I can’t believe we’re already at the end of November, but it’s that time of year that we’re gearing up for Black Friday and holiday sales and trying to figure out what we should put on our Santa wishlist. Now if you’re anything like me, that wishlist is usually dominated with kitchen gadgets, cookware and home decor, all of my favorite things. And since I know you’re probably gonna ask me what all of my favorites are in each of those categories I put together a Holiday Gift Guide on my website so make sure you check that out. But today I wanted to deep dive into my cookware specifically and chat about the pieces I use the most, why I love them, and why they’re worth investing in or not investing in. I should also mention that this video is not sponsored by any of the brands that you’re gonna see me highlighting.
I’m just sharing what I truly love and use in the kitchen.
So let’s jump right in. My All-Clad pots and pans are most definitely my workhorse cookware in the kitchen and what I use on a daily basis for pretty much everything from frying eggs to sauteing chicken and vegetables. The set you see me use in virtually every video is the same set that I bought right out of college almost 20 years ago and it’s just as good today as it was back then, even if it’s not quite as shiny and clean. But that’s okay because it just means it’s been lovingly used in thousands of recipes over the years.
The great thing about All-Clad is that it’s long lasting, durable, provides uniform heating across the pan and it doesn’t react with any foods or ingredients. And while it’s not cheap, these posts and pans truly will last a lifetime so they’re worth the investment. I originally bought an All-Clad set which included various sized pots and pans, but you can also buy individual pieces depending on how many people you cook for or what type of cooking you do and create your own set.
Either way, just know that investing in high quality stainless steel cookware is always a smart choice. When it comes to enameled cast iron I always have a hard time choosing between Staub and Le Creuset.
I just love them both and I have several pieces from both brands so don’t ask me to choose a favorite. Enameled cast iron is durable and incredibly easy to clean. In fact most of the time I just use a sponge to clean it. And unlike regular cast iron, enameled cast iron doesn’t have to be seasoned. I use my enameled cast iron most often in the fall and winter when I make soups and stews or braise meat, and it can easily transfer from the stove top to the oven just as stainless steel can.
If you take good care of these pieces they can certainly last a life time so they’re worth the investment. Simple non-enameled cast iron takes us back to an older time and that’s because it truly has been around for over a thousand years. Cast iron is sustainable. It’s probably the most durable cookware in my kitchen. It’s inexpensive and it’s healthy to cook with.
It may take a bit longer to heat up but when it does come to temperature it can maintain that heat perfectly. And when it comes to searing a steak or getting crispy chicken skin, it’s really hard to beat.
But the best part about cast iron is that it’s the original nonstick cookware. A properly seasoned cast iron pan will easily release eggs, meat, and pretty much anything else you toss into it. You do have to be a little careful with acidic foods, so I recommend enameled cast iron or stainless steel for things like shakshouka.
But with how cheap cast iron pans are it definitely makes sense to have a couple pieces in your kitchen.
When it comes to baking and roasting you’ve seen me use both glass and ceramic pans in my kitchen. Brands like Pyrex and Corningware are inexpensive, they don’t release any chemicals or toxic metals into your food, and they’re pretty durable as long as you don’t cause any rapid change in temperature. I use these all the time for casseroles and baking chicken breasts and they can easily go straight from the oven to your dinner table.
So I definitely recommend you have a couple of these key pieces in your cookware arsenal.
All right, I’ve left this one to last because many of you know that I’m not a huge fan of nonstick cookware due to health and safety reasons. But, nonetheless I continue to receive requests asking for my recommendations on nonstick cookware brands so here is my honest opinion. Nonstick cookware pans fall into two categories. Those coated with polytetrafluoroethylene, better known as PTFE, and those coated with ceramic. PTFE is the classic nonstick cookware surface that you might know better as Teflon, and ceramic pans are often known as green pans or diamond coated pans.
Historically PTFE pans also contained another chemical called PFOA, but this was deemed to be cancer causing and affect growth development and reproduction among other things.
So for several years now, PTFE pans no longer contain PFOA which is good, but that chemical was simply swapped for another called GenX and we don’t yet know the long-term ramifications of it. The problem with PTFE cookware is that at high temperatures the nonstick coating can break down and release toxic fumes and chemicals into the air and food. And if the surface coating starts to scratch and wear it can also release toxic chemicals into your food. So you might be thinking, “Well ceramic pans must be better then, right?
” Well, not so fast. Ceramic pans might be marketed with buzzwords like green and healthy, but the surface of ceramic pans actually doesn’t last as long as PTFE.
The big gray area with ceramic pans is that they contain nanoparticles which can enter our cells and there’s just not enough research or scientific studies yet to fully understand the potential adverse effects on our bodies long term. So for all of those reasons I’m not a proponent of nonstick but I also like to keep things real and I do have a couple of pieces of nonstick in my kitchen. But I just use them very infrequently.
But if you are gonna use nonstick, here are my three biggest tips on how to use them most safely. First, always cook on low or medium and never use a high temperature. Second, always use wood or silicone spatulas so that you don’t damage the surface of the pan. And third, replace your nonstick pans every couple of years or as soon as you see the surface start to wear.
Because nonstick pans are not pans you will have long term, I don’t recommend investing in expensive ones with stainless steel bottoms.
It’s just not worth the money. The ones I have, which are Ballarini pans have remained perfectly nonstick for a couple of years now and so far there’s no sign of destruction to the surface. But again, I’m super careful with them. So whether you choose PTFE of ceramic nonstick pans from Ballarini, Zwilling, GreenPan, SCANPAN or any of the other brands out there, I think the big takeaway is that nonstick cookware should not be viewed as the workhorse cookware in your kitchen.
There are just far too many more durable, longer lasting, and cost effective options and healthier options that will last a lifetime.
I should also mention that there’s a 100% ceramic pan called Xtrema that’s been getting a lot of good praise but I tried this pan for several weeks and personally I was not a fan of it. I’ll tell you why I wasn’t a fan or what I just didn’t love about it on the full blog post. Lastly, when it comes to utensils, I do have a couple of favorites. I love, love, these stainless steel utensils and spatulas from Crate & Barrel. I’ve had them for at least ten years now and they’re super strong and durable.
They never bend or warp no matter how much pressure you put on them. I also love my wood spatulas and these silicone spatulas and I’ll link all of these in the description box below.
So if you’re going to invest in cookware this holiday season I highly recommend you invest in All-Clad, Staub, Le Creuset and Lodge Cast Iron, and pick yourself up some extra glassware and ceramic pieces. And if you do decide to purchase a nonstick pan, the one I have used and can recommend is Ballarini. I hope you guys enjoyed this cookware video and if there’s anything else you’d like to see my recommendations on in the future, let me know in the comments below.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, eat lots of delicious food and I will see you back here in a couple of weeks.
Read More: Picking The Right Pan For Every Recipe | Epicurious