My fiancée and I recently got a bunch of new (very nice) pots and pans for our wedding shower. The thing is, several of the pans are 12", and the burners on our stove are nowhere near that large! (maybe 10" at best)

Are these pots/pans useable on the smaller burners? Will they evenly distribute the heat so it won't be so much of a problem? Or should we take them back? They are nice, hard-anodized pans.

2 Answers 2


The pans will distribute the heat for you. No burner that I've ever seen covers a 12" pan, but quality pans will still give you pretty even heat distribution.

  • This is exactly what I was looking to confirm -- thank you!
    – Tara
    Oct 10, 2011 at 21:13
  • 1
    The word "quality" is important here, because cheap pans may do a mediocre or downright inadequate job of distributing the heat. Oct 10, 2011 at 23:27
  • @dmckee, the importance of heat distribution will depend on the application - if you're just trying to boil water I wouldn't think it matters much. Oct 11, 2011 at 3:34
  • Used my first 12" pan today, on a burner that is somewhere in the neighborhood of 10" -- worked just fine, thanks!
    – Tara
    Oct 13, 2011 at 0:10
  • If you're worried, you could always use a heat diffuser. (thekitchn.com/thekitchn/gadgets/… or see a sample one at amazon.com/NorPro-144-Norpro-Heat-Diffuser/dp/B0000X6ESO)
    – Martha F.
    Oct 13, 2011 at 18:10

If it's copper bottom'ed cookware then it's particularly good at this. The copper holds the heat and protects against hot spots or heat fluctuations. The caveat is to be very careful with the pan when you're done, they will burn you or continue to heat the food for awhile after you've turned off the heat.

  • The quality of the pan matters even if it has a copper bottom. I have some older pans where the copper is so thin it might as well not be there at all. Oct 11, 2011 at 3:57

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