What Type of Cookware Do You Use

posted by Andrea | 04/11/2012

My sister is getting married this summer and a couple months ago, I went with her to register for gifts. It had been a while since I did much shopping for home items and I was simply amazed by how many different types of cookware were available in the stores!

And of course, they all claim to be the best value, the easiest to clean, the safest, etc. etc. It’s hard to know what type of cookware is right for you.

We questioned some of the sales associates and I also did a little online research to figure the different pros and cons for each type of cookware — here’s what I came up with:

Aluminum

PRO = Inexpensive

CON = Can react to acidic foods like tomatoes and cause leaching

Cast Iron

PRO = Durable and easy to use once it is seasoned

CON = Very heavy

Copper

PRO = It looks great and conducts heat very well

CON = Expensive and hard to care for

Glass

PRO = Best for baking and oven cooking

CON = Very breakable and doesn’t conduct heat well

Stainless Steel

PRO = It’s safe and it looks fabulous

CON = NOT non-stick and can be hard to clean

Teflon

PRO = Non-stick and very easy to clean

CON = Has a tendency to scratch and chip easily

 

I’m certainly not an expert but this is what I use:

  • I have a full set of Analon Stainless Steel cookware that I use every day
  • I have 3 different Analon Teflon frying pans that I use for anything “sticky” {like eggs}
  • I have 1 cast iron skillet, however I rarely use it… I just like the looks :)
  • I have several glass baking dishes for brownies, cake, casseroles, etc.

This combination of cookware works well for me, but I’d love to know…

What type of cookware do you use?

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35 comments

  1. BethA

    04/11/2012

    I have a set of Calphalon Teflon pots and pans I use most of the time. I like the easy clean-up, but worry that the non-stick coating is starting to wear. Also, I worry about the mixed reviews on the safety of cooking in non-stick pots and pans. I figure I’ll read up on it before I make my next purchase and decide once I know more. I have a cast iron skillet I use when I start something on the stove top and then move it to the oven. Also, my stock pot is stainless steel, which is quite a pain. Since the bottom is a little thin, it is very difficult to clean if I make a thicker soup in it because you get a layer of cooked on soup at the bottom.

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  2. kristin

    04/11/2012

    I have stainless steel pots from Calphalon and I love them. I don’t have any trouble keeping them clean (Bar Keepers Friend!). I didn’t buy the full set, I just bought the sizes I actually use. We also have a dutch oven and a cast iron pan that was my grandmother’s. Both are incredibly heavy, but are worth it! My husband snuck in a few non-stick skillets on our wedding registry, but they don’t really get used. The cast iron serves the same purpose!

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  3. Ashli

    04/11/2012

    If I may add something about stainless steel…

    It is actually horrible for cooking. Stainless steel by itself is a terrible heat conductor and does not make for even cooking at all. It will get hot spots and cooks unevenly. That being said, most quality cookware (all clad, etc) is made with stainless but has an aluminum core that is sandwiched between layers of stainless. Aluminum is one of the best heat conductors you can use and when combined with the durability of the stainless, that makes for the best cookware. I have a stainless frying pan, and while admittedly it is a little harder to clean when cooking things like eggs, (although a nylon scrubby makes it a lot easier) it has held up much better than my analon has. All of my analon will need to be replaced soon because the non-stick is starting to chip and that isn’t safe for cooking. I would recommend a brand like all clad hands down, as it will be the one that will last the longest and cook the best. As long as you don’t mind cleaning it (and really it’s not that bad) it will be a great investment! We had to go through tons of training when I was a manager at Crate and Barrel and so I learned more than I EVER thought I would about cookware (and knives and dinnerware and glassware…) Just my two cents!

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  4. Tammy Skipper (@Tammy_Skipper)

    04/11/2012

    I have bought my last set of teflon pots and pans ever…when the last of the skillets started scratching, we went back to our cast iron. The ‘trick’ I was never taught was to clean them when they are still hot. As soon as the food is done (even eggs) if there is food leftover, we put a hot water in the skillet. If that by itself doesn’t loosen remaining food, then we put it back on the burner for a minute or two. Pour out the water and wipe out with a scrubby-style dish rag (no soap). Quick spray of oil and let it sit on the stove top to cool. Most of the time, food comes out just as well as a teflon pan and we just wipe it out with a paper towel. We have two smaller pots left that are nonstick but I’ve been replacing them with heavy-bottom stainless steel through Marshall’s and Target sales. As BethA said above, we’ve had a few soup ‘incidents’ but that was only when I left my family in charge of them ;)

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  5. Sue

    04/11/2012

    I have a 34 year old set of Farberware that I still love. Easy clean, heat evenly, not heavy. The whole 15 piece set cost $100. I also have two sizes of non-stick frying pans and Corning Ware for the microwave.

