Pots and pans are something we use every day in the kitchen, whether we’re rustling up a culinary masterpiece or we’re cooking something quick and easy. But with everything from copper tri-ply to aluminium available, which is the best pan for the job?

To help you buy your next pan, we’ve put together this guide, which will show you all the features and benefits of different pots and pans and their hob suitability.

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Choosing the material of your pan…

Aluminium pans

Aluminium cookware is very affordable, which is why it’s great for everyday cooking and for building up your collection. Their featured benefits include:

  • Tough and durable
  • Non stick
  • Excellent heat conductor
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Dishwasher safe

Hob suitability: Gas, radiant ring, ceramic, solid hot plate and halogen hobs.

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Stainless steel pans

Boasting a more luxurious style, stainless steel cookware is perfect for adding to kitchens of all designs, from traditional to contemporary. Many of these pan sets also come with a highly conductive aluminium or copper encapsulated base/core to provide better heat distribution. They offer a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Lightweight
  • Scratch resistant
  • Resistant to warping
  • Often come with a heat-tempered lid
  • Suitable with metal utensils unless they have a non-stick coating, in which case, they’re only suitable with wooden or silicone utensils
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Oven safe to 220°C (induction base only)
  • 10 year guarantee (induction base only)

Hob suitability: Gas, radiant ring, ceramic, solid hot plate and halogen hobs. Pans with an encapsulated base are also compatible with induction hobs.

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Ceramic-coated carbon steel pans

Coated with a non-stick ceramic coating, ceramic pans distribute heat evenly due to their metal core. And, with the ceramic coating being available in a number of colours, you can find a design that’s in keeping with your kitchen colour scheme. Benefits of ceramic cookware include:

  • Non stick
  • Easy to clean
  • Scratch resistant
  • 2 year guarantee

Hob suitability: Gas, radiant ring, ceramic, solid hot plate, halogen and induction hobs.

Shop all ceramic pots and pans

Marble-effect aluminium pans

Incredibly durable, marble-effect aluminium pans offer you something that can meet up to the daily demands of a busy family kitchen. They boast a fantastic set of features, including:

  • Tough and durable
  • Non stick
  • Excellent heat conductor
  • Scratch resistant
  • Suitable with metal utensils
  • Forged aluminium reinforced with titanium
  • 2 year guarantee

Hob suitability: Gas, radiant ring, ceramic, solid hot plate, halogen and induction hobs.

Shop all marble-effect aluminium pans 

Copper tri-ply pans

A firm favourite in professional kitchens, a copper pan doesn’t just look good but performs to the highest standard, too. The high-quality materials used in these copper pans make them a worthwhile investment if you’re a budding Gordon Ramsey or you intend to use them on a frequent basis. Some of the benefits of copper cookware include:

  • Scratch resistant
  • Excellent heat conductor
  • Aluminium core
  • Stainless steel inner layer
  • Strong durable handles
  • Oven safe to 250°C
  • 10 year guarantee

Hob suitability: Gas, radiant ring, ceramic, solid hot plate and halogen hobs.

Shop all copper pots and pans

Die-cast aluminium pans

For tough and durable everyday pans, look no further than die-cast aluminium cookware. These hard-wearing pots and pans are perfect for living up to the daily demands of a busy kitchen, and with them being non-stick, they make washing up much easier, too!

  • Tough and durable
  • Non stick
  • Excellent heat conductor
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Oven safe to 250°C
  • 5 year guarantee

Hob suitability: Gas, radiant ring, ceramic, solid hot plate and halogen hobs.

Shop all die-cast aluminium pans

Carbon steel

Carbon steel cookware is often likened to cast iron pots and pans as both boast similar properties such as being good heat conductors. Carbon steel pans are also perfect for everyday use, so are ideal if you’re just starting out with your cookware collection or you’re adding to it. Design features include:

  • Non stick
  • Easy to clean
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to handle

Hob suitability: Gas, radiant ring, ceramic, solid hot plate and halogen hobs.

