Recommend pots and pans please.
June 23, 2016 10:57 AM   Subscribe

I would like to purchase a few new pots and pans. The ones I've been using are very old and pretty crappy. I am overwhelmed by the options.

-I have some cast iron which I love. I'm not looking for more cast iron.

-I have no idea what to think about non-stick. I'm inclined to not get non-stick because I know it scratches and I guess I still have skepticism about the health concerns, even though I see everything labeled these days as safe. Do I want non-stick? Do I not?

-If not non-stick, then what? Stainless steel? Ceramic?

-I'm more interested in buying a few pieces, rather than a set, because I have specific things I want, but I'm not opposed to buying a set if it's a good deal and has the things I need.

-Budget. I'm not wealthy, but I would also rather get something that won't need to be replaced anytime soon. That said, Le Cruset is probably more than I want to spend. $1,000 All Clad sets are, unfortunately, out of the question. Less than $50 per piece would be great if that's doable.

-I have an induction stovetop.

Thank you beautiful nerds.
posted by Lutoslawski to Home & Garden (46 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
My family's go-to has always been Paderno. My parents have entirely Paderno and have never had any problems and none show any sign of wear, and they are used constantly, utterly mistreated, and are old as the hills. But they are sincerely in perfect condition. (These are the type they have. )I too have Paderno and they are in perfect condition despite near constant use. Same with my sisters. They are amazing.

They aren't cheap, but damn are they good.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 11:03 AM on June 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

No nonstick, not even the best, will last as long as even decent stainless steel.
Nonstick cookware is always a temporary purchase. Even if the coating is 100% safe, it will still wear away.

I like Farberware for good quality and medium/low cost stainless steel. Inherited some from my parents, pans will also survive me provided I don't actively try to destroy them. Ceramic is nice but IMO not really worth the premium, so I only have a couple items of that.
posted by SaltySalticid at 11:05 AM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

I think in general you'll want one non-stick skillet.

As for other pots and pans, the key attribute is heavy, thick metal bases. The thickness will help keep them from warping which would be a problem with your induction cook top. The heaviness/density of the pan keeps and retains heat as well as help spread out the heat.
posted by mmascolino at 11:08 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Tramontina clad is perfectly good cladware at a reasonable price. I got the full set when I got married 12 years ago and aside from the bottoms being blackened (because no, I'm not invested enough to keep them from not turning black) they look like the day I got them. Cuisinart Multiclad Pro is a slightly higher but still reasonably-priced range of cladware.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:09 AM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

Rule 0: It's not cost-effective or particularly wise to buy sets. Manufacturers fill them with all kinds of things you don't need.

How many are you cooking for?

One or two, all you really need is a decent 10-12" skillet, a non-stick skillet for eggs, and a 3-4 quart pot. If you make stews, a larger stock pot is handy.

The best pans are those built with continuous a continuous sandwich of steel-aluminim-steel. This is what All-Clad is, and you'll never really go wrong with that choice. This is great for pans where heat control is critical like frypans and sauciers. If cast iron is your thing, a cast iron fry pan can stand in for the skillet. They're heavy and slow, but reliable and affordable.

But for most pots, you can buy much cheaper pots. Heat conduction disks work just fine for most things you need a pot for. We've been very happy with our Paderno ones too.

Non-stick fry pans are handy, but you don't buy these for life. They're disposable after six months to a year. Cook's Illustrated has recommended TFal pans for years as both their best buy and best value.

Cook's has been pretty good about putting up video reviews of various cookware in the past few years. You might find this list of videos helpful.
posted by bonehead at 11:14 AM on June 23, 2016

For an inexpensive non-stick pan I like T-Fal pans. I've had $300 Calphalon pans before and they get ruined after a few years just like any other non-stick. The $30 T-Fal work just about as well and is holding up surprisingly well for me.
posted by Nelson at 11:14 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

You don't need to buy a $1k set to have a little All-Clad in your life. Their 12" fry pan is expensive ($120) but will last you a long time and is a very nice kitchen companion.
posted by actionstations at 11:17 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Re: the All Clad price tag. I've picked up the 'essentials' here and there at TJ Maxx (8" and 12" skillets), and went with Cusinart Multiclad for a ~3qt pasta/etc pot.

