The Best Pans for One-Pot Meals

Have you noticed how your tastes change with the changing of the seasons?

When autumn arrives, there’s a coolness in the air from the shorter days that seems to naturally switch our cooking mindset from breezy summer fare to comfort foods. The casual lightness of picnics and outdoor grilling gives way to hearty harvest soups and comforting stews.

The Best Pans for One-Pot Meals | Foodal.com

But, just because we switch to indoor cooking, that doesn’t mean we have to become kitchen slaves. And that is one of the very appealing aspects of one-pot meals. Wonderfully convenient and easy to prepare, recipes crafted in a single pot or pan are ideal for busy weeknights.

Easy to make with simple preparation and a minimal amount of cleanup, they’re straightforward, delicious, nutritious, and comforting as well. Is it any wonder we love them?

And just because they’re considered to be comfort food, that doesn’t mean they have to be calorie laden or heavy in low-nutrient ingredients. They can be hearty and satisfying and still come in at under 400 calories a portion.

In this definitive guide, we’ll be covering the following:

We’ve even sprinkled a few recipes here and there to get you started.

Bottom Line Up Front: Foodal’s Most Recommended Pans For One-Pot Meals

Our panel reviewed multiple contenders for the three top pans that we consider to be the “best” and these three were the top choices by far – and all by the same manufacturer, All-Clad.

Although these aren’t the cheapest solution (but far from the most expensive – check out Demeyere if you want to see some heart palpitation-inducing prices), you’ll be guaranteed to get a new piece or pieces of cookware that are:

  1. High quality.
  2. Made in the USA, rather than a Chinese sweatshop with questionable quality control.
  3. Inclusive of a lifetime warranty.
  4. Multipurpose – though two out of three of these are sold as casserole dishes, they can be used to make soups and stews, used as mixing bowls, and so on.
  5. Likely to become a cherished piece of your kitchen equipment that can last for a lifetime (or longer).

To give you an idea of how much our staff loves these pans, Mike Quinn, founder of Foodal, stated that if he were to be limited to only five pieces of gear in his kitchen, it would be these: three pieces of All-Clad, a colander, and a chef’s knife.

Best for Skillet Meals

This beautiful, stainless steel 4-Quart Weeknight Pan with Lid from All-Clad is truly the answer for the skillet version of one-pot meals. The wide design with tapered walls is perfect for sautéing, searing, braising, saucing and reducing, and the depth allows for large pieces of food to fit under the lid without crowding.

All-Clad 440465 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Weeknight Pan with Lid / Cookware, 4-Quart, Silver

Constructed from All-Clad’s own Tri-Ply 18/10 stainless steel, this pan heats quickly with even distribution throughout.

The lid fits snugly on the dripless rim and has a large loop handle for easy grasping with an oven mitt. On the pan, the stay cool handle remains cool to the touch even under high heat, and the helper handle makes maneuvering it a breeze. It measures 24 x 13 x 6” with the lid on, and weighs 6 pounds.

Manufactured in the US, this pan is made to last and comes with a lifetime warranty. Suitable for all stovetops including induction, it’s also dishwasher safe, but hand washing is recommended.

Happy Amazon shoppers are over the moon with this aptly named pan. Its well thought out design allows a variety of cooking methods to be performed with precision and ease, making one-pan meals a pleasure to cook.

The depth and shape also make it a stand-out from others: the heat concentrates in the skillet evenly and with zero hot spots, the rim makes draining and pouring much easier, and it provides the room and depth for sauces.

All-Clad BD55404 D5 Brushed Stainless Steel Five-Ply Dishwasher Safe Week Night Pan Cookware, 4-Quart, Silver

Besides the 4-quart tri-ply version shown above, it’s also available in All-Clad’s five-ply D5 line that features a middle slice of steel sandwiched between layers of aluminum and stainless steel, which improves induction response. The D5 line also has a brushed finish, versus the polished silver surface found on the tri-ply line.

Read more about the differences in the various All-Clad lines.

A multi-purpose pan of extreme value and quality – and not one person expressed buyer’s remorse at the time of this writing. Check prices and customer reviews on Amazon now.

Best Multipurpose Casserole Dish

Another work of art from All-Clad, this handsome tri-ply stainless steel 4-Quart Casserole Dish with Lid is everything you need for casseroles, and can also work as a mini stockpot for stews and soups.

