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Aug 27, 2013 07:36 AM

Thoughts about the All-Clad d5 Essential Pan

I've seen the All-Clad d5 Essential Pan mentioned on this board before....the 4 qt looks really good.

But help me figure out what I would use it for instead of things already in my kitchen, such as:

- 6 qt Lodge enameled cast iron dutch oven
- 3.5 qt Le Creuset enameled cast iron braiser
- 3 qt Viking stainless steel saute pan
- Jamie Oliver stir fry pan (


I want to need it! Thank you!

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  1. I followed your link and started to get excited about this pan. The price is fantastic. Then I realized that I have this pan and very rarely use it. The WS picture is a bit misleading. This is a rounded, deep pan. That means that the browing surface on the bottom of the pan is a bit limited, and the curved sides are really big. Have you seen and held this pan in person? I have the 4qt. size, and for my cooking needs the style/shape is very akward, not to mention heavy when full.

    The price of this pan is really fantastic. I think that's because WS uses it as an intro. to encourage buyers to step up to the quality of the D5 line. Nothing wrong with WS doing that, just be sure that the configuration of this pan fits your needs.

    I have a lot of D5, but this is the one piece that I just don't use much and it takes up a lot of space. I much prefer to use my big cast iron dutch oven.

    Think about the way you cook. This piece is a nice showpiece for when company is invited, and yes, you could make a great sauce and then pop your cooked pasta into it, but I serve pasta by pouring the sauce on top of the pasta, not visa versa. That's just my experience, Yours may be quite different and if you think you will use this fine quality pan, the price is right.

    1. Hi, Kimbers:

      I know you want to need it, but I'm not seeing the need (despite the "Essential" moniker).

      This is a saute/frypan hybrid, and I bet the floor of this one is smaller than the floor of your 3Q Viking saute. You already have a LC braiser (also a hybrid) and a stir-fry pan (a third hybrid).

      I just can't see anything to do with the Essential that your existing batterie won't do.

      I'd suggest 1.5Q and 3Q saucepans rather than further hybridization/duplication. Perhaps the W-S Thermoclad?


      1. I think the price is nice, but I don't think you actually will need it considering the other cookware you have. You can probably create a special condition which you will need it, but 99% of the time you can go without it.

        1. I'll be the dissenter here. I purchased the Essential pan in the 4 qt. size when it was on sale because it filled a niche. Cooking mostly for two. My 3 qt. saute was way too shallow when I cooked anything with a sauce and I didn't like wresting the 6 qt pan several times a week. It's capacity is larger than 4 qt, almost 5 filled to the brim.
          The essential pan has become my everyday go-to pan. The rounded sides are great for stirring risotto, the bottom is wider and flatter than you would think, more the size of a 10" fry pan, and browns beautifully. I cook brats or pork ribs with kraut, chicken cacciatore, pasta sauce, shrimp alfredo, swiss steak,... mostly quicker meals through the week. It's easier to maneuver and clean than a 6 qt. pan and it contains spatters saving cleanup time. It's great for anything that needs stirring, my other half utilizes it for Rice Krispy Marshmallow treats, about the only thing he doesn't barbecue. The heavy bottom and rounded sides are good for candy making, sauces, etc. The 6 qt is now reserved for large weekend meals and the 3 qt saute just languishes in the cupboard.

          1. That All-Clad Essential pan looks nice but, it has that awful All-Clad handle. If it had a good handle on it, it might get some interest from me but, .... I've been down that road once and I'm not doing it again.

            Plus, I have my DeBuyer Mineral "Country Pan".

            21 Replies
            1. re: Sid Post

              The de buyer country pan has caught my eye, as well. What do you tend to use it for?

              1. re: kimbers324

                I cook a lot of meat products in it here in Arizona. The high sides really work well to keep splatters in the pan and make kitchen clean up easy and nearly effort free.

                If I was back in Alabama, I would be cooking a lot of greens in it too. It really depends on what vegetables are in season and available locally. Where I'm at now, it's more of a meat and potatoes pan.

                1. re: Sid Post

                  do you have the small or large country pan? What is the cooking surface diameter, and height of the sides? Thanks....I tend to find packaging dimensions, not actual product dimensions!

                  1. re: kimbers324

                    Mine is the largest they make:
                    *) ~6 pounds - give or take a little
                    *) the sides are ~4.5" high
                    *) the rim is 32cm (~13 inches)
                    *) the flat bottom is ~11.5 inches


                    1. re: Sid Post

                      Isn't that a bugger to lift without a helper handle?

                      1. re: Cam14

                        No, not really. I grew up on a farm so, heavy versus light involves something a lot heavier than this.

                        1. re: Sid Post

                          Oooh, a farm boy lifting heavy pans. :-)

                          So, seriously, I covet that pan, but can't lift it. I have the 12 inch skillet and that's pretty much my limit. Mine meets fingerling potatoes and asparagus with garlic and olive oil on a regular basis.

                          I can imagine you can use yours for a great stir-fry.

                          1. re: breadchick

                            I don't really think of it with WOK type cooking but, I'm sure it would do a credible job. I'm still debating a turkey fryer for WOK use.

                        2. re: Cam14


                          Sid is a weight lifter. Going pro after the 2016 games in Rio. Ok, I made that up. But your initial impression is spot on. It is indeed a bugger to lift. Those suckers are *really* heavy. Bigger than you'd think, too. Like woks on steroids.

