- 1 “What Is the Best Cookware Set?”
- 2 Reviews of the Best Cookware Sets in 2020
- 3 Comparison Chart of The Best Cookware Sets in 2020
- 4 Best Cookware Brands
Non-stick cookware has become an essential part of our lives. Not only does it revolutionize the way we cook, but it also affects the flavor of the food, positively changing our sense of taste when we use the utensils.
Cookware generally comes in sets of 10 or 12 pieces and is priced as such. Buyers can choose from a variety of options that range in price from under $100 to over $1000. Not all options are, however, created equal. So finding the right cookware brands and models is a process for which you must properly prepare.
The list of best cookware sets below offers some guidance to help you to determine which is the most appropriate option that will suit your needs and budget. The list also covers the most important factors that make some models stand out from the rest. We also discuss the pros and cons of each option to help you to make the best choice.
Let’s get started!
“What Is the Best Cookware Set?”
Any cookware aspiring to be the best must be an excellent conductor of heat. It should have an insulated handle so that you don’t burn yourself when you lift it from the stove. It must also be safe for daily use and allow for easy food release, so that the cookware is quick and easy to clean.
Cost aside, material is the most important feature when it comes to choosing cookware. The metal and the surface of the cookware an essential aspect of how it delivers heat, how safe it is to use, and how flavorsome food is when you plate it.
While a heavy copper pan conducts heat twice as fast as a light aluminum pan, and five times faster than a cast iron one, it’s risky to cook with, especially when it is incorrectly used.
For example, when you cook acidic foods, such as tomatoes or citrus fruits, the copper coating on the pot can leach into the food. If you consume too much copper over a short period of time it could poison you which is why copper cookware is not often recommended.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Cookware Materials
Copper is quite heavy yet heats up fast. During cooking, the copper coating can escape into the food, especially when there is an acidic solution involved.
As stated by the DRIs, small amounts of copper consumption (under 900 micrograms) contributes to the physical growth of adults, and it also affects their development in other areas, such as emotional growth.
However, ingestion of copper in amounts between 10 and 15 milligrams can lead to unpleasant symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and taste disorders. Copper toxicity also causes a Kayser–Fleischer ring in patients with Wilson’s disease.
Due to potential neurological disturbance of copper toxicity, we recommend that you avoid all copper-coated cookware, even if you’re very unlikely to consume more 10,000 micrograms of copper per day.
- Avoid cooking or storing food in badly scratched or uncoated copper cookware.
- Wash the copper coating gently to remove stains and prevent it from tarnishing
Aluminum cookware is a popular choice for daily meal preparation. Like copper, this material conducts heat evenly and well, but it’s lighter and more economical. It’s fire resistant, durable, and easy-to-clean too.
While food, especially acidic food and leaf vegetables can also dissolve aluminium, small amounts of aluminum (under 50 milligrams) are good for your health. However, a high level of aluminum in food can also cause toxicity. So any pot and pan featuring aluminum coating is also classified as a toxic material.
Another disadvantage of aluminum cookware is that it will discolor over time to the point of looking grey or even black. Although the discoloration poses no health hazard and has no effect on the overall performance of your pots, it may stain your cleaning equipment and it doesn’t look very nice in the kitchen.
- Avoid cooking or storing food for long periods of time in aluminum cookware.
- Avoid using aluminum cookware to serve or store acidic foods.
Pots, pans, and skillets with non-stick coating comprise the most commonly-used cookware by far. Because of the coating you’ll use less cooking oil while still getting your favorite French fries crispy, making it easier to switch to healthier eating habits. Non-stick cookware is ideal for cooking foods that tend to stick to the cookware’s surface. These pots and pans are easier to clean and more convenient to use.
Non-stick cookware is typically coated with a material called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), better-known as Teflon but there are also other forms of non-stick coating. These include the more durable version of Teflon, the friendlier version of Teflon and the “green” alternatives to Teflon.
While this material has been associated with cancer and thyroid disorders, Teflon itself does not affect human longevity. In fact, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) used in the process of making Teflon is the suspected cause of cancer.
The good news is that the manufacturers stopped using PFOA in the production of Teflon as far back as 2013. This means that today Teflon cookware is PFOA-free and is no longer a health issue.
- Avoid overheating non-stick cookware. At above 300°C, Teflon coating will start to break down, giving off poisonous fumes.
- To avoid the stale smell and stuffy air that comes with cooking with non-stick cookware, open doors and windows or run the extractor to keep your kitchen as well-ventilated as possible.
Ceramic and Stainless Steel
If it’s safe cookware you want, ceramic and stainless steel are the best options. These materials are more environmentally friendly than teflon. They’re able to cook at high heat without releasing toxic fumes or filling your cooking space with the stuffy odors.
