What do the best pots and pans do

Buying pots and pans: this is how you recognize good cookware

You can get pots and pans cheaply from discounter, but they are also available at exorbitant prices. For some, the kitchen equipment and thus the cookware even seem to be a status symbol. "The more expensive the better," seems to be the prevailing maxim. But expensive is by no means always better. But how else can you recognize good pots and pans? The ruler trick is very helpful.

They are regularly seen as inexpensive promotional items in the sales rooms of supermarkets and discounters: pots and pans are stacked on the shelves for special items in the non-food area at unbeatable prices. But can cheap cookware compete with expensive pots and pans?

Prices for pots and pans vary widely

Fancy casting pots and coated aluminum pans are often available for less than 20 euros. At the same time, cookware from some brand manufacturers cost huge sums of money at specialist retailers. A four-part pot set can quickly cost 600 euros. Doesn't a pan from the discounter also do it?

"No," says Volker Schindewolf quite decidedly. "Discount goods are not good. I had such a set for a few years, and gradually all the pots became deformed." The 48-year-old Franconian business graduate is a layperson, but a passionate hobby cook. "Cooking like this is not energy efficient. The food burns on uneven bottom of the pan."

Ruler trick exposes bad pots and mishaps

Although some of the more expensive pots deform at some point, this is usually a little faster with cheap goods. A good way to identify used pots and pans is to hold a ruler or other straight object against the bottom. If this is not flat everywhere, the pot or pan should be replaced at the next opportunity. Both the cooking result and the energy consumption leave a lot to be desired with such deformed cookware.

Buy the right pots and pans

When buying a new one, however, you should not only orient yourself on the price if you are on the lookout for high-quality cookware. According to information from Stiftung Warentest, a high level of energy efficiency is essential. For efficient energy consumption when cooking, the smallest possible cooking vessel should always be selected for the respective purpose, according to the advice of consumer advocates.

The energy used is best utilized when the edges of the pot and stove top are flush with one another when sizzling - so neither parts of the plate nor the pot protrude. When buying new pots and pans, the size of your own stove top and the main purpose should also determine the size of the pot to be purchased.

Identifying good pots and pans in the store

In order for the cooking and cooking properties of the selected pot to be satisfactory later on, one more important point must be taken into account. "The bottom of the pot must be stable and must not warp," continues Stiftung Warentest.

When buying new pots and pans, you should also take a ruler with you to the store and place it on the cookware. Sometimes the bottoms of pots and pans are curved outwards, which means that there is less space on the hob when cooking. This not only increases energy consumption, but also prevents the prepared food from cooking evenly.

The right material for pots and pans

The material, on the other hand, is a matter of taste: Pure stainless steel proves to be versatile and robust in pots, aluminum pots (mostly coated) are easier to handle, but usually don't last as long as stainless steel. Quality cast iron pots are quite indestructible, but also a little heavier to handle.

Stiftung Warentest has good news for amateur cooks with a taste for meat: there are now coated non-stick pans that can be heated up to 400 degrees. Those who prefer to eat pasta or vegetables don't need this innovation. Lovers of juicy steaks and other crispy dishes are sure to spend a few euros more on this innovation.

Branded pots and pans with added value

But does that mean it has to be French cast iron pots and roasters of over 200 euros each, such as those offered by the manufacturer Le Creuset, among others? For many amateur cooks, their cookware also seems to express status. Some are better equipped than the professional kitchen. Admittedly, the pots are solid and the technology is clever: on the lid of the new "Doufeu" there is a recess in which you can put water or ice cubes, which gently evaporate in the interior of the pot above the food - in the Did a very gentle way of preparation.

German companies, such as the solid brand manufacturer WMF, also carry elaborate professional cookware. The six-part Premium One saucepan set with exclusive cold handle technology costs around 500 euros, for example. A proud price when you think about the fact that you could safely protect your fingers from burns while cooking with an ordinary pot holder. And grandma might even crochet it completely for free.

The "two-pan principle" from Silit from Riedlingen seems to be worth the money invested. The company offers pairs of pans made of uncoated high-tech ceramic for searing and coated non-stick pans for gentle frying - at a price of around 160 euros per pair of pans. The fact that you need two different pans for two types of preparation also makes sense to a Kochbanausen.

Design of pots and pans is becoming more and more important for amateur cooks

Another topic that the product managers of brand companies are now dealing with at a high level is design. Silit and Elo offer colorful saucepans, the Allgäu company Rösle lives from its reputation as a design pioneer and the Danish designs by Eva Solo are currently considered particularly trendy by connoisseurs.

Design has its justification as a purchase criterion, because beautiful things make you happy. But this must not be at the expense of the functionality of kitchen utensils, believes Michael Kindler from the Darmstadt designer duo Metz and Kindler, who have already designed pots for Silit and WMF.

"Many designs today are more like statements, comparable to the show cars at international motor shows. They rarely go into series production," criticized the designer in a recent interview. Since such creative statements usually have their price, the benefits should be carefully considered when purchasing a new pot or pan - and when choosing the cookware, the focus should also be on.

Are pots and pans from brand manufacturers worth the money?

And where should I buy my pot and pans now? Various tests have shown time and again that the promotional goods from discounters sometimes even do better and almost always cheaper than branded goods. If you consider the pure utility value, you can easily stock up on discounter products or low to medium-priced branded goods and are therefore absolutely sufficiently well equipped - both in terms of energy efficiency and in terms of cooking properties.

The sometimes very expensive design pots from the high-price segment, which is open at the top, are always lifestyle products and come with a pretty smart additional benefit here and there, which should make your work a little easier. In the end, every hobby cook has to decide for himself whether this added value and a somewhat fancier design is worth the often horrific acquisition costs. In any case, food from expensive pots does not taste better.