Why that many different pans?
If you plan to go deeper into the world of pans you will find out there are very many different types of pans for sale. No one has them all, but having a thought-out collection catered to your needs is a smart thing to do. In order to offer a helping hand, we have a brief description of many types of pans.
An asparagus pan is size-wise, of course, catered to the dimensions of asparagus. It's going to be a high narrow pan with a basket and a lid. The basket will help you get the asparagus from the pan without damaging them. You can also use the pan for cooking spaghetti. Do make sure the basket has a fine enough maze for spaghetti.
Au bain marie-pan
You would use this pan when you want to warm up a dish very slowly. The pan sits in hot water (Au bain marie literally means ‘in bath with Marie’) and there is no direct contact between the pan and the heat source. This is ideal for dishes and products that stick or cook too quickly normally like for instance chocolate or milk. Warming the product goes evenly and controlled.
A baking tray may not be a classic pan, but is very convenient because many large dishes can be made on the tray. The metal plate, which can come in many shapes and sizes, warms your dishes. With or without non-stick coating, it is suitable to go in the oven or can go on a different separate heat source. Large baking trays are often used professionally.
Blinis are small pancakes. A blini pan is a pan that optimized for baking these Eastern European pancakes. It can be a small frying pan, or a larger pan with several spots to be able to bake more blinis at the same time.
A casserole is used for stews. It is important that the heat is spread well. Often a casserole is made of cast-iron or steel. The material takes in a lot of heat and releases it slowly. Ideal for a stew when you don’t want a quick and high spike in heat.
A cataplana is named after the dish you prepare inside it. The dish is a stew with shellfish. A cataplana is a kind of double wok that you can hermetically seal off. The best thing is to open the Cataplana on the table so all your guests immediately smell the dish.
Clay pot cooking
Thanks to the pottery the clay pot looks traditional and definitely is traditional! For decades the clay pot is used to slowly cook dishes with a minimum of moisture. This will help keep vitamins and minerals inside and retains the taste as much as possible. Keep in mind a clay pot is fragile and must be handled with care and you should avoid large temperature differences. Putting a hot clay pot on a stone or steel surface can even be detrimental. If necessary use a trivet or tea towel to place on the clay pot and the risk is gone.
A cocotte is a small fireproof dish with a lid, intended to prepare and eat food out of. In many cases they look decorative. Translated from French, Cocotte means "stew pot". They can be made of pottery as well as cast-iron. They even come in 1 person sizes.
A contact grill is a complete device for grilling meat. Often equipped with convenient features to warn you if your meat or fish is cooked. In many cases cleaning it takes much more time than cleaning a griddle. In a list of cookware this is more or less the odd man out.
The foundation of cookware set is formed by a number of pots and pans. These are straight pans with a lid to prevent loos of moisture and heat. A cooking pot has two handles that are screwed, riveted or welded to the pan.
Cooking pot with one handle
This cooking pot is quite similar to a sauce pan. Instead of two handles it has one really long handle. They come both with and without lid
A crêpe pan is intended for making the thin pancakes called crêpes. You can cook it in a regular frying pan, but the crêpe pan has the advantage that the edge is very thin so you can flip the pancakes easily with a spatula. Obviously, regular pancakes can also be baked in a crêpe pan. The pans can come with and without non-stick coating available.
A deep fryer is a pan in which oil is heated to about 180-200 degrees Celsius. A metal basket contains the product inside oil. Mostly this pans is used for chips and the like.
A deep fryer can be placed on a heat source or have a built-in heat source. Generally, for use at home there is an electric heating element inside the fryer, while a professional chefs can also have a large gas-fired fryer. Frying pans are the main source of fire and burns inside the kitchen, so be careful!
A 'Dutch oven' is a sturdy casserole which is traditionally made out of thick cast-iron. A real Dutch oven can also but put straight above fire. You can hang it or put it on legs over burning briquettes. The models made of clay are mainly used for preparing meat and stews. How great is it you can do this outside as well!?
