How many pots and pans are too many?

I am downsizing and sorting out kitchen cupboards.

When we had a huge family and many dinners we had to have a lot of pots and pans to serve the troops.

Now it's just me and we don't have family gathering anymore so I have been rooting through cabinets getting rid of excess. I may occasionally have someone over, but it would only be a few people. I may need a few extra pots for canning season but overall, most need to go.

So how many pots and pans do you think are proper to have?



  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin

    Ooo boy. Well, I think it's going to be bit subjective, depending on how much you like to cook and how disciplined you are about washing pans right after use so that they can be reused immediately. Also, what meals do you like to cook?

    For me, I would keep at least a stock pot, a fry pan, a large sautee pan that can also go in the oven for roasts and things like that, a saucepan, and a cast iron skillet.

    But I think before I decided for good, I'd probably cook with everything for several months and maybe develop a system for keeping track of what I've used and what hasn't gotten used. Then I'd make my decision after that, I think....

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 528 ✭✭✭✭

    We have downsized as well since there are just 2 of us left in the house. We put a shelf in the hot water room in the garage and we store extra stuff in there. In the house for daily cooking we ended up keeping 2 fry/sauté pans, & 3 pots (small, med & large). We also keep 2 cast iron pans and a cast iron griddle in the oven. There is some additional cast iron in one of the cupboards. Our 2 larger stock pots are in garage along with the roaster pan, crock pot, & instant pot.

    I agree with @Merin Porter in our answers being subjective. We do tend to do a lot of cooking from scratch and 2 of 4 kids tend to come over on holidays. When we did our initial clean out most things went to the shelf. We go through the things on shelf periodically and get rid of items we have not used in a while. Some of our kids live close enough to us that they know if they need something we have out there all they have to do is ask and it is theirs.

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,423 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It would be hard to imagine only cooking for one. You would definitely need far less pots and pans than I would. One thing to consider is whether you have specific cookware that you prefer for specific meals. For the most part I would also have to say that I agree with Merin. It is really subjective. I have a friend that has a family of five and does all of her cooking in her cast iron or her pressure cooker. She doesn't keep anything more than that. She has a system that works for her.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,842 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I love anything to do with cooking so me that is a very hard question and something I am dealing with while cleaning out my dad's house. I guess my criteria is if it is still in good condition (if only so-so it goes), whose is it - I have a lot of sizes and types in calphalon, cast iron and stainless steel and most of them are still really good condition.

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,226 ✭✭✭✭

    @Monek Marie our women's group at church is collecting gently used kitchen things for those who come with nothing from other countries. I think it is a brilliant idea to do that. We forget that we can donate to different organizations in our communities.

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,500 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's hard for me to get rid of kitchen stuff. I do like to cook. But I try to stick to 3 saucepans of different sizes, a couple of skillets, and some baking pans. I use my Instant Pot and air fryer quite a lot, making it easier to part with some things. But I did keep my heavy Bundt pan and some specialty bakeware.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,318 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I recently painted my kitchen cabinets and cleaned out and went through each one as I was painting. I threw out several pots and pans that weren't in the best condition. I see a lot of them at Goodwill that should have just been thrown away.

    I agree with everyone else that it depends on how many you're cooking for and what you're using them for. I have a cast iron skillet and a couple Instant Pots that I use most often but I also have 3 pots of various sizes that I use sometimes. Then, I have 2 small stock pots that I use to boil water for making kombuchas.

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,132 ✭✭✭✭

    We had three kids but now I have just my husband and I, so I am also trying to downsize. Not thinking about getting rid of pot and pans so much as all the other stuff that has accumulated over the years. I am a firm believer in one pot cooking, but my husband likes to spread out when he's cooking. I agree with Merin that it is pretty subjective.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 995 ✭✭✭✭

    What's really frustrating for me (and I've done this) is to get rid of something only to have to re-buy it later when I realize I need it. I'd recommend boxing up what you think you can get rid of and if after a while you don't miss it then get rid of it ;)

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,482 admin

    @Monek Marie oh this is a hard one. I think we all have too many but you just never know when you’ll need it!! Keep your favourites & a couple of extras. 2 frypans small & large, 2 saucepans small & large, 2 casserole dishes with lids small & large. A couple of cake tins, muffin tray & some steel mixing bowls & you should be set!! Good luck with this. If your not sure on a couple, just box them up & keep, if you haven’t used them in a year, then give them away.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,842 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @annbeck62 that has always been my concern, so I put up shelves in the garage for appliances which gave me more room for pots and pans in the house. Also, I have two hanging pot racks.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,361 admin

    I would have one dutch over, two cast iron pans, a roaster, a couple of pots... a casserole or two

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,374 admin

    I also can't imagine that. My main pot is a huge 12" 4" deep cast iron skillet/pot, and that's mainly my meat pot. I have 2 sets on the go right now, plus I'd love a replacement to one that is no longer usable. Some are good for soup/potato, some for gravies or know how it goes. We joke about the big meagrope (cauldron) pots of old, but I'd need a regular fire instead of an electric oven to use ours.

    I old do as suggested above. Keep track of what you use most & what you use which for. What works best for the most purposes. Is kind of like doing a working budget. Give it 3 months and take inventory. Do keep in mind a few special items for special events.

    The other thing that I really appreciated reading a long time you love it? If not...donate it.

  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 916 ✭✭✭✭

    It is tough to downsize and as mentioned prior, how much do you need to cook now that you are cooking less? Also, how much canning will you be doing?

    one stock pot, one small skillet and a large skillet with lid. One pan for making soup.

    In my opinion, I would have a skillet with a lid and a medium pot w. lid for soups with a double boiler assembly for steaming vegetables. Those would be my ‘kitchen keepers’ @Monek Marie

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,920 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The 80/20 rules applies. 20% of your pots get used 80% of the time, and those are the most critical to keep. But many others will be needed occasionally, so you don't want to just dispense with the other 80%.

    I have four saucepans of different sizes that nest in the cabinet for storage, and three skillets. (One skillet just failed and had to be replaced.) These are all used constantly.

    I never have enough knives or measuring spoons. It wouldn't hurt me to get another set of each.

    In the end, it depends on your cooking habits. If you have any items you haven't used in 3 months, you probably don't need them.

    On the other hand, I really have too many drinking glasses and should give away, dispose of, or at least garage half of them. :-)

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,091 ✭✭✭✭

    @Monek Marie What a question! I am NOT a good one to even try to answer that! I love my pots and pans and I know that the second I'd get rid of one, I'd be have to buy it again!

    There were some good answers above that I should try to implement, but.........

  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 916 ✭✭✭✭

    @Monek Marie How is your kitchen of pans and pots downsizing going, have you been able to make any into donations?