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overwhelmed All-Clad

I'm registering for my wedding. We want All Clad individual pieces. We are so overwhelmed by all the styles and types. Can someone help us with their top 5 or so used items? Any interchangeable styles? The obvious ones for us would be the fry pans.

Thank you in advance!

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  1. Do you just want a list of cookware basics? That will be the same no matter what brand you're looking at:

    1 slope sided skillet
    1 straight sided saute pan
    1 small saucepan
    1 medium sized saucepan
    1 stockpot

    2 Replies
    1. re: RealMenJulienne

      We are for sure doing All Clad Stainless. The sizes and types have overwhelmed us. Each style has so many sizes. We also don't know differences between sauce, saucier, saute, sautese.. etc.

      1. re: kirab22

        I tend to prefer a saucier over a sauce pan. A saute pan will have straight sides and "corners" around the bottom; a saucier has a more curved shape that helps prevent "corners" and promotes whisking more easily.

        In effect, the real differences between pans of the same size is whether or not the sides are sloped or straight, or high high the sides are in comparison to another pan.

        Some people prefer to saute with a pan with straight sides, others prefer sloped sides.

        In general I find that a large saute pan is very useful, a large and a small saucepan/saucier is useful, and a stock pot is useful. Other pans would have to be more specialized in order for me to want to add them on.

    2. Although I usually eschew cookware sets, there is a 10 piece All Clad set usually available at Crate and Barrel that represents a good value and the pans you will need and use.. A sauté, two sizes of saucepans, two frying pans, and a stock pot. The only other thing I would add would be a non-stick frypan, and a cast iron (LeCreuset or other) French oven. That will keep you going for years.

        1. Over the years, I bought one All-clad SS piece at a time as they were on sale, and as I retired older, less well-made pans. This is where my collection stands:

          1 - 10" skillet
          1 - 8" skillet
          1 - 3 qt. Saucier with lid
          1 - 1 qt. Saucier (no lid, nor does All-Clad make one for another pan/pot that will fit it, but I find ways to cover it when needed.)
          1 - Petite Brasier, a 10-inch two-handled pan with a domed lid.

          These handle most everything I need for everyday cooking, with the exception of an all-in-one stainless 8-qt pasta/stock pot with glass lid, pasta insert and steamer insert, not an All-clad, that I picked up @ Williams-Sonoma.

          I might add two more All-clad pieces, though; a 1 or 1.5 qt. straight-sided saucepan that will have a lid!), and either a 3 or 4 qt. Sauté pan (also lidded). That's it.

          1. Hi, Kira:

            This is not particular to A-C, but I would prioritize as follows:

            1. A large (11-12" diameter) straightwall saute with cover.
            2. Large (10") and smaller (8") frypans.
            3. A larger (say 3Q) and a smaller (say 1.5Q) saucepans or sauciers with covers.
            4. A medium size (say 5-6Q) oven with cover.
            5. An 8-12Q stockpot OR pressure cooker.

            If your guests are rich and numerous, add in a larger oven and cover, maybe in the 9Q range, a roaster or larger oval gratin, or a pasta pentola/steamer setup.

            My advice is to ignore all the "Everyday", "Essential", "Chef" and similarly-named hybrid shapes. If you stick with the classics, you can't go wrong--that's how they became classics.


            1. You're getting some decent advice here. Stick with the basics, and then you can add on from there according to your cooking habits and needs.

              Jeez Kaleo.....I kinda like my All Clad essential pan, it does come in handy!

              1 Reply
              1. re: wabi

                Hi, wabi:

                Re: the "Essential"... It's not that it's a bad shape. I think it would make a fine choice for a person's forays into cooking for him/herself or someone radically downsizing. I'd consider it a "desert island" type of pan, if that makes sense.

                If our OP wanted to receive only one piece of A-C, this would not be a bad choice.


              2. You guys are awesome! Thank you for all the advice. I can't wait till I have the pieces in my home! :)

                1. 12 inch frying pan with lid
                  2 quart and 4 quart sauce pans
                  12 quart stock pot ( although mine isn't All Clad)
                  large roasting pan

                  Those are my most used clad stainless pieces.

                  1. I pretty much agree w/ Kaleo, but I am not familiar with a pressure cooker, but the big normal stock pot will be great for pasta, etc. Not sure what the pressure cooker would add (besides speed) or what things it couldn't do compared to a normal big stock pot.

                    I'd add or substitute a 12" fry pan. Size is great as one of the key things is to keep food spaced out. I don't use my small fry pans as much as I thought I would.

                    BUT, for eggs, I'd also add a thick but otherwise cheap non-stick small fry pan. Not worth getting AC for this, as non stick always wears out, even if treated well. But for the rest of your collection, stainless topped (MC2) or fully clad AC should last a lifetime.

