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Old 11-08-2019, 06:29 PM   #1
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Which are the “must haves” for pots and pans?

Just like lots recommend the chefs knife, serrated knife and paring knife as the most “essential” knives, what are the most important pots and pans to have in a kitchen, where it is well worth it to spend some money for something of good quality.

Also, any examples of buy for life pots and pans would be much appreciated!

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Old 11-08-2019, 07:52 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by imc2111 View Post
Just like lots recommend the chefs knife, serrated knife and paring knife as the most “essential” knives, what are the most important pots and pans to have in a kitchen, where it is well worth it to spend some money for something of good quality.

Also, any examples of buy for life pots and pans would be much appreciated!
First of all, what do you cook? How big is your family?

I'd think most people would need a small and a large saucepan, a cast iron or triple-ply stainless steel skillet and a teflon lined skillet for eggs/omelets.

If you like to cook Chinese, a carbon steel wok is nice to have.
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:52 PM   #3
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First of all, what do you cook? How big is your family?

I'd think most people would need a small and a large saucepan, a cast iron or triple-ply stainless steel skillet and a teflon lined skillet for eggs/omelets.

If you like to cook Chinese, a carbon steel wok is nice to have.
I mostly cook vegan/vegetarian and for 2 or 4 people. No more than 4 for sure.

I would appreciate any suggestions for the items you mentioned
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:22 PM   #4
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Depending on the size of your family, you need a skillet of around 10-12 inches. In my old camper, I kept bare minimum cooking gear, and a 10-inch non-stick skillet was part of my permanent galley setup.

A mid-size sauce pan, about five quarts, is also an essential.

With those two pans alone, you can make a tasty pasta dinner.

Since you cook vegan/vegetarian, a stir-fry pan may be good for you, too.

As you expand, a cast-iron dutch oven is very useful for soups and stews. Coated cast iron is easy to care for.

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Old 11-09-2019, 02:17 AM   #5
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My pan essentials are:
.10 inch cast iron, or mineral steel fry pan with deep, straing sides. The pan must be well seasoned. I can stir-fry in this type of pan almost as well as I can in my carbon steel, flat bottomed Atlas wok. I can also cook pasta and rice in it, so long as it has a tight fitting lid. It's great for making sauces and gravies as well. I even make pizza in this type of pan, and have been known to make a few cakes and other deserts in it. The cast iron pan is great as a fryer if you are making batter-coated, breaded, or tempura veggies.

2. ceramic, mineral steel, or stainless steel saute pan. Uncoated aluminum also works well as a sauce pan. The inside of the pan must be seasoned, just like with cast iron, to prevent sticking, and form a barrier between the raw metal and the food to prevent alkali or acidic food reacting with the aluminum. But if you season the aluminum pan, just as you would cast iron, or high carbon steel, it acts the same as those pans, but with better heat distribution.
. Tri-ply, or encapuslated bottom Stainless steel dutch oven with lid. The dutch oven can also be made of enamled cast iron, stone wear, ceramic, or cast iron. Butit must have a tight fitting lid. If cast iron, it must be seasoned, inside and out, and the lid. The dutch oven will do everything from cooking pasta,to boiling eggs, to poaching eggs, to makkng stews, soups, chowders, chili, apple betty, crumb cakes, even cheeseca. ke. It is very versatile. You can also use it as a deep fryer, orto steam chellfish, crabs, rice,or whatever.

5 double boiler, essential for a host of sauces that require low heat to prevent scorching the foods, It's the pan to use when tempering cocolate, makng a cheese sauce, or a Hollandaise sauce.

That's my essential pan list, unless we want to start talking about baking, roating, and BBQ. I also use my pressure cooker a lot, as it is a great tine saver. But it's not an aboslute essential.

Hope that helps.

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Old 11-09-2019, 05:16 AM   #6
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A pot large enough to boil pasta, make soup , Stews, and large batches of sauces., also can fit one of those cheap metal steamers in so I can steam veggies, and artichokes)

Smaller Sauce pot ( several Quarts worth ). To heat up smaller, meal sized batches of sauce, Veg Chili , make cous cous in, rice ( Kraft Mac & cheese for the kids when they were young)

Non Stick frying pan - Smaller one for things like eggs ( or just eggs), fry up tempeh , Grilled Cheese sandwiches things like that

Large frying pan for frying up eggplant cutlets, Tofu Scramble and other things that take up more space

Wok for stir frying. On of my larger pots is non stick, and sometimes I use that for stir Frys also. Because of the higher sides, less winds up on the stove surface when Im mixing it, but I do often use my wok as well.

I also have a much smaller pot ( maybe one quart at most) that Ill use to make batches of garlic/ oil which Ill put on pasta, garlic bread ...

