When it comes to the kitchen, the importance of cookware, whether old or new, cannot be exaggerated. They help cook tasty batches of your favorite dish. It’s imperative to own high-quality cookware, whether you cook regularly or not.
Even basic meals such as preparing stir-fry or scrambling eggs still requires the right base to cook on. A robust set of cookware comes in handy when you need to cook just about any dish you want.
Purchasing the best cookware set might like an easy peasy process, but it takes careful consideration to ensure you make the right choice.
Without further ado, let’s check out best cookware set on the market.
America’s test kitchen Best Cookware Set – Top 6 for the Money
Best overall: Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set
This is a complete cookware set including 3-1/2-quart covered saute pan; steamer insert with lid; 1-1/2- and 3-quart covered saucepans; 8-quart covered stockpot; and 8- and 10-inch open skillets. Each piece features cool-grip handles secured with stainless steel rivets for safe and secure handling. Also, it features tight-fitting and self-basting lids.
Thanks to its triple-ply construction, this cookware delivers superior heat conductivity to eliminate hot spots by ensuring even heat distribution and optimal heat retention. The Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set features a brushed stainless exterior that does not react with food or discolor the pots and pans.
What’s more? This 12-piece cookware set is suitable for all cooktops, including induction. Its drip-free pouring rim tight-fitting helps lock in nutrients and moisture for more flavorful, healthier results.
Best High-end: Tramontina 80116/249DS Gourmet Stainless Steel Cookware Set
The Tramontina 80116/249DS Gourmet Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set comes with a mirror-polished exterior finish for a magnetic look and hassle-free cleaning experience. Besides, its satin-finished interior adds a touch of elegance and style.
This cookware is NSF Certified, which means it meets the standard for professional kitchen cookware. It features riveted cast stainless steel handles for extra support and stability. Tramontina 80116/249DS Gourmet Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set features precision-fitted 18/10 stainless steel lids to trap nutrients and heat for tasteful and flavorful meals.
Furthermore, this model features Tri-Ply Clad construction, a three-layer of metal: magnetic stainless steel, an aluminum core, and 18/10 stainless steel. This ensures stellar heat conductivity and even heat distribution.
Best professional: Circulon Premier Professional stainless steel
Each piece in this complete set features bronze hard-anodized construction to even and quick heat distribution. This helps minimize hotspots that tend to ruin your food. This striking cookware set offers impressive non-stick performance for easy food release and fast cleanup.
The heavy-duty Circulon Premier Professional Hard-Anodized Nonstick 13-Piece Cookware Set is durable and comes complete, including 5 Qt. Covered Saute with Helper Handle, 8.5″ French Skillet, 10″ French Skillet, 2 Qt. Covered Straining Saucepan, 8 Qt. Covered Stockpot, 3 Qt. Covered Straining Saucepan, 1 Qt. Covered Straining Saucepan, and 12″ French Skillet.
Its wide range of professional-grade pots and pans support creating gourmet meals. Even better, this cookware sports a Total Food Release System for steller cooking release.
Best on a budget: Calphalon Simply Pots and Pans Set, 10 piece Cookware Set
If you’re anything like me, cooking enthusiasts, Calphalon Simply Pots and Pans Set is an ideal choice. It brings incredible value, performance, and durability to your kitchen. With its long-lasting nonstick surface, this model will deliver consistent results without any hassle cleaning the pan afterward.
More importantly, Calphalon Simply Pots and Pans Set features a hard-anodized aluminum construction to promote even and fast heating. Also, its silicone handles ensure the cookware stays cool and feels comfortable on the stovetop.
It sports everything you’d expect from cookware from great looks to impressive, delicious results. Its tempered glass lids are oven safe to 450 degrees F and allow you watch your food while cooking.
