Even the biggest kitchens need to feel organised to work smoothly and, as some of the bulkiest items in the kitchen are pots and pans, storing these efficiently will make all the difference. Plus, correct storage will help to keep treated pans – like cast iron – in better condition and frantic searches for the correct lid to a minimum.
By not shoving pans into a cupboard and thinking about different storage solutions means you’ll also have the right pan to hand when you want to cook something quickly. Whether it’s simply stacking sensibly or implementing a new storage system, in this guide we run through our favourite options to keep your search for a pan easy and stress-free.
How to store pots and pans
Treat your saucepans like a stacking baby’s toy and stack them in each other as well as you can.
Take the time to get all of your pans out and figure out the most resourceful way of fitting them into the space you have to work with. When you’re happy, take photos with your phone so you can remember which pan works with which.
If you’re stacking in a pan drawer, you can always trace a circle around the bottom pan, so you know where those fit.
If you’re stacking non-stick or cast-iron pans that can scratch or become damaged, then a sheet or two of kitchen roll should protect them.
If you’re in the market for new pans, it’s worth considering how well they store and stack and if you’re limited for space, going for an option without long handles or with detachable handles. Usually pan sets will stack together with ease.
For the right kitchen and for those who are happy to have their pans on show, fitting a pan rail makes good use of dead space and means your pans are always to hand.
Pan rails come in all lengths and sizes with detachable hooks to hang pans off – our favourite is a kitchen shelf made from rails that acts as a new shelf as well as a rail.
If you’re fitting a new rail, be aware of just how heavy a collection of pans can be so it will need to go into a sturdy wall or ceiling. It's worth getting these fitted professionally, otherwise a pan too many could end in disaster and damage whatever sits below.
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If you’re planning a new kitchen or units and like a neat kitchen where everything is out of sight, then a deep pan drawer on runners is a great option and saves you ever having to reach to the back of a deep cupboard.
Work out the best formation for all your pans and, as the drawers are deep, you can exploit any smaller gaps with things like utensil pots or bulky box graters.
Kitchen space savers and sorters
If you’re currently working with a bare cupboard or dead corner spaces, there are lots of inexpensive clever pan storage helpers. Vertical pan stacking racks come in different sizes to fit in taller cupboards, neatly slipping into corners or floor-standing options.
If you have room, then a free-standing open wire shelving unit is a great way to get yourself lots more kitchen storage space in general. This is the option a lot of professional kitchens go with, and for good reason; you get a whole wall of shelving without needing any work. Add a few hooks, and the wire framework also works as a pan rail too.
As well as bigger kitchen shops and departments there are lots of budget options for this kind of shelving unit from catering equipment suppliers.
How to store lids for pots and pans
Ideally you want to store lids with or as close to the corresponding pan as possible, to save yourself the task of playing the match-the-lid-to-the-pan game. If you turn a lid upside down on its pan it gives you a flat surface to stack another pan on top of but that’s not overly space efficient. Lots of gadgets are available from suction-padded hooks to attach the lids to the inside of cupboard doors or wall-mounted lid holders. If you can dedicate a whole section of your cupboard or pan draw to lids alone then there are also lots of free-standing lid racks you can buy to keep them all neatly in one place.