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Updated Jul 27, 2022 6:53 AM

A cookware set is the centerpiece of any kitchen. When buying or giving a set, you’ll encounter a wide range of prices, brands and materials. A standard set will typically include at least one medium or large skillet, a saucepan and a deeper pot — which you will depend upon in your household. 

There are a lot of perks to buying a set: you save time on combining mismatched pieces, and it makes a terrific gift option for people starting their own homes. The best set for you or your giftee might not be the one with the most pieces, as you can always add a missing piece to suit your needs, but no one wants unused cookware collecting dust in their cabinets. Below we’ve picked the best cookware sets available on the market with attention to material, price and cooking habits. 

How We Selected These Products

We’re longtime home cooks who have tried out pieces of cookware made from a range of materials and from a variety of brands over the years. We evaluated more than a dozen cookware sets to land at our picks.. 

Some key factors we evaluated were overall value, meaning the number and quality of pieces included for the money. We considered the assortment of pieces and which cooking tasks they could perform, including frying, sauteing and simmering. Not everyone has a massive kitchen, so we also took into consideration overall weight, heft and storage abilities, such as whether they can be easily nested or hung on hooks. Last, we considered what type of care and maintenance would be required for each set and highlighted picks that are easy to clean.

The Best Cookware Sets: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set

Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set Anolon

Why It Made The Cut: This oven-safe cookware makes cooking and cleanup easy, heating evenly and smoothly releasing your food onto a plate, making it our top pick for most households. 

Specs:

  • Pieces included: 1.5-quart covered saucepan, 3-quart covered saucepan, 3-quart covered sauté, 8-quart covered stockpot, 8-inch french skillet, 12-inch covered deep skillet with helper handle
  • Material: Nonstick surface and metal
  • Color: bronze or graphite

Pros:

  • Multiple saucepan and skillet sizes 
  • Surface is free of chemicals and metals including PFOA, lead, and cadmium
  • Comfortable, no-slip handles 
  • Oven safe up to 400 degrees F

Cons: 

  • Nonstick won’t last as long as other popular materials

The Anolon nonstick cookware set is a true general-interest workhorse in the category. Anyone who’s cooked with a nonstick pan knows the ease it brings to cooking any meal, and Anolon’s premium nonstick is durable and safe with metal utensils. You can  prolong the life of the set by hand-washing the items. The surfaces on this set are hard-anondized, meaning it’s resistant to corrosion and still lightweight. 

This set contains many gems: a 12-inch deep skillet that’s bigger than most pans typically included in a package of this kind. The range of sizes in this set’s saucepans and skillets offer flexibility in the kitchen, whether you’re catering to multiple diets or preparing a meal for a smaller-than-usual group. It can handle soups, sauces, and fried foods. You can also pop any of these items as well as the shatter-resistant glass lids into the oven up to 400 degrees F, so don’t hold back on that baked frittata. You won’t dread a meal or cleanup with this affordable set.

Best Stainless Steel: Tramontina 10-Piece Cookware Set Stainless Steel

Best Stainless Steel

Tramontina 10-Piece Cookware Set Stainless Steel Tramontina

Why It Made The Cut: Tramontina has built a polished, professional-quality cookware set that works with any cooktop and virtually any cooking need and challenges you to be more deliberate in the kitchen.

Specs:

  • Pieces included: 8-inch and 10-inch fry pans, 3-quart covered braiser, 1.5-quart and 3-quart covered saucepans, 6-quart covered sauce pot
  • Material: Stainless steel 
  • Color: one available

Pros

  • Tri-ply clad design
  • Oven safe up to 500 degrees F
  • Relatively lightweight design

Cons 

  • More difficult to clean

This stunning stainless steel set from Tramontina is made in Brazil and is affordable for the investment. This set is designed for professional kitchens, and even households with busy family lives appreciate the slower, even cooking this set allows — because even eggs will taste just a little bit better in a set that heats from all sides. 

