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What is your favorite pot/pan/skillet?

What is your favorite pot, pan or skillet?

Mine is my dutch oven. But it's been two years since I used it. I'm just getting into cooking now, so take that comment with a grain of salt. But for me there's a big difference between most used and favorite.

Let's not include other kitchen tools in this discussion.

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  1. A Wegmans braising pan and a cheap-ass wok I got at the local Asian grocer.

    1. My medium sized cast iron pan. I use it daily and it is my favorite.

      The other less used favorite is pumpkin shaped Le Crueset. I gets dragged out in the fall and I use it right the holidays. Its gets used for soups, sweet potato casseroles, bakes squashes, serving mashed potatoes, etc, etc. I miss it when its gets packed away but it looks funny on a spring and summer table.

      1 Reply
      1. Cook THIS in your DO and you'll never go so long again :)

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5826...

        Will Owen's Pork Shoulder has become world famous :)

        1. My Griswold cast iron skillets and waffle iron.
          My Le Creuset 7 qt french oven and gratin pans.
          My Emile Henry tagine.

          1. Probably my 9" cast Iron skillet that my great aunt used for decades before my mom got it who gave it to me, eventually..

            1. My first heavy piece of copper, a #24 BIA sauté pan, still going strong with the original tin after 38 years.

               
              1 Reply
              1. re: tim irvine

                Original tin after 38 years? That's one beauteous pan, and what is your secret? (I don't have tin-lined copper, so after hearing so many Chow pros and cons about tin's life span I am curious.)

              2. I have a hard time separating favorite from most used honestly. But probably Dutch ovens in general. I have a few. Some are pretty, some are not. Some are large. Some are REALY large. Maybe it's the association with something comforting that's likely coming out of them.

                1. My simple french style carbon steel fry pan....nothing sticks to it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. I know there are people who shun non-stick, but I've gotta stick up for Calphalon. Their return/replace policy is GREAT!! Sent back 2 skillets and favorite sauce pan a year or 2 ago... just not so non-stick any more. Did have to pay to ship back to C, but got BRAND NEW replacements about a week later.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kseiverd

                      I'll chime in for Calphalon Tri-Ply and echo your customer service shout-out. When my 2 -quart saucepan's lid lost it's handle, I called, spoke to a very nice lady, and 2 weeks later my new lid arrived.

                      My favorite pan is my 4.5 quart Tri-Ply saucepan. 12 years old, and I love it still. It's great for soup, pasta, chili, potatoes, anything I throw at it. And it makes a mean batch of popcorn, 3 or more times a week. It's my workhorse.

                    2. My Emile Henry tagine. It's gorgeous and cooks a variety of dishes well. I use it for tagines, braises and rice.

                      1. 4qt saucier, which can function as frying pan, pasta pot, braiser, stockpot,Dutch oven, steamer......

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: greygarious

                          Funny you said that, because I love my A/C 4 qt. sauteuse and is probably my most go-to pan. The domed lid is a plus, and with just the two of us now it's more than enough for pretty much everything you just mentioned.

                          1. I don't really have one, specific pot, pan, or skillet because no single pot, pan, or skillet that we have is suitable
                            for all cooking techniques. I will say that my cooking was transformed when I began mostly using tri-ply SS cookware. I use it most o f the time anduse non-stick skillets for only a few applications.

                            17 Replies
                            1. re: John E.

                              <I will say that my cooking was transformed when I began mostly using tri-ply SS cookware>

                              Like what? You start to do more sauteing? Or something like that?

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                I was mostly referencing my switch from non-stick to stainless steel. That is about the time I began to explore new and different recipes and got interested in expanding my cooking rather than just repeating what I already new. I believe that some cooks who rely mostly on non-stick cookware are sometimes cooking to get food on the table (the majority of cooks I believe) rather than cooking because they enjoy cooking.

                                1. re: John E.

