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The Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets

best-stainless-steel-cookware-set

Stainless steel cookware is a timeless classic.

Whether you’ve got a spacious open plan kitchen in a modernist condo or you have a more traditional and homey kitchen, stainless steel always works well.

Durable and capable of performing strongly when you put it through its paces, stainless steel pots and pans are probably the most popular choice.

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Unfortunately, that means you’ll need to wade through a lot of subpar cookware in what’s become a crowded market sector. Unless, that is, you consult our top 10 stainless steel cookware sets and take advantage of our buying guide.

We’ll kick off by highlighting the benefits and drawbacks of rolling with stainless steel pots and pans before we show you what to hunt out on the buying trail.

I. Our Top 5 Picks for Stainless Steel Cookware Sets


II. The Pros and Cons of Stainless Steel Cookware

As with any material, stainless steel comes with its own peculiar advantages and drawbacks.

Pros

  • Durability: Where cast iron is prone to rust, non-stick tends to flake away, and enamel stains stainless steel is rugged and built to last. If you opt for multi-ply cookware, you’ll get pots and pans that are pretty near indestructible. While not cheap, great stainless steel cookware should be viewed as an investment. Looked after properly, you should get years of happy use from a solid set of pots and pans.
  • No rust and no corrosion: Another primary advantage of stainless steel is the protection you’ll enjoy from both rust and corrosion. Beyond this, your cookware shouldn’t pick up any dents or dings either. Metals added such as nickel and chromium further magnify the anti-corrosive properties of stainless steel.
  • Easy to clean and practically zero-maintenance: You can clean stainless steel cookware with ease. You won’t need to take any special precautions with this material either.
  • Sustainable and eco-friendly: Did you know that more than half of stainless steel today is the result of melted and recycled scraps? You can buy this cookware knowing you’re not leaving a hefty eco-footprint.
  • Not food reactive: If you’re cooking acidic recipes, you won’t get any harmful chemicals leaching in with stainless steel crockery.
  • Lightweight despite such durability: Although you get pots and pans built to last, stainless cookware is also light enough for most people to maneuver without too much strain.
  • Aesthetics: Whatever your kitchen décor, stainless steel adds some luster without overpowering.

Cons

  • Weak heat conductivity: Stainless steel is is a pitifully poor heat conductor. For this reason, most stainless steel pans feature copper or aluminum in the base to help mitigate this lack of conductivity. If you don’t have added metals, you’ll need to pack plenty of patience when you’re cooking with stainless steel.
  • No chance of zero-fat cooking: You can’t really sidestep the oil or butter when you’re cooking with stainless cookware. Food tends to stick to the sides unless you use adequate lubrication in the form of cooking oil.
  • Slight learning curve: Give the potential of food to catch on, you’ll need to master the art of cooking with stainless steel cookware.
  • Reasonably costly: Most decent stainless steel cookware is quite pricey. While you can find some bargains – we have several for you below – the majority of stainless steel sets force you to dig deep.

OK, now you have a balanced view of stainless cookware, what do you need to focus on when you’re shopping?


III. What Should You Look for When Buying a Stainless Steel Cookware Set?

What-Should-You-Look-for-When-Buying-a-Stainless-Steel-Cookware-Set

Here are 5 things to bear in mind when you’re checking out stainless steel crockery…

  • Make sure you get the right pots and pans for your needs: Resist the temptation to seek out the set with most pieces. Unless you’re going to use those particular pots and pans, why pay for them? Think about what you cook most often. Consider what crockery is essential for the kind of recipes you typically cook. You should also think about storage. Large cookware sets take up a great deal of space on the kitchen counter and in the cupboard when it’s time to pack it away. Make sure you’ve got the room to house it.
  • Look for an aluminum core to the stainless steel: Despite the many advantages of stainless steel cookware, it doesn’t really retain heat well and tends to cook unevenly. Unless, that is, you opt for cookware containing copper or aluminum cores found in the side walls and the base. This solves the snag of stainless steel’s conductivity. Your food will cook more evenly and the pan will better retain heat.
  • 18/10 is the best bet: 18/10 stainless steel contains 18% chromium and 10% nickel. This is considered the optimum gauge in terms of durability offset against general performance. The chromium offers added protection against rust and corrosion. Nickel imparts a glossy shine to the cookware.
  • Check the handles are sturdy enough: Handles and the way in which they’re attached are the biggest weak point on stainless steel cookware. Check the quality of rivets and ideally look for double riveting. You should also make certain the handles are designed to remain cool to the touch. While using an oven mitt is all well and good, it’s much easier not to need one.
  • Remember lids and accessories count as pieces: Don’t be fooled by what’s described as a 10-piece or 12-piece set. Lids and any accessories are termed pieces so you can end up with far fewer pots than you were imagining. While a 7-piece set sounds quite generous, with the lids factored in, it’s actually a small set. Check closely that you’ll be getting enough pots and pans for your needs.

