When you want to stock your kitchen with cookware, you’ll want to have pieces that will allow you to make all different kinds of dishes without having to buy dozens of different pots and pans. Whether you are putting together every kitchen’s needs from nothing, replacing items that have worn out over time, or just having a clear-out to free up space, it’s useful to know what pieces of cookware are essential to every kitchen’s needs.
Here are the main pieces of cookware that every kitchen’s needs.
A cast-iron skillet (10 or 12 inches)
Cast iron is fabulous for searing steaks, as it retains heat and can withstand high temperatures. You can also use cast iron for slow cooking, baking, deep frying – in short, for just about everything. Fry eggs and bacon for breakfast, whip up a pan pizza or prepare a delicious stir-fry.
The beauty of heavy cast iron is that it lasts for years and years if you look after it properly. You will need to season your skillet and care for it, but it is an excellent piece of equipment with lots of functions.
A Dutch oven
A Dutch oven is excellent for any dish that requires you to sear meat and then slow cook it. For example, pot roast or other meat stews are perfect in a Dutch oven. You can make hearty soups, chilis, and even desserts.
Dutch ovens will work well on the stovetop as well as in the oven.
You don’t need to appreciate a stir-fry to use a wok. Woks are fabulous for any deep frying you want to do since the high sides make it easy to deep fry a large quantity of food without using too much oil. You won’t have to worry about splatters of oil, either. Woks are also useful for smoking, braising, and steaming food.
For best results, get a cast-iron wok that will retain heat all up the sides. Woks are not made for use on electric or induction burners, however.
A tagine pot
A tagine pot is unique in that its conical-shaped lid keeps in moisture and circulates it around the food to make for flavorful dishes. Not just for Moroccan tagine, this pot lends itself well to any slow-cooked dish.
Unlike a wok, a tagine pot can be used on gas, ceramic, and electric stovetops, as well as in the oven. Some heavy-duty (not hand-painted) models like the one at https://unocasa.com/products/tagine-pot can also be used over a fire, as they will withstand heat up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
A large stockpot
It’s always a really good idea to have a massive pot for those massively big jobs. For instance, you can cook five pounds of pasta in one go for those large parties. Or make meat stock with your saved chicken or meat scraps. Or boil an entire ham. You get the picture.
A large stockpot is perfect when you need to boil or simmer large quantities of food without having to sear or sauté anything. No need to worry about heat distribution as the liquid will distribute the heat for you, so you don’t need one made of cast iron. Anything sturdy will do, as long as the metal is thick enough not to burn the food on the bottom of the pot.
Rimmed baking sheets
Rimmed baking sheets are perfect for baking trays of cookies, crisping up veggies such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, or cubed potatoes, or even roasting a whole chicken. The best rimmed baking sheets are lightweight and durable, and they should last a long time.
Be sure to have at least two so that you can use one for baking and one for roasting (roasting can be tough on baking sheets over time.)
A large roasting pan
For larger pieces of meat such as large turkeys, you’ll want a large roasting pan with high enough sides to retain your meat’s cooking juices. A large roasting pan will also allow you to roast your veggies together with your meat, saving you time.
You can also use a large roasting pan to make big batches of lasagna or large casseroles. Choose a roasting pan with a heavy bottom, which has riveted handles for a comfortable grip every kitchen’s needs. Check the size of your oven before buying, though (a commonly used size is 16 by 13 inches). Get one without a nonstick surface if you can, as these are better for making sauces with the meat juices.