Essential Tools

The Best Cookware for Your Kitchen (Our Shop Team's Picks!)

June 20, 2015

Most kitchen conundrums get us itching to fire up a burner, but others—like sorting through the endless options for tools and appliances—can be a bit more daunting.

Today: In anticipation of the Food52 Registry launch (and a new collection of cookware and kitchen tools to support it), our Shop team demystifies the best of the best skillets, saucepans, pots, roasters, and pans.

Demystifying Cookware Food52

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1. DemeyereOur VP of Commerce Operations, Christina DiLaura, loves this line's chef-approved functionality and sturdy, user-friendly design. 

Demeyere Saucepan Food52  Demeyere cookware Food52

"I always thought I had nice pots and pans until we received the Demeyere line in our office," Christina says, "It's not a brand commonly known in the U.S., but it's used in nearly all the top Michelin Star restaurants in Belgium and the Netherlands. Besides being stunning to look at, the 7-layer base with aluminum core distributes heat incredibly evenly (read: no more burned rice on the bottom of your pot) and also makes them easier to clean (hooray!). Plus, the handles stay cool so I don't have to fumble with an oven mitt."


2. Mauviel: To Kristina Wasserman, a Food52 Account Manager, this heritage brand has it all: crazy good looks, precision, and an impressive reputation.

Mauviel Cookware Food52

Kristina is adamant that "copper transforms your kitchen and the way you cook." Ever since testing a Mauviel saucepan, she's dreamed of owning a whole kitchen's worth of copper cookware: "Beyond being incredibly sturdy (it really will last a lifetime), it conducts heat like nothing else can: Copper can reach incredibly precise temperatures and cools evenly, making hot spots virtually nonexistent."

Mauviel Mixing Bowls Copper Cookware  Copper Saucepan Mauviel Cookware

"Mauviel has been around for nearly 200 years, and has a well-earned reputation for being the most trusted brand of copper cookware. It's made in France and used by some of the best chefs in the world, like Paul Bocuse and Thomas Keller. It's also beautiful! A single copper pot hanging above your stove is enough to make anyone want to get in the kitchen every day and cook—even if it is just to boil eggs."


More: Looking for a reliable non-stick skillet? Besides sounding as tough as Valyrian steel, our Turk Extra High Edge Criss-Cross Forged Iron Fry Pan has an incredibly helpful long handle and "heats up hella fast" according to Managing Editor Kenzi Wilbur


3. Staub: Assistant Account Manager Lucy Nieboer and Customer Care Specialist Hillary Pollak gush about the durability (and cuteness!) of pieces from this line.

Staub Mini Dutch Oven  Staub Cast Iron Dutch Oven

"I'm obsessed with my grenadine Staub dutch oven," Lucy shares unabashadley. "The cast iron interior gets a perfect sear on everything and is really great for non-stick cooking. Plus, after a year with five roommates of varying cooking abilities, it shows practically no signs of wear! (Sadly, the same can't be said for my other pots with enamel-coated interiors.) I like that I can use it to for different things, too: all soups and stews, braising, steaming. Endless possibilities!"

Hillary agrees: "I'm known for loving tiny kitchen tools, so it's no surprise that I'm obsessed with the Staub Mini Cocottes. They are perfect for individual cakes, pies, and very small servings of stew and are also cute enough to be used on the table to hold salt or condiments. Who said mini isn't practical? I'd use these every day."


4. Simax: We're pretty sure Lauren Kelley (our Director of Customer Experience and Operations) won't be the only one fascinated by this crazy cool lab-grade glassware.

Simax Bundt Pan Food52

"I loved lab glass in high school chemistry and I know I'm not alone," Lauren says, and we agree. "The fact that it could hold steaming, boiling chemicals and then be simply wiped clean is amazing, and Simax, a company with a long history in the glass world, took notice. While beakers and test tubes aren't really practical in the kitchen, they found a way to make lab glass (called borosilicate) useful for home cooks.

Simax took the most practical parts about borosilicate's sturdiness and made it kitchen-appropriate (and beautiful to boot). I'm especially fond of the glass measuring cup set for its ability to stand up to hot liquids. And tea from thin, minimalist glass mugs? Yes please."


