14 Types of Pans Every Cook Needs

Last Updated on March 6, 2023 | 0 Comments
types of pans
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Whether you’re just diving into the world of cooking or are a more experienced chef, it’s important to have the right types of pans for your culinary creations. Not only will the proper types of pans make cooking easier for you, but using the right kind of cookware will also improve the quality, taste and even presentation of your dishes. 

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by all the different types of pans out there, we’re here to help! In our guide below, we explain the different types of pots and pans and what they’re best used for, as well as the differences between various cookware materials, such as stainless steel and cast iron.

With a better understanding of the types, uses and functions of cookware, you’ll be ready to bring your culinary skills to the next level!

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Types of Pans

1. Stock Pot

Soup and stock pots feature a wide base ideal for browning and tall sides that reduce evaporation, so they're perfect for cooking soups, stews and pasta. With a pure aluminum core and non-porous titanium surface, the Hestan NanoBond Titanium Stainless Steel Stock Pot 8-Quart boils super fast and without salt pitting, so you can quickly whip up all your favorite soups to share this season and beyond!

Why This Product Is Cozymeal-Approved

We love how versatile this professional-level stock pot is. It works for everything from simmering homemade stock to cooking up family meals.

  • Price: $489.95

Hestan NanoBond Titanium Stainless Steel Stockpot 8-Quart
via Hestan

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2. Fry Pan

Often considered the best pans for eggs, these types of pans have a long handle so you can easily maneuver them on the stovetop — for instance, shaking the pan to flip your omelet. Fry pans and skillets cook evenly and retain heat well. We’d recommend the Demeyere Industry 9.5” 5-Ply Non-Stick Frying Pan for its high-quality design, construction and convenient non-stick coating.

Why This Product Is Chef-Approved

Chef Natasha calls this piece from Demeyere the "Mercedes Benz of pans." She recommends it as one of the best pans on the market. 

  • Price: $159.99

the Demeyere Industry 9.5 inch 5-Ply Non-Stick Fry Pan is a reliable type of pan
via Demeyere

3. Cast Iron Skillet 

When it comes to the different types of pans, a cast iron skillet is a versatile kitchen must-have, especially since it adds even more depth of flavor to your food. With the Finex Cast Iron Skillet & Lid Set in your kitchen, you’ll be able to steam, simmer, braise, poach, fry and bake almost anything, from vegetables and chicken to brownies and bread. See why this pan is loved by chefs in our Finex cast iron review.

Why This Product Is Chef-Approved

Chef Nick calls this his go-to pan for winter and fall. Great for searing protein and low-and-slow braises in the oven, this is a heavy-duty workhorse that can go to great use in any kitchen.

  • Price: $250

Finex Cast Iron Skillet and Lid Set
via Finex

4. Sauté Pan

As the name implies, this type of pan is specifically meant for sautéeing, but it can also be used to brown, sear and fry vegetables, fish and meat. Whether you’re cooking in a professional kitchen or at home, it’s important that your sauté pan spreads and conducts heat evenly, as the Demeyere Industry 3 Qt Saute Pan With Lid does.

Why This Product Is Chef-Approved

In her hands-on review, Chef Angela-Michelle noted that this pan not only excels as a sauté pan, but is also deep and sturdy enough to fry chicken or make a large batch of oven-baked rice. If you're loking for a versatile product that serves double-duty, this is it.

  • Price: $159.95

the Demeyere Industry 3 Qt Saute Pan with Lid is a stainless steel type of pan
via Demeyere

5. Sauce Pan 

While there are many types of pots and pans, a quality saucepot, like the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Luxe 3.5 Qt Covered Straining Saucepan, will let you cook, strain and drain all in one. So, you’ll want to use this type of pan to make pasta, boil and mash potatoes, steam broccoli and more — the best saucepans and sauciers can do it all.

Why This Product Is Cozymeal-Approved

This innovative sauce pan is as stylish as it is functional. The built-in straining function means you can leave your colander in the cupboard!

