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Three complete cookware sets are lined up on a kitchen island Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Best Cookware Sets of 2022

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Three complete cookware sets are lined up on a kitchen island Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

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Editor's Choice Product image of HexClad Hybrid Cookware 13-Piece Chef's Package
Best Overall

HexClad Hybrid Cookware 13-Piece Chef's Package

This hybrid cookware set exceeded our expectations by balancing the benefits of stainless steel cookware with the ease of use of nonstick. Read More

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Great for searing
  • Easy to clean
  • Induction capable

Cons

  • Not as nonstick as other pans
Editor's Choice Product image of All-Clad HA1 Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Set
Best Nonstick Cookware Set

All-Clad HA1 Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Set

This hard-anodized nonstick cookware set contains everything you need to cook a fantastic meal. Read More

Pros

  • Lids fit tightly
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable build

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Hard to store
Editor's Choice Product image of Cuisinart MCP-12N Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set
Best Value

Cuisinart MCP-12N Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set

The tri-ply construction gave the pans the benefit of heat conductivity, but the aluminum core ensures they’re not too heavy to handle. Read More

Pros

  • Great value
  • Easy to use
  • Sears meat perfectly

Cons

  • Nothing we could find
Editor's Choice Product image of Hestan NanoBond Titanium Ultimate Set, 10-Piece
Best Upgrade

Hestan NanoBond Titanium Ultimate Set, 10-Piece

This top-tier set has all performance you expect in its high price range: even heating, steady simmering, impressive durability, and the pans are easy to work with. Read More

Pros

  • Beautiful
  • Distributes heat evenly
  • Very durable—heat resistant up to 1050°F

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Requires polishing
Product image of Hestan ProBond Forged Stainless Steel Ultimate Set, 10-Piece

Hestan ProBond Forged Stainless Steel Ultimate Set, 10-Piece

While not as durable as Hestan's NanoBond line, these pots and pans are similarly well-constructed, with even heating, flush rivets, and are a good weight. Read More

Pros

  • Beautiful
  • Distributes heat evenly
  • Comprehensive set

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Requires polishing

To realize your full culinary potential, you’ll want a full set of great cookware. You can build a set yourself, but researching the best pots and pans takes time, and piecemealing a set costs way more money than buying one. But buying a cookware set is complicated, too: there are dozens of choices, and some are more useful than others.

We've spent years testing dozens of the most popular pot and pan sets around, and our current favorite is the HexClad Hybrid Cookware Chef’s Package (available at HexClad). With 13 pieces, including some bonus items, it's everything a home cook needs.

Our former top pick, the Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Set (available at Amazon), is still a great option, and our favorite value pick.

Here are the best cookware sets we tested ranked, in order:

  1. HexClad Hybrid Cookware 13-Piece Chef's Package
  2. All-Clad HA1 Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece
  3. Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece
  4. Hestan NanoBond Titanium 10-Piece Ultimate
  5. Hestan ProBond Forged Stainless Steel 10-Piece Ultimate
  6. T-fal C561SC Titanium Advanced Nonstick 12-Piece
  7. Equal Parts The Cookware Set
  8. GreenPan Premiere Ceramic Nonstick 11-Piece
  9. Anolon Advanced Home 11-Piece
  10. Caraway Cookware
  11. All-Clad Brushed Stainless Steel 5-Ply Bonded 10-Piece
  12. Tramontina 12-Piece Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Clad
  13. Circulon Symmetry Black 11-Piece
  14. Great Jones Family Style
HexClad pots and pans sit on a kitchen counter.
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

HexClad was the best cookware set we tested, providing a hybrid cooking surface that combines stainless steel with the ease-of-use of nonstick.

Best Overall
HexClad Hybrid Cookware 13-Piece Chef's Package

HexClad boasts technology that combines the best features of stainless steel with the ease of nonstick pans in one neat package. The combination makes it our Best Overall cookware set.

These pans differ from most nonstick options. They can’t cook an egg without oil, for instance. But they heat up quickly and evenly like nonstick should, and they exhibit nonstick properties when seasoned and used with a little cooking oil. The tough, laser-etched hexagon top holds its own against metal utensils, unlike most nonstick.