Featuring All-Clad’s triple bonded construction of 18/10 stainless steel with an aluminum core for superb, even heating, this casserole offers outstanding performance and easy cleaning.

All-Clad 4304 Stainless Steel 3-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Casserole with Lid Cookware, 4-Quart, Silver

The interior starburst pattern improves nonstick performance and the riveted, large loop handles are easy to grip – and they stay cool, even under extreme heat.

The high, straight sides and smaller cooking surface ensures the pot stays hot and minimizes evaporation – perfect for simmering and stewing. The well-fitted lid rests tightly on the dripless rim, and also has a large loop handle for easy grasping with oven mitts.

Measuring approximately 11.5 x 8.5 x 5” with lid, it weighs 3 pounds. Dishwasher safe (although hand washing is recommended) and safe for use on all stovetops, this pan is made in the US and comes with the All-Clad lifetime warranty.

Based on the reviews on Amazon, everyone who buys this casserole dish loves it. It quickly becomes one of the most used pans in the kitchen because of its durability and even, consistent heating.

An ideal size for small families and empty-nesters, satisfied customers claim its superb quality is typical of All-Clad cookware, and that it brings great value and beauty to the kitchen.

All-Clad BD552043 D5 Stainless Steel Brushed 5-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Soup Pot with Lid Cookware, 4-Quart, Silver

This one is also available in a 3-quart version as well as a version in the D5 line (renamed a “Soup Pot”).

Best Multipurpose Cassoulete (or Soup) Dish

Still in the line of casserole dishes, this sleek stainless steel 3-Quart Cassoulet with Lid is also from All-Clad, but it has more tapered sides, typical of a traditional French casserole – which makes it a wonderfully versatile pan.

Constructed of All-Clad’s 18/10 bonded stainless steel, the pan heats quickly and holds an even heat throughout, with no hot spots.

All-Clad 421349 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Cassoulet with Lid / Cookware, 3 Quart, Silver

The rounded base is the ideal shape for easy stirring and whisking, and its versatility makes it ideal for stews, soups, and casseroles. The lid has a large loop handle and sits securely on the dripless rim, and the stay cool side loop handles on the pan make the transfer from stove to table convenient and easy. This cassoulet measures 13.5 x 10 x 3”, and weighs 3 pounds.

It can be used on all cooktops and is dishwasher safe, although hand washing is recommended. Made in the US, it comes with a standard All-Clad lifetime warranty.

All of the reviews on Amazon are positive (at the time of this writing), with the size and multi-functionality of this pan making it a kitchen favorite. And, of course, the sturdy and durable construction is noted as well.

All-Clad is so well known, for good reason – it’s a big hit with those looking for high quality and value. With its handsome profile, transferring this beauty directly to the table for service is no problem. By all accounts, this is a pan everyone should have in their kitchens.

About One-Pot Meals

One-pot meals offer several benefits:

  • They provide big, robust flavors that only come from cooking ingredients together, and allowing the flavors to blend.
  • They’re often prepared with simple, earthy ingredients that don’t require shopping at specialty markets, which makes them more economical.
  • They can be made to suit low-calorie menus, and numerous other dietary restrictions.
  • There’s little fuss in prepping. A good knife and a sturdy chopping block are the basics, plus your pot or pan of choice.
  • Cleanup is minimal. With only one pan, after dinner washing time is a cinch.

Satisfying and comforting, these dishes will often serve up as a complete meal, and are generally made entirely in one piece of cookware, from start to finish.

And, they’re easy to balance nutritionally, with a protein, starch and veggies all in one.

One-pot meals are often slow cooked, but not necessarily. Many recipes can also be prepared in well under an hour with a simple skillet, wok, sheet pan, or casserole dish.

Around the world, most cultures have their own version of one-dish meals. Usually, these meals will utilize the regions’ most abundant food sources.

Wondering what it might be like to “cook” without any pots and pans at all? Check out Allison’s Sidhu’s post, “What’s Cooking? Space Food and the Gastronaut Question.”

If you need a bit of inspiration to create your own one-pot meals, think of the ingredients found in an Irish stew, a Spanish paella, a French cassoulet, or an Asian stir fry. Then adapt the ingredients to suit your particular region’s produce, and you’ll have your own signature dish.

That’s a Crock!

As much as it might be perceived as the standard piece of cookware in this department, the beloved Crock-Pot isn’t the only item of kitchenware to warrant our attention for single dish meals. Many other options are available, including woks, skillets, Dutch ovens, casserole dishes, tagines, and sheet pans.

