Essential Tools for One-Pot Success

Find the right tools to make simple, delicious dinners that don't require you to pull out all the pots and pans.


ne-vessel dinners promise the same delicious outcome with less effort, but without the right tools to use and recipes to follow, these meals can be disappointing. This week our guide is filled with the pots and pans we rely on in the test kitchen every day. Our favorite skillet performs well both on the stovetop and in the oven. The wide, flat surface of our winning rimmed baking sheet is perfect for preparing a full meal. And our beloved Dutch oven is ideal for braises, stews, chilis, and more. With these tools in hand, just add one of our favorite cookbooks, One-Pan Wonders. It includes tips, tricks, and 138 recipes for cooking one-vessel meals. From paella to pot roast, these recipes cut back on time without sacrificing flavor, which means less time cleaning and more time enjoying yourself.

Fuss-Free Meals for Your Sheet Pan, Dutch Oven, Skillet, Roasting Pan, Casserole, and Slow Cooker

One-Pan Wonders

$19.95 $27.95

This affordable pan had it all: thick, solid construction; a smooth interior with no handle rivets to bump the spatula or trap food; an ergonomically angled handle; and sides flared just right for easy access but high enough to contain splashes. Steaks formed a deeply crisp crust, tarte Tatin caramelized beautifully and released neatly, and fried eggs just slipped around in the pan.  More on this test

This pricey pot is still the one to beat. It was the most durable and user-friendly with comfortable handles and lower, straight sides that made it easy to move, load, and unload. Its broad, lightly-colored cooking surface allowed us to cook more food faster and monitor browning. It’s heavy, as a Dutch oven should be, but a bit lighter than some of the others we tested.  More on this test

Testers gave top marks to this rack, which has six feet on three support bars for extra stability. Cookies cooled evenly on this rack, and pork emerged from the oven with crisp, browned surfaces. It fit perfectly in our favorite rimmed baking sheet (and other standard-size baking sheets) and is safe to wash in the dishwasher. It’s sold in packs of two, making it the best value in the lineup.  More on this test

Our former champion won again for its well-designed, straightforward control panel with a countdown timer that was simple to set and allowed us to monitor progress at a glance. The roomy, heavy stoneware crock cooked gently and evenly and never boiled, so food emerged tender and juicy. We loved that its broad, protruding handles with grippy textured undersides usually stayed cool enough that we could pick up the crock without potholders. Thick insulation kept heat directed toward the crock, and a built-in internal temperature sensor gave this slow cooker extra “brains” to keep the temperature below boiling, which helped guarantee better results.  More on this test

This light, smooth bamboo spoon was broad enough to churn bulky stews, yet small enough to rotate a single chunk of beef without disturbing surrounding pieces. Its rectangular handle was comfortable to grip; its head had the most surface area in contact with the pan, so it excelled at scraping fond. Stain-resistant, it emerged after testing looking closest to new.  More on this test

Our favorite santoku wowed testers of all abilities, who raved that it felt “agile, sharp, and really good in hand.” “Solid but light,” it made “fine, level cuts” with “great precision and control.” This knife features an asymmetrical blade with a 70/30 bevel that the company hand-sharpens specifically for either right- or left-handers.  More on this test

The scalloped, uncoated pincers on our longtime favorite tongs felt very precise. This model was also comfortable to use, not only because of the silicone-padded handle but also because the tension didn’t strain our hands or wrists. These tongs struggled a bit when transferring ramekins, as the uncoated pincers didn’t securely grip the ceramic, but this is a less common use, and the tongs excelled at every other task. This pair felt like a natural extension of our hands.  More on this test