Cooking every day is a hassle and using the wrong pots and pans only add on to your workload.
Thankfully, there are pots and pans for all occasions. They’re made to cater to your specific needs, be it cooking for a party or cooking for your daily meals.
The kinds of cookware you use depend largely on what food you usually cook the most often.
Best Pans for Everyday Cooking
Here are some of the best types of pots and pans you should be considering for your everyday cooking needs.
Stainless Steel Pans
The uncoated stainless steel pan is an exceptional heat conductor. It is durable, long-lasting, and is commonly the material that all the most important pots and pans are made of.
It is easy to clean and makes sure that your food is cooked properly throughout the pan. They’re also usually safe for use inside of ovens.
It is used for browning and braising and doesn’t generally react with your food. However, when used to cook ingredients that leave a tough stain, you can scratch and damage the surface.
When you’re cooking foods with a higher acid concentration, you can cause the steel, nickel, iron or chlorine inside the damaged pan to leak through to your food.
The amount that does enter your food is not enough to be harmful in most instances, however, if you have an allergy to nickel, you should refrain from using stainless steel that has been coated with nickel.
Stainless steel needs a layer of oil or butter to grease it, otherwise, the food will break while moving it around because the pan is non-stick. Other issues with stainless steel are that the food you cook can still end up sticking to the pan despite the greasing.
This might happen more when you haven’t been careful while washing the pan.
Also read: How to Season Stainless Steel Frying Pans
Cast Iron Pans
Cast iron pans are household staples for many cooks. It is very long-lasting and also one of the safest cooking pan materials that are currently in the market. Cast iron pans are used for searing, sautéing, browning and frying.
It does not have chemicals or toxins that can leak through the pan and into your food, except iron, which may actually be good for your health.
You do not need large amounts of oil to grease cast iron pans.
Once you’ve added the seasoning to your food, which includes the oil, the pan barely needs any more to remain non-stick. This helps you consume less fat through the oil you put in your pans.
This material also takes its time to heat up, so if you are cooking food that needs to cook slowly, this is a great choice, especially for browning meat.
They hold heat in very efficiently (they can tolerate temperatures much higher than a non-stick can) and do not scratch or damage easily, unless you wash them aggressively enough to tarnish the enamel.
Cast iron is pretty heavy though so carrying the pan from the stove to the counter can be quite difficult sometimes, especially when you have heavy food inside.
If you’re opting for an uncoated cast iron pan, it is hard to clean because it needs several coats of oil to loosen up the grime. The fact that they’re uncoated means that they also rust quickly if not cared for properly.
Cast iron can be used both in the oven and on the stove, so this is definitely a pan that you want to have around for your everyday cooking activities.
However, cast iron is not dishwasher-safe, so they need to be cleaned by hand. It comes in two types: enameled and uncoated.
Carbon Steel Pans
Carbon steel is most often used for kitchen utensils like kettles, roasting pans, pots, and for broiling purposes.
These pans are not expensive and they last very long, however, you need to make sure you keep them protected from rust.
The pans made from carbon steel are mainly used as a skillet or wok, so if you regularly make food that needs to be cooked in either of these, you should have one in your kitchen.
Carbon steel can also become non-stick with a bit of seasoning, much like cast iron pans. They are a little heavy to handle and do not heat up as efficiently as other pans, but they can tolerate much higher levels of heat than their counterparts, which can come in handy when cooking certain kinds of food.
If you get uncoated carbon steel, it can react with acidic food and can be risky for your health, but if you get the enameled version, they’re non-reactive as well as cheap.
Be careful not to get ones that are very thin, or they’ll be susceptible to damage and wearing down.
Titanium is easy to clean, non-stick, and reliable.
If you are looking for a non-stick option and are wary about the health issues you have heard about, titanium has you covered.
Pans made from this material are a lot safer than the majority of non-stick pans out there because the non-stick exterior is made from silicone, nonporous ceramic coating, and titanium.
