We’re breaking down the different types of pots, so you can figure out which ones your kitchen needs.
There are seemingly infinite types of pots, and at least as many ways to use them. For the home cook, this makes it difficult to figure out which ones you need, as well as how to use the ones you’ve already got. Fortunately, we’re covering six essential types of pots you need in your kitchen, and what distinguishes them from the rest.
Stock Pots are among the largest, most basic pieces of Cookware at your disposal. Usually ranging between 6 to 12 QT capacities and commonly made from Stainless Steel, their cylindrical design is ideal for simmering stocks, making broths, and heating liquids of any kind. Their large capacity also helps them maintain a steady simmer over long periods of time, so you can develop and concentrate flavor.
With a wide circular base and tall straight sides, Stock Pots are useful for preparing various dishes in large quantities. They also feature two helper handles on either side, unlike some other pots. These distribute weight more evenly and make the Stock Pot easier to carry.
Use for: Making stock and cuisson, as well as pasta, soups, and stews.
Most commonly found in professional kitchens, the Rondeau is one of the most elegant types of pots. Chefs put their large surface area to use making sauces, poaching, frying, pan roasting, searing, and oven roasting. Rondeaus are usually constructed from either Stainless Steel or Copper, but when they’re made from Enameled Cast Iron, they’re typically called “braisers.”
Because of their impressive size and cooking surface area, home cooks often use Rondeaus to prepare large cuts of meat. Ours fits an entire rack of short ribs without overlapping, and its ability to easily transition from stove to oven makes it ideal for braising.
Use for: Anything braised or roasted.
Saucepans are another type of pot that’s easy to identify. They range in capacity and size, but generally feature a circular base smaller than both Stock Pots and Rondeaus, but with the same tall sides and tight-fitting lid.
Unlike pots, they have one extended handle rather than two smaller looped ones. They’re best for simmering, boiling, and reducing liquids, and come in a variety of materials. The most common, however, are Stainless Steel, Non Stick, and Copper.
Use for: Preparing grains like rice, making both savory and sweet sauces, boiling eggs, heating liquids
Dutch Ovens are large, usually very heavy pieces of Cookware. They’re similar in shape to Rondeaus and Stock Pots, but are somewhere in the middle when it comes to height. They’re almost always crafted from Enameled Cast Iron.
Because of their heft, size, thick walls, and heat retention capabilities Dutch Ovens are useful for cooking low and slow. That includes things like sauces, soups, and stews that simmer for hours. However, they also come in handy for higher temperature roasting, deep frying, and pasta making.
Because Dutch Ovens are oven-safe, they are especially prized for both braising and baking—sourdough enthusiasts love the crispy, blistered crust and tender open crumb that results from baking in a Dutch Oven.
Use for: Roasted chicken, stews like bouillabaisse, beans, pasta in sauce, braising projects, and sourdough.
If you’ve never used a Saucier, you may think it just seems like a fancy Saucepan. While they do share some similarities, there are a few distinctions between the two that make a huge difference.
Like Rondeaus, this is a piece of equipment typically found in professional kitchens. They’re usually made of higher-end cooking materials like Copper and Stainless Steel. They are slightly larger and wider than most standard Saucepans, but their most distinctive feature is the rounded bottom and curved walls—there are no corners, and thus nowhere for ingredients to get stuck and subsequently burn.
They’re the best pot for sauces because the lack of corners encourages an easily stirrable, velvety smooth mixture. They’re also prized in sugar work and caramel making because they aid in controlling temperature and preventing crystallization.
Use for: Sauce-based dishes like mac and cheese or curry, sweet things like jam and caramel sauce, and meals that need constant stirring, like risotto.
Functionally a mini Saucepan, Butter Warmers, like Paring Knives, are a small tool that comes in handy not despite its size but because of it. Before we made them, our chef partners were constantly asking when we would be, and they’ve been equally popular amongst home cooks as well..
Their best feature may be the curved lip around the rim of the pan. Its gentle slope makes pouring easy and mess-free. They’re usually made from Stainless Steel, which makes them non-reactive. This also makes them useful for making quick sauces and vinaigrettes, which are often heavy in acid.
They’re also ideal for making confit, because their small size means you don’t waste oil or fat and can use just enough to cover ingredients. But it’s with chhonk, one of the Indian names for a cooking technique in which spices and herbs are bloomed in hot oil, that the Butter Warmer really shines.
Use for: Garlic confit, clarifying and melting butter, heating oil for chhonk or similar variations, plus vinaigrettes and sauces.
Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of pots and how to use them, you should also have a clearer picture of which ones you’re missing. And even if you do have a few of these pots already at home, you should consider whether it’s time for an upgrade. With ours, you’re getting chef-approved, heirloom-quality Cookware that will dramatically improve your cooking and last for as long as you take care of it.
Born out of a 100-year old, family-owned restaurant supply business, we work to ensure our Cookware is as detail oriented as the chefs who choose to use it in their kitchens.Learn More
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