Ceramic cookware is new to the non-stick cookware industry. Made of natural materials, it is completely toxin-free. Cleaning up ceramic pans is as easy as one-two-three. That being said, it has a shorter lifespan than stainless steel. Low-quality ceramic cookware usually needs replacement every 2 years.
Stainless steel cookware is the most commonly used in North America. Unlike ceramic, it isn’t non-stick. Food will stick to the surface, especially when fried or sauteed. So hard scrubbing may sometimes be required to remove stubborn stains.
While ceramic cookware is not safe at high-temperatures (higher than medium temperature can discolor its coating), stainless steel cookware works well at any temperature. It can manage high heat absorption and metal utensils won’t scratch it. Ceramic coating isn’t compatible with metal utensils as the hard, sharp edges can ruin the cookware’s surface.
Apart from delivering great cooking performance, stainless steel is the most durable man-made material. It is way more robust than ceramic material and it will never rust or tarnish.
- To prevent ceramic cookware from scratching or peeling, use only safe utensils, such as wood, silicon, plastic, or nylon.
- Both ceramic and stainless steel cookware is dishwasher safe. It is, however, better to wash ceramic cookware by hand, as the dishwashing process will damage the coating, causing it to flake off over time.
Reviews of the Best Cookware Sets in 2020
So what is the best cookware set for your budget —ceramic, stainless steel, or anodized aluminum cookware? We have them all.
- T-fal E765SH – Best to Buy
- Cuisinart MCP-12N – Best Cookware Set for Glass Top Stoves
- Rachael Ray 87630 – Best Cookware for Gas Stoves
- Calphalon Premier – Best Cookware for Induction Cooktop
- Anolon 84066 – Best Cookware for Electric Glass Top Stove
Here are our picks for the best cookware sets:
1. T-fal E765SH – Best to Buy
This cookware set has 17 pieces coming with a lifetime limited warranty: an 8-inch fry pan, a 10.25-inch fry pan, a 11.5-inch fry pan with lid, a 10.25-inch square griddle, three saucepans with lids (1-,2-,3-quart), a 3.5-quart deep saute pan, a 5-quart Dutch oven with lid, a 3-quart steamer insert with 2-side handles, Egg Wonder fry pan.
A Top-Notch Cooking Experience
All pots and pans have a hard anodized aluminum coating, which conducts heat very effectively and helps to prevent the aluminum from reacting with acidic foods. The strong protective layer renders the pots and pans flame-resistant, anti-scratch, and corrosion resistant. That means that you can use any metal utensils in these non-stick pans without ruining their surface. Apart from being dishwasher safe, they’re 100% PFOA-free, lead-free, and cadmium-free.
Thermo Spot Technology
We know that consuming undercooked foods can lead to foodborne illnesses.This set of pots and pans features Thermo Spot— the unique technology that can fix the problem of undercooked or overcooked suppers.
When the Thermo Spot indicator in your pan turns solid red, a safe internal cooking temperature is reached (before the pan heats up, this indicator is invisible). This means your pan is entirely preheated and ready for cooking.
Preheating is a crucial step in any cooking process, as foods cooked at a high enough temperature right from the beginning will no longer contain harmful bacteria . The longer foods spend at an unsafe temperature, the higher the risk that they’ll be contaminated along the way. The temperature danger zone is between 4°C to 66°C and the most rapid bacterial multiplication happens at between 20°C and 50°C.
Functional and Beautiful Design
Apart from an anti-warping and even-heat base, these long-lasting non-stick pans also come with riveted silicone handles which always stay cool under all stovetop cooking conditions (except for the induction cooktop). The handles offer a safe and comfortable grip . The pots have vented tempered glass lids that are perfectly heat-resistant and allow for full visibility of contents.
An Incredible Product at a Great Value
This collection also wins the spot on our list as the cookware set offering the best value. Reasonably priced, this budget-friendly collection does not compromise on quality.
2. Cuisinart MCP-12N – Best Cookware Set for Glass Top Stoves
This set comes with everything you need for daily cooking, including two covered saucepans with lids (1.5-quart and 3-quart), two open skillets (8-inch and 10-inch), a 3.5-quart covered saute pan with lid, an 8-quart covered stockpot with lid, and a steamer insert with lid.
All are dishwasher-safe and oven-safe to 550°F (260°C). You can use these pans under the broiler, too. Cuisinart offers a lifetime limited warranty against defects in workmanship or material.
The Triple-Ply Construction
Each piece is constructed with three layers of metal— an aluminum center core incorporated with a stainless steel interior and a brushed stainless exterior. The core of pure aluminum is an incredible conductor of heat, and the stainless steel interior helps to ensure even cooking.
