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Pots and pans

We are moving and I am looking to replace our pots and pan set. My budget is around $200. I don't want cast iron. I prefer dish washer safe but our current set isn't so it's not a must have. Do you have any recommendations?

asked by Rachelwrites 2 months ago

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23 answers 472 views
Smaug
added 2 months ago

Pretty low budget by today's standards. I can recommend the All Clad skillets as a great value in nonstick; they're often on sale. Only problem is a sort of bizarre handle design that many find uncomfortable. A lot of what makes a pan good is just being used to it- I've never felt compelled to replace my old copper bottom Revere Ware saucepans, some dating back to my parents' wedding, but I don't know if they're still making them. Farberware also had, and may still have, some good quality reasonably priced pans.

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Nancy
Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added 2 months ago

Don't buy a set. Ever.
Buy good quality even if that means only a few pans now.
Buying poor quality but more pans is a recipe for (pun, sorry) poor cooking results and quick deterioration of the pans.
You need a few to start...maybe an 8" and a 12" frypan (or instead of the larger fry-pan, get a covered saute pan of about the same diameter, that you can use for both frying and stewing.
A large covered pot for cooking pasta & making soup.
A 6 quart or so covered heavy pot for oven roasting.
A 2 quart (approx) saucepan.
Adjust as needed for you cooking patterns.
If no pasta or soup gets made, omit that one.
If you roast meat a lot, get a roaster with a rack.
Etc.
Enamelled steel, enamelled cast iron, pre-seasoned cast iron all cook well...if you reconsider that material.
Metals in sandwich construction (e.g. stainless steel top & bottom, a more conductive material in between) are good for heat conductivity, cleaning & safety.
Some people avoid all exposed aluminum.
If you're moving cities, buy in your new city. Don't bother to shop & ship before the move.
If you have access to an industrial cookware supplier, go to them...not cheap, but often sturdier & better value for money than pots made for consumer home use.

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Smaug
added 2 months ago

Other than the obvious likelihood of the set not consisting of the same things that you need, do you have a particular objection to sets?

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Nancy
Nancy

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added 2 months ago

Smaug -
I think sets are a great deal for the department stores or kitchen ware stores who sell them, and for the various cooks, chefs & promoters who lend their names to the brands.
But they are rarely good for a new cook or someone setting up a household.
Either the desire for a set and a very limited budget leads one to buy low quality, where you could have bought, say, two sturdy pans that will last a lifetime.
Or, it leads you to spend too much money and have too many pots you don't use cluttering up your cupboards.
Further, the materials, weight, shape etc needed for different types of cooking differ. And having only one material for all cooking doesn't, in light of this, make much sense to me.
To sum up, I'm in favor of individual pans, bought as and when a household needs them and can afford them....an equipment collection that grows with the skills of the cook(s) and needs of the household.

Smaug
added 2 months ago

I'm inclined to agree, but then I've never been in the position of equipping a kitchen all at once; I have gone to the length of buying two skillet sets a couple of time. I was wondering if there was some specific idea that manufacturers were making specially low quality products to include in sets or something of that sort, which wouldn't be a great surprise. I did once buy a zillion piece set of plastic containers once and was surprised in their creativity in the use of the word "piece".

Smaug
added 2 months ago

ps I would avoid any pans, knives or whatever with a "celebrity chef's" name on them, though I confess to a fondness for my Joyce Chen wok; it was the only one I could find of a size useful to me.

Rachelwrites
added 2 months ago

Our last ($200 or less) set has served us well for the past 8 years and will be retired as our camping set. Buying just 2 more expensive pans isn't feasible as I could have more than 2 pans going on any given day. Our dutch oven, cast iron grill pan, crepe pan, roasting pan and baking pans will all be staying. We are moving from one fairly rural town to another so my shopping will most likely be done online. I have seen sets in copper, nonstick, and stainless steel and I am wondering which materials have what benefits etc.

