9 Best Pots And Pans For Your Kitchen

Tested & Perfected Recipes

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One of the most common questions that pops up in my inbox every day is: “What pots and pans do you recommend?” With so many brands, materials, sizes, and sets, purchasing new cookware is daunting, to say the least.

As a professional cook, I own enough cookware to open a kitchen shop of my own, but in reality, I return to the same few stainless steel, nonstick, and cast iron pots and pans over and over again. As a rule, I don’t recommend purchasing a set of cookware but rather mixing and matching the essential items you need. While cookware sets are usually more cost-efficient than buying individual pots and pans, they always come with several items you’ll never use – and you really do need pots and pans in different materials for different purposes. In the long run, you’ll get more bang for your buck by buying the specific items you need.

These are the 9 best pots and pans I recommend, whether you’re stocking your first kitchen, cooking for a large family, or downsizing to a smaller space.

Stainless Steel Pans

Stainless steel pans are your everyday workhorses. They heat food evenly, handle all types of cooking, go from stove to oven, and, depending on the brand, withstand temperatures up to 600°F. Stainless steel pans are also highly durable (i.e., safe to use with sharp or metal utensils) and dishwasher-safe – and they last a lifetime. I’ve been using the same stainless steel pots and pans since I got married in 2001, and they are no worse for the wear.

These four stainless steel pans will give you the most versatility:

MEDIUM STAINLESS STEEL SAUCEPAN

medium saucepan

Why You Need It: A medium-sized saucepan is an essential tool in your kitchen, and it’s useful any time of day. Use it to make oatmeal in the morning, reheat leftover soup at lunchtime, or steam rice for that stir-fry you’re having for dinner.

Use When: A recipe calls for a medium saucepan

Best For:
Making soft or hard-boiled eggs, oatmeal, small batches of soup, hot dips, sauces, custard fillings, puddings, mashed potatoes, rice, couscous, quinoa, or other grains

❤️ My Fave: All-Clad Stainless Steel 3-Quart Saucepan

Large Stainless Steel Skillet

12-inch stainless steel skillet

Why You Need It: This incredibly versatile pan is designed for everyday dinner tasks like sautéing, stir-frying, searing, shallow-frying, and making pan sauces. (Note that this skillet is often interchangeable with your nonstick or cast iron skillets in recipes, but nonstick skillets should be used only when necessary, and stainless steel is often preferable to cast iron as it’s much easier to handle.)

Use When: A recipe calls for a large skillet (that doesn’t specify nonstick)

Best For: Searing or browning meat, such as steak au poivre or pan-seared steaks; making dishes with pan sauces, like chicken piccata, chicken marsala or chicken tikka masala; making pasta sauces; stir-frying without a wok, like beef and broccoli; sautéed vegetables, like string beans or zucchini and tomatoes; making taco or pot pie fillings; pasta dishes; and cooking stove-to-oven dishes, like rack of lamb or shepherd’s pie

❤️ My Fave: All-Clad 12-Inch Stainless Steel Skillet

Large stainless steel Stockpot 

large stock pot

Why You Need It: This is my go-to “big pot” that I use daily for boiling pasta (it can hold up to 2 pounds of pasta), blanching veggies, or making big batches of stock.

Use When: A recipe calls for a standard large pot

Best For: Boiling pasta or potatoes, making stock, soups, or sauce; steaming vegetables, like broccoli or cauliflower; poaching chicken; and simmering warm cocktails, like hot buttered cider

❤️ My Fave: All-Clad 8-Quart Stock Pot

Large Stainless Steel Roasting Pan 

large roasting pan

Why You Need It: This sturdy and functional pan really shines when it comes to roasting your Thanksgiving turkey, large cuts of meat, and whole chickens. It comes with a roasting rack that allows heat to circulate around the food for more even cooking, and the high sides make easy work of basting your meat while it cooks. The pan is also stovetop safe, so you can deglaze the pan over a flame to make delicious and easy gravies. While it is most often used for savory dishes, a large roasting pan also comes in handy as a water bath for custard-based desserts.

