It can be more than a little overwhelming trying to choose a new cookware set. There are so many different cookware brands, materials, and desirable qualities to consider when looking at your cookware choices. There are many different types of cookware to choose from, and more pieces than you could have ever imagined.
How you decide which cookware is right for you is going to depend on what you cook, how often, what kind of pots and pans you already have, desired quality, and desired price. Once you have taken these things into account, it's time to start looking for the best cookware for your kitchen and, more importantly, the cook within it.
Good quality cookware isn't just for professional chefs cooking up a storm at the local hot spots; it can also be extremely beneficial to classic home cooking. Just because you aren't actually a professional chef doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to cook like one on any budget. More people should be able to feel like a professional chef just using the items in their own kitchens.
What to Consider When Choosing New Cookware
Material is important. Use the right cookware for the right dish for a perfect meal every time. Material is also important when taking into account how to take care of your pieces. One frying pan may be dishwasher safe, while a cast iron skillet is not recommended for submersion in water. If you plan on keeping your cookware set for a long time, make sure you pick a material that you are prepared to take proper care of.
Thick bottomed cookware made of heavy gauge materials is the best for keeping foods from burning by conducting heat evenly. Materials like cast iron pans, aluminum cookware, or copper cookware are examples or heavy gauge materials.
Copper cookware is a more expensive option, and it requires special care, but it is best for cooking acidic foods since copper ions are so non-reactive. Copper is easy to clean, but just make sure not to use abrasive cleaners or cleaning tools on it as it does scratch easily.
Anodized aluminum cookware is your best option if you want an excellent sauté pan. It has excellent heat response and is non-reactive with food because of the anodization process.
Cast iron pans are extremely popular because they are a great heat conductor. Unlike copper or aluminum, cast iron reacts with acidic food. It can also rust easily if not correctly cleaned and seasoned after use. They heat well, but they are also extremely heavy, which does not make them ideal for all kitchens. Cast iron cookware is most popular for its heat conduction. Heat conductivity in a cooking surface is important.
Non-stick is another popular option on the market. A nonstick coating has been known to be easier to scratch, but some of the newer coatings are challenging that idea. Non-stick is so popular because this type of cookware is so easy to clean.
The takeaway from this is that the way to go is to go with something simple to clean and that nicely conducts heat. Something stainless steel with an aluminum or copper base coating inside is your best bet.
Stainless steel is robust, easy to wash, and easy to care for, in addition to being a good heat conductor.
Look for something with handles that are well-made and heatproof. Wood or plastic handles may be heatproof, but they aren't ovenproof. There is no option to finish cooking a dish with wood or plastic by putting it in the oven. Your best bet is to find something with metal handles, and from there, you can find plastic or rubber heat guards to keep your hands safe.
Another important thing on our list of things to consider is the lids. The lids on your new cookware should fit securely and come equipped with heatproof knobs. Lids made of tempered glass are popular because it enables you to check on your food as you cook so you don't have to pick the lid up. Keeping the lid on helps seal heat and moisture into your pan.
Tempered glass is the best option because it can withstand temperature change in ways that normal glass can't.
Also, be sure to take into account whether you want to buy an entire set of products all at once or if you want to choose pieces one or two at a time and slowly build up your collection of new pots and pans. You have the option to do either at most kitchen supply stores.
Buying your cookware together at one time as a set allows uniformity throughout your collection and for a one-time price. These usually come in sets of five, eight, or ten of the most commonly used items.
However, you might not need that much or have the capacity to store it, which is why many people enjoy selecting individual pieces. By choosing your pots and pans yourself, you have
more control over price, variety of material, and, therefore, heat conduction and the pieces you get.
Pre-assembled cookware sets usually don't include specialty items like a dutch oven for roasts and stews, steamers for vegetables, or a roasting pan with a rack for whole turkeys or chickens.
Buying your pieces separate from each other gives you the option to add different materials to your collection. You can get one pan made of aluminum, one made of copper, and one made of stainless steel with a different recipe in mind for each one.
Think about the food you usually find yourself making and choose the pans and dishes that are going to make your meals easier to prepare. Consider your ingredients and how they are going to react with either aluminum, stainless steel, or copper.
The bottom line is to find the best pan or dish for the best price to make the best food. Make a list of every recipe you use and the ingredients you use in it and evaluate from there what sort of pot or pan would be the best. Every recipe you try from here on out is going to be so much better now that you're using the right pan for the right ingredients.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Kind of Pan Is the Best for Heat Conduction?
What Kind of Material Is the Easiest to Clean?