Large deeper dished pan for baking Lasagna, spinach pie, enchiladas and other casserole-like dishes

As far as Buy for Life, anything with a non stick coating will likely need to be replaced over time ( depending on use and care will determine how frequently it needs to be replaced). Ive had expensive non sticks and cheap ones, and they both suffer from wear and tear, so for the non sticks, I usually go a little cheaper, since I know Ill be replacing them in time. Something like cast iron pan will last forever. I have a mix of things passed down from grandparents, newer All-Clad pots and pans that are more expensive, hold there heat well and disperse the heat evenly. So far, after 5 years not showing any signs of wear and tear and some cheap non stick pans.

I personally like see through lids so I can kinda keep an eye on things without disturbing the heating process.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:03 AM   #7
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Rent a vacation cottage for a week and you will get an understanding of what the kitchen essentials are.

I normally use a 9" cast iron skillet w/lid, two copper-bottomed pots one large one small w/lids, and a heavy aluminum rimmed baking sheet for my day to day cooking.

None of my pots and pans cost much money, don't confuse cost with quality.

Good luck!
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Old 11-09-2019, 11:12 AM   #8
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As far as double boilers go, I got rid of mine. The microwave is usually just fine, if not better. For those rare occasions that the microwave isn't adequate, a stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of boiling water works fine - you see chefs do that all the time.

I use my stainless steel mixing bowls all the time. I also use some large (1 litre and 2 litres) Pyrex measuring "cups" a lot for mixing and measuring.
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Old 11-09-2019, 11:20 AM   #9
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My overall must-have list:
  • 1.5 qt. SS saucepan
  • 3.5 qt. SS saucepan
  • ~6 qt. enameled CI dutch oven
  • ~12 qt. SS stockpot
  • 8" and 10" CI skillets*
  • 10" SS skillet (8" probably should be included as well but I've done without so far)*
  • 8" and 10" non-stick skillets
*I primarily cook for one. If I cooked for four, even occasionally, 12" skillets would definitely be on the list.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Longwind Of The North View Post
...
double boiler, essential for a host of sauces that require low heat to prevent scorching the foods, It's the pan to use when tempering cocolate, makng a cheese sauce, or a Hollandaise sauce.
...
A double boiler is on my list too. I use it almost every day for porridge or grits but have never bought one. Mine consists of a 1.5 qt. saucepan, 3 qt. stainless mixing bowl, and a universal lid, each of which is essential in its own right.
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As for "buy for life." I endorse the concept but can't think of much to say that wouldn't be longer and more involved than I want to get into right now. It would be a worthwhile thread, forum, or even book, all by itself.
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Old 11-09-2019, 11:42 AM   #10
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Also, any examples of buy for life pots and pans would be much appreciated!
I agree with most of the suggestions above, so I'll address this part.

For stainless steel pots and pans, you want to look for tri-ply (a layer of aluminum sandwiched between two layers of stainless) on the bottoms and sides. This gives you the even heat distribution of aluminum with the heat retention quality of the stainless. All-Clad is usually rated at the top, but Calphalon is a very good brand, too. I have one piece of All-Clad and a set of Calphalon - they work equally well.

For bare cast iron, any brand, or even unbranded, will do. For enameled cast iron, Le Creuset is the gold standard, but it's pricy. Other brands like Lodge or Staub will do the same job for less. I love Le Creuset because I think it's beautiful and I like seeing it in my kitchen. But that's a personal choice.

I have a Farberware non-stick pan for eggs. I bought it at Walmart at least 10 years ago and it's in perfect condition. Just remember not to use metal utensils with it, to protect the surface. I use a silicone or wooden spatulas and spoons.
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Old 11-09-2019, 11:44 AM   #11
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As for "buy for life." I endorse the concept but can't think of much to say that wouldn't be longer and more involved than I want to get into right now. It would be a worthwhile thread, forum, or even book, all by itself.
I'm sure we have had discussions here about this before, but I need to get back to house-cleaning Maybe someone else can look for it.
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:17 PM   #12
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The gold standard for cast iron is griswold. You wont' find it in stores, but rather in garage sales, and Ebay. These cast iron pans are top notch, and superior to Lodge, and Wagner. Wagner is my second favorite cast iron. But I do have to say, if sesoned well, Lodge pans work greqt. Lodge dutch ovens are great for cooking both in the home, and on the campfire. The other pans I mentioned, that everyone is forgetting, is mineral steel, which is high carbon steel. It is lighter than cast iron, and so easier to work with, and has the same noon-stick properties when when seasoned properly. Here is an example:
https://www.amazon.com/Buyer-5610-26.../dp/B00462QP0W With the sloping sides, this is a truly versatile pan, good for everything from crepes and omelets, to stir-fries, and sauces. You can use these pans on gas, elecgric, and induction stoves. These pans are great, and will last a lifetime or two. Treat just like cast iron.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 11-09-2019, 02:17 PM   #13
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You have had some good advice but this is my favorite pan, and indispensable in my kitchen. I've been cooking all my long life, and it's too bad I didn't have this pan available to me years ago.
https://www.surlatable.com/all-clad-...yABEgJj7PD_BwE


LARGE SURFACE AREA
Perfect for sautéing or searing a wide variety of meats and vegetables, and creating one-pot meals.