Use When: A recipe calls for a large roasting pan

Best For: Roasting holiday turkeys, whole chickens, bone-in chicken pieces, whole beef tenderloins, pork butts, sides of salmon, oven-steamed mussels, brisket, and roulades, and water baths for cheesecake or flan

❤️ My Fave: All-Clad Large Stainless Steel Roasting Pan

Nonstick Skillets

Nonstick cookware is infused or lined with a coating that prevents food from sticking, making it a great option for things that are a bit delicate or more likely to stick, like omelettes, fish, or anything else particularly wet or cheesy. It’s also good for healthy cooking, as nonstick pans don’t require as much butter or oil to prevent food from adhering to the surface.

In the past, there were concerns that the nonstick coating on pans could present health risks. To adhere to safety guidelines, manufacturers now use safer alternatives, and any chemicals released when using nonstick pans fall within required safety standards. To maintain the pans’ nonstick coating, avoid high heat and metal utensils which will scratch the surface; instead, use wood, plastic, or silicone. These pans should be hand washed with dish soap and a sponge, and they should be replaced when they get worn.

I recommend these two nonstick skillets for everyday cooking (they are usually sold as a set):

Small Nonstick Pan

small nonstick skillet

Why You Need It: As mentioned above, nonstick skillets prevent food from sticking, and this size is ideal when you’re cooking delicate foods for one or two. 

Use When: A recipe calls for a small nonstick pan or skillet

Best For: Making scrambled eggs for one or two people, omelettes, or crepes

❤️ My Fave: All-Clad 8-Inch Nonstick Pan

MEDIUM NONSTICK PAN

large nonstick skillet

Why You Need It: Nonstick skillets prevent food from sticking, and this size is ideal for cooking larger quantities.

Use When: A recipe calls for a medium or large nonstick pan or skillet

Best For: Making fish, scrambled eggs for a crowd, quesadillas, frittatas, Spanish tortillas, pancakes, bacon, grilled cheese  

❤️ My Fave: All-Clad 10-Inch Nonstick Pan

Enameled Cast Iron & Cast Iron

Dutch ovens and cast iron skillets are not as essential as your stainless steel and nonstick pans, but if your budget allows, it’s nice to have at least one of each. Not only are these pans functional but they are also heirloom-worthy.

Dutch Oven

dutch oven

Why You Need It: Made from enameled cast iron, or cast iron with an enamel coating, Dutch ovens conduct heat beautifully, are ideal for slow-cooking, and can go from stove, to oven, to table. They are easy to care for and they come in a variety of vibrant colors that can add a little personality to your kitchen.

Use When: A recipe calls for a heavy-bottomed pot, a Dutch oven, or an enameled cast iron pot

Best For: Any recipe that calls for searing followed by gentle cooking, like beef bourguignon, braised short ribs, or coq au vin; low-and-slow cooking, like chili or risotto

❤️ My Fave: Le Creuset 5.5 Quart Dutch Oven

CAST IRON SKILLET

cast iron skillet

Why You Need It:  There’s a reason these old-school skillets have been around forever. They actually improve as they age (and if you care for them correctly, they last a lifetime). Cast iron pans are are ideal for searing, sautéing, and even baking. They are also reasonably priced, have a natural-nonstick finish, and can be used on the stove, in the oven, and even on the grill.

Use When: A recipe calls for a medium cast iron or nonstick skillet or pan

Best For: Searing steaks or scallops; making smash burgers; baking cornbread, soda bread, or skillet cookies

❤️ My Fave: Lodge 10-Inch Cast Iron Skillet

Cast Iron Grill Pan

Why You Need It:  If you want to take care of your grill fix but don’t own a grill, or it’s too cold outside to fire it up, a cast iron grill pan is a great alternative. It’s nonstick, cooks food evenly, can withstand high heat, and the ridges in the pan mimic the grates of a grill and will give you those appealing grill marks. 

