Cookware collection from scratch

I’d sometimes daydreamed of what choices I’d make if I was starting from scratch as it were, and (unfortunately perhaps) am actually in that position due to personal circumstances…

I’ve put down a few of my starting thoughts below but would be interested in any opinions of different choices of pieces to start my new collection- either in terms of which pots/pans/sizes I should start with but also choices of those (brands/collections etc)

Moving into a new home with a gas cooker (rather than induction) but would prefer to stay induction compatible as seems the way the world is moving to.

I suppose normally just cooking for 1 to 3, but would like to thing hosting a few more on occasion. And anyway I do like cooking bigger batches for leftover lunches anyway.

Previously had:
28cm Demeyere proline but tbh found it so heavy as to be a pain to use.
8 qt d5 all clad pot which I used for stocks/soups/Ragu/boiling/braising on stoptop + oven.
Cheap 26cm non stick for general use / others in household preferred to use
Small 14cm saucepan
Non stick roasting pan
20cm scan pan Dutch oven (only ever used as a pot on the stovetop
24cm pot

My current thoughts are:

16cm de buyer prima matera tradition
Obv wildly unnecessary but will probably mostly be used for boiling eggs but is just beautiful and have been hankering over a copper saucepan for years?

Mauviel M’Cook Roasting Pan
I would love to get the De Buyer copper roasting pan- but 1/ the copper seems so clearly unnecessary that it becomes a bit douchey?.. 2/ not induction compatible anyway- so while works for now, in the future could be less functional

28cm shallow casserole / saute pan with 2 handles. After my experience with the proline, I liked the size/cooking area but honestly found the weight meant that I really needed the assistance handle. And at the same time it was a bit awkward fitting it into the oven with the long handle. Plus while I will have a decent amount of space in my kitchen- I’d prefer to start with a ‘minimalist’ set and then add one off pieces over time (more fun?)
Thinking either the SS or Prima Matera DeBuyer again 28cm saute pan with lids (2 small handles)
The copper version is obviously starting to get quite expensive and not sure what I think about the matching of the SS lid? Obviously no performance difference but…

24cm Silampos SS Tri Ply casserole - rarely needed the full size of my 8 qt all clad pot. Though figure at some point will add and get a 28cm pot too

+Cheap 28cm non stick

Others I’m thinking about:

26cm Staub Dutch Oven. Obviously great for serving on the table / looks beatiful. But not quite sure what I NEED it for before a 24cm and 28cm SS pots/casseroles? While at the sametime the SS will often be more practical- quicker to heat up / lighter

10" / 12 " Cast Iron skillet- I do enjoy watching youtube cooking videos and the they seemed to be used for all sorts- frying/steaks/baking/roasting. I love the aesthetic but never used cast iron and not quite sure what it would do better than the SS/copper items above?


Hello Bowman, and welcome.

It is really hard for me to think about what I would buy if I was starting over because I have a lot of stuff that I use rarely but would dislike no having. I very much like using my mild steel frying pan. I use this preferentially now instead of my cast-iron for most things, but cast-iron is the king for cornbread.

I would agree with a nonstick skillet, but I don’t believe in spending a lot of money on them because in my hands none of them seem to last very long.

I love copper and I think the roasting pan is beautiful, but I would lean towards a steel or induction compatible stainless steel for a roasting pan.

The Staub Dutch oven is very nice. Costco had a Dutch oven (oval) that was made by Staub, and as far as I could tell was identical although the cast-iron was probably a bit thinner.

That leaves the question of what pots to buy. I would opt for induction capable stainless (even though I use my copper a lot) but I am not clear that there is a great difference between performance of good brands.

One thing you did not mention and that we use is a ceramic tagine. They come in many sizes and are useful in the oven for a number of dishes, not necessarily the traditional tagine dishes.

Definitely go for the Staub DO. I crave one.

Maybe you could attempt to forgo the non stick with some CI or CS. Once it’s seasoned, you’re pretty good to go. But, you cook the way you cook. If non stick is important, you go, yo. But, if Por;line was too heavy, go CS.

I can’t live without my CI 10 and 12. Huge chunk of my cooking happens in those.

Seems you’re okay with the AC 8 Q. I can recommend the Mauviel M Cook. Great stuff that will last forever.

I don’t have enough experience with copper. I leave that stuff on Tim’s lap. I agree with the SS roasting pan, though.

