To find the best cookware set available on the market, we took the time to research the factors that help lead to an enjoyable and long-lasting cooking experience, including each set’s overall construction, durability, surface coatings (and safety), and included items. While some sets may opt for stainless steel and other highly-durable surfaces, others will select more lightweight materials with nonstick coatings. We take a look at all of the different options available, and what each set includes, to find you the best cookware options you can purchase.
Our top pick for the best cookware is the Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set. Made from stainless steel, the Cuisinart set is durable and less likely to suffer damage like some other lightweight materials. The set is also compatible with induction cooktops and will not react with foods or alter flavors in any way. If you’re building a new kitchen or simply want a refresh, this 12-piece set has everything you need to get started. Keep reading to learn about all the best cookware options and find the best choice for your culinary style.
Top 7 Best Cookware
#1 Cuisinart MCP-12N Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: Cuisinart offers a high-quality stainless steel 12-piece cookware set that is not only durable, but also features cool grip handles to keep your hands from burning. It is also the best cookware option we found for induction cooktops.
Read Full Review: Cuisinart MCP-12N Pro Stainless Steel Review
- Best for induction (and gas)
- Durable stainless steel construction
- Features cool grip handles
- Food can stick to surface easily
Cuisinart manufactures our top pick for the best cookware available on the market, providing a fantastic 12-piece stainless steel cookware set. Constructed from steel, each piece of this durable set will last you many years in the kitchen. They can withstand heavy use, and the frying pans are coated with an aluminum core for better heat conduction. Stainless steel is a top pick among many chefs, in part thanks to its ability to not react with food or alter any flavors during cooking. Steel is also one of the metals compatible with newer induction cooktops, but don’t worry, as they work great on more traditional electric and gas ranges as well. As we said, this is some of the best cookware to use. Include more iron in your diet by using our best cast iron skillet.
Included in the set are 1 ½-quart and 3-quart covered saucepans, 8-inch and 10-inch open skillets, a 3 ½-quart covered sauté pan, an 8-quart covered stockpot, and a steamer insert. You don’t need to worry about the stainless steel burning you either, as Cuisinart has integrated cool grip handles. The only thing to note is that stainless steel isn’t nonstick and must be oiled well to avoid food sticking to it. For professional settings, we also found that this Cuisinart set is some of the best cookware for gas stoves. You can also check out the best stainless steel cookware for more options.
#2 Rachel Ray 16333 Cucina Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Rachel Ray’s Cucina 12-piece cookware set is made from a high-quality aluminum, making them lightweight yet tough. The entire set features a nonstick coating, allowing your food to release without a fight.
Read Full Review: Rachel Ray 16333 Cucina Review
- Durable lightweight aluminum construction
- Features nonstick coating
- Beautiful enamel finish
- Not dishwasher-safe
Rachel Ray doesn’t just bring a charming personality to the TV screen; she can bring top-notch cookware sets to your home. Rachel Ray’s 16333 cookware set features ten pots and pans, as well as two cooking utensils. The lightweight aluminum construction of each piece helps to ensure even cooking time, while not weighing your arms down in the process. The set is made from hard anodized aluminum to ensure your meals heat evenly, and they can also withstand very high heat so they’re oven safe. Each piece is coated in a beautiful enamel finish available in a wide selection of colors including blue, red, purple, yellow, brown, gray, and orange — add a splash of color to your kitchen.
The cookware set includes 1-quart and 3-quart covered saucepans, a 6-quart covered stockpot, 8.5-inch and 10-inch stillest, a 3-quart covered sauté pan, a slotted turner, and a spoon. We also love that each pot and 8 and 10-inch frying pans features a nonstick coating, so you won’t find yourself wrestling with flipping pancakes, or remove other bits of food before or after cooking, so it’s very easy to clean. It is truly the best nonstick cookware set in our guide. The only downside to this set is that it’s not dishwasher safe, so hand washing only for this cookware, folks. Also, remember to only use wooden or silicone utensils with this set because metal utensils may damage the non-stick surface. Compare this to the best non stick pan and see if it is for you.
#3 Gotham Steel All in One 20-Piece Nonstick Cookware Set
Award: BEST FOR BAKING
WHY WE LIKE IT: Gotham provides ones of the most versatile kitchen options with its 20-piece set that includes both cookware and bakeware. Excellent for giving a kickstart to any new kitchen, the set is also scratch-proof and non-stick.