Use When: A recipe calls for quick grilling (avoid longer-cooking cuts, like bone-in chicken)

Best For: Indoor grilling of steaks, boneless chicken breasts, boneless skinless chicken thighs, shrimp, steakhouse burgers, turkey burgers, veggies, and stone fruits.

❤️ My Fave: Lodge Cast Iron Grill Pan

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that you don’t need to run out and buy all of these pots and pans at once! Start by purchasing one or two based on your cooking needs or the items in your kitchen that are in need of a refresh. I think you’ll find that cooking will be easier and you’ll get better results with the right tools. If you have any questions about which options may be good to start with, feel free to email me at jennifer@onceuponachef.com. Happy Cooking! 

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Comments

  • Thank you Jenn for all of your recommendations. We are selling our log home after 30 years and I’m going to replace kitchen kitchen knives, pans and tools. I’m pleased to have some of your recommendations already in my possession!
    You are my fav on-line chef and you are always “spot on”!

    • — Ginny on July 10, 2022
    • Reply
    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on July 10, 2022
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  • Hi Jen, thanks so much for these recommendations and info about the types of food to use them for. I’ve tried to use stainless steel skillets before but end up with a big mess as the food sticks to it. Any tips on how to avoid this?

    • — Jenny on June 24, 2022
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    • Hi Jenny, There are several reasons that food can stick to stainless steel pans. I think this article summarizes them (and how to avoid it) nicely. Hope you find it helpful!

      • — Jenn on June 25, 2022
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  • Thank you so much for adding this feature to your recipes. Good tools are so important to good outcomes when I’m cooking. I really appreciate your knowledgeable insight and letting us know what cookware you use. In a few cases, you validated my choices so that makes me a pro, too, right? LOL! Your recipes have never failed me, I’m sure these tool recommendations won’t either!

    • — Leigh on June 16, 2022
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  • Thanks, Jenn, for your timely article on the best pots & pans. I’m needing to replace some skillets and was checking on the All-Clad website. Do you recommend the 3-ply or 5-ply bonded stainless and non-stick skillets?

    • — Diane Butler on June 15, 2022
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    • Hi Diane, I have the 3-ply and love them!

      • — Jenn on June 16, 2022
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  • I have Jamie Oliver stainless steel and have had them since 2005 I think. They look brand new. Occasionally I put them in the dishwasher on the pot cycle and they come out amazing. These are made in France. I notice they are now made in China which is unfortunate. Anyone ever tried buying a toaster that isn’t made in China?

    • — Marjory Ross on June 14, 2022
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  • For non-stick, I am in love with my Le Creuset Toughened Non-Stick Pro Fry Pans!! I’ve had them 2 years and they are still in great shape.

    • — Tanya on June 14, 2022
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  • Great article and good complement to your cooking blog! As the “house cook”, I look forward to your weekly recipes and have adopted many as our preferred. Regarding cookware, IF I were looking for cookware today, the Allclad line would be my first choice. Great quality and something that will last a lifetime. We purchased a complete set of Saladmaster cookware over 45 years ago and they still look and perform beautifully. They also were more affordable at the time! Ours have the original handles and are in great shape. Key is to avoid the dishwasher. I am passing this article along to my children and “grands” because it targets the real choice – buy quality that lasts or buy often. Thank you again for your blog and valuable cookbooks. My “go to” for recipes.

    • — Ted L. on June 12, 2022
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    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on June 12, 2022
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  • Thanks! My comment – In my experience (and I’m old now), it pays in the long run to buy good quality stuff, even though it seems very expensive. I used to buy cheap pots + pans, ended up having to replace often, and lots of frustrating results bc they don’t perform as well. Finally I bit the bucket and bought All Clad stainless steel (decades ago). I’ll never have to buy another stainless steel pot/pan. A couple years ago, bought high-end Zwilling (J.A.Henkel) non-stick skillets. These have held up well. Same comment for knives: buy good quality, they last for life.
    Always pays to buy good tools.

