What’s Cooking? Learn the NAMES of Pans You Use on the Stove!

In the world of cooking, the right tools can make all the difference. As the heart of the kitchen, the stove is where many culinary masterpieces come to life, and the pots and pans used on its burners play a crucial role in success. Understanding the names and functions of these essential kitchen tools is key to becoming a proficient home cook or aspiring chef.

From skillets and saucepans to stockpots and sauté pans, each piece serves a unique purpose in the cooking process. Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or a seasoned pro, mastering the names and uses of these pans will enhance your culinary skills and allow you to approach recipes with confidence and precision. Join us as we delve into the world of cookware, unraveling the mysteries behind the names of the pans you utilize on the stove.

Quick Summary
The pans on the stove are commonly referred to as “cookware” or simply “pots and pans.” These are essential tools for cooking and can include a variety of types such as skillets, saucepans, and stockpots, each serving different cooking purposes.

Introduction To Common Types Of Pans

When it comes to cooking on the stove, having the right pan for the job can make all the difference. From sautéing to frying, each type of pan is designed to excel at a specific cooking technique. Understanding the common types of pans and their uses is essential for any home cook looking to expand their culinary skills.

At the heart of any kitchen arsenal are the versatile skillet and the trusty saucepan. Skillets, often known as frying pans, are characterized by their wide, flat bottoms and low sides, making them ideal for tasks such as searing, pan-frying, and sautéing. On the other hand, saucepans feature taller sides and are perfect for cooking sauces, boiling pasta, or making soups. Both pans come in various materials such as stainless steel, non-stick, and cast iron, each offering unique heat retention and distribution properties.

Additionally, other essential pans to consider include the stockpot for making large batches of soups or stocks, the griddle for cooking breakfast items like pancakes or eggs, and the roasting pan for preparing succulent roasted meats. Understanding the distinctive properties and uses of each type of pan will empower you to make more informed decisions in the kitchen, ultimately leading to more delicious and expertly prepared meals.

Skillet Or Frying Pan

When it comes to versatile cookware, the skillet, also known as a frying pan, is an essential tool in the kitchen. Skillets come in various sizes, typically ranging from 8 to 12 inches in diameter, and are characterized by their low, slanted sides. These pans are commonly used for sautéing, frying, searing, and even baking, making them a go-to for many recipes. Skillets are often made from materials such as stainless steel, cast iron, or non-stick coatings, each offering its own set of benefits and considerations.

The wide, flat cooking surface of a skillet makes it ideal for preparing a wide range of dishes, from scrambled eggs and pancakes to seared steaks and vegetable stir-fries. The even heat distribution of a skillet ensures that food cooks evenly, while the low sides allow for easy access to the food for flipping or stirring. Whether you’re looking to whip up a quick breakfast or a flavorful dinner, the skillet’s versatility makes it a fundamental component of any kitchen. Whether you refer to it as a skillet or a frying pan, this kitchen essential is a must-have for anyone looking to elevate their cooking game.


A saucepan is a versatile and essential kitchen tool for cooking a variety of dishes. It is typically a medium-sized, deep pan with a long handle and a lid, designed for heating and simmering liquids, heating sauces, and cooking foods such as vegetables, grains, and pasta. The compact size and shape of a saucepan make it ideal for tasks that require precise heat control and gentle cooking, making it a popular choice for many recipes.

Saucepans are commonly made of stainless steel, aluminum, or copper, and their construction allows for even heat distribution and efficient cooking. They often feature a non-stick surface, making them suitable for preparing delicate sauces and preventing food from sticking. In addition to stovetop use, saucepans can also be used for tasks such as melting chocolate, reheating leftovers, and boiling eggs. With its versatility and compact design, a saucepan is an indispensable tool in any kitchen for both novice and experienced cooks alike.

Sauté Pan

The sauté pan is a versatile and essential tool in the kitchen. It features a wide, flat bottom and low sides, making it perfect for sautéing, frying, and searing. The wide cooking surface allows for even heat distribution and ample space to move food around, ensuring that ingredients cook evenly and quickly.

Sauté pans are typically equipped with a long handle to provide a secure grip for tossing and flipping ingredients. They are suitable for cooking a wide variety of dishes, from vegetables and meats to sauces and stir-fries. The pan’s design and functionality make it a go-to choice for many home cooks and professional chefs alike, offering the flexibility and convenience needed to create a wide range of delicious meals.

