Pots and pans: How to recognize good cookware

Pots and pans: How to recognize good cookware

Whether small, large, coated or with a sandwich bottom, expensive or cheap - which pots and pans are the right ones for your home stove? Not only the ruler can help here, even a little know-how can not hurt.

Heat distribution and energy efficiency

Good cookware is characterized by one thing: an even heat distribution. A good cook needs the same temperature in all places of pan, pot and co. Good crockery heats up quickly, keeps the heat and releases it evenly. Likewise, the energy efficiency of the dishes is important. Excellent utensils are so useful that the clever chef reduces the energy supply early and uses the residual heat. But material, workmanship, handles and lids are also crucial.

Which material is right?

There are several materials that are suitable for cookware. Cooking pots and pans are available:

  • Stainless Steel
  • Aluminum
  • Cast Iron
  • Copper
  • Steel Enamel
  • Glass
  • Ceramics

Most pots today are made of stainless steel (80 percent) ), Aluminum follows with 13 percent and the remainder is distributed over iron, copper, glass, enamel and ceramics. Stainless steel is especially popular because this material is very sturdy, looks good and can stand up to extreme temperature changes. However, the material does not suffer the heat well. The pot bottom can therefore consist of a mix of aluminum, copper and silver. These so-called sandwich floors are characterized by a fast heat conduction. Aluminum conducts heat well, is light and usually cheap. However, it easily bumps and discolors. In addition, acidic and salty foods can damage the material and infuse itself with the aluminum.

Cookware made of aluminum is therefore rather a cheap but short-lived cooking pleasure. Cast iron conducts the heat very well, but takes a long time to warm up. These pots are very sturdy and can last forever. However, they are heavy and manual cleaning is recommended. The clever chef uses cast iron dishes mainly for stewing and cooking. The best heat conductor among the materials is copper. Pots made of this metal offer a unique look, yet they are prone to scratches and stains. Likewise acidic foods react with it.

Steel enamel is characterized by a core of sheet steel, is smooth and scratch-resistant. There are different forms and patterns that conduct heat well and make a good figure as an all-round tableware. Even glass and ceramics can be used for cooking. But pots made of these materials have a lower thermal conductivity. Casseroles are a good choice.

Coating a frying pan is just an extra help that the food does not stick. A chef who pays sufficient attention to his food will not need it.

This should be considered when buying

When buying cookware, rather less, but good, products should be purchased. Many models from the discounter are usually only short-lived. But not every expensive pot set is good for something. Stiftung Warentest regularly provides orientation. To cook efficiently, the pot and pan sizes should match the cooking plate. Otherwise energy is wasted. However, the specified diameter is that of the upper edge, the bottom is crucial. Therefore, it can not hurt to measure plate and pot beforehand. Also, the flatness of the soil is crucial for heat conduction and energy efficiency. So the ruler is helpful in the purchase of cooking pots two things: for measuring and checking whether the floor bulges outward. If this is the case, there is less surface area on the hob and more energy is consumed. Also no uniform cooking can be guaranteed.

Not only the right care is crucial for pots and co for their longevity. Kitchen utensils made of wood, silicone or plastic can also protect the surfaces.

Handles and Co: The right lid for every pot

But it's not just the size, material and flatness that determines the quality. Another criterion is the handles. These should not get hot. Plastic handles do not heat up, ceramic handles are easily broken. Heat stainless steel and other metal handles - albeit slowly. Too small, tight handles prevent a good holding of the pot. Likewise, they must not be too close to the upper edge - here there is a risk of scalding in the steam. Welded handles hold best, riveted specimens can loosen up. The lid also plays an important role. This must fit exactly, so that no energy is wasted. A certain heaviness of the lid is also an advantage.


Good cookware is not only reflected in the price. Decisive factors are heat conduction and energy efficiency. There are different materials that are good and less suitable. Also, pots and pans should always fit on the plate, have good handles and fit the lid. Then the dishes can provide long lasting culinary excellence.

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