The Essential Pots and Pans You Need

The Essential Pots and Pans You Need

Picture this: you spend hours scouring the internet for the right meal, and after a trip to the grocery store, you come home with all the finest ingredients to make your vision a reality. 

Then, at the last moment, you realize that you don’t have the perfect pots and pans to make your dream come to fruition.

This is a nightmare that we all hope to avoid. Maybe you consider yourself a reputable home chef, or maybe you’re still learning the difference between shallow frying and grilling. Or maybe you don’t understand why you shouldn’t use an all-clad, carbon steel baking sheet when what you really need is a simple sauté pan.

The point is, no matter your level of expertise, everyone needs to have a few different tools at their disposal.

When finding the perfect cookware, consider the materials they’re made of, their size, and more. From stainless steel skillets to frying pans and dutch ovens, we know the options can be overwhelming. Don’t fret — we’re here to guide you through the intimidating world of pots and pans.

While some of these pots and pans might seem inaccessible to a home cook, that doesn’t have to be the case. HexClad pots and pans can help you prepare anything from a restaurant-quality dish to simple scrambled eggs.

What Pots and Pans Do You Need in Your Kitchen?

Depending on what you like to cook, you might need certain specialty items that others don’t. For instance, if you are running a diner out of your home kitchen, you might need to have a griddle handy. If you have induction cooktops, that will dictate what cookware sets you can and can’t use. This is because induction cooktops only work with pans made from magnetic material, like iron.

Whether you enjoy making the single most obscure meal on the planet or a classic chicken and rice will get the job done, you’ll always need a baseline of products. The right cookware will give you the versatility to do anything from frying eggs to making omelets to whipping up a pasta sauce or crafting a delectable stir-fry. 

Now that we have you nice and hungry, here’s our comprehensive list of cookware that will have you feeling like a chef in no time.

The 12” Frying Pan

A 12” frying pan is ideal for those with large families or those who like to entertain — or at least those who often get roped into entertaining. 

Whether or not you particularly like your guests, you’re sure to like the way this frying pan allows you to cook large meals on the stovetop in a timely fashion. In all likelihood, this is among the largest flat pans you will keep in your kitchen.

With a 12” frying pan, you can sauté, deep fry, sear, and slow-cook your dishes. With the proper pan, you can do all this and throw the pan on the grill or toss it in the oven to finish a dish. As with all of HexClad’s frying pans, you can rest assured that it’s oven-safe, induction-ready, and dishwasher-safe. So when your guests leave, at least this part of the clean-up will be easy. 

The 10” Frying Pan

The 10” frying pan is slightly smaller than the 12” pan, but we don’t hold that against it. After all, it isn’t about the size of the pan but how you use it. 

This size pan can perform many of the same tasks, just on a smaller scale. You will still be able to get a ton of use out of it, like cooking a dish for the family, and it is ideal for searing and cooking a large cut of meat or piece of fish. 

An advantage of using a 10” pan as opposed to a 12” one is that it will heat faster. This is integral to getting an even sear on meat or getting a piece of steak browned right. If you’re using high heat, medium, or low, this size pan has you covered.

The 8” Frying Pan

The 8” frying pan is the perfect kitchen tool companion to larger pans. Any complex and nutritious meal has multiple elements to it, and this is where the 8” pan shines. It serves as a multi-functional piece of cookware since it can be used for various small, precise ingredients. 

For dinners, think of this pan as the perfect vessel for sides, veggies, and starches. For breakfasts, you can create the perfect omelet or pancakes. We don’t know what you like to eat for lunch, but chances are that it can help you with that too. 

The 12” Wok

Many people view woks as specialty items, but boy, are they in for a shock. 

Woks are excellent for noodles and caramelizing large dishes with many veggies and diced proteins. The wok's shape allows heat to easily evaporate moisture, meaning you’ll get more crispy noodles, and it will take less time to brown your other ingredients. 

A high-quality wok is a staple item that will come in handy quite often. Any stir-fry will automatically be taken to the next level by virtue of cooking them in this kind of pan, making it a real workhorse in the kitchen.

The Two-Quart Pot

It’s small but mighty — the two-quart saucepan won’t disappoint you. This guy is the smallest size you need to keep in your cupboards, but don’t let that fool you. 

While it might not take up a lot of space in your kitchen, it packs a real wallop when you’re cooking. 

Since it’s a wonderful vessel for cooking sauces, grains, and reheating dishes, this pot will probably get the most use of them all (not that we’re picking favorites).

The Three-Quart Pot

Performing the same functions as the smaller option, the three-quart pot can cook or boil more than the two-quart variety. If you regularly make larger servings or cook for multiple people at a time, a three-quart pot might be more your speed.

This is a better option for soups and stews, as the larger size will provide room for your ingredients to simmer and cook through properly. 

The Eight-Quart Pot

Also known as a stock pot, the eight-quart pot is ideal for those giant batches of stews, soups, and pasta dishes. It’s also ideal for brining or braising poultry. 

Like a grill pan or sheet pan, it might not be used every day, but it will be used enough that you will sorely miss it if you don’t have it. Having an eight-quart stockpot in your cabinet is sure to come to the rescue on those cold days when all you can think about is soup.

