Essentials

Our Essentials list comprises the eight pieces of cookware that will allow you to cook just about anything you want – your kitchen workhorses, if you will. Some recipes may require you to repurpose certain pieces (eg, use your Dutch oven as a tagine), but in general, these guys will get the job done.

Fry Pan

A flat-bottomed pan with a long stick handle and low sides that flare out at an angle to encourage air circulation and allow for easy turning of food.

Best For:

Fast cooking: frying, searing, browning.

Consider This:

Pans that are 8, 10 and 12 inches (20, 25 and 30 cm) in diameter are the most useful. It's a good idea to have at least one nonstick pan and one with a regular surface for high-temperature cooking.

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Saucepan

A heavy pan with a flat base, tall vertical sides that are roughly the same measurement as the pan’s diameter, and a long stick handle. Larger sizes should have a ‘helper handle’ opposite the stick handle.

Best For:

Cooking with a fair amount of liquid: simmering, boiling, cooking grains, poaching eggs and making sauces.

Consider This:

The most useful sizes are 1–1.5 qt., 2–2.5 qt., 3 qt. and 4 qt., but if you have to choose just one, select a 3 or 4 qt.

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Saucepan

A heavy pan with a flat base, tall vertical sides that are roughly the same measurement as the pan’s diameter, and a long stick handle. Larger sizes should have a 'helper handle' opposite the stick handle.

Best For:

Cooking with a fair amount of liquid: simmering, boiling, cooking grains, poaching eggs and making sauces.

Consider This:

The most useful sizes are 1–1.5 qt., 2–2.5 qt., 3 qt. and 4 qt., but if you have to choose just one, select a 3 or 4 qt.

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Sauté Pan

A pan with a wide, flat bottom, vertical, moderate sides and a long stick handle. Larger sizes should have a 'helper handle' opposite the stick handle.

Best For:

Fast cooking while shaking, tossing or stirring food. (sautér is a French word that means “to jump”).

Consider This:

A 4 litre pan is the most versatile. Choose one with a cooking surface other than nonstick so you can achieve the best browning and caramelisation.

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Multipot

A tall pot similar to a soup or stockpot with a large perforated insert for cooking food in water, and a smaller perforated insert for steaming food above water.

Best For:

Use the large insert for boiling and easy straining of large quantities of foods like pasta or corn. Use the smaller insert for steaming vegetables and other foods.

Consider This:

Multipots are available in 6-qt., 8-qt. and 12-qt sizes. They can be used to make small batches of stock, soup or stew.

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Multipot

A tall pot similar to a soup or stockpot with a large perforated insert for cooking food in water, and a smaller perforated insert for steaming food above water.

Best For:

Use the large insert for boiling and easy straining of large quantities of foods like pasta or corn. Use the smaller insert for steaming vegetables and other foods.

Consider This:

Multipots are available in 6-qt., 8-qt. and 12-qt sizes. They can be used to make small batches of stock, soup or stew.

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Dutch Oven

A large pot with vertical sides slightly shorter than the pot’s diameter, two sturdy loop handles and a heavy, tight-fitting lid (aka ‘French oven’). A cocotte is the same idea, but smaller, for individual servings.

Best For:

Long, slow cooking, often with liquid that’s allowed to circulate inside: think stews, braises, roasts, casseroles.

Consider This:

The most popular and useful Dutch oven sizes are 5-qt. and 7-qt. For a quick calculation, count one quart of capacity for each serving.

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Roaster

A large rectangular pan with low sides to allow the oven's heat to reach as much of the food as possible. Often used with a roasting rack, which elevates food above the cooking surface.

Best For:

Cooking in the dry heat of the oven at relatively high temperatures.

Consider This:

While roasters with a nonstick finish make for easy clean-up, a roaster with a regular cooking surface will yield better gravy.

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Roaster

A large rectangular pan with low sides to allow the oven's heat to reach as much of the food as possible. Often used with a roasting rack, which elevates food above the cooking surface.

Best For:

Cooking in the dry heat of the oven at relatively high temperatures.

Consider This:

While roasters with a nonstick finish make for easy clean-up, a roaster with a regular cooking surface will yield better gravy.

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Griddle

A broad, flat pan, often with a nonstick or stick-resistant finish, that sits flat on a stovetop over one or two burners.

Best For:

Fast-cooking foods that benefit from a large, smooth cooking surface: pancakes, thin steaks, grilled cheese, bacon, eggs.

Consider This:

If you plan on cooking meat on your griddle, look for a pan with a depression around the rim to catch grease.

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Grill Pan

A pan with a ridged cooking surface designed to resemble the grates of an outdoor grill, and low sides for increased air circulation.

Best For:

Higher-temperature cooking: grilling, searing.

Consider This:

To attain the best grill marks on your food, select a cast-iron or enamelled cast-iron grill pan.

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Grill Pan

A pan with a ridged cooking surface designed to resemble the grates of an outdoor grill, and low sides for increased air circulation.

Best For:

Higher-temperature cooking: grilling, searing.

Consider This:

To attain the best grill marks on your food, select a cast-iron or enamelled cast-iron grill pan.

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