Anatomy of a Pan
- Tall sides help retain liquids.
- Flared sides promote evaporation.
- Rolled edges for easy pouring.
- Nonstick offers easy release and cleaning.
- Stainless steel is durable and browns foods well.
- Seasoned cast iron is naturally stick-resistant.
- Copper is only for foods with high sugar content.
- Interior rivets provide extra sturdiness.
- Rivetless handle attachment makes cleaning easy.
- Metal or silicone-coated handles are oven-safe.
- Hollow metal, silicone-coated or wood handles stay cool.
- Magnetic stainless steel and cast iron are induction-compatible.
- Bonded stainless-steel cookware has a conductive core.
- An aluminum core provides great conductivity.
- A copper core provides the very best conductivity.
- Cast iron and enamelled cast iron retain heat well.
- Stainless steel is low-maintenance and durable.
- Aluminum or anodized aluminium is conductive.
- Copper offers great conductivity and even heating.
Choose the Right MaterialFIND THE COLLECTION THAT SUITS YOUR COOKING STYLE
For the Beginner Cook
- Durable non-stick coatings easily release even the most delicate foods.
- Requires little or no oil for cooking; great for healthy cooking.
- PFOA-free; most pieces are dishwasher safe.
- Great for healthy, high-heat cooking & searing with minimal oil.
- Ultra-strong non-stick coatings provide fast, easy release.
- PFOA-free; most pieces are dishwasher safe.
For the Avid Cook
- Heats slowly and evenly, then retains heat extremely well.
- Excels at high-heat tasks like searing, sautéing, browning and frying.
- Exceptionally durable – can last for generations with proper care.
- Beautiful pieces go from stovetop or oven to your dining table.
- Responsive aluminium or copper cores for rapid, even heating.
- Dishwasher, oven and grill safe.
For the Expert Cook
- The best material for conducting heat and responding to changes in temperature.
- Heats rapidly and evenly – and cools down quickly, providing maximum control.
- As beautiful as it is functional – perfect for both cooking and serving.
- Combines the precise heating of copper with the easy care of stainless steel.
- Five bonded layers with a copper core for maximum responsiveness.
- Select pieces have a PFOA-free non-stick finish for effortless cleanup.
Build Your Cookware CollectionCHOOSE THE RIGHT COOKWARE FOR THE TASK
A flat-bottomed pan with a long handle and low, flared sides that promote easy flipping and turning – and encourage air circulation.
Fast cooking: frying, searing and browning.
Choose at least one classic and one non-stick frying pan.
A heavy pan with a flat base, tall sides and a long handle. Larger sizes should have a "helper handle" on the far side of the pan.
Simmering, boiling, cooking grains and making sauces.
If you have to choose just one size, select a 3 or 4 L. pan.
A pan with a wide, flat bottom, moderate sides and a long handle. Larger sizes should have a "helper handle" on the far side of the pan.
Quick, high-heat cooking while shaking, tossing or stirring food: sautéing (“sauter” is a French word that means “to jump”).
For the best browning and caramelisation, choose a cooking surface other than non-stick.
Also called a French oven or cocotte. A large pot with vertical sides, sturdy loop handles and a heavy, tight-fitting lid.
Long, slow cooking for stews, braises, roasts, casseroles.
For a quick calculation, count one litre of capacity for each serving.
More Everyday Favourites
For a versatile piece you'll use every day, this pan combines the best qualities of a French skillet and a deep sauté pan.
Everything from stir-frying and sautéing to simmering and braising.
Because this pan is so versatile, you might want to have more than one.
A versatile low-sided pan with a wide, flat cooking surface and heavy, domed lid that provides extra room for larger roasts.
Braising, slow cooking and pan roasting.
Select a braiser that can go directly from the stovetop or oven to your dining table.
A large rectangular pan with low sides that allow the oven's dry heat to contact as much of the food as possible. Often used with a roasting rack.
Cooking in the dry heat of the oven at relatively high temperatures.
A non-stick finish is great for easy clean-up; classic surfaces yield better gravy.
A large pot with a flat base and tall vertical sides that are designed to minimise evaporation – plus two sturdy loop handles.
Simmering soups and stocks; boiling lobster, corn or pasta.
Stockpots with a capacity of 8 L. or larger are the most useful.
A multipot is a tall pot with perforated inserts for cooking food in water (e.g., boiling or blanching) or steaming food above water.
Large insert is ideal for cooking and draining pasta or corn; use the steamer insert for veggies.
Pot can be used on its own for stock, soup or stew.
For the Ultimate Kitchen
A pan with a ridged cooking surface that resembles the grates of an barbecue. Low sides allow increased air circulation.
Higher-temperature cooking like barbecuing and searing.
To achieve the best grill marks, select a cast iron or enamelled cast-iron grill pan.
Also called a stir-fry pan. This versatile pan has a rounded bottom and high, gradually sloping sides. It may have a long stick handle or two loop handles.
Stir-frying. Use with a lid for steaming.
Use a flat-bottom wok on gas or electric burners; round-bottom woks with a ring are great for gas burners.
A broad, flat pan that fits over one or two burners. For efficient cooking and easy clean-up, choose a griddle with a non-stick or stick-resistant finish.
Pancakes, eggs, bacon, thin steaks, toasted cheese sandwiches – and much more.
If you plan on cooking meat, choose a griddle with a well around the rim to catch grease.
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Learn What's Right For You With a Cookware Guide From Williams Sonoma
If you're new to the cooking scene, not sure what pan is best for what meal or you're looking for a great gift for the home chef in your life, check out this handy cookware guide from Williams Sonoma. Here, we break down our pots and pans' superior qualities, give tips on which cookware pieces are best for different skill levels and interests as well as a starter guide on what items are essential for any kitchen.
So if you're not sure where or how to start building your cookware collection or need more information on how our cookware can support how you cook at home, check out our Williams Sonoma cookware buying guide and start cooking with confidence today.
Getting Started With our Cookware Guide
- The Anatomy of a Pan. Start at the start with brushing up on the anatomy of a pan. This diagram is meant to convey the different parts of a top-quality pan from Williams Sonoma and how it works in a typical cooking situation. From ergonomically friendly stay cool handles to a non-stick or stainless steel surface, you'll learn everything you need to know to have the best cooking experience possible.
- A Cookware Guide For a Lucky Recipient. Next, discover how to choose the righ(more...)