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.
The most expensive nonstick cookware set in Consumer Reports' ratings costs $600 and easily earns a place on our list of top picks. For example, the AmazonBasics set (shown above) has 15 pieces, but five of them are plastic utensils, including serving spoons and a soup ladle.
CR’s take: Two of the pieces of the 10-piece Blue Diamond Enhanced Ceramic set are plastic utensils, but at this price you’re still getting a nice complement of cookware. The ad for this “As Seen on TV” set claims the coating is scratch-resistant and shows a cook using a hand mixer in one of the pans without harming the surface.
In our cooking tests, water quickly came to a near boil in the 5-quart stockpot, and tomato sauce simmered slowly without scorching. Pancakes came out nicely browned in the cooking evenness test and water quickly heated to a near boil in the 6-quart stockpot.
Eggs easily slid out of the frying pan in our food-release test, and water quickly came to a near boil in the 5.5-quart stockpot. It aced our tests for quickly bringing water to a near boil and for slowly simmering tomato sauce.
The coating appears pebbly, but that doesn’t affect its nonstick properties, and we effortlessly cooked pancakes and eggs. Cooking evenness is superb, and this 8-piece set aced our speed-of-heating test by quickly bringing 4 quarts of water to a near boil in the 5-quart stockpot.
The surface stood up to our durability test, in which we rub steel wool over the coating 2,000 times, earning the set a Very Good rating. CR’s take: You can store all five pans in the 10-piece Total Stackable Titanium set in one neat stack, as the name implies.
If you're looking to treat yourself or a loved one to the ultimate kitchen necessity, throngs of great cookware sets are waiting for your attention. Purchasing a full cookware set instead of shopping piece by piece definitely has its advantages: Not only will you have all the essentials to make a delicious meal in one fell swoop, but your collection of pots and pans will look wonderfully cohesive as an aesthetic bonus.
To help make your decision a little easier, here are some of our absolute favorite cookware sets by various categories. I made sure that all of these high-quality options have necessities like even heat distribution and a great cooking surface.
Cookware is commonly made from aluminum, cast iron, stainless steel, copper or a combination of several materials, and each type of metal has its pros and cons for cooking. The best tech deals Subscribe to CNET's Cheapskate newsletter and save on everything from phones to gadgets and more.
Other important considerations include the type of stove you have -- for instance, not all cookware works on an induction cook top -- as well as how you plan to use the pieces. Some cookware is dishwasher-safe, oven-safe or both while other sets need to be cared for by hand or can't withstand certain types of oven heat.
While it's not cheap, this set of stainless steel cookware could very well last for the rest of your life if taken care of properly, making it a worthwhile investment for serious home chefs. Amazon Cuisinart offers quality mid price wares, and many people have good things to say about the 12-piece stainless steel cookware set.
The cookware pots and pans have an elegant, minimalist look and have a variety of features that will make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. The pans are made with a pure aluminum core, triple-ply stainless steel walls and a beautiful brushed finish.
Amazon No one loves scrubbing burnt food off the bottom of a favorite skillet, which is why nonstick cookware is so popular. The pots and pans in this 12-piece cookware set from Cuisinart are easy to care for, as pretty much all food will slide right off the scratch-resistant, ceramic-based nonstick coating.
Because the set is part of Cuisinart's GreenGourmet line, the products feature an eco-friendly nonstick coating and the handles are made from 70% recycled steel. WalmartStainless steel pans are undeniably pretty, and they also deliver in terms of performance, as this metal is incredibly durable.
If you're partial to stainless steel, you'll like this 12-piece cookware set from Tramontina, as it provides unbeatable heat diffusion and durability. Plus, their precision-fitted lids help to lock in flavor, and reviewers say you can't beat this set for price and performance.
Ceramic coating has become the darling of the amateur kitchen cookware world since it's nontoxic and as easy to clean as any other surface. It also comes with a smart magnetized storage rack and canvas lid for keeping your cookware organized.
Total cookware is known for its affordable prices, and this nonstick pan set has everything a novice chef needs to get started in the kitchen. The cookware is made from aluminum and features the company's Titanium Advanced nonstick finish to ensure your eggs always slide right out.
These pieces feature a lustrous brushed-copper exterior and satin stainless steel interiors and lids, and they have an inner aluminum core for superior heat conduction. The riveted handles are designed to be ergonomic and resist heat, and all the copper pans feature flared rings for easier pouring.
Amazonas iron is ideal for searing, braising, roasting and anything else that takes advantage of its heat retention. The cooking surface of each pan is preseasoned with 100% vegetable oil and the pieces need to be hand-washed and dried to maintain the integrity of the seasoning.
Buyers say these pans “exceeded expectations,” performing beautifully and saving space in the cupboard. Many home cooks stay away from buying high quality triply stainless steel cookware, due to the high cost, often costing over $1,000 for a 14-piece stainless cookware set, or they take several years to outfit their kitchen buying pieces here or there when they are on sale.
We have scoured the internet to find you the 5 best stainless steel cookware under $1000, that do not skimp on quality, construction, features and functionality. The Clifton Triply Stainless Steel Cookware Set is made with aluminum core sandwiched between 2 stainless steel layers, which provides even heating for excellent searing, browning and cooking, that allows you full control of the cooking process.
In 1954,Total invented the non-stick frying pan and created the non-stick cookware category, which made the life of home cooks everywhere easier.