Test Kitchen tips: Heavy-bottomed pots and pans
Oftentimes, you'll see a recipe call for a "heavy-bottomed" pot or pan. So what does this mean? And why is it important?
Heavy-bottomed pots and pans are thicker at the base, meaning they tend to absorb and distribute heat from a stovetop burner more evenly than a thin pot or pan. Thin pots and pans are more prone to "hot spots" -- areas that heat more quickly than others; hot spots, if not watched carefully, can cause your food to burn. A heavy-bottomed pot or pan will heat and cook your ingredients more evenly.
While I like to use heavy-bottomed pots and pans whenever I can, there are some applications where a good, sturdy pan is all but essential, such as when cooking sugar, heating dairy or cooking delicate sauces or custards. In general, it's a good idea to use a thick, heavy-bottomed piece of equipment when cooking or heating any items that can burn or break easily.
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-- Noelle Carter
Photo: Los Angeles Times