  • Price: $79.99

Anolon Nouvelle Copper Luxe 3.5 Qt. Covered Straining Saucepan
via Anolon

6. Braiser 

When it comes to preparing delicate and tender meats or succulent one-dish suppers, the Staub 12” Braiser With Glass Lid is the type of pan you want. It has a combined cast iron and matte enamel interior to expertly retain heat and brown, and it’s big enough for larger cuts of meat.

Why This Product Is Chef-Approved

Chef Kelly raves that this pan is perfect for one-pot meals, and the clear lid lets you see how everything is coming along while it's cooking. When you're finished, this braiser also makes a lovely serving piece at the table.

  • Price: $259.99

the Staub 12 inch Braiser with Glass Lid is a heavy duty type of pan
via Staub

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7. Grill Pan 

With the Staub 10” Round Double Handle Pure Grill Pan, sizzle and sear your favorite meats and vegetables to charred perfection right from the stovetop. These types of pans feature a flat, usually ribbed grilling surface and are capable of withstanding high temperatures, especially since they’re made from cast iron.

Why This Product Is Chef-Approved

Chef Natasha notes that this pan is the perfect solution when you have the urge to grill, but the weather just isn't cooperating. Turn your kitchen into your new grilling station, instead!

  • Price: $109.95

Staub 10 Inch Round Double Handle Pure Grill
via Staub

8. Wok 

For anyone who loves Asian cuisine — stir fry, curry, pad thai, noodle dishes and more — the best wok is a necessity. You can also use this type of pan for deep-frying and oven-roasting, especially if it has a two-handle design, like the Anolon Advanced Home 14” Covered Wok With Wood Spoon. As an added bonus, this particular wok also comes with a wood spoon, which is the perfect utensil for preparing these types of dishes.

Why This Product Is Chef-Approved

Chef Angela-Michelle calls this wok her secret weapon in the kitchen. Whether you're looking to make a classic stir fry or something else, the sturdy, non-stick wok is a dependable culinary workhorse.

  • Price: $84.99

Anolon Advanced Home 14 Inch Covered Wok with Wood Spoon
via Anolon

9. Roasting Pan 

If you’re hosting the family holiday dinner, you’ll likely need a roasting pan to prepare the main course, whether it be turkey, chicken or prime rib. The Demeyere Industry Stainless Steel Roasting Pan won’t let you down as one of the best roasting pans with its durable construction and handy integrated grate for draining. 

Why This Product Is Cozymeal-Approved

This roasting pan has a superior design that allows for the most effective roasting process. Plus, it's super easy to clean.

  • Price: $249.96

Demeyere Industry Stainless Steel Roasting Pan
via Demeyere

10. Crêpe Pan 

Prepare thin and delicate crêpes with ease and sophistication when you use the nonstick Ballarini Crêpe Pan Set. Gently use the cream spreader to perfectly pour the batter and then when it’s time, gently flip your crêpe with the wooden spatula. Then, enjoy with your favorite sweet or savory toppings. Although it’s a more of a specialty type of pan, you’ll quickly discover it’s worth it!

Why This Product Is Chef-Approved

Chef Craig noted that this pan is lightweight and easy to maneuver, making it ideal for perfectly-sized crêpes. It's also incredibly sturdy and held even heating well.

  • Price: $58

Ballarini Crepe Pan Set comes with a crepe type of pan
via Ballarini

11. Casserole Dish 

With these types of pans, you can cook all sorts of casseroles, lasagna, grain dishes and one-pot roasts, as well as desserts, and then serve them in the same dish right out of the oven. Make sure you have a variety of these elegant pieces of bakeware with the Staub 4-Pc Mixed Baking Dish Set; it contains a covered square baking dish and both a rectangular and oval baking dish, all of which have sturdy and sophisticated side handles.

Why This Product Is Cozymeal-Approved

You really can't go wrong with anything from Staub. We love the classic design that will never go out of style, not to mention the exceptional craftsmanship and quality behind every Staub piece.

  • Price: $129.99

Staub 4-Pc Mixed Baking Dish Set
via Staub

12. Dutch Oven 

Dutch ovens and braisers are almost always made from cast iron and easily transition from stovetop to oven, which makes these types of pans not only ideal for casseroles and one-pan roasts, but also for soups, stews and of course, bread (especially sourdough). The Staub Tall Cocotte 5 Qt is particularly useful for preparing large quantities without taking up too much space on your stove, and it also makes an absolutely stunning serving dish. 

