Purchasing a set of pots and pans is not just a smart economic decision—you also only have to learn how to handle one style of cookware that will help you master your cooking process and techniques. Our top picks have been broken down into several categories so you can make a more informed decision on the best set for you. Read on for our top selections of cookware that will fit into any kitchen.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: Cuisinart MultiClad Pro 12-Piece Cookware Set
- Best Nonstick: Zwilling Energy Plus Nonstick Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set
- Best Induction: Cuisinart Chef's Classic 11-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set
- Best Budget: Tools of the Trade Nonstick 13 Piece Cookware Set
- Best Cast Iron: Lodge 5-Piece Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Cookware Set
- Best for Camping: Klarstein Hotrod Masterplan 7-Piece Cast Iron Set
- Best Copper: Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper Cookware Set
- Best Non-Toxic: Caraway Cookware Set
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Cuisinart MultiClad Pro 12-Piece Cookware Set
Oven temperature threshold: 550 degrees Fahrenheit | Warranty: Limited lifetime | Material: Stainless steel
- Even heating
- Easy to clean
- Some discoloration can occur
- Sharp edges
Why we chose it: This affordable set has everything the beginner chef needs to equip their home kitchen.
Perfect for a wedding or house warming gift, this cookware set has everything a new kitchen needs—and it’s affordable. For $299, you’ll get two saucepans with lids, a saute pan with a lid, a stock pot with a lid, two skillets, and a stainless steel steamer insert. All of the pots and pans use Heat Surround technology for even heat distribution at the base and side walls, which ensures even cooking. The handles are riveted and stay cool to the touch during cooking, and the rims are tapered to prevent drips and spills when pouring.
Oven temperature threshold: 400 degrees Fahrenheit | Warranty: Limited lifetime | Material: Ceramic
- Ceramic coating
- Easy to clean
- Reports of chipping/peeling
- Reports of pans not being nonstick
Why we chose it: These nonstick pans are oven-friendly and easy to clean.
Complete with two lidded saucepans, a saute pan, a Dutch oven, and two frying pans, this nonstick set includes enough to tackle most cooking projects with ease. All pans are made with 3MM clad stainless steel and an aluminum core. Plus, the PTFE- and PFOA-free nonstick ceramic coating on the interior enables the food to release with no effort, making for quick and easy cleanup.
Each saucepan and the Dutch oven have pouring spouts with strainer lids, and the finish on the exterior looks great on any cooktop surface.
Best Induction: Cuisinart Chef's Classic 11-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Oven temperature threshold: 500 degrees Fahrenheit | Warranty: Limited lifetime | Material: Stainless steel
- Easy to clean
- Reports of discoloring
Why we chose it: This popular set is well-loved and available in various sizes.
Priced at just $179.99, these stainless steel pots and pans heat evenly and eliminate hot spots, making them perfect for the stovetop, oven, or broiler. The set includes two lidded saucepans, a saute pan, a covered stockpot, two skillets, and a steamer insert. Each pot and pan has a tapered rim for easy pouring, and the included lids are tight-fitting and lock in moisture.
Best Budget: Tools of the Trade Nonstick 13 Piece Cookware Set
Oven temperature threshold: 350 degrees Fahrenheit | Warranty: Limited lifetime | Material: Aluminum
- Great value
- Includes utensils
- Reports of peeling/chipping
- Thin construction
Why we chose it: This affordable set is perfect for everyone from college students to newlyweds.
The Tools of the Trade Nonstick cook set is priced at $119.99 and includes two lidded saucepans, a covered stockpot, a lidded saute pan, a frying pan, a steamer, and three nylon utensils. Perfect for those on a budget or starter cooks, this no-frills set has all the basics. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe!
Best Cast Iron: Lodge 5-Piece Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Cookware Set
Best Cast Iron
Oven temperature threshold: 700 degrees Fahrenheit | Warranty: 2-Year | Material: Cast iron
- Handles get hot
Why we chose it: Ranked as our top choice for cast iron skillets, Lodge products are beloved among chefs and home cooks for their heat retention and durability.
Lodge cast iron has been around for over 125 years and can be used on just about any cooking surface, including a grill or campfire. Their cook set comes with a seasoned Dutch oven and lid, a seasoned griddle, and two skillets.
Cast iron has excellent heat retention and can be used for baking, frying, searing, and braising. The products are easy to care for and, if the need arises, can be re-seasoned with minimal effort. This cookware set is a total steal, priced at $89.99 for all of the items listed above.
Best for Camping: Klarstein Hotrod Masterplan 7-Piece Cast Iron Set
Best for Camping
Oven temperature threshold: 600 degrees Fahrenheit | Warranty: Contact retailer | Material: Cast iron
- Included storage box
Why we chose it: Able to go from the oven to the campfire, this is the perfect cooking set for campers, RVers, and road trippers.
