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Need advise - what all clad pots and pans to buy?

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I've been lucky to receive cash as a birthday gift and want to purchase my first all-clad pots and pans. At first, I was considering a set, (10 piece set at Macys) but the 10" and 8" fry pans and 3 qt saute pan seem too small for the cooking I do (family of 4). Also the set comes with an 8qt stock pan that I really don't think I need since I love my le creuset pan and use it quite frequently What all-clad 3-ply pans would you recommend? I'm considering
4 qt saute pan
3 qt sauce pan with lid
12" fry pan
2.5 qt steamer and pan

What else should I consider? Would all-clad pans be best for searing and making sauces?

These new pans will replace a very old Calphalon anodized set.

Thanks!

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  1. "Would all-clad pans be best for searing and making sauces?"

    I don't know about "best", but triply cookware are always good safe choice for searing and making sauce. Triply cookware can take on high heat for searing, and it is non reactive, so it is easy to make sauce in it including deglazing.

    In contrast, a cast iron/carbon steel skillet can take on very high heat, but not so great for making sauce. Enameled cast iron (like le creuset) is good for making sauce, but probably not so good for high temperature searing.

    1. If you think a 3qt saute pan is too small, I'd go straight to 6qt and get smaller skillet(s) instead. Small skillets do have their place in the kitchen I think. See what others say here:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/819752

      1 Reply
      1. re: cutipie721

        Also a consideration is the size of your oven. I wanted a multi-clad 6 qt saute for a larger cooking surface that I can then finish in the oven - without dealing with the long handle. I found, and really like, the Cuisinart Multi-Clad Pro pan. If you do a search on Amazon, this is it:

        Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Triple Ply Stainless Casserole with Lid 5.5 quart

        It cleans up easily and heats very well. No problem with trying to fit a long handle in the oven too!

      2. I have the 3-qt sauté pan. I like it and it's suitable for two people. The 4-qt is the same diameter and a little deeper. The 6-qt is a larger diameter. The sauté pan, in whatever size you prefer, is a piece worth the price, in my opinion. But the All-clad piece I use the most and love is my 1-qt saucier. This is where the even heat of a quality multi-ply pan really counts. The next one I want is the 3.5 qt saucepan with the extra loop handle. I wish it were a little larger, though. I don't want the smaller saucepans or skillets.

        My pans are the MC2 line. These are the best value for someone who doesn't care about the look of the outside.

        I also have the small braiser with the copper layer. This was an extravagance, but I got it on sale and thought it would be nice to put on a table.

        8 Replies
        1. re: GH1618

          What about the 8qt stock pot? I currently have le creuset pots that I love cooking soups, etc. in and I don't know if I'll need the 8qt stock pan? Is there a need for an 8qt stock pot?

          1. re: SJF

            That's pretty much a good idea. 8 Qt will accommodate a large crowd for pasta, great for chili, stock, lobsters, corn, you can do a small version of a clam steam, and probably more than I can think of at this moment.

            1. re: breadchick

              Lobster? An All-clad pot big enough for a lobster would be pretty darn expensive, I would think. I doubt an 8-quart would do it.

              In another thread somwhere is a complaint about the difficulty of cleaning an All-clad stockpot after cooking a crab in it. This is not the way to do it, in my opinion. Nothing works any better than an inexpensive Granite Ware pot for boiling a crab or lobster.

              1. re: GH1618

                True, but I wasn't referring to All Clad specifically, I was referring to the usefullness of the 8 qt size. I do have the 8 qt All Clad, as well as the 12 qt, and have never had a problem with cleaning any seafood. A good scrub with a Doobie and then a bit of Bar Keepers Friend if there's any discoloration that may be bothersome. No prob.

            2. re: SJF

              A large stock pot is nice to have if you make soup and such. It's not much more work to make a large batch as a small batch. I'm not looking to get an All-clad stock pot, however. We have a stainless stock pot with an aluminum base, so there is no reason to get another. The All-clad wouldn't do the job any better, in my opinion. Even if I didn't have a stock pot and needed one, I'm not sure I would get the All-clad because of the cost. If it's going to be sitting out in view all the time and you want it to match, and if you have the money, then go ahead and get it.

              1. re: SJF

                I personally find my 12 quart stockpot to be more useful. 8 just isn't big enough for stock at my house, but then I can my stock.

                1. re: rasputina

                  This is why I need to buy a freezer. Stock, pasta sauce, and more.

                  1. re: breadchick

                    Or a pressure canner. Canned stock is much more convenient to use than frozen.

            3. Does anyone know what the difference is between an All Clad fry pan and the french skillet?

              4 Replies
              1. re: SJF

                I think the "French" skillet has a different shape - the bottom has a bit more surface area, goes to a curve, and then straight up, with no rolled edge . The standard skillet has more of a sloping side, with a rolled edge. If you look at pictures of them carefully, the difference should be easy to see. If you have a chance, feel them both in person and see which you prefer.

                1. re: SJF

                  Look at the pictures online, Williams Sonoma has pretty good pictures of the French skillet and the fry pans.

                  1. re: SJF

                    I have the D5 French skillets, they are sort of in between a frying pan and a saute pan.

                    1. re: SanityRemoved

                      Gotta second the D5...I know OP was asking about 3-ply but the even heat transfer on the D5 line is amazing. I'm not searing steaks on anything else now...

                  2. Not getting a set is a great idea. It also lets you buy pieces slowly, so that you can see what you like or don't like before buying lots of pieces of cookware from a manufacturer / line. A saucier (sauciére) or a Windsor saucepan (fait-tout) might also be pans to consider. Both will work well for sauces and reductions, as well as risotto, and you can use the saucier as a sauté pan too.

                    Aside from one or both of those, I would suggest getting skillets and sauté pans first. If you can afford it, a 12 qt stockpot is really nice to have, but I wouldn't necessarily spend the money for All-Clad here - even if you want tri-ply, Tramontina or Vollrath Tribute will be more than adequate and quite a bit cheaper, and a disk bottom stainless pot would also work well.

                    I think it's useful to have different sizes of saucepan - I would get a 1 qt saucepan, a 2 qt Windsor saucepan or saucier, and a 3.5 or 4 qt saucepan (I use a ~ 6 qt saucepan quite often too).

                    I would not spend the money for copper core, but do check out the D5 series -- I have one D5 saucepan, and it does seem to have better heat distribution and efficiency than standard All-Clad. Or, seek out places that are closing out the older version of the standard All-Clad line - there are some really good deals out there right now on the older tri-ply line, and also on the MC2 line (aluminum exterior).

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: will47

                      Thanks for all the great info! By "skillets" do you mean the "fry pans"?

                      1. re: SJF

                        These terms really aren't used uniformly between different manufacturers / vendors. But yes, to me, it's the same thing.