Before you can equip your kitchen with this essential, there are a few key things to consider, including your usual cooking routine and level of expertise. Many of the top cookware styles are nonstick, stainless steel, and hard-anodized aluminum, though you’ll also find ceramic and cast iron options, which are ideal for cooking low and slow.
On the other hand, if you consider yourself a pro home chef, you may be ready to invest in something of higher quality that will not only take your cooking game even further, but also be with you for the long haul. Most cookware collections are available to shop online from familiar retailers like Amazon, SUR La Table, and Williams Sonoma.
We browsed thousands of online reviews from real shoppers and found the 10 best cookware sets to add to your kitchen this year. The all-in-one cookware set is also designed with hard-anodized aluminum which creates a hard, smooth surface and essentially makes each piece nonstick.
“This is a very sturdy and well-made set of pots and pans given the low price,” said one reviewer, adding that they’ve “been using them for a while and no scratches or wear is showing up.” It’s important to note, however, that these budget-friendly pieces are not dishwasher safe, so hand washing is a must. With 18 pieces included, this large cookware set has everything the average home cook could possibly need to whip up a good meal, from saucepans to a stockpot to slotted spoons.
Shoppers love these pots and pans for their durability, even heat distribution, and super easy cleanup (they’re all dishwasher-safe!). More than 4,200 Amazon shoppers left a positive rating for this set, with one calling it “the best cookware purchase” they’ve ever made.
This 14-piece set from Total is designed to make cooking easier for beginners: the brand’s signature Thermostat feature indicates when the surface is at the right temperature, which helps create consistent dishes each and every time. Anyone with limited storage space understands the struggle of attempting to strategically place bulky pots and pans into a kitchen cabinet and hoping they don’t come tumbling down next time you open the door.
You probably spend a lot of time preparing healthy foods for your family. From planning, to shopping, to actually cooking the meal, you put a lot of effort into making sure your family gets only the best.
In this post, we’ll uncover which types of cookware you want to steer clear of and why, as well as unpack the pros and cons of the best cookware options out there. But some contain chemicals or elemental metals that can contaminate food and cause health problems.
(And what’s more frustrating when your beautiful culinary creation is ruined due to sticking!?) Some say that the Mycenaean Greeks might have been the first to use non-stick pans to make bread more than 3,000 years ago.
The holes seemed to be an ancient non-sticking technology, ensuring that oil spread evenly over the griddle.” The modern day non-stick pans were discovered accidentally by Roy Puckett while working with the DuPont company.
Later coined as “Teflon”, this polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE material, was first used in World War II to make seals “resistant to the uranium hexafluoride gas used in development of the atomic bomb”. During this time, they also discovered its powerful, non-stick properties and started using commercially in cookware in the mid-1940’s.
The problem with non-stick cookware is that it’s made with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (FOA). This is so toxic that the FDA is pressuring manufacturers to phase this chemical out due its health and environmental concerns.
It’s been classified as a health-jeopardizing toxin by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. While exposure to small amounts of aluminum is unavoidable and probably not harmful, we’re exposed to much more of this element than our grandparents ever were (from food additives, to cookware, contaminated water, and more), so to play it safe, it’s best to avoid any additional exposure.
Now that we got the bad news out of the way, and we know which cookware to avoid, here are some safe, non-toxic alternatives. Bonus: If a cast iron pan is seasoned properly, and then it’s virtually non-stick.
Cast iron pans are also super easy to clean as you don’t want to use soap because it can break down you're seasoning. “A study published in the July 1986 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed that cooking in cast iron skillets added significant amounts of iron to 20 foods tested.
)Raw iron contention after cooking in cast iron Applesauce0.35 mg.7.38 mg. Spaghetti sauce0.615.77Chili (meat/beans)0.966.27Medium white sauce0.223.30Scrambled egg1.494.76Meat spaghetti sauce0.713.58Beef vegetable stew0.663.4Fried egg1.923.48Spanish rice0.872.25Rice, white0.671.97Pan broiled bacon0.771.92Poached egg1.872.32Fried chicken0.881.89Pancakes0.631.31Pan fried green beans0.641.18Pan broiled hamburger1.492.29Fried potatoes0.420.8Fried corn tortillas0.861.23Beef liver with onions3.13.87Baked cornbread0.670.86Iron is a pro-oxidant (the opposite of an antioxidant), meaning it promotes oxidative stress, and isn’t eliminated easily from the body. Avoid cooking wet sauces, especially tomato, citrus or acid-based ones.
Stick to drier, less-acidic foods, like pancakes, hash browns, chicken, and burgers. The enamel coating is non-stick and non-reactive, so you can cook anything without problems (hello tomato sauce!).
