1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Need recommendations for new set of pots and pans

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by wahoowad, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    1,478
    Loc:
    Virginia
    it is time to replace our pots and pans. We don't need anything elaborate, but do want something that will last more than a year or two. I prefer a set with some type of nonstick coating. I get confused by all the different styles and the rumors about different coatings being unhealthy. Anybody researched this stuff lately and have any recommendations for a particular set?

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Bobbin

    Bobbin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    Messages:
    957
    Loc:
    So. Me.
    Take this with a grain of salt. A very big grain of salt. I "may wear the skirt" in the household but I don't like to cook. I'll do the laundry, mow the lawn, deal with the wood stove daily, but I don't like to cook. (Baking is, however, another story).

    You need, IMO (as the household dishwasher), a basic set of pans. Skip the non-stick coating bias... the crap wears off over time and can be nasty if you forget a pan on the stovetop. We have a set by a company called, Meyer. There are 3 saucepans in graduated sizes with snug fitting lids (I couldn't find the sizes anywhere on them). They're made from 18/10 stainless steel with an insulated bottom that distributes heat evenly over the pan's bottom and the handles tend to remain cool even when the pan is hot. There is large "frying pan" and a deep pan suitable for soups/boiling water for pasta. There is a steamer that fits nicely inside it or the "frying pan"... but those two share a lid. Make sure any set you buy has a lid for every pan... "sharing lids" is a drag!! And make sure you have a nice, stainless steel colander/strainer. They're invaluable. I also use our double boiler a lot, though they've gone by the way in an age of microwave ovens. Since we're on a wood heat site I suggest you get a very large stock pot with a lid, too. When the electricity cuts out you can always fill it with water (we bring it to "hot" on the gas range top) and keep hot water ready on the top of your wood stove! This is really nice when you're "in the dark" for consecutive days.

    We have had this set for nearly 15 yrs. now and it's been great. Before you go nuts at the local store, check a thrift store... you would be amazed at the top quality stuff that ends up there because someone is cleaning out a dead relative's house!! Do a little research on line and come up with the "names" to look for and then keep your eyes peeled at thrift stores. Quality cookware is clearly stamped on the bottom. Meyer, CuisineArt, LeCreuset, etc. are names to look for.
  3. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Messages:
    2,026
    Loc:
    The island of Rhum Boogie
    I bought a set of All-Clad for about $600. It was factory seconds, and it was over 11 pans/pots/roasting/wok- all with their own covers. Maybe a very small ding or a scratch but I couldn't tell, to me the pans were perfect. I was a cook for 10 years and these were a treat for me. Aluminium pans sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel. We've had them for over 15 years and other than the edges they're as good as new. Only problem is the very edge where you can see the sandwiched layers has pitted a bit because we put them into the dishwasher. Aluminium pans don't do well in the dishwasher, and will either discolor or even disolve over time. I'm guessing its going to take about 300 years before I may have a problem.

    Anon-stick pan for eggs/whatever is good, but if you don't really need it. You just need to learn how to cook in a good pan. Heat the pan before you add the oil, and don't let the pan get too hot then the food won't stick.

    Check the joint between the handle and the pan/pot. Big rivets are better than spot welds.
    Aluminium (copper, but that's crazy money) between stainless is very very good.
    If you've got a gas stove, any cheap pan will be good enough, but a smooth-top electric needs a very strong/flat bottom in order to heat well.
  4. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,471
    Loc:
    SE Mass
    I've replaced all my non-stick with Calphalon stainless with the heavy aluminum bottom heat sinks.

    Just one I burned some butter in the bottom and rather than try to scratch the heck out of it cleaning it I'm just letting it slowly wear away.

    I also bought a big and a small cast iron skillets. Not the greatest with an electric stove, but I missed my gas stove and cast iron pans and this is the closest I'll get.

    Rather than buy a whole set and end up with never used pans and pots I've bought just what I needed.
    A whole set might be nice for young'uns and newlyweds . After 30 years you're not trying too many new things.
  5. geoxman

    geoxman Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    275
    Loc:
    STL City
    I ditched my cheap pans many years back. +1 on the All-Clad they are not cheap but will last a lifetime. I also have a complete set Griswold cast iron pans and dutch oven's. I am guessing the cast are well over 1 years old, very well seasoned and I picked all of them up at a yard sale for $20....about $800 worth on sleazebay. Check CL for some used cast as well as some used All-Clad.
  6. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,409
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    Non stick coating- I can't stand it, except in my waffle iron.

