A complete kitchen has a variety of cookware types, each with a different use. There are a few basic types of pots and pans that should be in any kitchen and a few that are considered specialty cookware.
It is not only the cookware design but also the cookware material that influences how ingredients cook. Even between two otherwise identical frying pans, a different material influences how the ingredients cook.
Different Types of Cookware: Everything You Need for the Perfect Kitchen
Take a look at this overview of different types of cookware. Which cookware sets and utensils do you already own and which ones should you add to your kitchen appliances to make your kitchen perfect?
We recommend that you also take into account your kitchen storage space when looking for new types of cookware. By using our cookware buying guide, you’ll be able to take all of these things into account before investing in your new kitchen tools!
Saucepan with Lid
A saucepan is probably one of the most versatile cookware items because you can use it for boiling food, reheating and making soups and sauces. Saucepans come in various sizes so get a size that is most suitable for the number of people in your household.
Stainless steel is a common cookware material for saucepans because of its versatility and durability. However, stainless steel is not the best heat conductor so use the lid for better temperature control.
Stock Pot with Lid
A stock pot is bigger than a saucepan with higher sides. They are best for cooking large volumes of liquids like soup, especially when the food needs to simmer or stew for a long time.
The lid keeps the heat inside the pot so you can leave it on the stove to gently cook. Stainless steel, nonstick surfaces, and hard adonized aluminum are popular cookware materials for stock pots.
Frying pans are used a lot in the kitchen for frying proteins and vegetables. Frying pans are good for cooking with hot oil because of how the heat spreads around the thin flat bottom and low rounded sides.
Frying pans can be made of any cookware material. Recently nonstick pans are very popular because there reduce the risk of burning but aluminum, copper cookware and frying pans with a carbon steel layer are better for high heat.
A skillet is a variation of the frying pan. They might have slightly higher sides and are usually made of a heavier material like cast iron.
Skillets are used for frying and searing. They are also sometimes used to continue cooking a dish in the oven.
Saute Pan with Lid
A saute pan is similar to a frying pan but with higher straight sides. A saute pan is often used for cooking vegetables but also proteins that need to cook longer and with more liquid.
Usually, food is fried in the saute pan first before adding sauces. A saute pan is also sometimes used for searing, making sauces and deep frying food.
Roasting pans are a basic cookware piece for cooking in an oven. They are made of cookware materials that can handle high heat, are good heat conductors and allow for even spread of heat.
A wok has a smaller bottom with wider high reaching sloped sides. This creates a very hot center with the heat lowering as you go higher up the wok.
This heat distribution is excellent for stir-frying food. Many South-East Asian dishes call for a wok.
Braising Pan with Lid
A braising pan is a versatile cookware item because it can be used to both sear food and slow cook food. A braising pan is often used for stews where the protein is first browned before adding liquids for slow cooking.
Braising pans have big thick bottoms with a tight-fitting lid. Cast iron and ceramic cookware are popular materials for this.
A griddle is similar to a frying pan but tends to be square instead of round with a grooved bottom. The grooves make a griddle the best choice for grilling food on the stove top.
A griddle is also sometimes used for foods that start out wet like pancakes and eggs. In that case, a non-grooved griddle is used.
A pressure cooker is an air-locked pot which allows for much faster cooking. The temperature inside the pot is controlled by adjusting the pressure with greater pressure for higher temperatures and less pressure for lower temperatures.
Dutch Oven / French Oven
Dutch ovens and French ovens are essentially the same apart from the enamel interior in a French oven. These low wide round pots are usually made of thick materials and used for slow cooking.
These are the basic types of cookware, some more commonly used than others but each with their own specialty.