6 Things I Dislike About Various Pots and Pans

posted by Andrea | 04/19/2017
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Over the last 10+ years, I have used many different pots and pans, and I think I’ve finally figured out what I want/need from my pans, as well as a handful of features I really dislike.

While I don’t necessarily want this post to be overly-negative, I have personally found that when I’m shopping for specific items, it’s more helpful for me to know what people DON’T like in specific products versus what they DO like. Often times, the features they don’t like aren’t ones I normally think about, but they help me narrow down my search (yes, I LOVE Amazon reviews!)

Anyway, for those of you who share my enthusiasm for random product reviews (both good and bad), I thought it might be helpful if I shared a few things I dislike about various pots and pans. I’d love if you shared more in the comments!

1. Pans with opaque lids.

I want to be able to SEE what I’m cooking without needing to remove the lid every single time. Give me a see-through glass lid over some fancy stainless steel lid any day!

2. Pans with hot handles.

I once got a set of really nice pans and was excited to try them out; however, I ended up burning my hand the very first time because the stainless steel handle on the lid was SO hot.

I much prefer a cool-touch, non-stick coating on my handles and lids so they are easy to grab at any time.

I suppose if you regularly transfer your pans from the stove top into the oven, you might want stainless steel handles… but I almost never do that.

3. Pans with non-nesting lids.

I honestly cannot even begin to count the number of pots and pans I’ve tried with non-nesting lids — so, the lid doesn’t fit upside down inside the pan for easier storage.

This means, I can’t stack the pans in my cabinets and I always need to keep the lid right-side up (which takes up more vertical space on my shelves).

I realize this might sound petty to some of you, but it’s a big turn-off for me!

4. Pans that come in huge sets.

In general, I rarely ever purchase full sets of anything (pots and pans included). I like to mix and match to find exactly the items I need and want, without multiple pots and pans I DON’T need or want cluttering up the backs of my cabinets.

I currently have 1 large frying pan, 2 small frying pans, a large stock pot, and 4 smaller sauce pots. They are mis-matched, random brand names, but they work marvelously for my needs!

5. Pans that don’t stand up on their own.

 OK, this is another weird one, but I’ve tried 3 different pans that tip over unless food is in them or unless the lid is on — it’s like the handles are too heavy so the pan can’t stand on it’s own.

So if I just set the empty pan on the counter or on my stovetop without the lid, it instantly tips over (seriously, such bad design and so frustrating!)

6. Pans that don’t cook evenly.

Unfortunately, there isn’t really a great way to check for this before you buy it… but I will speak from experience that buying expensive pots and pans is definitely not always better than buying the cheap-o pans from Target.

In fact, my parents gave me 2 smaller T-fal brand sauce pots for Christmas this past year and they cook so quickly and evenly that they are my new favorite sauce pots. I know how inexpensive these pans were as they were on my Amazon list… and for the price, they are absolutely amazing!

I’m sure there are more I could come up with if I wanted to keep “venting” for a while… but these are my main dislikes for pots and pans.

What would you add to my list?

photo source 1, 2

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27 comments

  1. Erin

    04/27/2017

    A LID CAN FIT UPSIDE DOWN IN THE PAN FOR STORAGE??? WHAT??! I need to run home right now and see if mine do…I had no idea!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — my lids all “nest” inside of the rim of the pan when I turn them upside down. They don’t go all the way to the bottom though 🙂

    [Reply]

  2. Lana Trietsch

    04/19/2017

    I was given a nice, non-stick skillet for my birthday that didn’t sit flat on my smooth-top stove. I had to mail it in to be replaced. Many weeks went by before I got the replacement, and it also wobbled! I sent that one back, and fnally, after 4 or 5 months without my skillet, the company replaced it with one that is actually flat on bottom. I’m not planning on buying that particular brand again because of the ridiculous problems of getting my issue resolved – but I really do like the skillet.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    well glad you finally got the right pan and that you love it! It was worth the wait then 🙂

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  3. Tara

    04/19/2017

    If you haven’t tried a ScanPan I highly recommend them. They’ve changed my life. A different type of non-stick pan that’s made differently, doesn’t flake, emit toxic fumes and can even handle metal cooking utensils. The handles are silicone coated, but can be put in the oven up to 400 degrees if I remember correctly.

    I have three sizes of ScanPan skillets, one stainless Calphalon wok, an 8 quart Cooking Institute of America stockpot and a couple smaller hand-me-down but beloved 1970’s stainless steel pots. It’s taken me 10 years to collect the exact set of pots and pans that I want. I got rid of everything else. My collection wasn’t cheap. I’ve got hundreds of dollars in them, but they are high quality and I enjoy using them and their features. I went through so many cheaper pans (some still pretty expensive) that I loved at first, but then they deteriorated within a year or two. These guys have stood the test of time.