    If you get used to using cast iron skillets- you will be amazed at how non-stickish it is. Just need to learn proper care and feeding (no harder than normal pans- just different).

    On the cheapish end for stainless- I have Reverware that has lasted 12 years and is in no danger of going anywhaere. It's no frills, serviceable, and will last- I like it.

    This one you will be surprised at- go to Kmart and buy Martha Stewart pans. Heavy duty- very well made, very affordable. The ones that I got are not second fiddle to any other set I've seen. Friends that are serious cooks agree- best value that you will find. Get the heavy ones.
  7. chrisasst

    chrisasst Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,188
    Loc:
    cortland ny
    we bought kitchen aid non stick years ago, they have been the best. NO Dishwasher....
  8. RoseRedHoofbeats

    RoseRedHoofbeats Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Messages:
    369
    Loc:
    Salt Lake Valley, UT
    For middle of the road nonstick, I really like my T-Fal skillets. I like the Paula Deen copper-bottom pots at Target too.

    Nothing beats Caphalon or All-Clad though. Except maybe Le Creuset.

    ~Rose
  9. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    15,065
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    Not a big fan of non-stick pots and pans . . . stuff still seems to stick to them . . . and then when I attempt to scrape the cooked on food off I end up taking out half of the non-stick teflon or whatever they're making them out of these days. I prefer to stick my tried and true (and simple) aluminum or stainless steel pots and pans when I cook . . . and for the record . . . I tend to do more of the cooking in the family.
  10. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Messages:
    2,305
    Loc:
    SW Virginia
    All-Clad is nice stuff. We have older Magnalite which I highly recommend though I don't think the newer Magnalite is nearly the same quality so I can't recommend it.
  11. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    Messages:
    215
    Loc:
    Wash. Pa
    I stopped using cheap cookware a few years ago. IMHO it just isnt worth it. It goes to crap in no time and then you have to replace it. I bought Emeril Pro-Clad Stainless. It is made by All-Clad, just with Emeril's name on it. I paid around $350 for a nice size set tha has all the cook ware I need. I did throw in an extra $80 and get a 12" fyring pan because it didnt come with the set.

    I really like the set. It takes some getting used to after using non-stick for so many years but im really glad I went with it. My mom bought a Calphalon non-stick set, I think it was Anodized aluminum, not sure, but she hates it. She said the non-stick coating it already chipping off in some spots. IIRC, she paid more for her said than I did mine.
  12. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Messages:
    893
    I do most of the cooking in the house, and have used several different sets of cookware over the years:

    -Revereware-absolute junk. for college apartments only
    T-Fal & Analon: wants some teflon with your eggs?
    -Calphalon-junk. Stuff warps, chips, discolors etc. I know, silly me, putting pans over heat.
    -Calphalon One-see above
    -All Clad-Expensive but worth every penny. It will be the last set of cookware you ever buy. Bed Bath & Beyond sells Emerilware which is actually made by All Clad.
  13. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,257
    Loc:
    Holliston, MA USA
    I do most of the cooking and used calphalon non-stick for years. My wife always wanted all-clad stainless.
    We got a couple and now wont go back to the Teflon coated crap.

    If you really like non-stick you might try the traditional route and get cast iron. Once its well seasoned with oil its naturally non stick and cooks better than anything. And its cheap and last pretty much forever.
  14. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    15,065
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    I forgot . . . I also use some "glassware" frying pans.
  15. joel95ex

    joel95ex Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2010
    Messages:
    91
    Loc:
    NE TX
    My main recommendation would be to get a set that has the handles riveted or fastened THROUGH the pot/pan. ---so you see the rivet/stud on the inside of the pot/pan.....these will not come loose like the cheaper kinds....also I like stainless since you can use steel wool or scotchbrite pads on them without worrying about damage to any finishes.....that is what we have and sticking is not that big of an issue if you are careful not to scorch....also one of the best things we have is a real cast iron skillet that is seasoned....... doesn't stick and I never use soap on it....
  16. heatwise

    heatwise Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Messages:
    411
    Loc:
    ohio
    we have a set of all clad . the large non stick coated fry pan is holding up after 12 years of use. it gets used a lot around here as either me or my wife cook a lot. we aquired these one at a time through a cooking store having a piece here and there on promotional pricing. when we got the non stick pan the sales person told us that if we ever wore out the coating it would be through overheating or scraping it off with the wrong utensils. not the expert here but its doing good for us. pete
  17. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Messages:
    2,026
    Loc:
    The island of Rhum Boogie
    If you do get a nice set of expensive pans the only thing I would warn about is dropping a very hot pan into a tub of water. Nice trick when the food is stuck, but it will warp the bottom of the pan. This is not a problem if you've got a gas cooktop but with the newer smooth-top stoves it will take longer to heat, and you will lose performance when the pan is just a bit warped.

