Cuisines all over the world have different ways of cooking, using different heat sources, different pots and different methods. Some methods use fierce heat and cook quickly to seal in taste and succulence and at the the other end, others have slow simmers that need to conserve moisture. Most cuisines of the world have both methods and everything in between. For one method of cooking a lid is a necessity for the other it is definitely not. 


1. Why do French Copper Pans come without lids

2. What is the difference between a fitted lid, fitted splash lid and flat splash lid?

3. Lollipop and stick lids, what are the advantages?

4. What do you need to measure to ensure a good fit?

I will explain why copper pans lids, hand made or made for a specific function or different manufacturers aren't always as interchangeable as we suppose or would like!

Why do French pan sets come without lids?

When setting up your own 'Batterie de cuisine' you will look at the items that you have inherited, the goodwill treasures and the wedding presents. That is exactly what any French household would do too. The difference is that many new households will have a lid handed down to them by the family, some have several, usually very old and flat! They can be used for many sizes of pans.

A French household 'Batterie de cuisine' has many pots in it that facilitate most methods of cooking. A copper Skillet that fries or sautés, a Sauté pan or Rondeau possibly with a fitted or splash lid for making sauce based dishes and stir fries, a big pot or Faitout' for making stocks or boiling large batches of vegetables, a Bassine a Ragoût with lid for stews and soups and a set of pans of various sizes for cooking everything else.

 Sets of saucepans known in France as casseroles, especially ones made for the domestic market have traditionally not come with lids, although modern ones now can be available is various guises including clear glass. 

What is the difference between a fitted lid, fitted splash lid and flat splash lid?

A fitted lid is one that has a handle on the top, it fits snugly in the inside of the rim - it makes a good seal or can be slightly loose so it is good for covering a boiling pan.

Fitted copper lid

 'Couvercle à degré cuivre poignée en fonte'

A fitted splash lid is one that usually has a long 'lollipop' handle and is similar in style and function of a fitted lid

Fitted lollipop lid

'Couvercle à degré cuivre queue en fonte'

A flat splash lid is one that is a disc of copper with a long handle looking like a table tennis bat, suitable for covering spitting foods or boiling pans.

Flat splash lid

Couvercle plat cuivre queue en fonte'

Lollipop and stick lids, what are the advantages?

These are flat non fitted lids that can cover more than one French pan - this is the authentic way lids had been used in France for many years. One flat splash lid covers more than one pan. For instance, a 22.5cm lid could cover the 22cm pan but also the 20cm pan, saving on expense and storage.

Lids like this have long handles - designed when heat was at a premium and lids could get extremely hot especially sitting in the middle of a 12 burner range or over a coal or wood-fired stove. A splash lid can be moved from boiling pot to simmering pan to spitting poêle - ideal for a busy Chef with many dishes to cook. Some have swept tails, some have forged iron handles some cast iron - one thing they should always do, is balance on an empty pot. 


 What do you need to measure to ensure a good fit? 


Rondeau with splayed edge

Splayed rims like the NKC Rondeau above, with its matching lid - are very forgiving, there is not a hard edge where the lid has to fit exactly, it sits in a broad gutter and can move a few millimeters without any bother. It will sit easily askew and let steam escape - or if placed centrally will create a light seal ideal for keeping sauce based dishes from drying out.

The lips on the lids can vary in width in relation to the internal lip and the gap between the handle and the body of the pan, this can be too narrow so the lid catches on the handle.

Copper pan with lid with wide rim

A lid that has a lip that is too big for the gap between the pot and handle

Before purchase measure the gap between the outside of the pan body and the handle then ask the total width of the lid you are looking at.

Gap where the lid rim fits

The gap between the rim and handle

Copper Lid with straight sides

Straight sided interior rim

There is also the shape of the underside of the lid - this can be sloped and rounded or straight, these can fit beautifully on different pots. A straight edge will fit on a straight, or upright pan like a regular Saucepan, or a Sauteuse Evaseé. 

A rounded/sloped interior will usually sit on Stock Pot or Faitout, Bassine a Ragoût, Rondeau or Sauté with Lid. Some lids will fit but slip when any pressure is applied - some will fit beautifully when they are cold then when heated will stick firmly!  Even lids made by the same manufacturer can vary so it can be a bit of a minefield! Should you need any help at all contact Normandy Kitchen Copper and we will do our best to help.

Copper lid with sloping sides

The underside of a lid that is sloping or rounded

If your antique or vintage pans have lots of idiosyncrasies - hand made, slightly out of the round or have a narrow gap between pan and handle, then we suggest to ensure your lids always fit, is that you purchase flat splash lids! Of course, if you are out and about looking for that special lid - take your pot with you!

New NKC Copper lid interior measurements

12cm pan lid 12.2cm interior

14cm pan lid 14.2cm interior

16cm pan lid 15.8cm interior 

18cm pan lid 17.9 cm interior

20cm pan lid 20.1 cm interior

boiling broiling browning frying grilling heating roasting sauteing simmering sizzling steaming steeping stewing or toasting - Normandy Kitchen Copper NKC - The Home of Quality French Copper