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Our Top Cookware Set Picks
- Best Nonstick: All-Clad HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set, Pots and Pans Set
- Best Value Stainless Steel: Tramontina Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Clad 12-Piece Set
- Best Nontoxic Set: Caraway Nonstick Ceramic Cookware Set
- Best for Everyday Cooking: Cuisinart MultiClad Pro 12 Piece Stainless Cookware Set
- best High-end: All-Clad Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set
- Best Affordable Budget: Rachael Ray Cucina Nonstick 12-Piece Pots and Pans Set
This hard-anodized nonstick cookware set has everything you need to cook a great meal. It’s PFOA free and heats evenly.
This collection offers you a lot of value for your money. If you’re looking for a professional-looking stainless-steel cookware that doesn’t cost much, this is the set for you.
This Caraway ceramic-coated cookware set became a sensation in our tests, rising to the top of our nonstick pots and pans set ratings, all thanks to its high-quality cookware’s made with non-toxic materials.
Cuisinart is a well-known kitchenware brand, and this pot and pan set did not disappoint. The cooking pans brown food well, with no noticeable hot spots.
Without a doubt, this is the set you want if price is not a key factor. This All-Clad cookware sets browns perfectly, evenly, and keeps stews, and sauces at a perfect simmer.
If you need a nonstick cookware set that is both affordable and functional, this Rachael Ray Cucina cookware is the best affordable cookware set on the market.
A good cookware set is a great way to own high quality pots and pans without necessarily handpicking each piece yourself. Any pot can cook food, but the best cookware sets give you the best collection of cooking pans and pots without having to handpick each piece separately.
Cookware is basically a pot, pan or utensils used in the kitchen for cooking food. A cookware set is a collection of good cooking pots and pans from the same brand. Cookware is generally used on a stove, range or induction cooktop.
Whether you choose to have a set of nonstick cookware or stainless-steel pots and pans, the best cookware is one that distributes heat evenly and can withstand wear and tear to last you for a long time. In this cookware set reviews, consumer ratings and buying guide, you will know which cooking pans and pots are best, after rigorous testing, and learn how to choose the best cookware set for your kitchen.
Our Best Cookware Sets Rating
These are the top-rated best cookware sets to buy in 2023:
#1 All-Clad Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set.
#2 Caraway Nonstick Ceramic Cookware Set.
#3 All-Clad HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set, Pots and Pans Set.
#4 Tramontina Gourmet Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Clad 12-Piece Cookware Set.
#5 Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set.
#6 Rachael Ray Cucina Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Pots and Pans Set.
After countless hours of research, review and tests of a wide range of products from popular brands, we are certain the best cookware set in 2023 is the All-Clad HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set, Pots and Pans Set. This is because it is suitable for everyday cooking, distributes heat evenly and has some of the best pots and pans (nonstick) we’ve used to date, built with high quality materials to last.
Things to know before buying a cookware set
In our cookware testing and reviews, we found that materials, heat conduction, and practical features were the most important factors to consider if you truly want to find and buy the best pots and pans set for your cooking needs.
What makes an ideal set of kitchen cookware?
Cooking Pans and Pots in a Complete Cookware Set
- Small saucepan (1 – 2 qt): A smaller pot great for boiling eggs, small batches of grains or legumes, and reheating soups and sauces.
- Large saucepan (3 – 4 qt): A medium pot ideal for boiling/steaming veggies and making small batches of pasta.
- Stock pot (6 – 12 qt) or Dutch oven (5 – 8 qt): A large pot for making stock, stews, pasta, and soups. A Dutch oven is typically shorter, wider, and a bit more oval than a stock pot, and usually comes in smaller sizes.
- Skillet pan (8 – 12 inches): A pan with slanted sides ideal for everything from scrambled eggs to sautéing veggies. (Note: The terms “skillet,” “frying pan,” and “omelet pan” seem to be used interchangeably in cookware sets, but for consistency we’ve used the term “skillet” across the board.)
- Sauté pan (3 – 4 qt): A deeper pan with straight sides perfect for searing meat, making risotto, and whipping up sauces.
How we tested and picked
To help you make a guided decision when shopping for cooking pans and pots, we took real consumer reviews, examined cookware consumer reports, consulted professional chefs and food bloggers before bringing in 12 cookware sets including top rated pots and pans, ceramic cookware, stainless steel, non-stick, non-toxic and affordable cooking pans from popular cookware brands for hands-on comfort and heat distribution testing. Some of the best cookware brands available on the market include: Anolon, Tramontina, All-Clad, Rachael Ray, Cuisinart, Calphalon and T-fal.