Beyond that, I'd suggest a 3.5-5qt Lodge enamel cast iron (I use it for fucking everything, even though I'm vegetarian) at $50 (might want to put a sheet of paper under so it doesn't scratch your induction top)

and hit up a restaurant supply store for a ~8qt stock pot with a thick bottom, as others have said.

Also, might be worth looking into carbon steel - cheaper than stainless, with some associated pros and cons depending on your priorities
posted by sazerac at 11:20 AM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

Seconding T-Fal as your best budget option. FWIW, though, I have had my All-Clad set for 20 years now and expect to be able to pass it on to my daughter some day.
posted by briank at 11:22 AM on June 23, 2016

What tasks do you want those pots and pans to do? What do you cook?

Stainless steel is great for boiling water with potatoes or pasta or vegs in it. I also sometimes make soups in my stainless steel pots, but I am shifting more and more to cast iron for that.

I can talk for hours of the joys of a pressure cooker, and it has become a joke in my family. Also made of stainless steel.

I prefer ceramic coating to non-stick, for non-stick properties. It works excellently. But I'm a bit disappointed with the wear and tear. Not that it is the least bit worse than tefal in that regard.

I use the ceramic pans for frying fish and hamburgers, and they are great. But I can feel I'm moving more and more towards just using my cast-iron pans for that as well. It's a question of routine and knowledge as well as products. 10 years ago, I couldn't have fried a fish on a cast-iron pan, and now I prefer it.

Another thing I use the ceramic pots and pans for is sauces, from a classic French brown sauce over a Marcella Hazan tomato sauce to a bolognese. They do this very well. But I am thinking of gradually (over several years) moving over to copper pans for those purposes.

I love cookware, and I own more than any person will ever need. So don't trust me on this - I'd just get more. But for a year, I lived with a stainless steel 6 liter pot, an oven pan and a well-seasoned hammered iron wok, and I could cook everything for up to 30 people: not only Asian, but every cuisine across the globe. Don't stress.
posted by mumimor at 11:27 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

We cook a ton at home, and mostly we use cast iron, 12" Stainless steel skillet, a stock pot, a dutch oven and 12" nonstick. I mean, a couple sauce pans are runners up. Most kits give you like little saute pans and stuff that are redundant. Skip that mess.

T-fall nonstick is great; they last a long time and they're CHEAP.

Cuisinart makes a nice tri-ply 12" skillet that's pretty damn good for the price point. But honestly, you can pick up All-clad on sale sometimes and that can cushion the blow.

Stock pots and similar? Head on over to your restaurant supply store and pick some stuff up. This is my go to for 'cheap but bombproof.' I was gifted a nice all-clad stockpot once, but honestly, in terms of function, the cheap-ass stainless steel stockpot I got from the restaurant supply store with no name on it works just as good, and has wider handles.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:28 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

It depends on what you cook.

Stainless steel is good for many things and a great medium between weight, ease of cleaning, and durability. But if you do a lot of stuff like searing on the stove and then long slow oven braises, ceramic is better for that because of how it retains and distributes heat. If you like to cook with a minimum of fats and/or do things like eggs and stir fries and fresh seafood, non-stick is worth it in my experience. For larger pots unless you are super strong I'd strongly suggest not splurging for ceramic because although they are better at heat distribution and keeping things from burning on the bottom etc, the sheer weight of a giant ceramic stock pot is a huge pain and in my experience makes me less likely or willing to cook some of my favorite things.

So basically, get a variety for the different things and amounts of thing you like and want to cook. You might find it simplest to get one new pan or pot at a time, but since you have budget concerns you might prefer to plan it all out and wait for a good sale. I find that Macy's has pretty regular kitchen sales with things going more than half off sometimes.

