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cookware buying guide - skillet

Skillet/omelet/frying pan

Used for stovetop cooking. These pans allow easy access to the food for turning, stirring and sliding food onto a dish.

Specs: Sloped sides (no taller than 3 inches), one long handle, may or may not have a lid. Size described in inches from edge to edge.

Best for: Cooking chicken breasts, steaks, frittatas and fish.

Saucepans

Used for stovetop cooking and very versatile in their cooking jobs.

Specs: Straight and deep sides (about 4-6 inches), one long handle and a lid. Size described in quarts.

Best for: Blanching vegetables, making sauces, heating soups and other liquids.

cookware buying guide - saucepans
cookware buying guide - saute pans

Sauté pans

Used for stovetop cooking. These pans are great for creating dishes with more volume.

Specs: Straight sides (about 3 inches), one long handle and a lid. Size described in quarts.

Best for: Dishes with sauces or linguini with clams.

Woks & stir fry pans

Used for stovetop cooking. Round-bottomed woks require a base ring to sit on the stovetop.

Specs: Deep sides (about 4-6 inches). Woks have two side handles and lids. Stir fry pans have one long handle and no lid. Size described in inches from edge to edge.

Best for: Cooking small pieces of protein or vegetables over high heat. Woks may also be used to steam food.

cookware buying guide - woks
cookware buying guide - stockpots

Stock pots

Used for stovetop cooking—especially jobs that use a lot of liquid.

Specs: Deep sides, two small side handles and a lid. Size described in quarts.

Best for: Making chicken stock, chili and boiling pasta.

Dutch ovens & braising pans

Used for oven cooking. The tight-fitting lid helps trap moisture so food can slow-cook without drying out.

Specs: Pans are round or oval shaped, two handles and a lid. Size described in quarts.

Best for: Cooking larger volumes of food like beef Bourguignon.

cookware buying guide - dutch ovens
cookware buying guide - roasters

Roasters

Used to roast meat in the oven. The size and depth of the pan allow for room to roast meat along with their sides, and capture juices released during roasting. 

Specs: Deep sides (4-5 inches); pans are oval or rectangular shaped. Size described in inches.

Best for: Cooking turkey or roasting meat with vegetables or potatoes.

Grills

Used for stovetop cooking. The ridges on the interior bottom of the pan simulate outdoor grill marks. Most pans have nonstick finishes.

Specs: Short sides (1-2 inches deep); one long handle; pans are round, square or rectangular shaped. Size described in inches.

Best for: Grilling vegetables, shrimp, chicken, steaks and pork chops.

cookware buying guide - grills
cookware buying guide - griddles

Griddles

Used for stovetop cooking. Griddles have low edges and a large, flat cooking space. 

Specs: Short sides (1-inch deep); one long handle; pans are round, square or rectangular shaped. Size described in inches.

Best for: Making pancakes, French toast and grilled sandwiches.

Inserts

These include steaming baskets, perforated pasta baskets or double boilers. The size of the insert depends on what it’s being used for; the insert fits snug into its partner pot.

cookware buying guide - inserts
cookware buying guide - cast iron

Cast Iron

• Heats up and cools down slowly; excellent heat retention and heat distribution
• Durable: able to last a lifetime with proper care
• Goes from stovetop to oven with ease
• When properly seasoned, provides a natural nonstick surface
• Ideal for searing, baking, roasting or frying

Enameled cast iron

• Cast iron base with nonstick enamel coating
• Does not need to be seasoned like traditional cast iron
• Nonreactive coating pairs well with acidic foods
• Ideal heat retention
• Goes from stovetop to oven with ease

cookware buying guide - enameled cast iron
cookware buying guide - non-stick

Nonstick

• Aluminum or stainless steel base
• Easy to clean
• Healthier cooking—no need for oil or butter
• Safe for stovetop cooking
• Delicate foods like fish or eggs won't stick or break apart

Stainless steel

• Durable—resists rust, corrosion, scratching and denting
• Safe for use with all type of utensils
• Nonreactive means it doesn't interfere with acids
• Good for searing, sautéing and making sauces
• Dishwasher safe for easy cleanup

cookware buying guide - stainless
cookware buying guide - hard anodized

Hard-anodized

• Aluminum that has gone through a hardening process
• Nonporous and nonstick
• Nonreactive with acidic foods
• Lightweight and durable
• Provides even heating for thoroughly cooked meals

Ceramic

• Nonreactive with acidic foods
• Heats up gradually for dishes that need slow, even cooking
• Excellent for casseroles, pies and side dishes
• Safe for use with all type of utensils

cookware buying guide - ceramic
cookware buying guide - tri-ply

Tri-ply

• Stainless steel with three layers to ensure even, consistent heating
• Aluminum core heats up quickly and evenly
• Combination of metals highlights advantages of each material, making it versatile and user-friendly
• Nonreactive with acidic foods
• Retains heat well; turn off burner and still keep cooking

Copper

• Most efficient heat conductor; rarely needs more than low-medium heat
• Heats quickly and uniformly for no-fail dishes
• Precise temperature control for expert-level recipes
• Try it for boiling, steaming or braising

cookware buying guide - copper