- Easy-grip handles
- Nonstick coating for easy cleaning
- Dual-riveted cast stainless-steel handles
- Hard-anodized aluminum construction
- Hand wash only
Best beginner: Rachael Ray Cucina Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set
Another complete from one of the top brands in the industry is Rachael Ray Cucina Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set. This set includes 1-Quart & 2-Quart Saucepans with Lid, 6-Quart Stockpot with Lid, 8.5-Inch & 10-Inch Frying Pans, 3-Quart Sauté Pan with Lid, and Utensils.
This hard-anodized aluminum cookware offers fast and even heating. Its PFOA-free, long-lasting nonstick provides easy cleanup and effortless food release. It comes with dual-riveted handles and shatter-resistant glass lid with wider stainless steel rims.
- Oven safe to 400 degrees F
- Lifetime limited warranty
- Conveniently dishwasher safe
- Effortless food release
- Not suitable with an induction stovetop
Best compact: Calphalon Classic Pots And Pans Set, 10-Piece Cookware Set
Next is Calphalon Classic Pots And Pans Set with the impact-bonded aluminum base to offer fast, even heating. This unit is safe for broiler, oven, stove, and dishwasher.
It’s equipped with a long, ergonomic handle to provide a secure grip and stay cool regardless of the pan’s temperature. Calphalon Classic Pots And Pans Set is also double-riveted by hand. The product features fill lines, which makes measuring easier and straining holes on the covers lining up with the pour spouts for draining liquids without any hassle.
The set includes the following: 8 inch Fry Pan, 10 inch Fry Pan, 1.5 qt; SaucePan with cover, 2.5 qt; SaucePan with cover, 3 qt; Saute Pan with cover, and 6 qt; Stock Pot with cover.
- Lifetime warranty
- Stay-cool handles
- Oven, broiler, and dishwasher safe
- Durable stainless steel construction
- The glossy finish is not impressive.
T-fal A821SA Initiatives Nonstick Inside and Out (under $100)
If you prefer the fancier models, then T-fal A821SA Initiatives Nonstick Inside and Out might be the right product for you. It comes with a 1-quart saucepan with lid, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 5-quart Dutch oven with lid, 8-inch sauté pan, 9.5-inch sauté pan, 11-inch sauté pan and steamer.
Moving on, it’s easy to clean up since the pans are designed to be dishwasher friendly. T-fal A821SA Initiatives Nonstick Inside and Out features a durable nonstick interior for easy cleaning and cooking.
- Even heat base
- Comfortable handle
- Durable nonstick interior
- Resists heat up to 570 degrees F
- Poor quality control
Best professional: Cuisinart 77-11G Chef’s Classic Stainless 11-Piece Cookware Set
If you’re a home chef, then this deluxe set can be just what you need. It comes with everything to get serious with cooking: 1.0 Qt. Saucepan with cover, 2.0 Qt. Saucepan with cover, 3.0 Qt. Saucepan with cover, 3.0 Qt. Saute with helper handle and cover, 8.0 Stockpot with cover, 8-inch Non-Stick Skillet, 10-inch Skillet with cover, and 18 cm Steamer Insert.
This product is made of premium stainless steel to offer optimal performance and aluminum encapsulated at the base to eliminate hot spots. Cuisinart 77-11G Chef’s Classic Stainless 11-Piece Cookware Set is equipped with a cast stainless steel Cool Grip stick handle featuring a contoured design to stay cool and offer a secure grip.
On top of that, the glass lid sports a broad, easy-grip handle to also help lock in nutrients, texture, and flavor. More so, it’s oven safe up to 500 degrees F and compatible with stove top for a versatile performance.
- Lifetime warranty
- Mirror finish and professional performance
- Induction ready
- Reaction-free stainless steel cooking surface
- Rivets seem cheap
Rachael Ray Brights Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set (under $200)
Last on the list is Rachael Ray Brights Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set. This durable, nonstick cookware promotes fast, even heating and long-lasting durability. The pans and pots offer an enhanced nonstick cooking surface for easy cleanup and effortless food release.
- Sturdy, dual-riveted handles
- Shatter-resistant glass
- Enhanced nonstick interior
- Oven safe to 350 degrees F
- Not very durable
What is The Best Cookware Set to Buy?