                                  Well, since I use nonstick every day and I REALLY enjoy cooking (It's my passion!), I guess I'll have to disagree with you.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    I believe you may have misunderstood my point. My point was not to imply that good cooks do not use non-stick cookware. My point was that ambivalent cooks mostly use non-stick cookware. That is not the same as saying all cooks who use non-stick cookware are ambivalent about cooking.

                                    1. re: John E.

                                      Ah, gotcha. Seems like I've been saying that a lot today :) I'm old, ya know. Thanks, JE.

                                      1. re: John E.

                                        I got your point. You were talking about association, not necessary cause-and-effect.

                                      2. re: c oliver

                                        c oliver,

                                        <I use nonstick every day >

                                        Hey, so glad you mentioned that! I've been wanting to ask you if any of your nonstick pans are aluminum, and which brands of aluminum perform best on your induction cooktop. Share?

                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                          Hey Duffy!

                                          Here's what I got from Costco. I've not a single complaint about it and I use every piece. And $200. Along with my Staub, LC, Lodge and a couple of SS pieces that still worked I'm solid forever probably.

                                          http://www.costco.com/Circulon-Premie...

                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                            Have you considered Berndes' cast aluminium nonstick stuff, Duffy? I don't remember if I mentioned it to you already.

                                            1. re: Sirrith

                                              You did, Sirrith. I'm ambivalent about it, because of the small saucepan sizes. I'd have to learn to cook without handles! Even then, the DO jumps from 2.5qts to 4.25qts. Where's my 3qt pan?

                                              I posted elsewhere tonight about my 2 new pieces of Mauviel M'Stone, a stewpot and a sauté pan. I'm disappointed that the walls are only 3mm, but pleased with the steel disk, which is embedded into the aluminum, and beautifully finished. I got them for cheap, $110 for the pair. No lids, but still.

                                              Then I see that Kitchenaid has 2 thick lines of HA, the regular stuff at 4.5mm and the Professional line at 5.5mm. Very tempting and well priced, too.

                                              Which leads me to my next query - on induction, with it's ability to hit a really low heat output, does pan thickness matter as much? Maybe I should start a thread with that question?

                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                I think pan thickness matters re: warping for induction. Induction cooktops can be very powerful, even at what you think are medium settings.
                                                Plus also for heat retention and all that.

                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                  Duffy, I wanted one more really small saucepan and found it 'somewhere' super cheap. It's very lightweight/thin but I've had no problems with it. I generally use it for reheating small amounts of things.

                                      3. re: John E.

                                        I agree, in the past we mostly had cheapo Teflon coated warped aluminum pans. When the kids were growing up my pork chops were lovingly (?) called batwings by the family due to their darkened shade and my hashbrowns were referred to as hashblacks. Cheesy pans and burners and a houseful of distractions led to many cooking mishaps. Cooking with SS AC tri-ply has been a revelation as well as the benefits of cast iron and enameled cast iron. Couldn't possibly just pick one favorite.

                                        1. re: Cam14

                                          Your post reminded me of a story about my sister. She was an indifferent cook. She did not enjoy cooking. (She was talented in many other ways however. She was good at crafts and she knew how to play every single instrument in a concert band.)

                                          Anyway, she once told my mother that she would be a better cook if she had better pots and pans. My mother replied that if she were a better cook, she would already have better pots and pans.

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            Fun story. I seem to remember long ago Sam F talking about a good cook can make good food in crappy cookware...and vice versa.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              It may be possible with your full and complete concentration. Thick bottomed cookware that cooks evenly is more forgiving of a little inattention.

                                            2. re: John E.

                                              my friend (who cooks as much as i do) gave me a birthday card which i still love:

                                              "every pan is a no-stick pan if you no cook in it"

                                        2. I love my Le Crueset 5 1/2 quart dutch oven. If I had to pick one piece, I would pick a new one, cause mine has a scratch in the enamel and just isn't the same. Many tears have been shed over this (some things should not be discovered by a then pregnant woman)

                                          1. Olvida 10" skillet. olvidacookware.com

                                            1. Well-seasoned 10" cast iron skillet. Used daily.

                                              1. 20 year old wok. Light, practically non-stick, and perfect for most of my daily cooking.