But, regardless of the pan that’s chosen, everything is cooked together in one vessel. And you can count on a blending of flavors that will create something with extraordinary flavor.

Boeuf Bourguignon: a great one pot meal
Boeuf Bourguignon: a great example of a one pot meal!

There are those hard core, one-pot enthusiasts out there that insist true single-pan meals must contain and cook every element in a meal to meet the criteria. We’ve gotta say, we don’t necessarily agree.

We’re a bit more liberal-minded and think that a side dish of warm rolls, bread, rice, quinoa, spaghetti squash or lentils is perfectly acceptable, even if making it does involve a second pot!

And while some one-dish meals go well with biscuits on top or have rice included, not all will. We’re a bit more liberal-minded and think that a side dish of warm rolls, bread, rice, quinoa, spaghetti squash or lentils is perfectly acceptable, even if does involve a second pot!

Also, while not every recipe may contain all of the ingredients needed for an ideally balanced meal, the nature of single-dish meals does lend itself to adding in a couple extra vegetables to improve the nutritional content.

Great for slipping the veggie wool over fussy eaters’ eyes…

Another bonus to one-pan meals is that they’re a natural for cooking in batches. Recipes are usually easy to double, so that a portion can be frozen for later.

So, let’s look at four different types of cookware for one-pot meals. Each overview will be followed with a recipe that’s ideal for each piece of cookware.

Sheet Pan Suppers

For weekday meals, a short preparation time is always a bonus for the home cook. And that’s one of the main reasons that one-pot meals are so attractive – everything is prepped and chopped, then tossed into a pan and cooked together.

An increasingly popular version of the one-dish meal is a sheet pan supper. Similar to a casserole or slow cooker meal, all the ingredients are cooked together in the same pan for the same time at the same level of heat.

Pork steaks with cheese and tomatoes | Foodal.com
Pork steaks with cheese and tomatoes, prepared on a baking sheet.

With sheet pan suppers, the ingredients are roasted in a single layer using a dry, high heat, while slow cookers or casseroles use a liquid to slowly simmer or stew the ingredients.

It’s important to note that a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan is not as sturdy as a baker’s sheet pan, as they may “pop” or warp in a hot oven. Sheet pans are generally made of a heavier gauge metal with a deep one-inch rim, and they come in full, half and quarter sizes.

To ensure the best success with sheet pan suppers, the following tips will help:

  • Completely line the sheet pan with parchment paper or tin foil to make cleanup quick and simple, and to prevent sticking.
  • Cut all ingredients the same size for even cooking. Veggies should be a uniform size and meat portions should be the same thickness, so that everything is ready at the same time.
  • Ingredients should be placed in a single layer with a bit of air space around the meat. This will ensure proper ventilation so that the food is roasted, not simmered. Use a second sheet pan if you have too many ingredients to arrange without crowding.
  • Any protein source used for sheet suppers will benefit from a marinade. Not only will it add flavor, a marinade will also tenderize, so you can use a less expensive cut of meat and still get fabulous tasting results. Bathe the meat for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours – you can find a couple of nice marinade recipes in this recent post.

If you’re not familiar with the sheet pan as a kitchen tool, not to worry. They’re not at all expensive and can be found in kitchen supply stores or online.

Look for sheet pans that are made of a heavy-duty gauge metal (the lower the number, the thicker the metal) so they won’t warp in a hot oven, and that have at least a 1” deep rim.

Vollrath Aluminum Wear-Ever Heavy-Duty Sheet Pan

This 16-Gauge Closed Bead Natural Quarter Sheet Pan by Volrath is a top seller on Amazon (at the time of this writing) in Commercial Food Pans.

Vollrath 5220 Aluminum Wear-Ever Heavy-Duty 16-Gauge Closed Bead Natural Sheet Pan, 1/4 Size

It features impact-resistant, heavy-duty 16-gauge aluminum with a closed bead that includes reinforcing galvanized non-rusting rods.

It measures 13 x 9.5 x 1” and has a slightly flared rim for easy stacking, and also comes in a half sheet size.

Made in the US, Amazon customers love its sturdiness. Reports say it can handle any oven heat without buckling, popping, or warping. And, being aluminum, the entire surface heats quickly and evenly.

Satisfied shoppers also make a point of noting that it washes up nicely.

