This is a solid set at a very reasonable price point. It has all of the basics and more (like that teeny saucepan). Handles and lids can get a little warm to the touch when cooking over high heat, so grab with caution. The set works just fine on an induction cooktop, as well. For those who don’t like hand washing, that low price point means you can make some concessions and pop these right into the dishwasher when you’re done cooking.

The Best Splurge Cookware Set: Hestan Nanobond


Titanium Ultimate Cookware Set

If you’ve got the urge to splurge, the Hestan Nanobond is well worth the price. It’s a gorgeous, shiny set that is actually lighter than expected, with steady, consistent heating from an aluminum core and stainless steel body. Hestan uses “Nanobond” technology, which the brand says bonds thousands of titanium-based nanolayers to the stainless steel surface. All of this is a fancy way of saying that the pots and pans have a non-stick surface that won’t be easily scratched or damaged by metal utensils. Unlike other non-stick cookware, this set is oven-safe up to a whopping 1,050 degrees Fahrenheit. While most conventional ovens top out at around 500 degrees Fahrenheit, the heat resistance makes these great cookware for use with a grill.

One subtle detail that I really love about this set is how the rivets are flush to the pan, which makes clean-up way easier with less chance of any food build-up. Plus, all that reinforcement makes the pans dishwasher safe and hard to beat in the price bracket.

The Best-Designed Cookware Set: Caraway Non-Stick

What if you could have a chic cookware set decorating your stovetop with its own aptly named color palette of perracotta (basically terracotta mixed with pink), sage, or marigold that also happened to be good cooking food? Design-forward cookware brand Caraway makes a non-stick ceramic set that’s easy to clean, use, and enjoy on the eyes. The stainless steel handles are easy to grab, and the surfaces are even scratch-resistant while still being free of PFAs, PFOA, PTFE, and heavy metals—or basically all the icky things that we typically hate about non-stick cookware. Eggs cook up just as easily as a veggie sauté without the worry of non-stick coatings flaking off into your dish. Also, unlike other non-stick cookware, these are safe up to 550 degrees, so fire that broiler up.

This set is attractive and functional, making it a great gift for yourself or another design-obsessed home cook. Bonus: Storage is even easier with the provided modular pan racks and a canvas lid holder ready for installation inside your cabinet door. I kind of loved how they looked, gracing my stovetop even when I wasn’t actively making food.

The Best Non-Stick Cookware Set: Made In 7-Piece Non-Stick Set

Nothing beats a nonstick set for easy all-around use. This brushed metal set from Made In is 100% non-toxic and has all of the benefits of fast, even heating and quick food release without PFOAs. The pots and pans are solid with a stainless-clad base for durability, so they won’t be sliding all over the place on the stovetop and can stand up to any grill press for extra browning on steaks and, my favorite, grilled cheese sandwiches. A safety notch indicates where to grab to avoid any chance of burns, and there’s a beveled lip for easy pouring. Best for stovetop use and the occasional broil, this set is oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit but works just as well on any induction stovetop. The nonstick surface is also super easy to clean with grease and grime coming off with one fell swoop of a sudsy sponge.

The Best Hybrid Cookware Set: Hexclad Hybrid 12-Piece Set


Hybrid Perfect Pots & Pans Set

Why choose between features when you don’t have to? A hybrid pan combines the strength and durability of stainless steel with the ease of a nonstick surface. The technology behind Hexclad is in the name. These pans are laser-etched hexagonal over nonstick material with a tri-ply steel base. The inner aluminum core makes them light and maneuverable, while the base makes them ideal for induction cooking. They do need a bit of oil to aid in the food release, but they are very efficient, heat up evenly, and can be used with any utensil you like, including metal. The saucepans, in particular, were deeper than other sets, which made them easy to use, and we appreciate their high heat resistance (up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit) and cleanup took no time with a quick hand wash and air dry. I’ve made some serious messes while testing these over the years, and if anything sticks, simply fill them with water and let them boil—all of the accumulated gunk will come right off, leaving them good as new.

The Best Cast Iron: Staub Stackable


Cast Iron Stackable Cookware Set

Nothing brings more Ina Garten vibes than an enameled cast-iron cookware set gracing any kitchen. The Staub set makes for the best cozy dinner party accompaniment and can easily go from oven to stovetop to table. The super glossy set includes a Dutch oven and multiple stackable sizes for whatever you’ve got cooking, with one universal, heavy-duty lid that fits every pan. Special interior spikes on the lid effectively turn the pan into an enameled self-baster that funnels the juices back down for extra moist braises. The grill pan was surprisingly effective, and my surf and turf steak and shrimp seared up like a dream. The pans stack together for easy storage, and the enameled interior has bits of quartz, which makes the cooking surface slightly rough and is great for browning.

What to Look for in a Cookware Set

According to White, the most important thing to consider with a cookware set is figuring out what you’ll realistically be cooking. “Look at what the set includes and think about what pot and pans you will be using the most,” he says. “Some sets include extra things that you will probably never use.” Some sets have the basics, which means four or five pieces, as well as lids, and a fully equipped cookware set, can have up to 12 pieces with multiple sauté pans, saucepans, a stock pot, and more. (Keep in mind that most sets count lids as separate items.) White suggests you get a cookware set with frying pans of various sizes—between 10 and 14 inches—a large stockpot, a medium-sized sauté pan, and a tiny sauce pot.

What Cookware Material Is Best?

When it comes to cookware, we are all Material Girls. What your pans are made of matters, and how they are made, all factor into use, durability, cleaning, and storage.

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