This mirror-polished interior is non-reactive with food, as it distributes heat evenly and efficiently without changing the natural flavor of the food. As a result, the food will be thoroughly cooked at the appropriate temperature to prevent bacterial growth. It’s defined as Cuisinart Heat Surround technology.
Thanks to the brushed stainless exterior, the cookware itself is compatible with all heat sources, including glass top and induction stoves.
“Ply” describes the layers of metals used in the construction of the pan. There are several different plies including 3-,5-, and 7-ply. Different types of metal are layered inside and on the cookware’s surface each has its own properties. For example, the stainless steel exterior distributes heat evenly without affecting the flavor of the food. It is suitable to use on most stovetops. The number of metal layers bonded together also greatly affects the price, thickness, and heat distribution of the pan.
Aside from the tight-fitting stainless steel covers that help reduce splatter and retain nutrients, each piece in this set comes with tapered rims for mess-free pouring and a unique handle design for a more comfortable grip.
While stainless steel is one of the most durable materials for cookware, stains and discolorations can still occur. If you don’t take good care of your cookware, its surface will be more prone to corrosion. On the bright side, all types of multipurpose cleaner can remove cooked-on food stains from your cookware quickly and effortlessly.
3. Rachael Ray 87630 – Best Cookware for Gas Stoves
Rachael Ray 87630 is a 12-piece cookware set. It includes two saucepans with lids (1-quart and 2-quart), a 6-quart stockpot with lid, two frying pans (8.5-inch and 10-inch), a 3-quart saute pan and utensils (slotted nylon turner and spoon). All are oven safe to 400°F (205°C) and dishwasher safe.
If you place a pan that isn’t oven-proof in an oven, you could end up with melted handles, burnt food, and toxic fumes. Any cookware that is made of cast iron, stainless steel, copper, anodized aluminum, and ceramic is normally oven-friendly. Teflon cookware shouldn’t be used in an ultra-hot oven, like a wood-fired pizza oven.
High-Quality Set of Anodized Aluminum Cookware
Each piece is crafted of hard anodized aluminum metal which is twice as hard as stainless steel— a main reason why this cookware set is perfect for a gas stove. As mentioned above, anodized aluminum is a long-lasting coating which is non-stick, PFOA-free, and corrosion resistant.
Though it conducts heat more evenly and won’t rust like cast iron, it scratches quite easily. Therefore, you should only use non-metallic utensils, such as silicone, wooden, and polyethylene, to protect the cookware’s finish.
Comfortable Riveted Handle
Having a helpful grippy handle which is double riveted and nicely rubberized makes these pots, pans, and skillets easier to transfer from stovetop to oven. The handle also stays cool enough during cooking so that you can hold it while stirring the contents inside the pan.
This cookware also features glass lids that seal tightly allowing you to monitor your cooking progress without any air and moisture leakage. These glass lids are shatterproof, preventing them from breaking if you happen to drop them.
Rachael Ray offers a lifetime limited warranty on this cookware set but only to the original purchaser.
4. Calphalon Premier – Best Cookware for Induction Cooktop
Long known for producing premium cookware products, Calphalon has recently taken its offerings to the next level with its new collection— the Premier Stainless Steel Cookware Set.
This space-saving package comes with just the right items to enhance your cooking experience: three frypans (8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch), two saucepans with lids (2.5-quart and 3.5-quart), a 4.5-quart soup pot with lid, two saute pans with lids (3-quart and 5-quart), and a 8-quart stockpot with lid. They won’t scratch even if you use metal tools and they’re rated to withstand oven temperatures up to 450°F.
The set is labeled dishwasher-safe, but we recommend hand-washing to minimize the chance of discoloration. Because the cookware coating isn’t non-stick, food sometimes burns and sticks to the surface. So, cleaning them is sometimes a challenge.
Good Conductors of Heat
These expensive pots and pans feature a triple-layer with an aluminum core for even heating and durability. While their inner surface is made from 304 grade stainless steel which has excellent corrosion resistance under any cooking conditions, the outer surface is 403 grade stainless steel, which is magnetic and induction compatible. Though the interior and exterior of this cookware is made from two different grades of stainless steel, this cookware is top quality that will last a long time with the proper care and maintenance.
There are a wide range of stainless steel grades, two of which are type 304 and type 403. While the 304 stainless steel contains between 8-10.5% nickel, the 430 is formed without the nickel additive. This difference in the chemical composition makes the 304 more corrosion resistant than the 430 grade stainless steel. The absence of nickel in 430 also means that this material will crack more readily than the 304.
The Best Space-Saving Option
With the unique vessel and handle designs, these nesting induction pots and pans can stack neatly in any order saving 30% more storage space than non-stacking Calphalon versions.