It’s safe, heats evenly, and lasts a long time. Ceramic cookware is also ideal for going from stove top to dinner table (it retains heat well) to refrigerator.
It is also more fragile and can break when compared with cast iron or stainless steel. Pros: Stoneware is a great choice for anyone worried about chemicals leaching into food.
Cons: It can be heavy and may chip, but when cared for, stoneware can really be your best cookware and it last a long time. In fact, glass is the most inert material on the planet if you get from a good source (and therefore the best cookware !).
Cons: Again, be careful of foreign products that may be manufactured with heavy metals. Pros: The metals, which usually includes aluminum, used in stainless steel are particularly stable, so leaching is a low concern.
Stainless steel tends to be inexpensive, and retains heat, which is great for evenly cooked food. Cons: Don’t use stainless steel for things like broth, which is cooked over many days and could cause leaching of metals.
Foods cooked in stainless steel pans are also more prone to sticking However, reader Emily suggested heating the stainless steel pan first, then adding your oil of choice. Skillets are perfect for everyday meals like frying bacon, eggs, sausage, pancakes, chicken and veggie stir fries, and reheating leftovers.
If you’d rather avoid iron or tend to cook a lot of acidic or moisture-rich foods, pick an enameled cast-iron option here. If you love making large vats of bone broth, I like the 16 quart size.
For most people, these are great ways to support your gut health, as well as make use of the whole animal. Stockpots are also wonderful for vegetable soups, steaming veggies like broccoli, and cooking pasta.
I tend to go with stoneware like this for baking sheets because they stand up to long cooking times and high heat. Even if you aren’t a big stir-fry fiend, woks are excellent for deep-frying and steaming too.
You can cook risotto, meat dishes, apple butter, bread, or a whole chicken. For Dutch ovens, I prefer enameled cast iron, since they are heated for long periods of time, and food sits in them for even longer.
By following this best cookware guide, you can feel great about the food you're preparing for your family. Don’t feel overwhelmed or discouraged if you need to buy lots of new pieces.
Pots and pans make great Christmas and birthday gifts (or maybe it’s just me!) Each week you’ll get a box with great recipes and remeasured ingredient packs that will save you time.
Some services even offer organic meal delivery, bringing non-GMO produce, sustainably-sourced seafood, and hormone-free meats to your door for about $10 a serving. If you’re starting from scratch, you don’t need to think about what you need to round out your collection as most sets come with a variety of sized pots and pans to cook a wide range of meals.
Also, unlike your drawer of multi-brand kitchen gadgets, when you get a cookware set, all of your pots and pans are made with the same technology and materials so you’ll know how long it takes to heat up and how sensitive your cookware is to temperature changes. Plus, they’re dishwasher safe which will save you tons of time and counter space on handwashing and drying.
Made from hard-anodized aluminum, these pans retain perfect heat and have a strong protective layer. There is a thermal spot ring indicator in the middle of the pans that turns solid red to indicate when pans are perfectly preheated and ready for ingredients to be added.
If you’ve ever tried for a perfect sear, you know this is key in maintaining flavor and cooking food evenly. It’s deep enough to boil pasta, comes with a steamer basket that nestles nicely in the pan and a spatula with a built-in handle rest.
The Always Pan uses a PTFE and Pas free coating that is tested to be safe and creates a non-stick barrier that makes cooking and cleaning a breeze. Not to mention it’s extremely attractive, lightweight, and comes in a range of beautiful muted colors.
The 10-piece set of pots and pans also comes with glass lids which helps you keep an eye on your food. Each piece comes equipped with cool grip handles to help reduce overheating and burning your hands.
These ceramic-coated aluminum pans promise impressive nonstick capabilities, and they deliver. The pans retain heat well, provides nonstick without any chemicals, and look good on your stove top.
With typical cast iron, you need to put a little work in to season them before using, but this set comes pre-season so you can use them right out of the box. Cast iron is extremely durable, so you can use this cookware set on the stove, in the oven, under the broiler, on the grill, and even over a campfire.
Most things that are enameled can easily chip if they fall, but with this awesome cookware set, you don’t have to worry. This Stab collection has a chip-resistant coating so your beautiful pans will stay that way for a very long time.
This set includes all the essential pots and pans that get used regularly and is perfect for a variety of cooking techniques. If you bring a date home to cook for them, they’ll instantly know they’re getting a * chef’s kiss* fabulous meal.
Even if pans claim to be non-stick, chip-resistant, or durable, if you’re someone who uses their cookware every day, you’re bound to eventually run into some kind of issue.