Here then is a reviewed list of the best cookware sets:
Best nonstick cookware set: All-Clad HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set, Pots and Pans Set
- Included in the set: 8- and 10-inch frying pans, 2.5- and 3.5-quart saucepans with lids, 4-quart sauté pan with lid, 8-quart stockpot with lid
|Material||Aluminum, Glass, Hard Anodized, Stainless Steel|
|Features||Dishwasher Safe, Induction Ready, Non-stick|
|Size/Number of pieces||10 pcs or 13 pieces available|
|Where to buy||Amazon US, UK, CA | All Clad|
If you’re specifically looking for a great nonstick pots and pans set, the All-Clad HA1 Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set has your back. With this set, you’ll get a solid PFOA free hard-anodized cookware with even heating that is compatible with all cooktops, including induction.
It overcame our tests in style with a sleek, black finish and shiny stainless steel handles. The handles are well designed to ensure safe grip, and long enough to create a perfect balance with each pot and pan. All-Clad’s signature concave shape makes them very comfortable to hold.
The pans are a little heavier than other cookware’s we’ve used, because they’re well-built with durable, heavy-gauge hard-anodized aluminum. All-Clad also coats each pot and pan with three layers of PFOA-free nonstick material, which gives this set a nice finish and helps the food release easily.
In our cooking test, this cookware performed well. The lid fits tightly onto the saucepots. This way, steam was trapped inside, and it produced some of the best rice in the testing room. We were also impressed at how crispy our chicken skin became.
This set creates a hard sear most nonstick can’t touch. It is not the most affordable cookware set, but our testers agreed this set is the clear choice for anyone who prefers nonstick, because its wide variety of pots and pans make it worth every penny.
Our only major complaint was storage. The pans don’t sit very well, making storage for small spaces difficult.
on Amazon store
Best stainless-steel pots and pans set: Tramontina Gourmet Stainless Steel Induction-Ready Tri-Ply Clad Cookware Set
- Included in this set: 10″ and 12″ fry pans, 1.5 and 3-quart covered saucepans, 6-quart deep sauté pan, 5 -quart Dutch oven, and 8-quart stockpot
|Features||3-ply, Induction Ready, Dishwasher Safe|
|Size / Number of pieces||10 Piece|
|Material||Stainless steel, Ceramic, Glass|
|Where to buy||Amazon US, UK | Walmart | Target | Sam’s Club|
Stainless steel cookware is the most popular cookware material. They’re nice to look at, and also deliver in terms of performance, as this metal is incredibly durable.
If you need a professional-looking stainless-steel cookware but don’t have the big bucks to shell out, Tramontina Gourmet Stainless Steel Induction-Ready Tri-Ply Clad Cookware Set is the set for you. You’ll get solid performance whether you’re caramelizing onions or simmering a Bolognese. The handles are rounded and well built, offering a comfortable grip.
Our testers liked this set for a lot of reasons:
This collection of stainless steel pots and pans offer you a lot of value for your money. In addition to the basic saucepans and skillets, you get a large saute pan, a large 8-quart stockpot, and a Dutch oven. The 12-inch fry pan is deep and rounded, which makes this set perfect for stir fries. In summary, you’re pretty much covered for every possible cooking need.
The set is compatible with all cooktops, including induction. Tramontina cookware’s are oven safe, and can be placed in the oven up to a temp of 500 degrees F, which should be more than enough for everything from braising a pot roast, to keeping a casserole warm, to browning off an apple.
Like all stainless steel cookware’s, this cookware is dishwasher safe, however our cookware experts recommend washing your pots and pans by hand, as the dishwasher makes it prone to some discoloration over time.
Available on Amazon store
Best non-toxic ceramic: Caraway Nonstick Ceramic Cookware Set
- Included in this set: 10.5″ fry pan, 3-quart saucepan, 4.5-quart saute pan, 6.5-quart Dutch oven, magnetic pan racks, canvas lid holder
|Features||Induction Ready, Non-stick|
|Size/Number of pieces||12 Pieces|
|Where to buy||Bed Bath & Beyond | Amazon | Caraway|
This Caraway ceramic-coated cookware set turned out to be a top contender in our test, rising to the top of our nonstick-set ratings. Many of our kitchen cookware expert and testers loved this set for its design, durability and efficacy. It’s perfect for the minimalist cook or if you have very little storage room.
