The Best Nonstick Cookware Sets of 2018

By Lindsay D. Mattison

When we ranked and rated cookware sets, we assigned two winners: the best set overall, and our favorite nonstick cookware set, the T-fal C561SC Titanium Advanced Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set (available at Amazon for $62.99). We normally don’t split hairs like that, but nonstick pans are really in a category of themselves! The nonstick coating lets you to use less oil while still allowing the contents of the pan to effortlessly slide right out when you’re done. Health-conscious cooks love that, and anyone who hates scrubbing pots and pans is into the ease of cleaning, too.

The other great thing about nonstick pans? They’re typically less expensive than the tri-ply, all-clad options, which can clock upwards of $800. To make sure we found the best nonstick cookware, we tested these pans against our top-rated cookware sets to see if they could stand up to the heat. We looked for something that provided a good value for the price and performed well enough as stand-alone items.

Here are the best nonstick cookware sets, in order:

  1. T-fal C561SC Titanium Advanced Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set
  2. Circulon Symmetry Black 11-Piece Cookware Set
  3. Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
  4. Calphalon Premier Space Saving Hard Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set
  5. Vremi 15-Piece Nonstick Cookware Set
— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Updated October 17, 2018

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Best Value - new Best Overall
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

T-fal C561SC Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set

  • Editors' Choice

T-fal C561SC Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set

Best Overall

Because of its performance and low price, the T-fal C561SC Titanium Advanced Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set earns our pick for both best overall nonstick, and best value among all the cookware sets we tested. During our tests, this set cooked eggs perfectly without requiring any extra oil and the saucepots simmered sauces and cooked rice without scorching. In addition, this set’s stockpot boiled water faster than any others in the group.

Inside the all-nonstick set, you’ll find a few bonus items: 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. The comfortable, padded handles stay cool as you use them and the pans heat up quickly and evenly.

How We Tested

How We Tested
Credit: Reviewed.com/Lindsay D. Mattison

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 (and, I’ll probably dirty up all the tasting spoons and mise en place bowls, too). So, 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 cookware sets (and my house was quite cluttered for a few weeks), but it was well worth it to help you find the best cookware set for the value.

The Tests

After selecting five top-rated nonstick cookware sets after extensive research, we decided to cook 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 dinner (like Thanksgiving) using the set. To earn our seal of approval, at least two saucepans, one sauté pan, and a stockpot had to fit on a standard cooktop range at the same time.

Keeping that in mind, 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. We also 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 sets completely failed but we did have a few favorites.

Things to Know When Buying a Cookware Set

Although I wish it weren’t true, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all pot or pan. Each cooking task requires a specific size. For example, you wouldn’t want to boil pasta in a small, 1-quart saucepot because it won’t all fit. And, it certainly wouldn’t make sense to cook up 1-cup of oatmeal in a large, 8-quart pot. (For those of you who opted out of culinary math: 1 quart = 4 cups)

So, cookware sets try to anticipate your needs by providing small, medium, and large pots and pans. Before you jump into a set, consider your cooking style: Do you usually cook for one or for a crowd? The former means you can opt for smaller cookware. Do you cook mostly soups and sauces, or are you a fan of scrambles, stir-fries, and pasta? The answer determines whether you want a selection of saucepots or if having a large skillet is more important in your set.

In the end, it’s best to look for a set that has at least two small saucepots, one large stockpot, a small egg pan, and a larger skillet or sauté pan. Anything extra, I consider a bonus! Most sets come with a lid for every saucepan, stockpot, and sauté pan. Sets count these lids as extra pieces to increase the count, so 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 those glass lids always fog up anyway! The metal lids will never drop and shatter, giving them a longer lifespan than the glass variety.

T-fal testing
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Choosing Nonstick or Stainless Steel

Again, this goes back to your cooking style. Stainless steel is great for searing meat, leaving behind those delicious fond bits that make the perfect start to a pan sauce. They also tend to last longer than the nonstick varieties, which can be easily scratched and generally can’t go into the dishwasher. That being said, nonstick is easy to cook on and even easier to clean. Many people find themselves attracted to nonstick pans when they start out because it’s a low-cost investment that can be upgraded in the future. When looking at nonstick, keep in mind there are two material types: The hard anodized pans are Teflon-free and tend to be heavier (and more durable) than the coated varieties.

What should a good nonstick pan do well? It not only has to release your food without sticking, but should also be properly balanced and weighted. If it's too heavy, it'll feel cumbersome and hard to clean. It’s also important that your nonstick pan heats evenly, otherwise there’s no chance your fried egg will look Instagram-worthy.

Caring for Your Nonstick Pans

Nonstick pans have a reputation for being cancer-causing, but they’re actually just as safe as stainless steel. The chemical coating responsible for health concerns isn’t used anymore; in fact, you’ll find the words “PFOA-free” on every nonstick pan out there. Today, there are two types of coating choices for nonstick pans: PTFE (commonly known as Teflon) and ceramic.

You’ll have to be careful when caring for your nonstick pan, because both types of coating can scratch and will break down over time. To avoid damaging your pan, choose wooden, silicone, rubber, or nylon utensils instead of metal ones, and never use stainless steel scrubbing brushes when cleaning. To prolong the life of your pans, don’t put them in the dishwasher, either (I know, hand washing is such a pain!). When cooking, always use low or medium heat settings instead of high heat and avoid using these pans in the oven (especially if they have plastic handles).


Other Nonstick Cookware Sets We Tested

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. While I couldn’t tell you the history of these ridges or how they became a Circulon signature trait, I can tell you that 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.

The nonstick 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!

Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set

Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set

The soft, padded handles on the Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set made these pots and pans a joy to work with. It was one of the few sets that didn’t have blazing-hot stockpot handles after boiling water for 30 minutes! The hard anodized nonstick coating is even utensil safe (although, it was one of our least favorite nonstick surfaces to use without added oil).

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 addition of that second, larger skillet feels like a bonus from the usual 10-inch addition because it gives you the room to make stir-fries or other one-pot meals.

Calphalon Premier Space Saving Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set

Calphalon Premier Space Saving Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set

Those with very small kitchens will love how easy it is to store the Calphalon Premier Space Saving Hard Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set. The lids are a bit strange looking, but they store flat and all of the pots and pans are designed to fit into two, neat stacks. While the pans themselves are a bit heavy, the handle design helps balance things out and the extra weight worked hard to retain heat as we cooked.

The nonstick set includes two saucepots (2.5- and 3.5-quart), a smaller 6-quart stockpot, a medium-sized 3-quart saute pan, and two skillets (8- and 10-inch).

Vremi Nonstick 15-Piece Cookware Set

Vremi Nonstick 15-Piece Cookware Set

You will certainly add a splash of color to your kitchen with the Vremi 15-Piece Nonstick Cookware Set. Each piece comes in a different color, which offsets the inexpensive look of its plastic handles a bit. Overall, we found the pieces in the set to be smaller and less functional than we’d prefer cooking a large dinner with. Also, it didn’t perform nearly as well as some of the other sets.

Inside the nonstick box set are three saucepots (1-, 1.3-, and 1.75-quart), a small 4.2-quart stockpot, two skillets (8- and 10.5-inch), and five nonstick kitchen utensils.

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