The set’s ergonomic handles are riveted for ease of use, and its pieces can be used on any cooktop, including induction. The satin-finished interior provides a strong contrast to the gleaming exterior and a smoother surface more conducive to scrubbing by hand. Absolutely key to this set is the try-ply clad construction, meaning there are several layers of metal including an aluminum core, which enables excellent heat distribution whether you’re braising, frying, simmering or sauteing. The tight-fitting lids are made of 18/10 stainless steel — a common grade that means they include 18 percent chrome and 10 percent nickel. 

These saucepans and fry pans may look gorgeous hanging on hooks in your kitchen, but they also help dedicated home cooks bring a restaurant quality to any meal.

Best Ceramic Nonstick: Vremi 8-Piece Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set 

Best Ceramic Nonstick:

Vremi 8-Piece Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set Vremi

Why It Made The Cut: : Made of aluminum with a ceramic coating, the Vremi set includes two Dutch ovens in different sizes and yet still comes at a competitive price.

Specs:

  • Pieces included: 9.75-inch Dutch oven, 8.1-inch Dutch oven, 10.5-inch casserole pot — all of which have lids — plus 9.4-inch and 10.1-inch frying pans
    Material: Aluminum with ceramic coating and wooden handles 
  • Color: Yellow or blue

Pros:

  • Beautiful design 
  • Dishwasher safe 
  • Ergonomic wooden handles designed for functionality 

Cons: 

  • Can be prone to discoloration on the bottom after long-term use and repeat washing
  • Not oven safe

From the mix of pieces included to the nonstick ceramic surface that works with any stovetop, you won’t want to sleep on this unique Vremi cookware set. It’s made of a durable, die-cast aluminum body that ensures even heat distribution and releases food easily onto your plate or dish. They’re also designed to be stacked and nested, saving space in your kitchen.

The set features a number of notable touches: its curved design makes certain tasks, like cooking an over-easy egg, even simpler to do. The wooden ergonomic handles make safely tossing food and distributing oils and other fats easy and mess-free. On the bottom of each piece is an induction-compatible spiral that works on gas, electric, or halogen stoves. To preserve that original sheen, the brand recommends using lemon juice to remove discoloration after frequent use.

Best Budget: T-fal Signature Nonstick Cookware Set

Best Budget

T-fal Signature Nonstick Cookware Set T-fal

Why It Made The Cut: A nothing-fancy set that’s perfect for the starter cook, this nonstick set includes all the basics, from a big fry pan to griddle and everyday cooking tools

Specs:

  • Pieces included: 7.75-inch and 11-inch fry pans; 1-quart and 2-quart saucepans with lids; 5.5-quart Dutch oven with lid; 10.25-inch griddle, spoon, ladle, slotted spatula and fridge lid
  • Material: nonstick surface and aluminum
  • Color: Black or gray 

Pros:

  • Affordable price 
  • Oven-safe up to 350 degrees F and dishwasher-safe
  • Thermo-spot indicator technology

Cons: 

  • Some reviewers say bottom of pots can collect residue

This affordable set makes life easier, from the fridge lid to make storing leftovers a cinch to the measuring marks on the Dutch oven. It’s all in the details: the thermo-spot indicator, which is a small ring in the center of each piece, displays as solid red once pans are preheated and ready for your task, taking the guesswork out of cooking and making it accessible for everyone. The vented tempered glass lids allow you to keep an eye on progress, and the ergonomic heat-resistant handles are comfortable and prioritize safety. 

The nonstick surface is easy to clean, and the deeper sides of the frying pans help prevent unwanted messes and allow for a more flavorful cooking experience. The edges of those pans are also designed for easy pouring, serving, and draining. T-fal has been around for decades for a reason, because whether as a gift or for yourself, the set is a budget-friendly introduction to cooking.

Best Splurge: Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper 18/10 Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Best Splurge

Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper 18/10 Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set Lagostina

Why It Made The Cut: With enviable heat distribution abilities, this long-lasting copper set from Lagostina is great for cooks looking for a return on investment in both price and cooking experience.