A fish pan is shaped to make it easier to bake a fish. In many cases it is oval to follow the exact shape of a fish and the evenly distribute heat. The edge is not that high so a bigger fish’s tail will fall slightly over it.
The diameter of a fondue pan is usually not too big so the fondue forks can sit nice and deep in the cheese, oil or broth. If you are really naughty, this can also be chocolate! The pans have a small brim on the top to prevent splashing. Fondue pans are made pottery or metal and can be equipped with a glaze or non-stick coating. Often they are part of a fondue set where the heat source is a gas burner or electric heating.
Frying pans are low and have a long handle. Large frying pans sometimes have a second grip which makes them easier to handle. Depending on the material a frying pan can be pretty heavy. Frying pans often have a non-stick coating.
A griddle is similar to a grill pan. The surface is often bigger and it doesn’t have a single handle, but has handles on both sides. This is really convenient in case you want to put it in the oven.
Grilling meat, fish or vegetables obviously goes well in a grill pan. Grilling is done at a high temperature which sears the meat and keeps al the juicy niceness inside the product. The moisture that does flow out stays in the ridges of the grill pan. Some grill pans have a removable handle so they can be put inside an oven. Cast-iron is very suitable as material for a grill pan. It is resistant to high temperatures.
A jam pan is also called maslin pan. They are often made of copper and therefor have a good heat distribution. The relatively high edge is slanted so you can stir without splashing over the edge.
A juice pan is ideal for owners of large gardens with fruit trees. You can process all kinds of fruit to delicious fruit juice. Because the juice is taken from the fruit by steam, the result is a sterile fruit juice that can last very long. The bottles that are used for bottling must be perfectly clean.
Milk tends to burn quickly. A milk pan has a good heat distribution and can have a non-stick coating. It is related the saucepan, except its side is straight right. A milk pan has a handle and sometimes there is a spout (or even two) to pour without making a mess.
A mussel pan has to be large because a large part of the mussels end up as waste. Also, because the mussels open during cooking there has to be a little more room. A mussel pan has a high lid and can be made out of different materials.
Most pans are named after the dish that is cooked inside it, but it is the other way around with this one. The Latin name for pan is ' patella '. This has slowly changed to the Catalan/Valencian word 'paella'. A paella pan is often associated with cooking for large groups, but they also come in smaller sizes.
The perfect rice for paella absorbs a lot of moisture which, along with the flavour, attaches itself to the rice. A paella pan is low and wide because the rice has to stay close to the bottom to get that nice taste. For that reason the pans for larger groups are wider and not higher.
Pasta can be cooked just fine in a regular pan. However, a separate pasta pan is a nice addition to the kitchen inventory. A pasta pan consists of a pan containing a colander. The lid fits both on the pan and the colander. You don’t need the drain because you simply remove the colander from the pan. It can also be used as a steamer for vegetable.
A pressure cooker is a cooking pot with a lid that can close the pan off hermetically. The pan comes under pressure as soon as the water boils. The pressure can often be set on a few different levels. A pressure release valve ensures that the pressure never too high. Safety comes first.
Cooking under high pressure goes much faster than normal. You save up to 70% of the cooking time. Very advanced pressure cookers like the Fissler can be equipped with a digital timer that can give exact updates on the cooking process via the app.
A rice cooker might not be essential, but is very useful for rice lovers. You cook the rice in a controlled environment without it being too dry or mushy. You can keep it warm inside the cooker as well, should you want to eat it later. Because a rice cooker has a heating element inside it you don’t need an extra spot on your stove.
A roasting pan is also called a casserole. The heat is distributed evenly. A cast-iron or steel pan can take in a lot of heat on and transfer it gradually. This makes it ideal for braising. The most famous roasting pans are the cast-iron ones from Le Creuset.
