I’ve written articles on supplying your kitchen with basic food supplies, spices, cooking utensils and knives. Now let’s get the pots and pans you’ll need to use those ingredients and spices.
Novices to accomplished cooks need the basics… Roasters… Sauce Pans… Skillets.
ROASTERS… You’ll want a roaster with a high cover. The typical roaster is rectangular shape with low sides. The low sides allow to fully cover the meat. You also want a rack to allow the meat to be suspended above its juices and fat drippings. Roasting pans with a domed lid are often oval shaped and again… you get one with a rack for the same reasons.
SAUCEPANS & SAUCEPOTS… Round pots with high, straight sides and a flat bottom. Saucepans can be used from everything to boiling some water, heating up some soup or making sauces. Depending on your intended uses, they come in a variety of sizes with tight fitting lid. Larger saucepots have a long handle and a loop type handle on the other end to help when lifting off the stove.
SKILLET (“a/k/a” FRYING PAN)… Both have a flat bottom… short sloped sides to make it easy to toss or turn food. Similar to pots above skillets (and frying pans) come a variety of sizes depending on your needs and don’t forget a lid.
Depending on your cooking interests, you may want to go beyond the “basics”.
DOUBLE BOILER… Essentially two saucepans with a slightly smaller top pan resting inside the larger lower pan. Once you’ve used one, you’ll probably become a fan. Water in heated in the bottom pan and used to gently melt chocolate or make a delicate sauce.
DUTCH OVENS… Round or oval shaped, come with a lid and are heavy weight pots. Cast iron is a better quality Dutch oven and preferred by cooks. Again, they come in a variety of sizes, usually measured in “quarts”. You can roast, make stew, braise your favorite meats or make your favorite soup.
SAUTE PAN… Very similar to your skillet/frying pan, but your skillet may have slightly higher sides while a sauté pan may be shallower. As usual… get a lid and pick your desired size.
STOCKPOT… A large round pot with a lid… deeper than it is wide with straight sides. This is the pot for making stock, your favorite soups or stews. Get one with a pasta insert to make it “multi-purpose” and avoid need for a colander or strainer.
CASSEROLE PAN… Can be round or oval or rectangular. The pots/pans described above generally come in a metal material. Casserole pans can be metal, glass, clay or ceramic. Used in the oven, this is the pan for your tasty lasagna or other “casserole” dish. Unlike all the above… no lid.
A Final Thought… Depending on your cooking interest and personal budget, you can get budget priced versions or more expensive brands. In the case of Dutch ovens and casserole pans, you can find very attractive, colorful styles that go from stove/oven to your table top for an attractive presentation of your meal. You put in the effort… get some compliments from your family or friends (besides how good the dish tastes!)