                                                1. debuyer 12.5" mineral B country style carbon steel pan. gives the best sear ever

                                                  7 Replies
                                                  1. re: rmarisco

                                                    Just bought one ( I think) on West Elm.

                                                    Thanks, whoever sounded the sale alarm!

                                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                      The country style ones are different than the ones on sale at West Elm, country ones have much higher sides :)

                                                      1. re: Sirrith

                                                        And weigh about 12 pounds more, too!

                                                        Well, that's not true. Some of the smaller ones only weigh 10-11 pounds more. ;)

                                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                                          That's why we French people are so slim, we work out while cooking all that delicious food! :P

                                                        2. re: rmarisco

                                                          I love my 32cm Country Pan too! It is a little unconventional for most kitchens in the USA but it cooks beautifully.

                                                        3. Cast iron wok is my favorite and most used - for spaghetti sauces, chili, stir fry
                                                          Cast iron pans (all sizes: 4"; 10") for frying; sauteing
                                                          Le Creuset for baking breads, brining meats, soups

                                                          1. Another vote for deBuyer! 8" and 12.5" Carbonne Plus,nothing sticks and sears like a champ!

                                                            1. Hi, Steve:

                                                              I'm a fickle and polygamous pan lover.

                                                              Once was a time when my LC 5.5Q round oven was all that. Then it was a Mazzetti copper skillet, followed by a Rudolf Stanish omelet pan. Then for a long time, it was a Dehillerin 3mm saute. These days, it's my 36cm 4mm-thick hammered Gaillard rondeau with a silver lining. I can't imagine a better piece of cookware; I hope she never leaves me for a better cook.

                                                              Aloha,
                                                              Kaleo

                                                              7 Replies
                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                Kaleo,

                                                                Correct me if I'm wrong, but you haven't commented on your silver lined rondeau until now (we heard about it when you first got it.) I'm guessing you're loving it? How much does it weigh and please let us know what you think of it!

                                                                1. re: sherrib

                                                                  Sweet Jesus, I did have the opportunity to hold her once. She's curvy and hard-bodied in all the right places. I can't believe she and I dated for a second before I realized her beauty, an now she's Kaleo's forever.

                                                                  1. re: sherrib

                                                                    Hi, Serri:

                                                                    Yes, totally loving it. Cooking mostly for two, it's a little large (36cm), but all the floorspace is really nice for not crowding things. The lining has dulled a little, but I expected that. It weighs 15.8 lbs without the lid.

                                                                    Here are two photos, one prior to silvering, one after.

                                                                    Aloha,
                                                                    Kaleo

                                                                     
                                                                     
                                                                  2. re: kaleokahu

                                                                    Do you have any photos of Gaillard?

                                                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                      Hello Kaleo-

                                                                      I saw you mention a Gaillard rondeau. Where can one find that line of cookware?

                                                                      1. re: cookie30

                                                                        Hi, cookie:

                                                                        I believe Gaillard has been OOB for a long time. Their pans come up on eBay occasionally, and Craigslist rarely. Once in a blue moon you can find them at estate sales and auctions. If you get to France, check out the brocantes.

                                                                        A word to the wise: Gaillard made exceptionally fine "extra fort" pans, *however* they (like all the great makers) also made thin "table service" pans. Buyers need to check the weights and thicknesses carefully. I know this because I once got Buck Fever and bit on a pair at a low price, and got fooled.

                                                                        Aloha,
                                                                        Kaleo

                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                          Thanks for the heads up! I too can get carried away

                                                                    2. I really love my two identical Le Creuset Aubergine saucepans. Perfect for making rice, and so much more.

                                                                      1. an 11" copper saute from the olden days in Paris. hand beaten, tin lined, 3 huge rivets, 4 mm foil all the way around, tattooed with the name of the restaurant where she was employed for 80 years. currently in the loving arms of LJ Gonzales for a makeover in NOLA.

