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Feb 2, 2007 07:13 AM

Does heavy pan = good pan? Does light = not so good?


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  1. Depends on the application, the metal, and what "good" means.

    But overall, I would say No.

    Heavy pan = inexpensive pan.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Alan408

      I totally disagree. In general, the heavier the pan, the better. Inexpensive pans are usually made of lightweight aluminum only which, while a good conductor of heat, is not the best material to cook in.

      1. re: FlavoursGal

        Yes - a light pan is good, for example, for boiling water for blanching or cooking pasta.

        1. re: MMRuth

          I agree wholeheartedly, MMRuth. However, xnyorkr's question was about pans, not pots.

        2. re: FlavoursGal

          To me a heavy pan is a cast iron pan, usually very inexpensive.

          In my area, cast iron pans are less expensive than the inexpensive aluminum pans.

          The OP didn't ask about heavier, the OP asked about heavy.

      2. I COMPLETELY disagree. I would say 90% of the time a heavier pan is a better pan.

        For instance, go to the sports store and buy a little camping skillet/pan. Go to the high-end gourmet store and buy an All-Clad skillet/pan. Compare. All-Clad is far superior, of course, and undoubtedly much heavier.

        5 Replies
        1. re: HaagenDazs

          I have some All-Clad (not the copper core) and they don't feel particularly heavy to me.

          1. re: xnyorkr

            That's great... but they're heavier than a camping pan.

          2. re: HaagenDazs

            "a heavier pan is a better pan."

            Where do you draw the line, the heaviest pan I could think of was cast iron. I feel an All Clad pan is superior to a cast iron pan is many applications.

            Most commercial kitchens use light weight aluminum, is there something you know that they don't ?

            1. re: Alan408

              It's funny how you left out the part when I said 90%.

              Where do I draw the line: A cast iron pan is the heaviest pan I can think of too, but it's really in a class by itself. It kind of goes back to the whole 90% I mentioned before... And yeah, I know that your comparison of commercial kitchens is not necessarily valid either. I know that I, as a regular home cook will not be going through several pans per year during regular wear and tear. I know that when a regular consumer buys cookware, they are looking for something that will last.

              1. re: Alan408

                The aluminum pans used in commercial kitchens are specifically made for commercial use, and are not as lightweight as many of the tinny pans available on the market.

                You can get good-quality aluminum pans at restaurant supply stores. However, don't use acidic ingredients in them or metal utensils on them, as you'll end up with a metallic flavour (and greyish colouring) in your food.

            2. I prefer a heavier pan, I think a heaver pan holds the heat, and distributes the heat more evenly than a lighter pan. But I also prefer a heavy chefs knife vs a lighter one.

              1. For the most part, a heavy bottomed pan is superior to a lightweight one. All my cheapo lightweight pans never distributed heat properly and the bottom burned at one point or another.

                Here's an earlier Chowhound thread that covers lot of stuff about pans.


                1. I prefer heavier pans up to a point. I can't pick up my big enamelled cast iron pots when they're full of hot food, I'm afraid of dropping them or burning myself. Same with big heavy roasters. If there's a 20+ lb turkey inside, I'll ask DH to move it for me. And with my larger skillets I have trouble flipping food in them with my left (non-dominant) hand.