                    Here's what Kaleo said:

                    1. A large (11-12" diameter) straightwall saute with cover.
                    2. Large (10") and smaller (8") frypans.
                    3. A larger (say 3Q) and a smaller (say 1.5Q) saucepans or sauciers with covers.
                    4. A medium size (say 5-6Q) oven with cover.
                    5. An 8-12Q stockpot OR pressure cooker.

                    Personally, I use these a lot:
                    - 3-4 quart sauté pan (also good for making wet things too)
                    - 12" fry pan
                    - small non-stick fry (egg) pan
                    - small sauce pan (1.5-2 qts) for heating soups, etc. If a saucier, then even better b/c easier to make bernaise, etc.
                    - larger sauce pan (3-4 qts) for soups, stews, etc
                    - 6-8 qt stock pot, mostly for pasta. Sometimes for making stock.

                    Search the forums to see how the different AC lines compare. From my read, MC2 offers good bang for the buck and indeed maybe about the best due to the conductivity and evenness of thick aluminum, but will get scuffed. If going for individual pieces, you may wish to diversify brands too. As mentioned, for the non-stick, a mid range thick but cheaper pan may be the right thing, say Calphalon or Cuisinart. But the saucier, it would be great if that were thick copper, b/c you want responsiveness for delicate sauces. Etc.

                    1. IMO, you need saucepans less than your mom did. I almost don't use saucepans any more at all. But I've had loads of all sorts of saucepans in my cooking lifetime. Think about what you expect to cook, and ask for pots that would do those things.

                      I'd suggest a skillet or two, chef's or saute pan, soup pot, small saucier, small saucepan, large pot for boiling pasta and possibly a Dutch oven. Anything else would be nice, but not needed as much as the basics. IMO, the chef's pan or saute pan is the number one pan you need.

                      1. "We are so overwhelmed by all the styles and types."

                        Here's a breakdown. Keep in mind all of these (except for #5) are made in the USA-

                        1) Tri-Ply Stainless has polished stainless steel on the cooking surface and on the outside with an interior layer of aluminum for better heat conductivity. This is the standard line.
                        2) MC2 has a brushed aluminum exterior with a stainless steel cooking surface. This has more or less the same performance as the Tri-Ply, but it's less expensive and it's slightly more difficult to keep the exterior clean.
                        3) D5 - 5 layers and expensive. Stainless on the cooking surface and exterior with a core of stainless steel and 2 layers of aluminum. According to all-clad it's supposed to have faster and more even heat distribution. I don't know if that's true, but it has a lot of fancy layers. They make 2 versions of this with brushed and polished exteriors.
                        4) Copper Core - exactly what it sounds like. Stainless steel cooking surface and exterior, copper interior. Heats up extremely quickly compared to the others (copper is a better conductor), but it's also very expensive.
                        5) Hard anodized - this includes all of their griddles, grills, etc. These are made in China and are made from solid hard-anodized (black in color) aluminum with All-Clad's teflon nonstick surface. Still good pans and cheap, all things considered.

                        Many of the steamer inserts, pasta inserts, and other accessories are made in China. If you care about this sort of thing, make sure you check the manufacturing information for each item.

                        Hope this helps.

                        1. After years of cycling through junky sets of non-stick, I switched to All Clad. Here is what I have -

                          8" non stick fry pan, should have gotten the 10 inch

                          12" stainless fry pan

                          2 qt sauce pan (2 although both rarely go into service at the same time)

                          3 qt sauce pan (gift from hubby, sort of an odd size for me)

                          4 qt sauté pan - this the workhouse of the bunch and gets used daily. I went with the 4 quart because I wanted the higher sides.

                          Stock pot - I think it is the 7 qt, it is the tall one as opposed to the shorter, wider versions

                          I could probably cook happily without the 3 qt sauce and one of the 2qt sauce pans but I have the space so they stay.

                          I "had" to have one of those pasta inserts. I definitely regretted that purchase. It wasn't practical and resulted in boil-overs no matter the precautions.

                          1. i had the same situation. i ended up getting pieces one by one afterwards instead.

                            i'd agree with what's said, stick with the following shapes:

                            1) fry pan or french skillet (confusing, but it doesn't really matter)
                            2) saute pan
                            3) sauce pan

                            and ignore the essential / everyday / chef pan shapes.

                            I currently have:
                            1) 6qt non-stick d5 saute pan & lid
                            2) 12" non-stick d5 fry pan & lid
                            3) 8qt non-stick d5 stock pot & lid
                            4) 4qt non-stick d5 sauce pan & lid
                            5) 2qt cop r chef saute pan & lid
                            6) 3qt tri-ply saucier
                            7) asparagus steamer

                            I've mostly bought according to matching the size of my range hobs and got these at steep discounts at sales or the all-clad warehouse sale.

                            unless you want to put them in the dish washer, the MC2 line seems pretty good, it's suppose to have more aluminum than other lines. the D5 just seems heavy and slow responding probably without a large advantage in even heat distribution.

                            the saucier is great for playing with sauces and the asparagus steamer is actually indispensible for heating up bottles.