Let’s face it: we were all pretty taken aback when the news of the Teflon issue reached us. Non-stick pans had quickly become essential in our collection of cookware and having to discontinue their use was a huge blow.
Non-stick pans make cooking a lot easier and are much faster to clean as well.
However, ever since the news of polytetrafluoroethylene being used to coat the pans came out, the company, Teflon, stopped using these dangerous chemicals in their cookware.
If you are still a fan of using non-stick pans, you don’t have to worry, because the materials being used to make them now are much safer.
Just make sure that the pans you purchase were manufactured after 2013. Also, check the specifications that mention that there is no PTFE or PFOA in the material.
If you are a fan of regularly baking meals to reduce your oil intake, then glassware might be the best option for you. Use a glass that can resist the pressure from heat, like Pyrex, and you have got yourself a great baking utensil.
Glass can only be used in the oven, so make sure you are not placing it on the stove, or it could be damaged and even shatter.
Sudden changes in temperature can also damage your glass pan, so give it time to reach room temperature before adding anything extremely cold into it.
The majority of cookware you will find these days is made of aluminum. This is because it is pretty durable and is great for food that requires intense heat levels.
There is a health factor to keep in mind when opting for aluminum because it can leak into the food if you are aggressively scraping and scratching at the pans when cleaning. The surface will get damaged and the metal no longer stays contained inside the pan.
Another drawback of using aluminum is that thinner aluminum pans are not very resistant to changes in heat levels.
If you suddenly transfer an aluminum pan from off of the stove and into a sink full of cold water, it could lose its shape. If you purchase a more expensive pan, however, it is less likely to undergo these changes.
Like almost all pans, if you get one made of cheaper quality materials, they are going to be harder to clean.
An inexpensive, low-grade aluminum pan might stain from the food that you cook in it and will need to be thoroughly cleaned to avoid permanent changes in its color.
Also read: Are aluminum pans bad for you?
Copper is one of the more expensive cooking pan materials, but if you are looking for something for everyday use, they are often worth the cost.
As long as you maintain them and make sure you are not damaging their surface, you have a pan that will last through almost any of your cooking adventures.
Copper pans are perfect for evenly spreading heat throughout your food, but you need to make sure your pan has a layer of tin or stainless steel on it that stops the copper from going through it and into your food.
If you cook food that has a high concentration of acid, it is likely going to free the copper ions and leak into your food unless you keep the lining maintained and replace it whenever you see that it is chipping off or wearing down.
You need to keep your copper pans clean as often as possible because any leftover grime can actually stop the heat from transferring equally to all parts of the pan.
When it comes to your health and safety, there is no need to compromise. So if you have the option of buying a cheap, thin copper pan, you should avoid it.
It probably is not strong enough to withstand heat and will wear down and expose your food to dangerous toxins.
What Kind of Handles Are the Best for Everyday Use?
The kind of handles you have on your cookware is almost as important as the kind of cookware you use.
Getting handles that are not reliable insulators, melt, or break while you are cooking destroys the productivity of the cooking pan that they are attached to as well.
If you’re getting a pan that will regularly be used inside the oven, plastic handles are a terrible option to go for. If they are on a pan that is only used for the stovetop, they can withstand high temperatures.
Wooden handles won’t heat up and you can hold the pans with your bare hands, but you can’t use them inside of a dishwasher.
If you get a metal handle, it will heat up and you will need oven mitts, however, the upside of metal handles is that they can be used in ovens and on stoves. They’re also safe to put in the dishwasher.
Cast iron pans are a great option for everyday use. They are economical, safe, and can be used for a variety of cuisines. If you’re looking for a more expensive option, then copper pans are the way to go. They’re safe albeit need a little maintenance and taking care of.
No matter what pans you decide to get for your everyday use, don’t forget to take the health factor into account. If you’re going to regularly be using a pan for everyone in your family, or even yourself, constant exposure to harmful chemicals can have dangerous repercussions.
Do your homework before deciding on what types of pans would be the best for you and you’ll hopefully find ones that will last you for at least a few years.
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