How To Choose The Best Cookware Set (2017 Edition)

Best-cookware-set

Are you shopping for the best cookware set for your daily kitchen needs? If you are, then you come to the right place. One problem when buying a new cookware set is the selection of many brands in the market. So before you start buying some new pans and pots, check our guidelines and reviews.

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  • Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

TYPES OF COOKWARE

Stainless Steel

best cookware set

Stainless steel cookware is great for braising and browning. It’s easy to maintain, durable, and nonreactive with foods. However, it may conduct heat poorly. To make this a good conductor of heat, be sure that it’s bonded with aluminum or copper.

Aluminum

best cookware set

Aluminum pans and pots are often lightweight and affordable. They’re great conductors of heat but they dent easily. Since they react to acidic foods, be sure that it’s hard anodized.

Copper

best cookware set

Copper cookware is ideal from high-heat searing to frying, sauteing, and simmering. It cooks food evenly and cools down fast. However, this material is expensive and it reacts to certain foods.

Cast Iron

best cookware set

Cast iron is a safer alternative to non-stick cookware. It can hold the high temperatures of the oven and can warm food for a long time. However, this can be heavy and heats rather slowly.

  • To learn more about cookware materials, watch this video.

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING A COOKWARE SET

Inventory Of Pots And Pans

best cookware set

Before you go buying a new cookware set, count the number of pots and pans you have in your kitchen. Check what needs to be replaced and decide which cookware you’ll need to buy. For instance, if you lack a large stockpot, buy that for your next selection of cookware set.

Your Budget

best cookware set

To be a wise shopper, you’ll need to set a budget. From there, search for a cookware set that falls within that price range. As much as you want the best quality, the price should be reasonable as possible.

Your Current Cooktop

best cookware set

Now, consider the cooktop that you currently have in your kitchen. For maximum cooking performance, match your pots and pans with your cooktop. If you own a smooth top range, try buying some flat-bottomed pans. For a top burner, the cookware the matches it well is those with round bottoms.

If you own an induction cooktop, then you’re cookware should have magnetic properties. At the time you buy a new cookware, bring a magnet and try sticking it into the bottom. If it sticks, then the cookware will work on your induction cooktop.

Cooking Style

best cookware set

Finally, your cooking style will determine the material you’ll need for your cookware. If you often sear meat, consider choosing any stainless steel pans because they tend to brown food evenly. For slow cooking, avoid buying any unlined copper cookware because it reacts to acidic food and tends to give a bitter taste.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Heat Resistant Handles

Silicone handles are getting more popular nowadays. Although silicone is comfortable and offers a secure grip, it can’t endure high temperature in the oven. For more heat tolerance, look for the traditional metal handles that remain cool to the touch.

Durability

To get the best value for your money, look for a cookware set that lasts for a very log time. Some of the most durable cookware are made of stainless steel, hard anodized aluminum, and cast iron. If you want the handles to be durable, be sure that they’re riveted onto the pots and pans. Avoid those that are either screwed or glued because they get easily detached. Also, the bottoms should be thick for long wear use.

Safe Coating

More and more cookware is made of a non-stick cooking surface. This gives easy food release and convenience in cleaning. However, this coating has been given a bad rap due to its potential link to chemicals. For safety, look for nonstick pots and pans which are labeled as PTFE- or PFOA-free.

Warranty

Since you’ll be spending much on one cookware set, be sure that item offers a warranty. Sometimes, a warranty is synonymous with durability. The longer the warranty period, the higher the durability it presents. Some of the most durable cookware sets offer a lifetime warranty.

Sizes

Now the size of pots and pans can determine their versatility. For saucepans, look for two sizes: a larger (3-4 quarts) and a smaller one (2 quarts). The best size for a stockpot is 12 quarts which can accommodate a variety of big jobs from cooking lobsters to creating large batches of chili. A 12-inch skillet is the most flexible option. If your cookware set offers a grill pan, the best size to choose is 4-5.5 millimeters because it creates the best grill marks.