    It’s always fun to hear what’s working well for others. Thanks for posting on this Andrea!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good to know — I just looked these up on Amazon this morning. yes, they are a bit pricy but they do look nice. Thanks (I had never heard of these before!)

    [Reply]

  4. BB

    04/19/2017

    I have had Farberware Stainless (18/some other # – 8? 10?) cookware for the 43 years we’ve been married and I love them as much now as I did then. The pot lids have an edge that fits down into the sides of the pans/skillets which does not allow moisture to get out on the edge of the pan/skillet and run down the side, plus there is a curved surface above the edge that goes down into the pot/skillet that when you lift & turn perpendicular to the pan, that curved area prevents condensation from dripping off onto anywhere/everywhere while you either hold the lid or put it down somewhere. The lids also have a non-metal ‘pinch-type’ lid lifter rather than the round lid lifters with space between the lifter and the lid top where fat fingers could possibly get burned when trying to get the lid off. One thing my engineer hubby absolutely detests on pots/skillets is if they have the kind of handles attached that have the rivets inside the pan, as he feels that design collects and can hold bacteria that might not get cleaned out of it. I do have a couple of teflon skillets for eggs and the like, since they aren’t in it for long to cook, and any scratch to it & it goes in the trash. I also have several cast iron pieces that I keep for camping or outdoor cooking. I have not had an issue with them other than hubby using them, as he always seems to want to try to use soap on them to clean them, or he leaves it to drip dry like we do with our stainless pans, or he dries it on a towel and the black of the cast iron leaves a stain on the towel, so he has been banned from cast iron use unless I am right there to assist/observe him. I have gotten rid of several teflon skillets but the one I use for eggsI may try a green-type pan to replace. I also got rid of all the plastic food storage containers and have gone to glass now due to the toxic issues with plastic these days, too. The glass heats and cleans better, too, but the lids do not usually get food on them/touch food, so this seems to work for me.

    [Reply]

  5. Pat

    04/19/2017

    Stainless steel pans with an attached bottom. You can see a seam all around the bottom edge of the pan. Water collects in this bottom piece and ruins the pan and it’s efficiency.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes! I had one of these before too!

    [Reply]

  6. Liane G

    04/19/2017

    Pans made in China. I use only All Clad and Le Creuset. Lids are definitely opaque but the All Clad is well made and cleans easily. I’m leery of non stick.

    [Reply]

  7. lyss

    04/19/2017

    Non-stick coating! Yuck! When that stuff peels and gets in your food… Yeah, that can’t be good for you. I know people who use them, but they admit they frequently have to buy new ones. Maybe pricey ones don’t do that as much? But either way, no thanks.
    I think many people are afraid of fat. Our bodies actually need healthy fats, so use them when you cook! Food will stick less, and you won’t have to keep buying new pans because they’re all scratched up. My stainless steel and cast iron I’ve had for over a decade are still in great shape. I don’t think my mom has had to replace hers and she’s had them for over 30 years!

    [Reply]

    Lou Reply:

    Iyss, a big amen to that! I’ve had my stainless cookware over forty years and it’s still going strong. My cast iron too. I’ve thrown away several teflon pans during that time.
    Another thing I dislike is pans that difficult to clean or require meticulous care. Who has time for that?!

    [Reply]

    Pat Reply:

    Me too! Mashed potatoes with black specks! Yuck. We do have one nonstick frying pan but that’s it. I watch it like a hawk.

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  8. Kellie Denton

    04/19/2017

    I noticed someone mentioned the Green Pans – they’re on amazon and Target and I totally have to agree! Andrea, they fit everything on your list and you can buy them separately if you want to. We’ve got several and haven’t looked back! One of my favorite finds from the last two years.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good to know — I’ll have to look into these again. I had one pan in the past but don’t know where it ended up!

    [Reply]

  9. Michelle

    04/19/2017

    One of my pet peeves in pots and pans is when the handles are made of materials that burn.

    I have to be so very careful how high my burner is turned up as to not burn the handles.

    I have had to replace the handles on my pans a couple times because I’ve ruined them.

    Another thing…make sure the handles are riveted on. Mine have screws and I am constantly having to tighten them with a screwdriver.

    Another complaint I have is when they have so many rings in the bottom that they’re impossible to get them clean and they start looking horrible really quickly.

