After countless hours of research, review and tests of a wide range of products from popular brands, the best cookware set in 2022 is the Anolon Nouvelle Copper Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set. This is because it is suitable for everyday cooking, distributes heat evenly and is built with quality materials to last.
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.
Top Rated Pots and Pans Sets in 2022
These are the top rated best cookware sets to buy in 2022:
- Best pots and pans set overall: Anolon Nouvelle Copper Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set.
- Best stainless-steel for everyday cooking: Tramontina 10-Piece Tri-Ply Clad 18/10 Stainless Steel Cookware Set.
- Best affordable nonstick: Rachael Ray Cucina Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Pots and Pans Set.
- Luxury stainless steel: All-Clad Copper Core 5-Ply Cookware Set.
Anolon Nouvelle Copper Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set
#1 Best nonstick cookware pots and pans set
Anolon Nouvelle Cookware Pots and Pans Set is the best high-quality hard anodized nonstick cookware set for home chefs.
This 11-Piece nonstick cookware set gives you a durable set of hard-anodized aluminum with induction plate and copper mid-layer for fast, even heating on any stovetop. More details.
|Features||Non-stick, Induction Ready, Dishwasher Safe|
|Size / Number of pieces||11 Piece|
|Material||Hard Anodized Aluminum, Copper, Stainless Steel Lids|
|Where to buy||Amazon US, CA, UK | Walmart | Anolon|
Tramontina 10-Piece Tri-Ply Clad 18/10 Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Best stainless-steel cookware set for everyday cooking.
Tramontina 10-Piece Tri-Ply Clad Stainless Steel Cookware Set is the best stainless-steel cookware for everyday cooking because it distributes heats evenly and is built with durable materials to last.
The Tramontina 10-Piece Tri-Ply Clad 18/10 Stainless Steel Cookware Set features a Tri-Ply Clad construction consisting of an aluminum core for conductivity, and magnetic stainless steel, which distributes evenly and quickly without hotspots. It does well with induction-ready cooktops. More details.
|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|
Rachael Ray Cucina Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Pots and Pans Set
Best affordable and budget nonstick cookware.
Rachael Ray Cucina Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set is the best highly rated, budget friendly and affordable nonstick cookware set for home cooks.
If you need a nonstick cookware set that is both affordable and durable, Rachael Ray Cucina is the best affordable cookware set to buy. This set includes 1-quart and 3-quart saucepans with lids, 6-quart stockpot with lid, 8.5-inch and 10-inch frying pans, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, slotted turner and spoon. More details.
|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|
PS: In our cookware reviews and testing, we found that materials, heat conduction, and practical features were the most important considerations 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.
The Best Cookware Sets, Tested by Broadway Panhandler Kitchen
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, 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 today 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: Anolon Nouvelle Copper Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set
Features: Non-Stick, Dishwasher Safe, Induction Ready | Brand: Anolon | Number of pieces: 11 Piece | Material: Hard Anodized Aluminum, Copper, Stainless-Steel, Stainless-Steel Lids
Why we chose it
Balanced collection of nonstick pots and pans.
The Anolon Nouvelle Hard Anodized Copper 11-Piece Cookware Set offers an impressive assortment of 11 thoughtfully-sized pots and pans for every occasion.
It embodies versatility, with small and large pieces to serve up whatever your recipe calls for: 8.5” and 12” skillets and a 3-qt (10”) sauté pan those lands nicely between those two sizes, 1.5-qt and 3-qt saucepans, and a big 8-qt stock pot. Not all the cookware in our tests offered such thoughtful distribution among sizes, which is exactly what you want in a set.
The Anolon Hard Anodized Copper has a density and heft that indicates its design is good and the construction of high quality because it’s surprisingly not too heavy to handle.
