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Jan 7, 2012 12:27 PM

Replacing Pots?

I inherited my parents old pots when I went to college (while they bought nice new ones....). When making things from rice to things like puddings and pie fillings on the stovetop I can't never prevent the bottom of the pot from burning on the exact same place. With things like rice it can be ignored and just not eaten but otherwise it gives a burnt smell to the other stuff when its not even cooked and I have not been distracted to have allowed it to burn while unattended.

Do i need to fix the coating or just toss them? If so what should I look for that's affordable but not low quality?


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  1. Get rid of them. Those are hot spots. In college in home equipment labs we had to test pans for hot spots by burning vanilla pudding in them. We were looking to get a nice even burn/scorch across the bottom. Aluminum is a great conductor of heat as is copper and carbon steel. All-Clad and Regalware have stainless exteriors and interiors with an aluminum sandwiched in between for even heating. Regalware is about half of the price of A-C. Swiss Diamond is heavy aluminum coated with industrial diamonds. It heats very evenly, is non-stick and you can use metal in them and not scratch. Dishwasher and oven safe. Chantal is also great. Start by buying a piece or two at a time. Don't buy sets unless you are sure you will use everything in the set.

    1. You didn't say what you have, but if it a plain one-layer stainless pot, uneven heating is an inherent limitation. You need a pot with a thicker bottom made of a material which conducts heat better than stainless steel, usually aluminum, to reduce the problem with hotspots.

      Evaluate your needs, and decide which pot or pan you most need to upgrade first, then we can discuss alternatives.

      2 Replies
      1. re: GH1618

        I've already replaced frying pans and since I love baking almost everything is brand new for that. For stovetop cooking I have no idea what my pots are made of and they are too old to find anything readable anywhere on it.... I basically have 3 different sized pots with lids that I'll use for anything from rice, chicken, boiling pasta, sauces, puddings... They all must have been from the same set but the one I definitely want to replace first is the smaller one I use for sauces, puddings to get rid of any burnt smell. Plus I live on my own so I can wait on replacing the large ones since I'm not usually cooking for many people.

        I ask about materials only cause I first made the mistake of buying a cheap muffin pan which corroded after washing...I want things that will last but arent very pricy or have special instructions for caring for it. I grew up never using a dishwasher so as long as it works, doesn't burn/corrode and can be easily scrubbed clean then its fine by me =)

        1. re: alliels

          If they are thin and shiny on both sides, they are plain stainless steel. For better heat distribution, modern pots are aluminum clad with SS on the inside and usually the outside as well (tri-ply). These will be thicker.

          If you are into sauces, you might like a saucier. Cutleryandmore has the 1-qt Emirilware (made by All-Clad) for only $20:

          This is small, but I have a 1-qt saucier and use it all the time. Then you would need one larger, conventionally shaped saucepan.

      2. I've been looking to get new cookware myself, and I have found that Tramontina 18/10 Stainless Steel Triply is the best affordable coookware. You can only get it from Walmart's website though. Cook's Illustrated compared it to All-Clad, and it has hundreds of positive reviews.

        1. Sounds like you have a hot spots in your pan. Get a higher quality pots. There are many many options. If you are looking for stainless steel surface cookware, then Tramontina stainless steel is a good choice.

          Cuisinart MultiClad is also a good option:

          How much do you want to spend? There are cheaper still options.

          But the way, what size are you looking for?

          8 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I'm looking for a 3-quart right now....something like this

            I was hoping to pay $50 or less (grad student budget here...) but i don't want to buy the 1st thing u see at Walmart. I'm willing to buy online.

            1. re: alliels

              Here's a tri-ply 3-qt saucepan with lid only slightly over $50:


              1. re: alliels

                You have been getting good advice. I would recommend that you visit stores like Home Goods and Bed Bath and Beyond to handle pans. It is helpful to pick the things up and imagine using them on a stove. I can't stand certain sorts of handles, for instance. I want a certain sort. You will find that some pans feel comfortable in your hands, and others don't.

                Visiting Home Goods is a bit like visiting a bazaar. You never know what you will find. Yesterday I found some really nice quality German pans. Some with lids, many without. A brand I see there that I would feel comfortable buying is Wolfgang Puck.

                I basically agree with the Tramontina rec, but you want one pan, not a set. I've seen single Tramontina pans at Tuesday Morning, but not lately.

                Whatever you choose, I hope you will take a little time to shop. You can always order online after you choose what you want.

                Good luck!

                1. re: alliels

                  I cannot tell, but it looks kinda of thin. I have seen Kinetic cookware before. I think it is great for short term or light use. I don't consider them as good as Tramontina. Tramontina has a 3-quart one for $40. It is fully cladded.


                  Do you have a Home Goods or TJ Maxx nearby? Go there and pick one with a thick bottom aluminum disc cap. Bottom disc pots are usually a bit cheaper. I bet you can find a 3-4 quart for about $25-30.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Well yea the link was only to show what I'm looking for but I'm not planning on buying that.

                    Here I have access to a Bed Bath and Beyond and Macy's has cookware, otherwise its the usual Walmart/Target/Kohls. Thats why I wasnt sure if it was worth going to the store and picking something that will just as bad.

                    So from what I understand I should aim for getting a tri-ply stainless steel one since it has more layers to evenly distribute the heat but is not as expensive as other materials.

                    1. re: alliels

                      "So from what I understand I should aim for getting a tri-ply stainless steel "

                      I don't know about your criteria. You do wanta good thermal conductor like aluminum or copper somewhere in your cookware. Triply stainless steel-aluminum is a good design if you like stainless steel surface.

                      Maybe you don't care for stainless steel surface. In this case, these two nonstick surface on hard anodized aluminum saucepan will also work well for you:



                      "but is not as expensive as other materials."

                      Actually full triply construction is kind of on the expensive side. Tramontina is just so happen on the cheap side. If you get an All Clad triply 3-quart saucepan, then you are looking close to $190:


                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        "close to $190"

                        Yes, but the Cook's Standard to which I linked can be had for $52 + shipping. Do you have an opinion on that brand?

                        1. re: GH1618


                          I don't know this brand, but it looks very nice too.

              2. Go to Bed Bath and Beyond (bring your 20% off coupon) and handle some pots. Find a style you like. Even if they don't have the exact size/shape you want, they will order anything available on their website, ship it to your house at no charge, AND apply the 20% discount. Win win.

                1 Reply