To earn our seal of approval, at least two saucepans, one sauté pan, and a stockpot had to fit on a standard cook top range at the same time. If the set came with nonstick gear, we fried a few eggs without oil to see how well the coating worked.
Finally, we measured any noticeable hotspots and maybe did a little taste testing to see if one set made a tastier meal than the others. For example, you wouldn’t want to boil pasta in a small, one-quart sauce pot because it won’t all fit.
Advertisements, cookware sets try to anticipate your needs by providing small, medium, and large pots and pans. The answer determines whether you want a selection of sauce pots or if having a large skillet is more important in your set.
The metal lids will never drop and shatter, giving them a longer lifespan than the glass variety. Stainless steel is great for searing meat, leaving behind those delicious fond bits that make the perfect start to a pan sauce.
They also tend to last longer than the nonstick varieties, which can be easily scratched and generally can’t go into the dishwasher. Many people find themselves attracted to nonstick pans when they start out because it’s a low-cost investment that can be upgraded in the future.
When looking at nonstick, keep in mind there are two material types: The hard anodized pans are Teflon-free and tend to be heavier (and more durable) than the coated varieties. @zestandtang Lindsay D. Madison is a professional chef, food writer, and amateur gardener.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us, and we’ll compare notes.
Purchasing a set of cookware can save you tons of time you'd otherwise spend painstakingly researching individual pots and pans. But these culinary essentials can also be quite pricey, which is why we found a host of budget -friendly options that can handle any recipe you turn your hand to, and they're available in a plethora of styles and colors to match any kitchen decor.
When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Spiral Terracotta Cookware Home cooks looking for unique, versatile, hard wearing pieces made with expertise and care should consider curating a set from the offerings at Terra Allegra.
These items are easy to clean, lightweight, and energy-efficient and sport a glass-like finish that seals the clay interior to maintain the integrity of your food. The heavy-duty construction should last some time, and the set is oven and dishwasher safe, FOA and PTFE free, and stackable.
Coming into this update we wanted to maintain the diversity of our selections while keeping quality sets around at budget -friendly prices. Cast iron sets are not for the faint of heart, because they are heavy and require some special care and cleaning, however, those that know their way around this type of cookware swear by it.
The Lodge brand also comes with a silicone scraper, handle mitt, and potholder, which is a convenient touch. Be aware, though, that no budget set is perfect and if you don't research the material and treat it properly the pieces will degrade quickly.
Another nice thing about this option, as with a few others on this list, is the inclusion of items you wouldn't normally expect, like serving utensils, fish spatulas, steamers, colanders, and more. Their anti-warp bases and hard anodized exteriors make them durable and resistant to scratching, and they can stand up to metal utensils and the heat of the dishwasher.
Thanks to built-in pour spouts and lids that double as colanders, the make it easy to drain away excess liquid and oils. On the other hand, it's a softer metal that scratches and dents more easily than stainless steel, and it's reactive with tomatoes, vinegar, and other acidic foods.
There are excellent options at many price points, so we'll start by going over what you should look for in a cookware set, depending on your individual preferences and cooking habits. On the other hand, it's a softer metal that scratches and dents more easily than stainless steel, and it's reactive with tomatoes, vinegar, and other acidic foods.
Nonstick pans are great for beginners as they're more forgiving when cooking delicate dishes like pancakes or omelettes. Even if pots and pans claim to be dishwasher-safe, the high heat and abrasive cleaners can be damaging, especially for nonstick coatings.
You can use hot water and a stiff brush, but steer clear of steel wool as it may damage your seasoning. For tough, cooked-on bits, you can scrub the pan with kosher salt and water, then rinse or wipe it clean with a paper towel.
It's important to thoroughly dry cast iron after washing, and to keep your seasoning looking good, heat it up in the oven or on the stove top and rub it with a thin coat of oil after each use. While the origins of the very first piece of cookware are unknown, modern-day pots and pans are a far cry from the humble used in ancient days to roast food over a fire.
Centuries later, advancements in metalworking led to the creation of the first metal cookware, but it was extremely expensive, so many Medieval kitchens still used clay pots for most of their cooking. Cast iron, the original nonstick material, may be making a comeback, but you're far more likely to find Teflon or ceramic-coated skillets in the average kitchen.
After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.
The Wiki is a participant in associate programs from Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Target, and others, and may earn advertising fees when you use our links to these websites. 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 you can 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.
Knowing that I wanted to be a journalist from a young age, I decided to spiff up my byline by adding the middle initials “H.J.” 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.
Amaranths collection of copper cookware from Clifton will look absolutely stunning in your kitchen -- and its performance is nothing to scoff at, either! 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.