TALL, STRAIGHT SIDES
Designed to hold in juices, prevent splattering, and allow for easy turning with a spatula.

ONE-PAN CONVENIENCE
Innovative design enables browning or searing, then deglazing or finishing in liquid—all in one pan.

HEATS QUICKLY AND EVENLY
Three-ply bonded design features a thick aluminum core for even, efficient heat distribution, sandwiched between durable layers of stainless steel.

ERGONOMIC HANDLES
Features stay-cool handles for greater comfort and control, along with a large assist handle for safe and easy transport.

TIGHT-FITTING LID
Perfectly fitted lid seals in moisture and flavor of foods.

COMPATIBLE WITH ALL HEAT SOURCES
Magnetic stainless steel exterior is suitable for use on all cooking surfaces, including induction. Oven safe up to 500°F.

EASY CARE AND CLEANUP
The 18/10 stainless steel will not react with food. Pan and lid clean up easily in the dishwasher.

MADE IN THE USA
All-Clad’s revolutionary cookware is still made in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania—the same way it was four decades ago. All-Clad is the only bonded cookware manufacturer to use American craftsmen and American-made metals to produce a complete line of first-rate bonded cookware.
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Old 11-09-2019, 03:50 PM   #14
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I LOVE this pan for cooking for 4. Great for one pot meals.

Have had it for about 12 years and still love it.


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Cuisinart 733-30H Chef's Classic Stainless 5-1/2-Quart Sauté Pan with Helper Handle and Cover
by Cuisinart

4.3 out of 5 stars 693 ratings
--------------------------------------
List Price: $140.00
Price: $43.05

I also have the 3.5 quart Sauté Pan with Helper Handle and Cover.

I have a lot of Cuisinart Products.

I have 1, 1.5, 2 & 3 quart pots. The 2 & 3 qt. pots have strainer lids. Great for draining pasta and potatoes.

I love this pot for soup

Cuisinart 755-26GD Chef's Classic Stainless 5-1/2-Quart Multi-Purpose Pot with Glass Cover

4.4 out of 5 stars


Price: $16.52

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I also have 2 10.5 inch ScanPan No stick pans I got many years ago (about 14 years) at a VERY good "Try Me" price. And I still use them to make crepes and egg dishes with no problems. They are pretty pricey now but I still think they are worth it.
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Old 11-09-2019, 04:05 PM   #15
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I have two covered sauté pans, a 5.5 qt and a 3.5 qt. They are great for skillet dinners and such. My two are about equal in volume to my 10” and 12” CI skillets so sometimes I use those instead. I have SS pan lids the fit my CI.
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Old 11-10-2019, 12:05 AM   #16
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I love my sauté pans! I use them more than skillets, for sure, and almost as much as my woks.
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Old 11-10-2019, 01:17 AM   #17
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Yes, my saute' pan is the workhorse in my kitchen, far more than slope sided skillets. I'm not a skillet food flipper, and that's the only thing that's harder to do with a straight sided saute' pan. There's no other advantage to a skillet over a saute' pan. Besides, the high sides of a saute' pan help contain splattering.
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Old 11-10-2019, 07:20 AM   #18
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Yes, my saute' pan is the workhorse in my kitchen, far more than slope sided skillets. I'm not a skillet food flipper, and that's the only thing that's harder to do with a straight sided saute' pan. There's no other advantage to a skillet over a saute' pan. Besides, the high sides of a saute' pan help contain splattering.
+1! The only skillets I have are my non stick "egg" pans.

I also have cast iron cookware: several different sized (small 5" to large 14") pans with lids (some cast iron lids and some of my stainless lids that fit), Dutch oven (I use the domed lid for cornbread), square stove top grill pan (great for searing), round griddle (used for pancakes).
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:45 PM   #19
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There is one skillet that I do use a lot, but not in the usual way - a French style skillet, which has steeper sides, and more curved where the bottom sort of eases into the sides, instead of the sharper crease found in traditional skillets. I've noticed a number of brands switching over to this, because it is easier to toss the ingredients in the pan, when sautéing vegetables, for instance. The one I have is just over 9", and I use it almost entirely in an unusual way - toasting spices, when cooking all that Indian food that I cook! Also good for sesame seeds, pepitas, nuts, and many other "dry roast" items.
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:26 AM   #20
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Must have...clean one. I must have a DO, a CI skillet and stockpot. Only the stock pot is stainless.
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