OK, now you have a solid overview of why you should consider stainless steel cookware, it’s time for our reviews.

While we don’t usually spend much time on the raw features of products, for the sake of your ease, we’ve summarized the exact contents of each set.


IV. Top 10 Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets

1.Our Pick:Cuisinart 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Cuisinart-TPS-10-10-Piece-Tri-ply-Stainless-Steel-Cookware-Set

Our overall winner for the best stainless steel cookware set is this 10-piece batch from the stellar Cuisinart.

You’ll get the following bundled:

  • Saucepan with cover (1.5 quart)
  • Saucepan with cover (2.5 quart)
  • Sauté pan with cover (3 quart)
  • Stockpot with cover (6 quart)
  • Skillet (8 inch)
  • Skillet (10 inch)

Triple-layered stainless steel gives you pans built to stay the distance without being too heavy to maneuver comfortably.

Heat distributes evenly throughout these pans thanks to Heat Surround tech. Since the interior is also stainless steel, you won’t get anything leaching into your food and you’ll get no reaction with flavors either.

Given the efficiency of the heating, it’s essential you have a cool-touch handle so Cuisinart delivers. The handles are also designed not to slip from your grasp as you’re plating up.

You can use this cookware on all types of cooker including induction. The pans are oven safe to a maximum of 500F.

Things We Like

  • Tri-ply stainless steel for maximum durability
  • Heat-surround technology for first-class distribution
  • Works well on all stovetops including induction cookers

Things We Dislike

  • Quite awkward to stack pots due to the lids

2.Upgrade Pick:All-Clad Brushed 18/10 Stainless Steel Cookware Set

All-Clad-BD005707-R-D5-Brushed-18/10-Stainless-Steel-5-Ply-Bonded-Dishwasher-Safe-Cookware-Set

If you have a flexible budget and you’re looking for a seriously decadent set of cookware, All-Clad comes through with this costly but exceptional 7-piece.

The set includes the following:

  • Saucepan with cover (1.5 quart)
  • Sauté pan with cover (3 quart)
  • Stockpot with cover (8 quart)
  • Frying pan (10 inch)

All-Clad are the only manufacturer to interweave stainless steel and aluminum in this innovative fashion and that comes at a cost. If you can weather the stiff price tag, you’ll benefit enormously when it comes time to rustle up dinner.

The all-natural finish prevents food from sticking to the sides without resorting to Teflon.

Optimized for induction cookers but suitable for use on all stoves, you’ll get versatile, eye-catching and durable cookware in this 7-piece set from an industry legend.

Things We Like

  • 5 bonded layers of aluminum and stainless steel
  • Natural non-stick surface without any menacing Teflon
  • Encourages completely even cooking

Things We Dislike

  • You’ll need to dig seriously deep for this 7-piece

3.Best Budget:Cook N Home 12-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Cook-N-Home-NC-00250-12-Piece-Stainless-Steel-Cookware-Set

If you don’t have the budget to stretch to the All-Clad above, Cook N Home serves up a much cheaper alternative that doesn’t stiff you on the performance front.

Here’s what you can expect to find in the 12-piece set:

  • Saucepan with cover (1.5 quart)
  • Saucepot casserole with cover (1.5 quart)
  • Saucepot casserole with cover (2 quart)
  • Saucepot casserole with cover (3 quart)
  • Sauté fry pan with cover (10 inch)
  • Stockpot with cover (5.5 quart)

Note: Typically, manufacturers include the lids as pieces so don’t think you’re getting more when in reality a 12-piece set is only 6 pans with accompanying covers.

This set of pots works well across all cookers including induction models.

The only significant downside is the relatively weak rivets attaching the handles. We have to say, though, that you need to expect some kind of compromise when you’re getting such a bargain. So, as long as you keep your expectations reasonable, you might be pleasantly surprised by this cheap yet effective stainless steel cookware.

Things We Like

  • Ideal for use on all cookers including halogen and induction cookers
  • Good to pop in the oven up to 500F
  • Dishwasher-friendly set

Things We Dislike

  • Rivets attaching handles could be stronger

4. Cuisinart 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Cuisinart-FCT-10-French-Classic-Tri-Ply-Stainless-10-Piece-Cookware-Set

If you’re looking for a robust set of cookware covering all main bases, Cuisinart’s 10-piece stainless set comes in their trademark triple-layered steel.

