Compare & Review The Best Cookware Of 2017
Finding the best cookware is no easy task… as a Chef, I know firsthand how difficult it can be with so many options, styles and uses to choose from! Some of the most common questions I am asked on a daily basis are: “what type of cookware is the best”, “what is the most affordable cookware” and “does expensive cookware mean it’s the best”?
These are all great questions! The answers to them can be found in our Cookware Tips & Info section. I’ve spent over a decade researching and testing the most well-known cookware brands and I’m happy to assist you in your journey to finding the best cookware possible! Check out some of my cookware reviews from popular brands like All-Clad, Calphalon, Le Creuset, Cuisinart and more.
Choosing The Right Cookware
No matter whether you are a novice cook or a gourmet chef, using the right cookware can mean the difference between a delicious meal and a mediocre dish.
Pots and pans may look similar, but the material type, quality of the materials and the thickness of the pan all have an effect on the cookware’s performance. Having an understanding of the different types of cookware and your own cooking habits will help you make the best purchasing decision.
Understand The Different Types Of Cookware
There are many different types of cookware on the market today. The primary difference between each type is the material used to create the cookware. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Listed below are some of the most common types of cookware.
Stainless steel is the most popular type of cookware because it is so easy to maintain and clean. The metal will not react with food, and a good set of stainless steel cookware is resistant to corrosion, rust, and stains. You can even wash your pots and pans in the dishwasher, although this may dull its natural shine.
On its own, stainless steel is not a very good conductor of heat, and it tends to develop hotspots. This is why stainless steel pots and pans have encapsulated bottoms. These bottoms include layers of copper or aluminum to ensure even heat distribution.
Cast iron has been used to create cookware for centuries. This type of cookware is renowned for its exceptional cooking ability. It heats up quickly but cools down slowly. Cast iron retains heat better than any other type of material used in cookware today. For this reason, it’s the best cookware for outdoor cooking.
While cast iron excels in heat distribution and retention, this type of cookware can be difficult to maintain. It’s prone to rust, and needs to be seasoned well with cooking oil to maintain a non-stick surface. Unless it’s well-seasoned, cast iron will also react with acidic foods, like tomatoes. Furthermore, cast iron is not ideal for boiling water.
Copper is the most efficient heat conductor. It distributes heat evenly and responds quickly to temperature changes.
Much like cast iron, copper cookware requires quite a bit of maintenance to avoid discoloration and overheating. Copper can also react with certain foods by changing its color or taste. The bottoms of copper pots often include layers of tin or stainless steel to help remedy this problem.
Non-stick cookware is made with several layers of nonstick coating to prevent foods from sticking to the pan. Because foods do not stick, there is no need to cook with oil or fat.
The biggest complaint with non-stick cookware is that it scratches easily. Pots and pans with seven layers of nonstick coating have a much smoother surface and last much longer than cookware with fewer layers.
Aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat, which is why this metal is used in nearly half of all the cookware manufactured today.
Pure aluminum is a soft metal and is prone to scratches and dents. It also reacts with certain foods. For this reason, most aluminum cookware is treated through an anodization process. This makes the metal more durable and ensures that it does not react with foods.
Know What Kind Of Cook You Are
Choosing the right cookware will largely depend on what type of cook you are.
- Novice and Occasional Cooks: If you are new to cooking or only cook on occasion, a set of stainless steel cookware may be your best bet. Stainless steel is affordable, non-reactive, easy to maintain and a fair conductor of heat. A basic set will last you several years providing you take good care of it.
- The Dieting Cook: If you are watching your waistline, a set of non-stick cookware is a smart choice. Foods will not stick to the pan, which makes clean-up a breeze and eliminates the need to cook with oil and fat.
- The Cooking Enthusiast: If you enjoy home cooking, stainless steel, aluminum and cast iron cookware sets are ideal. It is not uncommon for cooking enthusiasts to have multiple types of cookware in their home. This ensures that they always have the right tool for the job.
- Professional: Copper cookware is ideal for serious or professional cooks because of its excellent heat conductivity, but aluminum is also a great option. Because copper cookware can be very expensive and requires more maintenance, it is not ideal for a novice or occasional cook.
Read My Cookware Reviews
My cookware reviews are designed to help you find the best possible cookware for your needs based on the following criteria:
- Price: Cookware prices can vary greatly from under $100 to several thousand dollars.
Functionality: There are several different types of pots and pans, and each one has its own purpose. The functionality of the cookware is essential.
- Durability & Longevity: High-quality pots, pans, and skillets are durable and long-lasting. The most respected brands in the industry use the best possible materials to construct their cookware and design them in such a way that they can withstand everyday cooking abuses.
- Maintenance: Maintenance is an important factor when choosing cookware. Some materials are more fragile and require more maintenance than others. Copper, for example, requires polishing, while stainless steel is virtually maintenance-free.
- Features: The shape of the pan, as well as the handle type, and lid are all important.
Final Considerations To Take Into Account Before You Buy
The best cookware sets are the ones that fit into your budget, needs, and cooking style. However, there are a few other final considerations you should take into account before you make your purchase.
- Size: Be practical about the size of the pots and pans you purchase. Bigger is not necessarily better. Choose a size that fits the job.
- Storage Constraints: This ties in with the size consideration. If you do not have a lot of storage space, investing in an extra-large, 15” skillet may not be the best choice.
- Heat Source: Do you cook on a gas or electric stovetop? Maybe you have an induction cooktop. In the latter case, you will need to ensure that the cookware you purchase is compatible with induction cooktops.