Shopping & Reviews

The Best Cookware Brands Marry Design With Durability

No, it’s not too early to start your Christmas list.

By Micki Wagner


Published on August 3, 2022

Whether it’s the love of craftsmanship or the belief that cooking fosters greater connection and understanding of other people and cultures, many modern cookware brands want to both simplify and elevate the experience of putting together a meal. But with so many good cookware brands available to consumers, how is one to choose? 

That’s where we come in. We spoke to experts and did extensive research to determine the best cookware brands out there and give you the scoop on what to consider before investing in one. Read on for our top picks.

Best Overall: Made In

https://madeincookware.com/

Materials: stainless clad, carbon steel, copper, nonstick, cast iron | Price Range: $49 - $1,199 | Induction Compatible: varies

Pros


  • Great customer service
  • Handles stay cool
  • Nonstick works beautifully

Cons


  • Stainless steel cookware can be tough to clean
  • Pricey

Why we chose it: A favorite amongst our editors, Made In provides a range of cookware options that perform well and are reliable and durable.

Started in 2017, Made In has quickly become a favorite brand among chefs and home cooks. “Made In tends to be most chefs' go-to cookware,” says Dorian Hunter, winner of MasterChef season 10. “I don't have a set just yet but have tried the brand's products a couple of times and love the end results.” 

A top cookware brand, Made In offers a vast range of items, crafted in five different materials. The nonstick pans are a particular favorite for how durable they are and how evenly they distribute heat. They also make for especially good pans for eggs. Their carbon steel cookware is also a great option, says SAVEUR’s Editorial Director Kat Craddock. “Their carbon steel cookware is top notch—great wok and skillets,” she says. “[It’s] nice if you want the general nonstick vibe of cooking with cast iron but don’t want to grapple with all that heft.” 

Another great aspect of Made In’s cookware is that the handles on its pots and pans stay cool to the touch. And its customer service is top-notch. Many buyers noted that when they contacted customer service about issues regarding their products, the company's response was fast, friendly, and customer-oriented. 

As for the downsides, Made In’s cookware is on the pricier side. Many buyers also noted that the stainless clad cookware can be tricky to get clean, as food can stick to it or leave behind a residue—a common issue with stainless steel.

Best Budget: Cuisinart

Best Budget

Materials: aluminum core, stainless steel, nonstick, hard anodized | Price Range: $10.95 - $429.95 | Induction Compatible: varies

Pros


  • Easy to clean
  • Cooks food evenly
  • Cuisinart Ceramica is both eco-friendly and quality nonstick

Cons


  • Some pans scratch easily

Why we chose it: A trusted name in the kitchen, Cuisinart offers quality cookware (and lots of it) that is some of the most affordable on the market.

Already known for appliances like food processors, Cuisinart also has a wide range of quality, budget-friendly cookware, from pans to stockpots to griddles, grill pans, roasting pans, 12-piece cookware sets, and more. One of the most notable points about their cookware, apart from the fact that you can get items for as low as $10.95, is the Cuisinart Ceramica line, an eco-friendly, PTFE- and PFOA-free, ceramic-based nonstick coating.

Overall, its cookware is easy to clean and reliable. Plus, many of the items it offers are dishwasher- and oven-safe.

As for the downsides, one of the major complaints buyers have is that some pans scratch easily. But for the most part, consumers are happy with Cuisinart as a good, affordable cookware brand for home cooks.

Best Eco-friendly: Caraway

Best Eco-friendly

Materials: nonstick ceramic, aluminum core, and stainless steel handles on all cookware | Price Range: $95 - $395 | Induction Compatible: yes

Pros


  • Nontoxic, mineral-based nonstick ceramic coating
  • Utilizes sustainable packaging materials
  • Quick shipping

Cons


  • Types of cookware are a little limited
  • Handles get hot

Why we chose it: Caraway’s nontoxic ceramic-coated cookware is absolutely gorgeous, but what makes the brand so special is its focus on providing healthy, safe cookware made with sustainability in mind.

Caraway offers four cookware items: a fry pan, a sauté pan, a sauce pan, and a Dutch oven. Though the line is limited, what sets Caraway’s cookware apart is its focus on crafting a nonstick coating that is free from PFOA, PFAs, heavy metals, and PTFE, which means the resulting cookware is not only safe to cook on in that regard, but also because the pan has a naturally smooth, stick-free surface, you’ll be able to use less oil or butter. So this cookware offers multiple benefits. 

Caraway is also looking out for the environment, both with its sustainably made cookware and in its packaging materials. The brand adheres to ethical manufacturing practices and utilizes sustainable materials in its packaging, including recycled cardboard and low-impact print dyes. Buyers reported that the shipping process was quick, too.

Apart from the range of cookware being limited, the only other downside is that buyers have noted the handles on the cookware do get hot, so you’ll want to watch out for that.

