The Pots & Pans You Should Register For

What pots and pans you should register for

As someone who loves to cook but had relied on hand-me-down kitchen items most of my life, I was enthused to get some really great, brand-new kitchen pots and pans when my husband and I registered for wedding gifts.

Yet, I found myself unsure about registering for a set of pots versus registering individually, stick versus non-stick, which brand, which size, which price point, etc.! It’s a lot. Eventually, I found what Cook’s Illustrated themselves uses and recommends, and I tweaked it for our kitchen. Here were some general parameters I decided on:

  • I registered for pots and pans piecemeal rather than for a set. I read that sets often come with extra odd pots that aren’t very useful and take up space. Also, certain brands excel at different types of pots and pans. Add to that, I was concerned that the expense of a set might mean we’d end up with no pots and pans at all.
  • I love to cook, so we decided our pots and pans would be splurge items. You need to decide if they are important enough to you to go for the higher price point. Wedding registry price points should vary, and you don’t want to go high-end for everything. I will say this: I haven’t burned any food since we’ve gotten fancy pots and pans. These are some really well-made items that assist with my cooking even more than I imagined.
  • The bulk of our pots and pans are All-Clad. Mauviel is also very good high-end brand. We rounded out our registry with Le Creuset and Lodge pieces.
  • We opted for stick (so, cast iron or stainless steel) as opposed to non-stick, almost entirely. You can get a better sear and crust on your food with a stick pan, and there are chemicals in non-stick that has raised concerns over the years.
  • We decided against the copper bottom pans, which is an even better conductor of heat than stainless steel. I have one I inherited, and it’s amazing, but they put us in a price range we weren’t comfortable with.

Here are our pots and pans, at Sur La Table, Macy’s and Amazon, and my recommendations for tweaks.

All-Clad Stainless Steel 3 Qt. Covered Saucepan — This is a go-to pan for us.

All-Clad® Stainless Steel Saucier, 3 qt. — This is handy for custards and sauces because the curves along the side of this pan keep them from collecting and congealing in the edges. Full disclosure: We own the 2-quart saucier because I felt it was silly to have two similar pans, a saucepan and a saucier, that both held 3 quarts. But I’ve already once made a sauce that didn’t fit into my 2-quart. If you only want to register for a saucepan or a saucier, the saucier strikes me as more versatile.

All-Clad® Stir-Fry Pan, 14″ — If you stir fry, you need a big stir-fry pan.

All-Clad Stainless Steel 12″ Fry Pan — This is used for quick cooking over high heat. Also called a skillet. It has curved sides and is great for flipping items if you’re good at that sort of thing (I am not), and it’s actually better for sautéing than the sauté pan below.

All-Clad Stainless Steel 3 Qt. Covered Sauté Pan — This is similar to the fry pan because it’s a low flat pan but with straight sides as opposed to the curves of a fry pan. The straight edges are better for simmering food in a sauce, like a braise. Also, it comes with a lid, which is handy. So if you want just one low, flat plan, I recommend the sauté pan over the fry pan.

All-Clad Stainless 10-inch Nonstick Skillet — We got one nonstick because they’re good for cooking items that need gentle heat, like eggs.

Lodge Logic™ Skillet, 12” — This is our fried chicken skillet. Cast iron keeps oil under control and gives meats a really nice crust. Cook’s Illustrated recommends at least one cast iron skillet in your arsenal. If you don’t want chicken to be cramped when cooking, this is a good skillet, but you could probably get away with the 10 inch too.

Lodge Logic™ Rectangular Grill & Griddle Pan — This one is probably the least essential of the group, but we don’t have a grill, and it let’s us pretend we do. It comes in handy.

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron 7.25 Qt. Round French Oven — This was the priciest item we registered for, and I love it with all my heart. Having a large item that can go from stove top to oven has been a game-changer for me. It also creates an impressive crispy crust on a piece of unbattered chicken. Lodge also makes an enameled cast iron Dutch oven at a lower price point.

By all means, share your go-to pots and pans as well! And check out my vaguely related Pinterest board on gift ideas (more for birthdays and hostesses than for weddings).

It's good etiquette to share what you like!

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