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Curated Experts Can Help You Find the Best Pots, Pans, and Skillets for Your Kitchen
Dutch Ovens & Braisers
Dutch ovens and braisers are very similar, as both these types of cookware are built to distribute heat evenly throughout the entirety of the vessel. This consistent heat retention is thanks to the materials—either solely cast iron or enamel-coated cast iron—that are used to make these cookware items.
The main difference between a braiser and a dutch oven is the height of the sides. Dutch ovens are taller to accommodate large amounts of stews and soups, and even serve as a fryer alternative, while a braiser is a wide-based, shallower version of a similar design. Per its name, a braiser is intended to braise foods in the oven. Its shorter height allows for a quicker reduction of liquids as water vapor has less distance to travel upwards. Despite any height or shape differences, lids are crucial to both dutch ovens and braisers to keep moisture inside when cooking proteins and vegetables without drying them out.
If you are looking for a cookware piece that can handle stovetop cooking and oven use without its handles or lids overheating, let a Curated Expert walk you through the dutch ovens and braiser options on Curated.
Frying Pans & Skillets
Frying pans and skillets are shallow cooking vessels that are round and have curved sides. Unlike skillets, frying pans have one long handle that is great for quick single-handed maneuvers and shaking while cooking to mix the ingredients. Skillets, however, have a thicker and heavier bottom with a second handle to help carry the heavy pan and its contents from the stove to the counter. Most people are familiar with cast iron skillets which are a perfect example of this category of cookware.
The frying pan, varieties of which can also be called a sauteuse, is a versatile cooking vessel that is great for sautéing, stir-frying, and other cooking methods that involve active movement. It is usually light enough that it can be lifted with a single hand.
A skillet has the same general design as a frying pan but, because of its heavier weight, is not as easily picked up when sautéing ingredients. Nevertheless, skillets hold less condensation while cooking, and the outward slant of the sides and its curved shape allow for quick searing action. If you still feel confused about when you might use a frying pan or skillet, simply ask a Curated Kitchen Expert. They are culinary professionals who are ready to serve up tips and tricks from their years of cooking experience.
Sauté pans have straight sides and more depth than a frying pan but, counterintuitively, sautéing in a sauté pan is not as easy as it is in a frying pan. You could still sauté ingredients in this pan if desired, but the straight sides hinder that smooth “jump” that frying pans offer. Instead of a “jump,” sauté pans offer a larger cooking surface that reduces the possibility of liquids and sauces spilling. Sauté pans are also good for making braises, cooking pasta, making sauces, and so much more. Ask a Curated Kitchen Expert about adding a sauté pan and its versatility to your cooking arsenal, and let them settle any questions you may have about this French-inspired cookware.
Stock Pots & Sauce Pans
Another cookware item just as essential as a frying pan is the stock pot. These deep and large pots make it easy to cook large amounts of soup or sauces without worrying about them reducing too quickly. They are great for cooking noodles like spaghetti or fettuccine and, thanks to their depth, long noodles will comfortably fit without needing to be pushed into the water as they soften.
Sauce pans are great, multi-use cookware pieces that act like mini stock pots. They are valued for their ease of use and their versatility in making smaller quantities of liquid foods. A long handle makes sauce pans very mobile while cooking, and they make excellent receptacles for preparing small amounts of sauces to then be spooned onto plates.
Woks & Stir Fry Pans
Inspired by the Eastern history of lightweight metal shields doubling as cooking vessels for stews and soups, woks have either two small handles opposite to each other along the edge of their circumference or a single long hollow handle. They are generally made from carbon steel and are very thin. This allows for great heat transmission at the bottom and cooler temperatures on the sides. When cooking in a wok, it is best to superheat ingredients at the bottom of the pan, then stir them quickly along the edges to create crispness outside and tenderness inside.
Stir fry pans are a more modern version of traditional woks. The sides are higher for less spillage and the materials used are more in line with those of modern pots and pans. The bottom of stir fry pans tend to have larger surfaces than woks for better use on home stoves. Both have advantages and disadvantages based on your specific cooking environment, so reach out to a Curated Expert to find out which of these two is your next best cooking tool.
Talk With an Expert
Everyone has that one pot or pan that they use every day. It could be a simple 6-inch frying pan that does everything from cooking breakfast to making a simple dinner, but chances are that cookware piece could benefit from an upgrade. You could go for function and get one new pan that will handle more volume and produce better results, or you could get a larger set that will take your day-to-day cooking to a whole new level. You could even go the aesthetic route and get an item that just looks amazing. Whichever path you choose, talk to one of our knowledgeable Kitchen Experts who will happily be your cookware shopping guide.