We have all had that exciting feeling of going to a store, heading straight to the kitchen aisle to buy new cookware, and then getting overwhelmed by the number of pots, pans, skillets, and other types of cookware promising their brand is the best. But how do you choose? What are the five things you need to look for in cookware, the things you need to know about?
There are a few crucial things to look for in cookware. Look at the weight of a pot or pan and heatproof handles. Also, decide if you want to buy individual pieces or a cookware set, matching your cookware to your cooktop. Lastly, look at the price, durability, reactivity, and maintenance.
Choosing the right cookware seems so easy if you think about it; you need pots and pans, so you buy pots and pans, but the reality is very different, and the wrong choice could ruin your new cookware or your stove, so you should choose wisely, it’s the best way to get you off to cooking to your heart’s content. This post will discuss what you need to look for in cookware.
5 Things To Look For In Cookware That You Should Be Aware Of
If you want to get the best cooking experience, it’s important to have the right tools for the job. That means you will need to buy the right cookware to suit your needs and be compatible with your stove and budget. Here are things to look for in cookware that you should be aware of.
The Weight Of The Cookware And Heat Resistant Handles
The weight of the cookware is very important for several reasons; light gauge cookware tends to distribute heat very unevenly, leading to places that are too hot while leaving other parts too cold. Some parts of your meal will burn, and others will be undercooked.
The second reason is that the uneven heat distribution will cause the pot or pan to warp easily, and you might damage your new cookware. If you choose cookware with a heavy bottom, you will have much better and more even results when cooking. Thicker cookware conducts heat much better than thin cookware and evenly distributes the heat to the whole pot or pan.
When it comes to heat resistance, it’s important to get cookware with heat-resistant handles. The pots and pans with heat-resistant handles are better to use than the cookware without them. It's not just to keep your hands and arms safe when cooking but to keep the other items near the stove safe.
When choosing cookware, you have to look at the handles. Here are a few considerations that will help you make an informed decision:
Metal Handles: Some people prefer welded handles to handles fastened with rivets as they collect food and are harder to keep clean. They are good to use directly from the stove to the oven.
Plastic And Wooden Handels: Plastic and wooden handles are great to use on the stovetop, but they are not oven-proof, and the handles will melt or catch fire and warp or bend.
Metal Handles with Removable Rubber Grips: These are the most versatile handles to have as you can use the pots and pans on the stove and inside the oven; you only need to remove the rubber grips, and you can pop them in the oven.
Should You Buy A Set Or Individual Pieces Of Cookware?
When you are buying cookware, you need to decide whether you want to buy individual pieces of cookware or if you want to buy a cookware set. Let’s look at this in greater detail.
Before you decide on types of cookware to suit your needs, you should remember that with some cookware, you will need to buy extra individual pans depending on the type of dishes you usually cook. So it may be best for you to rather buy individual pots and pans instead of a set.
If you like making stews, pot roasts, and casseroles, you want to get a cast-iron Dutch oven that can go directly into the oven from the stovetop. These are not usually included in a standard cookware set.
If you choose to buy a set, you may find the standard pots and pans in the set mainly start with 5,8 or 10 common cookware pieces. So when you start buying cookware, it might be best to buy the individual pieces first, as there are sure to be a few.
If you choose to buy a set, consider that sets work well with family cooking and cooking big meals. If you are not cooking for many people, you should buy individual pieces. It would you better to buy as you go along. It is especially true for beginner cooks.
Matching The Cookware With Your Stovetop
You should consider how your cookware will go with the type of stovetop you have; for example, if you have a smooth top stove, then you should look for flat bottomed pans as they will make the most contact with the stove.
If you have a gas stove, you should consider flat and heavy-bottomed cookware. It is important because you need the best heat conduction, and for a gas stove, that means flat, heavy-bottomed cookware.
If you have an induction stove, you should look at cookware that has magnetic properties. So take a magnet with you when you shop to test the various cookware and get the best cookware to suit your stovetop.
Remember that using cookware that is not compatible with your stove will only damage either the stovetop or your new cookware, and that isn’t good either way.
Price Tag And Durability
As with all other kitchenware, cookware can come at a hefty price. So how can you buy cookware that is still great quality but that won’t empty out your wallet? The general rule of thumb in cookware is to buy what you can afford. So the most money you can spend on cookware should be the price tag and quality you look for.
