What’s the Best Cookware?
To find the best cookware, first determine what your needs and expectations are. Do you need an expensive or low-budget cookware, ceramic or aluminium? If you’re looking for information about the best cookware sets, my blog is the source that will help you make the right choice.
First, you will find comprehensive reviews that you can trust, tips and all necessary information you need to buy the best cookware. Second, you will safe your time by taking advantage of recommended products and not making your own research (because it’s already done by me). Third, you will buy a perfect cookware set you will be happy with.
What’s next? Read the “everything about cookware” guide or take advantage of the “best of the best” cookware selection and choose the one you prefer.
The Best Cookware Reviews
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- Magma Gourmet Nesting Cookware Set
Cooking is a regular activity at every home; an activity that you cannot ignore or avoid. Moreover, everyone knows a little cooking and participates in it in one way of the other. Irrespective of whether you just help in the kitchen by chopping vegetables and making preparation or are a full-fledged chef, you are involved in cooking.
At the very basic level, cooking is simply applying heat to food for cooking the same. However, this basic definition has changed tremendously as humans have evolved from the early man who lived in the caves to the man of the urban. The concept of cooking has changed dramatically. The modern day definition of cooking is preparing food using sophisticated methods and ingredients. Every recipe (e.g. chicken recipe) follows a step-by-step method and requires a set of ingredients. However, the beauty of the art of cooking lies in the fact that there are no rules. You can use your own method, your own set of ingredients and as long as your food tastes good, you will always be considered good.
Regardless of what your cooking methodology or recipe is, one thing that you will surely need to use is heat. You cannot cook food unless you have a cooking medium, and heat is the most commonly used cooking medium all over the world. Taking forward, unless you plan to barbeque your food, you are inevitably going to need cookware, the vessels and containers used for cooking.
Cookware is a broad category that entails all cooking vessels that are used for cooking on cooktops and stoves. The advent of microwave technology has given rise to a category of cooking utensils called bakeware. Bakeware entails all the cooking utensils that can be used for cooking food in the oven. While these two categories include utensils made out from different materials, there are some utensils that fall under both these categories.
Cookware is available in different price ranges, materials and sizes. In fact, there are innumerable brands that specialize in the manufacture of cookware. Owing to the diverse set of options that are available in the market, making a choice can be particularly difficult for a layman. This article elaborates on the different choices available and the factors that you must consider before making a choice.
Cooktop is one of the first appliances that you buy for a new home. However, only a few people know about the various options available. In fact, most people are agnostic to the options that are available to them and blindly go with the popular type, gas cooktop. Essentially, there are three types of cooktops that are available in the market.
The most commonly used cooktops and the ones that you will easily find in almost every home worldwide are a gas stove. However, the reason why it is this popular is because it provides the user complete control over cooking. However, this is arguable. These cooktops require natural gas to operate and that makes them inefficient and expensive in the long run. With time, as the natural reserve is depleting, getting natural gas for cooking may get difficult. However, the setup and maintenance facilities for gas stoves are easily accessible.
Another popular type of cooktops is electric cooktops. These appliances are gradually becoming very popular, especially among the younger generation. There are two types of electric cooktops available in the market namely, electric coils and radiant-style. The radiant type cooktop consists of heating elements, which is covered using ceramic or glass. On the other hand, in case of the electric coil variants, the heating element is totally exposed.
Electric cooktops work on the simple principle of converting electricity to heat, which is then used for cooking food. The operating temperature of the cooktop can be easily adjusted using the knobs that are available on its front panel.
The third type of cooktops is induction cooktop. Induction cooking is revolutionary in the league of cooking methods. Unlike the other methods that heat up the surface on which the vessel is placed for cooking, this type of a cooktop heats the vessel itself by making use of the electromagnetic power of magnets. This is exactly what induction is, and that is how the cooktop has got its name. Although, the appliance is expensive, it sure is much more efficient that the conventional cooktops. However, this cooktop suffers from one major drawback. You cannot just place any utensil on the cooktop. There are special cookware items for this appliance, which are available with some high end brands.
Comparison of Cooktops
If you judge the cooktops on factors like compactness, color and style, electric and induction cooktops win hands down. Besides, these two types of cooktops are also more efficient and require minimal setups. However, they suffer from a major drawback that you have to buy specialized cookware for cooking on them. If you are setting up a new home, this should not be a problem, but if you already have cookware for another cooktop, an induction cooktop will not be something that will be easy on your pocket.
All cookware items have some fundamental features and specifications. In fact, you can define any cookware item by judging it on the following parameters.
