So, it’s time to buy new pots and pans, but with a seemingly endless array of choices, which kind is right for you? Copper, stainless steel, cast iron, aluminum. How do you decide?
Before you head out to buy a new cookware set, we’ll shed a little light on the subject and guide you through a few important considerations to help you choose the best tools for your culinary style.
What Kind of Cooking Do You Do?
Before you can think about the cookware itself, you must consider the type of cooking you employ regularly. Also, think about the things you’d like to achieve with your new pots and pans.
Maybe even heating is important to you, or perhaps you’d like to work on something more complex such as creating reductions. Once you identify what you want your new cookware to do, you can figure out which features are most important. So, read on to find out more.
Many cooks use the same pans to create different dishes. This doesn’t mean, however, that certain items aren’t designed for specific purposes. For example, frying potatoes in a flat skillet will result in delectable, crispy potatoes. Frying them in a deep pan will only result in a mushy mess.
You don’t need a special pan for every cooking task, but you should at least have the following:
- A 2-3-quart saucepan with lid
- A 4-quart to 2-gallon pot with lid
- A 10-14-inch sauté pan with lid
Good quality cookware can be expensive, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find many cooking tasks the above three pieces can’t handle.
Your cooktop has a lot to do with the way you prepare your meals, and consequently, the type of cookware you should use.
Smooth Electric Cooktops
If you have a smooth electric cooktop in your home, it’s crucial you choose cookware that’s flat-bottomed and won’t scratch the surface. As such, cast iron isn’t recommended, but stainless steel, copper, and aluminum pans work well.
Electric Coil Cooktops
Notorious for uneven heating, electric coil cooktops produce better results when you use cookware that distributes heats efficiently across the surface. Copper and copper-core pots and pans are best in this regard, while anodized aluminum is also an effective conductor.
Induction cooktops work by generating a magnetic field to heat cookware. Only specific materials work on these ranges. Glass, aluminum, and copper cookware won’t work well or at all on induction cooktops. Look for cast iron, steel, or magnetic stainless-steel pots and pans if you have an induction cooktop in your kitchen.
Gas stoves are the most forgiving when it comes to smoothness or shape. Almost any type of pot will work on a gas stove, although some work better than others.
Cookware that conducts even heat will help distribute the flame’s extra-hot heat. Also, be mindful of using smaller pans as the flame can travel up and around the sides of the pan.
Features You Prefer
In addition to the shape and material, there are numerous other features to consider when selecting the best cookware for your kitchen.
Look for the things that matter most like shape and weight of the handles, the kind of non-stick coating, whether it comes with a lid, and if so, whether the kid is glass or metal. All these things will ultimately come down to personal preference. It’s vital to think about each of them and more to get pieces you know you’ll use and love.
Once you’ve identified your cooking style and the things that are important to you in the pots and pans you use, you can head out and begin looking for the perfect cookware for your kitchen.