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Looking for decent quality pots and pans that won't break the bank.  We want to upgrade from the store brand odds and ends we have now.  We would prefer something with a decent bottom and we have an electric stove.  Any suggestions?

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Posted (edited)

Cuisinart Multiclad Pro.  I have the French Classic, which appears to be the same apart from country of origin and price. 

Quality is excellent.  Tri ply.  Induction ready.

Edited by dcbc

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We've had that Cuisinart set forever (very solid), but I'm now on team carbon steel.  The stuff that you can buy at restaurant stores like Ace Mart.  Season them up and they are indestructible.  I've been using those pans for everything from omelettes to steaks during the shutdown.

 

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We bought a set of All Clad Copper Core when they were on sale for half price at Christmas. With a gas stove, these things have been awesome. It makes me wonder why I cooked with crappy cookware all these years.

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I just recently got a smoking deal on a 10 piece All-Clad set from Bloomingdales.com.  Already the same low sale price as others, +25% off, +free shipping.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, DalTxHornFan said:

We've had that Cuisinart set forever (very solid), but I'm now on team carbon steel.  The stuff that you can buy at restaurant stores like Ace Mart.  Season them up and they are indestructible.  I've been using those pans for everything from omelettes to steaks during the shutdown.

 

I've got two Matfer Bourgeat carbon steel pans, which are excellent for what they're excellent for.  But a good baseline of stainless tri-clad is a good thing to have as well.  No need to buy a set, but the separates aren't cheap.  Saute pan, a couple of sauce pans, a largish frying pan and a big pot in stainless is a good separate set.

Edited by dcbc

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its process of elimination.  you're looking for something that's not fragile.  meaning :

  • no special coatings that chip off (nonstick). 
  • thick so it doesnt warp but not heavy as shit (cast iron). 
  • no plastics to melt. 
  • no weird material that is reactive (pure allum) or requires special maintenance (carbon steel).

 

the best all-around is cladded stuff with stainless steel on the outside aka "tri-ply".  it's medium pricey.  you could get away with aluminum but just be cautious of not cooking too acidic stuff on it like heavy tomato sauce.

 

alluminum starter set:

https://www.webstaurantstore.com/choice-aluminum-6-piece-pot-pan-set/471POTSET6PCKIT.html

cladded/tri-ply stuff:

https://www.webstaurantstore.com/2705/fry-pans.html?filter=material:tri-ply

 

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, CooterBrown said:

Piece together higher quality odds and ends. Sets are a waste of money.

^ This is the correct answer.

Wish I'd done that.  After some exhaustive research, we bit the bullet and went with this set from Costco.  Figured it should be the last set we'll ever need and can last us almost a lifetime.  Problem was, we really didn't take into account what we used and what we didn't use for pans.  About a year after owning that set, there are probably 2-3 that we never use and we've had to purchase an additional 2-3 because it didn't have what we really wanted.  If I had it to do over, I'd piece it together based on what we use.

All that being said, Calphalon is good shit and I'd definitely buy that brand again.  And if you're stuck on getting a set, Costco did seem to be the place to get the best bang for your buck when we did all that research on it.  They have several different sets that all seem pretty good for the money.

Edited by Landomatic

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While I agree that buying a set is often a waste, I bought a different grouping of this stuff several years ago. I've added a few more pieces along the way. Stainless steel with a copper core. Looks nice, cooks nice, not expensive. (You can get the set for the price of a single AllClad stock pot.)

Try a small sauce pan and see if it works for you. 

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Whatever you do, don’t skimp on quality. High quality cookware will last a lifetime. We’ve had our All-clad stainless for 30 years and they are like new. We bought the standard 10 piece set and we use them all. I’ve added another 3 quart sauce pan and two sizes of nonstick skillets, a ceramic coated dutch oven, a wok, and that’s it.

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14 hours ago, gsoda3 said:

hexclad.  they're magic.

I just bought a hex clad skillet and I am pretty impressed. Sears and browns like cast iron, but that thing is totally non stick too.  Pretty amazing. 

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1 hour ago, HouTex said:

Whatever you do, don’t skimp on quality. High quality cookware will last a lifetime. We’ve had our All-clad stainless for 30 years and they are like new. 

This will sound stupid, but how do you keep it from staining?  I've had some good-to-great stainless skillets in the past, although never All-Clad, and eventually they'd get brown spots that were extremely difficult to remove.

Is that a quality issue or is it user error?  As in, not cooking with enough oil or butter, etc.?

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

This will sound stupid, but how do you keep it from staining?  I've had some good-to-great stainless skillets in the past, although never All-Clad, and eventually they'd get brown spots that were extremely difficult to remove.

