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Essential Cookware Pieces

Medium 10-to 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet Medium 10- to 14-inch Sauté Pan Small 2- to 3-Quart Saucepan Medium 5- to 6-Quart Dutch Oven Large 4-Quart to 2-Gallon Saucepan or Pot Medium 10-inch Nonstick Skillet

SKILLET
Medium 10" to 12" Cast Iron Skillet or Heavy Skillet
Medium to large skillets are perfect for making one-pan meals, searing meat, stir-frying, and pan-frying. The skillet's flared sides are also great for creating pan sauces and reductions. Choose a heavy skillet that will efficiently and evenly transfer heat and hold high temperatures for longer periods. With the proper care, a cast iron skillet can last a lifetime. Shop Now

 

SAUTE PAN
Medium 10" to 14" Sauté Pan with Lid

A sauté pan has straight sides and a larger surface area, which makes it great for quickly browning foods or reducing a pan sauce. The taller sides also mean sauces and slices are less likely to spill! The best pan choice will include a "clad" construction of layered metals (from 2 to 7-ply) designed to diffuse heat evenly throughout the entire pan. The long handle, a signature element on a sauté pan, accommodates the amount of motion required for sautéing. The most versatile sauté pans  are designed with sturdy, snug-fitting lids that can be used both on the stovetop and in the oven. Shop Now

 

 

SAUCEPANS
Small 2- to 3-Quart Saucepan with Lid

The saucepan is ideal for cooking that requires a fair amount of liquid, such as simmering, boiling, cooking grains, and making sauces. Use it for everything from pasta to steamed vegetables to gravy, soup, rice pilaf and stews. Look for a durable pan that conducts heat quickly and evenly.  Stainless steel construction with an aluminum or copper core is a good choice, as are enamel-coated cast-iron pans and anodized-aluminum pans. A tight-fitting lid is essential when simmering mixtures to prevent splattering and keep ingredients warm.  Shop Now

 

 

DUTCH OVEN
Medium 5- to 6-Quart Dutch Oven

A Dutch oven is a heavy metal pot, usually made of cast iron, with thick walls and a lid. Durable, multipurpose and long-lasting, use them for everything from a slow-simmered stew to bread baking. An enamel-coated cast iron Dutch oven offers even cooking and browning with an easy-to-clean, non-stick surface. Dutch ovens are extremely versatile pieces of cookware, suitable for use on the stovetop as well as in the oven - some can even be used for cooking over an open fire. Shop Now

 

 

STOCKPOT
Large 6- to 12-Quart Stockpot

With its flat, round base and tall, straight sides that allow room for bubbling and boiling, the stockpot is designed for cooking pasta as well as stocks and soups. A heavy duty, high quality stockpot will uniformly distribute heat across the bottom and up the sides of the pot, allowing foods to cook evenly throughout. Two sturdy handles allow for the safe lifting of hot and heavy loads. Shop Now

 

 

SKILLET
Small 8" Nonstick Frying Pan

As a cookware staple, the small nonstick frying pan will be your go-to for easy-to-clean, quick cooking. The non-stick interior surface reduces the amount of fat needed for sautéing and frying.  These pans are perfect for egg and breakfast dishes, such as frittatas and omelets. Be sure to use wooden or heat-resistant plastic cooking utensils to protect the interior surface of the pan. Non-stick pans are not designed for use over high heat. Shop Now

 

Next Level Cookware Pieces

Grill Pan Wok Steamer Griddle Roaster

GRILL PAN
Heavy Square or Rectangular Grill Pan

Look for a pan with deep ridges -- ridges act like a grill rack, holding the meat while the juices drain; the deeper the ridges, the better the grilling and drainage. A solid cast iron pan will give you an evenly-heated cooking surface so those chops cook nicely no matter where they are in the pan. Finally, consider size - While smaller pans may be stowed away more easily in a tiny kitchen, a larger pan will allow you to grill something substantial such as a large fish or tenderloin. Shop Now

 

WOK
12" to 14" Flat Bottom Wok

While the high sloping sides of the wok are intended for stir-frying meat and vegetables without crowding the pan or dumping ingredients over the side, a wok is also much more than a stir-fry pan. You can pan-fry, braise, deep-fry, steam, boil, poach, and smoke foods using a wok. The large handle facilitates flipping and stir-frying, while the short handle makes it easy to lift. Shop Now

 

 

STEAMER
Medium 3- to 8-Quart Multipot with Steamer Insert

The multi-pot is a versatile tool  for cooking everything from hearty soups and stews to steaming fresh vegetables. Steaming is a fast and easy way to cook delicious vegetables while retaining their color and nutrients. Depending on the size of your multi-pot, it can also be used for cooking shellfish, corn on the cob, and pasta. Shop Now

 

 

GRIDDLE
Cooktop Griddle Pan

The perfectly flat surface of the griddle is useful for cooking breakfast foods such as pancakes and French toast, for delicious grilled cheese sandwiches, or for achieving a delicate seared crust on a large cut of meat. Because this pan should provide even heat, be sure to purchase one made of a material that is a good heat conductor, is sturdy, and has a comfortable, easy-to-grip handle. Griddles are available in single- and double-burner sizes. If you only have room to store one size of pan, opt for the larger size, as it offers versatility. You can choose to use one burner and heat half of the pan for smaller batches. Or you can adjust the burners to cook different foods at different temperatures on the same pan. Shop Now

 

 

ROASTER
Roasting Pan

A roasting pans can handle all types of cooking duties, from roasting turkey or prime rib to baking a large batch of lasagna or homemade snack mix. Size is the most important consideration when buying a roasting pan. If you are going to host holiday gatherings, purchase a pan large enough to handle at least a 20-pound turkey. Once a bird or meat roast is added to the roasting pan, it can become quite heavy; a pan that has sturdy handles will make it easier to lift and maneuver. Another factor to consider is whether you prefer a flat rectangular roasting rack (better for meat roasts) or a V-shape rack (more suited to poultry) for keeping meat in place. Shop Now