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Old 12-16-2019, 11:57 AM   #1
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Pots and pans

Hi all, looking to buy some new pots and pans. I'm looking to buy a few nice pots and pans to replace my old worn out ones that were cheap. Can you recommend me what to buy (brand, type of metal etc). Price isn't that much of factor, I do a fair amount of cooking but good value is better than expensive. Please give me specific model/brand in your recommendations. Thanks

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Old 12-16-2019, 12:18 PM   #2
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Conventional wisdom is that you don't buy a set of pots and pans but individual pieces to replace what you actually will use.

There are a number of choices in pan materials: fully clad stainless, disk on the bottom stainless, single ply stainless, anodized aluminum, non-stick, carbon steel and cast iron (both plain CI and Porcelain coated a la Le Crueset). I'm sure I've missed one or two.

For general cooking I like cast iron and full clad stainless steel-two layers of SS with an aluminum layer in between to help eliminate hot spots and provide quick, uniform heating.

If you are not into cast iron, stick with the fully clad SS for best results. I would avoid non-stick except for one pan to cook eggs/omelets. Clad SS is non-reactive to acidic foods.

Choosing a quality brand is another question. At the top of the quality ladder is All-Clad. They make very good stuff but it's expensive. Other brands are available at a lower cost. Many years ago, I bought a set of clad SS from Costco I still use them regularly and the perform with issues. If you have access to Costco, Its worth a look.

If you are interested in CI, there is one basic product that's tops - Lodge Mfg. cast iron. They offer preseason cookware at a very low price. Now with the resurgence of CI, boutique brands are coming out of the woodwork offering CI products at much higher prices. I'm not sure they're worth the extra.

Porcelain coated cast iron pots are excellent for slow cooking foods such as stews and braises.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to review earlier threads on this subject in this form.
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Old 12-16-2019, 12:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Conventional wisdom is that you don't buy a set of pots and pans but individual pieces to replace what you actually will use.

There are a number of choices in pan materials: fully clad stainless, disk on the bottom stainless, single ply stainless, anodized aluminum, non-stick, carbon steel and cast iron (both plain CI and Porcelain coated a la Le Crueset). I'm sure I've missed one or two.

For general cooking I like cast iron and full clad stainless steel-two layers of SS with an aluminum layer in between to help eliminate hot spots and provide quick, uniform heating.

If you are not into cast iron, stick with the fully clad SS for best results. I would avoid non-stick except for one pan to cook eggs/omelets. Clad SS is non-reactive to acidic foods.

Choosing a quality brand is another question. At the top of the quality ladder is All-Clad. They make very good stuff but it's expensive. Other brands are available at a lower cost. Many years ago, I bought a set of clad SS from Costco I still use them regularly and the perform with issues. If you have access to Costco, Its worth a look.

If you are interested in CI, there is one basic product that's tops - Lodge Mfg. cast iron. They offer preseason cookware at a very low price. Now with the resurgence of CI, boutique brands are coming out of the woodwork offering CI products at much higher prices. I'm not sure they're worth the extra.

Porcelain coated cast iron pots are excellent for slow cooking foods such as stews and braises.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to review earlier threads on this subject in this form.
thanks for the thoughtful response
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Old 12-16-2019, 01:04 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum!

I can't add much to what Andy said, except that you want to make sure to check the pans out to see how the handles feel in your hands. Some handles just don't feel good to me, especially when heavy.
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Old 12-16-2019, 01:14 PM   #5
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I am going through this process now.

A few months ago I bought a high carbon steel 12" skillet from Lodge. Love the way it works. It took a little bit to get the pan seasoned well but now that it's well on that path, it cooks fantastic.

I think I'll add in one stainless steel chix fryer skillet and then a few stock pots/sauce pans and I'm done.
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Old 12-16-2019, 02:10 PM   #6
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One thing that I think is worth considering is can you put the pot / pan in the oven or will handles melt or scorch? Don't forget handles on the lids.
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Old 12-16-2019, 02:57 PM   #7
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Following what Andy said, I have a single All-Clad pan - a 3.5-quart saute pan - and a set of Calphalon pots and pans I received from my husband for Christmas one year. I would say they are similar in quality and both work well. Calphalon is much less expensive. If I had not received them as a gift, I would have selected individual pans because there are a couple small skillets that I rarely use.

