What Is A Good Cookware Set To Buy
After testing the best budget cookware sets, we picked the Cuisinart TPS-10 10-Piece Cookware Set (available at Amazon for $181.08) as the best overall. People who are looking for a non-stick cookware set should consider the T-Fal C561SC Nonstick (available at Amazon).
what is a good cookware set to buy
When evaluating affordable cookware sets, we designed our tests around performance, ease of use, and value. We seared chicken thighs in sauté pans, tossed vegetables in skillets, simmered sauces and cooked rice in saucepots, and blanched vegetables in stockpots. To determine heat distribution, we measured for any hotspots. With nonstick sets, we tested its nonstick abilities by frying an egg without oil.
The best cookware sets try to anticipate your needs by providing a variety of small, medium, and large pots and pans. When shopping for a cookware set, look for one that includes at least two small saucepots, one large stockpot, a small egg pan, and a larger skillet or sauté pan. Consider anything extra to be a bonus. Here are some other things to consider:
Additionally, they should be easy to clean. Most of the affordable cookware sets we tested were dishwasher safe, which makes cleanup even easier. When not in use, pots should be easy to store in cabinets.
This depends, but it usually is cheaper to buy a set. Most kitchen and cookware brands offer a discount when you purchase a full set of pots and pans versus buying each piece individually. Our favorite set, the All-Clad D3 seven-piece, would cost about $50 more if you bought each piece of cookware individually. The difference will vary based on the brand and the specific set but you can expect to save some money when buying a cohesive set.
While some prefer to curate their cookware collection piece by piece and, in some cases, that makes good sense, especially for experienced chefs who know exactly what they want in each piece. But there are distinct advantages to buying a full set of cookware in one fell swoop. For one, you'll save money (see above) since most brands offer a discount for the set versus buying each piece individually. You'll also get the benefit of consistency and become more familiar with the cookware type faster -- be it Teflon, ceramic, aluminum, cast iron or stainless steel -- with less time spent adjusting from pan to pan. Finally, there's an aesthetic bonus since all your cookware will match in whichever style you choose.
The most important decision you'll make is what cookware material your set is made from. Cookware is commonly constructed from aluminum, cast iron, stainless steel, copper, nonstick chemical compounds (Teflon) or a combination of several materials. As you might guess, each type of cookware surface has its pros and cons as it relates to cooking, cleaning, durability and storage.
Aluminum cookware is cheap, for example, but it is not very durable and I wouldn't buying recommend a fully aluminum set. Stainless-steel pots and pans will better withstand abuse and won't warp or dent like aluminum. Stainless steel is also a slow conductor of heat, which is why steel pans often have a core made from a more conductive material such as aluminum or copper.
For most people, stainless-steel cookware fitted with an aluminum core will be the best material composition for a set. Materials such as copper and cast iron have advantages but also some serious pitfalls. Cast iron and carbon steel are both a bit heavy and require slightly more involved cleaning and care, so you might not want an entire set. Copper cookware is also more difficult to care for and generally costs much more than its stainless-steel counterparts.
Nonstick is another popular option. I recommend having at least one nonstick skillet -- either Teflon or ceramic -- for eggs and other sticky foods. That said, you'll never be able to sear food using nonstick the way you can with other materials, so keep that in mind if you're opting for a fully nonstick cookware set. It also won't last as long since nonstick coatings break down over time.
Make sure to carefully look at what's included in each cookware set, as many brands count lids as separate pieces and even count small utensils like spoons and spatulas as part of the set. I've included a few picks for smaller sets in case you're after frying pans only and not the whole cookware kit and kaboodle.
Then you have to consider the cookware coating. Do you prefer enameled cast iron over regular cast iron cookware? Do you find cast iron too heavy and time-consuming to season and clean? Nonstick pans with coatings such as ceramic and Teflon make cleanup much easier, but nonstick will wear out much faster than other materials and may not allow you to sear steaks and burgers quite like cast iron or stainless steel.
Other important considerations include the type of stove you have -- not all cookware works on an induction cooktop, for instance -- and what you plan to cook regularly. Some cookware is dishwasher-safe, oven-safe or both while other sets need to be cared for by hand or can't withstand certain types of heat.