Specs:

  • Pieces included: 8-inch skillet, 10-inch skillet, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart deep saute pan with lid, 6-quart stockpot with lid
  • Material: Copper
  • Color: One available

Pros:

  • Oven safe up to 500 degrees F
  • Flared edges for easy pouring 
  • Tri-ply construction

Cons: 

  • Expensive price
  • Requires special care and washing 

This hammered metal set from Lagostina is as stunning to look at as it is pleasing to use — and great for those looking to make the jump outside their comfort zone of nonstick cookware. With several levels of metal and copper, this set delivers even heating quickly. The stockpot makes soups a breeze and the skillets will make stir-frying practical.

Other key design choices: stainless steel lids lock in moisture, and fully riveted stainless steel handles hold up during difficult tasks. The rolled pan edges make serving and pouring clean. Like the Tramontina 10-Piece Cookware Set Stainless Steel, this set has high-grade 18/10 stainless steel construction and a tri-ply design, with an aluminum core sandwiched between stainless steel layers, the outermost being the visible, hammered copper that responds quickly to different temperatures. 
The brand recognizes that copper can be prone to discoloration over time and recommends using a special copper cleaning solution to treat that problem as well as nylon scrubbing pads for regular cleaning.

Things to Consider When Buying the Best Cookware Set

  • Your Cooking Habits: As with knife sets, it can be tough to find a one-size-fits-all cookware set that fits any household’s needs. A couple with three young children will likely have far different cooking habits than a person living in an urban one-bedroom apartment. Plus, someone who’s unlikely to turn on an oven or make soups and sauces won’t likely need a set that offers nonstick material and multiple saucepans. Overall we’d recommend assuming that less is more and that you can build upon a set over time — of course, buying a cheap, small saucepan will put you out far less than a Dutch oven. Aim for a good foundation rather than excess, because universally, almost no one wants to acquire cookware they’ll never use. 
  • Durability: The durability of your new cookware set will of course depend on the material in addition to the care and maintenance you’re willing to commit up front when making your investment. The makers of the  Vremi 8 Piece Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set,  and Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set make no promises that their nonstick surfaces will last forever, so be willing to accept that repeated use and gentle washing can still lead to deteriorated condition over time. 
  • Your Budget: You can spend thousands of dollars on any kitchen investment, but you certainly don’t need to. Are you looking for a set to last you the next decade? Are you gifting to a young person who will likely relocate several times over the next few years and only needs the basics to get by? Make those considerations before splurging. 

FAQs

Q: What is the best set of cookware on the market?

The best cookware set on the market will depend on your own preferences and household. For some people, a nonstick set such as the Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set is a workhorse that makes cooking fast and easy. If you’re looking for a premium option, a stainless steel set like the Tramontina 10-Piece Cookware Set Stainless Steel is ideal for people who are more  advanced in the kitchen. The best set for you will depend on factors such as your cooking habits and budget and the set’s durability.

Q: Who makes the highest quality cookware?

Lots of brands are making quality cookware that appeal to different kinds of cooks. In this guide, we recommend companies including Anolon, Lagostina, Tramontina, T-Fal and Vremi for cookware sets and break down their materials, pieces included and colors available.

Q: What cookware do you really need?

The cookware that most people will need in an ideal set include a saucepan, skillet, and a deeper-sided pot of some kind, such as a stockpot or Dutch oven. These foundational pieces will help with the most common methods of cooking including frying, slow cooking, sauteing, poaching, simmering, boiling, steaming, and sewing. The material these pieces are made from will also impact what kind of stovetop and other appliances, including oven and dishwasher, that are safe for use.

Final Thoughts

Buying a cookware set can be a daunting decision because it will determine how much you enjoy cooking and how satisfied you are with what can be a big investment. The Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware is the best pick for most people because of its easiness to clean and use and overall value for the price.

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