Besides the perfectly heat-insulated handles, the pots also have heavy-duty flat tempered glass lids that allow you to easily monitor the cooking process without losing valuable air and moisture.
5. Anolon 84066 – Best Cookware for Electric Glass Top Stove
Anolon 84066 is a reliable set containing a 1-quart saucepan with pour spouts, two saucepans with lids (2-quart and 3-quart), a 3-quart saute pan with lid, an 8-quart stockpot with lid, and two frying pan (8-inch and 12-inch). All are metal utensil safe with a lifetime warranty on manufacturing defects.
Perfect Heat Retention
Featuring an elegant tulip profile with distinctive bronze exterior and chocolate interior, these utensils coordinate well with any style of kitchen decor while giving you loads of flexibility in the kitchen. In particular, the non-stick PFOA-free coating will prevent food from sticking to the cookware’s surface, making the cleaning process much faster and easier.
We also appreciate the heavy-duty hard anodized aluminum construction of these items. Not only does it provide superior durability and efficient heat transfer, but it also enables the cookware to tolerate temperatures of up to 450°F in an oven.
Attractive Appearance and Design
Aside from the shatter-resistant glass lids that help keep heat and moisture from escaping during cooking, the double riveted handles is another nice feature. They ensure a secure grip for transferring cookware into the oven, and they always stay cool to the touch on a stove for solid grasp and confident handling.
You should not use the dishwasher with these pots and pans, but only hand-wash them to avoid discoloring.
Comparison Chart of The Best Cookware Sets in 2020
|Model||Oven Safe||Induction Safe||Dishwasher safe||Construction|
|T-fal E765SH||400°F||✗||✓||Titanium Non-stick|
|Cuisinart MCP-12N||500°F||✓||✓||Stainless Steel|
|Rachael Ray 87630||400°F||✗||✓||Anodized Aluminum Non-stick|
|Calphalon Premier||450°F||✓||✗||Stainless Steel|
|Anolon 84066||400°F||✗||✗||Anodized Aluminum Non-stick|
Best Cookware Brands
Our list of top cookware brands includes T-fal, Rachael Ray, Calphalon, and Cuisinart. Read on for more detailed information so that you can make an informed choice of cookware for your kitchen.
T-fal is one of the global leaders in the production of high-quality non-stick cookware. Established in 1959, the company’s mission was to give users the opportunity to enjoy tasty, diversified, and healthy cooking. Today T-fal is sold and distributed in over 120 countries across the globe.
There are 4 main versions of T-fal cookware sets. They include Non-stick Titanium, Ceramic, Stainless Steel, and Hard Anodized. All come with a lifetime limited warranty on material, construction, and workmanship under normal use. (T-fal’s warranty does not apply where the cookware is in professional or commercial use.) The T-fal cookware comes in a wide range of eye-catching colors, which promises to inspire new, stylish cooking experiences.
The prices of T-fal cookware sets range from $50 to $200.
Cuisinart is well-known for its food processors. Headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, the company is present in over 100 countries worldwide and has an estimated annual revenue of $35M. Besides food processors, Cuisinart also produces a wide range of other kitchenware, including a collection of non-stick pots & pans.
The Cuisinart stylish cookware set was first launched in 1992. It had all the essentials, including a full range of saucepans, saute pans, frying pans, skillets, and more. At that time, this was an instant hit.
At present, the company has two main versions of cookware, the non-stick and the stainless steel versions. The non-stick models ensure the easy release of food so cleaning up is quickly accomplished. These pots and pans are good for everyday cooking.
Models with a stainless steel finish offer a stylish addition to any kitchen. They are good for commercial purposes, and will last a lifetime, even with heavy-duty uses.
The prices of Cuisinart cookware sets range from $80 to $300.
Rachael Ray is an online store selling household furniture, cookware, bakeware, teapots, cutlery, kitchen tools and gadgets. You can shop for Rachael’s products on retail websites like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and JCPenney.
Most of Raechel’s products are manufactured by Meyer affiliated companies in the USA, Thailand, Italy, and China. Others are made by unaffiliated organizations in Asia. All are manufactured according to strict manufacturing controls to ensure the highest quality possible.
Rachael Ray’s cookware sets, including the non-stick and stainless steel versions, cost from $80 to $150.
Calphalon cookware sets are made from 3 types of high-quality materials—ceramic, non-stick and stainless steel. They are categorized into nine collections.
With the exception of some of Calphalon’s original cookware lines, such as the “Pots & Pans” line, the company’s products are backed by a lifetime warranty. The warranty covers defects in material and workmanship under normal household use and excludes any damage from misuse and abuse or use in a commercial establishment.
Calphalon cookware sets are priced from $100 to $700.