Favorite Pots, Pans & Baking Dishes
I’ve been loving some of the recommendations you guys have been sharing when it comes to different posts I should cover! I’m switching it up by sharing not only workouts, fashion and food, but now I’ll be sharing some travel, beauty, kitchen and even decor. Right now I’m covering things I love to cook with, but I’ll also soon be sharing how I stock my pantry to help you know the best products to have on hand!
Many of you have been asking about what my favorite pots and pans are to use. As I started pulling out all my random pots, pans and baking dishes, I began to notice how unattractive all of them look together. No matchy-match for me. I picture the Pioneer Woman pulling out all her dishes and all of them matching perfectly so. But not here. Not in the PaleOMG kitchen. I do have 2 adorable matching Le Creuset dishes, but that’s it. And that’s also because someone gave me one as a wedding gift. When I first started blogging, I couldn’t afford new pots or pans, so I would shop at the thrift store and find the cheapest pans I could! And I still have many of those pans! So I apologize for the non-sexy look, but nice big kitchen drawers hide that, luckily!
So here’s the thing, I honestly think most pots and pans are the same. Whether you spend a little money or a lot, they pretty much work all the same. The only thing I really think is worth spending more money on is Le Creuset. Their ceramic pots, pans and dutch ovens are amazing at cooking evenly and they clean in seconds. I adore them. If you have any pots or pans you love, just share them in the comments for other people to see!
Here’s an easy list of all my favorites!
- Baking sheets for oven roasting and delicious cooking
- Wire rack for cooling baked goods or cooking chicken thighs or wings evenly on top of a baking sheet
- Large glass baking dish for cakes or casseroles
- Small glass baking dish for blondies, brownies or smaller casseroles
- Bread pan for breads or meatloaf
- Round cake pans for cakes, pies or frittatas
- Ceramic Dutch oven for slow cooking like short ribs, chard or cabbage
- Ceramic baking dish – glass one works just fine, it’s just nice to have a prettier presentation at events like a brunch or dinner
- Non-stick Fry Pans for really cooking anything from eggs, to scallops to ground meat
- Ceramic Non-Stick Fry Pans
- Cast Iron Skillets for even sears on steaks, pork chops and whatever else you prefer to cook. And this is a great cleaning tool.
- Double Burner Griddle Pans for cooking lots of pancakes
- Grill pan for when you don’t have a grill or it’s too cold to go outside
- Muffin pans – metal or silicone
- Mini tart pans for fun desserts
- Different size saucepans for soups, sauces or just heating up ingredients quickly on the stovetop
That’s about it! I tend to try different brands as I go and again, the only one I’ve truly loved and would spend the extra money on is Le Creuset. These are all pretty basic items and you can even get away with less pieces than I have, but having different sized cooking tools/baking dishes makes cooking a little easier and because of that, more fun. And the more you cook and the more confident you get in the kitchen, the more you may want to add to your collections with fun things like mini muffin tins or bundt cake pans or a springform pan. I have no idea if this post is helpful at all so feel free to ask questions if you have any or add to the conversation with your favorite pieces you use! AND if you have anything you would like me to write about in future posts, let me know! I want to keep this blog interesting and fun for you guys!
Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.
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31 thoughts on “Favorite Pots, Pans & Baking Dishes”
I love the variety of topics and can’t wait to see where you branch out next!
If you’re looking for a good nonstick skillet, this is another great one! (Recommended by America’s Test Kitchen)
It isn’t perfectly flat on the bottom, so it can be a little annoying when oil won’t stay in the center, but I use mine every day without issue and just love it!
I also have to say, even if you can’t afford a Le Creuset, everyone should get a dutch oven! One of my favorite things to cook in. I have one from Macy’s that was under $100 and it works great!
never owned a Dutch oven.. but i always hear everyone rave about them. that & a glass baking brownie pan i have somehow never acquired. good tip on checking thrift stores though, especially if it is a more specialized pan you will not use often.
Would love to get any cleaning tips, especially for mass cleaning and difficult-to-clean situations!