I also have several bare cast iron skillets and a grill pan with a panini lid, as well three sizes of Le Creuset enameled cast iron Dutch ovens. Le Creuset is a top-of-the-line brand of enameled cast iron; I love how beautiful as well as functional they are, but there are less expensive alternatives that I understand work just as well, like Lodge (I have never paid full price for my Le Creuset, though - always from the outlet store or eBay).

So consider the types of food you make regularly and decide which pans you need. Then you can look at the brands and prices that work for your budget.

And I agree with having one non-stick pan. Mine is Farberware from Walmart. I bought it at least 10 years ago and it works great.
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Old 12-16-2019, 03:37 PM   #8
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One thing that I think is worth considering is can you put the pot / pan in the oven or will handles melt or scorch? Don't forget handles on the lids.
Good suggestion! I forgot about this, it had been so long since I bought any of those. Of all those pans I have, the only ones that had any plastic handles were the lids of two dutch ovens by Le Creuset, of all brands! Good thing is, you can get a metal replacement really cheap; I replaced one of those, on the Dutch oven that I sometimes use for baking bread in, starting at 500°.
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Old 12-16-2019, 04:55 PM   #9
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I have a couple of Le Creuset enameled cast iron (nice, but overpriced... IMHO), a couple of Lodge cast iron skillets and grill pan (good quality, cheap, but takes some commitment to keep seasoned), a few Tramontina aluminum non-stick pans (cheap, good quality with nice handles) and a number of their Tri-Py Clad stainless pots and pans (amazing value for almost All-Clad performance and quality, NSF certified, 500° safe with stainless lids and great handles).

While all the above is great, in terms of quality, performance, and value, the Tramontina stuff stands out (especially the Tri-Ply Clad). In the past, I have had Calphalon hard anodized that warped (not a good thing with my ceramic cooktop), T-Fal and ScanPan whose coatings chipped (even though I never used metal utensils in them), and RevereWare that cooked like crap. None of these issues have ever been experienced with the aforementioned cookware.

So that is my 2¢, and good luck with whatever you decide on.

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Old 12-17-2019, 01:11 PM   #10
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For cast iron, look in throft stores and Ebay for Griswold pans. They are the best C
I
You can get, and are usually.reasonably priced. After Griswold, look for Wagner C.I
I agree that carbon steel skillets and frying pans are great. SS pans are virtually stick free when used properly
If you don't u
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Old 12-17-2019, 01:47 PM   #11
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See aboove.
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Old 01-12-2020, 06:44 AM   #12
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In my opinion The three best frying pans are, in order:
Cast iron
Cast iron
Cast iron

Just keep it well seasoned and clean it shortly after cooking. You'll never own a cheaper, tougher, or better cooking implement.
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Old 01-13-2020, 04:32 AM   #13
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Finishing what I started to say; Griswold, followd by Wagner, then Lodge for cast iron. I would recomend sizes 8 inch, 0, inch, and a 2 inch with high sides for frying chicken, or deep fried foods.

For high carbon steel, or mineral steel, there are some great French makers. They work like cast iron, and need seasoning. When properly seasoned, like cast iron, they are nearly shick-free. And like cast iron, they suffer from hot spots. Unlike cast iron, they won't shatter due to extreme thermal shock. Both cast iron, and mineral steel are oven safe, if they have metal handles.

Eenamled cast iron is great, but will have foods stck if used improperly. They can be hard to clean.

Stainless Steel - Try-ply such as all clad is cream of the crop here. But a good 18/10 stainless with an encapsulated bottom is much less expensive and will give very good service. Just be sure that with stainless, you preheat the pan dry, then add a little oil, and spread it around, then add the food. This makes the pan vertually stick-free. If you don't do this, foods can stick ferociously to SS pans and pots.


Many professional kitchens use bare aluminum pans for their durability, and light weight. Unknown to most people, aluminum pans should be seasoned just as you would season a Cast Iron pan. The seasoning prevents acidic, or alkali foods from reacting with the aluminum, and makes the pans as slippery as their ferrous cousins.

Dutch oven - enameled cast iron, or stainless steel. Must have a good, tight-fitting lid.

Finally, a non-stick, either Teflon, or ceramic pan is a must for French omelets, and eggs, and even crepe;s. Choose thick aluminum to prevent warping. Calpholon is a good brand here, and the anodized outside helps to keep them lookng good.

