On any given week, our test kitchen is putting a dozen or so recipes through the ringer: testing, measuring, re-testing, cross-checking, and plenty of tasting. For one, that means our dishwasher gets a lot of use. But it also means we're running our kitchen equipment through the ringer, and as a result have some pretty strong opinions about what makes good cookware—and what doesn't. Here are our top picks for what we'd call our pot and pan essentials: the skillets, saucepans, and stockpots that we'd reach for before anything else, and that we'd happily give to anyone.
Planning an upgrade for your kitchen? Giving a gift to someone who's just starting out with their own? These are what you want.