Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.
I've never owned Calphalon before, so I'm probably not the best judge. I like my All-Clad pans, but they aren't cheap -- If you're just looking for a steel saucepan, though, seems to me either should do the trick.
All-Clad is considered the better brand. I'd especially pic it for fry and saute pans. If it is in your budget I'd go for it.
I also have All Clad but even though pricey the pans I have are the workhorses of my kitchen. Williams-Sonoma often has sales on pieces of All-Clad and try various online sites as well. Actually, starting with one pot as you're thinking of doing is an excellent way to try it out and see how much you like it. Good luck.
I treated myself to a set of All-Clad after a year in Afghanistan. Since then, I've combined households with The Friend. I haven't used my Cusinart SS , Le Creuset or his Calphalon pans since I became accustomed to working with the All-Clad. I've noticed the differences on saucepans for pasta sauces and soups -- the All-Clad is much quicker on bringing liquids up to temperature, and then maintainin a gentle, low simmer. Skillets and such -- I've come to rely on way the All-Clad pans react. (Side note: Even though it's not part of the question -- I risked Mrs. Larkin's potato/egg/spinach tortilla ONLY because I have an All-Clad non-stick pan. Worked like a dream.) Having typed that -- since I bought a big set, I obviously want to love the All-Clad line, so I'll close with the recommendation to make sure whatever brand you buy is seriously sturdy, and the sides are the same thickness as the bottom. Gives you MUCH more control and less scorching.
If you just want a stock pot Calphalon is fine. For everything else buy All- Clad. I have been using my All- Clad for many years and love them. I collected mine just about one at a time because they are pricey but in the long run a very good investment for a serious cook.
how does All-clad differ from tri-ply stainless steel, i have tramontina, ever heard of this? recommended by america's test kitchen site.
pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
Calaphalon is anodized aluminum where All-Clad has an aluminum core (sometimes copper) covered in stainless steel. Aluminum is a good conductor of heat but anodized aluminum can start to look kind of funky after years of use. Adiann89 makes a very good point; i.e. don't buy a set of anything---there are always pieces you will never use.
Also agree. Actually had Calaphalon and hated it. Several pieces were gifted as wedding gifts and I ended up donating them to Goodwill. I had such bad experiences with sticking and burning; All-Clad is wonderful. They are pricey (as are the Calaphalon) so I only have a few pieces. FWIW: All-Clad rules the stove; Le Crueset rules the oven. Both do okay in the other place, but my perfect kitchen will have complete All-Clad for all my stove-top needs, and Le Crueset for all my braises, slow-cooks and other savory (and select sweet) oven needs.
I used a Calphalon frying pan before I got my All-Clad 12" stainless fry pan, and now the All Clad is the only one I use. Definitely recommend the All-Clad.
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