Pan types that every kitchen should have:
Skillets - in sizes mentioned under cast iron anove
Dutch Oven
Saucier - in SS, or noon-stick ceramic
8 inch frying pan with sloping sides
stock pot with doulble boiler and steamer
High Carbon Steel latge flat-bottomed wok with helper handle

Any and all pots, and pans should have tight fitting lids. With cast iron, and high carbon steel, the lids must be seasoned, just as you do the pans. Otherwise the steam from foods, coupled with the heat, will cause the lids to rust, and drip rusty water into the food. It won't hurt you, but won't help the food flavor, or how it looks. When seasoned properly, the lids won't corrode and affect the food.

If using in the oven, lid and pan handles need to be oven safte to at least 450'f.

Oh, and don't forget a good roasting pan, with a rack for ribs, chicken, turkey, etc. One large pan will serve to make all of thise, as well as a great pan full of lasagna, manicottie, baked spaghettie, or even a batch of baked beans. I have a large, rectangular 18/10 lasagna pan that is large enough to roast a 22 lb. turkey in, with a rack to hold the bird off of the pan bottom. I use it for all kinds of things. Unfortunately, iti doesn't have a lid. Heavy-duty aluminum foil works to seal everything in though. I can even use it as an indoor smoker in a pinch.


A wonderful way to preare your pots and pans for use over a camp fire - rirst, don't cook over flame, but over a bed of coals, using large pieces of wood, or a metal rgate to hold the pot over the coals. Rub a neutral soap, such as Ivory bar soap all over the outside of the pot, just like coloring it with a crayon. When clean up time comes, the soot comes right off with the soap. Just be careful not to get any of the soap inside the pot, or pan. It won't do any coog thing for the food taste.

Hope that gives everyone everything they need.

Oh, one more thing, microwave safe cookwear is something every kitchen should have, for making those quick soups, meals, or deserts in the microwave oven. And of course, there are specialty pans such as egg poaching pans and such. I won one that cooks foour poached ( actually steamed) eggs in butter that are sublime. But then, a properly poached egg in salted water, in an ordinary sauce pan is sublime too, just not as fancy looking.

HHigh quality spring form pans are needed for elegant cheesecakes and cakes. They can be had in circular, and square shapes, and different sizes. For these, quality is key. Kaiser, from Germany, is a great quality spring-form pan. Wilton also makes great baking pans of all types.

If purchasing any glass cookware, for the oven, or stove top, look for boro-silicate glass. It won't shatter over direct flame, under a broiler, and can be used in the fridge to oven, or oven to fridge without shattering.

The old Visions brand of stove-top cookware was boro-silicate glass, and would withstand temps that would melt aluminum cookware. Nut food did stick to it. This is the type of glass used by chemists over direct alcohol flames in test tubes, and beakers. it is completely inert, and non-reactive for all food types.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 01-13-2020, 05:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Longwind Of The North View Post
...

The old Visions brand of stove-top cookware was boro-silicate glass, and would withstand temps that would melt aluminum cookware. Nut food did stick to it. This is the type of glass used by chemists over direct alcohol flames in test tubes, and beakers. it is completely inert, and non-reactive for all food types.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
Visions cookware is actually a glass-ceramic.

Visions (cookware) - Wikipedia

But, yes, the pyrex glassware used by chemists is made of borosilicate glass.
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Old 01-13-2020, 07:03 AM   #15
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I kinda split my ticket as such:

Cast iron skillets by Griswold, Eire, Wagner. As I live in Appalachia I can find this stuff easily. Nothing wrong with Lodge my 4 Camp DO's are Lodge. I was given this one Chinese el-cheap-o skillet that's rough as sandstone inside and out but it's my go to cornbread pan.

I have my grandparents old hammered finish Wear Ever sauce pans with wood handles and their lids and still use them. I have this one oval shaped DO for using in my oven. The handles are some kind of early oven safe plastic but I never use in temps above 200 degrees F. (usually low and slow stuff)

I also have a set of stainless copper bottom Revere Ware with the big thick plastic handles. They are light and I enjoy cooking with them.

I enjoy looking at boxes of new Pots & Pans at the Stores when I'm shopping
but to me the vintage stuff holds it's firm grip on me. Some of this new stuff just looks like more Designer Luggage with some Celebrity Chef's name on it.
I can't imagine them making a novice cook any better at cooking, but perhaps learning to be a better pots & pan cleaner. As I was taught, it isn't the tools you have, it's the results you can get with them.
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