Whether you are an amateur or professional cook, the best stainless steel cookware sets are always the ideal choice due to their durability, great heating evenness, and affordable price.
A good quality set can last a long time and even helps your food taste better. If you are interested in getting a new stainless steel cookware set, in this article, we’ve put together the perfect list to guide you on how to pick the best product.
There is a myriad of stainless steel cookware available on the market today, which makes your buying process a bit confusing. Our buying guide will show you key considerations before making any purchase.
The exact ideal weight of the cookware depends on each cook’s preference, but generally, the heavier the pan or pot, the better quality. Of course, to a degree that you still can handle them easily. A weighty pan is more likely to distribute the heat more evenly. Heavier pan is also more durable, less susceptible to dents and warping.
Some tests and surveys show that the preferred weight for skillets is between 2 and 3½ pounds. You can base on this standard to choose the ideal one or your specific need.
2. Core and construction
To enhance the heat conduction ability of stainless steel cookware, an aluminum or copper core is sandwiched between layers of stainless steel. Aluminum heats up quickly and distributes heat well while steel is very durable and holds heat nicely. Combining these materials offers you the best of both worlds.
“Cladding” indicates the full layers of stainless steel that make up the bottom and sides of the pot, and the number of layers will be described by its “ply.”
Ideally, you should look for a set of fully clad tri-ply like Cooks Standard 10-Piece Multi-Ply Clad. This set is one of the best sellers on Amazon with more than 500 5-star reviews. Avoid cookware that is not fully clad (the aluminum core doesn’t extend up the sides of the pot). They are cheaper but are prone to scorching.
Some high-end products even come in five-ply or seven-ply (often called multi-clad). With additional layers, the cookware will have a higher price.
3. Grade of Stainless Steel
There are endless combinations of different metals that can be marketed as stainless steel today. The grade of stainless steel refers to the ratio of these metals in the alloy, giving you an idea of some properties of the product such as toughness, corrosion resistance.
18/10 is the most common grade used for the best stainless steel cookware. This means the product contains 18% of chromium and 10% of nickel, resulting in good resistance to rusting and a shiny and polished surface.
Made of polished 18/10 stainless steel, Cooks Standard Stainless Steel 12-Piece Multi-Ply Clad Cookware Set is a good deal for its durability and easy cleaning.
4. Piece Count
One full set can include 10 to 15 pieces or more. Think about the pieces you actually use when choosing the best stainless steel cookware for your kitchen. Does any item appear redundant? Is there enough space for it? Be aware that the lid can be counted as one piece.
If you are an avid cook, a set with 12 to 15 items is necessary. But if you need something basic, opt for a smaller set with fewer but essential and versatile pieces. Anolon Nouvelle set with 10 pieces of pots and pans is that type of cookware set we’re talking about.
With the same number of pieces but different sets come in various sizes and styles. So remember to consider the proper size and type that you can use for a variety of kitchen tasks.
Most manufacturers offer limited lifetime guarantees on their stainless steel cookware. The specific terms and conditions will vary depending on the brands and each product. Usually, these guarantees protect against defects in material, construction, or workmanship but exclude damage arising from improper use, thermal shocks, drops, etc. Before you buy, be sure to check on the warranty coverage.
It’s always better to choose a durable set in the first place rather than rely on a warranty. In this case, Calphalon Classic Stainless Steel is the best bet.
Last update on 2022-12-02 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API
1. How much does a stainless steel cookware set cost?
The price can vary greatly depending on the quality of materials used and the manufacturing expertise that goes into the product. It can range from $100 to nearly $1000. For example, All-Clad Brushed D5 Stainless Cookware Set can cost you $800 while with less than $100 you can get a full set of 12 pieces from Cook N Home.
One tip for saving your money is actually to buy an entire set instead of buying one at a time. And a cohesive collection will definitely make your kitchen look much better.
2. How do I clean my stainless steel cookware?
Stainless steel is well-known to be durable and easy to clean. However, to maintain its shiny appearance and its lifespan, follow these cleaning steps:
Before start cleaning, always let a hot pan/pot cool down
Wipe the excess oil with a paper towel
Soak your cookware to cool water. Don’t ever do this when it is still hot, because the sudden change in temperature, also known as thermal shock, can cause your cookware to warp.