                                                                        "Absence doth sharpen love, presence strengthens it..."

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: alarash

                                                                          Keep growing your family, and we can trade pans, my friend.

                                                                          Aloha,
                                                                          Kaleo

                                                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                            Next, you're going to have a pan party!!

                                                                            *covering my eyes*

                                                                        2. The pan I would be saddest to part with is a beastly 3.5mm tin-lined copper Dehillerin marked 11" saute. I snagged it via craigslist a few years back for short money and had it re-tinned. In a sense, it is my favorite.

                                                                          However, the pan that gets the most use--it is used at least twice every day--is a 2.5mm tin-line copper Williams Sonoma marked 9.5" / 3qt sauteuse evasee. It doesn't have the same 'special' feel as the saute, but I'd bet half or more of my stovetop food prep happens with that pan. So, in another sense that is my favorite.

                                                                          1. Hmm. After a couple of years of upgrading and paring down to only pans I really use regularly, I love and use them all, so it's pretty hard to pick one.

                                                                            But if I have to, I'd say my favorite is the one I use most, a 9.5" skillet. It's 2mm copper lined with stainless, with a long and comfortably curvy cast stainless handle.

                                                                            It's no longer available, which is another factor favoring it in the "if you could only pick one" exercise. Mauviel still makes the handles, but only for their 1.5mm line, and still makes the pan (for Williams-Sonoma), but with a shorter, thinner brass handle. The short-lived Cuprinox Style skillet that combined them is for me the perfect happy medium of enough copper for dramatically more even and responsive cooking than the tri-ply skillet it replaced, yet light and well-balanced enough to manipulate, as in the 'jerk and roll' of sauteing.

                                                                            Almost as near to my heart is the Bourgeat braiser/rondeau (2.5mm copper-stainless). It's the perfect size (11" x 3") for the two of us or for company, a little tank that handles a gallon-plus of tomato sauce or four pounds of short ribs, yet still fits in the 24" oven with room to spare. In theory, it could be replaced, because it's still on the market. In reality, I couldn't afford to; this one was an exceptional ebay bargain at less than a third of retail.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: ellabee

                                                                              ellabee,

                                                                              <I love and use them all, so it's pretty hard to pick one.>

                                                                              That's sweet. If I were a pan, I'd want to be one of yours.

                                                                              Or maybe something in the First Family's private kitchen. Yeah, that'd be cool, all those families over the years.

                                                                            2. My mother's cast iron Dutch Oven that has to be at least 50 year's old. Everything tastes better cooked in that pot.

                                                                              1. All of my cast iron, actually. I think the wok is my favorite (yes, I know I should have a carbon steel one, but it was a gift and it works just fine.) I also have a 12" skillet and an enameled Dutch oven, all Lodge.

                                                                                1. The pan I would be least likely to part with would be an Deherellin 11.5 inch sauce pan that first saw service around the time of the civil war. Weight is 15 pounds, and it is marked with the orginal chef's initials.

                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                        <--- Doesn't have a wok. :(

                                                                                        But is hoping to convince Bro in Hawaii to season (use a LOT) one for me.

                                                                                    1. Not a pan, pot or skillet... my favorite piece of cookware is a Simplex Copper Kettle.

                                                                                      1. Second (third, and fourth!) the dutch oven. I've had my large Le Creuset for years. It's starting to look "loved" but that makes it all the better, IMHO. I use it constantly.

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: StripedSpatula

                                                                                          How large are we talking about? My next purchase is definitely the goose pot. Need to save up...

                                                                                          1. re: sherrib

                                                                                            I have the 13.25, so just below the goose pot (which is gorgeous, love the oval shape on the goose).

                                                                                            1. re: sherrib

                                                                                              sherrib-

                                                                                              I'm.looking at getting a starter set with the neccessities. I also was hoping to get some Copperware- but pieces that. should really be of copper.

