Nonstick pans can bring a lot of joy to your culinary life. Foods that can bake onto stainless steel slide effortlessly out of these pots and pans without the use of any cooking oil or butter. The nonstick coating is not only attractive to health-conscious cooks but anyone who wants easy-to-clean cookware.
Some pans boast nonstick properties after a seasoning process, like cast iron, carbon steel, or hybrid cookware like HexClad—our favorite cookware set. Building up the seasoning layer takes time, though, and some of them can’t be cleaned with soap.
That’s why we love the nonstick cookware sets in this guide, made with anodized aluminum, PTFE (or Teflon) coating, or ceramic finishes that are nonstick right out of the box. 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.
After extensive testing, the best nonstick cookware set is the All-Clad HA1 Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set(available at Amazon for $499.95). We still love our former top pick, the T-Fal C561SC Titanium Advanced Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set (available at Amazon), which we've awarded our Best Value pick thanks to its low price.
Here are the best nonstick cookware sets we tested ranked, in order:
All-Clad HA1 Hard-Anodized Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set
T-fal C561SC Titanium Advanced Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set
Equal Parts Cookware Set
GreenPan Premiere Ceramic Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
Anolon Advanced Home 11-Piece Cookware Set
Caraway Cookware Set
Circulon Symmetry Black 11-Piece Cookware Set
Cuisinart Green Gourmet Hard-Anodized 12-piece Set
The All-Clad HA1 Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set was our runner-up after testing dozens of cookware sets, and it’s our top pick for nonstick cookware. It not only aced our tests but each pan is beautifully designed with a sleek, black finish and shiny metal handles. The handles are long enough to create a perfect balance with each pan, and they feature All-Clad’s signature concave shape that’s super comfortable to hold. While the pans are a little on the heavy side, they’re well-built with heavy-gauge hard-anodized aluminum that should make them more durable. All-Clad also coats the pans with three layers of PFOA-free nonstick material, creating a slick finish that helps the food release easily.
As for performance, we had absolutely no complaints. The eggs slid easily around the pan, even without using any cooking oil, and the lid fit tightly onto the saucepots, trapping steam inside the pan to create some of the best rice in the testing group. We were also impressed at how crispy our chicken skin became, as most nonstick pans don’t excel at creating a hard sear. Put it all together, and this set became the clear choice for our Best Nonstick Cookware Set. Our only major complaint was the pans don’t nest very well, making storage more difficult.
The hard anodized nonstick set certainly seems expensive at first glance, but it comes with a wide variety of pots and pans that make it worth every penny. The set includes 8- and 10-inch frying pans, 2.5- and 3.5-quart sauce pans, a 4-quart sauté pan, and an 8-quart stockpot.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive, easy-to-clean nonstick cookware set, look no further than the T-Fal C561SC Titanium Advanced Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set. It’s our pick for best value because of its budget-friendly price and fantastic performance.
During our tests, this set cooked eggs perfectly without requiring any extra oil and the saucepots simmered sauces and cooked rice without scorching. To top it all off, this set’s stockpot boiled water faster than any others in our test group,the comfortable, padded handles stayed cool, and the pans heated quickly and evenly. The riveted handles are ergonomically designed for a comfortable and safe grip, and they’re oven-safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, so they can handle relatively high temperatures. This high quality set of cookware is also easy to clean, allowing you to save some time from scrubbing pans after cooking.
In addition to the basics any kitchen should have to get cooking, this nonstick set includes 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.
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.
After researching some of the best nonstick cookware sets on the market, we decided to cook a multi-component meal using each set. To function for everyday life, the pots and pans sets 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 nonstick pans, 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. We also compared how easy it was to clean each pot and pan and found out whether they were dishwasher-safe.
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 or Dutch oven, a small fry pan, and a larger skillet or fry 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 stainless-steel 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.
Choosing Nonstick vs. Stainless Steel
Deciding which set you should get depends on 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 pieces of cookware are easy to cook on and easy to clean. Many people find themselves attracted to nonstick properties 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 aluminum 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 the heat distribution on your nonstick pan is even, otherwise there’s no chance your fried egg will look Instagram-worthy.
Caring for Your Nonstick Pans
When we tested nonstick pans, we picked a few pans with PTFE and ceramic coatings to perform destructive tests designed to test the pan’s ability to hold up over time. We used steel wool and metal cutlery (which you should never use on a nonstick pan unless the manufacturer states otherwise) to get a sense of each pan’s durability.
