I had almost settled on cast iron but the cost is prodigious and I really didn't like the idea of a pan that couldn't really be washed. So I researched stainless steel, and came upon this lovely set.
I was very surprised by how strong they were right out of the box, not a flimsy set of metal pans for sure. Get it from the Tasty collection for Walmart for $99 (available in blue, gunmetal, and copper, and in titanium here).
I was concerned that I stained them (I know that's impossible) when I made my homemade spaghetti sauce, but cleanup was effortless. I can't say enough good things about this set of cookware.
Griddle, spoon, ladle, and a slotted spatula (12 pieces total). Promising review: “Not only is this a great cookware set, it looks really nice too.
Love the new design with the handles as it makes it more comfortable to pick up; love the glass lids as they have a small hole to release steam and you don't have to pick up the lid to see how your food is doing; and this set definitely has the 'even' heat throughout, no matter how big the pan is. Dutch oven, and a 10.25-inch cover (five pieces total).
It is such a good value for the money (don't even talk to me about the $1,400 All-Clad set I just bought). Promising review: “My roommate got these pans three or four years ago.
He's a pretty avid cook, so I assumed he did a lot of homework with pan-buying and didn't skimp on cost. They cook well, have been in both the oven and dishwasher hundreds of times, and they feel sturdy.
He informed me that he was moving out, so I immediately started preparing to buy $1,000+ worth of pans and was researching Clifton and All-Clad and a host of brands. Pans are packed well and the construction/usability doesn't seem to have changed in the past few years.
Promising review: “This is the perfect set for a small, minimalist kitchen. This has all the right sizes of cookware for the person that wants just the basics.
They are durable, easy to clean and provide an even heat distribution on the electric glass top range at my house. I own a few pieces of this Total set, and love the sheer durability and convenience.
One of my favorite pieces is the large skillet which I use on a regular basis when I need extra room in the pan or when cooking a larger meal. If you’re looking for a step up from the previous Total set, or just want something even more durable than take a look at the Professional series nonstick cookware from Total for about $15 more.
I can spend hours looking at everything in their store and love many of the bargains they offer, including for some kitchen products. However, cookware sets are not one of the things I like from IKEA, and most other super budget brands.
In most things, I have found that the saying “you get what you pay for” can be quite true and this definitely applies to my opinion on cookware sets. The handles have fallen off, and the bottoms of the pans themselves have warped from the heat of usage rending them all but useless.
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.
“In boxed sets, manufacturers count a lid as a piece,” explains Marion Wilson-Spencer, CR's market analyst for cookware. 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. We cook pancakes, fry eggs, boil water, and simmer tomato sauce.
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.