What to Buy
The 10 Best Cookware Sets From Nonstick to Stainless Steel
For all the searing, braising, sautéing, boiling, and frying your heart desires.
Whether you’ve finally decided to upgrade your inefficient, mismatched pots and pans or are picking out your first-ever set for a place of your own (and a say in what’s for dinner), a collection of cookware is a big investment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It should, however, be fun.
You are, after all, picking out the pieces that will be an integral part of your daily life for years to come. And no matter what level home chef you are, everyone deserves a quality set to help them prep their very best meals. With dozens of options out there (not to mention stainless steel, copper, enameled cast iron, non-stick), it can feel daunting to narrow it down to the one cookware set that’s best for you.
When reading over these options, try to keep in mind your comfort level with different materials (maybe you’re not ready to take care of copper), how many pieces you think you’ll need (a 15-piece stunner or a 6-piece starter?), and the cooking techniques you utilize most (my stockpot and I are inseparable).
We rounded up 10 of the very best options out there that meet these needs and plenty more—with several of them on sale. Check them out, below.
1. Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron 8-Piece Cookware Set,
The legendary French cookware brand’s iconic enameled cast iron collection is the gold standard for many a home or professional chef for a reason—they’re nearly flawless. This set includes a few pieces that are unique additions to a kitchen already stocked with saucepans and skillets. To supplement those basic pieces, it includes a 3 ½-quart braiser, 4½-quart round dutch oven, 6 ¾-quart oval dutch oven (all with lids), a 12-inch frying pan, and, unconventionally, a stovetop grill pan. If you’re looking to take your cooking to the next level and roast a whole bird for a holiday, slow-braise short ribs, and add grill marks to anything, this is the set for you. Plus, it comes in four different colors to suit a variety of design aesthetics.
2. Five Two by Greenpan Essential Cookware 11-Piece Classic Set, $429
This 11-piece set has a mix of stainless steel and non-stick pieces. Designed by Greenpan in collaboration with Food52, this set of ours is all about the details. The pots have built-in strainers and pour spouts on either side so that your pasta or potatoes can be drained in a flash. Measurement lines are on the inside of each piece, but rivets are not so there’s no speed bumps along the inside of the pan as you’re stirring—and no hardware that’s difficult to clean. The non-stick pans are made with only non-toxic materials, and the stainless steel pieces have aluminum cores for even heating (so long, cool spots). And, if we do say so ourselves, they’re beautiful to look at, too.
3. Made In The Copper Set, 6-Piece, $1,199
Copper cookware is some of the most beautiful, and these shiny new Made In pieces are some of the best. The handles on these stay cool while the “superior conductivity” of the 90% copper and 10% stainless steel pots and pans come to an even temperature for the perfect sear. The set, made in France, includes a 1.9-quart saucepan with lid, a 5.2-quart saucier with lid, and a 5.2-quart rondeau (essentially a tall-sided braiser) with lid. The only peculiarity to note here (aside from the rondeau) is that these pieces aren’t compatible with induction cooktops.
4. All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel 10-Piece Set,
No cookware list would be complete without at least one All-Clad mention (which is why we have two). The brand is found in professional kitchens across the world and this set is exactly what anyone who is sick of looking at their dinged up, old pots and pans needs. This major upgrade—or gift, if you’re feeling stupendously generous—is made out of super high-quality 18/10 stainless steel, which is the measurement of chromium and nickel alloys in the metal that heat up evenly and resist damage over time. There’s also an aluminum core in each pot and pan for fast searing, boiling, and frying. In the box, you’ll receive 8- and 10-inch skillets. 2- and 3-quart saucepans with lids. 3-quart sauté pan with helper handle and lid, and an 8-quart stockpot with lid.