Our chicken thighs had some of the most even, gorgeous searing of any skillet we’ve used. Clean-up was exceptionally easy because any built-up is wiped away easily with a paper towel.

The pans feature tri-ply construction (like multi-clad stainless steel pans), but they’re significantly lighter. We could toss vegetables with ease, and the ergonomic, rounded handles felt great to use. The saucepans also have a bowl-like shape on the interior, making it much easier to stir into the edges to keep sauces from burning.

This set is not inexpensive, but whether you’re building a starter kitchen or refreshing, it has everything you need. The Hybrid Cookware Chef’s Package comes with 8-, 10- and 12-inch frying pans, 2- and 3-quart saucepots, an 8-quart stockpot, and a 12-inch wok. The inclusion of a magnetic layer makes them compatible with induction cooktops.

Pros

  • Lightweight

  • Great for searing

  • Easy to clean

  • Induction capable

Cons

  • Not as nonstick as other pans

All-Clad HA1 nonstick cookware set displayed on kitchen counter.
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Our favorite nonstick cookware is the All-Clad HA1 Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set.

Best Nonstick Cookware Set
All-Clad HA1 Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Set

If you’re specifically after a great nonstick set, the All-Clad HA1 Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set has your back. It aced our tests in style with a sleek, black finish and shiny metal handles. The handles are long enough to create a perfect balance with each pan, and All-Clad’s signature concave shape makes them super comfortable to hold.

The pans are a little heavier, because they’re well-built with durable, heavy-gauge hard-anodized aluminum. All-Clad also coats them with three layers of PFOA-free nonstick material, creating a slick finish that helps the food release easily.

They perform well, too. The lid fit tightly onto the saucepots, trapping steam inside to create some of the best rice in the testing group. We were also impressed at how crispy our chicken skin became. This set creates a hard sear most nonsticks can’t touch.

Put it all together, and this set became the clear choice for anyone who prefers nonstick. Our only major complaint was the pans don’t nest very well, making storage more difficult.

This hard-anodized nonstick set certainly seems expensive at first glance, but its wide variety of pots and pans make it worth every penny. It includes 8- and 10-inch frying pans, 2.5- and 3.5-quart saucepans, a 4-quart sauté pan, and an 8-quart stockpot.

Pros

  • Lids fit tightly

  • Easy to clean

  • Durable build

Cons

  • Heavy

  • Hard to store

Cuisinart cookware set
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar
Best Value
Cuisinart MCP-12N Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set

The Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Set, our former Best Overall, offers incredible performance at a great value. The medium-sized sauté pan comfortably fit four chicken thighs and seared each one to perfection. The large stockpot is well-sized for making soup, cooking pasta, or blanching vegetables, and is dishwasher-safe for an added bonus.

In addition to their performance and quality, these pans are easy to use. The triple-ply construction offers great heat conductivity, but the anodized aluminum core makes them light enough to easily handle. It’s a fraction of the cost of our new top pick, and big retailers often put it on sale. That made it a no-brainer for our Best Value pick.

The set includes everything you need to cook a meal: two saucepans (1 1/2- and 3-quart), an 8-quart stockpot, a medium-sized 3.5-quart sauté pan, two skillets (8- and 10-inch), and a steamer insert—all with comfortable handles and a nicely-balanced design that easy to hold.

Pros

  • Great value

  • Easy to use

  • Sears meat perfectly

Cons

  • Nothing we could find

Pots and pans from the Hestan NanoBond 10-piece cookware set sit on a kitchen counter.
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

We were impressed by the exceptional performance of the Hestan NanoBond 10-piece set.

Best Upgrade
Hestan NanoBond Titanium Ultimate Set, 10-Piece

While we know every shopper can't justify the price, Hestan's NanoBond is an exceptional line of cookware that’s worth the dough if you have it. It’s gorgeous to look at, feels good in the hand, and offers the kind of performance you’d expect at this price—even heating, steady simmering, and no burning at the bottom or in the corners.

Nanobond bonds thousands of titanium-based nanolayers to its cookware’s stainless-steel surfaces. They claim this makes it 400% stronger than traditional stainless steel, and more resistant to staining and scratching. These pieces can even take heat up to 1050°F!