Gently scrub away food particles using a sponge with dish soap.
Risen and dry
In case, there are tough stains that aren't coming off after you try these above steps, you will need more than just dish soap.
We recommend using baking soda which is cheap and easy to find.
Create a paste of water and baking soda in the bottom of the pan/pot. Add a generous amount of baking soda.
Let the mixture sit for a few minutes, and then use a scouring pad to scrub it off.
If it doesn’t work, repeat the process and leave the mixture overnight.
3. What is the optimal size for pan and pot?
Many people prefer to buy individual pans and pots but don’t know which size is the best. If you have the same problem, try the following suggestion the next time you go shopping.
4. Can I use metal utensils on stainless steel cookware?
If you don’t mind some marks and scratches, you can use metal utensils. These tools are not going to damage your stainless steel cookware.
If you prefer to keep them always good-as-new, you should use softer materials like silicone, wood, or plastic.
5. Is stainless steel cookware dishwasher safe?
Yes, they are. Most stainless steel is safe to put in the dishwasher, but you might still want to check the manufacturer’s instructions. So you can get the full benefit from the warranty policy. For products with dishwasher-safe labels such as T-fal E765SEFA, you can use the dishwasher with no worries.
However, to keep your highly polished cookware to stay that way for a long time, you’d better clean them by hand and dry them immediately after washing.
6. Do stainless steel handles get hot?
The stainless steel itself is a poor conductor of heat, so your cookware handles will not get hot. But, most cookware products are not made of only stainless steel, the other materials in the alloy may make some parts of the handles get hotter than you expect. Especially when you cook dishes that take an hour or longer, heat will build up and make you feel uncomfortable.
That’s why some people prefer sets with silicone handles, which stay cool and very comfortable to grasp. However, you must be careful to place them in the oven. Silicone has a much lower heat tolerance.
To be safe, make sure to follow these basic guidelines:
Use the burner that matches the size of your pot and pan.
Place your pot and pan on the center of the burner.
Avoid using too high heat
Use pot holders when removing the cookware from the stovetop
Thanks to many advantages and affordable prices, stainless steel is the number one choice when it comes to cookware. But it can be tricky to get the best stainless steel cookware sets that you can use every day.
We hope the buying guide in the previous section will help you find what you need. If you still don’t know where to start or want to skip to the list of the best stainless steel cookware sets. Here it is!
Our experts have compiled a list of top products available on the market. There are choices for different needs and price ranges. Maybe you will find your next culinary companion right on this list.
Best overall: If you are on the hunt for a quality cookware set but won’t cost you an arm and leg, Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece is the one. The triple-ply construction ensures even heating, complemented by tight-fitting lids for perfect heat retention. This set includes 1-1/2- and 3-quart covered saucepans; 8- and 10-inch open skillets; 3-1/2-quart covered saute pan; 8-quart covered stockpot; steamer insert with lid. All pieces are dishwasher-safe.
Best high-end: All-Clad Brushed D5 Stainless Cookware Set features five layers of stainless steel and aluminum for top-notch durability and even heating. If you are willing to invest in a high-end cookware set, this is one of the best choices.
Best budget set: For those who don't want to spend more than $100 for a cookware set, Cook N Home 2410 Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set is a great option. You will get a 3 qt casserole pot, 1.5 qt saucepan, 1.5 and 2 qt casserole pans, 5.5 qt stockpot, and a 10 in. fry pan with lids, which are made with an aluminum disc layered in the bottom.
Best stylish stainless steel cookware set: polish stainless steel seems plain to you? Try Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper 18/10 Tri-Ply. The hammered copper exterior brings it a vibrant and distinct look. This set has much more than just a pretty appearance. Its aluminum core encased in stainless steel guarantees even heat distribution while the handles are cool and easy to handle during cooking.
Best for small space: Calphalon Premier Space Saving Stainless Steel Supper Club Set is the ideal set for a small kitchen. It is designed for stacking and nesting in any order to save 30% more space. The flat lids make it easy to organize in the cabinets.