If you’re a professional chef, a cooking enthusiast, a master PB & J maker or just someone who watches 20 second Buzzfeed videos for easy-to-do recipes, you need to make sure you’re using the proper pots and pans in your kitchen.
Foods are different and prepared differently, so using the same old rinky-dink pan for seven meals throughout the week just won’t work.
A musician wouldn’t play a guitar solo on a drum set, so why are you grilling hamburgers in a stockpot?
1. 10-Inch Non-Stick Skillet
How many times will the label non-stick fool us? Before getting into this handy pan, let me just remind you this: Research the pan you’re buying before you click delivery. The reviews will tell you if it’s actually a working non-stick pan.
A skillet is designed to cook delicate foods, including fish and breaded chicken breasts—or, most importantly, foods that are likely to stick to the pan like eggs.
A non-stick skillet is the perfect pan to cook an omelet on, but it’s not a good pan to use over a high heat. So, when you’re cooking the egg and about to add the veggies or meats, turn down the heat and let the omelet cook at a lower heat.
Also, remember to season the pan—not just the food. The flavors will get infused within all sides of the food, resulting in a tastier meal.
Recommended Product – Judge Vista J222A Stainless Steel Non-Stick Skillet
We’re starting this list off with every bacon lover’s dream, a good quality frying pan. A good quality non-stick frying pan is so versatile and can be used in many dishes.
The reason this frying pan made our list is that it has a 26-cm diameter, so it is nice and big, it is also oven and induction hob safe. Plus, this frying pan is made from a good quality stainless steel and comes with a 25-year guarantee.
While this frying pan is certainly great for beginners and an essential in any kitchen, you will have it for many years. So, even as you continue to grow as a chef, this frying pan will be right by your side whenever you want to sauté, fry or sear.
2. Cast Iron Skillet
The cast iron skillet is the non-stick skillet’s evil twin, but you can like both sides of the family.
It’s perfect for searing steaks, pan-roasting and deep-frying chicken and pork. You can also try your hand at slow cooking over a lower heat on the cast iron or frying a potato pancake, too.
The cast iron skillet is especially good for cooking a small pan pizza or something that requires a golden-crusted touch to it.
Cast iron skillets don’t heat evenly, so make sure you’re checking for the perfect spot to lay your meat.
Recommended Product – Lodge Cast Iron Round Skillet
Cast iron skillets can be a bit scary to beginners in the kitchen, but they are one of the most joyful pieces of cookware to use. Cast iron skillets hold their heat so well, making them one of the best things for searing meat and sauteing veg. This cast iron skillet is 26 cm wide so it is nice and large meaning you can cook two salmon fillets in it or one massive steak.
The reason this skillet made our list is that it comes pre-seasoned from Lodge so you can use it right away. You’ll need to top up the seasoning every few months (we have plenty of articles about seasoning here) and you’ll get many years of use out of it.
3. Large Enameled Dutch Oven
This pot is a kitchen essential for anyone looking to whip up a meal that involves heavy searing or slow cooking.
The large enameled Dutch oven pan works well when you’re cooking a pot roast, a soup or a chili, or even when you’re heating meatballs in with a red sauce.
Don’t forget, though, you can even slow cook a whole chicken in this pot—and throw all different ingredients in around the chicken for a flavor explosion.
Recommended Product – Uno Casa Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Dutch ovens are such a versatile cooking tool that they had to make our list. You can use this cast iron Dutch oven to sear meats on the hob and then transfer them straight into the oven for a slow roast that will break the meat down in ways that will leave your mouth watering for days afterwards!
This cast iron Dutch oven holds up to 5.7 litres meaning it can be used for stews, soup, chilis and so much more. Both the interior and exterior of this Dutch oven are also enamelled for a non-stick coating that will last decades!
If the Dutch oven itself wasn’t enough, Uno Casa also gives you a silicone pot mat and silicone pot holders too. So, you can easily take your Dutch oven out of the oven and admire your work.