This set would fit nicely if you are a first-time cookware set buyer, need storage option with cookware, moving into a new home, or like your pots and pans looking all stylish and unique.
This cookware set from direct-to-consumer brand Caraway is the perfect blend of performance and design. It’s PTFOA free, non-toxic and compatible with all stovetops including gas, electric, and induction. The selection is thoughtfully curated, and each set is available in a variety of stylish hues with a modern finish that looks great on the stovetop.
We recommend their well designed collection for newlyweds, first-time homeowners and anyone looking to reset their stovetop needs.
It excels in all of our key cooking tests, and the handles are sturdy and stay cool to the touch while you’re cooking. The heat distribution is controlled and even, giving a subtle sear and gentle buildup of color without scorching. The nonstick surface is perfect for cooking eggs evenly without sticking, and it’s easy to clean.
It comes with 14 pieces, but only half of them are pots or lids. The rest are various hooks, racks, trivets, and things you probably don’t have space for, unless of course, this is your first cookware set.
Available on Caraway official Amazon store
Best pots and pans for everyday cooking: Cuisinart MultiClad Pro 12 Piece Stainless Cookware Set
Included: 1 1/2- and 3-quart saucepans with lids, 8-quart stockpot with lid, 3.5-quart sauté pan with lid, 8- and 10-inch skillets, steamer insert with lid
|Material||Aluminum, Stainless Steel|
|Features||3-ply, Dishwasher Safe, Oven safe up to 550 degrees F|
|Number of pieces||12 pcs|
|Where to buy||Cuisinart | Amazon | Walmart|
Cuisinart is a popular and well-known brand in kitchenware, and this Multiclad Pro stainless steel cookware set did not disappoint.
The Cuisinart set offers incredible performance at a great price and ranked highly in our versatility rating. It performed exceptionally well in our tests, making it one of our top picks.
The 12 pieces are either pots or lids, so you get a lot of value for your money. The medium-sized sauté pan comfortably fit four to five chicken thighs, and easily seared each one to perfection. The large stockpot is well-sized for cooking pasta, making soup, or blanching vegetables.
- The handles are sturdy and stay cool to the touch, and these cooking pans are easy to use.
This set is made of stainless steel with an aluminum core, they are induction compatible, dishwasher safe for easy cleaning, and oven safe to 550 degrees. The triple-ply construction offers great heat conductivity, but the anodized aluminum core makes them light enough to easily handle.
According to consumer reports, “this set is rated excellent in cooking evenness, as were simmering sauces and nonstick food release, in which we cooked a series of eggs to see how easily they slide out of the pan.”
Available on the Amazon store
Best affordable budget nonstick: Rachael Ray Cucina Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Pots and Pans Set
|Features||Non-stick, Dishwasher Safe, Enamel|
|Number of pieces||12 Piece|
|Material||Aluminum, Glass, Hard Anodized, Hard Enamel, Porcelain|
|Where to buy||Amazon US, UK, CA | Kohl’s | Walmart|
Features: Non-stick, Dishwasher Safe, Enamel | Brand: Rachael Ray | Size: 12 Piece | Materia: Hard-Anodized Aluminum, Glass, Hard Enamel, Porcelain
Why we picked it
We were initially skeptical about celebrity chef cookware as we had concerns, they’d be more style than substance, but this aluminum nonstick Rachael Ray set surprised us. For just under $200, you get 10 decent sized pieces (although a bit on the small side), and two extra kitchen accessories that vary depending on where you buy your set (our Walmart one included two baking sheets).
Quick and easy to heat up.
Not only does it include those kitchen extras, which by the way is a nice bonus for those on a budget looking to fill their dorm kitchenette or outfit a vacation condo, Rachael Ray Nonstick was a solid performer in our pots and pans tests.
All thanks to their thin but durable aluminum construction, the Rachael Ray Nonstick skillet and sauté pan were the fastest of all our contenders to heat.
It’s comfortable to use.
We found the silicone-coated stainless-steel handles provided a comfortable fit and the small thumb-shaped dips were ideal for leveraging your thumb on top of the handle.
The silicone handles on the glass lids were comfortable, too. Although these silicone features do bring the oven safety temp down to 350℉. The Rachael Ray Nonstick also comes in various ombre colors, depending on where you buy it.