More: Want the best cookware for induction burners? The Zwilling Aurora line of pots and pans—with its 5-ply construction and a magnetic base—will work (hard) on any range.


5. Le Creuset: Derek Laughren, our Test Kitchen Manager, piped up about what's best for ovenware. 

Le Creuset Roaster Derek Laughren  Le Creuset Roaster Food52

"I love just about everything Le Creuset makes," he admits, "but an enamel-coated roaster is particularly nice to have. A lot of stainless steel roasting pans can be a real pain to clean when grease spatters and burns onto the sides, but this one is so easy to wipe down. It's also sturdy enough to heat over a flame in order to sear the roast before putting it into the oven, meaning there's one less pan to clean."

What are your favorite cookware lines? Let us know in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • tweeter10
  • Ninette Dean
    Ninette Dean
  • Lottie's Kitchen
    Lottie's Kitchen
  • Linda Haskins
    Linda Haskins
  • jthelwell
Amanda Sims

Written by: Amanda Sims

Professional trespasser.


tweeter10 November 29, 2015
Beautiful Emile Henry from stove to oven to table and clean-up is a breeze! All Clad for my induction cooktop-makes cooking so much easier!
Ninette D. June 26, 2015
I have a mixture of Lodge, a Le Creuset set that is still going strong after 25 years , Mauviel both copper and the stainless set they had out at Sur La Table a few years ago. I love them all but for different reasons. I suppose I will need someone to will them to when I die!
Lottie's K. June 25, 2015
What a well timed article! I am about to purchase a set of Mauviel pots and this article confirms I am making the right decision. I would love to know if anyone has any thoughts on the Chasseur range of cookware?
Linda H. June 25, 2015
Love All Clad. Will last a lifetime, has many price points, cleans supper easy, cooks beautifully, and is American made (exccept for some inserts, China
jthelwell June 25, 2015
You should really look at Tramontina: stainless steel clad aluminum without the All-Clad prices. America's Test Kitchen designates them a "Best Buy", rating second only to All-Clad.
Renee W. June 25, 2015
We transitioned to Staub and All-Clad pieces, except for my Lodge 12" pan. Staub is wonderful for almost all applications.
Ken O. June 25, 2015
I have a wide variety in our arsenal. I like Staub very much, the surface is awesome and the few pieces we own are great. Le Creuset reside in the pantry as well: performance is great, some of the older pieces are showing the wear. Wore through our old calphalon anodized (the originals) on a few, so replaced them with all clad copper (all eBay snags for good prices) Light work well and clean easily. The best (and I would likely repurchase an entire set, but they are heavy) is Sitram Catering line. Amazing. I have massive rondeaus and stock pots and there is nothing better.
Wendy S. June 25, 2015
I have an enameled cast iron Dutch oven from Fontignac "depuis 1926", which is probably a knock off of Le Creuset but I don't care. It was less than $100 and I swear by it. Her name is Blue. That, and my All Clad stainless pieces. And my antique cast aluminum chicken pot. And a cheap non-stick small skillet for a quick two egg breakfast, because I've never met a non stick that lasts.
pimimond June 25, 2015
Oh and ps: I wish I'd learned just how brilliant cast iron was much earlier in my life. A single 12" skillet I use almost every day was the cheapest and best kitchen investment I've ever made.
pimimond June 25, 2015
I had a set of le crueset that I wore out. Had I known they have a lifetime guarantee I would have mailed them back for replacements like I did later with a Dutch oven. Meanwhile I replaced that set with a set of All-Clad, which is brilliant and which I will be able to pass down to many generations.
chop C. June 20, 2015
In the world of non-nose bleed priced cookware I like the Sur La Table cookware. Cooks just as good as All-Clad but the handles have much better ergonomics and not that awkward angle of All-Clad that makes you "break" your wrist more to lift. Plus on sauté pans there is a handle on the other side from the handle. I cook at home probably five days a week and these have been just fine in my book.
Linda June 20, 2015
I agree with you completely about Le Creuset and I have a 4 qt. casserole that is 45 years old, but as I get older I find the cookware is much to heavy for frequent use. My Hans and back ain't what they used to be!