Cookware Pots and Pans | Buy the Right Cookware

June 4, 2012 9 Comments

How to Choose and Buy Cookware - Pots and Pans

Should you purchase a whole set of pans or buy them one at at a time?

A great question and one that really depends on several things including your cooking needs, level of cooking, and how much you want to spend.

Over the years I purchased a few pots and pans made by Calphalon, still use them today but can also recommend All Clad, Viking and Circulon. Since I bought my pans years ago, they have come up with some great new technology including handles that don’t get hot and a better selection of non stick products.

I purchased my pans over time and in the end it has probably cost me more than just buying a complete set. At the time though, I didn’t have the bucks to buy a whole set so it didn’t matter.

I still enjoy shopping for new pans and love when my wife surprises me on my birthday or during the holidays.

If you don’t purchase a complete set, buy a couple of good quality essentials and add to your collection as you go along. Like investing in stocks, you wouldn’t buy your whole portfolio at one time but add to it when the market is right.

The One at a Time Approach

Start with a couple of “Blue Chips” pans and add to your collection. These should include:

Saute PansSaute Pan – a heavy duty 10 to 12 each saute pan for sauteing steaks, chicken, fish, and vegetables. You can use it instead of a wok for stir-fry. It can even double as a fry pan. Read my article on choosing and buying a saute pan.

Sauce Pan – a heavy bottomed 2 quart sauce pan is perfect for making sauces, steaming vegetables, cooking smaller quantities of pasta or potatoes. It can be used for reheating leftovers, canned soups or just about anything that needs to be reheated.

One of the most versatile pots in my house. For more information on choosing and buying a sauce pan.

Soup/Stock Pot – the third in my trio of important pots and pans for anyone starting out. What size you buy really depends on how many or how much you are cooking.

I love to make big batches of soup or chili in the fall and winter so I have a couple of sizes but anything between 7 & 10 quart should be fine. It can be used for soups, stocks, stews, pasta, big qualities of sauce, corn, lobsters and a whole lot more.

For more information on choosing and buying a soup pot or a stock pot

Add To Your Collection Over Time

Later you can augment your portfolio by adding additional sizes and types like omelet pans, double-boilers, roasting pans, etc. Forget about buying cheap aluminum pans or any pan that is thin and light.

They conduct heat poorly and you’ll spend more time cleaning the stuff that burns on the bottom than enjoying your food.

Buy a Cookware Set and Be Done with It

If you find a brand that you like, feels good in your hand and you can afford, buying the complete set isn’t a bad idea. This way you are done shopping for pots and pans and you can start thinking about chef knifes, blenders, food processor and the rest.

If you are getting married or looking for a wedding gift, a cookware set is a great idea. Holiday time, birthdays, anniversaries (be careful – the message you send giving a loved one pots and pans may be misunderstood).

What to look for?

You want pots and pans made of stainless steel or heavy-gauge aluminum with non oxidizing surfaces. The base of the pan should be thick and flat on both the inside and out for better heat efficiency.

You also want handles that are riveted to the pan and can be put in the oven(no plastic handles) and well fitting lids. And most importantly, make sure they feel good in your hands. Just because they might be highly touted, doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for you.


Online Sources: Cookware

There are a lot of great brand names when it come to cookware including All-Clad, Calphalon, Viking, Le Creuset and what you choose should be based on your own personal needs. Personally, I like to go to a store, pick up the various pots and pans I'm interested in and get a feel for how they "fit" in my own hands. I then go to the internet and do my research to find the best price.

Below are some sources I've found that help you find out what's out there on the market, give you an idea of what these products cost and offer you an opportunity to buy them. The links below are affiliate links.

Made In Cookware

Made In Cookware Made In Cookware is a fairly new cookware and knife company started in 2016 with a 100-year family history in kitchen supply. They partnered with the best raw material providers and expert manufacturers to make superior kitchen products at great value.



Last modified on Wed 11 July 2018 8:03 am

Filed in: Cookware

Comments (9)

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  1. wayne cornfield says:

    What do you think of paderno?

    Don’t know this product Wayne. What say you? – RG

  2. Grace says:

    I am considering buying Emeril By All-Clad with Stainless Steel and Copper cookware. It is light weight and feels good in my hand. Heavy cookware is ackward. My old set is a Kirkland product sold by Costco, have no complaints about the cookware other than it has gotten to be too heavy for me over the years. Would you recommend the Emeril product? I do not want to spend money on something that does not work well in the kitchen, I love to cook.
    Thank You

    • The Reluctant Gourmet says:

      Hi Grace, I have never used Emeril’s cookware but it gets decent reviews. My suggestion would be to pick your pots and pans by actually going to a store and picking them up in your hands and see how they feel. Then you have to decide what materials you want to go with and what type of surface fits your needs. After that I would scour the Internet for reviews and then make a decision. Buying cookware is so personal to your own tastes and needs so do your homework and make sure the pans feel good to you since you are going to spend a lot of time with them. – RG

  3. Gerald Felton says:

    You have a good point in here. We are a family of three and food preparation is not an issue. I found a Max Burton ProChef 3000-Watt Commercial Induction Cooktop and I think it fits our lifestyle. What are your thoughts on that kitchen product?

    Hi Gerald, I have an induction cooktop that I use more in the summer out by my grill so I can cook something while I’m grilling or heat up a side dish. I like it and want to start using it more in the house. – RG

  4. Michele says:

    Hi there, Have you ever heard of Zepter? I was for a presentation few days back and the cookware looks amazing and actually you can fry and boil without water and oil. The company looks like a good company but anyone had any experience with them?

    • The Reluctant Gourmet says:

      Michele, I am not familiar with Zepter but will check them out now that you’ve brought them to my attention. Thanks.

  5. Lisa Keen says:

    Thanks for your buying guide

  6. Melody says:

    Hi RG!

    Thank you so much for your informational web post. I was just curious on your thoughts about the Mauviel M’Cook line compared to the All Clad D5. I just can’t stand the handles on All Clad and thoughts to give Mauviel a try. I love Demeyere, but I’m not comfortable dishing out the MULLAH for something that wont be as easy for me to return if I were to change my mind.

    Thanks in advance! You rock!

  7. Sophia Slate says:

    Thank you for your great tips on buying kitchenware. I just moved into my first place and am in need of cookware. I will definitely utilize all of your great tips and information when trying to find the perfect kitchenware.

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