What you should know and points to consider before you buy
Risk of overheating is not ruled out.
While we loved how quick the pots and pans were to heat up, the possibility of overheating isn’t completely ruled out. So, you have to be careful and pay close attention when the pot or pans are being heated.
Ours got up to 500℉ in less than a minute on high heat, which according to fine cooking – is approaching hazardous range due to the nonstick coating.
From personal experience, it’s best to heat nonstick cookware over medium to low heat to avoid these soaring temperatures.
Its pots and pans are smaller than our other top cookware set picks.
Overall, the Rachael Ray Nonstick set is smaller than our other top picks. With a 6-qt. stock pot instead of an 8-qt. and a small 1-qt. saucepan (think ramen noodles or solo boiled egg), this set is best suited for cooking for one to two people, or the occasional vacation home cook up. Its compact size does make it a great storage option for smaller kitchens, though.
Best high-end cooking pans and pots set: All-Clad Copper Core 5-Ply 10 Piece Cookware Set
Type: Stainless steel | Brand: All-Clad | Size: 10 Piece | Material: Stainless steel | Is it dishwasher safe: Yes
Why we picked it
The design is beautiful.
When it comes to trophy-kitchen looks, the All-Clad Copper Core features a trendy visible copper layer near the bottom of each piece. The inside surface is as smooth as the Tramontina, and the All-Clad Copper Core even advertises a polished finish that adds some stick resistance – a miraculous feat for stainless steel and a feature that’ll tempt anyone familiar with the cleaning woes of this cookware.
Like the Tramontina and the Anolon, it has a great range of practical pieces: 8” and 10” skillet, 2-qt and 3-qt saucepans, 3-qt sauté pan and 8-qt stock pot.
Best-in-class heat conduction.
All-Clad clearly doubled down on heat conduction in this set, with 5-ply construction of stainless steel, aluminum, and copper layers, so you should have no issues searing, browning, and sautéing to your heart’s content. It was the second hottest stainless pan we tested, reaching 135℉ after just a minute on the burner (the Tramontina got to 138℉).
These results may seem lukewarm, especially compared to speedy nonstick heaters, and they are, but longer preheating is pretty much par for the course with stainless steel.
To be clear, we are not fans of All-Clad’s trademark handles. Due to the brand’s popularity, we tested three different All-Clad sets and this is the only one that passed muster. Why? A tiny addition to the underside of the unique All-Clad handle that gives enough leverage for the heavy base and actually makes them comfortable.
Points to consider and things you should know
It’s an expensive high-end luxury cookware set.
The biggest downside to the All-Clad Copper Core cookware is its enormous price, which retails for between $1,000 – $1,500 across major online retail stores. To be sincere, you’re partly paying for the brand name, but a perk of that brand name is a “Made in the USA Cookware” guarantee which means quality materials and high-quality control standards.
For a cookware set that calls for its very own stop on your home tour, the All-Clad Copper Core offers both quality and beauty alongside culinary prestige.
It’s not lightweight.
All those extra layers that create such excellent heat conduction also add up to extra weight, and on average the All-Clad Copper Core pans were almost twice as heavy as their Tramontina counterparts.
Stainless steel vs Nonstick: Which Cookware Material is Better?
It all depends on what’s important to you – ease of cleaning or durability and searing. Nonstick cookware is stick resistant. This means you don’t need to use a lot of oil during cooking, which makes it a good option for the health-conscious. Nonstick is really easy to clean, but expect the coating to only last a few years before the whole thing needs replacing.
Stainless steel pans are often coated but will last longer if uncoated as the steel is more durable than the coating. Stainless steel also sears and browns foods really well (something you’ll miss out on with nonstick). It is also notorious for food sticking. I have personally cleaned stainless steel skillets from almost every manufacturer, and cleaning is a nightmare.
What about Cast Iron and Copper Cookware Sets?
We didn’t consider cast iron, enameled cast iron, or copper cookware sets because their specialized care instructions and ingredient limitations mean we probably don’t need a whole set of them. Our experts recommended you really only need one or two pieces of these specialized materials, and a whole set would be more expensive and not practical for everyday use.
In our previous article, we explained how cast iron, stainless steel and aluminum cookware differ from each other.