                          I bought one, took one look at it, hefted it, sold it to my son. They're very happy together, but his wife and kids had to move, because their house is only 1900 sqft. and there wasn't room for them and the pan. All right, I made that up, too. Their house is almost 2000 sqft. ;)

                          1. re: DuffyH

                            ROFL .....

                            On a more serious note, my mother has some arthritis so the Mineral pans, even the smaller ones, are too much for her. She also doesn't use her Lodge cast iron either. I "gifted" my lighter weight De Buyer iron pans to her and she loves them!

                            I also find bigger pans to be more flexible than smaller ones. Smaller pans have their uses but, I generally like things to be crisp or snap so, over crowding is avoided in my kitchen for most things. The price you pay is crowding other pans on most stoves and cooktops since the burners are spaced too closely and, as you noted they can be heavy if you lift and hold them for very long.

                            1. re: Sid Post


                              I'm with your mom, love my lighter weight FB pan. I really like my 10.25" Carbone crepe pan, too, but think I wouldn't want anything bigger in a Carbone or Mineral frypan.

                              I did try out the 12" Tim Love branded Mineral frypan from SLT this spring and wasn't happy with the weight. I've already got a 12" Lodge skillet, so feel that would be pointless duplication.

                            2. re: DuffyH

                              Hi, Duffy:

                              Is it really all that that heavy? ;;

                              Sid said it was 6 pounds. I wasn't going to say anything, but the published weight is 5. Unless it's filled with Milk-of-Lead it should be manageable, I think.

                              My everyday saute is 11", and it weighs 11 pounds without a lid. Sid could probably juggle 3 of them.


                              1. re: kaleokahu


                                It felt as heavy as my 12" CI skillet, so yeah, to me it was very heavy. The skillet weighs 7lbs, 2.5oz and I cannot hold it horizontally with one hand. I can lift it, sure, but only if I let it hang. I had the same issue with the Country Pan. Without a helper handle I couldn't hold it stable, unless I struggled with two hands.

                                Bear in mind I've broken both my right arm and left wrist. You'd be amazed how that can change your life. My hand/wrist strength isn't anywhere near what it used to be. I must wear a wrist support when bowling to keep my left wrist from buckling when I pick up my bowling ball. Once I've got the ball balanced I'm fine, but my wrist quite literally gives way when I try to swing it into position without a brace.

                                So, yes, I'm a wimp and pans really are that heavy.

                                1. re: DuffyH

                                  You realize that you're making a case for extra-fort aluminum, right?

                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                      The thickest gauge. Mauviel and Gaillard once made entire lines in approx. 6mm. Probably equal to 3mm of copper in performance yet very light.

                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                        Got it, thanks.

                                        I don't accept your premise. There's a lot of room between a 13" Mineral Country Pan and thick aluminum. I could just as easily be making a case for something in between.

                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                          I was trying to help the weak-wristed with performance.

                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                            Oh, I see. My mistake. Thank you. I have a problem with aluminum, in that I really don't like it as a cooking surface. It makes a wonderful base for teflon, and in fact my very favorite non-stick pans are Tramontina's Pro line of shiny aluminum with some of the best teflon I've ever encountered. They're inexpensive, too.

                                            But other than those, I've not encountered any I like. My past usage has been extremely limited, to be sure. I recently picked up an ancient Calph. HA frypan at the Salvation Army store for $5. It was very clean, in excellent condition, but awful to cook on. I tried an egg using the same heat, oil, room temp egg method that I would on my SS. I got no joy at all! Should it be seasoned? Is it not good for eggs? I also owned and mildly disliked some original Scanpan. I don't recall if those had a coating, although I think not, as nothing ever peeled or chipped.

                                            If I could learn to cook on it, and could find some that's induction-friendly, it could certainly be an alternative to heavy CI/CS and clad SS.

                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                              Hi, Duffy:

                                              That's too bad. Minimally-"seasoned" bare aluminum is about as non-stick as it gets for eggs. Add in extra-thick, and it's also extremely stable on and off the heat. That's one reason they're favored by omeleteers turning out large ## of omelets.

                                              I'm not sure anyone makes very thick aluminum with an inducto-base. The Demeyere Prolines approach these thicknesses of aluminum, but have the cladding (which defeats the purpose if *light* is a purpose).

                                              It's the foreclosure of such options that I think is a big disadvantage of... you know... The way things are headed, wrist-strength-compromised cooks will face narrowing choices, the lightest choices being cheap nonstick, and the very thin enameled steel speckleware-type pans.


                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                Hey, Kaleo,

                                                <It's the foreclosure of such options that I think is a big disadvantage of... you know...>

                                                And that's valid. But for me, I think the advantage of fast response will outweigh that. It's about finding the balance, knowing that I'll be slowing the response if I opt to use clad anything. But most of us have to find compromises, matching our cookware and hobs to what works best for us, most of the time. Of course, we'll all have different criteria.

                                                Mostly I need very light pans for jumping food, usually veg, which in my house doesn't require a large pan. I can use most anything for that except CI and heavy CS. I normally grab whatever comes to hand, non-stick, SS, anything not too heavy in a 8-10" pan. So I wouldn't want a proline for that, it would be overkill and too heavy besides, but a FB or even Lyonaise frypan will do, as will a lightweight clad unit. Weight and wall angle are my only concerns in that pan, which is good, because it means I can go cheap and get great results.

                                                <The way things are headed, wrist-strength-compromised cooks will face narrowing choices, >

                                                In the immediate future, yes. But looking out 3-5 years, I think we'll have wider choices, especially given the millions of boomers who will be needing lighter cookware. If we need it, it will come. Everyone caters to boomers.