Starter Pack: Cookware
There’s a ton of cookware on the market, and if you’re just getting started on buying some, the sheer breadth of products available can be overwhelming. If you’re looking for the basics, you’ve come to the right place. Here are eight items that will get you started.
Nonstick Fry Pan
Also known as a skillet or frying pan, a nonstick fry pan is going to be your go-to for some of the more basic recipes. A fry pan really shines when it comes to making eggs and stir-fried proteins and veggies. The nonstick coating also makes for easy cleanup. You can distinguish it from a sauté pan by its flat bottom and low slanted sides—though in a pinch, both pans can be used interchangeably.
Sauté Pan with Lid
This is going to be one of your most useful pieces. A sauté pan has a wide flat bottom and straight sides. It heats evenly and is great for searing proteins and veggies. You can also use it for sauces and lots of different one-pan meals. With the tight-fitting lid, it’s perfect for braising too. We like this one, which has a dual-layer nonstick interior for easy cleaning.
Nonstick Grill Pan
It wouldn’t be a proper barbecue without a grill, but they’re seasonal and take up a lot of space. A grill pan is a pretty good substitute. If you’re cooking meats, the ridges in the pan allow the fat to drip off the meat, just like on a grill. It heats evenly, and perhaps most important, gives your food those essential grill marks.
Small Saucepan with Straining Lid
Saucepans are great for cooking grains and pasta, for heating up soup, and for making sauce. It’s especially handy when you’re cooking for just one or two people. This one comes with a straining lid, making it easy to cook pasta without the need for a colander.
Large Stockpot or Multi Pot
You’re going to use your stockpot, especially a large one, for making stocks, soups, and stews that can be portioned out and kept in the freezer for later. It’s also great for steaming veggies and proteins, or for making pasta or grains for a large group. This one comes with inserts for both steaming and pasta.
Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
“What’s so great about a cast iron skillet?” We’re so glad you asked. The short answer: everything. Cast iron is super strong, and if you take good care of it, it will last a lifetime and then some. It’s also naturally nonstick. It retains heat well, allowing you to get a great sear on your proteins and veggies. It goes seamlessly from the oven to the stovetop. Best of all, it’s inexpensive. Trust us when we say you need one of these in your life.
Enamel Cast Iron Dutch Oven
If you haven’t worked with a Dutch oven, you’ve undoubtedly seen one before. It’s a kitchen staple, one that people frequently leave on their stoves even when they’re not using them, because they’re decorative as well as functional. They’re great for stews and soups; they help keep foods warm once they’re cooked; and a lot of them are pretty enough to use as serveware.
Like a Dutch oven, a casserole dish can go straight from the oven to your table. Use it for making casseroles and one-dish meals, of course, but also for roasting chicken, vegetables, and even for making desserts.