4. Straight-Sided Sauté Pan
This tall-sided pan contrasts the skillet’s short edges, which makes it perfect for searing foods at a higher heat while avoiding splattering.
But, if you do want to lower the heat, a sauté pan comes equipped with a tight lid that is perfect for smothering the heat and slow cooking meat with a slew of veggies.
While the skillet is perfect for an omelet, this pan is more fit for cooking frittatas, because the ingredients and frittata itself can move around more.
A mix of vegetables with a little oil and a lot of heat is another thing that a sauté pans is good for. Just remember: keep jiggling and shaking the pan around to avoid burning or browning.
Recommended Product – Tower Cerasure T80305 Sauté Pan
We know that a sauté pan is not on everyone’s list of essential pots and pans for the kitchen. However, anyone that has used a saute pan will tell you that they are one of the best tools in the kitchen.
They are like a brilliant combination between a saucepan and frying pan and can be used as such.
This sauté pan comes with a lid and has a fantastic non-stick coating. So, with this saute pan, you can sear and fry like you would in a frying pan, but you can also use it to make pasta sauces, and even boil veg in if you run out of saucepans.
Adding a sauté pan to your kitchen arsenal adds so much to what is possible in your kitchen.
5. A Wok
Come on, how many people actually own woks? Not many, but that’s their loss, because this pan is the only pan that will provide you with the perfect stir-fry.
It’s versatile for moving around veggies and meats, and it’s two-handle system allows you to spread the flavor throughout to make sure every part gets that perfect seasoning.
If you’re not in the mood for stir-fry, but still want to shake the pan around like a chef, you’re in luck, because it’s ideal for deep-frying, too. The wide rounded shape and large center can hold meat, veggies, spice and all the oil you need.
A quick meal can include a deep-fried chicken with steamed broccoli—and you only have to use one pan: a wok.
6. A large stock pot
This pot is big, which means: You can cook BIG food.
Do you have leftover chicken, pork or steak sitting around, a beer in the fridge and a spice rack that makes Martha Stewart’s kitchen look like an Easy Bake Oven.
Throw it all in a stock pot, add water and heat up a tasty soup.
Not in the mood for soup, drop in a couple boxes of pasta and serve Sunday dinner. Or, boil sliced potatoes for a killer German potato salad or a whole ham for an Easter dinner. Your choice—either way, it’ll taste great in a stock pot.
Recommended Product – MasterClass Stainless Steel Stock Pot 11 Litre
Well, stock pots can be used for much more than just stock. You can use them to make amazing homemade soup, incredible chilli that could feed an army and boil plenty of veg for a huge family roast.
If love to meal prep or have a large family, a stock pot is ideal. This stockpot can hold up to 11 litres. So you can use it to cook a huge amount of chili, stew or an incredible casserole that will feed your family for days or weeks! For bulk cooking, a stock pot is invaluable!
7. Rimmed Baking Sheet
One word: cookies! Yes, a baking sheet is essential for baking that roll of chocolate-chip cookie dough you’ve had in your freezer for weeks, but it’s also perfect for crisping potatoes and browning veggies.
While that’s cooking on the top shelf of the oven, you can cook up some chicken or pork on a baking sheet, too.
These baking sheets come in different sizes, so make sure to use bigger sheets and spread out those cookies for better results.
Recommended Product – HaWare Stainless Steel Rimmed Baking Sheet
Finally, we have some baking trays. Good quality baking sheets are one of the most important parts of any kitchen toolkit. Baking trays are used every day in our home, and cheaper ones are thin, warp in the oven and are a pain to handle with oven gloves.
Good quality baking trays are solid and hold heat really well, so they actually help to speed up the cooking process.
This set of stainless-steel baking trays are nice and thick, non-stick and dishwasher safe. They are also nice and large, and so you’ll always have plenty of space for cookies, chips and chicken!
These baking trays feel great to use. The non-stick works great, they are really well made, and they feel really sturdy too.
Chef’s Pick is your guide to the best kitchen equipment and appliances in the UK.
We help you understand the confusing world of cookers, ovens and cookware so you can get the most out of your kitchen.