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Nancy
Nancy

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added 2 months ago

Rachel...OK and sorry that my advice didn't suit your situation. Let's wait and see what others advise. Nancy

Rachelwrites
added 2 months ago

Nancy you did give me some helpful info. I'm now browsing sets made from metal sandwich materials . Thanks

ktr
ktr
added 2 months ago

I use cast iron most of the time, but I'd advise paying attention to how long the handles are if you are going to put them in the dishwasher. I have a couple sauce pans that I toss in the dishwasher and I wish the handles were shorter so they took up less room. They were just part of a cheap set but I haven't had any issues with them. My favorite large pot for soup is from IKEA.

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Brent
added 2 months ago

What pieces are you retiring to the camping set that you will most miss or that you now use most often?

I don't agree with the "never buy a set" advice. I bought a very useful, high quality All Clad set that was a heck of a deal when I made my upgrade. I have supplemented the set with more All Clad pieces, but everything in the set I bought has been useful. If a set suits your needs, go for it.

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Rachelwrites
added 2 months ago

I love my large covered saute pan the most. It gets the most use for sure. I also like my small (5 inch?) frying pan for when I am cooking for myself. ..usually making leftovers into lunch. The small pot and the large stockpot both get a good bit of weeknight use...making sides, soup and pasta. The medium frying pan gets used at breakfast.

Ttrockwood
added 2 months ago

Look for key phrases like “triple ply” and also note what lids are going to be oven safe for if/when you want to go from stovetop to oven.
I would avoid anything nonstick.
Sur la Table has fantastic sales and often also online coupons; i have had amazing customer service from them (including an incident where i damaged the knife and was asking about a repair and they just replaced it with a new one).

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Rachelwrites
added 2 months ago

Why avoid nonstick? Ive heard it may be dangerous at high temps.

Smaug
added 2 months ago

Nonstick covers a lot of ground. Modern Teflon pans, such as the All Clad series, are free of PFOA, the ingredient that has cancer concerns, and are oven safe to at least 500. Ceramic nonsticks don't have any health concerns that I know of, but I've tried a few- including some expensive "second generation" types, and they didn't stay nonstick for long. There seems to be a steady stream of miraculous new coatings too numerous to look into- I think a lot of them are Teflon with various substances mixed in for wear resistance, but it's kind of a wild wessst marketplace right now.

ChefJune
ChefJune

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added 2 months ago

There are some sets that are worth owning, but they do not fall within your $200 budget.
That said, I would not buy a set for my kitchen, and I don't know any cooking pros who would/do. Mostly because I prefer different finishes for different tasks, and because most sets contain some pieces I don't want in the first place.
My suggestion would be to go to an online restaurant supply store and peruse with the thought of replacing those pieces you're planning to retire to your camping gear. I think you'll get your best money's worth that way.

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Rachelwrites
added 2 months ago

Good idea! Thank you.

BerryBaby
BerryBaby

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added 2 months ago

I inherited a set of Revereware and a cast iron skillet, from my husband when we got married. It's been over 40 years and I continue to cook successfully with all of them.
He gifted me all an all clad set but I rarely use them. I love the copper pots and keep them shined up. You'd never know they are close to 50 years old. If they could talk, the stories they'd tell about all the great meals they made!

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Gammy
added 2 months ago

I have older copper-bottom Revereware (40+ years old) and like them, but also have and prefer the Revereware with the tri-ply (disc) bottom and feel they heats better and haven't warped like the copper bottom fry pans have. Mine were all made in Clinton, IL. New ones are made in China. There is a quality difference. The handles are comfortable, but are not made for high oven temps and if you want to keep the handles looking newish, do not put them in the dishwasher either. Having said that, the pans clean up really well, even with burned on bits. Ebay has older pieces with assorted usage.

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Cary
added 2 months ago

I am superimpressed by my Tramontina set. Recommended by j kenji lopez-alt as alternative to expensive all clad. Lots of different sets, or individual tri-ply pans. Example:https://www.amazon.com...

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Smaug
added 2 months ago

They do make good pans- skillets anyway. I like their handles; similar to Calphalon, and the pans have good weight. Bed Bath and Beyond carries them- or used to- if you want to check them out in person.

Jennifer
added 2 months ago

I bought a Circulon non-stick set several years ago, which I'm still using. I like it. I use every pan in the set. You cannot put them in the dishwasher, just the lids. This set is $180. https://www.circulon.com...

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Rachelwrites
added 2 months ago

Thank you!