The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Let’s Talk Pots and Pans

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Kitchen Talk (Pots and Pans)

I have a pan problem. I have every pan I need, really, but I can’t help myself when I see pictures of new pans, particularly some specialty pans that I may never need more than once or twice. I think the only thing worse is my love for camera lenses, but at least that has an emergency stop built-in because lenses are too expensive to buy on impulse. But show me a cute little cast iron skillet that can barely hold one egg, or a pretty comal when I already own two, and I have a hard time looking away.

I know I’m not alone in my love for cookware, and though I have my share, I do have a few favorites. I know you do too! Tell us:

Of all the pots and pans you own, what’s your favorite and most used, and which one do you use the least?

My most-used pan is a three-way tie between my 9″ cast iron pan, an 8″ stainless steel skillet, and my Dutch oven. I feel like, with them, I can tackle anything. Least used? I bought this really cute canning vessel for small batch canning (holds 1 jar) one or two years ago. I haven’t used it yet because it’s apparently too small to balance on my stove grates, so I think zero times counts as the least used, yes?

How about you? What can’t you live without? And do you regret any impulse buys? Time to look through your kitchen and survey those pots and pans!



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Alyse on 8.25.2014

I cannot live without my 6 1/2 quart dutch oven.
I also use my half sheet pans every day. I know they are not pots but they are pans.

justina on 8.24.2014

My cast iron skillet of course, I make cakes, and cornbread, fry bacon and a lot more, and my cookie sheets that I bought at Sam’s and don’t remember the brand they have circles on it. I bake a lot more than cook.

marlab on 8.22.2014

I have a set of Saladmaster pots & pans from the early 70’s that my mom had bought for my grandmother. I remember the salesman came to our house and cooked a dinner with the pots/pans for demonstration. Like the old Tupperware parties! They are stainless steel and still look great. On Ebay they are considered “vintage”. I still think they look better than the newer style. Use my iron skillets, too. Over the years I have tweaked my wares so there is really not anything I don’t use.

AJ on 8.22.2014

I adore my Le Cruset Cast-Iron Braiser and use it more than any other. It is worth its weight in gold! Not only is it a dream for braising, it is great for sauteing, perfect for one pot stove top meals, and goes from stove top to oven. It has also become my favorite baking dish for savory things. I always use it for mac and cheese and it is perfect for casseroles like king ranch chicken. Least used is my cast-iron grill pan as cleaning it is a nightmare!

Bev Howard on 8.21.2014

I love my cast-iron/enamel Dutch oven! Least used, my 8″ non-stick frying pan.

slammie on 8.21.2014

Favorite? Wok Least favorite? Griddle pan from Calphalon – no real lip/edge to it and I like to add a lot of oil to the pan to get the sides of the pancakes crunchy (LOL)

I do use my Lodge Dutch Oven a lot during the fall/winter though.

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Patricia @ ButterYum on 8.21.2014

Oops… I forgot to mention my very favorite Swiss Diamond non-stick skillet. I also own scanpan and all-clad skillets and they’re okay, but nothing performs like Swiss Diamond. We use it everyday to make eggs and it still looks and performs like it was brand new after nearly 2 years (did I mention my husband and teenagers use it too?). Worth every penny.

T Spar on 8.21.2014

For health reasons I threw out all my Teflon pans years ago. I’ve tried many non-stick alternatives over the years, but nothing was quite like Teflon until I tried recently bought a Zwilling Henckels ceramic coated fry pan. Its every bit as good as Teflon, but with a safe and strong ceramic coating. FIVE STARS – worth every penny!

JulieW on 8.21.2014

Auntie Tracy,

I hope you see this. Don’t feel like you have to get an expensive Le Creuset to enjoy the benefits of enameled cast iron. Try one made by Lodge or Tramontina at a much more reasonable cost and reviewed highly by their users. I have both Le C and Lodge. Is Le C nice? Yes. Is it necessary? No. Lodge cooks and cleans nicely too.

JulieW on 8.21.2014

My favorite is my 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset Dutch Oven. I never knew I could love a pan until I got that one. Worth every penny I paid for it! I use a 12″ non-stick fry pan a lot too and an 8 qt. stainless stock pot, mostly for pasta. I also have a pressure cooker and other stainless sauce pans I use pretty regularly.

