Some people think buying a cookware set is not a good idea and it’s better to buy individual pots and pans. But is that a correct assessment? Maybe, and maybe not. Here’s a review of those assessments.
Advantages of Buying Cookware Sets
These sets can be very economical. Some sets are such a good deal that you can get a complete pots and pans set for the price you would pay for one pot or pan if purchased individually.
And in addition to being a good buy, with sets you get matching items which is much more attractive than having a mix-match combination of different sizes and materials sitting on your stovetop.
Even when a set has items in the line that you could purchase separately, perhaps with the intention of expanding on it later, there is a good chance the items you want at a later date are no longer available or you can’t locate them.
For those who are making their first purchase of cooking ware, it generally makes more sense to go with a set especially if cost is a primary consideration.
Sets are also great gifts for college students or those moving into their first home.
Advantages of Buying Individual Pots and Pans
But what if the set doesn’t have one item that you really need, or has it in a smaller size than you want. If you have specific needs and know exactly what you are looking for, it makes more sense to purchase that item rather than being stuck with a lot of pieces you do not want.
Another instance where you may want to go with individual items is when a set that you would love to have is beyond your budget. Just owning one piece that you will use a lot, can get you into that cookware line and perhaps later on you can add to it.
Still another example of purchasing a single item is when you are not sure what brand you like best and you want to first try different brands before committing to a number of pieces from one specific line.
So Which Is Better Sets or Individual Pots and Pans
The best way to approach buying new cookware is to decide what pieces you really need and in what size. If you find sets that have the main items you want, then by all means, it may be the better choice–you’ll get what you are looking for along with a few other pieces which you can consider a bonus. So first look at sets to see if they have the main piece or pieces that you have in mind and make your decision from there.
However, if while reviewing sets you see that they have two frying pans and you find you have absolutely no need for another frying pan, then you may want to go with purchasing your items one-by-one.
Basic Pots and Pans Every Kitchen Should Have
Most kitchens need some basic items to perform everyday cooking duties. Here is a list of common pieces found in most homes and how you can use them :
I can’t imagine any kitchen that does not have a saucepan of some size. These work horses are normally used for cooking and heating foods that have a liquid base. The 1 quart size is very small (holds about 4 cups of liquid) and you’ll often find this and a slightly larger size included in sets. There is not a lot you can do with it and is why many feel cookware sets are not a good deal because you may get can get an unnecessary item like this. If you think you will use a saucepan a lot, look for sets that have at least a 2.5 quart size if you are cooking for more than two people.
I think of the saute pan and frying pan or skillet as the same thing, but technically they are not. They are both similar in function. The saute pan has straight sides whereas a frying pan or skillet has curved sides. The advantages of straight sides is that you have more control in keeping your ingredients from winding up over the sides of the pan. They also have a larger and flatter surface enabling you to fit more food into it. Most come with tight-fitting lids It’s a good choice for braising and cooking meats or for one pot meals.
Skillet or Frying Pan
After the saucepan, I think the frying pan (or skillet as it is also called) is the most used piece of cooking ware in the kitchen. In addition to cooking and frying meats, it is used to make pancakes, eggs and for warming foods. It is not odd to have at least two sizes included in sets–an 8 inch and 10 inch. The 10 inch size could cook perhaps four small steaks. The smaller 8 inch size is only large enough to prepare a single serving size.
Think of the stockpot as a larger version of the saucepan. So if you have only small size saucepans, a stockpot can be called into duty when you need to prepare larger portions.
Perhaps casserole are not considered basic, but I included them in this list because one of the most popular low cost brands available online includes them in their sets rather than saute pans.
When I think of casserole cookware the first thing that comes to my mind is a ceramic-type container. However you can find these in stainless steel, too, an advantage over the more fragile ceramic ware.
Casserole pans are similar to saute pans with sometimes higher sides that are also straight. They’re great for one pot meals and can easily go from the stovetop or oven to the table when made of stainless steel and will look very attractive as part of a table setting.
Which Type of Cookware Should You Buy
The deciding factor in choosing the best type of cookware for your kitchen is to choose according to needs. You should determine whether or not you want to accumulate a variety in types and sizes as soon as possible at a good price or whether you are willing to take a slower approach to building up the best pots and pans for your kitchen collection.