Amen to SS roasting pan. It makes the best fond and stands up to whisking gravies. As regards nonstick, I can think of loads of reasons to avoid it. Topping the list are that it is not generally durable, and it is not environmentally responsible because of manufacturing processes, ending up quickly in landfills, and, depending on the type used, being another source of forever chemicals. A carbon steel pan (or pretty much any pan) with a thin wipe of oil can do much the same things like cooking eggs or delicate fish filets. For a stock pot, I would say to go for 10-12 quarts. You can always partially fill it, but you cannot put 10 quarts in an 8 quart pot or steam or boil a lobster if its tail is sticking out of the water. The extra volume can be useful for long pastas, big batches of stock from multiple carcasses, lobsters, and steaming big items. I stack steamed puddings made in soufflé dishes as the holidays roll around. A carbon steel wok is amazingly versatile. In addition to stir fries and curries, it is great for french fries and onion rings! In selecting sizes, get pans big enough not to crowd things like browning chunks of meat and small enough to handle small braises. Consider getting two of your most popular fry pan size. Doing big batches of things like chicken, chops, or steaks for guests will generally come out better in two medium pans than in one giant pan.

Don’t limit your thinking to the conventional pan choices. Ceramic roasting dishes and jelly roll pans are incredibly versatile. Ceramic casseroles and pots, such as bean pots, get a lot of use here. I have a South American ceramic casserole that is perfect for things like eggplant casseroles and pasta and cheese (try orecchiette in place of macaroni in M & C). Gratins are amazingly useful, too.

Lastly, yes, I love copper. I have been collecting it for over fifty years. If you have a burner that can handle it, I would spring for a 3mm tinned copper medium saucepan or Windsor. Your best sources are resellers on places like Etsy or eBay. There simply is nothing like it for making delicate sauces. A heavy, tinned saute pan or rondeau would also be a great item to have in copper. Tin releases better than stainless, affects the conduction of heat less than stainless, and requires far less babying than most people believe. A kitchen full of copper is a great sentimental item to me, preserving memories of cooking school and a few French restaurants, but it is certainly not a necessity. For most pans and most uses the performance of copper is nice but far from necessary, and, for me, for high heat uses like steaks, carbon steel or good clad or disc bottom pans will be a better choice. I like carbon steel because it is close to bullet proof and cheap. Brands generally make no difference when buying CS. I am fine using heavy pans, but the older I get the more I appreciate the long and sloping Lyonnaise handle over the stubby horizontal handle with most cast iron fry pans.

I’ll be doing exactly this soon, starting a cookware set from scratch since moving to USA and currently don’t have pots and pans worth bringing. Some good silicone utensils are the only kitchen tools that will probably make the cut for the move. I’ve got my trigger on four stainless steel pieces and one nonstick:

Demeyere Industry 3.5 quart essential pan
All Clad Everyday 6 qt stockpot
All Clad Everyday 10.5 inch skillet
Tramontina 2 quart saucepan
Tramontina 10" nonstick skillet

I suspect that 3.5 quart saucier will get the most use of anything, it might the kind of pan that just gets left on the stove after washing instead of being put away.

They have the two All Clad pieces on sale as a 3 piece set (shared lid) for $200 on All Clad’s website. I like the stockpot because it is shaped like a rondeau more wide than tall so I (hopefully) won’t need to buy a separate sauté pan or dutch oven. I usually cook for two, sometimes for four, so 6 quarts should suffice but if I find I need more I can always go pick up a cheapo 12 quart just for steaming or boiling water. The 10.5 inch skillet is actually 11.4" in diameter so more like an 11", nice size but lightweight.

I’m qoing with Tramontina for the small saucepan because it seems silly to spend lots of money on a complementary piece used mainly for things like steaming veggies, making rice, ramen, reheating things, etc. I also like the taller shape since it has enough vertical room for a steamer tray on the bottom.

Nonstick pan also Tramontina. I’ve owned a carbon steel pan and hated caring for it, also some things like stir frying noodles I found far easier in nonstick so the cs pan ended up gathering dust. I’m not here to save the world with one less 10" pan in the landfill every few years.


If your time permits, also, look at thrift stores and estate sales, not just ordering new. So many households in USA are downsizing or moving that good-to-excellent condition cookware is routinely available at a fraction of new price.

I have been finding Corningware and Pyrex (classic renditions) in abundance in such places. Now that the CI craze is somewhat over, you might get lucky with some of that. If you follow the thrifting thread, some folks have found kitchen gold out there.

