any other cooking material and is also light enough to quickly maneuver around the stovetop. Similar to cast iron pans, carbon steel cookware must be seasoned before use. This seasoning process is crucial to the cooking process and will give the pan non stick tendencies. Carbon steel cookware is trusted in kitchens worldwide and has quickly become a favorite of home chefs. If you want to up your cooking game, a carbon steel pan, wok, or roasting pan, will definitely do that.
Copper cookware is the ultimate cooking material. It heats up quickly, efficiently, and is widely considered the most premium cookware item on the market. If you’re looking for high-quality cookware, look no further than French-made Copper pots and pans. With copper cookware, the cook has total control over what they’re making. Since copper is a highly reactive metal, you can get your ingredients to exact temperatures and keep them there. This precision style of cooking is why it’s so prevalent in the most high-end kitchens in the world. When it comes to high-quality cookware, there is nothing that sits above copper.
High-quality cookware may be tough to identify just from looking at it. If you’re able to get your hands on some, you want the cookware to be sturdy but not too heavy. 5-ply cookware is your best bet, as these pans will conduct heat evenly and will keep their heat, as well. And lastly, if there is cookware backed by chefs or used in professional kitchens, it’s definitely a good idea to have it in your home.