Methodology: How we researched and tested cooking pots and pans to find the best sets
Buying Guide: Cookware Sets
Bestselling Pots and Pans set
We started with bestselling cookware sets from major retailers like Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s, Walmart, Crate & Barrel, and Williams Sonoma. We wound up with 66 contenders ranging from 5-18 pieces, with a variety of construction materials and an even greater variety of price tags. Our cheapest kitchen cookware sets started at $40 while our most expensive reached a whopping $2,000.
While it’s tempting to go straight for the 17-piece cookware set, bigger sets don’t necessarily give you more bang for your buck. In fact, you’re likely to end up with overly-specific pieces, like oval fish pans and small Sauciers, or simple filler items, like cookbooks and spatulas (yes, pretty much anything in the box counts as a piece).
So, while not everyone needs the same pans – those cooking for one or two people will generally require fewer and smaller pieces than someone cooking for the whole family – the best cookware sets will contain useful, versatile pieces, without doubling up on impractical sizes.
We talked to experts and scoured cooking blogs to identify the most useful, versatile pieces for both novice and confident home cooks.
Check for the construction materials
Different types of cookware construction will result in different cooking experiences. It really comes down to preference and how long you’re willing to scrub at the kitchen sink.
We discovered that the main things to keep in mind with cookware materials are:
- cooking surface.
- heat conducting core.
- exterior body.
Most cookware has alternating layers of metals with a conductive core of aluminum or copper. More layers deliver better heat distribution, greater durability, and a heavier pan.
The outer layer, or exterior body, is often stainless steel, aluminum, or anodized aluminum (aluminum made more durable and non-corrosive through an electrochemical process), because these materials are generally lightweight and conductive.
Comfortable handles and heft
As we unboxed our 12 shiny cookware sets, we quickly noticed some key features that would add up to a world of difference in everyday cooking.
“Usefulness is more important than branding. A good brand with the wrong features is not useful at all.”
A comfortable and well-balanced handle is vital. All our sets came with metal or silicone handles. Our experts’ chefs advised plastic handles tend to crack, fade, and can’t handle high heat – but we discovered not all handles are created equally.
Handles with full contours that fit snugly in grip, and lid handles that were smooth and accommodated larger hands performed best. We also considered the heft of each piece and whether the design felt balanced enough to handle the construction’s weight. If a pot or pan feels too heavy when empty, it’s going to be a real pain when full.
Heat distribution (should be even)
Heat distribution refers to how well heat is maintained throughout the cooking surface of a pan. Poor distribution of heat in a pan creates “hot spots” that can scorch your food and cook things unevenly. So, we tested the three most common pieces of cookware in each set (saucepan, skillet, and sauté pan) for heat distribution using a thermal imaging camera.
Fast heating is an important factor for professional chefs, like Nick Musser, Corporate Chef at Bargreen-Ellingson Restaurant Supply Store, who told us he expected his cooking pans to quickly react to heat
I hate a pan that takes forever to heat up. I want to hear that garlic or butter sizzling within a few seconds.”
However, we noticed that thinner, lighter pans, like the Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart, and Cuisinart Multiclad quickly skyrocketed to above 400℉, which is much too hot for nonstick coating.
The Top Cookware Brands We Tested
Here are the top cookware brands we tested in alphabetical order:
- Rachael Ray.
How to Clean and Care for Your Cooking Pans and Pots
Hand wash pots and pans – especially nonstick
In general, it’s best to hand wash all of your cookware, but with nonstick it’s vital. Dishwashers will clean the pan at high temperatures that will wear off the nonstick coating.
When hand washing nonstick, it’s best to use softer scrubbing tools as anything too abrasive can damage the nonstick layer. If the coating is too compromised, it’ll start peeling and could break down the nonstick to release toxic compounds that otherwise wouldn’t be an issue.
Extend stainless steel lifetime
When it comes to maintaining the sheen of stainless steel (copper too), Martha Stewart recommends a scouring powder called Bar Keepers Friend that will shine the steel and eliminate water spots or discoloration.
Cleaning the dirty pans can get a bit trickier – stainless steel lacks nonstick capabilities and even regular use can leave food caked on. A simple solution: Boil soapy water (filled just enough to submerge the stuck food), gently scrape it off with a flexible spatula, and rinse when it’s cooled.
Don’t stack nonstick
The metal on the bottom of nonstick pans will scratch the nonstick coating if they’re stacked directly on top of each other. This doesn’t mean you have to hang your non decorative Teflon pans, just make sure to layer a soft cloth between each pot and pan to protect the nonstick surface from coming into contact with bare metal.