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'll also find a selection of stainless steel pots, copper cookware and kitchen utensils, perfect for the home cook. These new companies are giving well-established kitchen brands a run for their money, thanks to their high-quality products at low prices -- the only difference is you have to shop online.
Editors' top picks Subscribe to CNET Now for the day's most interesting reviews, news stories and videos. Products pass through the hands of resellers, distributors and retailers, all of whom add a markup to the base price in order to make money.
By the time any cookware lands in a store, the price has increased dramatically, and you end up paying a lot more than what the manufacturing costs were. These cookware brands skip the typical distribution chain, bypassing the middlemen and selling straight to customers instead.
Made Inmate In is a popular cookware startup based in Austin, Texas, and it offers some of the best deals on professional-grade pots, pans and knives. The company prides itself on using premium materials and top-notch manufacturers, yet it still prices its products low by avoiding resale, distributor and retail markups.
Potluck of our favorite up-and-coming cookware brands is Potluck, which launched in 2018 and is dedicated to bringing professional-quality kitchen tools to home cooks at affordable prices. Caraway argument for ceramic cookware is that it's both nonstick and non-toxic and with Caraway's modern design and playful color palettes it's pretty darn attractive too.
We're also digging the smart storage options that come with each seven-piece cookware set as the pots and pans drawer often devolves into serious clutter. The American-made cast iron skillets are lighter and smoother than the ones your parents used to cook in, but the pans are every bit as long-lasting and versatile.
Currently, the Field Company offers five different cast iron skillet sizes, ranging from 6.75 inches all the way up to a 13-inch frying pan. It offers four core cookware products, called “The Hardware,” that are made from premium materials and are ideal for home cooks in smaller households.
The lineup from Brigade Kitchen includes a stainless steel skillet, saucepan and sauté pan, all of which are naturally nonstick and designed for fast and even heating. People swear these perfectly sized stainless steel pans perform flawlessly and are easy to clean.
It has a simple, streamlined design similar to All-Clad's and uses five-ply construction like other high-end stainless steel cookware but at a slightly more approachable price. All the Garden cookware is made in Italy and the direct-to-consumer brand offers a range of fry pans, saucepans and stockpots starting at $80.
Milo No kitchen is complete without a Dutch oven, and if you don't want to shell out big bucks for storied French brands, one of the best alternatives is Milo. Pots and pans are available in a wide array of materials, with and without nonstick finishes, and there are distinct differences between the various offerings when it comes to how they cook and their ease of use.
While sets are sold at a huge range of prices, you don’t have to spend top dollar to get a dependable one that you’ll find a pleasure to cook with. Copper cookware heats the most evenly and is the most responsive (meaning, take your pan of hollandaise off the burner and it stops cooking immediately so there’s no danger it will curdle).
But copper is super pricey and requires a lot of upkeep if you want to maintain its bright, shiny finish. The vast majority of aluminum cookware has some kind of finish, either enamel or nonstick, to prevent this from happening and also make it easier to clean.
Some aluminum pans are hard-anodized, which means they’ve undergone an electrochemical process that strengthens and darkens the metal, protecting if from denting and stopping it from interacting with whatever you’re cooking. That might not bother you if you bought an inexpensive omelet pan but can be upsetting if you’ve invested in an expensive set.
Keep in mind that some items are lids and sometimes the manufacturer throws in a few plastic utensils and adds them to the piece count. We give points to sets that include a 12-incher as it’s such a versatile pan for frying, stir-frying and one-pot dishes like paella or chicken with dumplings.
Every set will also include one or two saucepans and again, larger ones are more useful as you can warm a cup of soup in a 3-quart pot but might not be able to make enough rice for the whole family in a 1-quart. To select our best cookware sets, we relied on our years of rustling pots and pan both in our test kitchens and on our own home stoves.
Before becoming a cooking tools expert, she spent seven years working as a professional chef in New York City restaurants. In her free time, she's busy baking sourdough bread and rustling pots and pans on her own stove.
The brand also creates special collections, which include pieces like a tortilla warmer, to spotlight different cultural celebrations around food. The company focuses on sourcing materials from the best of the best : Their stainless steel products are made in the U.S. and Italy and their knives are forged at a factory run by a fifth generation family in France.
Available either in kits or à la cart, Made In offers saucers, stock pots, and pans. The line is free of PTFE and PFO As, the chemicals found in traditional nonstick pans that have been linked to serious illnesses, and Caraway keeps things easy by simply offering one set.
Our favorite features: The handle does double duty as a spoon rest and the lids have a slim design for easy storage. Great Jones may be best -known for its colorful Dutch oven, which comes in shades like broccoli green and mustard yellow, and retails for $155.
In enameled cast iron, it’s super easy to clean, too, which makes the piece the hero product of the collection. Risen was born when cofounder Omar Radar set out to replace the one quality skillet he had in his arsenal after a friend misplaced it.
So he created Risen, applying the direct-to-consumer model to the kitchen and launching with a line of high-quality skillets and pans that are obsessively engineered and designed with care. While they sell a few accessories like a seasoning oil and a leather handle cover, the skillet is the only cookware item Field Company makes, and its goal is to develop products that can be passed on for generations.