Is that a quality issue or is it user error?  As in, not cooking with enough oil or butter, etc.?

Get some of the barkeepers friend liquid cleaner. I use that to clean seared on grease and polish my copper pans. Stuff will take grease and stains off anything and make them look new again. 

Edited by pepper brooks

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Well, shit.  Maybe I shouldn't have tossed those skillets.

I have a bunch of Lodge cast iron stuff and use it almost exclusively, although I stick to the enameled version for acidic foods.  The weight doesn't bother me, but it would be nice to just throw the things in soapy water now and again.

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Another vote for all clad. We bought our set back when sets weren't 40% useless pieces, then added others as needed. A high percentage were bought just after christmas. They're expensive, but judicious shopping can get you a complete set without killing the bank. We're done buying cookware for the rest of our lives.

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2 hours ago, Landomatic said:

Wish I'd done that.  After some exhaustive research, we bit the bullet and went with this set from Costco.  Figured it should be the last set we'll ever need and can last us almost a lifetime. 

i don't know if they're meant to be lifetime.  we have one of their pots.  it went about 5 years before the scratches (we used wooden cooking utensils) started bothering me.  we still use it although sparingly now (we've had it probably 10 years now?) but i probably should have replaced it years ago.    

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4 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

  The weight doesn't bother me, but it would be nice to just throw the things in soapy water now and again.

Cast iron can and should be washed after every use. Once it's properly seasoned (grapeseed oil) there's no problem...put it back on a low heat burner to dry.

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3 minutes ago, pepper brooks said:

Get some of the barkeepers friend liquid cleaner.

the discoloration and spotting and hazing is mostly to due with mineral residuals ... sorta unavoidable, but functionally doesnt harm. 

but either of these 2 things will get any SS surface back nice and sparkly. 

 

re: buying sets, yes the 15-piece 20-piece sets are mostly a profit add-on for the retailer, especially if you already have cookware.  but if you are starting from SCRATCH, the smaller sets are really basic stuff that are indispensable.  everyone needs a large and a small skillet.  everyone needs a standard sauce pan and a tall stock pot. 

its only when they tack on things like braziers and sauciers that you start questioning the value

 

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I buy pieces as needed from Marshall’s / tj max / Ross / Costco / amazon 

you end up with stuff you need / want.

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1 hour ago, jimmyjazz said:

Are the Vollrath products from AceMart equal to All-Clad?

i use my vollrath more than my all-clads.  takes a beating keeps on ticking.  

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13 minutes ago, gsoda3 said:

i use my vollrath more than my all-clads.  takes a beating keeps on ticking.  

Got any with the plasticized handles?  I wonder how well those deal with oven heat.

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I've been getting a few things from Made In Cookware.  I have a medium sauce pan and a stock pot that are stainless all-clad, a large non-stick frying pan, and a carbon steel roasting pan.  The carbon steel shows discoloration with use, but there's a cleaning solution that gets it looking close to new.  They're pricier than some of the other brands recommended on this thread, but as someone else said, I don't like to go cheap on cookware as I use it all the time and want it to last. 

Link

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Posted (edited)

While buying piecemeal will mean getting just what you want, agree with above that if you're starting from scratch, a small stainless set won't have much useless stuff in there.

I'm here to tell you, while All-Clad may be the gold standard, this stuff is well built and reasonably priced by comparison.

Multiclad Pro 10 pc set

Edited by dcbc

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4 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

This will sound stupid, but how do you keep it from staining?  I've had some good-to-great stainless skillets in the past, although never All-Clad, and eventually they'd get brown spots that were extremely difficult to remove.

Is that a quality issue or is it user error?  As in, not cooking with enough oil or butter, etc.?

By good as new, I was referring to the sauce pans.  They are pretty much spotless after 30 years of use.  The SS fry pans will develop a nice patina if you let them.  Otherwise, the Bartender's stuff will get them back to looking brand new if that is your preference.  

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For the money you'd spend on a set, you can cover more ground piecemeal. For high quality and budget friendly I'd recommend:

Lodge cast iron skillet (10-12" depending on the number of folks you regularly cook for.)

Lodge enameled cast iron dutch oven as big as you can handle (this item is a workhorse, and anything you may get from a set is shit by comparison to even the most budget friendly standalone option)

Cheap non-stick skillet(s) (go for an OG non-stick coating and not some new fangled gimmick. I say two because I like a big one for family meals, and a 10" one for frying eggs and making omelets. I've got some fancy cookware, but these are the beauties I leave sitting out on the stove.)