However, as it does not have a nonstick or anodized surface, care should be taken to prevent the aluminum from leaching into food, by always lining the surface with parchment paper. This makes cleanup much quicker as well.

USA Pan Bakeware Aluminized Steel Half Sheet Pan

USA Pan offers this Half Sheet Aluminized Steel Pan, made of commercial grade aluminized steel and reinforced with steel wire to prevent buckling.

USA Pan Bakeware Aluminized Steel Half Sheet Pan 18 x 13 x 1 inches

Measuring 18 x 13 x 1”, this half sheet has a corrugated surface for better air flow, and is coated with Americoat – a proprietary silicone coating that’s BPA, PFOA, and PTFE free.

Another pan that’s made in the US, verified shoppers are most impressed with this pan’s heavy-duty construction and the heft of the rolled rim, which makes it more like a handle for easy lifting.

And the silicone coating on this pan is also getting rave reviews – appreciative users report that foods simply don’t stick, it’s durable, and cleanup is super quick and easy.

Mediterranean Chicken Sheet Pan Supper

This savory sheet pan supper is quick to prepare, economical, nutritious, and delicious – a winner for any night of the week. And the washing up time is minimal as well, which seems to make it taste even better!

Mediterranean Chicken Sheet Pan Supper | Foodal.com

Serve with a side salad to round out the meal. Everything else is prepared on the sheet.

Mediterranean Chicken Sheet Pan Supper | Foodal.com
Mediterranean Chicken Sheet Pan Supper
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Servings Prep Time
6 15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Mediterranean Chicken Sheet Pan Supper | Foodal.com
Mediterranean Chicken Sheet Pan Supper
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Servings Prep Time
6 15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken legs thighs and drumsticks separated
  • 1 1/2 pound nugget potatoes halved
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and sliced into narrow wedges
  • 1 yellow bell pepper seeded and sliced into narrow wedges
  • 1 medium onion peeled and sliced into narrow wedges
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Parchment paper
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450°, and line the sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Pulse the bay leaf, fennel seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes in a food processor until finely ground.
  3. In a medium bowl add the potatoes, red and yellow peppers, onion, tomatoes and olives and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, half the spice mix, salt and pepper. When coated, spread out on the rimmed sheet pan.
  4. Add the chicken to the bowl and rub with the remaining olive oil, spice mix, salt and pepper. Place the chicken on the baking sheet and arrange to ensure the chicken isn’t crowded, placing the veggies around the chicken pieces.
  5. Roast until potatoes are fork-tender and the chicken is thoroughly cooked, with brown, crispy skin, 35 – 45 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and drizzle any pan juices over the chicken, then sprinkle with the parsley and lemon zest.
Recipe Notes

Mediterranean Chicken Sheet Pan Supper Recipe | Foodal.com

 

Casserole Baking Dishes

Like sheet pan suppers and crock pot dinners, casseroles are made with a variety of ingredients baked together in one dish. Generally, the ingredients are layered, with a protein such as beef, sausage, or poultry, vegetables, a sauce, and perhaps cheese on top.

Green Bean Casserole | Foodal.com
Green Bean Casserole- a Thanksgiving and Christmastime classic that’s great for any time of year.

While sheet pan suppers are usually ready in under an hour and slow cookers are an all-day affair, casserole ingredients are baked at a medium-high or high heat, and they will be typically ready in one to two hours.

Casseroles also transition well to the freezer, so it’s always a good idea to make a couple at the same time and freeze one for later.

Look for a casserole dish that has a tight fitting lid with a large knob, and large handles to make handling easier when it’s hot.

Pyrex Easy Grab 2-Quart Casserole Dish

Pyrex gives us this 2-Quart Glass Casserole Dish and Lid that’s made of non-porous glass for performance that won’t buckle, stain, or absorb odors.

Made in the US, it measures 8 x 12.5 x 3” and features large ergonomic handles. And it is safe for use in the oven, dishwasher, microwave, and freezer.

Pyrex Easy Grab 2-Quart Casserole Glass Bakeware Dish with Glass Lid

Satisfied Amazon shoppers like its simple and attractive appearance, and versatile performance in going from stove to tabletop to freezer. Easy cleanup in the dishwasher is another selling point as well.

Corningware French White III Oval Casserole Dish

This 2.5-Quart Oval Casserole with Lid from Corningware has an elegant French white finish, which makes it suitable for any kitchen decor.