Why This Product Is Chef-Approved

According to Chef Andy, the Staub Tall Cocotte is the perfect do-it-all pan for your kitchen. You can use it for frying, slow cooking and even baking — it's one of the best Dutch ovens for bread.

  • Price: $174.99

the Staub Tall Cocotte 5 Qt is a type of pan for hearty cooking
via Staub

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13. Paella Pan 

In addition to whipping up incredibly flavor-packed paellas to share family-style, this type of pan is also excellent for frying, sautéeing and browning. Your best bet is to opt for one of the best paella pans made from cast iron, such as the Staub 13” Fry Pan / Paella Pan, to get the best seasoning and heat distribution.

Why This Product Is Cozymeal-Approved

Another Staub stand-out, this paella pan is perfect if you're looking for an heirloom piece that will last in your kitchen  and your familyfor generations.

  • Price: $269.95

 Staub 13 Inch Fry Pan and Paella Pan
via Staub

14. Cookware Sets 

The best cookware sets are a simple and effective way to equip your kitchen with some of the basic types of pans and other essential pieces of cookware. An excellent cookware set for new and experienced chefs alike is the Anolon Nouvelle Stainless 11-Piece Cookware Set. With these high-quality and durable stainless steel pots and pans, you can confidently cook up pretty much anything your heart desires.

Why This Product Is Cozymeal-Approved

Efficient, durable and stylish. These are things that anyone shopping for a cookware set should count on, and the Anolon Nouvelle Stainless 11-piece set delivers on every level.

  • Price: $429.99

Anolon Nouvelle Stainless 11-Piece Cookware Set
via Anolon

Types of Cookware Materials

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel heats up quickly and is non-reactive, meaning you don’t have to worry about it affecting the taste of your food, even when you are cooking with very acidic or alkaline ingredients. Depending on the quality of the stainless steel, it can sometimes require intense scrubbing to remove burnt foods, although it is safe to put these types of pots and pans in the dishwasher.

stainless steel types of pans
via Canva


Similar to copper, aluminum retains heat well, but can also react with acidic and alkaline foods. It’s generally more lightweight and cheaper than copper. Anodized aluminum cookware, however, is more durable, scratch-resistant and non-reactive. 


In addition to its aesthetic look, copper boasts excellent heat-retention, cooking food fast and evenly. It generally needs to be polished with lemon or vinegar and salt. Copper will react with acidic and alkaline foods, which can sometimes give a slightly metallic taste. 

copper types of pans
via Canva


Similar to cast iron, stoneware can handle high heat very well and will cook your food evenly and with less chance of burning than other materials. It’s often an ideal choice for cooking casseroles, lasagnas and other dishes in the oven, but be careful not to place it on a cold surface or fill it with anything cold when it’s hot, as it could crack. It’s largely considered to be one of the safest and best types of cookware on the market.

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Cast Iron

One of the oldest types of cookware material, regular cast iron is known for being extremely durable and adding an extra dimension of flavor to food, as a result of its porous surface. In terms of how to clean a cast iron skillet, it needs to be washed with water only (no soap) and regularly seasoned, usually with vegetable or canola oil. Enameled cast iron features a nonreactive porcelain coat, which is easier to clean and doesn’t require seasoning, and it’s generally a better type of cookware for cooking acidic foods (regular cast iron will strip the seasoning of acidic foods).

cast iron types of pans last a lifetime
via Canva

There are a lot of different types of pans to choose from, but now you know exactly which type of cookware to use for each task in the kitchen! As you slowly build your kitchen cookware collection, you’ll likely want to start with the types of pans that are best for the kinds of dishes you cook most often. Alternatively, investing in a more niche type of cookware, such as a paella or crêpe pan, might be just the push you need to start exploring and expanding your culinary skills in new ways!

For even more ways to elevate your kitchen, check out more chef-recommended cookware in the Cozymeal Shop.

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