3 quart sauce pan with lid (Heavy bottom is important, copper is good, clad with stainless is great. Of all the pieces, this is where you want to splurge on quality.)

Carbon steel wok (don't bother if you have an electric range, just use the big non-stick instead.)

Big ass stock pot with a lid

You can cook just about anything with the above items. I don't think a stainless steel skillet is essential if you can handle the cast iron, but it's probably the next piece.

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3 hours ago, tx 3 putt said:

I buy pieces as needed from Marshall’s / tj max / Ross 

Same. Pick up a cast iron and a XXXL Tweety Bird and Taz t-shirt for under 9 dollars. 

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Mark me down for the piece it together route. I have a large all clad skillet that was a gift to me years ago that I use often and absolutely love, but sometimes it's too big for the simple job I'm doing in which case I will use one of my smaller pans. A couple of years ago I bought a 9" stainless steel sautee/frying pan from Ikea for like $40 and it's been a workhorse for me in my kitchen. I use it all the time, along with the $15 non stick skillet I bought at Restaurant Depot for cooking eggs and whatnot. Between those pans, my big ass All Clad, my small all clad sauce pan, and my Le Creuset dutch oven, I'm set. I guess I could add a wok but i don't find myself needing one often. 

And of course a cast iron skillet is an absolute must imo and something you will come to cherish over the years as you use it and it develops its own story. I ground down all the factory shit off my Lodge recently and have been using it non stop ever since to give it a good seasoned base. I use it for almost everything lately. 

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20 hours ago, Brew said:

We bought a set of All Clad Copper Core when they were on sale for half price at Christmas. With a gas stove, these things have been awesome. It makes me wonder why I cooked with crappy cookware all these years.

What am I doing wrong?  I seasoned them with coconut oil and still can't even get eggs not to stick. Even with Pam.  I can't stand them.  

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, South Austin said:

The carbon steel shows discoloration with use, but there's a cleaning solution that gets it looking close to new.

Leave it alone.  That discoloration is rust insurance. 

Now, I'll admit I did it better the second time around, but my smaller pan is almost uniformly that copper brown all over.  My larger one has some hot spots and could probably stand to be stripped and reseasoned because I used too thick of an oil coat when I first seasoned it (and did it on the stovetop, which with anything but gas, is a no go).  But with the 9" one, it's pretty much a perfect omelet pan.  Thin coat of canola and an hour at 425 upside-down in the oven).

 

Also, perfect omelet pan which I sadly can't use because it's a solid chunk of aluminum and I have an induction cooktop (and don't want to use an adapter).

1_90268891-e38a-470b-acb7-ad36966e9d31_l

https://www.potshopofboston.com/collections/omelette/products/8-1-2-high-polished-omelette-pan

Edited by dcbc

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On 4/23/2020 at 7:55 PM, CooterBrown said:

Piece together higher quality odds and ends. Sets are a waste of money.

dilly dilly

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4 hours ago, Atxracer said:

What am I doing wrong?  I seasoned them with coconut oil and still can't even get eggs not to stick. Even with Pam.  I can't stand them.  

Hmm. Must be the cooking temp.

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46 minutes ago, Gen. Applewhite said:

Hmm. Must be the cooking temp.

This. You have to cook with them at a much lower temp. You also have to use plenty of oil/butter when you start cooking. For eggs, they fry perfectly in the pan. Scrambled is a little more trouble. You have to cook them like an omelet.

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Piece together higher quality odds and ends. Sets are a waste of money.
This. Buy a couple random Allclad D3 stainless pots and pans from HomeGoods or equivalent store on sale and add a couple DeBuyer or similar carbon steel pans. Our Calphalon set we got for our wedding has served us well, but these replacements are better.

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Why mess with retail stock? Go to a restaurant supply and pick out some professional stuff. 

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What am I doing wrong?  I seasoned them with coconut oil and still can't even get eggs not to stick. Even with Pam.  I can't stand them.  

With non stick pans, let them get hot before adding oil/butter.

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Atxracer said:

What am I doing wrong?  I seasoned them with coconut oil and still can't even get eggs not to stick. Even with Pam.  I can't stand them.  

You responded to the All-Clad copper core post with this, so assuming you're using the same stuff, I'd say don't cook eggs in stainless.  I've never had any luck with it.  Go nonstick, carbon steel, or one of those aluminum omelet pans I posted above for a dedicated omelet thing. 

Seasoning stainless and aluminum is a bit different from how you season carbon steel or cast iron.  Instead of a thin layer of oil, you fill the pan with oil, heat it until it smokes, then set it aside until the oil cools.  Discard the oil and wipe the pan down.  Problem is that the season doesn't tend to last as long because we (I) scrub stainless pans with soap and water after use.