In addition to sautéing, these pans can also be used for shallow frying and braising. Their versatility and performance make them a cornerstone of any well-equipped kitchen, and their convenience and efficiency make them a valuable tool for any cooking enthusiast.


The stockpot is a versatile and essential piece of cookware that is perfect for making large batches of soup, stock, chili, and boiling pasta. It typically has tall, straight sides and a wide base, allowing for the even distribution of heat and ample space for ingredients to cook.

Stockpots come in various sizes, ranging from small to extra-large, to accommodate different quantities of food. They are usually made of stainless steel, aluminum, or enamel-coated steel, and some may have a non-stick interior for easy cleaning. Many stockpots also come with lids to help retain moisture and heat during the cooking process.

When choosing a stockpot, consider the material, capacity, and whether it is compatible with your stove type. Investing in a high-quality stockpot can be a valuable addition to your kitchen, as it can be used for a wide range of cooking tasks and is built to last for years to come.


A griddle is a flat cooking surface typically made of metal, such as cast iron, stainless steel, or aluminum. It is often used to cook foods such as pancakes, bacon, eggs, and grilled sandwiches. Griddles come in a variety of sizes, from small stovetop versions to large commercial models used in restaurants. They can also be electric, gas, or designed for outdoor use on a grill.

Griddles are versatile and can be used for both savory and sweet dishes. They provide an even cooking surface, making them ideal for preparing large batches of food at once. Some griddles also have a non-stick coating, which makes them easy to clean and maintain. Griddles are a popular choice for those who enjoy cooking breakfast foods, as they provide ample space for flipping and maneuvering items such as pancakes and omelets. With their wide cooking surface, griddles offer a convenient and efficient way to prepare a variety of dishes on the stove.


The wok is a versatile and indispensable cooking vessel in Asian cuisine. Its round-bottomed shape and high, sloping sides allow for even heat distribution, making it perfect for stir-frying, steaming, deep-frying, and even braising. The wok’s unique design enables food to be cooked quickly and at high temperatures, resulting in dishes with a wonderful depth of flavor and texture.

Traditionally made from carbon steel, the wok is lightweight and responsive to changes in heat, allowing for precise cooking control. It typically comes with a long handle for easy tossing and handling, and a small helper handle for stability. Woks are available in various sizes, with larger ones suitable for family-sized meals and smaller ones perfect for single servings. Their versatility makes them an essential tool in any kitchen, whether you’re cooking up a spicy stir-fry or steaming delicate dumplings.

Dutch Oven

The Dutch oven is a versatile and essential cooking vessel that is popular for its ability to perform a wide range of cooking tasks. It is a heavy-duty pot with a tight-fitting lid, designed to distribute heat evenly and retain it for extended periods. Typically made from cast iron or enameled cast iron, Dutch ovens are known for their durability and ability to withstand high temperatures, making them suitable for both stovetop and oven use.

This multipurpose cookware is perfect for slow-cooking stews, braising meats, baking bread, and even deep-frying. The deep, wide shape of the Dutch oven allows for easy stirring and tossing of ingredients, while the tight-fitting lid keeps moisture locked in, resulting in tender and flavorful dishes. With its exceptional heat retention properties, the Dutch oven is an excellent choice for long, slow cooking, and is favored by home cooks and professional chefs alike for its ability to create hearty and delicious meals.

In conclusion, the Dutch oven is an indispensable tool in the kitchen, offering versatility, durability, and exceptional cooking performance. Whether you are simmering soups or baking delicate desserts, this classic cookware piece is sure to become a staple in your culinary repertoire.

Final Thoughts

In mastering the art of cooking, understanding the various names of pans used on the stove is crucial. By becoming familiar with the different types of pans and their unique attributes, you can significantly enhance your culinary skills and elevate your cooking experience. Whether it’s sautéing, frying, steaming, or searing, the right pan can make all the difference in achieving the perfect dish.

In conclusion, equipping yourself with the knowledge of the names of pans used on the stove empowers you to choose the most suitable cookware for each specific cooking task. This knowledge not only enhances your cooking efficiency and precision but also contributes to the overall success of your culinary endeavors. With a diverse array of pans at your disposal, you can explore an endless range of cooking techniques and unlock your full potential in the kitchen.

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