Cookware Reviews & Guides
Choosing the right set of pots and pans can be an intimidating task. It’s also one of the most important tasks you can undertake when kitting out a kitchen.
Why is this such a complicated subject though, for something that seems so simple?
For a start, there are different material types. Each one of these has its advantages and disadvantages, from cost to cooktop compatibility.
Then there’s the selection of saucepans and skillets to choose from. What do you really need, and how should you prioritize different items for your own needs and budget?
In this section of Viva Flavor I’ll do my best to demystify the subject for you.
You’ll find guides for caring for your cookware, how the different materials affect cooking and cost, as well as reviews of the most popular cookware sets on the market.
Cookware Guides & Questions
Let’s start with some guides that will help you navigate the world of cookware.
How To Season Cast Iron Pans, Skillets & Other Cookware – Diligent seasoning is essential if you’re to maintain the non-stick surface of cast iron cookware. This guide walks you through the entire process, with tips for choosing the best oils.
Now To Clean A Non-Stick Grill Pan – As long as you’re careful with that delicate surface, cleaning up a non-stick grill pan needn’t be too much of a chore. I’ve put together a step-by-step guide, and included some tips for making life much easier.
How To Store A Cast Iron Skillet – Moisture and scratches are to be avoided at all costs. One leads to rust, the other leads to a long old session of re-seasoning. I’ve gathered together five tried and tested solutions that will help you store all your cast iron cookware the right way.
Five Simple Methods For Cleaning Burned Pots & Pans – There are ways to rescue even the most desperate cookware disaster! Don’t start shopping around for a new cookware set until you’ve taken stock of the damage – and tried some of these proven methods for bringing your pots and pans back to life.
How To Cook Spaghetti In A Skillet – It sounds absurd, but I believe you can make much better spaghetti in a skillet, rather than using a pot. Don’t write this method off until you’ve given it a try at least once!
How To Clean Frying Pan Bottoms – From Bar Keeper’s Friend to salt and vinegar, I’ve put together a guide that will help you clean grease and grime from even the dirtiest frying pan. Try the easy options before working your way down the list!
Why Your Cookware Material Matters – Each type of cookware material has its pros and cons. Some are better for freshly-minted home cooks, while others require a little more TLC. Find out what to expect from the most common cookware materials in this essential primer guide.
How To Make A Ceramic Pan Non Stick Again – If your ceramic cookware is under-performing, it is possible to repair it rather than head to the shops for a new set of pots and pans. Find out how to season your ceramic cookware, and learn some tips to avoid it happening in the future.
The Cookware Care Guide – Well cared-for cookware can last a lifetime, and it’s an investment that’s well worth protecting. Discover the dos and don’ts when you’re working with utensils and problematic cooking ingredients.
How To Get Baked Egg Off A Muffin Pan – With just a few common items you likely have in your kitchen already, it’s very easy to get this job done. I’ve put together a step by step guide to taking the elbow grease out of this fussy job.
Electric Vs Gas Vs Induction Cooking – These three different stovetop types each provide a very different cooking experience. If you’re looking to kit out your kitchen with a new range, have a read of this guide so you know what you’re in for in each case.
How To Clean A Scanpan: Step By Step Guide – Scanpan cookware doesn’t come cheap, and it’s important to take proper care of the clean-up process after each use. It’s not complicated by any means, but this guide will take you through the whole process of properly cleaning a piece of Scanpan cookware.
How To Clean The Outside Of A Cast Iron Skillet – If the bottom of your cast iron skillet is looking somewhat worse for wear, there are some easy ways to get things cleaned up. In this article you’ll learn tips for completing the process, and choosing the best cleaning agents to get the job done fast.
How To Cook Bottom Round Steak In A Skillet – This rather tough cut of meat benefits from a little extra prep work. This guide explains how to marinade and tenderize your steak before cooking it to perfection in the skillet.
How To Tell If A Skillet Is Oven Safe – Don’t add any kind of cookware to your oven unless you’re completely sure it’s safe to do so. There are three simple ways to identify the make and model of your cookware, and you’ll find them in this guide.
How To Clean A Rusty Cast Iron Skillet With Vinegar – A vinegar soak is a great way of bringing even the rustiest of skillets back to life. Give this guide a try before heading out for a new piece of cookware!
When To Throw Away A Cast Iron Skillet – Even the very best pans won’t last forever, but do you really need to throw away your cast iron skillet? These are the four warning signs you need to watch out for.
What Can I Use Instead Of A Dutch Oven? – There’s no getting away from the fact that Dutch ovens are both incredibly useful but often expensive. That’s if you go with the big brands, at least. There are alternative ways to get similar results though, and I’ve looked at six options you might like to explore.
What Is A French Skillet? – Do you really need a French skillet in your cookware collection, or is the good old frying pan all you need? The differences are subtle but important when you’re working with lots of liquid. This guide explains everything you need to know about this deeper piece of cookware.
What Is Induction Ready Cookware? – Curious to know if your existing collection of pots and pans will be compatible with an induction surface? There’s a simple test you can try at home, but there are pros and cons to using these stoves.
What Is Scanpan Made Of? – Scanpan is an environmentally-conscious cookware brand that specializes in making sustainable cookware. Find out exactly what goes into a Scanpan, as well as answers to other questions you might have.