This line offers just about every performance and ease-of-use feature you could ever want. The 10-piece set includes 8.5- and 11-inch skillets, 1.5- and 3-quart saucepans, a 3.5-quart sauté pan, and an 8-quart stockpot. Read our full review here.

Pros

  • Beautiful

  • Distributes heat evenly

  • Very durable—heat resistant up to 1050°F

Cons

  • Very expensive

  • Requires polishing


Other Cookware Sets We Tested

Product image of Hestan ProBond Forged Stainless Steel Ultimate Set, 10-Piece
Hestan ProBond Forged Stainless Steel Ultimate Set, 10-Piece

Hestan ProBond is great-looking and high-performing cookware, competitively priced with stainless steel sets from All-Clad. While not as exceptionally durable as their NanoBond line, these pieces are similarly well-constructed, with even heating, flush rivets, and a good weight.

The 10-piece set includes 8.5- and 11-inch skillets, 1.5- and 3-quart saucepans, a 3.5-quart sauté pan, and an 8-quart stockpot. It’s a solid assortment of basics at a better price than buying individual pieces. You can supplement your set with ProBond nonstick skillets, but you’ll have to look to another brand for a Dutch oven.

Pros

  • Beautiful

  • Distributes heat evenly

  • Comprehensive set

Cons

  • Expensive

  • Requires polishing

Product image of T-Fal C561SC Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set
T-Fal C561SC Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set

For a great, inexpensive nonstick set, look no further than the T-Fal C561SC Titanium Advanced Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set. Like most nonstick cookware, it’s easier to clean than regular pans, especially after frying.

While a nonstick pan will rarely rival a stainless one for searing meat, this set performed admirably. It cooked eggs perfectly without requiring any extra oil, and the saucepots simmered sauces and cooked rice without scorching. To top it all off, the stockpot boiled water faster than any others in our test group, the pans heated quickly and evenly, and the comfortable, padded handles stayed cool.

This nonstick set covers all the bases and includes some extras: two saucepans (1- and 2-quart), a 5-quart stockpot, a large 5-quart sauté pan, two skillets (8- and 9-inch), a spatula, and a slotted spoon.

Pros

  • Cooked eggs and simmered sauces perfectly

  • Fast water-boiling speed

  • Comfortable, padded handles

Cons

  • Can't sear meat as well as a stainless set

Product image of Equal Parts The Cookware Set
Equal Parts The Cookware Set

Equal Parts made one of our favorite nonstick pans, so it’s no surprise that we loved their entire set. For starters, these pans are absolutely gorgeous, which somehow makes cooking out of them that much more fun.

Each pan features comfortable handles that didn’t get too hot, and the ceramic nonstick coating got a great sear on the chicken without burning any residue onto the bottom, making clean-up a breeze! The pans also stack nicely and feature universal lids, making this set perfect for anyone with storage constraints.

The ceramic coated nonstick set is definitely minimal, though, and the price tag is a little high for four pans. It comes with an 8-inch Fry Pan, 3.5-quart Sauce Pan, 10-inch Essential Pan (a sauté pan with 2.5-inch tall sides), and an 8-quart oven-safe stockpot.

Pros

  • Gorgeous appearance

  • Easy to store

  • Great nonstick performance

Cons

  • Only includes four pots and pans

Product image of GreenPan Premiere Ceramic Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
GreenPan Premiere Ceramic Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set

GreenPan was the first company to produce ceramic nonstick pans, and they have dozens of cookware sets to choose from. We tested the 11-piece Premiere Ceramic set because of its stainless-steel construction, which is heavier than aluminum but more durable.

Some of the premium nonstick sets we tested were skimpy on pieces, but not this one. You get six well-built pots and pans, plus lids and a steamer basket. The nonstick properties were top-notch, and the pans included small details that we appreciated, like rounded handles that stayed cool as you cooked and recessed handle rivets that made them easy to clean.

On the flip side, they didn’t heat as evenly as some of the other sets we tested, and it was a little hard to stir into the corners of the saucepans. They were also a little on the heavy side, but that’s well worth it for a well-built pan.

This Williams Sonoma exclusive set includes 9.5- and 12-inch frying pans, 1.5- and 3-quart saucepans, a 3-quart sauté pan, a 6-quart stockpot, and a stainless steel steamer insert.

