Special Nonexistent Furniture

Common Cookware Q&A

We answer your top 11 questions about cookware.


1. What are the most used cookware pieces in the kitchen?

We recommend these five pots and pans to make the majority of dishes:
  1. Sauce Pan (about 4 quarts)
  2. Stockpot (for soups, sauces, and broths)
  3. Sauté Pan
  4. Frying Pan (about 10 inches)
  5. Dutch Oven (about 5 quarts) 

These pieces come in sets and are available individually. Depending on the dishes and meals your family cooks the most, there are cookware sets to fit every need. You can buy these pots and pans individually to skip or purchase multiples of various pieces. 

2. What items are included in the common cookware set?

​Most cookware sets come with eight to 10 pieces, although sets can range from two pieces to 14 or more pieces. Items included in common cookware sets are:
  • Sauce Pan
  • Saute Pan
  • Frying Pan
  • Dutch Oven
  • Lid for each piece
Larger sets have additional combinations that might include multiple sizes of frying pans, sauce pots, baking sheets, steamers, and cooking utensils.

3. What size Dutch oven do I need?

Dutch ovens come in many colors and finishes, but most are round, lidded, and made of cast iron. Other options are made of stainless steel, aluminum, stoneware, glass, or terracotta. Popular Dutch oven features and options include induction-safe, enamel-coated, non-stick, and eco-friendly. 

Less than
2 Qt.
2-5 Qt.5-8 Qt.8-10 Qt.10+ Qt.
ideal for side dishes, sauces, rice, individual mealsgreat for meats, soups, stews, and side dishes for a few peopleperfect for soups, stews, large cuts of meat, and side dishes for a familygood for a large family or for extra servingsgreat for entertaining a large group, or for doubling recipes

4. Can I mix and match cookware or do I need to buy a set of just one material? 

Buying a cookware set is a great way to get your kitchen started because you will often save money. But having a diverse collection of cookware is essential to meet all your cooking needs. You will definitely want a non-stick frying pan. Stainless steel sauce pans and a cast iron Dutch oven will get a lot of use as well!


5. Can the surface of non-stick cookware scratch off? 

Yes, non-stick cookware can easily be scratched with metal utensils. To prevent this, use wood, plastic, or silicone utensils. Also, avoid harsh abrasives like steel wool when cleaning. Some non-stick cookware is more durable if it has been treated with additional layers of non-stick coating. If you prefer cooking with non-stick cookware, think about investing in a high quality set. 

6. Is non-stick safe?

Yes, as long as it does not become overheated (meaning above 500 degrees F). Over high heat, empty lighter pans (aluminum) take just two minutes and empty heavy pans (cast iron) take less than ten minutes to overheat. Keep your family safe by:

  • Not heating empty pans
  • Not using lightweight pans
  • Using low and medium heat, instead of high heat
  • Keeping the kitchen ventilated
  • Replacing old pots and pans every three years or as wear and tear occurs

7. How do you season a cast iron pan?

Before using your cast iron pan or skillet, heat it until very hot then with a paper towel rub a little oil—vegetable, flaxseed, canola, or shortening are great options. Let it cool, then repeat the process two to three times. This helps to build a plastic-like layer of oil that bonds with the metal of the pan. 

To clean the cast iron after using, scrub and rinse with a soapy sponge and water. Re-season the pan after washing. The pan will remain seasoned if you use it frequently. Always store in a dry place. 


8. Can enamel cookware be used in the oven? 

Yes, enamel cookware can be used in the oven. Make sure to read the instructions that come with your cookware. Some handles are coated with plastic or silicone that are not oven-safe.

9. What is an induction stove top and what kind of cookware works on it?

Induction cooking technology is an alternative to gas or electric. Benefits of induction stove tops include: faster heating (50 percent faster than other stove tops), quickly reached precise temperature, and safe cool-to-touch surfaces.

Only induction-safe cookware can be used with induction cooktops. These specialized flat-bottomed pots and pans are magnetically inducted (rather than thermally conducted) and made of ferrous metal such as cast iron and stainless steel. 


10. Why is stainless steel cookware so popular? 

Stainless steel is very durable; it will not rust or erode over time. It is also easy to clean (it can go in the dishwasher), and it cooks food quickly. Perhaps the biggest reason people love stainless steel cookware is that it can be used on any type of stove top and in the oven. 

11. What size roasting pan do I need?

Measure your oven before purchasing a roasting pan. The largest roasting pans do not fit in all ovens, so check interior height, width, and depth including racks and heating elements. Some people prefer medium to large roasting pans as they can be used for more multiple size dishes throughout the year (not just for a big turkey or ham during the holidays), while small roasting pans can only be used for a small dishes.

Use this chart as your guide to determine what size roasting pan is right for your kitchen:

0 - 10 inches10 - 15 inches15- 20 inches20+ inches 
Ideal for cooking
pasta dishes, casseroles, vegetables, 
small poultry, or a 
water bath for custards
Great for cooking for a small group, medium-sized (10-14 pounds) poultry or meat Great for a holiday family party, average sized-turkey (16 pounds), or other meat for family gatheringPerfect for entertaining, holiday dishes, and extra-large turkey, poultry, or other meat (20+ pounds)
1 or 2 people4 people10 people20 people

Some roasting pans can be used on the stove top as well, which is helpful for making gravy and sauce. Most roasting pans have handles, but not all do. 

Other popular features are dishwasher safe, non-stick, rack included, cover included, induction safe, and enamel-coated. Using a rack (traditional V-shaped or vertical can-shape) is up to your cooking preference. Some people find that the meat is roasted better with a rack because the hot air is circulated evenly, while others think that the drippings dry out quicker than if the meat is placed directly on the pan. Dark surface pans generally cook foods faster and brown better than glass or polished roasting pans. 
    Casseroles, Dutch Ovens & Braisers
    Cookware Sets
    Roasting Pans
    Sauce Pans And Sauciers

Share your thoughts!
Leave a note Was this article helpful?
4 People Liked This!