    On the more positive side. I, too, love pans with nesting lids and pans with the glass lids.

    My favorite for frying pan is cast iron and ceramic. I prefer stainless steel (the thick stuff) for saucepans and dutch ovens. My favorite larger dutch oven is the enameled coated cast iron. It makes the most delicious roast beef in the oven if you cook on a lower temp for several hours. Like melt-in-your-mouth tender. Yum Yum!!!

    I would love to see a post on baking pans. Aluminum vs. darker non-stick vs. enameled steel, etc.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yup… I’ve had some of those before too — and also when the handles just get super hot (but don’t necessarily burn). Either way is bad!
    As for baking pans — I use glass a lot… but my favorites are these Wilton Advanced pans — they are amazing!

    [Reply]

  10. wilma

    04/19/2017

    GREAT list! personally, I’m moving more away from non-stick pans. the older I get, the more concerned I’m becoming with non-stick coating. that said, I have one ceramic frying pan that I use for pancakes, as it just works so much better than plain steel! I totally agree with sets–I purged, and now have one each of large, medium and small sauce/soup pots, one non-stick frying pan and one large frying pan. more than enough for our family of five! and now it’s so easy to get them from the cupboard, simply because they have more than enough space.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I know — I go in spurts where I love my non-stick… and then spurts when I think I should give them up for something less “toxic”.

    [Reply]

  11. molly

    04/19/2017

    I totally get what you’re saying about the pans tipping over! I have some Kitchen Aid pots that do that and it drives me crazy, why would they make the handles so heavy!?!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes — like the worst design ever. I can’t imagine they wouldn’t have noticed that during their testing either!

    [Reply]

  12. Bonnie'sMama

    04/19/2017

    CAST IRON!!

    Oh how I hate cast iron! No matter how looooovingly I seasoned my cast iron skillets, no matter whether they were brand new from Walmart or vintage ones from my mom, no matter when I put the eggs in, no matter how carefully I shielded them from soap and made sure they were dried with heat, the food always always always stuck on.

    And they stink. Literally. Pregnancy + mushrooms sauteed in butter + a cast iron skillet = Mama is DONE with cast iron.

    I found some lovely ceramic-lined Greenpans at Target with clear lids, gave away all the cast iron, and haven’t looked back once.

    My other favorite saucepans are brown or pinkish glass from thrift stores. I have two mediums and one dear little small one, and they are lovely. They don’t screech when you stir them with a metal spoon.

    [Reply]

    ShellyL Reply:

    Oh my! My medium cast-iron is my one of my favorites and most frequently used. I have had the glass ones in the past and they are good too. Funny how our differences make the world go ’round. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Michelle Reply:

    I was ready to toss my cast iron frying pan also but I am so glad I didn’t.

    I recently discovered that if you heat it up good before you add your oil and/or butter you get much better results. Since I’ve been doing this I haven’t had anything stick at all.

    I wash it in plain water, using a nylon scrubbie to get out anything stuck on…sometimes I have to let the water sit in it for just a few minutes. Then I towel dry it. Every once in awhile I put it on the stove on low to make sure it dries good and rub a little oil in it while it’s still warm.

    I really love how I can get hash browns perfectly browned in my cast iron pan. Just last night I cooked chicken tenderloins in it and they turned out perfect also.

    Another secret is make sure you’re cooking on medium and not high. I burn my meal every time if I have the burner above medium. Cast iron holds the heat well so it’s also nice for keeping your things warm without keeping the burner on and overcooking.

    So…if you every decide to give it another try maybe these tips can be a little helpful.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good tips! I also saw that people put the pans in the oven to bake (with just oil on them — no food) to “cure” them… but I really have no personal experience with this!

    [Reply]

    Bonnie'sMama Reply:

    Hi Michelle, I tried all of the above. My kitchen was like a spa for cast iron skillets. They were the most pampered skillets in the state. They got so much cherishing and coconut oil and special attention . . . and they did me dirty every single time.

    Funny, they behaved okay for my husband. It might have been that I turned up the heat too high.

    I think I’ll just get my iron from green smoothies.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I was actually given a bunch of “used” cast iron pans soon after we were married. I’m sure they would be worth a fortune now, but at the time, I hated them, I didn’t know how to cook with them, and we had a glass top stove so they didn’t work well at all. I sold them for (what I thought was) a good price and now realize I probably should have sold them for more.

    Oh well — I really don’t miss them!
    I did own a greenpan in the past — come to think of it, I honestly have no idea where it went. I wondering if I lent it out and never got it back!

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