Pros

  • Great nonstick properties

  • Offers a variety of pots and pans

  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Heavy

  • Doesn't heat evenly

Product image of Anolon Advanced Home 11-Piece Cookware Set
Anolon Advanced Home 11-Piece Cookware Set

At first glance, the Anolon Advanced Home 11-Piece Cookware Set doesn’t seem very different from the Anolon Advanced set, but its performance blew its predecessor out of the water.

This upgraded version has an enhanced nonstick finish that performed much better on our tests. The eggs flipped with ease, and the rice simmered perfectly without browning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. We also loved the soft, ergonomic handles, and were thrilled when they didn’t get hot after extended use.

On the flip side, the pans didn’t heat as evenly as multi-clad stainless steel, and they couldn’t produce a hard sear on the chicken thighs, either. Still, if you want a nonstick pan set, this one won’t disappoint.

In addition to the standards—two saucepots (1.5- and 3-quart), an 8.5-quart stockpot, and a medium-sized 3-quart sauté pan—you’ll get a small and a large skillet (8.5- and 12-inch). The second, larger skillet is a nice upgrade from the standard 10-inch, giving you plenty of room to make stir-fries or other one-pot meals.

Pros

  • Food doesn’t stick

  • Easy to clean

  • Comfortable handles

Cons

  • Doesn’t heat evenly

  • Doesn’t sear as well as stainless

Product image of Caraway Cookware Set
Caraway Cookware Set

If the gorgeous appearance of the Caraway Cookware Set doesn’t make you want to buy it, the attention to detail will definitely push you over the edge. The set comes with four pans, three lids, and two specially-designed storage pieces. The modular racks house the pans on their side so they’ll easily fit inside a cabinet, and the genius canvas lid holder can hang on the inside of the door.

The pans’ performance absolutely met our expectations. The lid features a small hole to allow steam to escape, producing some of the better rice in the group. It also passed our nonstick tests, allowing eggs to slide around without any cooking oil. That said, the set lost some points because it doesn’t contain a full set of pots and pans, despite the high price tag.

This ceramic nonstick set includes one 10.5-inch frying pan (skipping the smaller 8-inch egg pan that comes with most cookware sets). You’ll also get a 3-quart saucepan, 4.5-quart sauté pan, and a 6.5-inch Dutch oven (which is a great bonus item instead of a traditional stockpot). If you don’t need the smaller pan to cover your bases, you’ll be happy with the Caraway.

Pros

  • Beautiful appearance

  • Easy to store

  • Includes a Dutch oven

Cons

  • Doesn't offer a variety of cookware sizes

Product image of All-Clad BD005710-R D5 Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set
All-Clad BD005710-R D5 Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set

All-Clad is well known for top-of-the-line (and expensive) cookware. The All-Clad BD005710-R D5 Brushed 18/10 Stainless Steel 5-Ply Bonded 10-Piece Cookware Set is no exception. These 5-ply, bonded stainless-steel pans offer undeniably superior heat distribution and performance, but a few shortcomings pushed them down in the ranks.

First, the very hefty price tag is hard to swallow, especially since the heavy material makes it harder to flip vegetables or pour out the contents with ease. The straight, stainless steel handle design doesn’t help either, throwing off the balance and making you really feel the weight of each pan.

That said, if you’re willing to shell out the money (or have a wedding registry in your near future), these pots and pans will last a lifetime. The set comes with two saucepots (1.5- and 3-quart), an 8-quart stockpot, a medium-sized 3-quart sauté pan, and two skillets (8- and 10-inch).

Pros

  • Superior heat distribution

  • Long-lasting

Cons

  • Hefty price tag

  • Too heavy

  • Straight-handle design

Product image of Tramontina 80116/249DS Tri-Ply 12-Piece Cookware Set
Tramontina 80116/249DS Tri-Ply 12-Piece Cookware Set

If you regularly make large amounts of soup or stock, you may want to consider the Tramontina 12-Piece Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Clad Cookware Set. It’s the only set that came with a 12-quart stockpot. That's overkill for boiling pasta or blanching vegetables, but perfect for larger batch recipes. The wide handles were comfortable to hold, and the tri-ply construction provided even heating, from browning chicken breasts to cooking sauces without scorching.

