Types of Cookware [All About Cookware and It’s Materials]

Cookware is made up of different containers, such as pots and pans, used to prepare food or sauces on a heated surface. Usually, this surface will be a generic stove top (a gas stove top) however, there are also cookware sets available for induction cooking (induction cookware sets).

Types of Cookware

Cookware has been around all throughout history ranging from the Stone Age to present. Cookware is not only a necessary utensil but can be used as an expression of oneself and one’s community. This Cookware guide aims to provide you with the information needed to determine what cookware utensils or sets are suited to you specifically!

Main Types of Cookware

There are many types of cookware, some more obscure and specified than others. This guide will present you with a list and explanation of the main types of cookware.


Frying Pans

Frying Pan: The main features of a frying pan are a flat bottom with curved and typically flared sides. The curved sides make it easier to toss food. The sides are also shallow making this kind of pan ideal for frying.

Saute Pan: unlike the frying pan, the saute pan has flat straight sides. It is also typically deeper than a frypan, however, it shares the flat-bottomed feature. The straight sides are used to increase the cooking surface area in order to prevent steaming.

Braiser Pan: This type of pan is ideal for slow cooking both meats or vegetables. This pan has a wide, usually, flat bottom increasing surface area. The sides of the pan are higher than the saute pan, reducing evaporation of liquids.

Sauce Pan: This is a small round pot that has high straight sides. The small flat bottom allows rapid heating, ideal for sauce creation. The high sides are ideal for containing liquids.

Roasting Pan: This is a large typically rectangular pan. The bottom is flat and the sides are straight. There are handles on the sides to allow for easy transport. This kind of pan is typically used in an oven for roasting vegetables and or meat.


Sauce Pot: This pot has a reasonable sized flat bottom to increase heat generation. The sides of the pot are about half the size of a stock pot, thus of medium depth. There are handles on the sides to make transportation easier. The tight-fitting lid prevents liquid evaporation and increases heat generation. This is a design fit for slow cooking soups and sauces.Stock Pot

Stock Pot: This is similar to a sauce pot, and can be used for the same function. The main difference is that the sides are much taller. This facilitates greater quantities of liquids or other ingredients. Similar to the sauce pot, the stock pot has a tight fitting lid as well as handles on the sides.

Wok: A rounded pan that can either have a rounded or flat bottom. The curved sides increase heat concentration which allows food to be cooked quickly. The round sides also allow food to be easily tossed around. There are handles on the sides to allow for easy transportation.

Common Cookware Materials

Cast Iron

A very durable material that heats evenly when it is brought to temperature. It is also generally non-stick and very versatile in regards to heating surfaces it can be used on. However, it is quite difficult to clean and one of the heavier materials.

Enameled Cast Iron

This is simply cast iron coated in enamel paint. While it is more expensive than typical cast iron it is better at heat generation and is non-reactive, unlike bare cast iron. The added benefit of enamelled cast iron cookware is that it is much more attractive than bare cast iron cookware.

Stainless Steel

The main benefit of stainless steel is that it is more resistant to staining, denting and scratching making it a more attractive material. It is also non-reactive and durable. However, stainless steel is a poor heat generator which makes using stainless steel cookware harder to cook food quickly and evenly.

Carbon Steel

The main advantage of this material is that it is quite light. It is both durable and affordable, however, it is difficult to clean and maintain as it can develop rust quickly.


While this is an expensive material it is an excellent heat conductor meaning less preheating is required. The main disadvantage of this material is that it does not work on induction stovetops.


This is a light material that is a good heat conductor. The makeup of aluminium also makes it more resistant to corrosion so it is easier to maintain. A lot of aluminium cookware will be adonized in order to create a harder, non-reactive surface. Some people believe that aluminium cookware can cause health problems. If it is not taken care of properly or is used in its bare form (not adonized) it may react with food increasing aluminium ingestion.


The first obvious benefit is that the cookware will be non-stick making it easier to clean. The fact that the material is non-stick means that less oil or butter will be required for cooking making it a healthier option. The main disadvantage of this material is that it cannot withstand higher temperatures and may overheat.


Glass is a less expensive material than ceramic but provides many of the same benefits. It is good for heat conduction and is non-reactive. The main issue with glass is that it cannot withstand higher temperatures and thus can only be used in an oven (as opposed to a stovetop).


Ceramic is a non-reactive material which if glazed, is non-stick. Similar to enamelled cast iron, ceramic is an attractive material. The downside to ceramic is that it is easily broken and chipped making it more difficult to maintain. It is also more costly than glass options.