The primary function of a cookware item is cooking. Regardless of how good it looks and how long it will stay if it doesn’t cook well, it is useless. Therefore, the first thing that you must look at in a cookware item is the material that it is made of. Copper is the best conductor of heat while stainless steel appears at the rear end of the list. However, most cookware items available in the market today are clad cookware, which use multiple varieties of metals for construction.
No matter how appropriately a cookware item fits into your kitchen and irrespective of how much you love it, you cannot buy it if you cannot afford it. This makes the price of the cookware item an important point of consideration.
You will certainly not want to buy cookware items on a regular basis. Cookware is the type of item that you buy once in for all and hope that it lives for a long time. Therefore, durability is the third most important thing that you must consider. Out of the options available, stainless steel wins hands down on durability.
If the metal of your cookware item reacts with food, you will never be able to cook food in it and the whole purpose of its existence is defeated. Some metals, like aluminum, have a tendency to react with acidic and alkaline foods. However, anodized aluminum solves this issue. You may not really come across a cookware item that is reactive. However, it is an aspect of cookware that you must know.
Cookware can truly contend for the title of ‘the most washed items in a home’. This makes the aspect of maintenance particularly important. You cannot afford to leave your cookware unwashed just because it cannot be washed using simple methods and requires sophisticated polishing, like in the case of copper. If a cookware item is not easily maintainable, it is not practically usable. This is what has brought maintenance to this list of ‘must considers’. Of the available materials, the material that will spell ease for you is stainless steel. It can be easily washed with commonly available soap and water and requires no extra work.
It is important for you to realize that no material or cookware items can possess all the check-list points mentioned above. While some are leaders of one, others may ace the other point. Therefore, you must choose a cookware item that ‘aptly’ satisfies your requirements and possesses a majority of the qualities mentioned above.
The decision of whether you should buy the complete set right away or build it with time is something that haunts us all the time. If you look around, you will find a lot of deals on 7-piece or 10-piece sets. However, you should buy them only if you are sure that you need all the pieces that are a part of that set. Probability is high that you will be able to take only one or may be a couple of the pieces in your day to day use. As a result, you are not just wasting money, but you are also wasting the valuable space of your cabinet.
Therefore, it is advisable to build your set in time and buy only the things you require at the time when you require them. This is perhaps the only way by which you can ensure that you save on your time, money and cabinet space.
If you browse through the different cookware items available, you will realize for yourself that the range is diverse. With increasing competition between the big brands of the market has led to surprising innovation in this field. The fundamental word on which the cookware market is currently operating is ‘specialization’. Moreover, you can find anything from the regular skillet that you use on a daily basis to the special fish poachers, which have occasional use. Cookware items can be categorized on the basis of two main characteristics namely, functionality and material of constructions.
Some of the commonly used cookware items that you can easily sight in any home’s kitchen include –
- Skillet – This cookware item is a bare essential when it comes to day-to-day cooking. However, the size of skillet mainly depends on the usage and size of the family.
- Non-Stick Skillet – If you are a regular egg-eater, this is something that you cannot ignore. Typically, a skillet of 8-10 inches is considered the right size for cooking eggs.
- Dutch oven – One of the fundamental includes in the basic cookware range, a Dutch oven is something you will use while making stews and soups. Besides, it is also required for boiling potatoes and pasta.
- Saucepan – There are times when you have to cook only for yourself or a couple. In such cases, taking out the big armory may sound like a stupid idea. Therefore, you can choose to use a saucepan for cooking a small amount of soup or rice.
If you have gotten the four cookware items mentioned above, you have your basics done, and now is the time to look at your own specific requirements and buy items that can build on your collection. Some of the items that you can consider, include –
- Small Saucepan – This is one item that you may need for melting butter or boiling eggs.
- Wok – This is a must-have if your recipes regularly require you to stir fry.
- Cast-Iron Skillet – You can consider buying a 10-12 inch skillet of this type if making cornbread and searing meat are your regular cooking activities.
- Grill Pan – This shall be a suitable addition to your cookware collection and you can use it for the occasional indoor grilling experience.
- Frying Pan
- Stock Pot – This is a cookware that will fulfill all your boiling needs from preparing stock to boiling pasta. Besides, the fact that it is inexpensive and solves multiple purposes at once makes it a good buying option.
- Double Boiler – This cookware item is required for certain specialized purposes like melting chocolate or any other heating function where you cannot afford to bring the food item in direct contact with heat.
- Steamer Insert
This list describes just a few items that can be included in your collection. However, the list is not exhaustive, and there are innumerable other options that are also available.