Where Is Copper Chef Made? – I’ve gathered together all the most common questions about the Copper Chef brand, and answered them in one place! Whatever you want to know about these pots and pans, I’m confident you’ll find the answer right here.
Why Is All-Clad So Expensive? – Found out what goes into making an All-Clad pan, and just why this premium cookware commands such a steep price.
Why Is My Cast Iron Skillet Sticky? – 9 times out of 10 a sticky skillet is the result of using either the wrong oil, or heating it to the wrong temperature. This article explains the common causes of a sticky skillet, and provides tips to repair the problem – and prevent it from happening in the future.
Why Use A Wok Instead Of A Frying Pan? – For the average home cook, a high quality frying pan is all you need to make outstanding stir fry food. A wok can help you elevate those meals, but what do you need to know about working with this kind of cookware?
It can be tricky to know which cookware brand to focus on for the long haul. Have a browse through these guides for help with settling on your next collection.
Staub Vs Le Creuset – These two are the heavyweights when it comes to cast iron Dutch ovens. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, not to mention an army of loyal fans. This article explains the key differences between the two, so you can make the right choice for your own kitchen.
Here you’ll find the individual cookware sets, pots and pans I’ve reviewed for the site.
All-Clad Copper Core – Copper’s a fantastic cookware material, but it takes a lot of hard work to keep it in top condition. All-Clad’s solution? Wrap every surface in a tri-ply layer of stainless steel and aluminum. It’s expensive stuff, but provides great performance.
Anolon Advanced – Aluminum is another high quality cookware material, but it lacks durability when compared to stainless steel. Anolon makes use of “hard anodized” aluminum in its Advanced range, which toughens up this material considerably.
Cuisinart Multiclad Pro – Cuisinart’s one of the go-to brands for all kinds of kitchen equipment, not just cookware. The Multiclad Pro is one of its most popular collections of pots and pans, and is a great all-rounder for the typical home kitchen.
Curtis Stone Cookware – Another day, another celebrity chef’s cookware range! The Dura Pan range offers something a little unusual in the world of non-stick cookware though – durability.
GreenLife Cookware – GreenLife really set the trend towards ceramic cookware in a post-PTFE world. Since then though, the competition has caught up with their own naturally non stick pots and pans. What can you expect from this affordable – but effective – brand right now?
Le Creuset Skillet – Steady your wallet. Le Creuset makes some of the best skillets in the business, but they don’t come cheap. It’ll last a lifetime if you look after it well, but can you really justify this kind of investment in a single piece of cookware?
Martha Stewart Dutch Oven – If your budget can’t stretch to a Staub or Le Creuset dutch oven, what are your other options? The Martha Stewart alternative offers similar performance at a much lower cost, but durability is a concern.
Paula Deen Cookware – Paula Deen’s a controversial figure to put it mildly, but in this review I’m focusing solely on the pots and pans. The designs will delight some, and turn off many others. It’s fair to say there’s not much room for a neutral view here.
Tramontina Cookware – Tramontina may not be the first name that comes to mind when you’re looking for a new cookware set. It’s a company with a great history of producing high quality cookware at an affordable price. It’s a reliable brand that’s well worth considering when you’re kitting out a new kitchen.
Cookware “Best Of” Round-Ups
Need some help choosing a particular piece of cookware for a particular kind of job?
This section contains a growing collection of buying guides and reviews that will help you find the perfect pan for the task ahead.
The Best Brands For Cast Iron Skillet Fans – I’ve put together a guide that explains what you can expect from the five biggest cast iron skillet brands. I’ve also included useful information about each one’s most popular skillet, so you can build a shortlist.
The Best Cast Iron Skillet For Traeger Grills – Need a new skillet for your outdoor cooking adventures? I’ve put together a guide to buying the perfect skillet for your Traeger grill, along with three great recommendations.
The Best Skillet For Browning Meat – You need a fast and efficient cooking surface when you’re browning – rather than searing – meat. This article explains how different skillet materials affect performance. You’ll also find recommendations for each category.
The Best Skillet For Electric Stoves – Materials matter when you’re working with this kind of delicate cooking surface. Learn the different options that are available, with recommendations for the best skillets in each case.
The Best Spatula For Cast Iron Skillet Cooking – Silicone or stainless steel? The answer to this question depends on how often you use your cast iron skillet. This guide will help you make the best choice for your own kitchen, and highlights some popular products too.
The Best Cast Iron Skillet For Dosas – Tracking down a dedicated dosa pan can be quite tricky. Fortunately, there are some skillets that do an excellent imitation. I explain what to look for in a pan of this type, and give three recommendations for every budget and level of experience.
The Best Cast Iron Skillet For Frying Fish – It takes the right kind of cookware to cook a delicious fishy dish. If you’re struggling to cook it through while achieving a crispy skin, look no further than these tried and tested pans.
The Best Skillet For Tortillas – Shallow sides are everything when it comes to working with a tortilla skillet. This article explains everything you need to look for in your next upgrade, and includes three market-leading options.
The Best Size Cast Iron Skillet For Camping – Ready to go al fresco with your cooking skills? There’s a lot to think about when choosing the best size skillet for your next camping trip. My guide covers everything you need to know.