My 2021 Cookware Favorites

Posted by Annette Bellisari on

Many Americans have been cooking a lot more because of the extra hours spent at home. With restaurant shutdowns and social distancing restrictions, we’re dining out less — so we’re taking some of the budget we previously spent on restaurants and spending it on groceries and cookware instead.

If you’re going to cook, having a quality set of pots and pans can improve the ease and quality of the task. It is often cheaper to purchase a cookware set rather than buying the pieces individually, but there are several factors to take into account when looking for the best set for your kitchen.

Common materials include copper, aluminum, cast iron, and stainless steel, each of which offers different advantages and will determine the price of the set. You should have an idea of what pieces you will need, as there is no default when it comes to cookware sets. The number and variety of pieces is another major factor in the price of a set. If you purchase a well-constructed set and treat your tools well, a cookware set should last you for several years, so it’s important to find one that meets your cooking needs.

My Favorite:

I tend to use a variety of cookware. Right now, my very favorite pan is a skillet made by Belgique. Belgique is a cookware line launched primarily by Macy’s. The line is engineered to compete with the best cookware companies like Anolon cookware. The skillet is even oven safe for up to 450°F, whether in your regular oven or convection oven, which is great if you want to take something directly from the stove to the oven.

Most of the Belgique cookware is made of anodized aluminum. Some items from the set might have stainless steel or copper painted exterior, but the main structure is made of anodized aluminum. This material is perfect for fast heat conductivity, which saves energy and time in cooking. Aluminum is also an agent for even heat distribution. This means that the food is cooked thoroughly on all sides since heat is evenly distributed in the cooking area. It also has great heat retention, which is also a good way of saving energy since the food remains to get cooked by the heat retained by the aluminum even though the cookware is out of the main heat source. Lastly, aluminum does not rust and corrode. It is safe to cook with and lasts for a long time.

Pretty and Traditional:

If you prefer a more traditional set of cookware, with an unrivaled selection of bold, rich colors in a range of finishes and materials, Le Creuset is the leader in highly-durable, chip-resistant enameled cast iron. Beloved for the performance it delivers and the personal statement it makes, Le Creuset has been trusted by home cooks and master chefs for generations — it is the backbone of kitchens around the world.

Some brands are trusted and some brands are loved. The Le Creuset brand is both. For many, Le Creuset cookware never gets put in the cabinet at all; instead, it earns a place of pride on constant display. Their signature colors and authentic designs add distinct style to kitchens and tables, prompting cooks to view their Le Creuset cookware as an individual expression of personality, fashion, and design.Today, you can find devoted Le Creuset customers all around the world, from world-renowned chefs cooking in Michelin-starred restaurants to young home cooks trying their hand at something new. International followers have often clustered around Le Creuset’s specific cookware pieces and the rich culture they celebrate — and all share an uncommon love for the brand.

Most Instagrammable:

Finally, it’s impossible to talk about cookware brands without talking about how many of them look like they belong on Instagram. They offer their products in a range of bright colors and pastel shades previously never seen in the cookware category, and as a result, they have become ubiquitous on the platform. They are not just functional — they also look beautiful on the stove or the dinner table.

Meet the cult-favorite best-selling Always Pan. This do-it-all wonder is designed to replace 8 traditional pieces of cookware. Plus, it looks pretty good too.

The Always Pan replaces your fry pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest.

The details make this pan what it is. The interior has a ceramic coating made without PFOAs and PTFEs. The body is made of aluminum for even heat distribution. The pan itself weighs roughly three pounds, it has a modular lid, and multiple pour spouts. This means you use the pan to boil pasta, you drain the pasta, you add the sauce, heat it up, and dinner is done.  It works as a frying pan, a sauté pan, a saucier, and a steamer (because it comes with a steamer basket). Oh, and it has a built-in spoon rest because it’s thoughtful like that and wants to help out with clean-up. The pan is also dishwasher-safe, but it’s incredibly quick and easy to clean by hand. With its millennial monochrome appeal and promise to replace eight traditional pieces of cookware, the Always Pan certainly caught my attention. 

If you’re in the market for new cookware, keep in mind that most homes do not need a 20-piece cookware set. That is a waste of pots and pans —and money of course— that you are not going to use, and it reduces your storage space. To fully equip your kitchen, the right number is around 10 pieces by set. This allows you to buy the basic pieces in one set and if you need a specific type of pan you can buy it separately.

If you’ve discovered some cookware that you love, please tell us in the comments. I’m always open to new ideas!


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