Rachael Ray's nonstick cookware set is pro chef-approved
These pots and pans are extra nonstick, lightweight, and easy on the eyes.
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Before COVID-19 I spent most of my days cooking professionally, so I rarely cooked at home, but now I make dinner every night in addition to teaching hands-on cooking classes several times a week from my home kitchen. My stove only ever sees the bottoms of two pans, no matter how large a meal I’m making—my trusty 10-inch Made In non-stick frying pan, which does the bulk of the work, and my pink Le Creuset Dutch oven, in which I cook anything that doesn’t fit in the frying pan. If I’m making a multi-course meal, I time each component to go in and out of the two pieces of hefty cookware I own (OK, I also own a wok, but it lives in a cupboard and I rarely use it).
Despite being a minimalist when it comes to my personal cookware, there’s something incredibly satisfying about owning a high-performing set of matching cookware, especially when it’s affordable. Enter: the Rachael Ray 14-Piece Set Hard Anodized Cookware Set. I tested these non-stick pots and pans over the course of a month during a stint at Drexel University’s Food Lab, where I could put them through further tests on commercial-grade equipment.
What’s in the set?
- 1-quart saucepan with lid
- 2-quart saucepan with lid
- 3-quart saucepan with lid
- 4-quart sauce pot with lid
- 6-quart stockpot with lid
- 3-quart saute pan with lid
- 8.5-inch skillet
- 10-inch skillet
How does the cookware look and feel?
These pots and pans are extremely lightweight. My particular set shipped in cardboard packaging emblazoned with Rachael Ray’s smiling face but lacking much padding or protection. As a result, there was some minor damage: a dented stockpot and a saucepan with a warped lip.
The pots and pans have punchy orange rubberized grippy handles that seem very sturdy. The handles do get hot over direct heat and don’t totally negate the need for potholders.
The tempered glass lids are very sturdy and well-made, a determination made by flinging them with gusto upon Drexel’s tiled kitchen floor (this was a fun test).
How does the cookware perform?
The non-stick coating used for Rachael Ray’s hard-anodized cookware is called Eclipse and is so effective that it makes the cookware seem hydrophobic. Upon heating up tomato sauce in the saucepans, I discovered that the sauce pulls away from the edges of the vessel.
The pots and pans heat up very quickly, so you can boil water for pasta and have it ready faster than you would expect. The skillets make an utterly perfect, evenly cooked frico (a lacy, crispy mound of browned cheese).
I poured the aforementioned tomato sauce over the pasta (which had been boiled in the super speedy 4-quart saucepot) in the saute pan, covered it generously in parmesan, and popped it in a 400°F commercial oven for 10 minutes. The brand does warn that high heat may damage the non-stick coating, but thus far, the saucepans have survived being baked.
At home, I fry eggs in the pans with the faintest hint of olive oil as a pan coating and the eggs seem to hover as they’re frying. The non-stick coating is amazing!
Is it easy to use and clean?
Yes, all the pots and pans are very easy to use and clean. Food residue can get caught in the rivets that attach the handles to the pots, but these require just a small amount of elbow grease to address. Of course, you must apply all basics of cleaning non-stick cookware when wielding elbow grease so to not scratch and damage the coating. No metal scrubbies!
I run the entire set through Drexel’s enormous Champion dish machine. At home, I run them through my gentler dishwasher multiple times. I am pleased to report that nothing has melted, and all the pots and pans are still in the same condition they arrived to me in.
What I like
I like the orange handles because they’re comfy to hold, they look fun, and they’re distinctively Rachael Ray. Given that the pots and pans are so lightweight, they heat up extremely quickly—a good feature for when one is very hungry.
What I don’t like
There are too many lids, which is especially bothersome if you have a small kitchen with limited storage space. Owners note in their online reviews that select pieces also arrived dented or otherwise damaged, so perhaps the brand should consider more protective packaging.
This cookware set has a limited lifetime warranty, voided by actions like high heat cooking, even though this set can withstand the heat of a 400°F oven.
Is the Rachael Ray cookware set worth it?
As far as non-stick pots and pans go, I was impressed. The non-stick coating was on par with the best non-stick cookware I've used. And as far as cookware sets go, the Rachael Ray set is on the affordable side and is an excellent choice for a starter kitchen. If you are sending triplets off to college and only want to purchase one cookware set to split amongst them, this is the set for you.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.