Choosing the right type of cookware to buy is made much simpler with our Cookware Buying Guide. Just click on a link below, to jump down to further information about the cookware area you're interested in:
Cookware Shapes & Uses
Always match a pot or pan to the task for which it is designed for. It's shape and size will affect it's performance, you wouldn't boil an egg in a frying pan would you? When choosing cookware the type of hob/cooker should always be taken into consideration.
Used for fast cooking in oil.
This pan sears & browns food over a high heat quickly, it can also be used for reducing sauces.
Casserole Pot / Dutch Oven
Best for casseroles & stews or food that is slow cooked.
Can be used for stews, cooking stock or soups.
Saucepans come in various sizes and are used to cook almost everything from vegetables or cereals to rice and soups.
Perfect for cooking breakfast on, pancakes, eggs, steak or chicken - an all rounder for frying.
Food cooks quick under super heated steam, reducing cooking time & is a healthier way to cook as it locks in nutrients. Saves on energy too.
Warm cheese for classic fondue or chocolate for a fashionable dessert.
Use for quick fry cooking over a high heat, this is healthy way to cook as the high heat reduces the amount of time needed actually cooking. Larger woks can be used for deep frying or steaming.
Types of Cookware
Coated aluminium pan are light in weight & have a non-stick interior to protect the food from transference of the metal. The outside can be polished to resemble steel, enameled or painted to produce a tough & easy to clean exterior. Always use nylon or wooden utensils to protect the non-stick surface & never over heat as this too can cause damage. Not suitable for induction hobs unless stated.
Hard Anodised Aluminium
The hard anodising process on aluminium pan produces an extremely tough non-porous surface that is as hard as saphire. A non-stick interior surface is sometimes added. The surface of a hard anodised pan is scratch resistant & cannot be stripped away by cooking. This type of cookware is not suitable for induction hobs. They cannot be used in a dishwasher as the chemicals used will damage the anodised surface.
Cast iron pans are a heavy duty alternative, they have excellent heat transference properties & retain heat well - this makes them ideal for slow cooking or roasting. Food will cook in cast iron even after it have been removed from the oven, reducing energy. Care should be take on ceramic or halogen hob not to damage the surface, they should always be lifted off. The weight of a full pan should be taken into consideration when buying cast iron. The interior and exterior will have a non-stick or enameled surface. They are suitable for all hobs including induction.
Cast aluminium has some of the properties of cast iron without the weight. It is has excellent heat retaining and conducting properties but is a fraction of the how heavy a cast iron version would be. For this reason it is more sutiable for cermic or halogen hobs.
Stainless steel is an alloy metal which means it is made up of more than one type of metal, notably iron with carbon for strength, nickel and chromium. It will not chip or flake and it does not break easily - for this reason it lasts for years, some quality stainless steel will last a lifetime if looked after correctly. It is a poor conductor of heat, helping retain it's shape but not good to cook for - for this reason the base sometimes has an aluminium core (encapsulated base) which transfers the heat evenly over the base. Stainless steel pans are suitable for all hobs unless stated otherwise. Some ranges of stainless steel pans come with a non-stick interior on all pan, some come with only a non-stick on the fry pan & milk pan - this varies from range to range.
Copper has superior heat conducting properties, for this reason, some stainless steel pans have a layer of copper in the base to aid heat transference. It is more expensive than an aluminium core in the base & needs a special cleaner to keep them looking at their best.
Any type of cookware is suitable for gas. The correct size of pan however should always be used, never allow the flame to extend beyond the base of the pan, this wastes energy, can damage the cokware & is dangerous.
Any cookware can be used on an electric radiant ring. Again care should be take to use the correct size cookware for the ring.
These are usually cast iron plates with an electric element within the plate. Flat base pans are needed to use on this type of cooker.
A ceramic glass hob with an electric element underneath heating the hob. This type of hob can be stratched easily & cookware should always be lifted off to avoid damaging the hob. Cast iron cookware is potentially damaging if not carfully lifted off this type of hob.
Halogen lamps under the glass top transmits heat upwards. Cookware with a heavy base should be used as intense heat can be generate from this type of cooker. Again, the surface of the hob can be damaged with careless use.
This type of cooker uses a magnetic coil to heat the cookware itself not the cooker - aluminium / hard anodized or copper based cookware does not work on this type of cooker.
Oil or coal buning ovens generate heat on hot plates, thick based pans should be used.