Here’s what comes bundled:

  • Saucepan with cover (2 quart)
  • Sauté pan with cover (3 quart)
  • Stockpot with cover (8 quart)
  • Dutch oven with cover (4.5 quart)
  • Open skillet (8 inch)
  • Open skillet (10 inch)

Beyond this configuration, you can pick up Cuisinart cookware in a broad spread of sizings and pieces.

The handles might be stainless but they’re designed to stay cool to the touch. This is sadly something overlooked by all too many manufacturers so hats off to Cuisinart.

Crowned by a lifetime warranty, you really can’t ask for much more, especially when you take the pocket-friendly pricing into account.

Things We Like

  • Triple-ply stainless steel build for longevity and even heat distribution
  • Safe to use in the oven to 500F and on all types of stovetop
  • Dishwasher-friendly simplifying clean-up

Things We Dislike

  • Handles feel too heavy for the pans

5. Anolon Nouvelle Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Anolon-75818-Nouvelle-Stainless-Steel-Cookware-Pots-and-Pans-Set

Anolon has a hard-won reputation for peddling great kitchenware at relatively keen prices. This 10-piece stainless steel set continues that fine tradition.

You’ll get the usual collection of saucepans, frying pans, sauté pans and stockpots you’d expect from a cookware set. Here’s what’s included:

  • Saucepan with cover (1.25 quart)
  • Saucepan with cover (2.5 quart)
  • Sauté pan with cover (3 quart)
  • Stockpot with cover (6.5 quart)
  • Frying pan (8 inch)
  • Frying pan (10.5 inch)

Copper is mixed in with the stainless steel for enhanced conductivity and improved heat control.

Most cookware is at its weakest where the handle joins the pot or pan. Double-riveted with flat rivets, you shouldn’t experience any problems with this set.

The lids are also deep-seated stainless. This helps to keep the heat and moisture where it belongs while you’re cooking up a storm.

As with most of the finest cookware, these pots and pans come guaranteed for life so you should consider this an investment rather than an expense.

Things We Like

  • Safe to use with induction cookers and also dishwasher-friendly
  • Dual-riveted for extra strength at the normal weak points
  • Oven-safe at temperatures to 500F

Things We Dislike

  • Some complaints about food sticking to the surface

6. Magma Products 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Magma-Products,-A10-360L-IND,-10-Piece-Gourmet-Nesting-Stainless-Steel-Cookware-Set

Next up, a brash set of stainless steel cookware from Magma Products delivering 10 pieces as follows:

  • Saucepan with interchangeable lid (1.5 quart)
  • Saucepan with interchangeable lid (2 quart)
  • Saucepan with interchangeable lid (3 quart)
  • Sauté pan with interchangeable lid (9.5 inch)
  • Stockpot with cover (5 quart)
  • 2 removable handles
  • Storage cord

If you’re tight on storage space, you’ll appreciate the way these pots and pans nest together so you can keep them in a fairly small cupboard.

The mirror-polished stainless steel comes with triple-layered bases to promote consistent heat distribution whatever you’re whipping up in the kitchen.

You also save space with the interchangeable lids. You’ll get one to share between the various saucepans while another lid does double-duty for your stockpot and sauté pan. With a pair of removable handles supplied, you remove another storage flashpoint. Overall, you’ll need less than ½ cubic foot of storage space.

Beyond making a great choice for apartment dwellers due to this compact footprint, you’ll get long-lasting and highly effective cookware making this one of the most competitive sets on our shortlist.

Things We Like

  • Superb price/performance ratio
  • Space-saving nested pans with onboard cord storage
  • Safe to pop this cookware in the dishwasher and the oven

Things We Dislike

  • Heavy branding is not to everyone’s liking

7. All-Clad 7-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

All-Clad-8400001958-4007AZ-D3-Stainless-Steel-Dishwasher-Safe-Induction-Compatible-Cookware-Set

With another set from All-Clad up next, you know you’ll need to dig pretty deep. Is this cookware really worth the money, though?

We would have to say yes, as long as you can afford it. A set like this is highly likely to return many years of faithful service rendering it reasonable value considering you’ll probably use it every single day.

Here’s what comes with this 7-piece set:

  • Saucepan with cover (3 quart)
  • Sauté pan with cover (3 quart)
  • Stockpot with cover (8 quart)
  • Frying pan (10 inch)

As with any pricier set of cookware, you need to establish whether or not you feel you’ll get adequate value. If you’re a keen cook and hit the kitchen daily, this is a no-brainer. If you’re only a casual cook and seldom get too ambitious in the kitchen, you might want to ask yourself whether you could get away with something cheaper.

