By soaking in water before use, clay cookers provide moisture for foods to self-baste during cooking. Clay cookers come in many shapes and sizes and have a tight-fitted lid to ensure proper braising of foods.
Unconfirmed heritage of this large pot or kettle is from the Pennsylvania Dutch in the 1700s. Originally made of cast iron, Dutch ovens are made from a variety of metals. Dutch ovens have tight-fitting lids so that steam will not escape. It can be used on the stovetop or in the oven for braising or stewing.
This shallow pan, also known as a skillet, has sloped sides to allow steam to escape when frying foods at high heat. It has one long handle.
This electric appliance has a ridged, non-stick surface and is used to grill a variety of foods indoors. Two styles of indoor grills are available: one kind has a grill surface on one side only, similar to an outdoor grill; the other kind has two grilling surfaces, like a waffle iron.
A cylindrical cooking vessel, it is typically deeper than a saucepan, and has two handles and a fitted lid. It is used for boiling, simmering and steaming foods.
This electric appliance steams rice to fluffy perfection and shuts off automatically when done. Some models can be used to steam vegetables or other foods.
A pan with straight or sloped sides, it typically has a fitted lid and one long handle, and is available in 1- to 4-quart sizes. A versatile piece of equipment, it can be used for making soups or boiling foods.
A pan with straight, shallow sides that is used for sautéing (cooking foods quickly in a little oil). It may have one or two handles, depending on its size. It may be fitted with a lid. Sauté pans are usually made of stainless steel, enameled cast iron, aluminum, anodized aluminum or copper.
Bamboo steamer baskets come in different sizes. They are set into a wok with boiling water below the basket level. Bamboo steamers are stackable so you can steam several baskets of food at once, and they are decorative enough to be brought to the table and used as serving dishes. Stainless-steel steamer pots with a perforated inset are also available. And there are collapsible perforated metal steamer baskets that can be placed in an ordinary pot with lid to turn it into a steamer.
Originating in China, this cookware has a rounded bottom with curved sides. It is used for stir-frying, deep-frying, steaming and braising. Woks are usually made of cast iron, stainless steel or anodized aluminum. A metal ring that fits around the bottom keeps the wok steady over an open flame. There are flat-bottomed woks made for electric stovetops. Electric woks are also available.