Like others, my least favorite is my cast iron grill pan. What a pain to clean! Just not worth it.

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Cathey on 8.21.2014

Love reading all the comments as I’m in need of updating and getting new. My all time favorite most used is my 9 qt LeCrueset. I only got it 2 years ago with credit card points. Prior to that it was 2 different inherited ( 60+ years old each) 8 qt. Wear-ever s used to stew, roasts, etc. They sparkle and shine like they are new. I need to replace my Calphon fry pans which I threw out 2 years ago when I got Celiac, I’ve been using an old stainless which is great for frying but always sticks.

My all time favorite my LeCrueset, least favorite my grill pan, the one that covers 2 burners. I’d rather use the outdoor gas grill. It’s non stick but the clean up is what keeps me away from using it, pain in the butt to get is really clean.

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Pam Jordan on 8.21.2014

I use a 12 in iron skillet almost daily in the summer, with a 2 qt. stainless pan for vegetables; least used is my big stock pot. (even in the winter)

Pam on 8.21.2014

About 40 years ago I bought a set of Lustre Craft pots and pans as a gift for my mother from a door to door salesman. I think I paid about $300.00 for them. I bought them on time and it took forever for me to pay them off. Several years later as I was setting up my home, she gave them back to me. I have a few other odds and ends I use when necessary, but the Lustre Craft are still by far my favorite. They clean up easily, deglaze perfectly, cook evenly, and still look great!

Auntie Tracy on 8.21.2014

I could not live without my 8″ cast iron skillet (inherited from my grandfather) and my yellow coated cast iron dutch oven that I bought on the cheep. Even though the paint/finish is cracking off, I still love it. Cast iron all the way!

I would love to get an expensive LeCrueset cast iron coated skillet but they are just way too expensive!

Nan on 8.21.2014

I use a four quart (or so) red Le Crueset all the time, (I also used other sizes of same) and I also use a large (12′) non stick fry pan – calphalon – I got on sale about 8 years ago when I lived in upstate NY. Now Nebraska! (I love you, Mid West!)

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Donna H on 8.21.2014

I use my medium size teflon skillet, dutch oven and medium size saucepan. Two things I’d love to own is a inside grill and a big cast iron skillet. I don’t have much to cook with back in 2005 I was suppose to die and my sons and mom cleaned out my apartment which everything was pitched. I don’t have anything that I don’t use.

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Shawna C on 8.21.2014

Thanks for the intel Patricia!

Christina Roth on 8.21.2014

I probably use my Dutch oven and cast iron skillet with equal use. I love that they are oven safe. With no grill (or ability to use one…thanks a lot fire code), the ability to sear on the stovetop and finish in the oven is great. I also use my wok for all my Asian dishes and my saute pan for sauces. I use my very, very new stockpot the least…with the lid on, it touches my hood!

KimP on 8.21.2014

I use my stock pot and dutch oven the most and a tiny sauce pan the least. I bought the tiny sauce pan for melting butter and such, but it is too small to balance on my burners.

Donna on 8.21.2014

Breakfast is the square ceramic griddle, love it!
Dinner is the dutch oven, cast iron pan or the grill pan with the raised bottom.
Least used is my wok.

Sandi W. on 8.21.2014

I have a medium sized Dutch oven that I use a lot and to my surprise I bought a nonstick crepe pan a year ago that I have enjoyed using for cooking other things. I find having too many sizes of fry pans seems redundant as I always lean towards picking the ‘standard’ size one for most cooking. Also, I haven’t been using my grill pan as often as I once did; maybe it doesn’t matter as much about having the perfect ‘grill marks’ on my meat. Lol

Marcia on 8.21.2014

I have an obsession with all things kitchen especially pots and pans. Love cast iron regular or enameled, stainless is not far behind and also have some ceramic pans too but my best go to pots are some Magnalite WagnerWare previously owned by my mom. Mom got those somewhere in the mid 60’s. I remember her arriving home with a big box labeled “for 3 generations” when I asked what it meant, she said that those pots were more than good that they will be used by her, by me and later by my daughters. I have been cooking on those pots for some time and to me they look like new and feel great!