Think of this large pot as the go-to for chili cook-offs or those big batches of food you make to store in the freezer for quick weeknight meals. These pots are a meal prepper’s dream.

What Features Should the Best Pots and Pans Have?

Now that you know what pots and pans you’ll need to have on hand, it’s time to find tools and brands with the attributes you need. Not all brands are created equal, and sometimes just having the right size cookware isn’t enough. 

Buying a brand that isn’t made for everyday use or isn’t strong enough to handle average wear and tear isn’t the way to go. 

You’ll find yourself skipping delicious recipes and eating out more than you care to — all for the sake of saving your pans. Not only does this leave you inclined to spend more money on takeout, but it also means you’ll probably need to buy new pans before you know it. 

Instead, check out these helpful tips and buying points to make sure you get what you need. And spoiler alert, HexClad nails them all.


You want to make sure that the pans you buy are dishwasher-safe. Even if you end up washing them by hand, having the ease and durability of knowing that your cookware can go in the dishwasher is a huge weight off your mind. 

After you finish making (and hopefully eating) a huge meal, the last thing you want to do is clean the kitchen. Throwing your cookware in the dishwasher will make it that much easier. 

If cookware can stand up to the heat of a dishwasher, it’s made of a strong material. A lot of weak cookware will corrode if you put them there — cast iron pans, for example, can’t be placed in the dishwasher. Knowing that your pots and pans are dishwasher-safe will help guarantee a strong and long-lasting tenure of your pots and pans. 


This next item is crucial if convenience is important to you or if you just don’t want to spend hours chipping away at a piece of food that lodges itself to the pan. 

You’ll want to make sure to buy cookware that has a non-stick surface. Non-stick skillets and pans are coated with special chemical reactants or coatings that keep your ingredients from sticking. 

A quality non-stick pan will reduce the amount of oil or butter you need to use when cooking, and it will keep your meals from staying behind and being ruined. Unfortunately, noodles, veggies, and rice will never be properly cooked or served from a pot or pan that sticks. 


Non-stick and non-toxic don’t always go together, and that’s a problem. Some pans that have a non-stick quality may contain chemicals known as PFOA, which have questionable effects on human health.

Any pans that are non-stick but don’t say PFOA-free have probably used this non-stick chemical coating, and this can contribute to serious health problems down the line. Though PFOAs have been illegal for some time in the US, it’s always best to double-check your cookware to confirm.

HexClad products are always PFOA-free, making them as convenient as they are safe.


Middle-grade quality cookware can do some jobs just fine, but it rarely excels at anything. Even more, you might find yourself having to get out and dirty more pots and pans just to make up for the qualities it lacks. 

This results in more unnecessary money spent and room taken up in your kitchen. This is especially clear when it comes to cookware that isn't able to seamlessly switch from the stove to the oven and even the grill.

Instead, opt for cookware that is not only ideal for the range but can also stand the temps of the grill and the oven. This will make finishing meats and other dishes simple while keeping the mess in your kitchen to a minimum. Oven-safe cookware also allows you to expand your recipe repertoire into new foods like casseroles. 

Metal Utensil-Safe

While there are plastic or silicone utensils available, they don’t work half as well as metal options. For an example of this, look no further than fish. Since it’s so delicate, plastic fish spatulas have a high potential of breaking your filets. If you want to keep your otherwise beautiful salmon intact, you’ll need a metal utensil.

However, most cookware cannot stand up to metal utensils and will scratch and degrade quickly. Finding quality cookware that can be utilized with metal utensils is a must. 

HexClad stands up to metal utensils with no problem.

Handles That Stay Cool

There’s nothing worse than needing to toss and flip your food and burning your hands from touching the handle. Don’t let this happen to you!

Find pans with stay-cool technology that keeps your hands comfortable while picking up warm cookware. After all, you shouldn’t have to burn yourself to enjoy a stack of pancakes. 

Induction-Ready Surfaces

One of the newer and more popular options for kitchens right now is induction stoves. This is a huge selling point for a lot of cookware, as only pots and pans with a magnetic base can activate the heating mechanism. 

You will need to find cookware that is induction capable to ensure that your pots and pans don’t have any limits. 

The Cookware Collection for Every Kitchen

Now you know what pots and pans you need to keep and what to look for in the brands you buy from. The great thing is you landed here, and HexClad sets offer you everything you need to succeed in the kitchen. 

Our hybrid triple-clad technology provides the durability of a stainless steel pan and the convenience of non-stick. That, combined with stay-cool handles and even heat distribution throughout the cooking surface, makes these pans a no-brainer for home chefs and professionals alike.

To sweeten the pot (get it?) even more, we put our money where your mouth is. All of our pots and pans come with a lifetime warranty, so you never have to worry about buying new ones again. 


America's 10 Top Chili Cook-offs | The Daily Meal

Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS), and Related Chemicals | Cancer.Org

FDA Confirms Toxic Nonstick Cookware Chemicals Are Contaminating Our Food and Water Supply | Cooking Light