If you're starting from scratch and have a little coin to spend, I recommend All-Clad's excellent D3 seven-piece collection as the best overall cookware set to buy for 2023. But I have picks in other categories, too, including a sturdy cast-iron cookware collection, a nonstick cookware set and a medley of excellent and inexpensive budget cookware. So strap on your best apron and read through our list of the best cookware sets for 2023.
If you want some of the best cookware money can buy but don't want to overpay for pots and pans you won't use, this seven-piece stainless-steel set from All-Clad is the one to get. All-Clad cookware consistently impresses in the various testing we do. In fact, the very skillet included in this D3 set nabbed the top spot for best stainless-steel skillet in 2023 with its impressive even heating, sturdy build and comfortable handle.
This All-Clad D3 stainless-steel cookware set includes the four pots and pans most chefs use most often: a 10-inch frying pan for frying at high heat, a 3-quart saucepan with lid, a 3-quart saute pan with lid and an 8-quart stockpot with lid. If you were to buy all of these pieces individually, it would cost closer to $550.
While it's not exactly a budget buy, All-Clad's D3 line of steel cookware should last for decades if cared for properly, making it a worthwhile investment for a home chef. Each cookware piece is made from three-ply stainless steel with a thick-gauge aluminum core for fast conduction, and riveted stainless-steel handles. The pots and pans are warp-resistant, induction-compatible, dishwasher-safe and oven-safe up to 600 degrees (without the lids). All-Clad products are made in the US and come with a limited lifetime warranty.
Made In is one of my favorite new players in the cookware space, although the brand makes far more than just cookware. Made In has a number of material types available but the slimmed-down Starter Set is exactly what you need to get off and running, especially if you want an easy nonstick skillet slipped into your collection.
Stainless steel cookware is undeniably nice to look at, but they also deliver in terms of performance, as this metal is incredibly durable. If you're partial to stainless steel, you'll like this 8-piece cookware set from Tramontina, which sports excellent heat distribution and durability at an attractive price.
In this stainless-steel cookware set, you'll find an 8- and a 10-inch fry pan along with 2- and 3-quart saucepans with lids, plus a 5-quart Dutch oven with lid. The cookware is made from triple-ply stainless steel and features riveted, ergonomic handles. All of the pieces can be put in the dishwasher and are oven-safe up to 500 degrees. Plus, their precision-fitted lids help to lock in flavor, and reviewers say you can't beat this set for price and performance.
While nonstick cookware has its limitations, there is something to be said for easy cleanup. You might want to consider having just one trusty nonstick pan, but if you're opting for a full nonstick cookware set, I like Misen's. The coating is extremely durable and the construction is sound. Cheap nonstick coatings will break down easily, sometimes as fast as a year or two.
A large collection of cookware can quickly take over your kitchen cabinets, and if you live in a smaller home or apartment, the Space Saving collection from Calphalon will be your best friend. These pans are specially designed to stack together neatly, taking up 30% less space.
There's also a seven-piece version of this same set at Walmart for $190 if this feels like too much cookware. The smaller set is the fry pan, chef's pan and stockpot with lids and a few utensils. And a stainless steel version of this stackable Calphalon set can be had for $270.
With the ability to hold on to heat as well as some people hold on to grudges, cast-iron cookware is ideal for searing burgers, steaks and chicken. It's also durable as heck and will develop both a seasoning and a natural nonstick patina over time.
Lodge is as safe a bet as there is when it comes to cast iron and you won't have to spend loads to get a small set of this legacy cookware. This $86 cast-iron set consists of a 10.5-inch griddle, 10.25-inch grill pan and 10.25-inch skillet. You'll also get a silicone pot holder, handle mitt and two pan scrapers that are safe to use on cast iron.
Ceramic has become rather popular as a more natural alternative to traditional nonstick cookware like Teflon. While it typically starts out great, ceramic will likely lose its nonstick properties faster than Teflon and it often costs more.
That said, this sleek Caraway ceramic cookware set gets style points and it's as durable as any ceramic set I've used. Caraway's pots and pans held up well, even after months of use. If you covet easy, nonstick cookware but are iffy on the chemicals that are used, ceramic cookware is probably your best bet. Ceramic coating has become the darling of the amateur kitchen cookware world since it's nontoxic and as easy to clean as any other surface. 041b061a72