Just as an example, I am in the process of shifting to mostly stainless steel after my starter set of non stick cookware began to really die. I absolutely love my calphalon stainless steel Dutch oven, which I got in the smaller five quart size and is perfect for most things I make that need low and slow cooking, and doesn't weigh a thousand pounds like the le cruset Dutch oven that was gifted to me years ago that I never use but can't bring myself to give away. But I also make myself eggs a few days of the week, so I bought a new non stick pan in a small size for that. I also use it to toast spices and make grilled cheeses. My big stock pot is enamel, but not ceramic, because I tend to wander off and things burn but I love making big batches of slow simmered chili or collards.

Don't feel pressured to get a set because it seems like a good deal. Sit down and think about what you cook and what you want to cook and make a list. Keep your eyes open for sales. I think your $50 price is going to be a little low for some things, but if you can wait for sales you will manage it. There are often lots of sales on cookware leading up to Thanksgiving for obvious reasons. If possible, hold the pan in your hands before you buy. Make sure it is comfortable in your hands and the weight is balanced well and all that. Don't buy a new piece of cookware unless you can think of three things you would regularly make with it.
posted by Mizu at 11:30 AM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

After doing a lot of research, I bought a set of Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel cookware, the ones that have the 3-layer construction like All Clad. The MCP line is significantly cheaper than All Clad but apparently darn near as good. I've been very happy with them. I don't own any non-stick pieces, but these stainless steel pans work fine for all but eggs (and my well-seasoned cast iron pans handle those with ease).

They are compatible with induction stoves.

What I bought:
- Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set (i.e. 8pc with lids) MCP-12N - $226
- Cuisinart MCP22-30HN MultiClad Pro Stainless 12-Inch Skillet (no lid included) - $45

Whether or not you get the larger skillet, the total price comes in under $40 per piece w/lid. I doubt you can get better cookware than that in your price range.

Oh - based on what I've read online, do NOT clean these in a dishwasher (even though Cuisinart tentatively claims you can).
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:32 AM on June 23, 2016

I have a set of anodized non-stick pans from Cuisinart. (I believe it's the nonstick version of the set Greg_Ace linked right above this comment.) They are fine and the non-stick element hasn't scratched or gummed up or worn away like other non-stick pans I have owned. That said, I do wish I had a few plain stainless steel ones.

One thing I've heard is that it's less optimal to buy a set than to shop for individual pieces, because that way you can mix and match stainless, nonstick, etc. according to your needs. Also, my Cuisinart set came with a ton of stuff I never even use, like an 8-inch omelet pan, a spaghetti drainer insert for the pasta pot, etc. It might have been more cost-effective to just buy the specific pots and pans I knew I would use, and get higher quality ones to boot.
posted by Sara C. at 11:39 AM on June 23, 2016

Instead of a nonstick pan, maybe consider carbon steel? Caveat: I do not have a carbon steel skillet myself, but I have a carbon steel wok, and have been seriously impressed with the non-stickness of my wok after seasoning and over time with use. The seasoning and care steps are not much different than cast iron. I was frying an egg in my wok one time, (for a fried rice dish), and watching how easily it slid around in the wok, even compared to my nonstick skillet (which is admittedly a few years old now), it occurred to me that a skillet made of carbon steel would be awesome. (Indeed I believe it's what Julia Child used to suggest for omelets.)

The main things I use:
Enameled cast iron Dutch oven - Mine is Le Creuset but I hear great things about Lodge for a fraction of the price
Stainless steel skillet - mine is Calphalon. I think I got it on sale for around $50 years ago but it's lasted great.
Cast iron skillet - inherited. :)
Non-stick skillet - mine is one of the medium end of All Clad's lines. It has held up years longer than most people say this kind of skillet will, but still works ok. (As I said I'm leaning toward replacing it with carbon steel)
Carbon Steel wok - ordered on Amazon from The Wok Shop in San Francisco
2-qt saucepan with lid - Calphalon outlet store, think it was like $25?
Stock pot - no idea what brand, it was something cheap.

