Why You Want Heavy Pans for Cooking

Photo: CN Digital StudioPhoto: CN Digital Studio

by Kemp Minifie
, Gourmet

You've seen the terms "heavy pot" or "heavy-bottom pan" often in our recipes. So often, in fact, that your eyes have probably skipped over them. When it comes to recipes, we choose our words carefully, and you can bet there are reasons why we repeatedly call for heavy pans.

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Cook Rather Than Scorch
Thin metal pans tend to heat unevenly and are difficult to regulate. Too often you'll find that your onions, for instance, have burned before they've had a chance to soften.

Fear Factor
How many times have you been roasting chicken pieces in a hot oven, or broiling meatballs, and heard a loud "BOING!" You open the oven door to find that your baking pan has twisted so badly that parts of it are no longer in contact with the oven rack, and hot pan juices are dripping onto the bottom of the oven. It's an accident waiting to happen. Thin pans warp. Heavy-gauge metal baking pans stay flat on the oven rack. If there's any give to your baking pan when you hold it up and try to bend it, then retire it for other uses.

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Time Savings
Because heavy-bottom saucepans hold and distribute the heat more evenly, you can actually turn your back on the stove occasionally to wash a dish or chop some vegetables.

Long Term Economics
Well-made heavy cookware is not cheap, but it will save you money in the long run. Not only do heavy pans last longer, you won't be tossing out as much ruined food. Delicate sauces such as custards, for instance, curdle more easily in a thin pan.

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