If you are reading this post, you are probably looking for a new cookware set to replace your old, warped bottom pans and pots creating hot spots or with broken or loosed handles. Especially with the nonstick coating of the pans flaking, now is the right time to shop for one of America’s test kitchen Best Cookware Sets.
However, the market offers almost an endless list of options, with most products not living up to their hype. This makes choosing the right set a bit challenging. Fortunately, we’ve done the homework for you, and here’s a review of the top-rated cookware set for your kitchen with a detailed buying guide to ensure you make the right pick.
America’s Test Kitchen Best Cookware Set 2021, Top 6 Products Made in USA
#1. Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set
First, this kitchenware set features a polished cooking surface that won’t react with food, discolor, or alter your food’s flavors. Like any top-rated set of pots and pans, this model has cool grip hands secured with stainless steel rivets for easy and safe handling.
That’s not all: it includes tight-fitting, self-basting lids to lock in your food’s nutrients and flavor. This model sports triple-ply construction with a pure aluminum core for unparalleled heat distribution. This ensures even heat distribution to get rid of hot/cold spots and maximum heat retention.
Each piece is oven safe to 550 degrees F and offers a drip-free pouring thanks to its tapered rim. It comes with tight-fitting stainless steel covers to seal in your food’s nutrients and natural juices for more flavorful, healthier results. This set includes 8-quart covered stockpot; 3-1/2-quart covered saute pan; 1-1/2- and 3-quart covered saucepans; 8- and 10-inch open skillets; steamer insert with lid.
#2. Calphalon Simply Calphalon Hard-Anodized Nonstick 8-Piece Cookware Set
Our top pick is Calphalon Simply Calphalon Hard-Anodized Nonstick 8-Piece Cookware Set – and for a good reason. Each piece features a hard-anodized aluminum construction to deliver quick heat up and even heat distribution.
Its nonstick coating offers easy food release and a snappy cleaning experience. This set includes 6-quart covered stockpot, a 1- and 2-quart covered saucepan, and an 8- and 10-inch omelet pan. The Calphalon Simply Calphalon Hard-Anodized Nonstick 8-Piece Cookware Set comes with a dual-riveted cast stainless steel handle for secure handling. Its silicone accents ensure a cool to the touch experience.
Even better, it includes a domed tempered glass cover to seal in your food’s flavor and juice while ensuring it’s easier to monitor your food. Plus, this cookware set is oven-safe up to 400 degrees F and backed by a 10-year limited warranty.
#3. Rachael Ray Cucina Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set
Aside from this cookware set coming in a wide range of color options to match any kitchen settings, each piece is made with durable aluminum and hard, sturdy enamel porcelain exteriors. Its excellent craftsmanship ensures all pieces in the set withstand the rigors of daily use.
They come with a nonstick coating for hassle-free food release, allowing cleaning the pots and pans with the least effort. Rachael Ray Cucina Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set include 3-quart sauté pan with lid, 1-quart and 3-quart saucepans with lids, 6-quart stockpot with lid, 8.5-inch and 10-inch frying pans, slotted turner, and spoon.
Besides, this 12-piece nonstick cookware set magnifies its shatter-resistant glass lid to lock in flavor and juice, and dual-riveted rubberized stainless steel handles for secure handles, as well as a spoon and slotted turners.
This multipurpose set of pots and pans are oven safe up to 400 degrees F and suitable for all stovetops, except induction.
#4. All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware Set
The third is All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware Set and is a decent choice for home cooks. This set offers more than classic stainless steel style – high performance, excellent construct, and ease of use. It’s perfect for both beginners and culinary artists.
Another thing to love about this complete set of pans and pots is its versatility. This unit includes 2-quart, and 3-quart saucepans with lids, 8-inch, 10-inch fry pans, a 3-quart sauté pan with a lid, and an 8-quart stockpot with a lid.
Each piece offers excellent heat distribution and retention, which means you can simmer, saute, braise, and sear on medium heat. This kitchenware set features three alternating layers of aluminum and stainless steel for outstanding performance. Besides, they are dishwasher safe for a convenient cleaning experience, oven safe up to 600 degrees F, and a decent warranty to protect your investment.
#5. Tramontina 80116/249DS Gourmet Stainless Steel Induction-Ready Tri-Ply Clad 12-Piece Cookware Set
Next on our list is Tramontina 80116/249DS Gourmet Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set with a mirror-polished exterior finish to make this kitchenware easy to clean and attractive. Also, its satin-finished interior adds a touch of elegance and style.
Each piece features a riveted cast stainless steel handles for extra support and stability. The lids are crafted with 18/10 stainless steel to help seal in nutrients and heat.
Talking about construction, Tramontina 80116/249DS Gourmet Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set features Tri-Ply Clad construction: a triple layer of metal – magnetic stainless steel, aluminum core, and 18/10 stainless steel. This results in unbeatable heat conductivity and even heat distribution.
#6. All-Clad Essentials Nonstick Cookware set
Another kitchenware set coming with just about everything you need to cook from stovetop to oven to table. This product is crafted with durable, heavy-gauge anodized aluminum to ensure a warp-resistant and even cooking.
This model includes a 13-inch square pan, a 4 quart sauté pan with a lid, 8.5 inch and 10.5-inch fry pans, a 2.5-quart saucepan with lid, a 7-quart stockpot with lid, and multipurpose insert, and two bonus silicone trivets.
All-Clad Essentials Nonstick Cookware set comes with an ergonomic, riveted handle offering a secure, comfortable grip. Each piece is compatible with your halogen, ceramic, electric, and gas tops except induction.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Cookware set cooks illustrated
Before making a choice, you need to consider a couple of factors to ensure you make an informed decision. These includes
Some metals have high heat conductivity. For example, stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat, whereas copper offers excellent heat conduction. Kitchenware crafted with high heat conductivity material heats up much quicker and gets cooled just as quickly.
However, we recommend stainless steel since it can be used with high heat for more cooking functions than nonstick cookware.
The amount you are willing to splurge on a cookware set determines what you end up with. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t opt for a set of pots and pans because it comes with a hefty price tag. Also, a cheap set might mean pots and pans without many bells and whistles, which won’t come in handy in your daily cooking. Therefore, you should always go for kitchenware, offering a great bang for your buck.
Not all cookware is crafted to last longer and maintain its elegant looks. In our opinion, stainless steel is the most durable and serves your purpose for many years. Keep in mind that only a handful of stainless steel cookware is dishwasher safe.
Some metals like aluminum react with acidic dishes, including tomato. This means your food has a high tendency to contain some metals. Therefore, you should consider cookware that won’t react with your food, alter its flavor, or discolor over time.
If shining your cookware is a bit too stressful to do every night, then it’s best to splurge on kitchenware requiring the least amount of maintenance. Generally, Cookware made of cast iron and copper requires a lot of effort to keep it in tip-top shape. However, stainless steel cookware is easy to maintain for a pristine-looking set of pots and pans.
By now, you should be aware that there are several brands offering cookware ranging from inexpensive to outrageous. When choosing the best cookware set, you should consider balanced weighted pans and pots.