    • — Sarah E. on June 12, 2022
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  • I bought a whole set of All clad cookware for my new kitchen that has an induction stove. Non of my stainless steel pots would work on this new stove. But the All clads do. The non stick All clad fry pans did not last more than 2 yr. the coating started to wear off. I threw the pan out and got the Paderno non-stick pans. Have had them for 6months now and no sign of wear. I use my non stick pans for breakfast every morning. Just have the small 8″ pan. Love it. Paderno used to be made in Prince Edward Island, Canada but is unfortunately being made in China now except for one set. However All clad is also now made in China and not the USA except for a couple of pieces.

    Love your recipes and this article about cookware. Thanks for the many successful dishes.

    • — Donna on June 12, 2022
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  • Hi Jenn –
    Thank you for this informative article grounded in your experience as a chef. One note I may add, while you don’t specifically call out a lid for the large skillet, I’ve found it useful to have one. I have one for my All-Clad, and I have a Woll large skillet with a glass lid so I can see how foods are progressing without lifting the lid. As with the All-Clad, it goes from stovetop to oven. It has been invaluable for dishes such as skillet baked ziti (mostly cooked on the stove with the lid on, and finished topped with mozzarella in the hot oven without the lid); or veggies like broccoli and bok choy where the stalks are sautéed to crisp tender then the more delicate leaves/florets are thrown in and steamed with the lid on.

    Love your recipes!

    • — Ron on June 12, 2022
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  • Would you elaborate why you seem to discourage the use of nonstick cookware.

    • — Lou Altomar on June 12, 2022
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    • Hi Lou, Nonstick cookware is not as durable as stainless steel or cast iron, and it doesn’t brown foods as nicely. Because it needs to be replaced as soon as it gets worn (for me this is every 1-2 years), it’s best to limit usage.

      • — Jenn on June 12, 2022
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  • The LeCreuset is obviously a great Dutch Oven. But I bought a Tramontina Dutch Oven which I love and use it a lot. And it’s considerably less expensive. It has held up well after extensive use. Also for nonstick skillets I have several Analon Nouvelle Copper skillets that are great!

    • — Devon on June 11, 2022
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  • We have all but the grill pan- will do.
    My wife will say – “Don’t you already have one”!!!!!

    • — JS in Tally on June 11, 2022
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  • I love my deep skillet pan, think it’s a sauté pan. I like adding liquid so I need more space then a frying pan. It’s also light enough so I can fry in stages and tip over to a plate and then add everything back.

    • — Alexandra on June 11, 2022
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  • Thanks so much for this – really clear what to look for and when to use each type of pot/pan. I thought a pan was a pan, but now understand why I’m not getting the results I was looking for – I’ve been using the wrong type of pan. Im off to get myself a cast iron pan and a Dutch oven. Thanks Jenn! 🙂

    • — Jennifer on June 11, 2022
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  • Can’t live without my dutch oven, I use it practically every day. Revere Ware. It is essential in MY kitchen!! Thanks for the great read, love your recipes too!!

    • — beth on June 11, 2022
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  • Jenn,
    Your email came at just the right time. I am looking to replace several essential pots and pans. Thank you for the practical information. I noticed that your suggestions for the All-Clad pots through Amazon are Tri-Ply bonded (D3). Why did you choose All-Clad Tri-Ply D3 bonded pots instead of All-Clad D5?
    I have made many of your wonderful recipes. Our family absolutely enjoys the delicious meals. Thank you for sharing your culinary experience and talent which make my meals fantastic!