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mdvshutterbug on 8.21.2014

I use my dutch oven the most. My round grill pan is used the least.

Donna Forbes on 8.21.2014

Definitely use my stock pot the most for soups, pasta, stews! The least be my iron skillet because I seem to only use it for bacon :( I need to start using it more!

Susie on 8.20.2014

Use my medium non stick saucepan for everything. That mini bundt pan I got purely to make pumpkin shaped cakes one Halloween? Used once, and never again. And it’s so cumbersome in my cabinet probably time to donate it to Goodwill.

Becky G on 8.20.2014

My husband bought me a cast iron dutch oven because I mentioned that Pioneer Woman uses a lot of cast iron pans. I can’t lift it to pour anything out of it or to clean it. I very seldom use it.

Verlene on 8.20.2014

My 6″ fry pan is the best. Just the right size for 2 of us. I like, but seldom use, my stainless steel skillet. Too hard to clean.

Bonnie on 8.20.2014

Use our 14″ non-stick fry pan most, but I do like my stock pot too.

Sue In FLA on 8.20.2014

My favorite pan is a twelve inch non-stick fry pan. I use it daily, sometimes multiple times a day. Right now, it is a William Sonoma brand. I have used Calphalon and All Clad. Both lasted a long time, but once the coating starts to wear and things start to stick, I purchase a replacement. I think the All Clad was the best of the three. I have a Breville Fast Slow Cooker that I use seldom, probably just not the slow cooker for me.

Mary Lou Kemp on 8.20.2014

My favorite pan is a 10 inch stainless steel….pretty heavy weight pan. I have a dutch oven but the ceramic coating has blistered and I am so bummed because I love cooking and roasting in it.

lena on 8.20.2014

I’m just curious if anyone has or uses the ceramic cookware. I love the look of the sets they use on food network’s chopped shows. I haven’t tried any but would like to try at least a saucepan besides the le creuset cookware….someday.

JoyK on 8.20.2014

My absolute favorite go-to pot is my oval Dutch oven. My waste of money pot was a non-stick griddle that laid over the burners. It warped and the surface cracked after the first use. My dream is to have a Mediterranean Blue Le Crueset humongous cast iron skillet. I covet! I pant! My toes tingle when I think of it. Sigh!

Noreen on 8.20.2014

Mercy, the name escapes me. I bought a set of pots and pans in the financial flush of my first teaching job when I was 21 years old. I think they were seal-a-matic, or some such. 51 years later and I still use these pots and pans daily and they sparkle. They will probably still be tip-top for my granddaughters. They hawk them at county fairs now, albeit under a different name. I have some of the modern newbies, too, but I love my original set.

lindasue on 8.20.2014

Cast iron Dutch oven and 10″ cast iron skillet

Beckie on 8.20.2014

My favorite pots are those from my Revere Ware, with copper bottoms, that we received for wedding gifts in 1972! I do love my non-stick skillets from Sam’s Club, but have to replace them when the non-stick surface begins to wear.

Jane in WI on 8.20.2014

I have a well-used 2 quart non-stick saucepan that came with a steamer insert and a glass cover (perhaps Analon). On a few occassions I’ve put it in the “box to go” but it always comes back out. Living alone it’s just the right size for me. I recently purchased a small cast iron skilliet but have not been too successful with it.

Devona on 8.20.2014

My Lodge Dutch Oven…I’m a baker more than a “cooker” so when I do cook it usually involves the trusty old Dutch Oven!

lena on 8.20.2014

My favorite piece of cookware would be a 9″ non-stick, heavy skillet with high rounded sides. My least favorite is my 5-qt stock pot. Anything and everything sticks to the inside.

Dana R on 8.20.2014

I can’t live without my Cast Iron skillets! That is my most used pan for everything, even scrambled eggs. The biggest cookware mistake I made was buying that dark Anodized Aluminum cookware that was the rage several years ago. I hate that stuff. Cast Iron Made in the USA is the way to go.

