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The Cookware Guide

My guide on everything you need to stock your kitchen.

Myles Snider
Myles Snider
6 min read

The Cookware Guide

Hey, everyone!

Today I'm excited to share my cookware guide– everything you need to stock your kitchen. I've included all of the essentials, as well as links with various brands and products that I like!

If you're buying all of your cookware for the first time, I'd recommend buying a set to cut down on costs. Made In is probably my favorite cookware company, and they have a few different sets to chose from. Material Kitchen also makes some great sets for things like knives and countertop tools.

Got questions about any of this? Shoot me an email or a DM– happy to discuss!

Cheers,

Myles


Knives

8in Chef's Knife

This is the most important piece of equipment that any chef has. I prefer Japanese knives, which tend to be lighter, but ultimately it depends on what feels best in your hand. I have some friends who prefer a heavier German or French style knife (like the Made In or Wusthof listed below).

Buy a great chef's knife, take care of it, and it will last you forever and serve you well!

My recs: Shun Classic, Material Kitchen, Made In, Wusthof

If you want to step your game up and get something even higher quality, this Takamura Akagouhan Gyuto is my favorite knife I own. I also love the Misono UX10 in either Gyuto (classic chef's knife shape) or Santoku (slightly smaller and designed to be multi-purpose).

Paring Knife

A paring knife isn't strictly essential– you can do most of what you'd do with a paring knife with a chef's knife– but I still find it useful to have around. I use mine a lot for smaller tasks that require a bit more dexterity.

My recs: Shun, Material, Made In

Serrated Knife

You'll use your serrated knife for cutting bread, slicing tomatoes, and the occasional other random task that calls for it. I recommend getting a sturdy serrated knife (some are quite flimsy).

Quality does matter somewhat here, but it's not something you need to break the bank for. I've got a Victorinox bread knife that's been reliable for years.

My recs: Shun, Material, Made In, Victorinox

Pots and Pans

12in Cast Iron Skillet

A 12in cast iron will be one of the most versatile pieces of cookware you ever buy. Use it for everything from steaks to cornbread to frittatas to whole-roasted chicken. A great cast iron skillet will get better with time and last you forever– buy one, maintain it well, and pass it along to your kids.

The truth is that the best cast iron was made before the 1960s– vintage cast iron is lighter and smoother than almost any contemporary cast iron you'll find. If you feel like browsing Etsy, there are plenty of vendors selling vintage cast iron. That said, there are a few modern brands that are making great skillets. And if you don't feel like spending much, Lodge is a reliable, widely available, and affordable option.  

My recs: Field Cast Iron, Smithey Ironware, Butter Pat Industries, Lodge

10in Carbon Steel Skillet

I use my carbon steel as much as or more than I do my cast iron. Carbon steel is less widely known among home cooks, but it's used often in restaurants.

Carbon steel behaves a lot like cast iron– it requires seasoning and gets better with use– and they're largely interchangeable for most tasks. Carbon steel has the advantage of being about 50% lighter than cast iron, and it heats up and cools down much faster.

I absolutely love my blue carbon steel pan from Made In– I personally wouldn't use any other. That said, I've heard good things about De Buyer, and Lodge makes an affordable option.

My recs: Made In, De Buyer, Lodge

Ceramic Non-Stick Pan

Strictly speaking, non-stick pans aren't necessary. A well-seasoned carbon steel skillet will become virtually non-stick over time, and most non-stick is laced with nasty chemicals that should be avoided at all costs.

If you do buy a non-stick pan, I recommend going with one made of ceramic. It won't last forever, nor will it be as non-stick as a chemically coated pan, but it will get the job done.

My recs: Caraway, GreenPan

Saucier

A saucier is an incredibly versatile pan– I use this for small braises (when I don't want to break out the dutch oven), soups, beans, rice, risotto, pasta, sauces, and much more. A large sauce pan can do similar things, but I much prefer the slightly sloped design of the Made In saucier.

My recs: Made In, All-Clad

Enameled Dutch Oven

A dutch oven is another kitchen powerhouse. This is perfect for doing large braises, soups, stews, breads, and more. I recommend getting an enameled one, as they're easier to clean. And I'd aim for 6-10 quarts in size.

My recs: Lodge, Made In, Le Cruset

Stock Pot

If you're in this cooking club, you're going to learn to make your own stock! A stock pot will also come in handy for making big batches of soup, sauces, and great homemade bone broth.

My recs: Made In, All-Clad

Cutting Boards

Large Wood Cutting Board

Everyone should own a large, sturdy wooden cutting board. This will be your main station setup in the kitchen. I like a double sided one– one flat side and one side with grooves for catching meat juices.

My recs: Sonder, John Boos, Made In

Small Plastic Cutting Board(s)

A few small plastic cutting boards are always handy for quick prep and easy cleanup.

My recs: Oxo, Material Kitchen

Prep

Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls

These are essential for kitchen prep– tossing, mixing, and organizing items. They're also easy to store and virtually indestructible. Grab a big set with a bunch of different sizes.

My rec: FineDine

Sheet Trays

Sheet trays (also known as rimmed baking sheets) are essential for both oven cooking, and prep/organizing. I recommend getting two full-size trays, and two half-sized trays. I'd also recommend getting some cooling and roasting racks to go with them.

My rec: Nordic Ware (full sheets and half sheets)

Measuring Cups + Spoons

I personally try to cook (and teach cooking) in a way that doesn't rely heavily on exact measurements. But these are nice to have, especially for baking.

My recs: Oxo (wet measuring cups), Doyingus (dry measuring cups and spoons), Laxinis (dry)

Digital Scale

Most restaurant recipes are actually listed by weight. It's a more exact way of doing things, and having a kitchen scale will always be useful. You can also use this for making the perfect pour-over coffee.

My rec: Etekcity (I've had this one for years– it's cheap and works great– but literally any one will do).

Countertop

I'd highly recommend grabbing an Iconics Set from Material (if you're also planning on buying knives) or a Fundamentals Set if you just want the countertop tools.

Spatula

My rec: Material Kitchen

Silicone Spatula

My rec: Misen

Whisk

My rec: Material Kitchen

Fish Spatula

This is useful for way more than just cooking fish– it just so happens to be named that way.

My recs: New Star, Wusthof

Wooden Spoon

My recs: Faay, Material Kitchen

Big Spoon

My rec: Material Kitchen

Metal Tongs

My recs: KitchenAid, Material Kitchen

Some Useful Extras  

Mercer Plating Spoon + Gray Kunz Spoon

Yes, these are essentially just large spoons, but they're incredibly useful. I use both of these all the time– for basting, plating, and much more.  

My recs: Mercer Plating Spoon, Gray Kunz Spoon

Kitchen Tweezers

I used to associate tweezers with snooty tasting menus and avant-garde plating. But a good pair of large kitchen tweezers is amazing for getting dexterity in all kinds of cooking. I use them often when cooking steaks, frying things, and much more.

My rec: Honoson

Miscellaneous

Microplane

My rec: Microplane

Vegetable Peeler

My rec: Oxo

Fine Mesh Strainer

My rec: Cuisinart

Mandolin  

My rec: Oxo

Kitchen Shears

My rec: Material Kitchen

Meat Thermometer

My rec: Kuluner

Citrus Juicer

My rec: Y-me


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