Dabl at Home
Learn How You Should Really Be Using Your Pots and Pans
We are clearing up your confusion in the kitchen with this guide for when to use different pots and pans!
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Pots and pans are an essential for any home, whether cooking is your passion or you only use your stove once a month. However, it can be hard to keep track of the different purposes each pot and pan serves, and when to use each kind. This is important to know, because if you consistently use your pots and pans incorrectly, you’ll see the effects of wear and tear much sooner. This means you may have to spend more money replacing them more frequently than you should, and nobody wants to deal with that added cost year-over-year. If you are preparing to go shopping for your kitchen, or if you simply need a refresher course on which pots and pans to use and when, we are here to help!
Once you have the 411 on when to use pots and pans, you may also want to conduct some research into the best materials for you to use for your cooking purposes. Pots and pans are typically sold as aluminum, copper, stainless steel, cast iron, carbon steel, clad, ceramic and nonstick. The material you choose may impact your pot or pan’s durability, affordability, versatility, weight, maintenance and ease of cleanup.
Without any further ado, here is a comprehensive guide of the pots and pans you need in your kitchen:
Every kitchen should have at least one sauté pan. As the name states, the purpose of this pan is sautéing, although it can also be used for deep-frying, searing, and preparing sauces. Most people tend to use this pan for cooking meat and sautéing vegetables. As far as appearance, sauté pans have straight sides and a flat bottom, which provides a large surface area for heating. Ultimately, sauté pans will be the most versatile and basic pan you will own.
Skillet or Frying Pan
Skillets, which are also known as frying pans, look a lot like sauté pans. The biggest difference is that skillets have curved sides instead of flat sides, although both pans have similar flat bottoms. Another versatile pan, skillets are great for cooking meals where you want to mix and heat at the same time, such as when making omelettes or stir fry. Skillets can also be great for cooking foods that need to be turned, simmered in oils, or for searing proteins such as steak or chicken. Frying pans and skillets can be purchased in a variety of sizes and materials, which will impact how hot it can get and what type of food you can cook.
If you and your family enjoy Italian food, a saucepan is absolutely essential. This pan is characterized by its tall, straight sides and rounded bottom. It can be used with or without a lid to control water evaporation. It is perfect for boiling water and cooking pasta, and for making sauces and reductions. It is also a useful tool for heating up liquids, reheating leftovers, simmering vegetables, preparing grains, and even hard boiling eggs.
If you love the taste of outdoor grilling but don’t have the space for your own BBQ, you will definitely want to own a grill pan. Bring the taste of the outdoors inside! It can be used to give your meat and vegetables a smoky taste, and can leave sear marks characteristic of grilling.
A griddle may look similar to a grill pan in that both have large, flat or ridged surfaces. But instead of grilling vegetables and steak for dinner, griddles are typically used to cook breakfast! Add a small amount of oil, and you are ready to cook pancakes, hash browns, eggs, and other delicious breakfast foods.
While stock pots can come in a variety of sizes, they are known as large, tall pots with a flat bottom. Typically, stock pots have thinner metal than other pots and pans. They are most frequently used for cooking liquid foods that do not need to be extremely close to the heat source. Stockpots also allow you to sauté or brown, and then add liquids when making stocks, soups, or stews. These pots are especially great for cooking large foods or large portions, such as when making a bigger than normal batch of sauce, or for submerging spaghetti or large vegetables during boiling.
Dutch ovens are useful, but they are heavy, lidded pots that may take up a lot of cabinet space. They are just a bit smaller than the average stock pot, and are made from thicker material. They are typically round in shape, and meant for slow cooking meals. If you don’t cook often, you may be fine simply owning a stock pot. However, Dutch ovens are extremely versatile and an asset to keep in your kitchen. Dutch ovens can be used on the stove top or in your oven, and can be used to cook delicious stews, meat, vegetables, and even some breads.
Dutch ovens can also be referred to as French ovens. French ovens are similar to Dutch ovens in every way, aside from the fact that they have an interior lined with enamel. This means seasoning is not required, and that the interior of the oven is better protected from rust. Just like standard Dutch ovens, French ovens are a great tool for cooking many dishes, such as beef, pork, roasts, briskets, poultry, and more.
A roasting pan is what you’ll need if you are in charge of hosting the annual Thanksgiving dinner feast, or if you enjoy cooking roasted chicken or other proteins for date nights or family dinners. Roasting pans are large and rectangular, and are meant for cooking food with dry heat in the oven. They should have low sides that allow heat from the oven to reach as much of the food as possible at one time, and can withstand high temperatures. Many people also utilize a roasting rack along with roasting pans, which elevates the food above the bottom of the pan or the cooking surface.
Braiser pans are a great addition to your kitchen if you enjoy cooking a lot, or if you are looking to expand your current collection of pots and pans. Braiser pans are large with flat bottoms, and come with a moisture-locking lid. They have earned a reputation in the culinary world as being great multitaskers. For example, you can use the same braiser pan for browning food on the stove top, and transfer it directly to slow cook in the oven. Some braiser pans are designed to both cook and serve, so that you can take your food straight from the oven to the table.
Last but not least, woks are all-purpose, Asian pans that have become extremely popular. Woks are larger pans and typically made of carbon steel. These pans have a hot cooking surface on the bottom, while the sides remain a bit cooler. Ingredients can be lightly tossed and moved around the pan, which provides great control and versatility over the temperature. These pans are very useful for cooking stir fry, or thin cuts of protein and vegetables that should be tossed quickly when placed over heat. In addition, woks can be used for steaming and deep-frying.