Pros: Heats evenly, Durable, Ergonomic handles.
Cons: Not as easy to clean as Teflon pans. Only comes with 5 lids.
Now that my wife is home with the kids she decided that she is going to learn how to cook. So she insisted on replacing the cheap pots that we were currently using. I completely agreed with her that the pots need to be replaced but the verdict is out on how much she is going to cook with these pots. Dont worry Im remaining optimistic. I just hope the 200 dollars spent on this set will increase her motivation.
There is nothing to assemble or attach. Although unpacking took quite a while because everything was covered in plastic and carefully packed so that nothing shifted during shipping to the store.
My comments on the basic design
There are several design features I really like about this set. First the lids are flared so that spilling is not as prevalent as with other pots. The design looks a little weird but it works well for me.
The lids are very tight fitting. This is because they are both heavy and smooth. Very little steam escapes from the pot and water heats faster because of it.
The handles are very well designed. They are easy to grasp and hold because they are more contoured to your grasp. The handles are also relatively cool as compared to the pot itself.
And the bottoms are well designed. Heat is even. The pots retain heat easily. Food just cooks better.
I am also please with how deep the pans are. These are not your typical pans that barely hold the food in, they have high walls that allow you move the food around more easily without fear of it flying out of the skillet.
How well is the heat distributed?
I am very pleased with how evenly it distributes the heat when cooking. I do not believe it is as good as cast iron but it is pretty close. I can tell that the edges are a slightly lower temperature, but not by much. But compare the heat distribution of these pans to my Teflon pans and the difference is night and day.
The heat also lingers for quite a while. I washed a pot off 10 minutes after I was done using it and when I washed it that water sizzled when it hit the pan. This shows how well these pots retain heat.
My impressions of the handles
The handles are solid and thick. I can easily carry a lid or a pot to the sink without getting a burn. The handles are hollow-cast so they do not conduct a great deal of heat during the cooking process and they stay relatively cool compared to the pot itself. But the handles are still hot and will be uncomfortable to carry any real distance. People with no pain tolerance will want to use potholders.
My impressions of the lids
The lids are great. They fit both the pans and pots very securely. In fact it is so secure that if you put the lid on why frying French fries then the condensation will build up and cause you problems. They did a great job with the design.
Is it oven safe?
Absolutely, that is why I bought it. I frequently brown foods on the stovetop then put them in the oven to finish cooking. This set is perfect for that.
One advantage of stainless steel over teflon.
When you brown meats in stainless steel the food sticks slightly to the pan. This is not a major problem because only a few particles stick to the pan. When you are done cooking the food, you remove it and deglaze the pan by putting a liquid in the pan/pot. Then scrap off the bits of food, add spices, and reduce the liquid. This produces a wonderful sauce for the meat you just made.
Teflon will not let food particles stick to it so a lot of the flavor you could have had does not stick and stays on the meat. So you can still deglaze a Teflon pan but it will not taste as good.
18/10 Stainless steel pots.
Aluminum and copper core for quick and even heating.
Stainless steel bolts.
Heating elements you can use
Gas, Electric, Halogen, Ceramic.
About copper bonded 5-ply base.
The pans have 2 layers of stainless steel, two layers of aluminum and a copper core. This is why the bottoms are so thick and why the heat is evenly distributed.
Pieces and brief descriptions of each
8 QT covered stockpot: This is a small stockpot. It is good for stews, pastas, or other large dinner foods. It is too small for making large batches of chicken stock. It has two curved handles but no long arm.
4 QT covered saucepan: I usually use this instead of the 8 QT because it has a long handle and it easier to move. This will be the pot you use the most for family cooking.
3 QT covered saucepan: I use this for single servings of pasta or when I am already using the 4 QT pot. This will be the most heavily used pot for everyday items and I always leave the 3 QT on the stovetop.
2 QT covered saucepan: Good for small sauces or heating cans of beans, vegetables, etc. I will also use this for small servings of sauces that I make.
Steamer insert: This goes on top of the 4 qt covered sauce pan and fits perfectly. This is a wonderful addition to the set and very useful. The holes are only 3/16th inch wide so even peas and corn will not fall through. It is also large enough for large artichokes and asparagus.
