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The Different Types of Pans for Stove Tops

Updated on April 13, 2012
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Pans come in all shapes, and the different shapes relate to the food being cooked.A frying pan is used to fry foods crisp, and quickly.Stainless steel and aluminum are popular materials for pots and pans.Saucepans are used for reduction of sauces, and of reheating foods.A wok has a narrow or rounded bottom, and wide sides for pushing food around.Pans can also have a colored coating which doesn't affect the cooking.
Pans come in all shapes, and the different shapes relate to the food being cooked.
Pans come in all shapes, and the different shapes relate to the food being cooked. | Source
A frying pan is used to fry foods crisp, and quickly.
A frying pan is used to fry foods crisp, and quickly. | Source
Stainless steel and aluminum are popular materials for pots and pans.
Stainless steel and aluminum are popular materials for pots and pans. | Source
Saucepans are used for reduction of sauces, and of reheating foods.
Saucepans are used for reduction of sauces, and of reheating foods. | Source
A wok has a narrow or rounded bottom, and wide sides for pushing food around.
A wok has a narrow or rounded bottom, and wide sides for pushing food around. | Source
Pans can also have a colored coating which doesn't affect the cooking.
Pans can also have a colored coating which doesn't affect the cooking. | Source

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
    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
    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.

Are you remodeling or simply updating your kitchen? Here are some helpful articles:

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