                                                                                              I've seen brands that I like but I'm never sure if they are really good.

                                                                                              1. re: cookie30

                                                                                                What brands have you seen? If Mauviel is one of them, then the numbers "250" in the description mean that it's 2.5mm. "150" means that it's 1.5mm. My opinion? If you're going to get copper cookware that's 1.5mm thick, then for the price, you're probably better off getting something like All Clad stainless - it will perform better and at least it's dishwasher safe. Another opinion? I'm not into sets. You will end up with at least one piece you'll never use. Take the amount of money you paid and divide it by the number of pieces you actually use and suddenly you come to realize that you paid a whole lot more for your set than what you bargained for.

                                                                                          2. Don't tell, but I'm getting a 2 qt saucier for Christmas. That is my new favorite pan........this month!

                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Cam14

                                                                                              Cam,

                                                                                              <Don't tell, but I'm getting a 2 qt saucier for Christmas>

                                                                                              Details, please! You just log on and say "2 quart saucier" and then leave? I don't think so. ;)

                                                                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                Macy's 25% off sale on All Clad was too much for er, um, Santa. It's okay, it's going under the tree. Can't say much about it as Christmas rules won't allow it to be touched again until Dec. 25th.

                                                                                                1. re: Cam14

                                                                                                  <Christmas rules won't allow it to be touched again until Dec. 25th.>

                                                                                                  LOL! I once lived under the "Tyranny of the 25th", too. Until the year Dude came home from work to find me sitting next to the tree, wrapping paper strewn about, cuddling my new food processor. What can I say, I'm weak-willed.

                                                                                                  Congrats on the saucier. :)

                                                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                    Saved you from shaking it until it broke, I guess...

                                                                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                      You surely hit Santa's "Naughty List" with that move. Tsk, Tsk.

                                                                                                      1. re: Cam14

                                                                                                        I certainly did, Cam. Luckily the Dude thought I was totally pathetic. He said I almost whimpered when he took it away and tried to re-wrap it.

                                                                                                        New rule - we only wrap surprises.

                                                                                              2. dual his & his Commercial Aluminum 7" pans. used ONLY for eggs I giggle a little each and every single time the perfectly cooked eggs slide right out onto the plate.

                                                                                                 
                                                                                                1. This is like selecting a favorite child. Love my Staub fry pan for searing. All-Clad fry pan and braiser are adored. Viking saute pan is first rate. CIA saucier and risotto are a match. Calphalon rondeau and pot roast are a love connection. Cheap Vollrath Optio sauce pan makes the best rice. Let's face it; I cannot love only one.

                                                                                                  1. My favorite is not my most used -- 'Tis a Lodge 8 inch cast iron skillet. Lightweight and pretty. I grind the edges and sand and season very thinly and thrice with good ol' Crisco soybean veggie shortening all my new Lodge cast iron when I get it. Best ever... Although the weight of most is the downfall.

                                                                                                    Second choice is the bottom half of my Lodge cast iron 3-quart combo cooker... The same bottom as the chicken fryer. The perfect pan for browning a pound of ground meat real fine. And the whole combo cooker is just splendid... Fryer, skillet, and dutch oven all in one. I'm actually torn if I should get a 5 quart Lodge dutch oven or 5 quart combo cooker.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: Muddirtt

                                                                                                      Consider the double dutch oven.

                                                                                                    2. I have 2 my step-grandmothers cast iron dutch oven. She was a wonderful german-jewish cook after years in a cupboard it needed nothing more than a wipe of oil and it is perfect. The blood grandchildren got the $ I am pretty sure I have done more with my inheritance then they did. And my Griswold #8 it is light and slick and the first pan I reach for for most tasks. It can roast, bake, saute, fry, sear etc. I have some of everything tinned copper, clad ss, enamel ci, etc but these are the two I would grab in a fire. Of course they would likely survive the fire.