I actually disagree on the non stick pans. I have found they do not hold up well and there is a lot of controversy on how healthy they are. And yes, I have taken proper care of them. Over time, they still flake.
That being stated, I love All Clad. Hands down, I would rather scrub stainless steel than deal with non stick. I have even found some really great stainless Calphalon frying pans.
Also, everyone needs a silicon muffin pan. It is the best thing ever, especially if you like mini quiches, egg cups, or frozen smoothies.
i’ve tried so hard to like the stainless steel, but i feel like i have to use SO much fat to keep it from sticking and then the food still always sticks. drives me crazy so i stopped using them and they just sit in my drawers now 🙁
It took me a while to figure out how to cook with my stainless steel, but now I love them! Teflon freaks me out now after all the bad shit they’ve found it can do to you, so I figure better safe than sorry! My best suggestion is to use a heavy coat of cooking spray, even if you’re cooking with oil, and I typically don’t have a problem with stickage. For some reason oil doesn’t really keep stuff from sticking to stainless. To clean, keep the pan really hot and just dump water in it, it should lift right off! Hope that’s helpful to someone…
I love this topic! I always secretly wondered what you use (and honestly assumed you have a kitchen full of fancy cooking pans like Le Creuset 😉 ). Do you think cheaper cast-iron skillets work as well as higher end ones? We have a cast iron skilled (Lodge brand I think), but it just does not seem that great, everything sticks to it, it gets grimy, and such a pain to clean! I have tried re-seasoning it but that didn’t help. I heard that they just don’t make good quality ones anymore.
Give it time and cook lots of bacon 🙂 they get better with use. I’ve also heard of people sanding down the interior of lodge pans to make the surface smoother but I have not done that myself. I love my enameled le creuset cast iron skillet with black satin finish now, but I did not at first. In the beginning they are great for stir-frying or sautéing veggies like kale, because those won’t stick. But eventually you will get to the point where you can even fry eggs. I have to put a fair amount of fat in mine for frying eggs, but I leave a lot of it in the pan and use it to cook veggies after. For getting tough stuff off, I usually use a flat edged wooden spatula to scrape as wood won’t harm the enamel on my le creuset.
I also have to say, I have a staub enameled cast iron crepe pan, and while it is very heavy, basically NOTHING sticks. If you’re looking into higher end cast iron, I may like staub even better than le creuset.
Thanks for sharing! I agree about not worrying too much about what costs more or doesn’t. I have a walmart nonstick pan that works better than my high end one. I also have walmart knifes that beat the heck out of Cutco. I enjoy baking over cooking. Mostly because my kitchen is super tiny and storage is at a minimum. I hate cramped spaces! Instead of ordering more items, I’d like to order one XXL kitchen please with a side of angels singing.
Thank you for sharing! I love love love cast iron. I only have a few pieces though. When I first got married (17 years ago) my mom passed on all her cast iron, like 20 + pieces and I sold them in a garage sale because first, I’m an idiot, but I just had no clue how to cook with them. I would KILL to have just half that set now. Oh well, painful lesson learned. Loving the diversity of your posts btw!
Ok, not pots and pans… but…
I read about the Victorinox Fibrox knives in Cook’s Illustrated – I think everyone did because the price went up a bit since the article was published – but they are great! I have a knife sharpener I picked up at Marshall’s for $15 and with that these knives cut through even tomatoes beautifully after daily use for 2+ years now!
I highly recommend Calphalon anything, especially their baking sheets! A quality baking sheet will never stick/burn the bottom AS LONG as you **never** spray it with nonstick spray. Calphalon can be expensive, but I just look for solo items at tj Maxx and Marshalls. Their stuff lasts a lifetime.
None of the links are working for me… anyone else having this problem? 🙁
Agree on the Calphalon – finally bit the bullet and invested in some new pots and pans (Contemporary line) last year when the Williams Sonoma Outlet had them on sale. They cook evenly and quickly – so frustrated that I waited so long to invest! You often can score a good deal from Marshalls/TJ Maxx, as well as Macys when they have their Home sales. I also finally upgraded to a good set of knives (Wusthof/Classic) and again, can’t believe how much of a difference they make in the kitchen.