Type of cookware I don't like: that "anodized aluminum" stuff. With the dark grey matte finish. Have a sort of saute pan of it - (Calphalon, was on sale cheap on Amazon many years ago) - stuff has always stuck to it like mad. It was because of problems with stir-fries sticking in this pan that I bought the steel wok last summer, and it's SO much better.
posted by dnash at 11:40 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I would suggest getting at least one non-stick pan for eggs. I really, really love my Calphalon non-stick stuff. I have two of their omelette pans and a small saucepan. They are really solid pieces, with heavy bottoms, that are a joy to cook with. The surface is ever so slightly pebbled, which means I can get a nice sear on a hunk of meat, or browning, but I can still clean them out simply by wiping with a paper towel. I've had the omelette pans for 6 years and they've held up to frequent use.
posted by lunasol at 11:49 AM on June 23, 2016

Oh, and Bed Bath and Beyond frequently sells a set of two of the Calphalon omelette pans (8" and 10") for $50. Great deal.
posted by lunasol at 11:51 AM on June 23, 2016

What I forgot: I'm totally on the "wait for a sale" team. Your cookware should last your life, and it's worth buying the best for every purpose. But paying the full price would be silly.
posted by mumimor at 11:52 AM on June 23, 2016

If you have a Costco near you, their Kirkland stainless steel pans are what you need. They're cheap, high-quality and have a nice, heavy bottom for even cooking. Our set is pretty clearly going to last at least a decade. If you actually read the reviews, the negative ones are almost entirely from folks cooking the wrong food (eggs = no) or cooking at too high heat.

Get one non-stick pan (we tried a bunch of non-Teflon alternatives, and they were universally terrible) and stainless for everything else. The bottom of the stainless pans pans where they touch the stove WILL discolor to some degree. Big deal. Don't cook rice or oatmeal in them, or if you do, use low heat and stir constantly. We make risotto in our stainless pans all the time, and it's ZERO problem. Deglaze the pans when you're done cooking. The cooking surface cleans up fine with Barkeepers Friend for anything that does stick. If we deglaze after cooking meat, we probably Barkeeper's Friend every other month or so, and we cook probably 25 nights per month or more.
posted by cnc at 11:53 AM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

Seconding the Cuisinart Multi-Clad Pro. I've had mine for 8 years now and they're as good as the day I got them. I run them through the dishwasher, leave them in the sink overnight, burn things, and generally abuse the hell out of them and they're still completely fine. Well worth the money.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:54 AM on June 23, 2016

I have a set of Ikea pots (similar to these) that I've been using for 12 years now. They have thick bottoms and hold up very well. They are great value for money. The cooking pots are stainless and there are non-stick frying pans and skillets to match.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:59 AM on June 23, 2016

Seconding Tramontina as great bang for the buck triclad cookware. However, the set linked above is triclad only on the base - they have a better set that includes the sides as well. If you're willing to shop at Walmart, it's generally around $120 for that set there. They're definitely induction capable - not all of the triclad products are. As long as I heat them, then oil them, and then start the food (and don't burn it), they almost always clean up as easily as non-stick.

And nthing having one non-stick skillet for the tasks where they really are better.
posted by Candleman at 12:02 PM on June 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

The Tramontina tri-ply (sold at Walmart) is really quite nice and very affordable. It also goes in the oven as it is all metal. Buy a set and you have pots and some nice stainless pans. I would recommend one non-stick pan for cooking eggs and other very delicate things (unless you are happy with your cast iron for that)
posted by ssg at 12:07 PM on June 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

millionth-ing the cuisinart multi-clad pro. i tend to take a piecemeal approach to my cookware because my kitchen is incredibly tiny, so my collection is tiny! i cook and bake A LOT, and my kitchen consists of:

