How Many Pots and Pans Do You Really Need?

Pots and pans on hob

If you’re just moving out of home or you want to create the perfect kitchen arsenal of cookware to tackle even the biggest roast dinner, you might be wondering how many pots and pans you really need.

Of course, this varies somewhat from household to household, but I hope the following info can help you buy all of the pots and pans you may need for all your cooking tasks.

When I moved in with my wonderful partner, we bought a small saucepan, a large saucepan and a frying pan. My partner had lived alone for about a year before living with me, and we were convinced that this would be enough.

If you live on your own, chances are a couple of saucepans, and one frying pan will serve you well. However, we quickly found that we needed more.

My partner already had a wok, and this wok quickly became another pan that we’d use for frying and sometimes boiling (I know!) Even I don’t feel qualified to write this cookware article after that faux pas!

Fast forward four years and our cookware situation is in a much better position, and we only use the wok for the cooking duties it was intended for. We still only have two saucepans which can sometimes create issues, but we have one frying pan and a sauté pan which is a new addition, but it’s working out nicely.

For the most part, our cookware arsenal serves us well. When we have company, though, a third saucepan would be nice.

As I said, the number of saucepans and frying pans that you’ll need will vary greatly. Here are some general rules depending on your cooking habits.


For the Average Household

The average household needs three saucepans and two frying pans.

This is enough for most people, especially when you consider that the average hob only has four rings.


If You Use Saucepans a Lot

If you do a lot of boiling, or love to create sauces from scratch and things, you may need more than three saucepans. Whenever my partner and I want to create a lovely sauce from scratch, we are down to one saucepan, which is often not enough.


If You Enjoy Frying

If you enjoy frying or sautéing food, you may want a sauté pan instead of or as well as the two saucepans we would normally recommend.

As I said, we have one frying pan and a sauté pan, and that’s plenty for us.

Pots and pans

If You Have a Large Household

If you have a household of more than four people, who like to cook separately, consider getting four or more saucepans. How many pots and pans your home needs greatly depends on how much you use your hob and how many meals you prepare without using the oven.

We typically use the oven for about a third of what we’re cooking for a meal, so we don’t need too many pots and pans.

However, if you’re sautéing veg and cooking chicken, tuna or salmon in a pan, for example, you may need more. I would say, though, the number of pots and pans you have should be enough to allow you to cook on every ring of your hob with an extra pot or pan for those bigger events.



I hope this cookware article has given you some idea of the number of pots and pans your household may need.

I’d highly recommend buying a set of three saucepans and two frying pans to start with. After this, if you feel a bit restricted, buy another saucepan that’s the same size as the one you use most. After this, if you still feel you don’t have enough cookware, think about what pots and pans you use the most and then buy extras if you think you need them.

To find out which saucepans and frying pans are the best in the UK, please explore our website further. We have articles about the best cookware in the UK right here that are perfect when you want to build the ultimate cookware arsenal!