5. Our Place Home Cook Duo, $250
This super-popular new brand is beloved by shoppers because the two parts of this set: the Perfect Pot and the Always Pan (each comes with a lid, the pot with a wooden spoon), boasts the ability to replace your frying pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, nonstick pan, stockpot, dutch oven, bread pot, roasting rack, colander, braiser, spoon rest, spatula, and spoon. This pair can boil, crisp, bake, braise, roast, steam, strain, serve, pour, and might even do your taxes at this rate. Each piece comes in five or six colors, respectively, that you can mix and match in your Duo order.
6. Caraway Home 7-Piece Non-Stick Ceramic Cookware Set, $445
The modern shape, design, and cool colors of this Caraway Home set would vibe well with a similar kitchen aesthetic. Complete with a 10.5-inch frying pan, 3-quart lidded saucepan, 4.5-quart lidded saute pan, and a 6.5-quart lidded Dutch oven, this set is both basic in its simplicity and complete for smaller households. These pieces are a true marriage of materials with stainless steel handles finished in glam gold, aluminum cores, and ceramic non-stick finishes. The set is an even greater value with the free bonus pieces it comes with, like the four magnetic pan racks that line up end to end to conveniently store these pots and pans, two cork trivets to protect your surfaces, and a canvas lid holder to attach to the inside of your cabinet door.
7. Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless Steel 11 Piece Cookware Set,
One of the largest sets at one of the best prices, this 11-piece collection by Cuisinart comes from a brand so reliable that our parents’ generation grew up with it in their households. Including a 1.5-quart covered saucepan, 2.5-quart covered saucepan, 3-quart covered sauté pan, 8-quart covered stockpot, 8- and 10-inch skillets, and an 18-cm. steamer insert, this set has everything you need to put together a feast for a crowd all at once, or an intimate dinner for two on a weeknight. Stainless steel and the addition of the more cost-effective aluminum ensure quick heating and even cooking on the stovetop, in the oven, and under the broiler. Plus, each piece is freezer and dishwasher safe.
8. All-Clad D3 Tri-Ply Stainless Steel 5-Piece Cookware Set, ~~$519.97) $399.99
The second All-Clad set to make our list, as promised. This smaller, five-piece add-on to your existing cookware collection is made out of a tri-ply construction (where the D3 gets its name), that forges metals together for the strongest, most reliable, and most durable pans. Each is fully bonded, from rim to rim, for even heat and stability, and will resist warping. Included here is a 10-inch fry pan, 3-quart saucepan with lid, and 3-quart sauté pan with lid for everything you might need to boil pasta, whip up a quick sauce, and fry chicken cutlets before covering them in cheese to melt in the oven.
9. Lodge 5 Piece Cast Iron Cookware Set,
Cast iron is one of the oldest materials used in cookware for a reason—it works. Each piece can be used on the stovetop and in the oven, but also over a direct flame on the grill or over a campfire. This set (including two frying pans, a griddle, a dutch oven and a lid) comes pre-seasoned, so it’s ready to use right out of the box without worrying that your delicate fish filet will stick and fall apart. Just remember to wipe out, rinse and thoroughly dry the skillet or dutch oven to clean it, and resist the urge to use soap so that the seasoning continues to protect the surface and keep it working for you for decades to come.
10. Ninja Foodi NeverStick 16-Piece Hard-Anodized Cookware Set, $529.99
This is a massive set for anyone who’s truly looking to start over with their cookware and not have to worry about food sticking to their pots and pans ever again. The hard anodized aluminum used here in each piece makes it resistant to corrosion, chipping, rust, and that dreaded sticking, plus, unlike regular non-stick pans, these are safe to use with metal utensils. Every pot and pan can move safely from your burners to the oven, is dishwasher safe, and free of cadmium and lead for safety. Included is an 8-, 10 ¼-, and 12-inch fry pan, a 1 ½-quart, 2 ½-quart, and 3 ½-quart saucepan, each with a glass lid, a 3-quart sauté pan, 4-quart stock pot, and an 8-quart stock pot, each with a glass lid. Plus two interchangeable lids for the frying and sauté pans.
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