It’s made primarily of aluminum but with a copper core to reinforce longevity and enhance heat transfer. While the Anolon Nouvelle Hard Anodized Copper 11-Piece Cookware Set advertises itself as “metal utensil safe,” it’s probably better to stick to silicone or wood utensils. Many consumer reviews and ratings cautioned this wasn’t a foolproof feature.
One of the things we quickly noticed about the design of this pot and pans set is its dark and beautiful design. The design features flush, nonstick rivets for easy cleaning, full contoured handles that provide a comfortable hold, and a visible copper core that contrasts nicely with the dark grey surface. The Anolon was one of the most attractive cookware sets we saw.
Even heat distribution.
In our testing, the Anolon Hard Anodized Copper had safe and effective heat levels with an even distribution. It reached about 300℉ between both pans after a minute on the warm burner – the perfect temp to start your sizzling. The Anolon is oven safe up to 500℉ and is compatible with all cooktops, including induction.
What you should know and Points to consider
It requires hand washing.
It’s also slightly high maintenance and is listed as hand wash only. This isn’t a huge problem for most, as its nonstick coating makes it pretty easy to clean, but just be aware that if you do forget and load it up with all your other dishes, the copper core and nonstick coating could be compromised in a dishwasher. This is generally the case with all nonstick cookware, including our budget pick the Rachael Ray Nonstick, as it requires hand-washing in order to preserve an already limited lifespan.
Best everyday stainless-steel cookware set: Tramontina 10-Piece Tri-Ply Clad 18/10 Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Features: 3-ply, Induction Ready | Brand: Tramontina | Size: 10-Piece (8 – and 14 -piece option also available) | Material: Stainless steel, Ceramic, Glass | Dishwasher safe: Yes
Why we chose it
Excellent heat conduction.
Each piece of the Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad 10-Piece Cookware Set features an aluminum core wrapped in three layers of stainless steel and is fully clad. What this means is that all those extra layers coat up the sides of the pan too. When aluminum wraps up the sides of a pan, it brings its excellent heat conduction up there, too.
In our testing, the Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad was a high performing stainless-steel pot and pans set. Its skillet was the hottest of the stainless steel in our one-minute test, reaching a (relatively) impressive 138℉.
It also brought a quart of water to boil in just 7 minutes, several minutes ahead of almost all the other stainless steel cookware sets. (The Lagostina was speedy too, but it came at a heavy cost – the beautiful copper outer finish permanently changed to an ombre pink after heating each pan just once).
Light and comfortable to use.
The Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad is sleek in design, with no visible layers or breaks in the construction. There’s also no lip on the edge of the pots. Usually this means a less-controlled pour, but because the pieces are so light, it won’t take much momentum to get a drip-free drain.
That lightness is paired with a very comfortable handle that thickens as it extends, filling your grip in the palm but thin enough at the fingers to wrap them around it.
Its stainless-steel construction means the Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad is also dishwasher-safe – a real draw card when facing a mountain of after-dinner dishes.
Points to consider
The lids get hot.
Many online shoppers and reviewers do caution that the stainless-steel lids can get a bit hot after prolonged use over heat. So, if you are a fast-moving cook, be sure to leave a hot pad nearby.
Overall, we felt comfortable and in control when handling the Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad cookware set. Its ease of use, full lifetime warranty and performance is what makes the Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad cookware the best stainless steel cookware sets.
Best affordable budget nonstick: Rachael Ray Cucina Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Pots and Pans Set
Features: Non-stick, Dishwasher Safe, Enamel | Brand: Rachael Ray | Size: 12 Piece | Materia: Hard-Anodized Aluminum, Glass, Hard Enamel, Porcelain
Why we chose 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.
Things you should know and points to consider
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 set of cooking pans and pots: 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 chose 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 is expensive.
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 Cookware: 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, tested and compared cooking pots and pans to find the best cookware 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 9 Cookware Brands We Tested
Here are the top cookware brands we tested in alphabetical order:
- Rachael Ray
How to Cook, Clean and Care for Your Kitchen Cookware Pots and Pans
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.