5.5 QT covered saute pan: This is a large pan that I love. Before I bought this set I owned an anodized saute pan of the same dimensions and it is great to cook chicken, vegetables, some rice dishes, etc. It has a long handle on one end and a looped handle on the other. With the two handles you can cook a small turkey in this pan and still easily lift it out.
8 inch flared edge skillet: Standard 8 inch skillet but these skillets are very deep compared to other skillets I have used. This means you can move the food more easily without worrying about spilling.
10 inch flared edge skillet: Standard 10 inch skillet but these skillets are very deep compared to other skillets I have used. This means you can move the food more easily without worrying about spilling.
-8qt/10inch skillet lid
-4QT/steamer insert/8inch skillet lid
-5.5 QT saute pan lid
Weight of each part
4 QT covered saucepan- 4 lb, ? ounces.
3 QT covered saucepan- 3lb 1 5/8 ounces.
2 QT covered saucepan- 2lb, 8 ? ounces.
Steamer insert- 1lb 13 7/8 ounces.
10 inch flared edge skillet- 3 lb, 1 ? ounce.
8 inch flared edge skillet- 2 lb 1 ounce.
8qt/10inch skillet lid- 1 lb 3 3/8 ounces.
4QT/steamer insert/8inch skillet lid- 14 5/8 ounces.
3QT lid- 11 ? ounces.
2QT lid- 10 3/8 ounces.
5.5 QT saute pan lid- 1 lb, 8 ounces.
8 QT covered stockpot- Just over 5 pounds. My scales maxes out at 5 lb.
5.5 AT covered saute pan- About 6 pounds. The heaviest piece. My scales maxes out at 5 lb.
Some of my cooking experiences
Ya I knew, what a way to initiate a new pan. Well thats what we were having and I did not feel like going outside in the heat to fire up the grill, and my wife certainly was not going to do that. So I fried them with the expected results. Nothing special to report. The pan was fairly easy to clean with the rough side of a sponge.
Evil, evil, evil. Pans do not like grilled onions unless you use lots and lots of oil. I did not. So the pan had a nice coat of sticky carbon and was very difficult to remove. It took about 15 minutes (and two people) with a scouring pad to remove most of it. Even right now the small pan still has black residue on it. I am using my Teflon pan next time with a little olive oil.
Btw, the onions were wonderful.
Tomato based pizza sauce
It would not splatter as long as you keep the heat low. The curved edges help keep any small splatter from projecting itself on the stove.
I brown the chicken breasts in the saute pan, flip them and put them in the oven. Spice are already applied before cooking.
The nice thing about these pans vs. Teflon is you can deglaze the pan. If you have Teflon pans for this process it will not work well because the food particles do not stick to the pan. This pan works perfectly for this purpose.
vat of oil
The oil heated up quicker than it normally does in my other pans. It seems these pans utilize heat more efficiently. Nothing significant about the cooking process though as long as you do put too much food in the oil.
Just like the oil, the water heated a little quicker than with my old pans. The water boiled more evenly instead of just the center like normal.
I have used a little cheap steaming basket to steam vegetables in the past so this set up is wonderful. It is better than the electric steamers I have used in the past and I am really pleased with it. The vegetables came out perfect each time and it is large enough for my asparagus and several homegrown artichokes.
Want to know something specific? E-mail me and I will add it.
How easy is it to clean?
Cleaning can be a pain, even with the dishwasher. You need a scouring pad for most things. If you end up burning the sugars that are in your food then you will have a big problem cleaning it without a very tough scouring pad (see sauteed onions above.)
They are dishwasher safe and I have had no problems yet. If the pot is really sticky then the dishwasher will not work but for general issues a dishwasher is fine. I highly suggest rinsing the pans first (and I never wash off anything before I put it in the dishwasher.)
In summary, this is what I expected, not as easy to clean as Teflon but better than any other pan I have tried.
What is missing
I really want a 12 inch skillet and I find myself going back to my 12 inch Teflon pan for larger tasks instead of the saute pan. The stock pot is not big enough for my needs so I still use my aluminum 16 quart pot (I make chicken stock with 4 or more chickens, this pot will only hold 2 at the most (plus vegetable) and you will need to constantly refill it.) There is also no pasta strainer so I will buy one of those some day when I feel like wasting the money on it.
From the design of the handles to the design of the base, these are very well designed pots and pans. I am very pleased with the purchase. It is a totally different cooking experience.
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