    • — Carolyn on June 11, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Carolyn, They are really very similar and the D3 is less expensive. The D3 is what I generally use and I’m very happy it. You can read about the differences in more detail here. So glad you enjoy the recipes! 😊

      • — Jenn on June 11, 2022
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  • any thoughts on ceramic nonstick as being safer? Thanks

    • — N. on June 11, 2022
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    • Hi N, from what I’ve read, traditional nonstick pans are just as safe as ceramic pans. This article summarizes it nicely. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 13, 2022
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  • Jenn,

    First of all I LOVE all your recipes – easy to follow and I like all the pictures. I haven’t had one that I don’t like and many I have made over and over. My family and friends all use your recipes!
    Thank you for this article on pots and pans. I’ve always wondered what brand, type to purchase. And I am in need of new ones, as my last stockpot handles melted when I was boiling water, not a pleasant smell. As I was looking over the pots and pans, I noticed some were D3(tri-ply) and some were 5 ply. Do you have a recommendation for which to purchase?

    Thank you again for your wonderful recipes and this article,
    Stephanie

    • — Stephanie Campbell on June 11, 2022
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  • I’ve mixed and matched over the years too and have my favs. Can’t go wrong with All-Clad but it is spendy. I’ve purchased seconds using their auto email. It’s a big savings.

    • — Deb on June 11, 2022
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  • After a lifetime of buying sets of pots and pans, I finally came around to purchasing individual pieces, just as you’ve recommended here. I love knowing I have invested in good quality no matter what the item. I’m an All-Clad and Lodge devotee because they are not only fantastic, but also US-made. Exceptions are most of All-Clad’s non-sticks. Just purchased my first Le Creuset from Ebay and saved a ton of money! Also All-Clad. Highly recommend it!

    • — Lois, Pittsburgh on June 11, 2022
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  • Good list. Will just add that a 5.5 qt cast iron/enameled Dutch oven is also indispensable for baking sourdough bread. Lid on, very hot oven, it creates a mini-steam oven for the first 20 minutes of baking. The result is a glorious oven spring and beautiful, tasty loaf.

    • — Diana on June 11, 2022
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  • You picked the best of the best. I agree with all of your choices except for the non-stick. All of the non-stick pans you chose should last a lifetime. However, I find even top notch non-sticks tend to wear out in a few years, even with good care. I tend to buy moderately priced non-stick pans and replace them every few years. I usually buy an OXO 12 in. I feel better about that than tossing an expensive pan that I feel should last “forever”.

    P.S. Love the books and the great recipes!

    • — Dan Golding on June 11, 2022
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  • I still use my Farberware pots i got when married 1976 EVERY DAY. LASTING A LIFETIME ♥️
    Best
    Wendy

    • — Wendy Loeb Eisenbach on June 11, 2022
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  • Thanks. This is a great checklist. Since you seem to enjoy all-clad pans I am wondering how you clean the area around the two screws. I can not for the life of me keep this area clear of “food residue” and it’s so gross and perhaps unhealthy (bacteria)? Am I obsessing? I have tried bar keepers friend and baking soda with no success. Thanks. Love love the recipes!

    • — Ann on June 11, 2022
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    • Hi Ann, I have the same issue – first bar keepers friend and a scrub brush, then a toothpick to scrape around the screws (it’s good for getting inside the logo, too).

      • — Jenn on June 12, 2022
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  • Thank you for the list! I’ve got most but not all. Question about non-stick pans. I’ve had cheap ones and expensive ones and the coating eventually got damaged on all of them. I’ve begun buying cheap ones exclusively so I can get rid of them when they scar without wasting a lot of money. I have plastic and silicone utensils to use with them but somehow those non-stick surfaces always get dinged. Is there a big difference in cooking results between cheap and expensive non-stick?

    • — Mary on June 11, 2022
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    • Hi Mary, In my opinion, there is not a big difference between nonstick pans from the well-known brands (All-Clad, Calphalon, OXO, etc.), and there are plenty of good options. If you read reviews of these nonstick pans, the pros/cons are more about the shape/weight of the pan rather than how they cook or durability. None of them last long; I replace my All-Clad every few years, but mine get more use than most! I haven’t tried super inexpensive options or lesser-known brands so can’t speak specifically to that.