one 7.5 quart round enameled cast iron dutch oven (for chilis, soups, stews, giant hunks of meat to cook down in the oven)
one 3 quart saucepan - cuisinart multi-clad pro (for pasta, veggie blanching, egg boiling, etc. i use this a lot, especially when i don't want to drag out my heavy ass dutch oven)
one 10 inch cuisinart multiclad pro skillet (total workhorse)
one 9 inch cast iron frying pan from my grandma (hella slick, use it for most everything)
one 5 quart enameled cast iron braiser (probably my least-used pan, but it works well when my skillets are too small for my recipe)
one 9 inch nonstick frying pan (these are super cheap so i tend to replace it as soon as the teflon starts coming off. i basically only use this for crepes, eggs and delicate fish)

that's it. i bought the two multiclad pieces from home goods or marshall's, one of those places. i thought about investing in a full set of the multiclad but i realized i was only going to REALLY use a couple of the pieces. so i just started buying things piecemeal. i am considering picking up a straight-sided saute pan but i can't figure out if i'll actually use it yet.
posted by kerning at 12:09 PM on June 23, 2016

Oh yes, "hot pan, cold oil" is your cooking mantra with stainless steel (though not necessarily with nonstick pans).
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:10 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Bought a really inexpensive set of T-Fal stainless pans in 2013 (this set, according to my Amazon history). My wife was concerned because we'd had nonstick before, but they've been great. The main adjustment was having to remember to keep the heat lower than you'd think to stop things from burning, because the pans retain heat due to the heavy base. High or medium high to bring to temp, no more than medium generally while cooking. Nearly all the pans still look new inside (one small pan has some carbonized marks where my wife made risotto and forgot to turn down the heat - but other than the cosmetic bit, the pan works fine). I generally deglaze the pans after use, not to make sauce, but to loosen the bits stuck to the metal. Even what looks like some pretty caked on crud generally comes right off with a little friction.

My main complaints: The pans are heavier than our old set (not a bad thing, but it took some time to get used to). I'd prefer if I had a larger skillet - the large one that came with the set is not really as big as I'd like for some purposes. I also wish there was a lid for the large skillet - there is not, nor does T-Fal appear to make a lid that would match. One of the pot lids fits the small skillet, but nothing in the set fits the large skillet (luckily for me, the lid to our Crock Pot is a near perfect match, so I end up using that instead). Other than that, I've been perfectly happy with the set, especially given the price.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:15 PM on June 23, 2016

I've had this set from Macy's store brand for over 10 years, and they have held up beautifully. They go on sale basically every other weekend, so don't buy them at full price. Sometimes they will throw in a free spaghetti pot or something like that, and of course Macy's is ridiculous with the coupons.
posted by antimony at 12:17 PM on June 23, 2016

By the way, I found a generic domed lid (i.e. not a Cuisanart lid) for the 12" skillet at Goodwill.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:18 PM on June 23, 2016

I keep one non-stick pan that I use for things that I think might damage my cast-iron fry pans (which are seasoned so perfectly that they are effectively non-stick). I consider non-stick pans to be almost disposable, and when the non-stick stops working, I replace the pan. I buy whichever ceramic one is available at costco.

My other pans are a mix of Calphalon tri-ply stainless and All-Clad. Despite the almost cultish love people have for All-Clad, I cannot tell the difference between the two brands. (I'm cooking on a gas stove.) I'd recommend either if the price was not a consideration, but with a cost constraint, the Calphalon Tri-ply is the way to go. I've had mine over 15 years, and every pan is still in perfect condition.
posted by 26.2 at 12:28 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Many of these recommendations are not compatible with induction cooktops, just saying. Even a lot of stainless steel doesn't work.

