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 toucan 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. Amazon reviewers rave that everything from eggs to rice slides off of these pots and pans with ease.
Not only is it beautiful, but it's designed to replace eight traditional pieces of cookware. With two frying pans, two saucepans, a griddle, a Dutch oven, and more, it's a great place to start if you're looking to spend some more time in the kitchen.
This ceramic-coated hard anodized aluminum will heat everything quickly and evenly. If you're looking for a copper cookware set (perhaps because it is one of the best materials for conducting heat), this extensive cookware and bakeware set comes with an easy nonstick coating.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. While there’s nothing wrong with collecting pots and pans one at a time, a cookware set offers something that singular pieces don’t: cohesion.
And because of their identical construction, design, and material, each piece will allow you to produce consistent, evenly cooked meals every time. Before toucan 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. With a price tag over $1,000, this set is certainly an investment, but the impeccable quality will make it worth every penny in the long run.
Shoppers love these pots and pans for their durability, even heat distribution, and super easy cleanup (they’re all dishwasher-safe!). The classic stainless steel pots and pans each have an aluminum base that quickly and evenly distributes heat, and they’re dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.
While a set from Le Crest may be on the pricier side, it’s built to stand up to years of use and will prove to be well worth the initial investment. This cookware set from Rachael Ray’s collection not only comes in fun pops of color, but it’s also designed with a Scot-free nonstick surface that’s safe to cook on and virtually eliminates the chance of any pesky food scraps sticking, tearing, or leaving behind a mess.
One shopper claimed these are “the best non-stick pans” they’ve ever used, and a whopping 300 reviewers specifically touted this set as being “easy to clean.” 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. If the bottom of a pan is warped (which can create hot spots that burn food), or if handles are loose or broken, it’s time to shop.
We buy and test cookware sets ranging from less than $100 to $600 or more, from well-known brands such as All-Clad, Anglo, Clifton, Cuisinart, and Willing J.A. Heckles, as well as sets sold under the names of celebrity cooks like Ayesha Curry, Rachel Ray, and the Pioneer Woman.
CR’s take: The 12-piece Cuisinart Green Gourmet nonstick set aces all our key cooking tests. We were able to easily maintain sauce at a low simmer, and the 6-quart Dutch oven quickly brings water to a near-boil.
With Excellent ratings on both our cooking evenness and speed of heating tests, the Greenspan stands up to the competition. 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 aces our speed of heating test by quickly bringing 4 quarts of water to a near-boil in the 5-quart stockpot. The surface stands up to our durability test, in which we rub steel wool over the coating 2,000 times, earning a Very Good rating.
Simmering a sauce produces impressive results, and this set earns a Very Good rating for cooking evenness. Heckles Motion Grey is made of anodized aluminum and works with any type of range.
Simmering in the saucepan, however, is only so-so, and the eggs needed nudging out of the pan in our food release test. Clifton designed this set so that it stacks and nests, which frees up precious cabinet space.
The Clifton Premier Space Saving 8-piece stainless set earns a Very Good rating in our evenness tests, like our other top performers in this category. The stainless handles are long and sturdy, and toucan use these dishwasher-safe pots and pans on any type of range, including induction.
It earns an Excellent rating on our cooking evenness test, and when we brought 4 quarts of water to a near-boil in the 6-quart stockpot, speed of heating was also impressive. Its performance in our food release test, however, was subpar, so if you like to fry eggs, you may want to stick to a nonstick skillet.
Long-lasting, high quality cookware pieces are the cornerstone of a great kitchen, and will be with you for years (even generations!) Dutch ovens are used for slow-cooking, and Le Crest’s options work by heating the food evenly and locking in moisture.
If you ’re wincing at the price, know that All-Clad is worth every penny (and it does go on sale a few times per year).