      • — Jenn on June 12, 2022
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  • For everyone out there who bakes & cooks in a small (less than 100 sq. ft.) kitchen, you know that storage is a big issue. I got rid of my wok, Dutch oven and roasting pan and purchased a heavy oven-proof deep stainless steel 12″ Sautee pan with a lid. I can stir-fry, roast, fry, make casseroles, use it as a tangine, etc… Best think I ever did! I have 2 other anti-stick ceramic coated frying pans (8″ & 10″). My old ones lasted almost 10 years and these are of better quality. They will also take a bit more abuse than the regular non-stick pans.

    • — Elizabeth on June 11, 2022
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  • I’m definitely going to have my husband read this article. He keeps buying pans, trying to find the perfect non-stick pan, skillet, griddle. Plus, we have an enviable collection of Lodge cast iron – the most recent addition is a pizza pan – which we can’t even use on our glass top stove (house is all electric). The Lodge goes on the grill or in the oven. Storage is the issue and I would like to pare down. Thank you for the suggestions. PS: Made your salmon cakes the other evening. They were delicious and I will never use canned salmon for them again! Tartar sauce, too.

    • — Jeanette Carter on June 11, 2022
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  • You can save several $$ on a Dutch Oven from Tramontina and they great!

    • — Devon on June 11, 2022
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  • Hello Jenn, I have a Le Creuset 5 quart Dutch Oven that is about 15 years old. Over time, the inside bottom and lower sides have lost their sheen. It is difficult to get rid of food smells. Is there a way to restore this pot? Thank you,
    Kathryn Fox

    • — Kate on June 11, 2022
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    • Hi Kate, I suggest Bar Keepers Friend. This is a good tutorial.

      • — Jenn on June 12, 2022
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  • Hi Jenn,
    I notice that you cook on a gas stove. Unfortunately, we have electric. We finally just purchased a new stove. Heads above our older one(19 years). But still electric. Do not have gas in our community.

    We had purchased new St. St. pans a while ago from William Sonoma. A bit more affordable. Though we had purchased all clad non stick pans, 10”(I think) and 8”.
    So, was wondering, would you still recommend your choices for electric cooking? Can’t use cast iron on the glass top. Afraid if scratching. But I do have a less expensive enameled cast iron 6 qrt. pot.
    Much thanks again.
    Sunny

    • — Sunny Drohan on June 11, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Sunny, I’ve always cooked on gas stoves, but this article looks helpful.

      • — Jenn on June 14, 2022
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  • I just purchased smithey cast iron. And love them!!!

    • — Cathy on June 11, 2022
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    • I have a 15” everyday stainless steel pan from All-Clad. Love it!! It gets lots of use with my large family.

      • — Mary Beth on June 11, 2022
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  • Good post and I like your list but would add a large saute pan for us as it gets uses a lot.

    • — Larry on June 11, 2022
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  • Hello Jen,

    I am wondering if you have a good tip for cleaning the cast iron grill pan. I have had so much trouble in the past getting all those grooves cleaned 😱.. Thank you

    • — Annmarie on June 11, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yep – see this article. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 11, 2022
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      • This article doesn’t address the grill pan issue. I have a separate non-scratch scouring pan I use to clean down each rib and then follow up with the same drying and oiling as mentioned for the skillet.

        • — LK on June 11, 2022
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      • Hi Jenn,
        I read the article and it is fine for cast iron flat pans but not for grill pans or cast iron griddles. As Annmarie wrote how do you get those grooves cleaned… I have the same issue. I have tried so many different ways but it never fully gets clean and I do not want to cook food on unclean surfaces on my Lodge griddle pan.

        • — Susan on June 11, 2022
        • Reply
        • Hi Susan, Are you using a little soap with a nylon scrub brush? If that’s not doing the trick, you might try these grill pan scrapers from Lodge.