Cast iron is the ultimate vessel for outdoor cooking, and these pieces from Klarstein really showcase all that it can do. With the ability to sear, bake, and broil over an open fire, this cast iron cookware is a must-have for camping trips. The set comes in a handy wooden box with rope handles, and includes a saucepan, Dutch oven, frying pan, griddle, pot stand, and safety lid lifter. The lids are made with extra wide brims so you can place hot coals on top and cook from above. At $141.99, this cook set is a great bargain, too.
Best Copper: Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper Cookware Set
Oven temperature threshold: 500 degrees Fahrenheit | Warranty: Limited lifetime | Material: Hammered copper, stainless steel, aluminum
- High quality
- Scratches easily
- Copper discoloration
Why we chose it: You’ll get the quality and beauty of copper at a fraction of the price.
With a hammered copper exterior, this Lagostina Martellata cookware set is a show stopper. It's made using a tri-ply construction of stainless steel, aluminum, and hammered copper, with flared edges to help reduce drips and spills. Elegant and beautiful, it can be stowed away or kept on the cooktop to display. Though more expensive than other options, you’ll get a lot for the price, including two skillets, two lidded saucepans, a lidded saute pan, and a lidded stockpot.
Best Non-Toxic: Caraway Cookware Set
Oven temperature threshold: 550 degrees Fahrenheit | Warranty: 1-year limited | Material: Ceramic nonstick
- High quality
- Easy to clean
- Storage solution included
- Reports of discoloration
- Reports of chipping
Why we chose it: The eco-friendly brand uses a mineral based non toxic coating and releases up to 60 percent less CO2 than other nonstick brands.
The Caraway set is as beautiful as it is functional. Available in a rainbow of colors, the set includes a frying pan, saucepan, saute pan, and Dutch oven. When not in use, the included storage pieces help to keep your pots, pans, and lids neatly organized and ready at a moment's notice. The pan racks are magnetic to hold each pan securely in place and the included lid holder hangs neatly on a wall or cupboard door.
Things to Consider Before Buying A Cookware Set
Before purchasing any cookware, you should consider the type of material. Every type has its own advantages, but you will need to have an understanding of how each material functions during the cooking and cleaning process. Stainless steel is resistant to corrosion and is extremely durable. Anodized cookware cooks food quickly and is scratch resistant. Ceramic cookware is non-reactive and uses less oil. Nonstick cookware is easiest to clean and has a slick coating.
When researching cookware, think of which pots and pans you use the most. What is missing that you may need? What do you have that you don't use? How many pieces do you need for the amount of cooking you do? Answering these questions will help to determine the cookware that will work for your specific needs. If you’re just starting out, look for a set that includes at least one saucepan, skillet or frying pan, and stockpot.
Most cook sets can be used on any cooking surface; however, some perform best on certain stoves or ranges. For instance, stainless steel and copper are perfect for gas stoves, ceramic or stainless steel are great for electric stoves, and heavy-bottomed cookware is needed for glass stove tops. If you have an induction stove, magnetic material like cast iron or stainless steel is necessary.
As with anything, the better you take care of your cook set, the longer it will last. One recommendation is to hand-wash all of your pots and pans instead of placing them in the dishwasher—especially cast iron and nonstick sets. Dishwashers tend to use harsher detergents and can strip or scratch the surfaces.
Is ceramic better than nonstick?
Nonstick pans typically release food easier than ceramic. Ceramic usually has a higher price point than nonstick, but their performance is relatively equal.
Is stainless steel or non-stick better?
This depends on the cooking method. If you want to sear at high heat, then stainless is best. Nonstick is best for easy cleanup and lower temperature settings.
How do I clean my cookware set?
Cleaning your pots and pans will depend on the material you choose. The best practice is to hand-wash and -dry your cookware using warm to hot water and a mild detergent. Dishwashers tend to be too harsh.
To clean tough stains or baked on food, place the cookware on the stove, add some water to cover the food or stains, then add a little dish soap. Heat the water. The heat and detergent should help loosen the food and remove any stains.
What's the difference between a frying pan and a sauté pan?
A frying pan will have a tapered or flared outside and are perfect for quick cooking. A sauté pan will have tall, vertical sides and is best used for searing or dishes with sauces.
What is the least toxic cookware?
The safest materials to cook with are cast iron, stainless steel, ceramic, and glass.
Should you buy used cookware sets?
Cast iron pans are perfect for previously used cookware. Any heavy high-quality cookware can be reused as long as there is not any physical damage.
In the end, the cookware set you choose will depend on your needs and how often you cook. There is going to be a learning curve using your new set no matter what material you choose. While all the products on our list have their own unique features, they are solid options whether you're new to cooking or you're looking to upgrade.
Aside from considering the ratings of each set we researched, we also evaluated the durability and quality of each set. They also needed to fulfill aspects such as heat retention, heat distribution, and price point. Cookware takes a beating day in and day out no matter the amount of cooking experience you have. From storing them to the moment you're transferring the cooked food to the table, there's a lot of banging and clanging these products need to withstand.
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