A roasting tin is usually used to roast meat, poultry or venison in the oven or on a stove. In general they are quite large rectangular tins. Make sure when you buy one that it is not too big for your oven!
A good even heat distribution is important when cooking in a saucepan. That is why copper pans are popular as saucepan. These pans always have a handle. The bottom saucepans are nicely rounded. Stirring is very important, that’s why in many cases they have a sloped edge so working a whisk is easy.
The sautée pan is related to the frying pan. The difference is the side of the pan. A sautée pan is always useful for quickly warming up leftovers. They have a long handle and often a lid so you can braise, simmer or keep dishes warm. These pans often have either a teflon or ceramic non-stick coating.
A serving pan is used to prepare a dish and present it in. In some hotels and restaurants the final piece of preparation has to be done at the table. Because the pan is put on the table there is often a wooden board underneath it to protect the table. Serving pans generally have a lower edge with two handles. They can, for example, be made out of steel or cast-iron. A non-stick coating is often not used because it doesn’t go well with cutlery.
A simmering pan is made to slowly cook food just like a casserole or roasting pan. The cast-iron pans by Le Creuset are ideal because of their high heat absorption and slow heat transfer.
A skillet is a frying pan with a slight edge on them. They are also called omelet pans. The edges make it easy to stir or turn the omelet. The flip side of the edge is that the effective area to use for cooking is smaller than that of a pan of the same diameter with a straight edge.
You should not be in a hurry with a slow cooker. At a low temperature over a longer period of time a dish is cooked. The advantage is that the nutritional values are preserved and there is hardly any fat used. The result is very tasty and healthy!
A slow cooker consists of a ceramic inner pot in a heated container on the outside. It’s simple in use, but takes a long time!
Small pancake pan
A small pancake pan is traditionally a round plate of cast-iron with small dents where the pancakes can be baked in. The pan can also be made cast-aluminum or steel sheet. They are not always round. For commercial use there are huge plates for sale as well.
It used to be that smoking food was done to preserve the food better. Nowadays it is mainly a way to make it taste great. Wood chips, which can also be seasoned, are heated in a closed pan until they start smoking. The product, for instance salmon or sausage, is totally surrounded by smoke. For bigger products or larger quantities there are cabinets available but in a private kitchen a smoke pan will suffice.
A steam cooker is a pan in which dishes can be steamed. In other words, they are cooked in the steam from boiling water. How it’s done varies. A real steamer is specially made for this purpose and consists of two separate compartments. The bottom holds the water and the top your food. There are also steam trays for pressure cookers. The main advantage is that vitamins, minerals, and of course taste is held better. The preparation time can be longer but you don’t need a lot of water to start steaming.
A stock pot is a large sauce pan with a high edge and a large diameter. It is great to cook a big amount of soup in. A stock pot has a lid and two handles. Due to the large dimensions it is very useful during a family weekend!
From the North African cuisine the Tagine has made it into our kitchen. The Tagine is an cooking pot made out of pottery. It has a very high lid and characteristic chimney-like top. This allows steam to escape and the food in the tagine to be steamed evenly. Condensation continually falls back inside during preparation. The taste of the food remains optimal. You can cook meats, fish and vegetables in it. Best part is that you can serve the dish inside the Tagine as well!
Wadjan (wok pan with double handles)
Originating in Indonesia the Wadjan, or wok pan with 2 handles, looks very similar to a wok. A Wadjan has two handles while a wok has a single long handle. Traditionally, food in a Wadjan are prepared over a longer amount of time, while stir-frying in a wok goes faster. Although there is a notable difference between the regular wok pan and the Wadjan, the terms are used interchangeably.
The wok pan comes from Asian cuisine. The bottom is shaped to fit on a big wok burner. You always use a wok pan on high heat. This is why the wok burners are so great to us. A wok can also have a non-stick coating and a lid. The handle of a wok is long to handle the larger weight. For the same reason, they can also often have a second handle.