I own an array of different cooking vessels - copper, ply, stainless steel with sandwich bottom, enmalled cast iron and non stick.

I sold all my raw iron pans - they were too much hassle for me in the long run to maintain and keep clean.

What I do find is, that my non stick cookware is now my favourite cookware in my kitchen.

I know very well the environmental and health issues there is, but I still believe, that if you take good care of your non stick cookware, don’t overheat it and use silicone utensils - it will last a long time in a home kitchen. Currently my non stick cookware is 5-6 years old and still in mint condition.
For my cooking non stick pans just makes things easy and less stressful.
Cooking is already darn hard work if you ask me - so if I can use a pan type, that helps me make the process easier, I’ll say thank you and use that pan type.

My non stick cookware is Demeyere Alu Pro and Mauviel M’Stone and I strongly believe, that quality non stick cookware not only performs far better than cheap non stick cookware, it also lasts a lot longer. I often cook dishes, which I like to reheat the day after - and it’s just a pleasure to reheat things like risotto, pasta dishes and rice dishes in my non stick pans without worrying over if it’ll burn in the pan. I can place a non stick pan with day old risotto and re-heat it at low heat without having to worry if the risotto will stick to the pan - and this is without using any extra oil.

I can’t do that in other type pans without having to stir it constantly.

This is why I love my non stick pans for certain type one-pot dishes, that I plan to re-heat the next day.

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Thanks all for the replies- I did read them at the time, but thought I’d finally reply with where I ended up in the end-

I did go for the 16cm de buyer prime Matera (ss handle rather than CI)
26cm Staub Round Dutch Oven in White Truffle
12” Lodge Blacklock Skillet (played with both this and the classic, and this was just a much easier weight)
20” Silampos Triply casserole / pot
8 Qt All Clad D3 Pot (factory second)
Mauviel M’Cook Roasting Pan (35cm- would have preferred a larger one but this was on a (small) sale and quite a big price jump to the larger)

The final piece I think I actually need and will probably get a lot / the most use is a large rondeau- annoyingly it seems around Mothers Day All clad re-released their ‘Mother of All Pans’ a 6 qt rondeau for $150 but its all sold out (and had previously been on sale briefly in 2021 so perhaps I can’t hold my breath).

Currently thinking of the ‘Made In’ 6qt SS Rondeau

(And I suspect I will still end up getting a non stick skillet apologies… but will wait for a day I feel I could really do with one and then get it)


Whatever you have, take great pride and enjoyment in their use. Because that’s really what we all aspire to, I think. :clinking_glasses:


I’m sorry if the reason for your circumstance involves a challenging relationship situation, and if it does, may you heal from it relatively quickly.

As far as cookware, in my opinion heavy copper cookware is essentially unbeatable. Yes it’s heavy and expensive, but it will prevent you from overbuying a huge batterie for these reasons. Buy 2-3 and be done with it. Add items only on a must have basis.

The advantages of induction are not valuable to me.

If durable lining is critical for you, get steel lined heavy copper. Shop on eBay to save $$.

I own no nonstick anymore for the reasons Tim mentioned.

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What size nonstick do you think you might get. If you will try a Lyonnaise style carbon steel pan and use a VERY small bit of oil/fat/butter, if you don’t like it, I’ll buy it and pay the shipping. Yes, it is that important to me to wean ourselves from nonstick.

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Wow. Stepping up for the environment. Bravo! :clap: :clap: :clap: If that Lyonnaise comes to you, it’ll be full of good karma.


I added a Staub Dutch oven, bought on sale, to bake bread during the pandemic. Now I use it far more than I imagined. Though never for bread anymore. :laughing:

Hope that you will enjoy preparing many good meals with yours.

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I was considering this pan as well, but it was pointed out to me that Made In says their stainless steel fry pans are 2.7mm while the rest of their stainless steel cookware is 2.3mm. I’m assuming the rondeau would fall into the latter category, so for the same money one could pick up the 8qt All Clad Everyday rondeau that would be 2.6mm like the rest of that cookware line.

Obviously thickness isn’t everything (that’s what she said) but something to consider.

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I don’t see a big discount on ECI, except the one weird color hybrid model.

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I spent half a century building my cookware collection, and the rondeau was next to last. It should have been an early acquisition.

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I don’t even have an Amazon account.
Just posted in the public interest.


No problem, good on you.

Every time I see a sale on LC, it ends up not being much of a sale

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