Almost all of the pans scratched when we hacked at them with steel wool, and some did better than others when used with metal utensils. Many warped when we exposed them to thermal shock, dunking the pan in cold water after heating it on high heat. The destructive tests taught us that almost all of these pans can be damaged with little effort, so it’s important to take care when using coated pans!
To avoid damaging your pan, choose wooden, silicon, rubber, or nylon utensils instead of metal ones, and never use stainless-steel scrubbing brushes when cleaning. Always use gentle detergents, and you’ll prolong the life of your pans if you avoid the dishwasher—even if they say they’re dishwasher safe (I know, hand washing is such a pain!). When cooking, use low or medium heat settings instead of high heat, and it’s best to avoid using these pans in the oven (especially if they have plastic handles).
Finally, take care when storing nonstick pans. Stacking them on top of each other can damage the coating on the edges of the pan. If stacking is your only option, place a towel or cork trivet in between the pans for protection.
PTFE Vs. Ceramic Coating
Non-stick pans once had a reputation for being cancer-causing, but they’re now safe to use. The chemical coating (containing the "forever chemicals" PFOAs) that was responsible for health concerns isn't used anymore. In fact, you’ll find the words “PFOA-free” on nearly every nonstick pan on the market. Today, there are two types of coating choices for nonstick pans: PTFE (commonly known as Teflon) and ceramic.
PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) is a synthetic chemical with friction-resistant properties, and it was once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s most slippery substance.
Some companies produce proprietary PTFE, like All-Clad’s non-reinforced PTFE or Scanpan’s titanium-reinforced PTFE. Regardless of the brand, these nonstick pans work because they’re sprayed with one or several layers of the nonstick coating, creating a layer similar to the coating that builds up over time on cast iron or carbon steel pans.
The base pan can be made from stainless steel, aluminum, anodized aluminum, or a combination. Over time, the coating can scratch or wear off, and it will no longer retain its nonstick properties. High heat also degrades PTFE, and the chemical breaks down at high temperatures exceeding 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ceramic nonstick pans have gained popularity because of their “green” status and safety concerns of chemical coatings. These pans are not actually made from ceramic material: Like PTFE pans, they feature a coating on top of a steel or aluminum base. Ceramic coating is made from sand that’s turned into sol-gel. When the pan is heated, the coating releases a silicon oil (different from synthetic silicone) that resists sticking. Like PTFE, the silicon layer degrades over time (especially when in contact with high heat), so the pan has a limited nonstick lifetime.
Other Nonstick Cookware Sets We Tested
Equal Parts Cookware Set
Equal Parts made one of our favorite nonstick pans, so it’s no surprise that we loved the Equal Parts Cookware 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 allowed us to get a great sear on the chicken without burning any residue onto the bottom. That helps to make clean-up a breeze! The pans also stack nicely for storage and feature universal lids, making this set perfect for anyone with storage constraints.
The ceramic nonstick set is definitely minimal, though, and we thought the price tag was a little high for four pans. It comes with their 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.
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 GreenPan Premiere Ceramic Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set because of its stainless-steel construction, which is heavier than aluminum but more durable.
Some of the premium nonstick sets we tested were a little skimpy on the contents, but you’ll get six well-built pots and pans with this set, plus lids and a steamer basket. The nonstick properties on this pan 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 we appreciated when cleaning the pans).
On the flip side, these pans didn’t heat as evenly as some of the other cookware 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 ceramic nonstick set, which is exclusive to Williams Sonoma, 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.
At first glance, the Anolon Advanced Home 11-Piece Cookware Set doesn’t seem very different from the Anolon Advanced set. When it came to performance, though, it blew its predecessor out of the water. This more recent upgraded version has an enhanced nonstick finish, so it performed much better on our egg 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. That said, if you’re specifically looking for 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 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.
If the gorgeous appearance of the Caraway Cookware Set isn’t enough to make you want to buy it, the extra 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.
When it came to performance, these pans absolutely met our expectations. The lid features a small hole to allow steam to escape, producing some of the better rice in the group. And the nonstick properties didn’t fail in any of the 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 cookware 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 sauce pan, 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 all the sizes of pots and pans and this set fits your needs, you’ll be happy with the Caraway.