If you’re looking to buy into All-Clad without spending a fortune, this smaller 7-piece set makes the perfect entry-point.

Things We Like

  • Compact set delivering everything you need for most recipes
  • Built to last a lifetime with stainless steel and aluminum interweaved
  • Safe in the oven or broiler to a staggering 600F

Things We Dislike

  • We can’t help but mention that stiff price-tag

8. Cuisinart 7-Piece Chef’s Set

Cuisinart-77-7-Chef's-Classic-Stainless-7-Piece-Cookware-Set

Another set for anyone with a smaller kitchen or living in an apartment next with this 7-piece stainless steel cookware from Cuisinart.

The kit includes the following:

  • Saucepan with cover (1.5 quart)
  • Saucepan with cover (3 quart)
  • Stockpot with cover (8 quart)
  • Open skillet (10 inch)

The stainless steel construction is improved with the addition of aluminum in the base. This speeds up heating so you can get more done in less time.

Cool-touch helper handles are a nifty extra when it comes time to plate up.

If you’re looking to find some quality cookware finished in stainless steel without going all-in on some costly All-Clad, Cuisinart always comes through with some top-tier products quite reasonably priced.

The only real niggle with this set is the skillet. There’s a fair difference in heat distribution between the bottom and the sides. In all other respects, though, this set punches above its weight.

Things We Like

  • Aluminum in the base speeds up heating
  • Covers designed to lock in all the moisture as you’re getting creative in the kitchen
  • Stainless steel handles cool to the touch

Things We Dislike

  • Skillet doesn’t perform as strongly as the other pieces

9. Duxtop 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Duxtop-Whole-Clad-Tri-Ply-Stainless-Steel-Induction-Ready-Premium-Cookware

If you’re looking for a mid-range set of stainless steel cookware from a highly reputable brand, this 10-piece from Duxtop is well worth your further investigation.

You can expect the following:

  • Saucepan with cover (1.6 quart)
  • Saucepan with cover (3 quart)
  • Sauté pan with cover (3 quart)
  • Saucepot with cover (6.5 quart)
  • Frying pan (8 inch)
  • Frying pan (10 inch)

If you use an induction cooker, this entire set is tailor-made. You can also safely press these pots and pans into action on infrared cookers and a full range of other ovens.

Oven safe to 550F, you can also pop this crockery in the dishwasher to streamline clean-up.

As with all Duxtop cookware, you’ll benefit from a no-quibbles lifetime warranty so what’s not to love?

Things We Like

  • Suitable for all cookers including induction and infrared stovetops
  • Triple-layered stainless steel build to reduce the chance of any hotspots
  • Limited lifetime warranty removes any trepidation from purchase

Things We Dislike

  • Prone to slight discoloration over time

10. Calphalon 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Calphalon-Classic-Pots-And-Pans-Set,-10-Piece-Cookware-Set,-Stainless-Steel

Last but absolutely not least in our round-up of the best stainless steel cookware, heavyweight Calphalon comes good with this 10-piece set perfect for large families.

You get the following equipment at a keen price-point:

  • Saucepan with cover (1.5 quart)
  • Saucepan with cover (2.5 quart)
  • Sauté pan with cover (3 quart)
  • Stockpot with cover (6 quart)
  • Frying pan (8 inch)
  • Frying pan (10 inch)

Fill lines on the pots and pans make your life so much easier. It’s these small touches that differentiate excellent cookware from the merely workaday.

Straining holes that align with the pour spouts means you can get away without using a separate colander. Again, it’s these small time-savers any busy cook will truly appreciate.

Calphalon backs this cookware set with a comprehensive lifetime guarantee so you can’t really ask for too much more.

Things We Like

  • Aluminum base to make heating even brisker
  • No weak points where the handles mount thanks to heavy-duty double rivets
  • Covered by lifetime guarantee giving you complete peace of mind

Things We Dislike

  • Quite a bulky set so make sure you have room to accommodate

V. Conclusion

OK, you should now be clear on which cookware sets make the best fit for your family and the amount of storage space you have available.

Most of the pots and pans we highlight today are broadly similar. After all, you’re not looking for crockery that reinvents the wheel, classic and traditional is what you’re after.

Probably most important of all when you’re buying cookware sets is to establish what you need before you hit the buying trail. If you don’t have a clear idea of how many pots and pans you want, it’s all too easy to get carried away

Don’t forget, bookmark The PrinceLA as your go-to resource when you want any advice on home and garden-related products. We update our content regularly so come back soon!

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