Heat Conductivity

For better cooking results, look for pots and pans that are great heat conductors, like aluminum and copper. Be sure that these metal cookware are lined with any non-reactive metal because they tend to react to acidic ingredients. To prevent such reaction, look for hard anodized aluminum or a stainless steel-lined copper.

THE 5 BEST COOKWARE SET CHOICES ON THE MARKET

  • Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

1. T-fal E765SH Ultimate Hard Anodized Scratch Resistant Titanium Nonstick Cookware Set, 17-Piece

T-fal E765SH Ultimate Hard Anodized Scratch Resistant Titanium Nonstick Cookware Set

Via Amazon.com

If you want something more innovative, try the T-fal E765SH which features a Thermo-Spot heat indicator to display when your pan is preheated properly. As you already know, a preheated pan cooks food more deliciously by sealing all the natural juices of the meat. This 17-piece cookware set includes:

  • 3 fry pans (8” and 10.25”)
  • 11.5” covered fry pan
  • 10.25” square griddle
  • 1 covered saucepans ( 1 quart, 2 quarts, and 3 quarts)
  • 2.5-quart saute pan
  • 5-quart covered Dutch oven
  • 3-quart steamer insert
  • 1 One Egg Wonder pan.

The pots and pans are made of hard anodized aluminum for durability and even cooking. As compared to pure aluminum, the hard anodized counterpart doesn’t react to acidic foods. While the silicone handles are riveted for extra strength, the interior is made of hard titanium for long lasting food release.

Pros

  • Made of hard anodized aluminum for nonreaction to acidic foods
  • Offers a great number of pots and pans in versatile sizes
  • Oven-safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Supports a lifetime limited warranty
  • Features an innovative Thermo-Spot heat indicator
  • Made of durable and comfortable handles
  • Built with a safe and durable hard titanium nonstick interior

Cons

  • Cleaning is a bit difficult
  • The handles can get too hot sometimes
  • The bottom of the pan can stain easily

2. Chef’s Star Professional Grade-Stainless Steel 17-Piece Pots And Pans Set

Chef’s Star Professional Grade-Stainless Steel

Via Amazon.com

The Chef’s Star Professional Grade-Stainless Steel is a 17-piece cookware set which includes:

  • 2 frying pans (8” and 10”)
  • 2 covered saucepans (1.6 quart and 2.5 quarts)
  • 4.2-quart covered casserole pan
  • 8.6-quart covered stock pot
  • 5.5-quart covered saucepan, steamer basket, slotted spatula
  • 2-prong fork
  • Spoon

All pots and pans are made commercial grade 18/8 stainless steel.

The bottom is bonded with aluminum to conduct heat effectively. The anti-slip handles are riveted to the pan for superior durability. They’re also ergonomically shaped for a secure grip. What I love about this cookware set is its suitability for all cooking surfaces including induction stoves. This makes the Chef’s Star cookware set even more versatile as compared to its counterparts.

Pros

  • Supports a lifetime limited warranty
  • Oven-safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Compatible for all cooking sources including electric, infrared, and induction
  • Made of commercial grade stainless steel for durability
  • Built with aluminum for better heat conductivity
  • Dishwasher-safe and freezer-safe
  • Riveted handles are designed with an anti-slip satin finish

Cons

  • The cookware discolors and scratches easily
  • The handles can get hot even on stovetops
  • Hard to clean with all the stains and food residues sticking to the cooking surface

3. Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set

Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set

Via Amazon.com

Another great multi-clad cookware set is the Cuisinart MCP-12N which is a combination of stainless steel and aluminum. This 12-piece cookware set includes:

  • 2 covered saucepans (1.5 quart and 3 quarts)
  • 2 skillets ( 8” and 10”)
  • 3.5-quart covered saute pan
  • 8-quart covered stockpot
  • 1 covered steamer insert

Unlike all other stainless steel cookware, the MCP-12N doesn’t discolor and change flavors.

All pots and pans are built with cool grip handles and rivets. The tight-fitting lids allow you to view what you’re cooking and keep the moisture well. The rims are designed for drip-free pouring.