After buying a stand-alone induction burner I ran across this site, which has a lot of information and recommendations about induction-ready cookware. I'm about ready to get the 14-piece Duxtop set on Amazon, because it's $200 and apparently compares favorably to much more expensive sets. None of my stainless steel is magnetic enough to work with the burner, and it's all old and crappy anyway.
posted by Huck500 at 12:40 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

After struggling for over a year with one of the most useless frying pans in creation, I spent $30-ish on a three-piece Tramontina set from Costco, and they've been amazing. I actually LIKE cooking now.
posted by Tamanna at 12:50 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I put my Calphalon Tri-ply through its paces and it's still going strong. They have a smaller set and a larger set, plus additional pieces you can buy separately. I have the smaller set plus a few add-ons, and I use everything--I don't think there were any useless fillers. They range in the $50-130 per piece, and about $300ish for the set, iirc. Solid stuff.
posted by Liesl at 12:54 PM on June 23, 2016

Here's Mark Bittman's take. Main takeaway: expensive isn't really worth it.
posted by saladin at 1:51 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, that depends. I won't disagree with Bittman, in the sense that I agree it's absolutely possible to create good food with cheap equipment, but I will say that cheap stuff isn't always a pleasure to use - handles that are uncomfortable to hold / you can't get a secure grip on / get unpleasantly hot, bottoms that go round if the pan's even slightly overheated, lids that don't fit well, pans/pots that don't heat evenly and create hot spots where food scorches, on and on. I really enjoy cooking and spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I'm a hell of a cheapskate wherever possible (blame the Scots genetics), but to me the Multiclad Pro cookware is a joy to use and I think it has been worth every penny I paid for it. YMMV.

I still go to restaurant supply stores for many things, but not my cookware.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:29 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have had these Ameriware pans for 15 years now. They are not non-stick, but they are non-stick. Meaning, they don't have a coating.. so if you scratch them up, they remain non stick.

Just don't keep the rubber holders on them.. after 15 years, some of the handles are rusting underneath because water got trapped from washing and leaving the rubber things on.

But I have never found such an amazing set of pots. They are still in great condition, with heavy use (3 kids, cooking most every night).
posted by rich at 2:50 PM on June 23, 2016

If you have a good cast iron skillet (not ceramic coated), and you treat it well, you don't need a non-stick pan to fry eggs. Unfortunately the stuff I see today (Lodge, mostly) has a rough surface from the casting process & I can't imagine it works as well as the old pans, which were turned smooth after casting; and ceramic coated cast iron tends to stick. If your current cast iron doesn't cut it, I've found Wagner and Griswold pans on eBay: prices vary, but if you avoid the "wow that's the old logo and an odd size" collectibles you can find a nice pan for $50 including shipping. Also worth trying are carbon steel frying pans, I think mine is de Buyer.

I love my All-Clad pans, but Tramontina, Farberware, and Ikea are all good choices on a budget.

If you're not adverse to cosmetic imperfections, you can sometimes find perfectly good used le Creuset pans on eBay; the off-white interior enamel tends to stain with time so they will never look new, but as long as they aren't chipped they will be perfectly serviceable.
posted by mr vino at 2:57 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I agree with mr vino on the cast iron pans. If you have more time than money and access to an orbital sander, it's not difficult to sand down the inside of a cheap Lodge cast iron pan until it's smooth, thoroughly wash/dry then re-season it; you'll end up with a pan that's as good as the old stuff and rivals any nonstick pan. I did that to an 8" Lodge skillet and it's utterly fantastic for making omelets now.

Just make absolutely sure to wear goggles and mask when grinding - you don't want iron dust in your eyes or mouth!!

I don't know if this is too off-topic for this thread, but just thought I'd mention it
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:18 PM on June 23, 2016

My understanding was that with an induction cooktop you just want basic pans made of steel/iron and that you don't need layers of other materials (aluminum, copper) sandwiched inside the base which is what the clad cookware is. Aluminum pots and pans wouldn't work at all.

You probably want one non-stick pan which you should expect to replace every year or so, but if the rest of the pots and pans are steel/iron then those should last forever.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:25 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

My understanding was that with an induction cooktop you just want basic pans made of steel/iron and that you don't need layers of other materials (aluminum, copper) sandwiched inside the base which is what the clad cookware is.