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Patricia @ ButterYum on 8.20.2014

Shawna – I sell high end cookware so I can offer you some advice about your cooktop. Yes, you can use both enameled cast iron and uncoated cast iron cookware on your induction cooktop as long as you pick them straight up from the surface – do not slide them or they will scratch the glass. Same goes for radiant cooktops. .

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Shawna C on 8.20.2014

Oh wait, if cake pans count, then my least-used would be my round cake pan. I have one, but pretty much always make sheet cake or cupcakes. I don’t think I’ve made a round layer cake in my life.

And I use my muffin tins (both mini and regular-sized) all the time.

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Shawna C on 8.20.2014

I like my huge non-stick pan for making quick, small stir-fries or 3 grilled cheeses at a time, but I also use my stainless steel deep dutch oven a lot for everything from spaghetti sauces to chili to really big stir fries. I love the enamelled cast iron pot I’ve got, but I’ve been leery of using it on my new induction cooktop, even though I think it would work. (?)

I think my least-used would be my stock pot as I don’t make stock and can only boil so much corn-on-the-cob in a year.

Monica M on 8.20.2014

I mostly use my 12″ non-stick skillet, wish I had a 10″ one. I have this 10″ stir fry/sauce pan, small bottom wide top pan. I use that one for a lot of stuff. I would be lost without it. Of course my cast iron skillet. I don’t use my Le Crueset 5 1/2 quart dutch oven much because it is just me I’m cooking for. Wouldn’t trade it for nothing though, love that thing. I have been really wanting a rectangle lodge grill pan for meat and veggies.

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C. L. ( Cheryl ) "Cheffie Cooks" Wiser on 8.20.2014

I do love my pots and pans! I have a few Pampered Chef pieces I love! Cast iron skillet in various sizes used daily from main dishes to desserts! Some commerical pans that were my Dad’s from his restaurant (years ago) which are great when I have to cook BIG which is often. I like many different types all with good and bad points; depending on what is being cooked or baked in them. “Happy Cooking” everyone! Cheryl.

Starlyn on 8.20.2014

I use Le Creuset exclusively except for my ONE lodge cast iron skillet my daughter just bought me. Of the Le Creuset I own, my fav is the chicken frier – 3 inches or more deep, cast iron on the inside, enamel on the out WITH lid. Perfect for so many things!

NancyW on 8.20.2014

I have an assortment of pots and pans I consider investments….they are all my favorites and each has its own special use…I have never made an impulse buy in cookware ……Le Creuset is my most favorite brand……I recently bought a Lodge dutch oven…it was a very good investment…
I do have a Nu Wave oven and it is amazing…I cooked a turkey last Thanksgiving in less than 3 hours…No one could tell the difference it was moist delish…

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hiswife on 8.20.2014

Our enormous 14″ wide 3″ deep non stick skillet. Deep enough to make spaghetti sauce in. Least often is my cast iron dutch oven because so many of our sauces and soups take tomatoes and I read that you shouldn’t use tomatoes in cast iron. So it sits. A lot. My biggest regretful buy though isn’t a pan. It’s a contraption with like a multi-bladed pizza cutter. It was SUPPOSED to cut fresh herbs quickly and easily. Instead it seems to iron them. Flat, but not cut at all. Such a waste.

kim on 8.20.2014

My fav pan used to be my big 30-year-old cast iron skillet, but my husband broke it! Yep, put the hot skillet in cold water and – BING! – that dear old perfectly seasoned pan was in two pieces.

I bought a huge Le Creuset dutch oven years ago, when I could barely afford the thing. And I worried that I couldn’t justify the expense, but it was well worth it. I use in constantly, especially in the cooler months.

What I don’t use is a big set of fancy non-stick pans the hubby bought after feeling guilty about breaking my cast iron skillet. They have a terrible bumpy surface on the bottom, horrid to clean, and all I really needed was a new cast iron skillet!

Beth M. on 8.20.2014

I love my Rachael Ray 5 quart saute pan, I cook a lot of things in it. I don’t have a huge stash of pots and pans, therefore, I don’t have a least favorite, they all get used.

Gidget Shenefield on 8.20.2014

My cast iron I think its around 12″…. I use this every day and love it!
Least used would be one wok still pan in the back of the cupboard.