A Copper Pot, a Dutch Oven, and a Cast-Iron Skillet: These Are Our Food Editors' Must-Have Pieces of Cookware

Our team shares the items they can't live without in the kitchen.

house copper cookware by sara dahmen
Photo: Craig John Photography

Looking for ways to become a more confident cook at home? Our food editors are here to help. Each week, we shine a spotlight on the exciting things happening in the Martha Stewart test kitchen. Our editors will share their best cooking tips, favorite products, new ideas, and more in our weekly series, Out of the Kitchen.

Whether it's sharing their go-to pantry staples, tips on organizing a kitchen for maximum efficiency, or finding out their favorite type of hot sauce, we want to know what our food editors think when it comes to all things cooking-related. No kitchen is complete without durable and versatile pots and pans, and while most home cooks own at least a saucepan, stockpot, and skillet, we were curious what cookware our food editors cannot live without. Ahead, they're sharing their favorite pieces for everyday cooking.

lodge cast iron skillet
Courtesy of Amazon

Cast-Iron Skillet

From pan-searing protein to baking a chocolate chip skillet cookie, this sturdy piece of cookware can (and should!) last a lifetime. "I have had a large Lodge skillet for (probably) 20 years. It is virtually nonstick due to the years of seasoning. I use it for everything including eggs, bacon, fried chicken, pot pies (stove to oven!), and more," says editorial director of food Sarah Carey. Although she's loyal to Lodge, she has discovered a new favorite—the Field Skillet ($125, fieldcompany.com). "I have only had it for a couple of years. It is lighter and smaller than Lodge, but just as excellent and beautifully crafted."

Deputy food editor Greg Lofts is also a fan of cast-iron skillets. "The material and weight are ideal for direct heat stovetop cooking since it maintains temperature evenly and is less prone to hot spots. It also performs beautifully in the oven and can withstand the intense heat of the broiler too," says Greg.

Shop Now: Lodge Chef Collection Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet, $29.95 for 10¼", williams-sonoma.com.

braiser in artichaut
Courtesy of Le Creuset

Braiser Pan

In between a skillet and a round Dutch oven is this versatile piece of cookware. "The sides are sloped and deeper than a skillet but not as deep as a pot and comes with a domed, tight-fitting lid. The wide surface area is ideal for searing and sautéing on high heat and also holds enough to feed a crowd so it's definitely my go-to when entertaining," says Greg. Like regular cast iron, the material and weight ensure even cooking and maintains even temperature better than other lighter weight materials such as nonstick and aluminum.

Shop Now: Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Braiser, $310, williams-sonoma.com.

le creuset dutch oven agave
Courtesy of Le Creuset

Dutch Oven

Senior food editor Lauryn Tyrell turns to her Le Creuset five-quart Dutch oven for all-purpose cooking. "I've had it for basically as long as I've been cooking and I use it constantly. It's versatile and durable—two things I highly value in cookware," says Lauryn. So, what can you cook in a Dutch oven? Pretty much everything, says Lauryn. Boil pasta, make rice pilaf, bake a loaf of sourdough, fry tempura, or pop it on the grill with a large cut of meat and let it slowly render for hours.

Shop Now: Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven, $360, williams-sonoma.com.

scanpan pro nonstick skillet
Courtesy of Sur La Table

Nonstick Skillet

You might think this pan is only good for cooking eggs but Lauryn says there's so much that you can use a nonstick skillet for. "It's the pan I take out most when cooking for my kids. If you just need to throw a quick sear on something small, or cook something that tends to stick like eggs, it's the easiest option," she says. Plus, this busy mom says the nonstick surface makes cleanup a breeze.

Shop Now: SCANPAN TechnIQ Nonstick Fry Pan Set, 8" & 10", $149.95, williams-sonoma.com.

Ruffoni Historia Hammered Copper chefs pan with wooden spoon
Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

Copper Pot

Copper is one of the best materials for conducting heat evenly, which is why it's prized for cooking things like risotto and polenta low and slow. Assistant food editor Riley Wofford said she owns one that was passed down by her grandmother and she loves it for cooking the creamy Italian rice dishes.

Shop Now: Ruffoni Historia Hammered Copper Chef's Pan with Acorn Handle, $260, williams-sonoma.com.

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