Easy to clean, the non-porous ceramic stoneware won’t absorb odors or stains, and it is suitable for use in the oven, microwave, and dishwasher. It measures 13 x 9 x 4” and is made in China.

Corningware 1105935 French White III Oval Casserole with Glass Cover, 2.5-Quart

With a redesigned lid, customers now report that this dish performs admirably, and as expected. Attractive and functional, it works well for cooking, storing, serving, and reheating.

Shepherd’s Pie

Traditionally, Shepherd’s Pie is made with ground lamb, but this version uses ground beef. And it’s also easily adaptable for using up leftovers too: switch out the ground beef for an equal amount of diced, leftover roast beef, and add any mystery veggies you like. All it needs is a salad on the side for a nutritious, well-balanced meal.

Shepherd’s Pie Recipe | Fooda.com

Technically, you’re using more than one pot to prepare a Shepherd’s Pie, but it’s so darned good, this is  a detail that’s easy to overlook!

And if you’re really short on time, you can use instant potatoes for the topping. It won’t taste as buttery-rich, but they work in a pinch.

This dish can also be made in a vegetarian, meatless version.

Shepherd’s Pie | Foodal.com
Shepherd’s Pie
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Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Shepherd’s Pie | Foodal.com
Shepherd’s Pie
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Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
Potato Topping
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter cut into small pats
  • sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Meat/Veggie Filling
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1 parsnip diced
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup peas shelled, fresh or frozen
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed and minced
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 3/4 cup Beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh savory minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley minced
  • sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2" cubes. Place then in a medium pan with enough cold water to cover, put the lid on, and then bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and remove the lid, then simmer until fork tender, about 10 – 12 minutes.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, preheat the oven to 400 F and prepare the meat/veggie filling.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium high then add the canola oil. Add the onion, carrots and parsnips, and sauté for about 4 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garlic, then the ground beef. Season with salt and pepper and brown the beef until cooked through, 3 – 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over top, and stir in. Add the tomato paste, beef broth, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, savory, thyme and parsley and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, about 10 minutes or so.
  6. Drain the potatoes then mash with the butter and yogurt, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue mashing until a smooth, creamy texture.
  7. Add the fresh or frozen corn and peas to the beef mix, and spread evenly in a glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, pressing out to the edges to seal, then smooth with a knife or spatula.
  8. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the potatoes are a golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack for 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes

Shepherd’s Pie | Foodal.com

 

Dutch Ovens

A Dutch oven is a heavy piece of cookware that can be used in many different ways. It features a thick bottom and walls that retain an even heat, and a heavy, snug fitting lid to lock in moisture and flavor while cooking.

Well suited for long, slow cooking dishes such as stews, chilies, casseroles, and roasts, most Dutch ovens can be used on the stovetop for browning meat, then transferred directly to the oven – no need for a second pan for braising or sautéing.

They’re made from different materials such as stainless steel, anodized aluminum, and cast iron, with or without an enamel finish.

The traditional material used for making a Dutch oven is cast iron, and the name originally came from a superior method of casting metal that the Dutch used in the 17th century. It produced a much finer surface for cooking vessels than that of English metal workers, and was the product of choice at the time. This process was later pirated and patented in England, but the name has remained.

Look for a Dutch oven with thick, even sides and a heavy bottom. A tight-fitting lid is also required. Large ovenproof knobs and handles are a must as well, as these pots are heavy when they’re empty, and even more so when full of ingredients.

Lodge Pre-Seasoned 5 Quart

A top seller on Amazon.com in Dutch Ovens (at the time of this writing) and my personal favorite, the Lodge Pre-Seasoned 5-Quart Dutch Oven is a classic. The domed lid is self-basting, and the generous loop handles on the sides and lid make handling easy.

Lodge L8DOL3 Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Dutch Oven with Dual Handles, 5-Quart

Pre-seasoned and ready to use, the rugged cast iron heats slowly and evenly, and retains its heat. Made in the US, this oven measures 12.5 x 10.5 x 6” and weighs 13 pounds.

Ideal for all stovetops, this pot can go directly from the burner into the oven, for convenient and easy preparation and cooking.

Lodge L8DOL3 Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Dutch Oven on stove | Foodal.com

Verified customers at Amazon love that this Dutch oven features high-quality construction, is extremely durable, and provides even heating with no hot spots – perfect for slow cooking or even artisan bread making. For those that have had problems, the attentive Lodge customer service makes it right.

