Our guide makes it a piece of cake to find the perfect pots and pans for your kitchen.
|⋅ Learn key differences between designs, like a grill pan and griddle.||⋅ Get important tips - for example, copper is the best heat conductor.|
|⋅ Find out how to season cast-iron cookware in 5 easy steps for maintenance.||⋅ And more!|
|⋅ How well do they conduct heat?||⋅ Do they react with any food?|
|⋅ Will food stick to the surface?||⋅ Are they safe for an induction stovetop and dishwasher?|
A popular choice for its lightweight design and excellent heat conduction (second only to copper). Because aluminum is soft and can react with certain food, it's often mixed with other metals such as magnesium for strength and lined with stainless steel or a nonstick coating. Avoid using aluminum cookware on induction stovetops and putting it in the dishwasher.
The best heat conductor, quickly heating up and adjusting to temperature changes for precise cooking control. Usually lined with stainless steel because copper reacts with some foods. Like aluminum, copper cookware should not be used on induction stovetops or put in the dishwasher.
Lightweight, corrosion and tarnish resistant, and safe for your induction stovetop oven and dishwasher. Often features an aluminum or copper core to increase its heat conduction - referred to as "clad" cookware. Look for 18/10 stainless steel (18 parts chromium and 10 parts nickel), which is considered high grade. The chromium increases the stain resistance, and the nickel adds an attractive shine.
Heavy and durable, cast iron heats slowly but evenly for browning, frying and baking. It's safe for an induction stovetop, but not the dishwasher. If it's not enamel coated, then it requires ongoing "seasoning" to protect it from rusting and add a nonstick coating.
How to season your cast-iron cookware:
- Wash and dry. Hand wash with a soft towel in hot water only, then dry.
- Rub butter or shortening all over the inside and outside.
- Place upside down in the oven with aluminum foil at the bottom to catch any drippings.
- Bake at 300° for about an hour.
- Turn off heat and let it cool before removing it from the oven.
- Repeat steps 1-5 when food starts to stick to the surface or if the cookware appears rusted.
A thin, durable coating used on certain types of cookware such as cast iron and aluminum. The enamel prevents corrosion your cookware from corroding and reaction or reacting with food during cooking. Usually safe for induction stovetops and dishwashers.
Aluminum treated with a special process that coats the metal's surface for extra resistance to corrosion and wear, nonstick properties and even-heat distribution. Safe for an induction stovetop, but not the dishwasher.
Coating that prevents These pots and pans are coated to prevent food from sticking, offering easy cleanup. Another benefit - chefs can skip the oil for healthy, low-fat meals. Drawbacks include an inability to brown food as well as other cookware and extra care to avoid scratching the nonstick surface. Use plastic or wooden utensils instead of metal ones. Hand washing recommended.
These handles are welded on to the cookware's exterior for a smooth interior surface. However, they aren't as sturdy as riveted styles because they can bend or break.
Fastened with screws, these handles offer a smooth interior surface. They tend to loosen, but can be tightened for easy maintenance.
These handles are attached with rivets for strength and durability. Carefully clean the interior to remove food buildup around them.
- Select a metal handle to move effortlessly from stovetop to oven. The metal can become hot, so use an oven mitt for protection.
- Pick plastic for an inexpensive alternative. It stays cooler than metal handles, but it's usually unsafe for ovens hotter than 350°.
- Opt for a wooden handle that stays cool. Use it safely on the stovetop and avoid the oven (and dishwasher).
- Consider a set for multi-purpose cooking and overall value.
- Make sure your set includes these essentials: Saucepan, skillet, frying pan, sauté pan and a stock pot.
- Add specialty open-stock pieces like a double boiler to suit your cooking needs.