Does anyone have health concerns about using the non-stick pans as far as imperceptible bits coming off during cooking. Also, has anyone had experience with the copper-chef cookware?
Thank you so much for this post. I’m new to your blog, but not your recipes- my sister turned me onto your recipes a few years ago; LOVE your cookbook! It’s nice to see that “what I have, is cheap & easy” is the mantra here! I love that. I recently got rid of everything non-stick and love my cast iron (seasoned several times with flax oil). I also really love stainless steel, but cleaning can be a b-word. A little trick I read about that really works (on both cast iron & stainless): sprinkle a little table salt in the pot/pan and add a little water (enough to cover the offending, stubborn mess), put the pot/pan on the range, turn heat on low, heat for a few minutes. I SWEAR this un-gunks like nobody’s business, and it’s safe and easy…..who knew! Can’t remember where I read this trick so I can’t take credit for it, but it works! I’m also a huge fan of the Lodge pan scrapers (usually in a set of 2) and a good old fashioned stainless steel scouring pad (I get mine at the store). Both work like a charm.
genius!! thanks for the tip!
For nonstick-ish type pans, I’m using the French steel skillets instead. They are awesome for everything and it’s really all that professional chefs use in restaurants and at home. They require seasoning and some getting use to, but they are AWESOME and I prefer them over cast iron (except for Le Creuset, which I adore for moist cooking/braising, etc).
Try the Fat Daddio’s cake pans! I’ve tried a lot of different brands, including all of the muy expensive ones at Williams Sonoma. And I LOVE these — they come in every possible diameter and depth imaginable and they have removable bottoms!!! I even use them on the trivet in my Instant Pot for moist cooking cakes and custards (pumpkin cutie pies, cheesecake, etc). You can toss all of your annoying springform pans because these are better.
I resisted the Dutch oven for a long time and finally got one from Staub. I use it every week and LOVE it! The only thing I would add to this list is Silpats for the baking sheets. I use them constantly just to make cleaning up easier.
duh! i can’t believe i forgot that! love mine!
That’s a great list of starting stuff for baking … time to get shopping!
Not pan related – but I’d like to know about your stove. I’ve seen pictures of it here and there, and we’re planning a kitchen remodel – goodbye 1960’s electric cooktop – I’m looking for a gas stove with two ovens. I think you may have one, so I’m wondering your thoughts on it? I know I could go with something like a Viking, but this isn’t our forever home. Looking forward to Kansas City! Driving 8+ hours to get there, even though Chicago is less than 2 hours away, but for the added bonus of meeting you and Liz, it’s a no-brainer!
honestly, i don’t LOVE my kenmore double oven. the temperature is pretty off and it runs hot on one side. many baked goods i’ve made in there don’t come out like they have in other ovens, so it’s kind of frustrating. the convection has also been a pain and it doesn’t clean itself (obviously not a must, but is still nice when you pay good money). so i wish i could recommend mine, but i won’t. i would just do some research and check out reviews on other double ovens!! and WHAT?! 8 hours?! i hope you’re doing other fun stuff too because that’s so so nice!!
I love cooking chicken thighs on a cooling rack, as you suggest. But, I HATE cleaning the cooling rack after! Any tips on making the clean up easier?
just spray it with coconut oil or olive oil A LOT before
Hey Juli. I know you have a Blendtec Blender too. I’ve been looking into getting one, but I was wondering if you are also able to do food processing type stuff with them as well?
I thought I would try to get something that can do both rather than buying multiple appliances.
it depends on what you mean by food processing stuff. it won’t mandolin slice foods like a food processor will, but it does everything else. it just doesn’t have that attachment like a food processor does
Where did you get your baby blue Le Creuset’s?! I have the turquoise cast iron and have never seen that color!!! I am obsessed!
amazon or bed bath and beyond!