Cookware Essentials for Any Kitchen

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Trying to convince you that the world of pots and pans is exciting is pointless. So we won’t even pretend that buying them is even slightly entertaining. But every home needs cookware essentials, so lets cut to the chase and make it as painless as possible. 

Whether you are a bachelor living in a high-tech man cave or a couple setting up a romantic love nest, every first-timer needs a good cookware essentials list.

A good starter set would include crockery, cutlery, glassware, pots & pans, table settings, and few simple yet useful tools. 

This is not a “good starter set” article. Instead, this is a “get to the point” list of what cookware essentials you need and why. (We will add it to the TLDR section of the “Good Starter Set” when we get there.) 

You Need Pans 

A cookware essentials list will not be complete without a trusty frying pan.
A frying pan is a classic amongst the pan family.

No cookware essentials list is complete without a frying pan.

After all, the frying pan is the most popular pan in the pan family. It’s like a multi-tool in that it totally isn’t. It’s the same thing no matter what you do with it. But, while you might only cook bacon and eggs most of the time, one day you could have someone over and need to blow them away with breakfast crumpets while acting like you do this every day. 

So, don’t be cheap, get good pans that will cook well, last long and make sure they are easy to clean. 

A big one for larger babelas fry ups or stir-fry, a smaller one for everyday bacon & egg, or whatever, usage, and a budget-friendly option while you’re still getting your cookware collection started. 

The big one. 

The 32 cm BALLARINI Positano frying pan sounds super fancy and boasts a triple KERAVIS non-stick, scratch-and-heat-resistant coating.

Translation: Things won’t stick to it and you will use less oil, or butter when cooking. Because things won’t stick, dishing up and cleaning up is super-easy. This pan can be used on any cooktop, (including induction) and you can put it in the dishwasher too. 

Cooks well: Tick

Will last long: Tick 

Easy to clean: Tick 

The little all-rounder

ZWILLING’s 24 cm Twin Choice stainless steel frying pan is the perfect size for daily cooking. It sports 3-layer SIGMA Clad material, which not only sounds like something you would find on the Death Star but is also what improves heat distribution and what makes this German-made pan so efficient. Twin Choice stainless steel frying pan is also compatible with induction stovetops thanks to the magnetic layer inside the pan.

It is stainless steel which means it is easy to clean, and ZWILLING pans also come with a lifetime warranty. 

Cooks well: Tick

Will last long: Tick 

Easy to clean: Tick 

The budget-friendly Option

At just a little under 1000 ZAR, the Snappy Chef budget frying pan is a great option for people beginning their cookware collection. With a 2 liter capacity, it can fry, bake, and grill different types of food with ease. Furthemore, it comes with the added bonus of being compatible with induction, electric, gas stoves and ovens. A definite must-have entry in every cookware essentials list.

Cooks well: Tick

Will last long: Tick 

Easy to clean: Tick 

You Need a Cocotte (Roasting Pan) Too.

A hearty roast or stew makes for a great  main course so a roasting pan is also a must have in any cookware essentials list.
Let the French flair for food rub off on you

From time to time, you will want to make a roast or stew. This is why it’s important that you don’t forget to include it in your cookware essentials buying list.

If it looks good you can even serve it from the dinner table, in which case you will want to choose items that look like you chose them on purpose.

Invest in STAUB all the way. 

STAUB is French, and if French chefs and home cooks swear by it then so should you. STAUB combines traditional heavy-weight cast iron pots and pans with modern design and colours so you get something that lasts and looks great. 

They have a specially engineered lid closing technology that helps to cook evenly and locks in all the flavours, moisture and vitamins into the food. You can cook on anything, including gas, and your only limitation is that you can’t cook at over 260 Degrees with the lid knob on. Without it, you can go up to an incredible 482 degrees. 

STAUB is so confident in their product that they offer a limited lifetime warranty.

But, which ones?

Midweek cooking for two calls for the STAUB 3,8 litre, 24 cm round casserole in dark blue.

Weekend entertaining? You will need the STAUB 6,7 litre, 28 x18 cm cherry red, round casserole which is quite a bit bigger. 

For a bit of fun, you can go for the STAUB – 3.45L Pumpkin-shaped Cast Iron Casserole in a cool cinnamon colour, or the STAUB – 2.9L Oval Tomato-shaped Cast Iron Casserole in cherry red.

You can cook just about anything in these casseroles – from a slow-cooked, hearty lamb stew to a prawn and chicken curry, a vegetarian one-pot meal or that special Sunday roast. 

What about pasta, eggs or other things you need to boil?

Another staple you will want to add to your cookware essentials list is a pot for boiling (eggs, pasta and potatoes) or for making sauces. The ZWILLING – Passion, 18/10 polished stainless steel 8L Stock Pot is a great option that checks all the boxes. 

Cooks well: Tick

Will last long: Tick 

Easy to clean: Tick 

You can’t pass on a pojtie. 

Whether under the lapa or in the boma you will need one of these traditional South African, cast iron, three-legged wonders.

They come in a range of sizes to suit almost any need. 

For most, a No.3 (7.8L) will do and will feed about 6 people without any side dishes and 12 with side dishes. If that’s not enough, go for a No. 4

Heading into the bush with a large group of friends? Go for the Megamaster number 12 flat potjie pot. Weighing in at just over 15 kg, this potjie is almost bulletproof and can be used anywhere, and while you would never go hiking with it, you could take it anywhere else. 

Cooks well: Tick

Will last long: Tick 

Easy to clean: Tick (But, don’t burn anything)

There you have it, basic pots and pans that every cookware essentials list must have. Now, you can cook whatever you need and avoid the drudgery of having to spend hours searching for what you need.

FYI- check out the deals page for savings on some of these items and more. Deals are only available for a week so, don’t wait. 

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