Shop all carbon steel pans

Choosing the style of your pan…

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Depending on your cooking needs, there are a variety of different pan sets available. Having the right cookware for the job will help save you time, add flavour to your dishes and produce the best recipes. Here are the different types of pots and pans you can buy and what they’re best suited to:

Saucepans

With straight sides and a rounded bottom, saucepans are a versatile piece of cookware. You can often buy saucepan sets which include different sizes so you can get the quantity just right. They’re ideal for soups and sauces, for cooking rice, pasta or eggs and reheating your leftovers. You’ll often find that saucepans come with lids, too, so you can control the evaporation of water inside if you need to.

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Frying pans

Another must-have in the kitchen, the frying pan has rounded sides and a flat bottom, which is why it’s perfectly designed to cook things over a very high heat in oil. You’ll find these pans in a variety of different sizes, but if you want to save on washing up, the best frying pan is one that’s got a non-stick coating.

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Stock pots

A stock pot (often referred to as a casserole dish) is the ultimate cooking pot as they allow you to brown or sauté before adding liquids to make stews, soups or stocks. Their large size means they’re great for cooking liquid foods that don’t need to be directly near to the heat source. They’re also great if you need to boil large batches of pasta, potatoes or noodles, etc. With their different sizes, they’re great for cooking for small or large groups, so it’s handy to have several of these on standby!

Shop all stock pots and casserole dishes 

Sauté pans

The name of this pan gives the game away! Made for sautéing, they’re designed to allow you to fry food while moving it around quickly in the pan, covered by a lid. They also come complete with a flat bottom but they have straight sides which are deeper than a frying pan. Therefore, they’re just the job for searing, deep frying and creating particular sauces, e.g. a marinara.

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Woks

An all-purpose Asian pan, woks have sloping sides that are high to give you great flexibility when moving things around in the pan, while also providing a hot bottom cooking surface and cooler sides. Traditionally, the best wok will be made from carbon steel and will be perfect for deep frying, steaming and stir frying.

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Griddle pans

Want to give your cooking that professional grilled look? Then look no further than a grill pan, which has been designed with a ridged surface to cook meat to perfection! Their design also means they can cook many other things without using much oil, including eggs, pancakes or even a full fry up!

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Steamers

If you want to eat as healthily as possible, a steamer is one kitchen accessory you want in your cupboard. Whether you use it as a vegetable steamer or to cook fish or meat in, steamers not only remove the need for oils etc. but they also keep all the nutrients locked in. Other foods you can use a food steamer for include eggs (hard-boiled, of course!), couscous, pasta and rice, making it an incredibly versatile piece of cookware!

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Egg poachers

Poached eggs are often a cook’s nightmare. How long do you cook them for and what technique do you use to get them just right? Thankfully, a poached egg pan can help you achieve perfect eggs, again and again! The best pan for poaching eggs will be one that includes at least four sections for your eggs, so they’re evenly shaped to give them a restaurant-class touch!

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Choosing your pan’s additional features…

To find the best cookware for you, here are just some of the features you should be looking out for to maximise your cooking experience:

Lid

Not all pans come with a lid, but they’re a great feature if you want to retain heat or steam within the pan. Most lids included with stockpots or saucepans come with a vent to prevent pressure from building up too much. And glass lids are always a popular choice because you can keep an eye on your cooking without letting the heat escape!

Handle

If you’re going to be moving the pots and pans around the kitchen, handles are a must-have. Ergonomically designed, these handles help you transfer your cooking from pan to plate with ease.

Choosing your pan’s coating…

Non stick

Nothing’s worse than cleaning burnt bits of food off your pan but with a non-stick coating, all your culinary creations can be easily removed. Little or no oil is required when you’re cooking with non-stick cookware, so it’s a much healthier choice, too.

Enamel

Enamel coatings can often be found on cast-iron or steel pans, reducing – or sometimes even removing – the need for using oil when you’re cooking. The enamel also helps to protect the metal core underneath, preventing it from rusting or tarnishing whilst also providing you with a non-stick surface that’s easier when cleaning and cooking.

View our entire range of pots and pans online at wilko.com

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