                                                                                                      1. I am starting to prefer large sauté pans over everything else, even my cast iron. Am I alone in this preference?

                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: 3sheets

                                                                                                          For years I didm't own a sauté pan, now I have two. One is a Mauviel M'Stone hard anodized aluminum nonstick in 3 quarts. The other is Vollrath Optio SS, 6 quarts.

                                                                                                          Since acquiring them, I haven't used any frying pans larger than 9". I'm really loving the sauté pans. They lack the flared sides of a frypan, but I'm finding evaporation isn't such a big deal when I'm frying or sautéing. The tall sides are distinct advantage for a quick pasta toss and many other things.

                                                                                                          They seem to share equal billing with my 2.75 and 4 qt saucepans.

                                                                                                          1. re: 3sheets

                                                                                                            I bought a 5 quart Tramontina sauté pan almost 6 years ago ($20 at Goodwill) It was our first SS pan. Now we have a bunch of SS tri-ply pans and only three nonstick pans. I find myself using the large sauté pan many times during the week.

                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                              Funny you would say that since I am going to buy my first Tramontina this week. The brand gets great reviews.

                                                                                                              1. re: 3sheets

                                                                                                                If I knew then what I know now, I would have bought a Tramontina Tri-Ply set like this one...

                                                                                                                http://mobile.walmart.com/#ip/Tramont...

                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                  John,

                                                                                                                  I bought the 4 qt pan to try and ended up returning it. It was very prone to rainbow effects on even the lowest heat settings. I know it doesn't affect cooking, but my old Calphalon pans only did that on high heat.

                                                                                                                  I'd look elsewhere, likely going for commercial cookware exclusively. I'm halfway there already.

                                                                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                    The occasional rainbow affects do not bother me. We also have two 10" Calaphon tri-ply SS skillets.

                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                      <The occasional rainbow affects do not bother me.>

                                                                                                                      That's exactly how I feel. That's not what I experienced with that pan. It happened almost every time, no matter what I cooked or what setting I used. Once it showed up after running the pan through the dishwasher. Perhaps mine was defective.

                                                                                                                2. re: 3sheets

                                                                                                                  I love their Professional aluminum frypans. Nice and heavy, not at all thin, good removable silicone grip on the handle. Just a very good basic nonstick pan.

                                                                                                                3. re: John E.

                                                                                                                  Hi, John:

                                                                                                                  You're definitely not alone. Saute pans are very versatile.
                                                                                                                  We Americans tend to be prejudiced in favor of frypans.

                                                                                                                  Aloha,
                                                                                                                  Kaleo

                                                                                                              2. I'd have to say my 24 x 14 Chef King griddle. It can be multitasked so many ways - obviously as a huge flattop griddle, as a pizza steel (it works!), a psuedo-French cooktop, or as something simple like a cookie sheet though it's pretty heavy for that task. Such a wonderful thing.

                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: toddrhodes

                                                                                                                  We have one of those at our cabin and use it on our gas grill. It's pretty heavy, but I guess that is also why it works so well.

                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                    Hey kaleo! About 3/16" thick according to my micrometer. Not as thick as true pizza steels but I can get the surface temp up to about 750 using my IR broiler and since it takes seasoning like a champ, serves well in the role of a pizza steel. I assume that's why you're asking but if not, I am still quite happy just passing along data.

                                                                                                                      1. re: alarash

                                                                                                                        We were lucky. My brother and his wife went to a Sportsman's Warehouse store while there was a promotion going on. They won an $83 gift certificate which was about the price of the griddle. My brother likes to pretend he is the short-order cook of his youth.

                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                          My wife cracks up because I use two small spatulas, one is actually a pie spatula, to make my eggs and hash browns. For some reason, yelling out "Hash Browns PICK 'EM UP!" whilst manning the griddle makes for a good time.

                                                                                                                  2. re: toddrhodes

                                                                                                                    Hi, Todd:

                                                                                                                    How thick are these things?

                                                                                                                    Aloha,
                                                                                                                    Kaleo