          • — Jenn on June 12, 2022
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      • Thank you

        • — Annmarie on June 14, 2022
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  • I totally agree with your pan selections, and would also add a small sauce pan with a pour spout – I use this often. Another note – I have a ceramic top stove, and the instructions say cast iron should not be used on this type of stove. I do have a couple of enamel-coated cast iron pots that can be used (carefully).
    Could you (or have you) created a similar list and recommendations for knives? Also a tutorial about sharpening, as having it done professionally is pricy.

    • — Kay on June 11, 2022
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  • I like your list, but I would include a sturdy half sheet pan with a rack.
    Thanks for all the amazing recipes!

    • — JB on June 11, 2022
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  • We switched from gas to induction last year and had to buy news pots and pans that have magnetic properties. An interesting experience – going shopping with a magnet to test each pan! We chose separate pieces and ended up with what you described. After thirty years of cooking , we know what we really need and it doesn’t come in a set! We do have additional Le Creuset pieces that we have had for years. Most often we use the 5.5 and 4 quart Dutch ovens and the large round covered baker (for stove top and oven).

    • — Dana Ward on June 11, 2022
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  • Thank you for this great info, Jenn! Love all of your fabulous recipes and blog…💕👩‍🍳

    • — Kathleen on June 11, 2022
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  • Don’t forget woks! I consider mine just as essential as the other pans.

    • — Roberta on June 11, 2022
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  • This is a great resource list! I have the 12 inch All Clad for making your delicious and fool proof Chicken Marsala and Chicken Piccata recipes, and the zuchini ribbon recipe turns out amazing in it. Tried making same recipes on vacation, with nonstick…disappointed!

    • — Susan on June 11, 2022
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  • I have three calphalon pots which are about forty years old now, and they have been great but they are so heavy! Are stainless steel pots lighter? The same goes for my two old le Creuset frying pans – I love them but they are so heavy too. A long time ago I had a Lodge cast iron pan, but never got it seasoned right and I just didn’t love it because everything seemed to stick, it was so heavy, and it didn’t clean up well. It’s hard to change my heavy cookware for lighter now that I am old (early 70’s) but I still love to cook, so I am wondering how light and manageable stainless steel would be. What do you think?
    (Btw, I have both your cookbooks and am a big fan of your email recipes too! )

    • — Dianne F. on June 11, 2022
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    • Hi Dianne, Stainless steel pans are pretty light, but the large skillets can still be heavy and a bit unwieldy when filled with food. It’s hard to compare with your Calphalon without seeing them, but stainless steel is definitely a whole lot lighter than cast iron or enameled cast iron. It might be a good idea to search for lightweight cookware specifically. Glad you enjoy the recipes! ❤️

      • — Jenn on June 11, 2022
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  • I grew up very poor and I was always looking for ways to *not* spend money. In walks my future husband and he grew up far better off financially than me and bought things because they were needed with a focus on quality, rather than inexpensiveness.

    I remember when he suggested we buy All Clad pots and pans when we were first living together. I was nervous about making such a large purchase when we were so young and just starting out. I remember wondering if this enormous expense would pan out (pun intended).

    Today, I’ve owned my All Clad cookware for over 30 years and it looks as beautiful today as it did way back then. It has survived all kinds of food experiments, including ones made by my kids.

    I’m happy to see that you recommend them because they’re the best pots I’ve ever owned! After reading your post, I ordered the All Clad nonstick pans because we’ve been buying the cheap ones and they haven’t been lasting very long. Duh!

    • — Catherine Nichols on June 11, 2022
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  • I have found the All Clad copper core pans excellent although expensive since they maintain temperature more evenly. The Viking roaster is a good alternate to the All Clad.

    • — William Conner on June 11, 2022
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  • My wise mother-in-law gave us a SET of Revere Ware copper bottomed stainless steel pots and pans when we were married 53 (yep,53) years ago! I have added a few All-Clad items but those original stainless steel ones are still front and center in my cabinet. Amazing!!