The second type of classification is based on the material used for making the cookware item. The determining factor of how well your cookware item can cook is the metal used for making the cookware item. Heat conductivity is a characteristic of a metal and is a measure of how well it will transfer heat from the vessel to the food. Therefore, indirectly, it determines how well the food will be cooked. As part of the product specifications, you will also see a mention of the gauge of the metal. This parameter is the measure of the metal thickness.
Some of the metals that are commonly used for making cookware items include:
One of the primary reasons why aluminum is used for making cookware is because it is an excellent conductor of heat. Moreover, the metal is extremely sensitive to changes in temperature. Therefore, it heats up fast and cools down in much the same time.
Besides, the metal is durable and light weight. However, it suffers from one drawback. It is capable of reacting with acidic and alkaline foods. In order to address this issue, most aluminum cookware items are coated with a layer of steel or non-stick material.
Anodized Aluminum is the treated form of aluminum. The raw version is made to undergo an electrochemical process as a result of which the metal becomes resistant to scratches and non-reactive to acidic and alkaline foods. In addition, the anodizing process also gives the metal a non-stick surface. Aluminum is capable of corroding especially after regular use. The process of anodizing aluminum seals the base metal and prevents it from corroding into your food.
If there is one material that retains heats the best and ensures that your food is evenly cooked, it is cast iron. The metal is durable, thick and heavy. Although, it may take a decent amount of time to heat up, its ability to retain the heat and distribute it evenly makes it apt for cooking. Two variants of this type of cookware are available namely, enamel coated cast iron and regular cast iron. The cookware items made out of this material are particularly useful for purposes like deep frying and preparing stews.
Copper is being used for making cookware items since the beginning of time and is excellent when it comes to conduction, distribution and retention of heat. However, this metal suffers from an inherent issue. It is highly vulnerable to scratches and dents. Besides, the metal is expensive and out of reach for many. Therefore, to make the benefits of the metal available to all, only a layer of copper is used at the base of some cookware items.
The latest and commonest material used for cookware items manufacturing is stainless steel. The material is highly durable, resistive to rusting and corroding and non-reactive to food substances. However, stainless steel is not such a good conductor of heat, and this is perhaps the reason why it is used, in combination with other materials, to make cookware items that are most appropriate for kitchen use.
Non-stick cookware made from Teflon can be harmful to your health. Therefore, the best available alternative for this is titanium cookware. This cookware cooks real fast and is extremely easy to maintain. However, it suffers from one inherent weakness. The material is highly susceptible to hotspots.
If you are looking for cookware items that are free of any chemicals and are made from natural materials, ceramic cookware is your pick. In addition to being completely safe for use, these cookware items are available in beautiful designs and colors. The modern day variants of these cookware items can be used with glass-tops, flame-tops and ovens.
Deciding on which cookware item you need and should buy is entirely your decision and largely depends on your requirements and expectations from the item. There are several factors, which determine if a cookware item is right for you or not. These factors include the time you spend in the kitchen, your expertise at cooking and the amount of money you are willing to shell out for buying cookware.
If your considerations are affordable prices, higher usability and enhanced flexibility in functioning, steel cookware is a good option for you to explore. Steel Cookware rules the roost if you look at the advantages that it is capable of offering. However, one drawback that this cookware item suffers from is that steel, as a material, is not a good conductor of heat. As a result, your food may be cooked unevenly and inappropriately at time.
An alternative that addresses this issue of steel cookware is clad cookware. This cookware type is made from layers of different metals. One of the most popular variant that incorporates this style is steel cookware with a copper or aluminium layered base. Copper is a better metal when it comes to conducting heat and shall present better results. However, it is also the more expensive variant. In addition to these, there are some interesting materials like titanium and ceramic that you can also consider.
Once you know what material is the best for you and suits your budget requirements the best, you can look for the type the cookware item that you believe your kitchen is lacking. If you do not wish to waste your time and money buying an item that you will never use and will just be another item stocked in your cabinet space, you must take your time before making a decision. They only way by which you can ensure that your cookware items perform well and stay for a long time is to choose a cookware item you need, buy a good quality item and follow the usage instructions given by the manufacturer.
Choosing the right cookware for your home is not an easy task and might take some effort on your part. The market is flooded with brands that deal in cookware, and this makes the choice all the more difficult. With all the different designs and materials available, you must base your decision on two main factors, budget and your requirements. In a nutshell, you can make a well informed decision only after you are sure about these two factors.
Before you decide to go shopping for cookware, take a little time and think about the item that you need and buy it. It is not advisable to make bulk purchases of 10-piece or 12-piece sets as you may never need some of the things that it has. Although, price-wise, individual pieces may seem expensive, they will prove to be cheaper in the long run. When buying cookware, it is always best to look for an item that is ‘value for money’.