Cookware Buyers Guide


Choosing cookware can be difficult with the huge range now available to choose from. This guide will take you through the logical steps to help you choose the right cookware for you. It includes selecting the right material whether it be stainless steel, cast iron, non-stick, copper or hard anodized and also how to select the right pieces to suit your lifestyle. And finally we take you through choosing a brand of cookware and providing you with our personal recommendations.
 

 

Step 1: Select a Material

The first step to selecting cookware is to choose the type of material you want to cook with. To determine this you need to know exactly what each type of material is capable of and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Stainless Steel - Cast Iron - Non-Stick - Clad - Copper - Hard Anodized



Stainless Steel

stainless steel cookwareStainless steel is one of the most popular materials to cook with and for good reason. It is strong and durable and can last a lifetime. It does have its drawbacks but these can be easily overcome by the addition of an aluminum or copper core.

Advantages

- strong and durable
- resists rust
- relatively easy to clean
- reasonably priced
- in most cases it is dishwasher safe

Disadvantages

- not a good conductor of heat
- not non-stick

Things to consider when buying stainless steel cookware

  Stainless steel is an excellent choice for cookware BUT because of its inability to conduct heat well it is important that you choose stainless steel cookware that has an aluminum or copper core. Without it you will find that you will get hot spots on the cooking surface and foods will cook unevenly.
  Ensure that your stainless steel is labeled 18/10 - this ensures that the stainless steel is strong and durable and that it doesn't rust or scratch easily.
Look for cookware with riveted handles. This will ensure you don't get the problem of handles becoming loose and falling off at the worst possible times. The only problem with riveted handles however is that they can attract a build up of cooked on grime around the rivets.


Our Recommendations...

1. Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Cookware

2. Kitchenaid Gourmet Essentials Stainless Steel Range

3. Cuisinart Chefs Classic Stainless Steel Cookware
 



Cast Iron/Enameled Cast Iron

enameled cast iron cookwareThose that use cast iron cookware absolutely swear by it for its exceptional cooking ability. Nevertheless, cast iron cookware is not an easy to maintain product. It requires a little effort to keep it working the way it should.

Also cast iron cookware doesn't heat up as quickly as some of the other types of cookware but it does retain heat well. This is why cast iron is especially good for Dutch ovens where slow cooking is required.

Advantages

- reasonably priced
- solid and durable
- retains heat exceptionally well
- if seasoned correctly it can have excellent non-stick properties

Disadvantages

- requires seasoning
- it can rust if not looked after correctly
- cooking acidic foods in cast iron can cause the seasoning to break down resulting in metallic tasting foods
- it can be quite heavy to hold especially when you are trying to pour foods out of a skillet for example.

Things to consider when buying cast iron cookware

  Cast iron can be very heavy so buy cookware pieces that include a helper handle on the opposite side of the regular handle. This will allow you to use two hands to lift the pot or pan off the stove top.
  If you want to avoid having to season your cast iron cookware then you can purchase cast iron that is already pre-seasoned. Or even better, you can purchase enameled cast iron cookware which never requires seasoning.


Our Recommendations...

1. Le Creuset cast iron cookware

2. Lodge cast iron cookware

3. Staub cast iron cookware
 



Non-Stick Cookware

Nonstick cookware has made cooking so much easier. Foods don't stick and cleaning up is a breeze particularly if you buy good quality nonstick. Technically you really don't need every piece of cookware in your kitchen to be non-stick. Saucepans for instance don't really need to be nonstick. It is more common for skillets, frypans and sauté pans to be non-stick as anything that you fry in has a tendency to stick more easily. Roasting pans are another good option for non-stick.

Advantages

- clean up is easy
- it can be a low fat way to cook as you don't require as much oil or fat
- it prevents foods from sticking

Disadvantages

- most nonstick is not dishwasher safe
- the surface can scratch easily and therefore not last as long as stainless steel for instance

Things to consider when buying non-stick cookware
 

  If you want the ability to wash your non-stick in the dishwasher then look specifically for dishwasher safe non-stick. Some of the brands include Calphalon Contemporary etc.
     


Our Recommendations...

1. Cuisinart nonstick cookware

2. Rachael Ray nonstick cookware

3. Kitchenaid nonstick cookware

4. Anolon Advanced non-stick cookware
 




Clad or Bonded Cookware


This is cookware that is made up of one or more materials which greatly increases the performance of the cookware itself. For instance, you will often find stainless steel cookware with an inner core of aluminum or copper. This is because stainless steel is not a good conductor of heat whereas aluminum or copper are. Copper is better than aluminum but also more expensive.

Advantages

- provides all the benefits of different metals in the one piece of cookware
- copper core cookware allows you the benefits of copper without the hassle of keeping it polished
- the aluminim or copper core ensures even heating without hot spots

Disadvantages

- it can be expensive

Things to consider when buying bonded cookware

  Look for cookware that has an aluminum or copper core that not only is in the base of the pots and pans but also runs up the sides.
     


Our Recommendations

1. Cuisinart Multiclad Pro
2. All Clad Stainless
3. All Clad Copper Core
 



Copper Cookware

Copper cookware is the cookware of chefs and for good reason. It conducts heat extremely well which means it heats quickly and adjusts to changes in temperature just as quickly. This allows greater control over your cooking.

Advantages


- excellent heat conductivity
- responds quickly to changes in temperature

Disadvantages

- it can tarnish easily so requires regular polishing
- it's a relatively soft metal so can dent easily
- the metal can react with some foods resulting in changes in color and taste.
- it's expensive compared to other materials
- it's not dishwasher safe

Things to consider when buying copper cookware:

  Copper cookware can tarnish easily so unless you don't mind the look of tarnished copper cookware then you will need to be prepared to polish it regularly.
  Copper cookware looks wonderful so you might want to consider purchasing a pot rack to display your cookware.


Our Recommendations

1. Calphalon Tri-Ply Copper - Best Value for Money
2.Ruffoni Copper Cookware
 




Hard Anodized


Hard anodized cookware is just aluminum that has gone through a process of anodization. This hardens and strengthens the aluminum making it strong and durable.

Advantages

- good conductor of heat
- strong and durable
- reasonably priced
- provides a nonstick surface which is easy to clean up

Disadvantages

- not always dishwasher safe

Things to consider when buying hard anodized cookware:
 

  If you are looking for dishwasher safe hard anodized cookware then your options will be limited. Most hard anodized cookware must be hand washed. You can also refer to our Dishwasher Safe List for cookware that is dishwasher safe.
     


Our Recommendations

1. Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Cookware
2. Kitchenaid Gourmet Essentials
3. Cuisinart Chefs Classic NonStick