Regardless of the cookware set, you decide to splurge on; there are a couple of factors to bear in mind.
Let’s dive right into it.
Material: cookwares are made with different materials causing them to have different weights. Therefore, you should ensure you can handle the cookware weight for your daily cooking functions.
Range: the right set of cookware should be able to perform most of your everyday cooking and serves the family well.
Toxicity: it’s important to ensure that kitchenware is safe for cooking and won’t lead to some health complications in the long run regardless of how appealing the price tag is.
Versatility: the right option should be compatible with the kind of cooktop you’ve got. More importantly, it should be hassle-free to clean and match your cooking style.
Warranty: you don’t need to break the bank to procure a set of cookware, which will likely leave you hanging after a couple of months. Therefore, it’s advisable to invest in a high-end set backed by a generous warranty.
Variety: before procuring a set of cookware, we should compare the new units with the old models you already own. Also, they said should include everything you need to get through your day to day cooking functions
Stovetop type: this is one of the most important factors to consider when it comes to purchasing the best cookware sets on the market. We do not want to invest in any products that are not compatible with your already own stovetop type.
How To Choose The Perfect Cookware Material
Choosing the right set of cookware requires you to determine the kind of material that can handle your cooking function. Without this information, your food might turn out to be overcooked or undercooked — trust me, it can be a mess.
However, we won’t be able to look at all the types of materials on the market, just the common ones that you need to know:
Most chefs and homeowners regard stainless steel as the best choice. Also, some brands coat the cookware with this material to offer the best of both worlds.
When it comes to heat retention, the cast iron takes the lead. However, it can be very difficult to clean.
This material tends to overheat easily but easy to clean due to its non stick feature.
It’s best used for people who prefer lightweight cookware. However, this material is poor at holding heat well.
Another excellent conductor of heat is copper. This material is very reactive but comes with a hefty price tag.
While ceramic is known for handling extreme heat, it’s prone to breaking easily.
Types and Number of Components
Do you cook for just you and your partner or have other family members and friends that come over when food is ready? The number of pieces in a set of cookware is important to ensure you get the most out of the product.
The right option should include a wide range of cookware to ensure you can perform the much-needed functions with the set.
Therefore, the product should include the following: a stockpot, saucepan, and a frying pan. For fancier options, deep-fry pans, saute pans, woks, and splatter covers are decent additions.
The next factor to keep in mind is how dishwasher, microwave, and oven safe is it. Can the new set be used on induction top, halogen tops, and gas stoves? These are questions you need answers to before making a choice.
Over the years, updates and inventions have led to a wide variety of pans and pots on the market, which sometimes can be counterproductive. Some models feature materials that are not safe for cooking.
Therefore, it’s imperative to be conscious of what you eat and stay away from products that can infuse your meal with toxins.
The million-dollar question is how to identify such cookware, and here’s a quick, detailed answer:
PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid)
This is a chemical found in nonstick coatings, which tend to leech on high heat, causing your food to be toxic and harmful. PFOA does not leave the human body quickly; it takes a while and can result in cancer if exposed to high doses. Studies have shown that this chemical can affect the heart and thyroid. When overheated, pans containing perfluorooctanoic acid will likely cause flu-like symptoms.
This element is used to give the cookware a nice hue. Most bright reds noticed on low-quality pans or pot are likely indications of cadmium. Sadly, cadmium is regarded as one of the most toxic substances. It affects the body’s metabolism and kidney, therefore causing genotoxicity. It’s not advisable to opt for cheaply-made cookware from countries with no compliances.
For the sake of color uniformity and shock resistance, low-quality manufacturers add lead to the construction process. Although this substance in many countries is highly regulated, it may still contaminate your food. Keep in mind that most aluminum alloys include lead.
We’ve reviewed America’s test kitchen best cookware set. Now, it’s up to you to make a choice considering a couple of factors discussed in our buying guide.