Pros

  • Offers a lifetime limited warranty
  • Multiclad for excellent heat conductivity and even heat distribution
  • Made of riveted cool grip handles for safety
  • Oven-safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Designed with drip-free pouring rims
  • Constructed with a professional grade stainless steel

Cons

  • The skillets tend to lose its shape after several uses
  • The rivet buttons tend to rust and corrode over time
  • Difficult to clean with some of the food left on the interior surface.

4. Rachel Ray Cucina Hard Porcelain Enamel Cookware Set, 12-Piece

Rachael Ray Cucina Hard Porcelain Enamel Nonstick Cookware Set

Via Amazon.com

The Rachel Ray Cucina Cookware Set is a 12-piece cookware set which includes:

  • 1-quart and 3-quart covered saucepans
  • 6-quart covered stockpot
  • 8” skillet
  • 10” skillet
  • 3-quart covered saute pan.

They’re all made of sturdy aluminum and attractive hard enamel porcelain exteriors. The nonstick coating interior is PFOA-free so you can guarantee its safety from toxic chemicals.

The stainless steel handles are dual riveted for extra strength and colorfully coordinated to give a great attraction in the kitchen. They’re rubberized for comfort and to remain cool to touch. This cookware set also includes a nylon slotted turner and a slotted spoon which makes this a complete cookware set to buy.

Pros

  • The cookware set seems to heat quickly and evenly
  • Interior coating is PFOA-free for health safety
  • The nonstick surface releases food easily for easy cleanup
  • Made of comfortable and durable handles
  • The shattered-resistant glass lids traps heat and moisture effectively
  • Oven-safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Offers a lifetime limited warranty

Cons

  • The coating may peel off after several uses
  • The lids may cause some drippings to the outside
  • The color seems to fade over time

5. Paula Deen Signature Porcelain Nonstick 15-Piece Cookware Set

Paula Deen Signature Porcelain Nonstick 15-Piece Cookware Set, Lavender Speckle

Via Amazon.com

The Paula Deen Signature Porcelain Nonstick is a 15-piece cookware set which includes:

  • 1-quart saucepan with cover
  • 2-quart saucepan with cover
  • 6-quart stockpot with cover
  • 2.75-quart saute pan with cover
  • 8” skillet
  • 10” skillet
  • 5-piece measuring spoons.

All pots and pans are made of aluminum, which means that the cookware set heats rapidly and evenly. To make sure that foods don’t bind, the interior is made of DuPont Teflon.

Meanwhile, the exteriors are made of porcelain enamel that resists stain, durable, and simple to clean. Together with the coordinating handles, they give a great accent to your kitchen. While the comfortable handles are also dual riveted for durability, the glass lids are shatter-resistant to create that tight seal.

Pros

  • Features shatter-resistant glass lids that tightly seals the heat and moisture
  • Made of heavy-duty construction
  • Handles are cool to the touch, comfortable, and dual riveted for durability
  • Oven safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • The porcelain enamel exteriors are attractive and easy to clean
  • The DuPont Teflon interior releases food easily
  • Supports a lifetime limited warranty

Cons

  • The saucepans and saute pan are a bit small for convenient cooking
  • The porcelain exterior tends to chip away after a few months
  • The nonstick coating may be unsafe and tends to peel over time

OUR CHOICE FOR THE BEST COOKWARE SET?

In this roundup, the clear winner is the T-fal E765SH Ultimate Hard Anodized 17-Piece Cookware Set. This is because T-fal E765SH met most of the things that we’re looking. It has a lifetime limited warranty and an excellent heat conductivity.

As compared to the other cookware sets reviewed in this article, T-fal has the most versatile sizes. It also has a safe, scratch--resistant titanium nonstick surface plus it’s durable. If we factor the price, T-fal has the most reasonable price given its performance and a great number of cookware pieces.

Have you tried buying a cookware set? Let me know how you did it in the comments section. If you like this article, please share it with your friends and family.

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