The aluminum and/or copper is there to evenly distribute the heat throughout the cookware. This might actually be more important on an induction cooktop than a gas one - I know that mine creates pretty specific hot spots. It's important to make sure that the outer layer is made from magnetic stainless steel in this case.
posted by Candleman at 4:58 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Seconding keeping an eye out for All-Clad at TJMaxx. If you are unsure, pick it up and do not put it back down until you are sure you won't buy it; it will be gone.

I also routinely pick up 10-in T-Fal nonstick pans from TJ Maxx. I take care of them but consider them disposable. ATK liked them and even considered their top choice, the All-Clad, ultimately disposable.

I have a friend with a kitchen full of Le Cruset she's bought off eBay over the years.

(I have no connection to TJ Maxx other than proximity.)
posted by Room 641-A at 5:22 PM on June 23, 2016

Oh, and get a little 1-qt nonstick pot if you eat a lot of hot cereal. It's one of my few unitaskers.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:25 PM on June 23, 2016

Discount All Clad with great sales is available at Cookware and More. Sign up for their mailing list to get the stellar deals. Here Is the link. It gets even cheaper if you are willing to go irregulars or seconds.
posted by jadepearl at 6:14 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have several All-Clad pieces in my kitchen and absolutely love them. But when my close friend separated from his wife and she took all of the good cookware, this Cuisinart French Classic Tri-Ply set was what I convinced him to get. He doesn't cook, but I cook fairly often at his house. It performs very comparably to All-Clad quality; not quite the same, but very close, plus it's much more affordable. I think the French Classic is essentially the same as the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro line, but I liked the fact that it is made in France instead of China. However, the Multiclad Pro has tapered rims, to reduce dripping when pouring, which would be a big plus over the French line. Plus it's cheaper. So if I were starting over I would probably choose the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro. The Sweethome recommends some of these pieces as their top picks.

As for non-stick, I also consider non-stick pans almost disposable; they'll all fail and start to flake eventually. I use T-Fal, and really like it, but if you can find a good deal on All-Clad non-stick skillet or two, I assume that you might be able to take advantage of the fact that they offer a lifetime replacement warranty.
posted by theperfectcrime at 7:06 PM on June 23, 2016

I was going to recommend this Vollrath non-stick pan after a blogger I follow recommended it, but after reading up on induction cooktops, its aluminum construction is kind of a dealbreaker.
posted by pwnguin at 9:33 PM on June 23, 2016

I would agree with pretty much everything on leahwrenn's Serious Eats link aside from a few things. Lopez-Alt's gas stove must have some serious kick because I can't get a wok to do it's thing like it supposed to and I know what I am doing, so, don't get. Also, replace that non-stick with a ScanPan. The finish is not a regular non-stick in that is works but isn't as toxic and is hard enough that you can actually use metal implements on it and it the pan will last for ten+ years.

I buck the trend when it comes to stainless steel. I am not a fan of All-Clad. For their larger pans, the skinny handle makes it feel like the whole pan is going to tip at any moment. I also had a large skillet that not only would spin like a top on a glass cooktop, it also had a razor sharp rim that cut me twice really bad. A stainless steel pan not made by All-Clad is my preferred for saucy simmered things but , otherwise, I prefer cast iron or carbon steel. I know I am in the minority on this and it's mostly based on that one horrible, dangerous asshole pan but, fuck me, I paid a small fortune for that thing and it tried to kill me!

The only caveat I would add about using carbon steel and cast iron is you need to give those implements love. You can't leave them sitting in the sink, getting rusty and disgusting, you have to scrub them with some oil and salt, maybe rinsed out with some hot water and thoroughly dried, then lightly smeared with oil and placed somewhere that won't mind getting just a tad bit greasy over time. I wouldn't go with either unless you have a pot rack or if you don't mind hauling them out of your oven when you want to bake.
posted by Foam Pants at 10:40 PM on June 23, 2016

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