Read Full Review: Gotham Steel All in One 20-Piece Nonstick Cookware Set
- Extra-large 20-piece set
- Includes cookware and bakeware
- Scratch-proof, non-stick coating
- Cookie sheet is delicate
Gotham Steel’s 20-piece kitchen-in-a-box is made from none other than stainless steel, but what is fascinating is the ceramic copper coating. This extra-large 20-piece cookware set features a lining made from titanium, ceramic, and copper; it allows for a robust, non-stick surface that you don’t need to worry about scratching with metal cooking utensils. The set includes an 8.5-inch dry pan, 10.25-inch fry pan with lid, 1.5-quart and 2.5-quart saucepans with lids, a 5-quart stockpot with lid and stainless steel steamer, a square shallow pan, a 9.5-inch deep square pan with a frying basket, steamer rack, and glass lid.
Additionally, it includes a five-piece bakeware set with a cookie sheet, brownie tray, loaf pan, square baking pan, and round baking pan. The only thing we don’t love about the Gotham Steel set is that the baking sheet is quite delicate and prone to warping at high temperatures. But, overall, this is one excellent value. Cook your food up with confidence and store it in your best lunch box for meals at work.
#4 Paula Dean 12513 Signature Nonstick 15-Piece Cookware Set
Award: Best Oven Proof
WHY WE LIKE IT: Paula Dean’s cookware pots and pans include fifteen great cooking pieces, all oven safe up to 350-degree Fahrenheit while still offering a nonstick coating. Best off all, the colorful speckle design adds rustic charm to any kitchen.
Read Full Review: Paula Dean 12513 Signature Nonstick 15-Piece Cookware Set
- Great rustic porcelain finish
- Oven safe to 350°F
- Tempered glass lids
- Not for induction cooktops
The Paula Dean 12513 Signature cookware set provides fifteen excellent cookware pieces crafted from heavy-gauge aluminum to last the trials of time. We selected this set as our best cookware set for the oven, due to its ability to handle extremely high heat of up to 350°F Fahrenheit oven temperatures, while also offering nonstick cook surfaces. The soft-touch handles also allow cooks to handle the pots and pans with a bit more ease, and reduced risk of burning. If you need, you can even peek in on your food thanks to the tempered glass lids.
This set includes a 1-quart covered saucepan, 2-quart covered saucepan, 6-quart covered stockpot, 2.75-quart covered sauté pan, 8-inch and 10-inch skillets, and a 5-piece measuring set. We also love the speckled porcelain exterior available in a variety of colors, including aqua, blue, yellow, orange, purple, and red — they add a bit of rustic charm to any kitchen. The only thing to note is that this cookware set is not made for induction cooktops, so keep them to traditional gas and electric stovetops. Another great kitchen accessory is the best wing corkscrew.
#5 T-fal C515SC Professional Non-stick 12-Piece Cookware Set
Award: BEST DISHWASHER SAFE
WHY WE LIKE IT: T-fal offers a high-quality reliable cookware set that features durable nonstick surfaces and indicators that show once the pan is preheated, all while remaining dishwasher safe and induction cooktop friendly.
Read Full Review: T-fal C515SC Professional Non-stick 12-Piece Cookware
- Very durable non-stick surface
- Preheated pan indicators
- Even heat distribution
- Small egg-pan is limited
T-fal is a cookware brand that has been providing reliable products to chefs and cooks for years, and they continue to do so with the T-fal C515SC Professional cookware set. Built from titanium and featuring sturdy riveted handles and lids, T-fal makes a product that remains strong while cooking and won’t break down. The titanium also helps to ensure even heat distribution throughout your pots and pans so that you won’t find your food undercooked on the edges. We even love the preheated pan indicators that change color once your cookware is hot enough to begin the cooking process.
The set includes an 8-inch fry pan, 10.25-inch fry pan, 1 miniature egg fry pan, 1-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart saucepan with lid, 5-quart stockpot with stainless steel steamer insert, and two nylons tools — a flipper and stirring spoon. The entire set is easy to use and easy to clean thanks to its dishwasher friendly material and built-in indicators. The only thing we don’t like is that while the majority of the collection is induction cooktop friendly, the egg-pan can only be used on traditional stovetops. Don’t be afraid to spice up your cooking by reaching for spices in the best magnetic spice rack.
#6 Circulon Premier Professional Stainless Steel 13-Piece Cookware Set
Award: BEST PROFESSIONAL
WHY WE LIKE IT: This excellent cookware set from Circulon takes cooking to the next level with its anodized construction and steel bases, allowing for even heat distribution. The stainless steel rimmed glass lids also help to lock-in heat and moisture.
Read Full Review: Circulon Premier Professional Stainless Review
- 100% dishwasher safe
- Glass lids are shatter-resistant
- Lids lock-in heat and moisture
- Comparatively high price-tag
If you’re looking to become the next star professional chef, or perhaps you already are one, then take a closer look at Circulon’s Premier Professional Stainless Steel cookware set. The set includes 12-pieces, including an 8-quart covered stockpot, a 5-quart sauté pan with helper handle, a 3-quart covered straining saucepan, a 2-quart covered straining saucepan, a 1-quart covered straining saucepan, a 12-inch French skillet, a 10-inch French skillet, and an 8.5-inch French skillet. Best of all, all of the included covered pots feature glass lids that are shatter-resistant for increased safety.
