As a "newbie" to the cooking seen, I am now in the market for some new cookware. I have been reading a lot about the different types of cookware (stainless steel, aluminum, non-stick.....). My question is: For general cooking, is non-stick cookware O.K. I am on a budget (under $200) and can not afford the "high" priced products. I see some sets that cost $600 - $1000!!!! :shock:
Definitely out of my price range. Any suggestions?
There is nothing wrong with non-stick cookware as long as you follow the manufacturers directions.
One great thing about buying cookware is that there are really nice pieces at reasonable prices. Even many of the the popularly priced brands made by Meyer have improved so much that you can get nice stuff at most price points. For the average home cook...They work just fine. One thing I would look at is what type of cooking do you usually do...and what pieces will you need. You could start with a set...or you could spend your money on a few specific open stock items.
If you want a nonstick set, you cannot go wrong with Emerilware. I was just telling my husband yesterday that it is really high quality for the price. I usually see the nonstick anodized set around $199.
There are certainly lots of options...I hear Sears has a fully clad set that goes on sale for $99. I haven't used it but I hear it is pretty good.
If you are into bargain hunting...there are certainly ways to get several pieces of higher end cookware and stay within your budget. I've gotten some great bargains at Home Goods, Macys, and the Williams Sonoma Outlet (I was at one in Virginia last week and got a All-Clad french skillet for $45). It is a great piece...add a saute, a sauce pan, a dutch oven, and a stock pot and you are on your way. It really depends on how much time you want to invest in hunting for a bargain...For some of us, the hunt is as fun as using it!
There are lots of knowledgeable people on this board...They can give you great advice. The only piece of advice that I can give you is to have fun in the process! I love cookware...I am totally addicted to finding a great piece at a bargain. I have a whole room full of everything from All-Clad, LC, Staub, Calphalon...and on and on! My husband calls it the "Pan Room." :chef:
I got Rachael Ray's set of non-stick cookware, and I love it. I added the 12" skillet and oval saute pan for those rare times that I have to cook a really big meal...
Make sure you know what you're getting into with non-stick. Most of it is hand wash, and you shouldn't use metal utensils on it either.
If I were just starting out, I wouldn't start with a SET. Overall, the price per piece may be less, but I would personally decide what piece(s) I would make the most use of, decide what I could spend, and seek it out at that price point or less. The suggestions above for outlets is the best one. If you buy non-stick, it will last 10x longer if you don't blast it with high heat and don't put in the dishwasher.
You might also consider a home party and earn what you need free or at a very substantial discount. A few here may not like this idea, but most people appreciate the option and it's a great way to get what you need and have some fun while doing it.
Like adam said I would not go with a set.
I would identify the things you need to cook the way you want to
Personally I do not like non stick because you have to be too careful with it and cannot use high heat for things like searing and you dont get a fond to make pan sauces.
I would shop the bargain racks at places like TJ Maxx etc
I would look for some decent quality SS with a reasonably heavy disc bottom... Probably get a couple saucepans of different sizes (1.5qt, 3-4qt and a 5-6qt should cover most needs) and a saute pan with a lid. You should be able to find these fairly cheaply on sale as separates. If you really want non stick do that but I don't see need for non stick saucepans. I would rather have to soak occasionally than have to worry about what utensils I am using all the time.
I would get 3 skillets... a SS, a cast iron and a non stick all at least 10" diameter and at least one smaller skillet 6"-8" in a material of your choosing.
I would also not skip an enameled CI dutch oven one big enough for a small chicken or pot roast... you don't have to spend the big $$$ on a LeCreuset a knock off will do you fine.
Another thought if you don't care about brand new is look for some of the stuff 2nd hand you never know what you will find at thrift stores and flea markets or on craigslist, yardsales etc.... a little bar keepers friend and much of it shines up as good as new.
I have a lot of really great cookware I picked up on the cheap this way... Stuff that would have cost me an arm and a leg new... this is a good way to experiment with cookware types that you may otherwise have not been willing to buy.
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