    One more thing: Induction cooktops. You need a magnetic alloy for these to work. Incredibly efficient and incredible control. I want a single burner for my counter, for stirfry and saute. Absolutely the best way to cook, like driving a supercharger!
  18. RoseRedHoofbeats

    RoseRedHoofbeats Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Messages:
    369
    Loc:
    Salt Lake Valley, UT
    Ok- if you guys are having stuff stick to your non-stick pans, you are getting the pans too hot. I've been using my T-fal pans for six years and they still have ALL their coating and I've never had teflon in my food. You *cannot* overheat these pans or use metal implements on them, or use abrasive sponges. Otherwise, they should work fine.

    Yes, spending $350 on cookware would be nice, but there's no way I (or a lot of other people) could afford that.

    ~Rose
  19. snowleopard

    snowleopard Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,494
    Thought about your post when I was in the kitchen last night, considered which of my cookware I use all the time. Here's my recommendations:

    *scanpan classic frypan (http://www.scanpan.com/cookware/collection/classic.html)
    I got one of these as a wedding present; oldest child headed off to college this year and the pan is still going strong, non-stick surface still intact (although I use butter and oil for cooking because I like the way food turns out with them). To clean it, I just get the pan hot, and then run water into it, and swirl it around, give it a swish with a scrubber, and all the cooked on food releases. Rinse and I'm ready to go next time. Mine has a glass lid which I use intermittently.

    *next gen, not-your-grandma's, pressure cooker; I have two, a 6quart T-Fal and a 4-qt Magafesa. Use one or the other multiple times a week. They turn out great stews, soups, rice, roasts, spuds, yadda, and do it in very short order, and the flavor of foods is much improved. I don't care much for crock-pot cooking, as the flavors of all the foods seem to blend together; with pressure cookers, the carrots still taste like carrots and the chicken like chicken--hard to describe--needs to be experienced to be appreciated. I like being able to get home, get a fire going, get the dog fed, and get dinner prepped, cooked, and on the table within forty minutes or so, and the pressure cooker is an essential tool for this. I prefer the kind with stainless steel sandwiching an aluminum core. Here's a place to start familiarizing yourself with them if you're not familiar: http://www.bestpressurecookerreviews.com/

    *my next most frequently used cooking implements are square and rectangular pyrex baking dishes (cake-pan sized), and two or three saucepans.

    The above cooking dishes are what I use for about 95% of my cooking.
  20. Snag

    Snag New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2009
    Messages:
    70
    Loc:
    South Central PA
    Look at Costco's Kirkland brand pots and pans. The set is made of copper bonded stainless steel, $180 for 13 pieces. I also bought 3 different sizes of fry pans with teflon coating there and I've been very happy with the quality.
  21. Later

    Later New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Messages:
    456
    We bought a very similar Meyer set about 10 years ago and I wish we got them 30 years earlier. Nothing sticks and they cook very evenly. The only teflon pan that we have needs to be replaced every 4-5 years
  22. JV_Thimble

    JV_Thimble Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2010
    Messages:
    302
    Loc:
    South-Central MI
    Totally agree on this. If you overheat teflon pans with nothing in them, they give off fumes (part of the coating). Very bad for parakeets and people with asthma. I've started getting the ceramic non-stick pans (plus cast iron, my personal favorite). Not sure if they still make the Martha Stewart line of ceramic non-sticks, but we've got a few of those...
  23. Mrs. Krabappel

    Mrs. Krabappel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,568
    Loc:
    Blue Ridge Mountains NC
    +1 You won't know when they are overheated, and they are a common killer of pet birds. Even if I didn't have birds I figure if it's unhealthy enough to kill a parrot, I probably shouldn't be using it.

    Personally I mostly use cast iron that I pick up at auctions. Would love some all clad!
  24. Later

    Later New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Messages:
    456
    Just got one of those glass top electric ranges. So cast iron is a no-no for me.
  25. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    2,026
    Loc:
    Western CT
    I use my cast iron on my glass top stove. Why would I not?? I wouldn't shake it around or anything but there is no reason not to use them.

Share This Page