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Guide to Cookware
Guide to Cookware

Guide to Cookware

Holiday cooking season is upon us. Now is a good moment to inspect your kitchenware.

You are faced with a wide range of cookware options, prices, and materials. These include cast iron, stainless steel, aluminum, and copper. It's important to know the differences between them and which one is best for what you are trying to do. The good news is that high-quality cookware does not have to be expensive. In our testing, we discovered that affordable sets and pieces can cook as well or better than more expensive models.

Not enough storage space? You don't have to be worried. We have highlighted the appliances and cookware that will make it easy to create a meal in your small kitchen.

Cookware Confidence

Consumer Reports purchases and tests nonstick and stainless cookware sets, Dutch ovens, as well as a variety frying pans. These include nonstick, cast iron and stainless. Not sure which one or more types you need? Before you begin shopping, make sure to read the information below.

Open Stock vs. Sets

To find out what needs to be replaced and which pieces you would like to acquire, take inventory of all the pots and saucepans you have. Open stock is a way to find individual pots and pans. Open stock is an economical way to replace a damaged pan.

Make sure you pick the right pieces for your cooking style if you're looking to buy a new set of cookware.

What's Cooking?

You should think about the type of food you prepare often. This will affect your choice for pots and saucepans. A cast-iron skillet is ideal for browning meats. Nonstick pans are ideal for delicate foods, such as scrambled eggs and pancakes. For any food that requires searing or browning, stainless is the best choice. The Best Frying Pans for Every Cooking Style.

Although a stock pot can be used to boil pasta or make soups, you may prefer a Dutch oven if your preference is for slow-cooking stews or sauces. A Dutch oven can cook bread on the stovetop or oven and also brown, bake, braise, boil and bake it. You can actually cook almost any dish in a Dutch oven. Check out Why Every Home Chef Needs a Dutch Oven for inspiration.

Match your Cookware to your Cooktop

The last thing you should consider is how your new cookware matches your cooktop. A smoothtop range requires flat-bottomed cookware that doesn't warp. Gas ranges are more difficult, but still need good contact between your pan and the burners. An induction cooktop requires magnetic cookingware. Take a magnet with you when shopping. If it sticks to your bottom, you can use it with an induction stovetop or range. We also indicate which pans are compatible with induction in our ratings.