Measuring cups Another essential for dry stuff like flour, sugar, cheeses, bread crumbs and liquids like milk, heavy cream, water, broth and stock. Colander This is handy for draining cooked pasta.
A 5-quart colander can hold up to 1 pound of cooked pasta for those big meals. Use the large ones for making meatballs, the medium ones for prepping chopped vegetables like potatoes, celery and carrots or mixing batters and the small one for whisking eggs and sauces.
Cutting boards It’s always good practice to separate your raw foods. Use the big one for meats and the medium and small one for vegetables and herbs to reduce the risk of food contamination.
Silicone spatulas These are great for cooking with too, especially for getting every morsel of food from your mixing bowls or pots and pans. Metal utensil set A nice basic set for ladling soups, mashing potatoes, frying food and cooking.
The metal turners are particularly handy for sliding neatly under meats and seafood to turn them over with minimum fuss and splatter, and they’re also great for stir-fries. It’s great for almost everything: slicing, dicing, cutting, chopping and can be used about 99% of the time a knife is called for.
I feel the smaller size makes it less awkward for daily use than the standard bigger ones. The small one for eggs, medium-sized for sauces and gravies and big ones for batters.
The pots are good for making sauces and gravies and the 5 quart is wonderful for cooking pastas, soups and making pasta sauce. Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links from Amazon which helps keep the rest of my content free.
If you've ever picked up the molten plastic handle of a frying pan or cleaned a range top after making a marinara in a wobbly pot, you're ready to learn about good cookware. A deeper pot should hold heat all the way up its sides; a weighty one will also be more durable and withstand frequent use and washing.
The three basic pots you need to start your collection: a two-quart saucepan, a 10-inch sauté pan, and an eight-quart stockpot. Something in mid weight anodized aluminum is a good choice, since you may also want to use your stockpot to make large quantities of soup, stock, or stews.
Anodized aluminum is treated with a strengthening protective coating and will perform well without costing a fortune. Not only can you sear anything to a golden brown but you will also be able to make a quick sauce with pan drippings.
The three-quart sauté pan is the right size to make risotto and homemade pasta sauce, or even do some deep-frying. A thin pan may buckle, making it hard to cook food evenly.
Most good-quality stainless-steel pans have an inner core of aluminum or copper to enhance steel's relatively poor heat conductivity. A pan with a steel handle, then, gives you the advantage of being able to finish the cooking in the oven.
Lids should fit snugly (a tight-fitting cover helps keep moisture in the food), with a secure knob that is heatproof. It will look warm and inviting hanging from a rack in a country kitchen, but it has more going for it than mere beauty.
Copper is extremely responsive to temperature changes, so it heats up and cools down immediately as you turn the stove dial. This means it's especially good for making delicate sauces and candies or melting sugar.
Copper cookware is usually lined with stainless steel or tin (exceptions being preserves pans and bowls for beating egg whites). Building a great lineup of pots and pans is not about quantity.
Here are the top three nonstick and uncoated sets from our cookware ratings. A huge part of cooking is picking the right tool for the job.
On the Consumer 101 TV show, Consumer Reports' expert Sara Morrow explains to host Jack Rico what type of cookware you should be using for your meals. When you shop through retailer links on our site, we may earn affiliate commissions.
100% of the fees we collect are used to support our nonprofit mission. Every year, without fail, my aunt stands over the stove making gravy and extols the virtues of flat whisks.
They cover more surface area of the pan, she says, making a smoother, lump-free gravy, and there’s something comforting and old-school about watching her whisk it from a roux into a burnished, brown sauce on the stove, rather than pulse it in a loud food processor or blender. Not to mention, a whisk takes up far less space (and is more economical) than a clunky appliance.
We’ve posted before on our 13 Essential Kitchen Gadgets, Holiday Edition, with one-task favorites such as apple peelers and fat separators. But this year we wanted to compile a pared-down list: what you really need (and what you don’t), holiday multitasks that can be used for almost anything (like all-purpose baking pans), and bowls that go from the kitchen to the table.
While we appreciate a well-functioning baster, for example, we believe a good metal spoon works just as well, without having to store extra tools all year long. And, in the spirit of my aunt’s prized whisk, you won’t find any high-tech, expensive appliances, just economical and trusty tools that will serve you well throughout Thanksgiving prep (and on the other 364 days of the year).
Above: We don’t think you need to spend a fortune on a roasting pan that you’ll only pull out once a year. Above: If you have one pot on hand for the holidays, make it a Dutch, or French, oven.
We like the Stab Cast-Iron Essential French Oven (shown here in Grenadine, and currently on sale for $119.96 from Williams Sonoma). With an enamel coating and cast-iron interior, it won’t chip or crack, and doesn’t need to be seasoned.
The classic face has a helpful, at-a-glance chart that indicates the correct cooking temperature for poultry (and other meats, for the holiday roast and beyond). Above: We like good old-fashioned wooden spoons for every purpose on Thanksgiving, from mixing to taste-testing to serving.
You really only need a few things: cover your bases with tools for making roasts, sauces, stir-fries, simple sautés, soups, and quick sears. It develops a naturally non-stick surface over time and is the perfect pan for getting good sears on meats.
This handy pan is best used for putting together sauces for savory dishes or pastry creams for desserts. It's also the perfect pan to use for heating small batches of leftovers over the stove.
Stir-fries are some of the easiest and quickest dishes to put together-a wok or Hawaii is essential in cooking with lots of heat and space for tossing! Non-stick surfaces are perfect for cooking delicate food like eggs, fish, and tofu.
It's a handy pan that can handle easy sautés and simple frying. Look for enamel-coated Dutch ovens-like cast iron pans, they develop non-stick surfaces over time and are extremely durable.