And while this Dutch oven does come “pre-seasoned,” that doesn’t mean it won’t require maintenance to keep the seasoning intact. If you need to wash your cast iron cookware with soap and water after each use as I do, give it a mini seasoning when dry. Heat on the stove top for just a couple of minutes, then rub all surfaces lightly with your favorite oil.

Put the lid on and allow to cool, then wipe off any excess oil before storing.

Tramontina Enameled 6.5-Quart

Tramontina brings us this Enameled 6.5-Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Lid in a handsome cobalt blue. The easy to clean enameled surface is BPA and PTFA free, and the solid cast iron provides superior and even heat retention. This is another Made in the USA product.

Tramontina Enameled Cast Iron Covered Round Dutch Oven, 6.5-Quart, Gradated Cobalt

The large loop handles on the pot are complimented with a sold cast stainless steel knob on the lid that’s both oven safe, and easy to grasp with oven mitts on. The lid also has self-basting condensation ridges that uniformly collect and direct vapors onto food, producing moist and tender meals.

This oven measures 14 x 11 x 8” and weighs just a tad under 14 pounds.

The customer reviews at Amazon tell us that, for an enameled cast iron pot, the Tramontina offers great value for the price compared with other brands. The enamel is durable and cleans well, and the pot itself has all the characteristics of cast iron – even heating, superior heat retention, and a substantial, hefty weight.

A couple of shoppers have mentioned that the rim of the lid needs to be seasoned to prevent rust as it isn’t enameled, but this seems to be a minor point compared the overall high level of performance.

Dutch Oven Short Ribs

Delicious, delectable, and oh-so-tender, these short ribs are worth waiting for.

Dutch Oven Short Ribs | Foodal.com

Serve with a tangy Caesar salad, a hearty, artisan bread for mopping up the braising sauce, and a glass of red wine. This is the perfect, comforting one-pot meal for any cool, wet days autumn may bring.

Dutch Oven Short Ribs Recipe | Foodal.com
Dutch Oven Short Ribs
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Servings Prep Time
6 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
3 1/2 hours
Servings Prep Time
6 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
3 1/2 hours
Dutch Oven Short Ribs Recipe | Foodal.com
Dutch Oven Short Ribs
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Servings Prep Time
6 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
3 1/2 hours
Servings Prep Time
6 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
3 1/2 hours
Ingredients
  • 6 in boneshort ribs 5 – 6 pounds
  • 1 large onion trimmed, peeled and cut into 1/2” wedges
  • 2 stalks celery trimmed and cut into 1” pieces
  • 6 small carrots scrubbed & trimmed
  • 1 cup brussels sprouts trimmed and cut into halves or quarters
  • 1 pound new or nugget potatoes* scrubbed and cut into 1/2” pieces
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 10 peppercorns whole
  • 5 coriander seeds whole
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh winter savory or rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig sprig fresh sage
  • 4 dried chilies
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley minced coarsely
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups red wine dry and robust
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 sprigs parsley or watercress for a garnish
  • square of cheesecloth
  • kitchen string
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. In the center of the square of cheesecloth, tie the peppercorns, coriander seeds, chilies, and sprigs of savory, thyme and sage. Pull up the ends and tie the corners securely into a spice bag for the pot – use string if needed.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix the flour with some salt and pepper. Dredge the short ribs through the flour, coating thoroughly. Shake off any excess flour.
  3. Heat a large, heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil, coating the bottom and lower sides well.
  4. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown well all over, about 2 – 3 minutes on each side. When thoroughly browned, remove the ribs and set aside. Reduce heat to medium.
  5. Drain the fat only from the Dutch oven, then recoat the bottom with another tablespoon of canola oil. Add the garlic, onion, and celery and sauté with the pan drippings, scrapping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the crushed tomatoes and cumin, and brown for another 3 or 4 minutes, scrapping the pan bottom. Add the wine, and continue scrapping the bottom. Lower the heat as needed and allow the mixture to reduce by half, 10 minutes or so.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  8. After the sauce is sufficiently reduced, return the short ribs to the pan. Add enough water to just barely reach the top of the ribs.
  9. Add the herb/spice bag, then cover the pan and cook for the next 3 hours or so.
  10. Check the ribs’ progress every half hour or so, adding a bit more water if needed. Stir the sauce and turn the ribs about halfway through the cooking time. Add the potatoes and carrots, stir once more and replace the lid then return to the oven.
  11. Remove the lid for the last 20 minutes of stewing to reduce the sauce and brown ingredients. When done, the meat should be tender enough to cut with a fork, but not falling apart.
  12. Ladle veggies equally onto plates and top with a short rib. Spoon in some of the reduced braising sauce, and garnish with parsley or watercress.
Recipe Notes