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    Janet Reply:

    I have had a set of Farberware for years also. Love them for the same reasons. I have filled in with small non-stick fry pans from time to time but mainly stick with the Farberware.

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  6. Hannah

    04/11/2012

    My husband swears by his Calphalon pans and is counting down the days until he has saved enough money to buy some Calphalon pots. Out of the many different pots and pans I’ve used growing up and since getting married, I have to agree that the Calphalon pans have been the easiest to use in terms of sizes available as well as the easiest to clean up after cooking in. Yes, they cost a bit more, but I think the cost is worth the lack of headache when cleaning. AND, it took well over 4 years before our first Calphalon pan’s coating started to even show scratches from the few metal cooking utensils that my brother used on them. (Joseph, my husband, is VERY protective of his pans and won’t allow anyone to use metal on them if he can help it.)

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    L. Reply:

    what is Calphalon? Never heard of them!

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  7. Jessi

    04/11/2012

    We received a set of Calphalon teflon pans as a wedding gift, and we absolutely love them! They are our go-to pots and pans for most of our normal cooking and they are so easy to clean. I’m a bit neurotic about caring for them and we definitely don’t use any metal utensils in them, so I’m hoping the coating will last for a long time.

    We also have a few odds and ends of other type of cookware collected over the years. I find I like our stainless steel pans best for cooking sauces or anything that has to reduce. It seems to go faster in those pans. We use our cast iron pot for anything that needs to heat slowly (mostly when I make fudge!) And I love using glass baking dishes for lasagnas or anything that goes in the oven.

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  8. stephanie

    04/11/2012

    I have calphalon stainless steel with an aluminum core, try-ply stainless, I found at Bed Bath and Beyond. I love them for everything but eggs. I purchased a non stick pan for eggs. We used it multiple times a day and it has lost its non stick ability. I will be sending it in to Calphalon since it has a lifetime guarantee. Since then, my husband purchased me some cast iron. Although it takes some learning, I believe cast iron is one of the most versatile type of pots and pans one can own. Stainless and cast iron are my two recommendations.

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  9. megan @ whatmegansmaking

    04/11/2012

    I absolutely LOVE Le Creuset. Yes it’s heavy, but it’s beautiful and works perfectly and is easy to clean. I also really like all-clad stainless steel. Great for searing things, and it has an aluminum core for even heating. I do have a non-stick pan for eggs though.

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  10. confirmedspinster

    04/11/2012

    I used cast iron for just about everything. Sure, it’s heavy, but it is so, so, so durable and easy to care for. The cookware I had before just didn’t compare.

    I do have a few copper bottom sauce pans that I use on occasion and a large stainless stock pot that I only use for making stocks/broths/clear soups, but I don’t use this other cookware very often.

    I do not recommend non-stick at all. It simply isn’t durable enough, and I’m not sure that I trust it’s safety. I want to be able to pass my cookware down to my kids someday, so I want something high quality that will last a long time.

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  11. J

    04/11/2012

    I quit buying non-stick pans several years ago. They did not last and it was a waste of our money.

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  12. Kerri Johnson

    04/11/2012

    I use stainless steel for cooking due to safety concerns and glass for baking for the same reason. My middle son is autistic and I am trying to reduce his toxic load.

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  13. Catherine

    04/11/2012

    When we registered for our wedding, we went and put a calphalon set on our registry. The salesperson said they should last a lifetime in a non professional kitchen. Yes they were expensive at $500. But they are great, nonstick, and super easy to clean. We were fortunate to get them as a gift, but I think we would have purchased them (with our giftcards) had we not recieved them. Cookware is something we use everyday and I feel that the investment would have been worth it, we should never need to buy a cookware set again… a wedding registry is a great opportunity to get some great quality gifts, that we would normally not splurge on ourselves.

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  14. Shelia

    04/11/2012

    When I was first married, my (ex) husband and I invested in Townecraft cook ware. It was and is the best investment I have ever made. They are expensive at the basic set starting at $2000.00 but I will never again have to buy another set of pots and pans. My mom, grandmother and great- grandmother each have a set and I know first hand how well these work. My great-grandmother is long passed away and her set was divided. Her set is over 55 years old and still looks good as new. They are heavy but your food will never taste better than when cooked in Townecraft. I own no other types of pots and pans and will never switch. My marriage didn’t last but this cookware is standing the test of time.

