Sur La Table cookware line review
Sur La Table has launched its own cookware line—here’s how it performs
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So, this might sound weird—but when I was a kid, Sur La Table was one of my favorite stops at the mall. Whenever my mom and I were window shopping on the weekends, I secretly hoped we'd stop into the awning-covered cookware store to meander around the aisles of set tables and artisan foods—especially around Christmastime, when the seasonal products made me even more giddy. I dreamed one day of building my own kitchen and imagining which glasses, plates, and gadgets I'd pick from the shelves to suit my own needs of being a grown-up.
Looking back on these memories made me realize two things: One, my current job suits me even more than I realized; and two, I would be approaching a review of the brand's latest cookware with subconsciously high expectations. That made me even more excited to put it to the test.
What is Sur La Table's new private label cookware collection?
In celebration of its 50th anniversary in 2022, Sur La Table announced the launch of its own chef-approved cookware line. The selection includes a range of classic pots and pans in a range of materials—enameled cast iron, 5-ply stainless steel, ceramic nonstick, and hard anodized nonstick—to suit a wide variety of needs in the kitchen. It joins the already existing selection of Sur La Table kitchen products, from glassware to pantry staples to cooking utensils.
The cookware line launched earlier this year, and is available in-store and on Sur La Table website. Pricing for individual pieces starts at $69.95, and pricing for sets starts at $99.95.
What I tested
Both the skillets and the saucepan are dishwasher-safe and oven-safe up to 500°F. The stainless materials are combined with aluminum to boost heat conductivity and distribute it evenly throughout; the skillets are combined with copper, too, to bump up those searing capabilities even further. These also all feature a rounded interior and dripless edges to make every step in the cooking process a bit easier.
What I liked about Sur La Table's cookware
They heat evenly and quickly
I was surprised to see how quickly water boiled for rice or pasta in this little saucepan. The material and design makes for quick and even heating, which means food prep turned to mealtime much quicker than I'm used to. I also cooked three, ¼ inch-thick pieces of salmon at once in the 10-inch pan, which only took about 10 minutes from preheating to plating.
I also wanted to go beyond subjective judging to see how evenly these pans conduct heat; I greased and floured each one to see how quickly and evenly they browned, and whether one side got darker than the other. The saucepan quickly browned evenly throughout; both skillets started to brown first on the interior part of the pan but quickly spread to the rest and resulted in an even browning as well.
They have a user-friendly design
Whether you're a kitchen vet or brand new to the world of cooking, it's easy to appreciate the details in this cookware that make certain tasks easier. The interior measurement markings in the saucepan, for example, guide you through adding precise amounts of liquid without measuring beforehand. And the dripless pouring rims on all of the pans make draining, pouring, and drizzling an easier (and less messy) task.
Plus, all handles remain cool to the touch, even when simmering food on high heat. And the weight of even the largest skillet—while sturdy—isn't too heavy to flip veggies with one hand.
They're made of durable materials
The stainless steel used to produce these pots and pans is 18/10 stainless steel, which means it's able to withstand extreme heat temperatures without risking deterioration or warping. This material also contains the highest percentage of nickel—compared to 18/8 and 18/0 stainless steels—meaning it's extra resistant to rust and is meant to hold its original polish.
Plus, the professional-grade 5-ply construction is built to work with all stove tops—including induction— and lasts for the long run.
What I didn't like
The initial shine didn't last
All of these pans are labeled as dishwasher-safe, but searing often results in crusty oil getting stuck, which sometimes took a while to scrub off manually before tossing into the machine. And when I was able to put the saucepan in the dishwasher without scrubbing—after making rice—it came out with residual rice markings at the bottom (even though it was technically clean), which didn't come off even after another round in the dishwasher. They also sometimes came out with water drop markings from the dishwasher, which could only be removed by shining or rewashing manually.
And although these pans had an undeniable shine when I first received them, that didn't last—even in the short timespan I tested them in. They developed gray-ish spotting after only a handful of uses that didn't dissipate after washing. Of course, you can always reshine your stainless steel cookware to make them look new(ish) again, but I didn't anticipate having to take these steps so soon after unboxing.
The skillets don't come with lids
Sure, pan frying in a skillet usually means you don't want to trap any moisture in (in order to achieve that crispy browning on meat, veggies, and the like), but there are still occasions that call for covering a skillet while cooking—like preventing oil splatters, melting cheese, and cooking meat and fish through after searing, just to name a few. These skillets don't come with lids, and there aren't any accompanying lids that you can buy separately, either—unless you plan to use the pot lids in the full cookware set for the skillets as well (which may not fit snugly). I ended up using my own lids in a few instances with these skillets, which did the trick, but left small air gaps.
Is the Sur La Table stainless steel cookware line worth it?
We can't yet speak for the rest of the material varieties offered in Sur La Table's new cookware line, but when it comes to the stainless steel skillets and saucepan, we can confidently say these would be a solid addition to your kitchen. Putting together anything from soup to stir-fry to meat in these pans was quick and easy, whether you're a pro in the kitchen or just starting out in the world of cooking. And these pieces all feel high-end without being on the highest end of the pricetag spectrum for cookware.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.