Also, with eggs, if you're cooking with butter, do not add the eggs to the pan until the butter stops bubbling.  That's when it's hot enough.

Edited by dcbc

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Definitely did that seasoning technique several times before giving up on them.  I now moved onto green pan and love them.  

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13 minutes ago, Atxracer said:

Definitely did that seasoning technique several times before giving up on them.  I now moved onto green pan and love them.  

For scrambled, I think a good nonstick is the answer.  For omelets, you need something thicker that will retain heat long enough to cook them quickly without browning them (unless that's your thing). 

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, dcbc said:

You responded to the All-Clad copper core post with this, so assuming you're using the same stuff, I'd say don't cook eggs in stainless.  I've never had any luck with it.  Go nonstick, carbon steel, or one of those aluminum omelet pans I posted above for a dedicated omelet thing. 

Seasoning stainless and aluminum is a bit different from how you season carbon steel or cast iron.  Instead of a thin layer of oil, you fill the pan with oil, heat it until it smokes, then set it aside until the oil cools.  Discard the oil and wipe the pan down.  Problem is that the season doesn't tend to last as long because we (I) scrub stainless pans with soap and water after use.

Also, with eggs, if you're cooking with butter, do not add the eggs to the pan until the butter stops bubbling.  That's when it's hot enough.

I’m not sure about other pans, but the All Clad ones I use are not meant to be seasoned. It kills the nonstick nature of the stainless. If you are having major sticking problems it is a heat problem, a fat/oil problem, or a problem with cleaning the pans. For heat, most things are cooked at the lowest temp on our gas stove. For fat/oil, I use one of the two as the pan warms up and allow it to get hot with the pan. For cleaning, they have to be polished pretty regularly to keep the cook surface pristine.  Any imperfection or left over residue will automatically turn into something that sticks. I use bar keeper’s on them weekly to polish them.

I still have issues with some things sticking, but clean up is simple. For eggs, my 14 year old can scramble an egg in the pan at this point with virtually no sticking. It just has to be done at a simmer level of heat with a buttered, clean pan.

Edited by Brew

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Brew said:

I’m not sure about other pans, but the All Clad ones I use are not meant to be seasoned. It kills the nonstick nature of the stainless. If you are having major sticking problems it is a heat problem, a fat/oil problem, or a problem with cleaning the pans. For heat, most things are cooked at the lowest temp on our gas stove. For fat/oil, I use one of the two as the pan warms up and allow it to get hot with the pan. For cleaning, they have to be polished pretty regularly to keep the cook surface pristine.  Any imperfection or left over residue will automatically turn into something that sticks. I use bar keeper’s on them weekly to polish them.

I still have issues with some things sticking, but clean up is simple. For eggs, my 14 year old can scramble an egg in the pan at this point with virtually no sticking. It just has to be done at a simmer level of heat with a buttered, clean pan.

Did not know that.  May be be an All Clad thing.  Any stainless I've purchased came with seasoning instructions. 

I tried to cook some eggs in an All Clad fry pan at a relative's house last year and I'm guessing they do not do the polishing thing.

Edited by dcbc

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Posted (edited)

At least on their higher end series, they say don’t season them. I’m not sure why they would be different than others.

The other issue I didn’t mention with stainless is it also works better to allow food to cook on the side that is down (along with proper heat/oil) until done before flipping, stirring, etc. You need the bottom to caramelize slightly which separates it from the pan which is why heat/oil is so important and also why eggs are difficult. For eggs, super low heat  and a buttered pan keeps scrambled eggs from sticking while a little higher heat and waiting until the bottom is done keeps a fried egg from sticking.

I’ve learned a lot using them for 5 months now and there is a lot of trial and error to get an understanding of how to get them to cook properly. They can be extremely finicky with cooking techniques and you can ruin them in an instant by doing things you may have always done like salting water that is not boiling yet.

Edited by Brew

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23 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

Got any with the plasticized handles?  I wonder how well those deal with oven heat.

yeah, the handles are great.  don't think i've ever put them in the oven higher than 400 but i do it all the time with roasts and they've never deformed.

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Anybody scramble eggs this way?  I saw it on some cooking show -- it allows you to cook in almost any type of skillet:  use a LOT of oil (preferably olive oil), like 2 T or more, and get it hot to where it's shimmering.  Pour in the already seasoned, whipped eggs, and be ready to scramble and plate right away, because they fry up almost instantly.  Super soft, large curds.  Takes about 15-30 seconds.

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