There’s no doubt about it: much success in the kitchen is determined by having access to the proper cookware, equipment and tools. One can hardly baste a chicken without a baster or blend cake batter without a blender, and it will be especially difficult to fry a tender cut of salmon without the best-suited frying pan.
But with an endless supply of cookware available, how do you know which set of pots and pans to put on your Christmas list? Which material conducts heat best? Which styles are known for their durability or longevity? What will fit your lifestyle and home aesthetic?
When Is It Time to Invest in New Cookware?
You might find yourself reading this article out of sheer curiosity, but more likely than not, you’ve realized (the hard way) that it’s time to replace your existing cookware. How does one know it’s time to purchase a new set of cookware? Here are some things to watch for:
- The bottom of the pot/pan has become warped or rounded (creating hot spots and uneven cooking which may burn food)
- The handles are loose or broken
- The coating of a nonstick or enamel pot/pan is beginning to flake (causing dangerous, toxic elements to end up in food)
- Excessive rust has formed on the bottom of the pot/pan (especially in the case of cast iron)
- Your current cookware makes it challenging to enjoy cooking or being in the kitchen
- The pots and pans you currently use are too small for your food preparation needs
Tips for Finding the Best Cookware
Once you’ve decided that it’s time to invest in new cookware, you need to feel confident that you’re purchasing the best the market has to offer. Here is our fool-proof guide to filling your cupboards with cookware set essentials that are sure to make you a celebrity at your next dinner party:
1. Create a Budget
You won’t do anyone any good if you buy the most expensive set out there and then can’t afford ingredients to make something delicious. However, be prepared (and save up!) to spend a pretty penny if you’re on the market for high-quality cookware that will last. This is a worthy investment in your cooking and health. Create a realistic budget and do your research so you know what to expect while you’re shopping.
2. Know the Basics
Here’s the deal: there are a lot of cookware options out there. It can be overwhelming, to say the least. The good news is, you only need a few pots and pans to be successful in the kitchen, and we’ve laid it all out for you!
Check out the image below for 5 essential cookware pieces to get started:
- Sauté Pan
- Dutch Oven
- Cast Iron Pan
3. Choose Cookware Material That Lasts
It might be enticing to select the set of pots and pans that have the cutest pattern or are endorsed by your favorite celeb, but be picky when it comes to the durability and longevity of your cookware material.
- Search for: Cast Iron, Enamel
- Avoid: Teflon, Aluminum
4. Select Cookware Based On Cooking Skills
The fact of the matter is, some cookware is just easier to use. This is especially true if your skills wouldn’t hold up in the average cooking show competition (if so, join the crowd). Keep your level of comfortability/expertise in mind when shopping for kitchen tools.
- For the beginner: Teflon (or other non-stick materials)
- For the expert: Cast Iron, Copper, Stainless Steel, etc.
5. Choose Materials That Heat Evenly
Heat “conductivity” is a buzzword in the cooking community, and for good reason. The success of a dish is dependent upon your kitchen utensils’ ability to prepare and cook the ingredients well. For cookware, this means the conductivity must be even and controlled. Some materials react to a change in temperature more effectively than others, and hold heat longer and better for even cooking of meat and sauces.
- Most conductive: Copper, Stainless Steel
- Least conductive: Enamel, Cast Iron
6. Understand Cookware Types
Before you swipe your card or hit “check out,” make sure you’ve done your research, read reviews, and compared all the cookware materials and brands out there to find the best selection for you and your family. Read blogs from real people, watch for what the professionals are using on their cooking shows or in your favorite cookbooks, and research, research, research.
Lucky for you, we’ve compiled an easy-to-follow guide on the most well-known cookware materials available today, so you can make an informed decision!
Once you’ve determined that it’s time to invest in new cookware, selected the material and pots/pans that fit your lifestyle and needs, and established a budget that will allow you to be both practical and fabulous, it’s time to fill your cupboard with a cookware set!
For all your other kitchen accessory needs, Loth & Co is proud to offer a beautiful collection of unique home decor items. We strive to be original yet accessible, fresh yet inviting. Come be inspired.
Grab your favorite apron and get cookin’!