You’ll get some larger-sized pots and pans with this set for a great price. (But if you’re looking for small 1-quart saucepans, this isn’t the set for you.) The roomier pans are nice, giving you more space to cook larger quantities while still fitting on a standard range top. You’ll find two saucepots (3- and 5-quart), two stockpots (5- and 12-quart), a large 5-quart sauté pan, and two skillets (10- and 12-inch) in the set.

Pros

  • Even heating

  • Large enough

  • Roomier pans

Cons

  • Lacks smaller pans

Product image of Circulon Symmetry Hard Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
Circulon Symmetry Hard Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set

Each pan in the Circulon Symmetry Black 11-Piece Cookware Set has raised, concentric circles on the nonstick surface. However these ridges came to be a Circulon signature trait, they definitely work to keep food from sticking to the pan!

In addition to acing the nonstick tests, the Circulon pans performed well overall, except that the tall-and-skinny stockpot design took the longest in the group to boil water. Overall, these were some of the more comfortable pans we used, with well-thought-out, padded handles and nicely balanced weight.

This set has a nice variety of items, including three saucepots (1-, 2-, and 3-quart), an 8-quart stockpot, a medium-sized 3-quart sauté pan, and two skillets (8.5- and 10-inch). Everything you’d need in just the right sizes!

Pros

  • Food doesn't stick

  • Comfortable handles

Cons

  • Boils water slowly

Product image of Great Jones Family Style
Great Jones Family Style

From a performance perspective, we really liked the pans included in the Great Jones Family Style Set. The small nonstick pan is one of our favorites, and we loved the way the saucepan had measurements etched into the side for ease of measuring. The handles are welded to the pans, too, making clean-up so much easier than scrubbing around traditional rivets.

The pans passed our tests with flying colors, but the set itself doesn’t contain all the items we consider essential. For example, we’d really like to see a small saucepot and a 12-inch skillet in the mix. And while we liked how the sauté pan and stockpot share a lid to save storage space, we wondered what we’d do if we wanted to cook with both pans covered at once.

The price seems high for a set that’s missing so many pieces. That said, it’s the only set we tested that includes a Dutch oven. That’s a big selling point, considering that a single Le Creuset Dutch Oven can cost almost as much as this entire set!

The set comes with Great Jones’s “Small Fry” (an 8.5-inch nonstick pan), and three fully-clad stainless pieces: “Deep Cut” (a 10.25-inch deep sauté pan), “Saucy” (a 3-quart saucepan), and “Big Deal” (an 8-quart stockpot). It also includes the “Dutchess,” a gorgeous 6.75 quart Dutch oven available in several colors.

Pros

  • Includes a Dutch oven

  • Distributes heat evenly

  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Doesn’t include several essential pieces

  • Handles get very hot


How We Tested Cookware Sets

A white plate is filled with rice,  a perfectly cooked chicken breast, and asparagus spears.
Credit: Reviewed /Lindsay D. Mattison

We cooked a complete meal using multiple pots pans to help determine each set's performance.

The Tester

Hi, I’m Lindsay Mattison, a trained professional chef and dinner party enthusiast. I’m the type of person that uses every single pot and pan in the house when I’m cooking dinner. (I’ll probably dirty up all the tasting spoons and mise en place bowls, too). I definitely understand the importance of having the right set of pots and pans to get the job done! It wasn’t easy testing all these samples (and my house was quite cluttered for a few weeks), but it was well worth it to help you find the best cookware for the right value.

Professional chef and food writer Sharon Franke also contributed testing and writing to this piece for both Hestan sets.

The Tests

After selecting over a dozen top-rated cookware sets (a combination of stainless steel and nonstick), we cooked a multi-component meal using each set. To function for everyday life, the pots and pans had to be sized appropriately to cook dinner for one. But we also wanted to know if you could easily cook a larger meal (like Thanksgiving dinner) using each set.

To earn our seal of approval, at least two saucepans, one sauté pan, and a stock pot had to fit on a standard cooktop range at the same time.

We designed the tests to evaluate performance, ease of use, and value. We seared chicken thighs in the sauté pan, tossed vegetables in the skillets, simmered sauces and cooked rice in the saucepots, and blanched vegetables in the stockpot. If the set came with nonstick gear, we fried a few eggs without oil to see how well the coating worked.