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 high-quality 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, sleek cast stainless steel handles and nicely-balanced weight. The hard anodized material, used for bodies of the pans, are twice as hard as stainless steel.
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/fry pans (8.5- and 10-inch). Everything you’d need in just the right sizes! They're oven-safe up to 400 °F and are compatible with induction cooking. They're built to last, with scratch-resistant material throughout the design of the pots and pans.
Overall, we were really happy with the cookware set from Cuisinart’s new eco-friendly line, the Cuisinart Green Gourmet Hard Anodized 12-piece set. According to Cuisinart, their ceramic nonstick coating is PTFE and PFOA free, so it helps conserve existing oil supplies compared to petroleum-based coatings. The pans all heated evenly, and the widely-spaced handle rivets made the pans easy to clean. We had no issues with the nonstick properties, and this set scored well on most of our performance tests.
Unfortunately, this set falls a little short when compared to the other sets we tested. The two saucepans don’t stack well for storage, and the small saucepan kept getting stuck inside the larger pan, leading to scratched edges. While the set includes a lot of value for the price tag, the sauté pan is smaller than we’d like, so we felt this set missed out by not providing a 12-inch skillet.
This ceramic nonstick cookware set comes with 8- and 10-inch frying pans, 1.5- and 2.5-inch saucepans, a 3-quart sauté pan, and a 6-quart Dutch oven. As a bonus, it also comes with a steamer basket that fits inside the 2.5-quart saucepan. It’s also one of the few nonstick pan sets we tested that comes with metal lids, something we appreciate since they’re more durable and easier to store.
T-Fal Endurance Collection Platinum Nonstick 14-Piece Cookware Set
It’s hard to beat the price on the T-Fal Endurance Platinum Nonstick 14-piece set, but when it came to performance, we preferred the Titanium Advanced set. This set was a little heavier, and we didn’t love the tall buttons on top of the glass lids, which made them hard to store.
As far as performance goes, this set met our expectations, but they did tend to get hotter faster than some of the other sets. That means you’ll need to be careful when using them over medium-high heat. The handles will get hotter, too, so be sure to have a set of oven mitts ready.
This nonstick set comes with 8- and 10-inch frying pans, 1- and 3-quart saucepans, a 3-quart deep sauté pan, and a 5-quart stockpot. In addition to the pans, this nonstick set includes three metal utensils: a spatula, a stirring spoon, and a pasta spoon. That said, we generally don’t recommend using metal on nonstick, as it can wear down the coating (even on pans rated for use with metal utensils).
Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
While we preferred the upgraded Anolon Advanced Home set, the Anolon Advanced Hard-Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set is not a bad runner-up. The pan’s soft, padded handles made these anodized aluminum 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).
The set contains the same components as the Anolon Advanced Home: two saucepots (1.5- and 3-quart), an 8.5-quart stockpot, and a medium-sized 3-quart sauté pan, and a small and a large skillet (8.5- and 12-inch).
OXO Good Grips Non-Stick 10 Piece Cookware Pots and Pans Set
The OXO Non-Stick 10 Piece Cookware Pots and Pans Set excelled when it came to nonstick abilities. In fact, we named the 10-inch egg pan as our best overall nonstick pan for its ability to cook eggs and pancakes without sticking—even when we didn’t use any cooking oil! The rest of the pans in this set proved to have the same superior nonstick abilities, and we loved the ergonomic, silicone-coated handles.
That said, the pans didn’t heat as evenly as the other cookware sets in our testing group, causing some of our vegetables to burn before the rest cooked through. The handle rivets are placed too closely together, too, making these pans harder to clean.
Finally, the set comes with a great variety of pots and pans, but we wish the 3-quart sauté pan was wider, satisfying our desire to have a 12-inch pan in the set. However, the pans do stack very nicely for storage, which is an asset to anyone with a small kitchen.
This hard-anodized aluminum nonstick set includes 8- and 9.5-inch frying pans, a 2-quart saucepan, a 3-quart sauté pan, a 3-quart sauce pan, and a 6-quart stock pot.
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 stainless steel handle design helps balance things out and the extra weight worked hard to retain heat as we cooked, thanks to the hard-anodized aluminum build.
The nonstick set includes two saucepots (2.5- and 3.5-quart), a smaller 6-quart stockpot, a medium-sized 3-quart sauté pan, and two skillets (8- and 10-inch). They're dishwasher-safe but they might not be oven-safe.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.