When it comes to durability in cookware, it all depends on the material you choose. The most durable cookware has long since been quoted to be stainless steel and cast iron (when properly maintained). So you need to ensure the cookware you choose will be long lasting, and of the best quality you can afford. You may also want to look at cookware items that are on sale when you are buying. You may find a pot or pan that you are looking for at a better price if you buy a set.
Reactivity And Maintenance
It’s important to remember that some cookware is reactive to certain foods. That means that depending on the type of cookware you buy, some metal might transfer to the food. Aluminum reacts badly with tomatoes and other acidic foods, so your food will absorb some of the metal if you use it. Always know what the reactivity to foods is in the cookware you will buy.
Maintenance is another aspect you need to keep in mind. Some cookware is easy to maintain, and you don’t need much in the way of cleaning and keeping it shining, but cookware like copper pots and pans and cast iron need a lot more maintenance to keep them in the best shape they can be.
Tips To Help You Choose The Cookware That’s Right For You
It’s important to look at all the tips and tricks to get the best cookware that will suit your needs and be durable and long-lasting.
Read What Is Included Carefully
When you are buying cookware, keep in mind that in sets, utensils and even a cookbook count as part of the set, so if you choose a 5-piece set, you won't get five pots and pans as most sets have a cookbook and utensils in the set. Carefully reading the information on the box means you can find a set best suited for you.
Read The Care Instructions Carefully
You should read the care and maintenance instructions carefully before you buy cookware. Most instructions say that you need to hand wash your pots and pans with a nylon type of scrubbing pad.
It’s important not to use a dishwasher to clean your cookware unless it states dishwasher safe on the pots. The high temperatures are very hard on pots and pans and can damage the finish on your pots and pans in no time.
Use Low To Medium Heat On Non-Stop Cookware
Most pots and pans can be used on medium and high settings but be careful when using non-stick cookware. Non-stick cookware can only be used in a low to medium setting.
If you use high heat on non-stick cookware, it can damage your cookware by warping it, discoloring it, and the fumes the heat emits are not good for the environment and can kill birds.
Be Careful Of Acidic And Salty Food
When you are using your new cookware, you should add acidic foods like tomato and salt to the liquid and directly to the pot. If you add these foods directly to the pots and pans, it will pit your pots and pans, which is irreversible damage. Pitting is when the salt or acidic foods eat away a few small divots in the pots and pans.
Look For Layers In The Cookware
As we stated before, when you are looking for cookware, the higher the price, the better the quality. This is because the better quality cookware you buy, the more layers will be added to the cookware. The more layers you get, the better.
So you will find that there can be up to 9 layers of stainless steel in one pot or pan. The number of layers will influence the heat conductivity, the amount of maintenance, and the durability of the cookware. Most of the layered cookware is stainless steel.
Make Sure The Lids Are Appropriate
Lids are one of the most important parts to keep in mind when you look at cookware. The lids need to be thick enough and tempered to withstand high heat and steam. If the cookware you are buying says it's waterless cooking, you need to make sure the lids seal extra tightly, or you might get hurt if they should pop up while you are cooking.
Read Comments And Reviews
To ensure you get the best product for your money, you can go on the websites of different cookware manufacturers and other sites that sell cookware. Read the comments and reviews carefully to see what others think about a product before you buy it. It can be extremely helpful to see what problems other people have so you know what to look out for.
Try Not To Buy Online
When you are buying cookware, it’s important to go to the manufacturer or the shop in person. If you buy cookware online, you may be very disappointed when the cookware arrives. Buying online means you can’t see or feel the product until you have already bought it.
That is a major concern because you won’t be able to judge the weight, quality, or size of the pans and pots or the quality you are buying. For you to avoid this mistake, it’s best to buy your cookware in person so you can better judge the cookware before buying something you will return anyway.
Final Thoughts on Choosing Cookware
Buying cookware can be intimidating, with so many options to choose from, but how do you choose? If you are unsure, then you need to consider the type of stove you have and the kind of food you are used to cooking.
It won’t help you if you buy cookware you will never use or choose cookware that won’t work with the stovetop you have. Be careful not to buy online, as you won’t be able to make an informed decision. Online cookware photos and descriptions can be deceiving, and one might end up buying faulty cookware.