Dutch Oven Short Ribs Recipe | Foodal.com

 

Slow Cookers

A slow cooker or crock pot is a piece of cookware that sits on the countertop and is used for simmering foods at a low temperature for several hours, via an electric heating element.

Suitable for cooking roasts, soups, and stews, the appeal of a slow cooker is that you can fill it up with ingredients, set the temperature, and leave it unattended for several hours until the dish is ready. They’re ideal for setting up before work in the morning and coming home to a fully cooked meal.

The basic components of a crock pot consist of a housing unit with a heating element, a cooking vessel of glazed ceramic or porcelain (the “crock”) that sits in the housing unit, and a glass lid. Newer models will have two or more heat settings such as low and medium, and sometimes a “keep warm” setting as well. Some newer models have cooking crocks and lids made of different materials as well, like nonstick aluminum.

Ingredients are placed in the crock along with a liquid, the lid is put on. Then the unit is turned on, to work its magic.

Convenient and easy to use, these are also adaptable for a huge variety of recipes, making them a favorite in many kitchens.

Look for multi-cookers that have programmable timers with a “keep warm” setting, large handles for easy moving, and a snug-fitting lid.

Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central

Cuisinart offers a unique 3-in-1 6-Quart Multi-Cooker that provides three programmable cooking functions – slow cooking, browning, and sautéing, with the option to steam as well.

Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker: Slow Cooker, Brown/Saute, Steamer

It has an extra-large blue LCD display, so the time and temperature settings are easy to read. The Teflon-coated nonstick aluminum cooking pot is removable and dishwasher safe for easy cleaning, and the clear glass lid has a cool-touch handle. A steaming rack is also included.

In the Amazon verified customer reviews, a common point of praise is the accuracy and reliability of the temperature and thermostat – no guessing required to adjust for discrepancies between the ingredients and the display.

The aluminum cooking vessel makes sautéing ingredients first easy, with no need for a separate skillet. The 3-in-1 delivers delicious results, and gives very good value for the price.

However, Teflon being Teflon, the coating on the interior of the pot will eventually break down and chip or bubble, even when babied with silicone-only utensils.

Hamilton Beach Set ‘N Forget

The Hamilton Beach Set ‘N Forget Programmable 6-Quart Slow Cooker features a clip-secure gasket lid so the juices stay in the food, not on the counter. And a thermometer probe displays the internal temperature of large pieces of meat or poultry as they cook.

Hamilton Beach 33969A Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker, 6-Quart

The large and clear LED display is easy to read, and the easy push button controls can be set for three different cooking functions. The stoneware crock is removable and dishwasher safe for hands-off cleaning.

Satisfied shoppers note that this model provides a slow, accurate heat for delicious results, and are particularly impressed with the innovative snap-tight lid. It keeps the ingredients self-basting instead of watering countertops, and makes transporting the slow cooker safe and easy.

Another convenient item is the stay-warm component that starts automatically, to keep your meal warm after the programmed time has finished.

Slow Cooked Chicken Tikka Masala

Fragrant, spicy, and warming, this chicken tikka masala is wonderful to come home to on a dreary, wet day.

Slow Cooked Chicken Tikka Masala | Foodal.com

Serve with a tossed green salad, a savory chutney, and some naan along with a steaming mug of chai tea, and it’s sure to chase away any rainy day blues.

