The Best Pots, Pans and Kitchen Cookware

illustration by shore creative

Most of us probably don’t have a set of impeccable copper cookware and every size cast iron pan, Ina and Martha definitely do. But the truth is you don’t need to have a full set of brand new pots and pans or every fancy cookware item to make delicious food, you just need a few staples that work. Great kitchen cookware is something you can accumulate over time, and it makes cooking more fun. It doesn’t hurt to keep your kitchen color scheme in mind when shopping for cookware, or stick to classic neutrals that will always be timeless. Here’s the pots, pans and cookware Jess and I use and love in our own kitchens:

Jess

Le Creuset Dutch Oven

This is one of my favorite kitchen cookware items. When I want to do a slow cook recipe, especially on the weekends, I love having this simmering on the stove or slow cooking in the oven. I definitely notice better and more flavorful dishes when we use the dutch oven and it’s so beautiful to look at I don’t mind just leaving it out on the stove, and serving from it if we have guests.

Lodge 12 inch Cast Iron Skillet

We LOVE this thing and cook with it several times a week. It’s so good for cooking a meal in one dish and it comes preseasoned. If you care for these properly they will last forever. We’ve had ours for several years and it’s still good as new.

Copper Sauce Pot

Ok so I actually am one of those people that has a full set of copper cookware, haha. But of all the pots and pans, we use the copper sauce pot the most. So great for making soups, sauces or even pasta, it has amazing heat distribution and has kept me from burning pretty much anything I’ve ever cooked in it.

Pizza Stone

This was America’s Test Kitchen’s top pizza stone recommendation so I ordered it over the summer and not surprisingly, it did not disappoint. Craig loves to make homemade pizza and this works great for a crispy thin crust every time.

SILPAT Silicone Baking Sheet Liner

If you like to bake, these are a MUST. Nothing better for baking cookies but they’re also great for roasting veggies like potatoes and they’re super easy to clean. So much better than using parchment paper that you have to throw away after every use. These will last for years.

Caylin

Staub Dutch Oven and Staub Braising Pan

I’m definitely a Staub girl over Le Creuset. I love the more earthy neutrals they’re available in and there’s a wider range of hardware choices (I love the gold knobs). They brown and cook things evenly and I love that I can easily go from stovetop to oven easily. While they’re pricey, these are pieces you’ll have forever if you take care of them.

Pyrex Casserole Dishes

Pyrex lasts forever. These tough glass pans work perfectly for roasting veggies, making casseroles, enchiladas, or stuffings. It can handle high heat too. The vintage patterns are beautiful, I inherited a set from my grandmother and it still holds up.

Garlic Press

I hate mincing garlic. Hate it. So when a recipe calls for minced garlic I use my garlic press or a microplane instead. Some people hate them because they’re hard to clean? But I don’t understand it. It makes mincing a whole bunch of garlic much easier. A microplane works well if you need very finely minced garlic, like for a salad dressing.

Avery Ceramic Bakeware Set

I’ve bought more than one set of these nesting bakeware sets, they come in pretty colors and can go right from the oven to the table. Plus, they’re pretty inexpensive. The varied sizes make cooking for one or a crowd, very easy.

Duralex Stacking Glass Bowls with Lids

I’m a big fan of any serving dish that comes with a lid, so when dinner is over, all you need to do is put a lid on the leftovers. These glass bowls are durable and their variety of sizes work for sides, salads, or pre-measuring ingredients.

Metal Mixing Bowls (set)

Again, the different sizes make these bowls endlessly useful. I’ve had my set for well over ten years and they come in handy for dishes with a few moving parts. So a large stuffing or keeping wet and dry ingredients separate. With so many sizes you don’t need to use a massive bowl for something tiny and vise versa.

We Both Recommend

Wooden Spoons

I love how substantial these IKEA wooden spoons are. If you’ve ever worked chocolate chips into a thick muffin batter and felt like a flimsy wooden spoon would snap, these are for you. Plus they’re so affordable!

Tongs

It’s helpful to have a few pairs of tongs in the kitchen. They’re one of the most versatile tools, for everything from flipping braising meats to tossing salads to mixing longer pasta noodles to help the sauce coat evenly. Invest in a few sizes, especially if you want to use them for serving as well, some will work better in different serveware.

Nordic Ware Baking Pans

You know that popping sound that comes from your oven when you put a cheap pan in? You shouldn’t need to worry about your Brussel sprouts flying all over your oven. Buying tougher sheet pans prove endlessly useful for everything from slab pies to roasted veggies.

Kitchen Cookware Favorites

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