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How to Buy a Pots & Pans Set

Bring out your inner chef by outfitting your kitchen with these basics.


  • Step 1: Set your budget Buy the best pans you can afford. They should be thick and sturdy enough to prevent dents and warping, with securely attached handles. Stainless steel is a versatile material – look for an aluminum core to help conduct heat. Other materials include copper, anodized aluminum, and cast iron.
  • TIP: Look for pots and pans you can use both on the stove and in the oven.
  • Step 2: Invest in a saucepan Invest in a 2- or 3-quart saucepan for heating soup, stews, and other liquids. A 1 1/2-quart saucepan is ideal for small or single-servings. Lidded cookware will make your pots and pans more versatile.
  • Step 3: Get a frying pan Get a frying pan, or omelet pan, for cooking eggs, frying fish, and sauteing food. A nonstick coating makes for easy cleanup and reduces oil and butter use.
  • TIP: Newly developed "green" nonstick cookware is made without petroleum and may reduce carbon emissions.
  • Step 4: Add a saute pan Add a 10-inch saute pan to your collection. It is wide and shallow but has higher sides than a fry pan, making it ideal for cooking meat dishes or making stews and other thick dishes.
  • Step 5: Finish with a stockpot Round out your collection with a large, 8-quart stockpot, which has a handle on either side. Use it to cook pasta, big batches of soup, chili, and to roast large cuts of meat.
  • Step 6: Add more pieces Add additional pieces, like a cast iron skillet for making fried chicken, or specialized cookware, like a wok, based on your cooking preferences and as storage space allows. Now get cooking!
  • FACT: Did you know? Teflon was accidentally discovered on April 6, 1938, by Roy Plunkett.

You Will Need

  • A budget
  • A saucepan
  • A frying pan
  • A saute pan
  • A stockpot
  • Storage space
  • Specialized cookware (optional)

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