The DuPont system also helps to reduce the surface area on your food, allowing for easier release of food, and the included lids feature a stainless steel rim that helps to lock-in both heat and moisture. The only thing to note is that the Circulon set is quite pricey, so be prepared to pay, but rest assured that you are buying quality.
#7 AmazonBasics Non-Stick 15-Piece Cookware Set
Award: BEST BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: Amazon keeps it simple by offering an affordable 15-piece cookware set that is affordable, but highly capable. Non-stick coatings, soft touch handles, and oven safe designs all make this AmazonBasics product a steal.
Read Full Review: AmazonBasics Non-Stick 15-Piece Cookware Set
- Excellent beginner kitchen set
- Vented lids allow for steam escape
- Includes essential kitchen utensils
- Not the most durable set
Amazon has a way of bringing great, affordable products to the masses, and they have done it again with their AmazonBasics Non-Stick 15-Piece Cookware Set. The best option for beginner kitchen sets and those on a budget, this set includes everything you need to get up and running in your new kitchen. Amazon includes an 8-inch fry pan, a 10-inch fry pan, a 1.5-quart saucepan with lid, a 2-quart saucepan with lid, a 3-quart casserole pan with lid, a 5-quart casserole pan with lid, and a 5-piece utensil set. Included utensils include a pasta server, a soup ladle, a slotted turner, a serving spoon, and a slotted serving spoon.
One of our favorite small details with this set is its glass lids, which feature a vented design to allow steam to escape. In our research, we did find the AmazonBasics option was not the most durable of options, but still constructed from aluminum; however, at such a lower price, we find it hard to complain.
How We Decided
When researching the best cookware sets for your kitchen, we took into account a collection of factors to ensure that you are only selecting the best pots, pans, and accessories. We evaluated each set’s overall construction, durability, surface coatings, and included items, and then set minimum criteria for each. No matter which best cookware set you select in our guide, we know that you’ll be in the kitchen cooking your favorites in no time at all.
When it came down to construction, we only selected pans made from high-strength metals, including stainless steel, aluminum, and titanium. While other options are available on the market, such as ceramic and cast iron, choosing one of these metals ensures that you have a pan or pot that is durable, yet easy to manage both during the cooking and cleaning process. When it comes to durability, we looked beyond the metal, ensuring that features such as damage-resistant surfaces and shatter-resistant glass lids help your new set last for generations.
Surface coatings add additional features to pots and pans, which is why we selected pots and pans that offer a variety of surfaces, including plain stainless steel for the purest experience that doesn’t detract from the flavor, as well as well-tested anti-stick coatings to make cooking just a bit easier; it is important to note, however, that most anti-stick coatings will make cookware non-dishwasher safe, while some do not hold up against metal utensils. As for included items, we ensured that no set we are recommending includes less than ten items; after all, you’ll need a few tools to get your kitchen started.
Best Cookware Buyer’s Guide
- Construction: When shopping for new cookware, keep in mind the construction of the product and the metals used. Stainless steel is regarded as one of the best options as it won’t affect your food’s taste and is highly durable. However, you may prefer another option such as aluminum, which offers a more lightweight, yet still durable, experience that doesn’t cause fatigue on the arms after hours of cooking. Ceramic is another excellent option that holds heat well but is heavy, and thus some individuals might find trouble cooking with it due to the weight.
- Durability: If you are looking for the ultimate in durability, look for stainless steel sets as they can take quite a beating, while still operating at their peak. Additionally, if strength is a concern, avoid nonstick coatings as they are typically more delicate and can even peel if not treated correctly. Lastly, if you are cooking in the oven, be sure your pots and pans are rated for high oven temperatures such as 350-degrees, and even 400-degrees, Fahrenheit.
- Surface Coatings: To go bare or not, that is the question. A bare steel or metal pan might provide the best cooking surface, but it can be challenging to remove stuck food. If you are worried about food sticking to your cookware, search out sets that offer nonstick coatings. Note that some nonstick coatings can be quite delicate, even requiring hand washing only, so be sure to check your cookware set for instructions before ordering.
- Included Items: What do you need in your cookware set? If it is your first time purchasing a cookware set, keep an eye on the essential items — the pots and pans. Things such as utensils can always be added on later for cheap. Ensure your set includes at least one to two sauté skillets, one to two saucepans, and at least one sauté pan, if you are starting your new kitchen from scratch.
Keep reading to learn more about the Cuisinart MCP-12N 12-Piece Cookware Set and others making our list. And don’t forget to check out our best nonstick pan list as well.