If you've ever tried to boil soup in a frying pan, you learned very quickly that using the right pot for the task at hand is one of the most important steps in the cooking process. Stocking your kitchen with the following pots will help ensure that all of your cooking attempts don't go in vain.
Sold in sizes of up to 20 quarts, a stockpot is a very deep pot used for cooking stews, soups, chili, and pasta. Ideally, it's made out of anodized aluminum or copper for perfect heat conductivity, but it can also be made of stainless steel or other materials. The bottom of the pot is usually heavy in order to prevent scorching.
A saucepan is a round pot with straight sides, and is used for simmering or boiling foods like vegetables, gravies and sauces. The saucepans with the best heat conductivity are copper pots, but they require a lot of maintenance.
Frying pans are low and wide with short sloping sides. Their shape makes it easy to flip food that is being fried or sautéed. They are made in various sizes and materials, but experienced cooks tend to prefer cast iron frying pans because you're able to slow cook with them, and they conduct heat really well.
A wok is a bowl shaped, round-bottomed Asian cooking pot used for stir- frying. It's great for fast cooking with high heat like searing. You can buy a traditional wok that goes directly on the stovetop, or you can buy an electric wok.
Commonly referred to as a Crock Pot (an actual brand name), a slow cooker is a deep, electrical countertop pot that slowly cooks foods like roasts over many hours at a time. Less expensive cuts of meat do extremely well in a crock pot because they tenderize deliciously in their own juices.