Looking to buy cookware? I am here to help. My name is Judith. I am a professional chef. I’ve spent over a decade researching and testing the most well-known cookware brands. I will help you choose the best cookware possible.
What Type of Material Should You Look for?
The first decision that you need to make is the material of the cookware. Once you have decided on a material, you simply need to consider the pieces that come with the set and quality of the set.
There are quite a few different materials for you to choose from. You have probably tried at least a couple of these materials Each one has its own pros and cons. If you are unsure which option is best, then take a moment to learn the advantages and disadvantages of each cookware material. This includes the following materials:
- Stainless steel
- Cast iron
Stainless steel is one of the most common cookware materials. Cookware made from stainless steel is durable, dishwasher safe and relatively affordable. Though, it has a few drawbacks. Stainless steel is not a good conductor. The heat distribution is poor compared to other materials.
If you have your heart set on stainless steel cookware, you should spend a little extra to get a quality set. You can find stainless steel cookware sets with copper or aluminum bottoms. This results in better heat transfer and distribution.
Aluminum offers superior thermal conductivity. In fact, you need to be careful when heating soups or stews in an aluminum pot. The temperature can increase very quickly. This can be good or bad, depending on your preferences.
Aluminum cookware also tends to be lightweight and dishwasher safe. Due to the thin material, aluminum pots and pans are prone to warping. They can also scratch easily, which may result in health concerns.
If choosing aluminum cookware, shop for pots and pans that are made from anodized aluminum. This material has been treated with a process that hardens the aluminum and prevents scratching or warping. Your pots and pans will last longer, but you will notice a slight reduction in heat conductivity when compared to raw aluminum.
Copper is a favorite among chefs and professionals. It has higher heat conductivity than stainless steel and is more durable than aluminum. You can heat a copper pot or pan quickly and it adjusts to changes in temperature just as quickly. You get more control while cooking with copper cookware.
Along with superior heat conductivity and durability, copper cookware has a couple of disadvantages. Copper pots and pans generally cost more than some of your other options. Another issue is that they are not dishwasher safe.
Cast iron used to be a common option for cookware. While the use of cast iron has declined in recent decades, it is still a quality choice. Cast iron pots and pans often have good heat retention. Easily heat your ingredients and maintain a consistent temperature. Cast iron cookware is also perhaps the most durable choice.
The only disadvantage to cast iron is that the material can rust over time. In order to avoid this, you should frequently coat your pots and pans with oil. This prevents rusting and ensures you can continue using your cast iron pots and pans for decades to come.
Non-stick cookware refers to cookware that has been coated with Teflon in order to prevent ingredients from sticking to the cookware. The major advantage of choosing non-stick cookware is that these pots and pans are very easy to wipe clean. You can also use less oil or butter than you would need to with other materials.
The problem with non-stick pots and pans has to do with the Teflon coating. If this coating becomes scratched, the cookware can become a health hazard. Additionally, when Teflon is used at extremely high temperatures, it can release a potentially harmful gas.
If you want to avoid scratching your non-stick pots and pans, then you will want to use wooden or plastic spoons and utensils. I enjoy keeping a non-stick pan around for cooking delicate foods, such as eggs.
If you want the same benefits provided by non-stick, but without the potential health hazards, then consider ceramic. Ceramic is becoming a popular option as it still provides a non-stick surface. However, it does not scratch or release gas the same way that Teflon does.
The only issue with ceramic cookware is that you need to be careful to avoid chipping. If you have ever owned ceramic dinnerware, then you know how delicate this material can be. As long as you are careful, a ceramic cookware set should last for years.
Which Cookware Set Should You Choose?
Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to cooking. I prefer stainless steel and copper cookware. But, you may have your own opinions.
Stainless steel and copper are both durable options. Stainless steel can last a lifetime if you choose a set with an aluminum or copper bottom. For the best all-around quality, I would go with copper.
Consider what is most important to you. There is a set for any price range. Think about your budget, the types of foods that you will be cooking, and how frequently you use your pots and pans.
My Top Cookware Recommendations
Once you know what type of cookware you are looking for, you can start your search for the right set. In order to help you find the best option, I have provided a list of some of my favorite cookware sets. Look over my top cookware recommendations:
Stainless Steel Cookware Set
- All Clad 10 piece cookware set – This is the best cookware set that is currently available. It is an expensive set, but it should last a lifetime.
- Cuisinart MCP-12N MultiClad – Cuisinart is known for quality. Their MCP-12N Multi-Clad set is no exception. An amazing deal for the money and comes with features similar to the All-Clad cookware set.
Copper Cookware Set
- Mauviel M’Heritage 5-Piece Copper Set – This is the highest quality set of copper cookware. It is made by renowned French cookware manufacturer Mauviel.
- Calphalon Tri-Ply Copper 10 Piece Set – Another option is this set from Calphalon. An attractive set of cookware that provides a great value for the asking price.
Aluminum Cookware Set
- T-Fal C770SF Signature Hard Anodized 15-Piece Set – Affordable, yet durable. This set features a scratch resistant, non-stick interior, with a hard anodized aluminum exterior.
Cast Iron Cookware
- Best Cast Iron Cookware – Cheap and very durable. Will last for decades.
Non Stick Cookware
- Best Non Stick Cookware – As mentioned, I only keep one non-stick pan around for cooking delicate items. If you are intent on purchasing a complete non-stick cookware set, then this is one of your best options.
- Best Ceramic Cookware – This set provides an environmentally-friendly alternative to using Teflon non-stick cookware.
While material should be your primary concern, there are a few other considerations that should go into your decision. When shopping for the right cookware set, you should also think about the following:
- Number of pieces
Browse the Top Cookware Set Reviews
Along with these recommendations, you will find other great sets to consider throughout this site. Take the time to review and compare multiple choices before you make your final decision. Remember to consider the material that you would like and then start shopping.