The Different Types of Pans for Stove Tops
Many types of cooking pans can be used on a range or stove top, but some choices will be limited by the heat source the appliance uses for cooking or the shape of the pan. A pan's shape is determined by the function it performs during cooking; for example, a stock pot is deep to allow for the boiling of a large amount of liquid while a frying pan is wide and shallow for browning and flipping food easily.
- Soup and Stock Pots
Generally equipped with two handles, soup and stock pots are deep pots intended for the slow reduction or simmering of the liquids inside them. The two handles help to move the heavy pan from burner to counter top. These types of pans can be made out of stainless steel or aluminum or made with a non-stick interior for easy cleaning. They are made for all kinds of cooking surfaces.
Saucepans are versatile cooking pans with a handle and sometimes sloping sides. The purpose of a saucepan is to cook sauces and reduce liquids. Saucepans are also used for reheating foods quickly. The sides are generally short in height while the base circumference is large; this set-up helps to reduce liquids faster by creating a bigger surface area. Handles can be riveted onto the pans or welded for additional strength.
- Frying Pans
A frying pan is characterized by its wide bottom and shallow sides. It is used for cooking foods at high temperatures for the purpose of browning or crisping. While frying pans can be found in materials such as stainless steel, copper with tin lining or even aluminum, they are commonly found with non-stick surfaces so that the amount of fats can be reduced when browning.
Woks are made for Asian cooking, but are also useful for a wide variety of cooking styles. Woks have slanting sides, with a very narrow or rounded bottom. This design helps cook foods quickly on high heat on the bottom, and allows the chef to push the food up and out of the way as other foods are being browned. Sauteing, frying and poaching are all cooking methods that can be successfully used with a wok on the stove top.