Best Nonstick: HexClad

Best Nonstick

Materials: stainless steel, nonstick, aluminum | Price Range: $137 - $999 | Induction Compatible: yes

Pros


  • Can use metal utensils on surface
  • Easy to clean
  • Comes to temperature quickly and distributes heat evenly

Cons


  • Needs to be broken in
  • Expensive

Why we chose it: HexClad produces hybrid cookware that both sears food beautifully and cleans up easily, while also allowing users to utilize metal utensils without fear of ruining the nonstick surface.

As hybrid cookware, HexClad’s pots and pans are versatile and durable, acting like stainless steel, cast iron, and nonstick cookware all at once. The design of the cookware is noticeably unique, as there is a hexagon pattern on the surface of the pots and pans. This pattern is what creates the hybrid effect, allowing for great searing, as well as effortless cleaning. Its ability to distribute heat well and clean up easily are just two of the reasons Ariel Fox, author of Spice Kitchen: Healthy Latin & Caribbean Cuisine, loves it. 

“[HexClads are] really easy to clean, and they heat up really fast,” she says. “And being able to use the metal on the nonstick is kind of game-changing because you're not constantly having to remember to switch what spoon you're using or whatever.” That is another aspect to HexClad that is particularly unique for nonstick cookware—the ability to use metal utensils. Traditionally, you’re advised not to use metal on nonstick cookware, so you don’t risk scratching or compromising the nonstick surface. But it’s totally safe to use metal utensils on HexClad cookware, so you don’t have to worry about that anymore. 

Based on what buyers are saying, though, it seems that the pans might need to be utilized once or twice before the nonstick surface activates, so be cognizant that these might need to be broken in a bit for best usage. On top of that, HexClad cookware can be quite pricey, only offering pots and pans over $100.

Most Durable: Smithey

Most Durable

Materials: cast iron and carbon steel | Price Range: $80 - $1,995 | Induction Compatible: yes

Pros


  • Built to last
  • Versatile
  • Offers restoration for cast-iron pans

Cons


  • Some sticking can occur on the pans
  • Expensive

Why we chose it: Known for crafting durable and beautiful cast-iron and carbon steel cookware, Smithey is loved for how well it performs in any setting

Notable for its stunning cast-iron and carbon steel pans, Smithey is one of the best brands of cookware on the market right now for its durability and versatility. This cookware can be utilized on any type of stovetop, as well as the oven, the grill and over open fire. 

“I love, love, love their cast iron,” Fox says. “They've got all different sizes, as well. It’s almost like it has this slight nonstick essence to it. I mean it's not technically a nonstick cast-iron pan, but everything slides out of there really easily when seasoned properly.” And Fox isn’t alone in her love for Smithey. Hunter also names Smithey as one of her favorite brands for its stylishness and how long-lasting it is. 

Perhaps one of the most unique aspects about Smithey as a brand is that they offer a restoration service that can refurbish your most cherished cast-iron pans. For $75, you can have your Smithey or any other cast-iron pan restored within a week. 

While Smithey is much loved for being one of the best quality cookware brands, it is an investment, as it’s on the pricier side. And it’s worth noting that some buyers found sticking did occur on their pans, even after seasoning it.

Best Stainless Steel: All-Clad

Best Stainless Steel

Materials: stainless steel, nonstick, hard anodized, ceramic | Price Range: $59.99 - $2,729.92 | Induction Compatible: varies

Pros


  • Wide range of products
  • Trusted by chefs
  • Heats evenly

Cons


  • Expensive
  • Handles can get hot

Why we chose it: Beloved by chefs, All-Clad provides professional-grade cookware for both restaurant and home kitchens.

“All-Clad is a favorite when it comes to cookware because it checks all the boxes,” says Belle English, culinary and test kitchen director at Williams Sonoma. “It’s durable, heats evenly and remains hot, is great for everything from hot searing to gentle simmering and is gorgeous—it looks great in every kitchen. It is the full package.”

Many chefs prefer All-Clad and utilize it in their restaurants and in their homes. Rob Moore, chef and owner of Rosa Ristorante, loves this top cookware brand particularly because of how evenly the pans distribute heat. “Home burners are uneven and most pans get hot spots,” he says. “I feel that the heat gets evenly distributed throughout the pan, making it easier to get good results.”

Plus, All-Clad has a wide selection of cookware in four different materials, though the most extensive range is in its stainless steel collection. With almost 100 individual items and over 20 sets available in stainless steel, you can truly cook up just about anything with All-Clad’s offerings. 

That being said, investing in one of the best cookware brands comes at a cost, with most of All-Clad’s individual cookware being over $100 (though there are a few items under $100) and some sets going for well over $2,000. As well, you’ll want to make sure you have a pot holder, dish towel, or sleeve for the handles of the cookware, as those can get very hot.

Most Versatile: Our Place

Most Versatile

Materials: cast iron, nonstick ceramic coating, aluminum | Price Range: $145 - $165 | Induction Compatible: yes

Pros


  • Lots of versatility
  • Eco-friendly packaging
  • Many add-ons

Cons


  • Limited range of cookware
  • Pricey

Why we chose it: Seen all over social media, Our Place offers two pieces of cookware that each function like nine.

