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If you're an avid home chef, finding the right cookware is key. Pots and pans are used on a daily basis, so they need to withstand frequent use and abuse. We all need the basics — skillets, frying pans, saucepans and stockpots — though specialty items such as dutch ovens and woks also help us prep our favorite meals. As you prepare to splurge on new pieces, be sure to consider the following to find the best cookware for your needs:

What types of cookware should I buy?

One of the easiest ways to stock up is to buy a cookware set. They usually range from seven- to 15-piece sets, though of course there are more specialized options for the expert cooks. At the minimum, your cookware collection should include large and small saucepans with lids, a stockpot with a lid and a fry pan. For more diversity, mix in a covered saute pan and a smaller frying pan or skillet so you’re prepared to cook a stove top dish of any size.

What specialty cookware pieces should I buy?

If you already have a standard set, now it's time to specialize! Griddles and grill pans are always popular additions, while dutch ovens are functional as well as beautiful countertop accessories. Kettles are great for making tea on cold days, and roasting pans work well for turkey and chicken. Of course, when you buy it, you need to store it, so think about what dishes you make the most, and if you have the space to store the item when not in use.

Should I buy stainless steel, ceramic or cast iron cookware?

This is an age-old question that all depends on your budget and cooking concerns. Stainless steel cookware is nonreactive, heavy-duty and fairly affordable, though an uneven heat distribution means your cooking might suffer. Copper cookware is quick to heat up and offers more even cooking, but can leave a metallic taste in some foods. Aluminum is lightweight and budget-friendly, though it can warp or scratch with high heat and might not last as long. Ceramic cookware is known for it’s even cooking ability and nonreactive qualities, which means virtually no chemicals will leach into your food; some models are even dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. Finally, cast iron is durable, heats evenly and will last a long time, but does take awhile to heat up, and requires initial seasoning and on-going care. Decide what qualities are most important for you and fit within your budget — slowly building up your collection with high quality cookware is always good way to go.
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Featured Reviews of Cookware

Homer 12-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set
August 24, 2017
Great Deal! Love this set!: Exactly what i was looking for and my first time using Houzz I was looking for a stainless steel pot set that had riveted handles- which are apparently hard to find at a decent price. I was hesitant about using Houzz because i had never heard of it before but they are very professional. The communication was great and the shipping was fast. Highly recommend and will use this site again. Used the pots already and they cook very well.
Cook N Home Double Boiler and Steamer Set, Stainless Steel
December 11, 2017
Well made Double Boiler and Steamer: This is a gift for my daughter so I haven't tried it out - we will have to wait for her to do that. However, the stainless steel set is well made with a good size steaming basket and the double boiler is a nice size too! It is way nicer than the one I have. I would definitely purchase this item again.
Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set
January 12, 2017
Nouvelle Copper & Stainless 10-Piece Cookware: This is a beautiful set of well designed and excellently crafted cookware. I have finally decided to do some pretty serious cooking & this set wii help fulfill my goal. It replaced some odds -and-end pieces I had put together. My brother who graduated from the CIA was actually impressed with the set. Now let's see if my cooking does the same!!!
Neoflam Retro 2Qt Covered Cast Aluminum Low Stockpot, Gray
February 28, 2017
A [pt tjat os a;sp a serving dish.: Love this pot. Cooks the food well. Cleans well. So attractive, you can cook in it and bring the whole pot to the table and serve from it. I would not hesitate to buy another one in the future.
6", 8", 10" Skillet Set
March 14, 2017
I've fallen in love with Houzz: I love my new pans, they came fast and packaged well. I bought them because my mom used to cook meal in these types of pans when I was small. She's gone now, so in memory of her, I have my own now.
Symmetry Chocolate Hard-Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
March 1, 2017
Handsome!: This is a very nice looking set that works really well on our new induction range. It is a little smaller than the set it replaced--the pots and pans are a little narrower in diameter, but taller--and it hasn't caused us any difficulties when cooking. I just wish the small pot had a lid...
Cucina Hard Enamel Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set, Agave Blue, Agave Blue
August 22, 2017
Better than I expected !: I absolutely love my beautiful new Rachael Ray Cookware. They are great quality and the perfect size to cook a meal for my family. The see through lids are the best, along with the coated gripper handles. Off to the Goodwill with my old pots, and in with the new Agave Blue for my beautiful new kitchen. I now have new Cookware that gives me the kitchen look I've always wanted at a great price.
Silverstone Ceramic CXI Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set, Marine Blue
July 12, 2018
It's okay: Love the color and the ceramic. It's nice that it comes with spatulas but the paint chips off on the bottom of the pans on the outside. I use a ceramic stove top. They're not designed to last I think but they'll get you by.

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