I do not have a beautiful set of matching pots and pans. And I probably never will because the hodgepodge of heavy-bottomed pots and odd-sized skillets I’ve amassed is perfectly functional for me. The one thing I am missing is lids. I’ve cracked a glass one while camping, I have one with a too-large steam hole, and I have one that doesn't seem to match anything. A lid is critical for cooking rice, braising meats, and steaming vegetables. It’s also helpful for limiting splatter, and keeping simmering sauces warm. In a pinch, I’ve used a sheet pan, and I’ve tried a made-for-TV silicone one but I got rid of it after accidentally dropping it in marinara sauce and permanently staining it. So when I saw this Stainless Steel version, and the very reasonable price tag, I thought I’d give it a try.
ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Cookware Universal Lid
This lid is made by German manufacturer Zwiling J.A. Henckles, mostly known for their knives, but known to me because I also own their kitchen shears. They are heavy duty and easy to clean so I was hoping the lid would be too. I wasn’t disappointed. This lid is simple but still ticks all the right boxes. It fits mini skillets and saucepans as small as 6” and stock pots and woks as large as 12”. The handle is stainless steel which makes it oven, grill and campfire safe. It’s also a bit off-center so it’s stable even on very small pots. And the ridges help direct condensation so it doesn't run down the side.
This lid’s high shine and obvious utility make it look like it could have come out of a professional kitchen. If keeping that shine is important to you, make sure to hand wash. It’s not hard to do because the lid is one piece and doesn't have any seams where grime can get stuck. Although it is dishwasher safe, and generally speaking it’s fine to put stainless steel in your dishwasher, it will cause the finish to dull over time. Aesthetics aside, it takes up hardly any space (not that I’m short on storage anymore) because the top is flat. All of the other lids I have are domed, or have a large lip. This shape makes it hard to use the lid as a helper, like when flipping frittatas. It also makes it impossible to rest your spoon on top and maintain peace of mind. But most importantly it makes the lids wobbly and hard to store together. This flat lid slides in with my cutting boards, when it does get put away.
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