Finally, we measured any noticeable hotspots and maybe did a little taste testing to see if one set made a tastier meal than the others. In the end, none of the products completely failed, but we did have a few favorites.

Things to Know About Buying a Cookware Set

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all pot or pan. Each cooking task requires a specific size. You wouldn’t want to boil pasta in a 1-quart saucepot because it won’t all fit, and it certainly wouldn’t make sense to cook up one cup of oatmeal in a large, 8-quart pot.

Cookware companies try to anticipate your needs by providing a variety of sizes in their cookware sets. Considering your own cooking style can help you determine what’s important to you in a set. Your favorite foods may determine which pieces of cookware to prioritize, and whether you cook for yourself or a group can affect how many pieces you need.

Typically, it’s best to look for a set with at least two small saucepots, one large stockpot, a small egg pan, and a larger skillet or sauté pan. (All oven-safe, of course.) Anything extra (like being dishwasher safe or including a frying pan), is considered a bonus!

Most sets come with a lid for every saucepan, stockpot, and sauté pan. Sets often count these lids as pieces to increase the count. The above set would have five pots and pans, but will be called an 8-piece set.

While we’re on the topic, try to look for metal lids. Yes, that means you can’t see what’s going on inside the pot, but glass lids always fog up anyway! Metal lids will never drop and shatter, giving them a longer lifespan than the glass variety.

Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Choosing a Pan Material

Your pan material will depend on your cooking style.

  • Stainless steel is great for searing meat, leaving behind those delicious food bits that make the perfect start to a pan sauce. It won’t affect the taste of your food, and it heats up quickly. Stainless steel cookware also tends to last longer than nonstick. Unfortunately, it’s harder to clean, and without help (usually from an aluminum core) it doesn’t distribute heat as evenly.

  • Nonstick cookware is great for beginners: it’s affordable, easy to cook with, easy to wipe down and maintain, and has fewer hot spots. However, nonstick shouldn’t go in the dishwasher, and scratches more easily. Some nonstick chemicals like PFOA and PTFE(Teflon) may also be harmful. When they deteriorate due to chipping or excessive use of high heat, they may flake into your food or release fumes. Other materials like hard-anodized aluminum or ceramic present safer nonstick options.

  • Ceramic cookware can mean either genuine ceramics or aluminum with a silicone finish. They’re nonstick, but without the harmful chemicals. They can be eco-friendly to produce, more affordable than stainless steel, handle high heat well, and offer a variety of colors. Ceramic shares some of nonstick’s drawbacks, however. It won’t last as long as cast iron or stainless steel, and the nonstick abilities will fade in time. They should also never go into the dishwasher.

  • Aluminum cookware comes in regular (lightweight, affordable) and anodized (a little more durable). Aluminum can be easy to handle, and heats up well. However, regular aluminum can wear out quickly, and may react with some foods.

  • Anodized aluminum solves aluminum’s problems, but it costs more and doesn’t heat up as fast as raw aluminum. However, it gives you an incredibly strong, lightweight set of cookware.

  • Carbon steel offers similar heat retention and searing to cast iron. Ironically, it has less carbon than cast iron, making it thinner, lighter, and relatively nonstick. The downsides? You have to keep it seasoned, it’s not dishwasher safe, and it may react with more acidic foods. Depending on the construction, the handles may get hot. You tend to see carbon steel in restaurants more than homes, but there’s no reason you can’t put it in your kitchen, if you want.

  • Cast iron is a classic for a reason. Heavy-duty, old-fashioned, and incredibly durable, cast iron can help bring out the best flavors in whatever you cook in it. It’s got great heat retention, and heats evenly. On the other hand, it’s about the heaviest cookware you can get, making it hard to handle. It’s also high maintenance. You need to season it, and cooking acidic foods can strip the seasoning. You also need to clean and maintain it carefully to avoid damage and rust.


Meet the tester

Lindsay D. Mattison

Lindsay D. Mattison

Professional Chef

@zestandtang

Lindsay D. Mattison is a professional chef, food writer, and amateur gardener. She is currently writing a cookbook that aims to teach home cooks how to write without a recipe.

See all of Lindsay D. Mattison's reviews

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