    • — Gayle Darby on June 11, 2022
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    • My Revere Ware copper bottomed medium saucepan has been front and center in my cabinet for over 40 years and it wasn’t new when I got it. Potatoes, cream sauces, blue box mac n cheese, everything! My son recently gave me a stainless Mauviel medium sauce pan. I love that one almost as much as the Revere plus it can go in the dishwasher, a big plus.

      • — Marie on June 11, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi,
    Great list for pots and pans. I am wondering if you could make a similar list for BAKING items, as you have many mouth watering baking recipes ! I love your site and have made many many of your delicious recipes over the years ! Thank you 🙂

    • — JC on June 11, 2022
    • Reply
    • Will do! ❤️

      • — Jenn on June 11, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Jenn. Thanks to your web site I’ve begun trying to cook after retirement … and quite successfully too. I would like to branch out to baking and I echo JC’s request for a list of baking essentials. If you add the link to your periodic newsletter I won’t miss it. Thanks so much for all you are doing!

        • — Mike on June 11, 2022
        • Reply
    • Great to read . I have an entire closet dedicated to pots and pans. My purchase of an entire set of LeCreuset in 1980s has served me well. Plus, it was not as expensive then as now. I love them . Recently added a Staub round dutch oven to my collection. In addition, I have several Revere fry pans and sauce pans , and heavy cast iron fry pans that my parents used when I was a kid, so that is still one I use everyday. I am 70 years old. These last a lifetime.

      • — Maria on June 11, 2022
      • Reply
    • I have had All Clad copper core for many years and enjoyed them. As I’m much older now I miss my lightweight, reliable, easy to maneuver copper bottom Revere ware which I had for many years but told myself at one point I needed an ‘upgrade’ to All Clad. The very things I liked about All Clad in my earlier days (weight, long handles, etc) make me not wanting to use them today. Thanks for sharing your sentiments.

      • — Cindy on June 11, 2022
      • Reply
      • I totally agree. The copper bottom Revere ware is so easy to work with. And my mother’s set “nests”, which made storing them so easy. I do like the Le Creuset non stick pans, which I find to be very good quality compared to other non stick.

        • — Bonnie on June 11, 2022
        • Reply
  • I have enjoyed so many of your recipes! They are easy to follow and so good. Your cooking tips have always been helpful. I have been cooking basic family meals since I was 16 years old. I prefer simple and tasty food at home. For gourmet meals I would rather eat out so I don’t have to clean up!

    • — Wendy Thornton on June 11, 2022
    • Reply
  • I love your site! I have a question on the stainless steel. How do you keep food from sticking? I love stainless but have a horrible time with everything sticking to the bottom. Thanks

    • — Darla on June 11, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Darla, Thank you! Are you using enough oil/fat in the pan? The most common cause of sticking is not enough fat and not heating the pan/fat adequately before adding the food. What types of foods are typically sticking for you? As mentioned above, not everything can be cooked in stainless steel – eggs, fish, and more delicate foods should generally be cooked in nonstick cookware.

      • — Jenn on June 11, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hello Jenn, do you have advice on how I can restore my Le Creuset Dutch oven? It is about 15 years old. The bottom and lower sides have become dull and retain food odors. Thank you.

        • — Kate on June 12, 2022
        • Reply
        • Hi Kate, Have you tried Bar Keepers Friend? This is a good tutorial.

          • — Jenn on June 12, 2022
          • Reply
  • what about copper?

    • — Jacquie on June 11, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Jacquie, Copper is wonderful but pricey and fussy. I have a few copper pots but I don’t generally use them, and I don’t think copper is all that practical for most cooks.

      • — Jenn on June 11, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, Love your blog, recipes, well everything, thank you. I also loved reading this, as I too have the same stainless steel pots and pans, 44 yrs and running, the only ones I replace are the non stick small and medium pans. I did add a super big soup pot as I do soups and stews a lot. Thank you too for how friendly and fun your writing is, feels like family.

    • — Stephanie on June 11, 2022
    • Reply

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