Our Favorite Equipment for Fast, Flavorful Meals

With our top-rated equipment and new cookbook, you’ll have a delicious dinner on the table in less time with less hassle.

I love low-effort, high-reward dinners. My coworkers do too, which is why there’s been a lot of buzz around the (virtual) office about our newest cookbook, Five-Ingredient Dinners. It proves that with the right combination of simple ingredients and pantry staples, eating well doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it can be supersimple. Want another way to cook flavorful and satisfying meals with minimal hassle? Use our recommended cookware. All the pieces of equipment I’ve picked today are versatile essentials, such as our go-to 12-inch skilletDutch oven, and rimmed baking sheet. With our top-rated equipment and new cookbook filled with more than 100 recipes, imaginative techniques, and flavorful ingredients, you’ll have a delicious dinner on the table in less time with less hassle.

—Carolyn Grillo, Associate Editor, ATK Reviews

Our longtime favorite skillet still beats the cheaper competition. We appreciate the broad cooking surface and low, flaring sides that encourage excellent browning and evaporation; a steel handle that stays cool on the stovetop and won’t rotate in your hand; an overall weight and balance that hits the sweet spot between sturdiness and maneuverable lightness; and durable construction that resists warping while withstanding thermal shock and outright abuse with nary a scratch or dent. Its three layers of bonded metal, with aluminum sandwiched by steel, make for deep, uniform browning

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The cooking surface was slick, both when new and after extensive use, and food never stuck. It’s one of the lightest models we tested, so it was easy to lift and maneuver, but it was also sturdy and resisted denting. All of our testers liked its wide, comfortable handle. Like every other model, its surface became scratched when we used a knife as if to cut a frittata, but it otherwise held up well.

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Our old winner arrived with the slickest preseasoned interior and only got better. Broad enough to cook two big steaks, it browned foods deeply, and its thorough seasoning ensured that our acidic pan sauce picked up no off-flavors. Though its handle is short, the pan has a helper handle that made lifting easy. It survived abuse testing without a scratch. An excellent pan, at an excellent price, that you’ll never have to replace.

This set was a heartbreaker. It has well-designed, balanced pans with practical sizes and shapes and comfortable, cool handles at an outstanding price. Everything cooked beautifully. And then, on the last day of abuse testing, the skillet warped badly as we heated it to 500 degrees on an induction burner, leading us to worry about the set’s durability. (A second copy of the pan did not warp when we heated it more gradually to 500 degrees, however.)  Note: Since we originally tested this cookware set, the manufacturer changed its name from Potluck to Goldilocks; the products themselves remain the same.

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This perfect, pricey pot bested the competition again. It was substantial enough to hold and distribute heat evenly without being unbearably heavy. The light-colored interior combined with low, straight sides gave us good visibility and made it easy to monitor browning and thermometer position. The broad cooking surface saved us time since we could cook more food at once. The lid was smooth and easy to clean. This pot is expensive, but it was exceptionally resistant to damage.

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With an exceptionally broad cooking surface and low, straight sides, this 7-quart pot had the same advantageous shape as the Le Creuset. It was heavier but not prohibitively so. The looped handles were comfortable to hold, though slightly smaller than ideal. The rim and lid chipped cosmetically when we repeatedly slammed the lid onto the pot, so it's slightly less durable than our winner.

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The textured surface of this PTFE-free nonstick pan impressed us by producing evenly baked cookies, and its standard size ensured that there was enough space for Parmesan cauliflower to brown nicely. Sticky caramel was no match for the nonstick coating; the caramel-coated popcorn slid off the pan easily. This pan was easy to hand-wash because its coating prevented food from sticking.

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Although the grid pattern on this rack is slightly larger than on the other two models, it’s reinforced with an extra support bar that runs perpendicular to the three main bars. It had a touch more wiggle room in the baking sheets, but it kept pace with the other racks during recipe and durability testing.

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Marketed as the consumer version of the Fibrox with an identical blade (and a higher price tag), this sibling made equally sharp, agile cuts. The downside was the handle, which exchanges the textured grip for a “hard,” “slippery” one with a “bigger belly” curve and an indented ridge. Testers complained that their hands were “pulled open wider” and that they were forced to grip “too far back,” resulting in less comfort and control.

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