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Dec 23, 2010 10:59 AM

A pan-lids question that has been bugging me; anyone know the answer?

I bet someone here knows the logical reason (assuming there is one) for this. :-)

Okay: I love having a clear (tempered glass) lid on my pots and pan. I like to be able to monitor what's going on in the pot without having to constantly lift-and-check. My cookware is a mixture of Scanpan Classic (titanium/nonstick surface/glass lids) and various 18/10 stainless brands, some of which have lids and some do not. Some of those lids are stainless, others are glass.

Of the SS cookware, the least expensive (Farberware) is the only brand that has glass lids. The more expensive (Scanpan Steel, Henckels, Emerilware) lines have stainless lids. I see that the high-end stainless brands (AllClad, Calphalon, Demeyere, etc) all have stainless lids.

So here's my question: Is there a FUNCTIONAL (techie) reason that stainless cookware SHOULD have a SS, rather than a tempered glass, lid? If so, what is it? If a SS lid is "better" (in terms of how things cook in said pan or pot) than a glass one, then how and why?

If there's no functional difference, then is it simply a matter of marketplace-trendy appearance, or (cynic that I am, LOL) do manufacturers feel that a SS lid is more likely to support a higher pricepoint for the pan than a glass lid would?

IMHO it's annoying that the range of good SS cookware with glass lids is so limited. But as everyone knows I'm a PITA about handles and lids. ;)

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  1. My guess is that your high-end brands either are professional brands, or market themselves as professional brands. Professional kitchens are going to use all-metal lids.

    3 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        Less fragile for one. Probably actually cheaper too - ironically, since the high-end professional-quality-at-home brands are mostly way overpriced.

        1. re: c oliver

          Why? Fragility of glass is the answer, but it is not only cost-of-replacement. There are worker and food safety issues as well. Broken glass in food served to the public and in workplaces subject to trial lawyers, workers' comp and industrial insurance--never a good idea, even if it rarely happens. Picture your favorite restaurant pitching the contents of every open container and pan within 15 feet of the dropped glass lid.

      2. just speculation here, but I think it's possibly due to durability if the lid is dropped. Tempered glass is tough but can still crack, chip, or shatter but a dented lid will still function as a lid :)

        1. dessert_diva, one suspects that you have limited your search too narrowly.

          Our Demeyere Apollo pots came with (European borosilicate) Pyrex glass lids.

          Chantal Copper Fusion pots come with see-through lids.

          Several lines of the superb Hackman (same company as iittala) cookware have glass lids -- with vents, even.

          There are lots and lots of fine pots and pans that are not sold at Bed Bath & Beyond; expand your horizons.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Politeness

            I would most definitely expand my cookware horizons IF ONLY my budget would expand proportionally, LOL!

            But alas, I must somehow prioritize my somewhat limited allotment of available cash across the wide and varied world of cooking apparatus (pots, pans, knives, appliances, etc). Such is the reality of life when one doesn't practice Deficit (credit card balance) Spending! :D

            1. re: Politeness

              Politeness and DD: And now Chez Target carries Chantal Copper Fusion.

              And here it's marked down 82%:

              1. re: kaleokahu

                Out of curiosity I should see if my local brick and mortar Target has one of these on the shelf, as I'm curious to see what they look and feel like in person.

                I can't shake the resemblance to the enameled metal cookware that my mom used while I was growing up in the 1950s ..... (there, I've dated myself, LOL)

                And yes she had one of those big black-with-speckled covered roasters too!

            2. An interesting perspective. I prefer metal because all of the glass ones I have ever used seat down in a lip and sputter as soon as whatever is inside gets hot (not even to a boil). So I use a metal lid from another pot on the stockpot that came with a glass lid! My absolute favorite lids are the ones that are just a disk with a pigtail handle extending from the center out about 5 or 6 inches past the edge. Of course that means I cannot see what is going on side and so must peek, which means I must taste. O well... I'd gladly give you the glass lid from my W-S generic pasta/stockpot (looks like about 11 qt. so is probably the equivalent of a French # 24, which I assume is diameter expressed in cm). On my larger pans (like 14" fry pan) I use random things (cookie sheets) as lids. You might try an inverted Pyrex pie plate if the pan in question is deep enough to accommodate the dip.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tim irvine

                I've been able to swap lids occasionally too, but in most cases it doesn't end up being a functional fit (i.e., sputters and such).

                W-S used to make a house-brand stainless stockpot with a glass lid? I see they only have brand-name ones on the website currently. It figures they'd no longer have it when I no longer want nonstick. :/

              2. I have never had any problems finding separately sold glass lids (with vents) to fit all my pots and pans. I even have nice vented glass lids that fit perfectly on my Le Creuset dutch ovens. I think that European (and Japanese) pots, pans, and lids are manufactured in standard centimeter sizes, making it a simple matter to buy a 26-cm glass lid for your 26-cm pot.

                PS. I actually like to have three lids for all my pots: glass with vent, stainless steel, and wood.