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  15. Kristin

    04/11/2012

    I had Farberware that we got 8 years ago as a wedding gift and slowly its started chipping off the teflon coating, so we’ve been replacing it a piece at a time with stainless steal from Sur la Table. I don’t have any problems keeping it clean with Bar Keeper’s Friend. I did notice the problem with eggs and bacon sticking to the pans, but my husband does most of the breakfast cooking and he doesn’t seem to mind. I have assorted glassware and Corningware for baking, but I really miss my 9×13 Pyrex baking dish. I had one get stolen out of the fridge at work and 2 that broke.

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  16. Linda

    04/11/2012

    I am back to using non stick now that I can get them in non Teflon. I could not use Teflon as I have parrots in my home. Love the new ceramic pans as much as I like Teflon when it came out. The brand I use is called Green Pan sold on HSN.com.

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  17. Christelle

    04/11/2012

    I’m in South Africa – I use AMC Classic, I think it’s stainless steel? It’s also waterless, and you don’t use it at too high a heat. It was actually my mom’s set and some pieces are almost 30 yrs old, and still works fantastically well.
    I also have a stainless steel pan, cast iron griddle pan and traditonal Le Crusuet casserole pan that I love. I bake with one or two glass dishes, the rest is from a type of clay, Argilla stoneware, much beloved down here!

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  18. Lynn

    04/11/2012

    I use a ten year old set of KitchenAid pots and pans. Even though they are ten years old, they look just like the day I pulled them out of the box. The tricks to care for non-stick pot and pans are: Never put anything metal in them, use the new silicone whisks, spoons, spatulas and turners, they are amazing, Never put them in the dishwasher. Always let them cool, them wash in hot, soapy water. And try not to cook on extremely high temp, for very long.

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  19. Lena

    04/11/2012

    I have Circulon Elite pans that I absolutely love!!! It is the best setof pans I’ve ever used. Even cooking and they conduct and disperse the heat evenly.

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  20. Faith @ Artistic31Mama

    04/11/2012

    I recently won a 9 piece set of try-ply Stainless Steel cookware from Sur La Table!! They are awesome!!!! :-) I also have a couple of Wolfgang Puck pieces that I really like. For my baking I use stoneware from Pampered Chef (I have two large bar pans, a pizza pan, and a small round stone for the microwave). I love how well the stoneware bakes my cookies and pizza crusts! For casseroles I have a lot of Pyrex glass baking dishes. Everything is really easy to clean. I soak my stainless steel for 15-20mins while I wash my other dishes and they usually clean up quite easily. :-)

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  21. Melissa Q

    04/11/2012

    After 6 years of using professional quality non-stick cookware, we just switched to stainless steel (with an aluminum and copper encased core). I was growing leery of my non-stick cookware because it was chipping and peeling. Though likely I had been cooking it on too high of heat, it still gave me the creeps.

    So we found a great set of stainless steel cookware at Costco — $170 all said and done with all the pieces we needed and a very cool steamer/colander basket. It was a bit of a change to go to stainless steel — I finally learned my lesson about keeping the heat lower. In fact, I can bring something to a boil, then turn it down to “warm” and it still simmers away beautifully.

    Bar Keepers Friend is the ideal cleaner when things do get a little messy. I mostly just use my nylon pan scraper and elbow grease. Plus, I’ve learned a wonderful trick about getting it to have more non-stick capabilities and that has been fantastic. ANother trick I use to aid clean up of really bad messes is just to add water to the mess and bring it to a boil. I really expected them to be much harder to clean than they actually are.

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  22. Krista

    04/11/2012

    I have a set of Kitchenaid brushed stainless steel cookware, plus 3 of their nonstick skillets. I swear by my Kitchenaid. These pots last forever and are not that expensive in comparision to other pots. I love them and use then all the time. The only other thing I have that I cannot live without is the Le Creuset dutch oven I got at my wedding. It too lasts forever and is great! I could not live without it and am in fact saving up to buy another one in a different size.