A collage of of different types of pancake recipes | Foodal
Slow Cooked Chicken Tikka Masala
Votes: 2
Rating: 3.5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
6 - 8 hours
Servings Prep Time
6 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
6 - 8 hours
A collage of of different types of pancake recipes | Foodal
Slow Cooked Chicken Tikka Masala
Votes: 2
Rating: 3.5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
6 - 8 hours
Servings Prep Time
6 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
6 - 8 hours
Ingredients
  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves cut into 1pieces
  • 1/2 large yellow onion diced finely
  • 2 large carrots trimmed and sliced diagonally
  • 1 large green bell pepper seeded and cut into 1” pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed and minced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger freshly grated
  • 1 jalapeno pepper halved lengthwise, stem & seeds removed
  • 1 large can tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro minced for a garnish
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the onions, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, tomato paste, yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, garam masala, cumin, paprika, salt, cinnamon, pepper and cayenne pepper. Stir until well combined.
  2. Pour approximately half of the sauce into a large slow cooker then add the cubed chicken, carrots and green pepper, and stir well to coat thoroughly. Pour in the remaining sauce along with the bay leaves.
  3. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours.
  4. Half an hour before serving, in a small bowl whisk together the heavy cream and cornstarch. Pour slowly into the cooker, stirring gently. Allow to finish cooking another 20 – 30 minutes.
  5. Remove bay leaves and jalapeno halves, then serve hot over prepared rice or another starch or vegetable base.* Sprinkle the minced cilantro over the top.
Recipe Notes

* The base can be basmati rice, lentils, quinoa, spaghetti squash, or even spiralized vegetables. Use your imagination and tailor it to your dietary requirements.

Slow Cooked Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe | Foodal.com

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About Lorna Kring

Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.

18 thoughts on “The Best Pans for One-Pot Meals”

  1. Great article, I particularly appreciate the section on sheet pan suppers. My family loves roasted vegetables, and I think they will really like the Mediterranean Chicken recipe, thanks again!

    • You’re very welcome Nikki0, glad you enjoyed the post. I love roast veggies too… they taste great and are so easy to prepare.

  2. It was great to read a breakdown of different pots/skillets for various uses. It really does make a difference to have the right supplies when cooking. I only have a couple of quality pots currently, but one of them is great for large casseroles. Am looking forward to trying out that tikka masala recipe also!

    • Having the right pans and tools does make a difference noodle, and it’s always a nice treat to get a high quality piece… definately one of the key pieces is a good casserole dish, they’re so very versatile. Hope you enjoy the tm!

  3. I love one pot meals. Want to know why? Because I’m the one who has to wash them all! It is so easy to do and you’re good to go once you put all the ingredients in. Just make sure that you stir occasionally and make sure nothing is burning or sticking to each other.

  4. I prefer one pot meals, as I hate to have all my dishes dirty from one meal! I have converted many of my own recipes to one pot meals because of this. Things like spaghetti can be cooked in one pot rather than two. If you are doing any pasta in a sauce, you can add the dry pasta to the sauce. Add a little extra water so that there is enough to cover the pasta. It will cook in the sauce this way and doesn’t dirty as many dishes. My kids actually prefer it this way!

  5. You have to love making everything in one vessel instead of dirtying up the whole kitchen. These look like some excellent pots and other tools for the purpose. The recipes sound good too. What a great, thorough, article.

    I have really got to get a slow cooker. I think it would just make my life so much simpler, especially right now when things seem to be rather hectic. I’m going to go over this piece again and do some more reading up, so I know exactly what I want to get.

    • A slow cooker really is a sanity-saver when time gets tight Zyni… check out some of our earlier posts on them in the Gear Talk tab for more research fodder.

      Glad you enjoyed the post.

  6. I’m a huge fan of one-pot meals – they save so much washing up for starters. I do agree that not every component of your meal needs to be cooked in that pot though. It’s sometimes nice to have a contrasting texture in your meal and I enjoy serving stews and casseroles with crunchy roast potatoes or crusty bread.

  7. Wow this was a long yet interesting article. Think you should have split it in parts. But anyways I am a huge fan of one-pot meals. They are easy to whip up, don’t take a lot of time and always delicious.

  8. During the week I try to stick to making one pot meals. Whether is throwing everything into a crockpot or making soup I find it so much quicker for busy weeknights. I also love that it limits my cleaning. When I cook a big meal on the weekends it sometimes takes me 45 mins to do all the dishes and clean up. I just don’t have time for that Monday through Friday.

  9. They’re the best when time is short Kimmy, and make a great solution to busy weeknight dinners. And the short clean up time is always appreciated!

  10. What a great article! Let me tell you, I think the best meals I’ve ever had have been one-pot meals. They are also my favorite type of meal to make during rainy days and cold days. Thank you for showing us a wide selection of quality pots and pans perfect for the task. The recipes are greatly appreciated too, particularly that scrumptious looking Chicken Tikka Masala! Yuuuummmmyyyy!!

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