Forget the name
Fry pan, saute pan, skillet are names I have seen used and marketed interchangeably. What you need to pay attention to is not what they call it, but its characteristics. When you are using a “dry cooking” method on the stove, you want a pan that is wider than it is tall so moisture in your food can evaporate and give you that golden brown crust of heaven. (aka my BFF Maillard reaction)
Even if it says dishwasher safe, don’t put it there if you want it to last (unless it’s stainless steel) The top 3 materials I like to stick to are stainless, cast iron, and ceramic
I am a small business teaching you about cooking skills and knife skills and I will stay in my lane, but I also cannot consiously recommend non-stick cookware when I would not buy it anymore for health (but also, I sent an email out about how it doesn’t make sense cooking wise!)
Pots and pans sold in a set are not always the best move. It really depends on your cooking habits and the size of your family. If you end up choosing a few individuals and the cost is close to the amount of the set – AND you will utilize the set, then it’s worth it. I have two in my amazon affiliate shop. Here is like the set I have that has lasted over 10 years.
If you have a family of 3 or more, a pan smaller than 12 inches is a waste of your time and energy. Remember, it’s not just what fits in the pan. You have to pay attention to the actually cooking area and leave room in between!
(These are affiliate links)
Stove Top Cooking
“Dry Cooking” Pan*
This is what I mentioned on number 1 above. You can sear, saute, even cook eggs on here if done properly (i’ll show it again on IG) Tramontina is a really decent brand with good quality if you can’t do the all-clad. *Oven safe up to 500F
This is the mac daddy of them all honestly! There is almost nothing this pan can’t do.
You can sear, saute, roast (oven safe ) cook it on the grill, cook eggs and pancakes, take it camping, pan fry, and even use it for moist cooking methods if you needed to! Get a cover if you don’t have one to fit just in case.
I’ve had cuisinart for over 10 years now. This 5 1/2 qt pan is great for searing but then adding liquid, simmering stews, shallow and pan frying, poaching fish, cooking pasta, the list goes on. Very versatile.
*Oven safe up to 400F
This Cuisinart 3 quart is great for sauces and because it has less of an opening means it evaporates more slowly which is great for rice and other grains.
This Tramontina dutch oven is round (those weird shapes take up too much space and inhibit efficiency. This is 7 qts is *oven safe up to 450F. Use it for the low and slow stews and braises as well as deep frying.
Every kitchen needs a stock pot. Also a Cuisinart 8 qts with lid. Make stocks, broths, soups, stews, cook pasta, blanch veggies and even add foil balls at the bottom with a colander on top for a makeshift steamer!
This is a better option than non stick in my opinion and is a great transition. It’s not completely non stick. You need to learn to control the heat ( as you do in general though! I love how wide this pan is; the actual cooking surface is bigger than most I have seen and that equals efficiency baby! *Oven safe up to 350F.
Ceramic 9×13 is ideal for lasagna, casseroles, etc. Ceramic heats nicely, but glass works too! I have a few others in the shop.
You may associate this with just Thanksgiving, but any roast does well in this. Stainless steel is great for picking up brown bits (fond) if you want to start searing on the stovetop and finish a braise in the oven. HELLO BRISKET.
Another mac daddy. I have at least 4 of these because they are ideal for ANY browning in the oven. Low sides ensure even cooking and moisture evaporation. Veggies, meats, fish, ALL. THE. THINGS. These are great quality. Must get. There are different sizes.