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  23. Beth

    04/11/2012

    Love my cast iron… have some skillets and muffin pan. Care for properly after seasoning and they’re beautifully “non stick”. Have a couple stainless steel (with aluminum core) pots and 2 tall stock pots (hubby gardens, cans and makes preserves so large capacity is must), one cast iron coated Dutch oven (think Le Crueset) and stone wear items for baking (bread pan, casserole dish, cookie like pans and pizza round). I cook A LOT from scratch and so far this combo works well. I do have a few glass items for baking but they don’t bake as evenly. Got the aluminum and teflon/non-stick coated items out of house to reduce safety/toxicity issues.

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  24. KimH

    04/11/2012

    While I have a really nice set of professional quality Caphalon, and use them often, they arent my favorite.

    I prefer to use heavy gauge stainless steel with copper bottoms mostly. I also have cast iron & enameled cast iron pieces as well. I also use glass bakeware mostly.

    There are just some foods that cook better on different mediums.

    If you told me that you were buying me a whole set and the sky was the limit… I’d ask you for a full set of really good heavy stainless steel. They’ll last a lifetime and they arent difficult to keep clean or pretty either with a stainless steel scrubber. And if I were buying my own.. thats what I’d buy too! ;)

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    KimH Reply:

    Just ran across this blog post.. thought it was funny… All my Stainless steel pans are well seasoned & non-stick since they’re about 40 or 50 years old. ;)

    http://wholelifestylenutrition.com/videos/how-to-cook-on-season-a-stainless-steel-pan-to-create-a-non-stick-surface/

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  25. stacy

    04/11/2012

    I have a cast iron stew pot I inherited from my grandmother, after years of not being in use, it has rusted. I’ve tried to scour the rust off, any other suggestions? I would love to use it again, since it’s a great pot for soups and chili’s. Thanks

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  26. Thrifty Military Mommy

    04/11/2012

    I have stainless steal I use every day, but I LOVE my cast iron skillets! If I could afford it I’d have ONLY cast iron. If you oil them liberally and never ever ever use soap on them they are actually quite easy to clean. I’ve noticed that things don’t stick as bad if I use coconut oil rather than olive oil or butter.

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  27. Rashmi

    04/12/2012

    I use Stainless steel for most cooking. I have one round non-stick pan for making pan cakes with less oil. One cast iron pan and another aluminum flat pan for rotis. Glassware for baking. I find stainless steel easy to maintain.

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  28. Neoflam Cookware

    04/12/2012

    I always used Neoflam cookware in my kitchen for safe use.it is the best cookware with cast aluminum cookware featuring Ecolon™ non-stick coating.

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  29. Truffles Magazine

    04/12/2012

    Andrea,

    Congratulations to your sister on her wedding this summer!

    I am not sure what her first priority is for cookware (healthy, inexpensive, long lasting, availability at her registry store so I am going to tackle this as best as possible. You didn’t mention where she registered which would have helped because some brands are identical and sold at different stores for different $. Your pros/cons are pretty good, will she be registering for a complete set or the individual pieces?

    Consumer Reports had listed (01/12 issue) EarthPan with Sand Flow Cookware (I personally haven’t tried these)

    Most professional chefs prefer All Clad to be honest (available at Williams Sonoma & Sur La Table) Le Creuset is another favorite.

    http://www.pans.com/ – check out this link they have tons of sales always and it may help her decide what to choose for her registry

    If she’s concerned about the pans/pot safety like leeching Mercola is very reputable
    http://cookware.mercola.com/

    Hope this helps,
    Chelsea

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  30. Julie

    04/13/2012

    I love using my pampered chef stone ware for baking. It cleans up so easy. To me its like using cast iron. And I love cast iron. I have a 12 inch round cast iron pan that I love, love, love!! I use it to make my husands, pizza. I also use it to make banana bread and a host of other baked goods including cinnamon rolls. Most people don’t think to use it for baking, but we do…along with many other non-dessert type dishes. It also works better for me to make breakfast sausages in than, the non stick. But it must be properly seasoned and maintained. After that, its breeze to clean and is my go to pan for burgers if we don’t grill!!!

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  31. Maggie

    04/15/2012

    I use stainless steel and find it easy enough to clean. I avoid non-stick cookware because I don’t trust that particles aren’t leaching into our food, and I find it is never really non-stick and actually harder to clean because you can’t use a scourer. My mum taught me to get my fry pan good and hot before adding my eggs and this makes them so much easier to clean for some reason.

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  32. Christi

    04/21/2012

    I started using Le Creuset enameled cast iron cookware a few years ago, and now it is all I use.

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