Our pans are shapeshifting vessels for our everyday lives, from quick porridge breakfasts and scrambled eggs for lunch, through to dinnertime when we reach for our favourite big pan for family-sized stews, chillies and casseroles.
It’s usually later rather than sooner that we spot the faults and flaws in our trusty cookware; time-worn scratches, rust, chips and hot spots that begin to take the shine, and taste, out of our day-to-day cooking rituals.
Luckily, if you’re looking to overhaul your kitchen kit, there’s a raft of saucepan sets on the market. So, what to consider before you buy? For starters, space is key. Many saucepan sets will stack up in a neat-ish nest (though not with lids), but it’s worth considering just what kind of pans you need – or want – in your kit.
The classic three-piecer will usually include a 16cm, 18cm and 20cm saucepan that will take you from boiling an egg and warming milk to a pan big enough to cook pasta for three to four people. Bigger pan sets often include a 14cm milk pan, a 24cm frying pan, and further to that pans such as stock pots, shallow casserole dishes or an extra, bigger frying pan.
It’s essential to find a saucepan set that’s most suited to your hob – manufacturers will always make a point of specifying the hobs that are most compatible. Gas hobs will suit any pan, while ceramic hobs aren’t compatible with stainless steel or copper. For testing, we worked on an induction hob with which all the sets below are designed to be compatible. If you do have an induction hob, be mindful that pure aluminium and copper-based pans are not a good match.
Then, work out how much you are willing to shell out. When it comes to long-lasting, high-quality saucepans, you get what you pay for and sets offer the chance to get a good bargain when buying in bulk. While some of the best sets in our class break down to around £40 to £50 a pan, they’re up there for good reason, boasting cutting-edge manufacturing, starry eco-credentials or classic design.
Thanks to impressive, baked-in guarantees, ranging from three years to a lifetime, you also have the reassurance of servicing or replacement pans as you cook through the years, too.
We put all our pans through the same cook-offs: porridge for smaller pans, basic vegetable boiling for the middle-sized pans, and pasta and small vats of chilli for larger saucepans – while frying pans saw to our fried eggs and brunches.
We drilled down on the differences in raw materials and weigh up the pros and cons of stainless steel, non-stick aluminium and hard-anodised pans, which all bring something different to the stovetop.
We were also looking for pans that cooked our food quickly and evenly with little or no hot spots or burning at the base, keen to test the popular non-stick properties that today come as standard – and just how easily would they clean up after use.
Through this article, we hope to help you understand Best rated pot and pan set