How to Choose the Best Cookware for Your Gas Range
When you first get your brand new professional gas range installed, you want to cook like a professional, too, which may leave you wondering how to tell if your cookware can stand up to cooking on a gas stove. You may assume that if you have a professional range, you also need professional cookware.
The good news is that whether you’ve purchased an ILVE, Thor, or ZLINE professional range you can still use your current cookware as all pots and pans are made to work on stovetops of all kinds. However, after investing in your range, you may think that upgrading your cookware is the best way to harness the power and quality of your new range. So this post explains what to consider when selecting new cookware for your gas range.
Top Considerations for New Cookware
When choosing cookware for a gas range, there are several considerations you should keep in mind to ensure that your cookware is safe, durable, and efficient. Here are some of the most important considerations:
- Material: Gas ranges generate a lot of heat and allow you to adjust the temperature quickly. You can go from a boil to simmer much quicker on a gas range than on an electric one, so you want cookware made from material that will evenly distribute heat as well as respond to temperature changes. While you may not always cook at high temperatures, you want cookware that has the versatility to evenly fry and boil as well as hold heat well at a simmer. So it's important to choose cookware made from materials that can not only withstand the high temperatures that gas ranges deliver but also evenly distribute and hold the heat. Stainless steel, cast iron, and copper are all good options.
- Layers or ply: As important as the material is, how many layers of material—called ply—is used to make the cookware is of equal importance. When you read or hear about “heavy-bottomed” pans, this typically refers to cookware made with several layers of material. Most experts agree that 5-ply cookware is best. Pots and pans with only three layers (3-ply) are too thin for consistent heating and cooking, which leads to losing your temperature and having your simmer slow down too quickly or causing hot spots where cooking something like bacon results in part of the pan burning the bacon while another part leaving it raw. On the other hand, 7-ply cookware tends to be too heavy to respond quickly to the temperature changes you can easily make on a gas range.
- Size: Make sure your cookware has a flat bottom that is wide enough to cover the burner. The flat bottom helps distribute heat evenly and prevents hot spots, and choosing pots and pans that are appropriately sized for your burners. Using a pot that is too small or too large for a burner can waste energy and lead to uneven cooking. It also causes inefficient cooking—a pan too large for the burner takes longer to heat up, wasting energy in the heating process, and one that is too small for a burner doesn’t concentrate all of its heat on the bottom of the pan, wasting energy around the sides.
- Handles: Look for cookware with sturdy, heat-resistant handles that are securely attached to the pot or pan. Avoid handles that are made of plastic or other materials that can melt or warp under high heat.
- Maintenance: Consider the maintenance requirements of your cookware. Some materials, like cast iron, require seasoning and special care, while others, like stainless steel, are more durable and easier to maintain. Weighing the extra time you need to take for maintenance can make a difference for those with busier lifestyles.
Regardless of what you want to purchase, think about your comfort level. Consider what you’re used to cooking with. If you’re a die-hard non-stick fan, you may not want to make the change to an entire set of cast-iron cookware. When you know how to cook on a ZLINE professional range, sticking with cookware that you’re familiar with may be the best choice for you, but you might simply upgrade from what you currently use.
Avoiding Common Issues with Cookware
If you’re afraid that your professional gas range will ruin your cookware, don’t worry. It’s not a gas range that can ruin cookware but the misuse of any range that can damage or cause issues to your pots and pans. When it comes to gas ranges, here are some common issues to avoid:
- Warping: Gas stoves can produce high heat, which can cause some types of cookware to warp or become misshapen. This can be particularly problematic with thinner cookware. So stick to 5-ply cookware made from quality materials.
- Staining: Some cooks notice the bottoms of their pans turning black after some use. Leaving food or grease on the bottom of your pan can cause discoloration, but so can cooking for long periods of time at high heat. Although neither situation is unavoidable, the staining effect can easily be removed. Regular cleaning with a mildly abrasive cleaner can help remove any discoloration or stains. However, a clean stove is your first defense. Any food or oil left on the burners can smoke and discolor your cookware so clean up after every cooking session to avoid this problem.
- Scratching: If you’re used to cooking over a gas flame and switch to a gas induction cooktop with a glass top, you will inevitably scratch your cooktop if you slide your pots and pans around. While gas-flame stoves are made with grates to accommodate the easy sliding of pots and pans, glass tops are not. They look conducive to sliding because they’re perfectly flat, but they will scratch if you don’t pick up your pots and pans when moving them from burner to burner.
You don’t need special cookware when cooking on your new ZLINE professional range, but after investing in such high-quality appliances, you may want to invest in cookware to match. Everyone’s dream is to cook better—to cook like a professional—on a professional range, and while you can certainly stick to what you’re comfortable using, high-quality cookware can make a difference when trying to elevate your skills.