There’s no need to spend a fortune on kitting out your kitchen, with masses of good quality pans and equipment available at affordable prices. However it’s worth giving some consideration to the best pans to buy for cooking, as different materials have different conducting properties and not all are suitable for all kinds of hob. As an example, induction hobs will not work with pans that do not have any ferrous content. While celebrity chefs may extol the virtues of heavy based copper or traditional cast iron, these aren’t necessarily the best pans to buy for every situation – something lighter and easier to clean many be more appropriate.
Good quality pans can come in different materials
Stainless steel is one of the most commonly used in good quality pans and a good all rounder. Its interior coating is compatible with cooking all kinds of foods, it’s dishwasher safe and affordable. It’s heavy enough to feel solid and durable but light enough for easy handling. However, lighter versions aren’t the best heat conductors, so have a wide range that includes some heavier based pans.
Pans with a vitreous enamel coating are also useful. This easy care material is non-stick for easy cleaning and can be used in the oven and dishwasher.
Cast iron is an attractive, traditional material. The same weight that means it can take a while to heat up also distributes that heat well for even cooking and is very durable. It can react with foods, imparting iron content, which can be useful in certain cooking but cast iron doesn’t work so well with acidic foods. It retains heat well for simmering and browning foods but can be more difficult to clean.
Good quality pans shapes and sizes
A good pan collection should ideally be made up of various different materials but also a varied selection of sizes and shapes. A standard set of four or five would usually contain a small milk pan, then various sizes up to large stockpot. In addition to this you’ll need frying pans in small and large sizes, while a heavy griddle pan is as stylish as it is useful. Matching lids usually come as standard – glass ones are particularly user friendly, allowing you to see what’s going on inside.
Regular and adventurous cooks should also consider more speciality items such as fish or egg poachers. Pasta pots or steamers are useful, effectively containing built in colanders. Cute poacher rings can be useful for neat eggs or crumpets and also come in novelty shapes for a sense of occasion. Consider your cooking habits and invest accordingly.