You’ve likely seen an ad for Our Place on TikTok or Instagram at this point. The internet truly loves this quality cookware brand, and for good reason. But what might surprise you is that the company only sells two main pieces of cookware—the Perfect Pot and the Always Pan (available in both cast iron and nonstick). But these items are big-time multitaskers and will be your new workhorse in the kitchen. The Perfect Pot and Always Pan play the role of nine different kitchen items, including a spatula and a spoon rest built right into the handles. While both pieces of cookware come with multiple items, you can also purchase more add-ons for them, including a grill press, a tagine, a fry deck, a flipping platter, and a steamer basket. 

What’s more, Our Place utilizes biodegradable and recyclable packaging, giving the stylish brand a sustainable edge. Plus, the products are packaged in women-owned manufacturing collectives. 

Now, if you were hoping to grab up a substantial range of cookware, Our Place is not that brand. But, if you are looking for one pot and/or pan that has a great breadth of functionality, Our Place is that brand. And with that, the pot and the pan pack a hefty price tag, but in theory, you’re paying for multiple pieces of cookware all in one, so ultimately the price might be worth it in that respect.

Things to Consider Before Buying From a Cookware Brand

Brand Reputation

A major factor to consider before investing in cookware is the brand itself and how reputable it is. This can include quality, durability, and performance, as well as how the brand treats its employees and partners, how eco-conscious the company is, and even who founded and/or runs the company, and how true they’re sticking to the brand’s mission.  

“If it can stand the test of time that means something,” says Abby Mallett, editor and contributing writer for Joy the Baker. “There are a lot of new, beautiful cookware brands, but I wait (sometimes years!) to see how they perform to decide if I want to buy them. Also if reputable chefs use certain brands, I tend to gravitate towards them. Basically if Ina Garten wears army pants and flip flops, I would wear army pants and flip flops.”

With a time-tested and/or expert-backed reputation comes trust, and that could make a world of difference in choosing a brand from which to purchase multiple pieces or a set. 

Budget

With some cookware brands selling sets for over $2,000, it’s worth locking in a budget for yourself before shopping. Be sure to factor into your budget how many items you want to purchase and what items are a priority for your kitchen. Then it’s like Mallett says: “Trust your budget, and shop where you can afford.”

Quality

This is a make-or-break consideration. No one wants to invest in a brand that doesn’t produce quality products. Many of the folks we interviewed define quality cookware brands as creating durable, well-constructed, and long-lasting pots and pans that distribute heat evenly and continue looking beautiful even after many uses. For many of the experts we spoke with, if they find the quality of a given brand not to be so great, they would not consider repurchasing. “I wouldn’t repurchase anything that has proven to be poor quality or not very durable,” Moore says. "You are spending a lot on a lifetime purchase. Do your research.”

Your Lifestyle

Ultimately, everyone will outfit their kitchens with different mixes of pots, pans, casserole dishes, Dutch ovens, roasting pans, woks, and the like. So what’s important to consider before diving into making these potentially big purchases is how your cookware fits your kitchen and your lifestyle. “You should always buy cookware to fit your cooking and entertaining level and skill,” Hunter says. “For example, I try to purchase sets that I can cook in and present the food in. I'm always looking for ways to cut dirty dishes.” 

And with lifestyle considerations also comes the amount of people you’re usually cooking for. Moore says if it’s just one or two people, you can likely steer clear of larger pots and pans, as they won’t really be necessary if you’re not often throwing parties or cooking for bigger groups. But, if you’re cooking for a family, you’ll want to “get something that is going to do the job for you,” he says.

FAQs

When should I throw out a nonstick pan? 

“Anytime you see a breakdown in the coating or the lack of performance in your nonstick, you should throw it out,” Hunter says. 

What cookware do most professional chefs use?

Based on what our experts said, All-Clad and Made In are some of the top cookware brands professional chefs use.

What pan does Gordon Ramsay use?

While we were not able to get in touch with Gordon Ramsay himself, he does partner with HexClad. “I use the pans at home, and the combination of stainless steel and nonstick functionality is amazing,” Ramsay is quoted as saying on a page dedicated to him on HexClad’s website. “It’s highly versatile and cooks exceptionally well.”

Final Thoughts

There are so many good cookware brands on the market right now that it can be difficult to determine which brand will be the best fit in your kitchen. Ultimately, we think it’s worth investing in quality pieces from trusted brands with attentive customer service, like Made In.

Methodology

To determine the best cookware brands, we researched 15 companies, taking into account the following factors:

  • Durability
  • Company values
  • Eco-friendliness (factoring in materials used for the cookware, shipping materials, transparency, and other sustainable practices in effect) 
  • Ease of cleaning
  • Versatility
  • Practicality
  • If the cookware is oven-safe, and
  • If it’s induction compatible

We also spoke to experts who not only gave us their recommendations, but also insight into what makes them choose one brand over another. With this intel and our own independent research, we were able to make our selections. 

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