Best Cookware Sets

Top 10 Rated Cookware Sets2014

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Cookware pieces come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. Some of the most common and popular materials for pots and pans are stainless steel and hard anodized aluminum with a non-stick surface. We looked at a number of cookware sets and selected our top 10 based on the following factors:

1. Ease of cleaning—either dishwasher safe or easy to wash by hand with little sticking
2. Even and fast heating with no hotspots
3. Durable, sturdy construction
4. Easy-grip handles that stay cool to the touch
5. Good value for the price
6. A comprehensive mix of saucepans, pots, skillets, and other assorted tools
7. Safe to bake in the oven
8. No warping or staining
9. Tight-fitting lids

10 pieces
1.5-quart saucepan with lid
3.5-quart saute pan with helper
8-quart stockpot with cover
10-inch open skillet
Stainless steel

A handsome, durable cookware set from Cuisinart, it includes various saucepans and skillets, plus a large stock pot and saute pan…
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12 pieces
1.5- and 3-quart covered saucepans
8- and 10-inch open skillets
8-quart covered stockpot
18/10 stainless steel exterior
Aluminum cores

Cuisinart’s multiclad 12-piece cookware set features a unique blend of aluminum on the inside and stainless steel on the outside for both fast heating…
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3 covered saucepans
2 covered saucepots
2 non-stick aluminum skillets
1 9”x 13” cooking sheet
18/10 stainless steel
Phenolic handles

Farberware has provided a great deal for families just starting out in a new home or looking to replace an old cookware set. This 17-piece set…
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10 pieces
1- and 2-quart covered saucepans
5-quart covered Dutch oven
3-quart covered casserole
8- and 9.5-inch fry pans
Thick gauge aluminum
Soft-grip handles

We were very pleased with the Cook N Home NC-00359, a ten-piece cookware set that comes in a bright, cheerful red. The cookware, which includes a Dutch oven, casserole, and fry pans…
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1.5-, 2-, and 3-quart saucepans
8-, 10-, and 12-inch skillets
4-quart saute pan
9-quart stockpot
7.75- and 9.5-inch steamer inserts
18/10 stainless steel

Cuisinart consistently produces high-quality cookware for affordable prices. This 17-piece set, for $173.99, provides enough pots, pans, skillets…
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12 pieces
8- and 10.25-inch frying pan
1- and 2-quart saucepan with lid
5-quart Dutch oven with lid
Slotted turner
Steel, copper, and aluminum bases

This cookware set from T-Fal features copper bottoms that helps distribute heat evenly, reducing hotspots. Shiny stainless steel coats the aluminum core…
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6-quart Dutch oven
3-quart covered casserole
2-quart covered saucepan
8-inch fry pan
5 nylon tools
Heavy-gauge aluminum

For a relatively inexpensive cookware set at $67.04, these aluminum pots and pans are sturdy and good quality. Their non-stick surfaces make cleanup easy…
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1-, 2-, and 3-quart covered saucepans
8- and 10-inch skillets
6-quart covered stockpot
Hard anodized aluminum
Non-stick surface
Dual-riveted stainless handles

An attractive cookware set as much as it’s functional and practical, this KitchenAid 10-piece set is made of hard anodized aluminum with scratch-resistant…
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8-inch saute pan
10.25-inch saute pan
1-, 2-, and 3-quart covered saucepans
5-quart Dutch oven with lid
Aluminum
Hard anodized exterior

This T-Fal 12-piece cookware set comes with 3 covered saucepans instead of just 2, so you can cook a variety of meals all at once…
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Duxtop SSIB-17  7.5/10

17-piece induction ready cookware
8- and 10-inch fry pans
1.6- and 2.5-quart lidded saucepans
4.2-quart lidded casserole and 8.6-quart lidded stock pot
18/10 stainless steel with aluminum bottoms

If you’re a cooking aficionado looking for professional-quality cookware, then look no further than the Duxtop SSIB-17, a 17-piece cookware set that is induction ready. Made of high-grade stainless steel…
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Cookware Set Buying Guide

Tips for Buying a Cookware Set

These days, people seem to be divided along the line of stainless steel vs. anodized aluminum, non-stick cookware sets. Both materials have their pros and cons, and both are popular. You need to decide what other features are important to you so you can select the best quality set for your budget.

Price

Most decent cookware sets start out at about $100. If you go too cheap, you could wind up with a low-quality set that warps, stains, and falls apart after regular use.

Versatile functions

A cookware set is a worthwhile investment because you get all the essential kitchen pieces you need for a reasonable price. The trick is to make sure the set you buy has the most important cookware items and not too many extraneous pieces that merely raise the price. Look for sets with a lidded saucepan, a skillet/frying pan, and a stockpot. A straight-edged saute pan is also useful. Sometimes the set offers a Dutch oven instead of a stockpot, but they both serve many of the same functions.

You don’t necessarily need multiple sizes of the same thing unless you’re an avid cook and you like to have a lot of pots and pans going at once. After you have all the essential tools in a set, any additional pieces either sweeten the deal or jack up the price, depending on your perspective. Compare sets and prices to get an idea of what’s a fair deal.

Material

Stainless steel is the most versatile material for cookware. It’s highly durable, not likely to warp or get dings if you set it down hard. Stainless steel also doesn’t pit or react to acidic and alkaline ingredients. But it has its downsides, too. Unless the pots and pans have an aluminum core or a base of aluminum or copper, the stainless steel won’t conduct heat very efficiently.

Aluminum is another common choice because it’s an effective conductor. You’ll see some cookware sets described as hard anodized, which means the aluminum went through a special process to be reinforced and made stronger. Some aluminum cookware have non-stick surfaces, which are ideal for easy hand washing. That’s a good thing, because putting aluminum cookware in the dishwasher normally isn’t advised.

Quality design

It’s the little things that make a big difference when it comes to cookware. You want the pots and pans to be heavy and sturdy enough to feel durable, but you don’t want them so heavy that they’re hard to maneuver on the stovetop.

Handles should stay cool to the touch even while you’re heating the pots to a boil. Contoured, easy-to-grip handles are beneficial for safety and comfort reasons. Lids should fit securely over the pots and pans to trap the heat, moisture, and nutrients of the food. If you have a pot rack, look for cookware with hooks on the handles so you can hang them up.

Even if you’re on a tight budget, it’s best to spring for the highest-quality set you can afford. Cheap pots and pans of poor quality will only cost you more in the long run when you have to replace them. Also consider saving up for specialty cookware items, such as stir-fry pans or cast-iron skillets. The more you build up your cookware collection, the more versatile cooking tasks you’ll be able to perform.

Brittany Rowland Brittany Rowland researches new developments in Appliances, Kitchen and CE products features with a vigor to which few would aspire… but someone has to do it. See more about Brittany

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