Whether you have an induction cooktop or you want pots and pans that hold heat with less chance of warping, stainless steel is an excellent material to work with. If you know how to cook food to reduce the possibility of sticking and you’re ready to upgrade from that cheap, hand-me-down set you got in college, stainless can be an excellent choice.
This list includes favorite stainless steel sets to help you get started with your ideal setup. They’re durable, offer incredible performance, and allow you to build your kitchen collection to your dream specifications. Let’s take a look.
Table of Contents
These stainless steel choices would make an ideal cooking collection for any kitchen. Whether you’re a beginner and stocking up on the good stuff or upgrading your cheap cookware, there’s something here for you.
Best Budget – Cuisinart MultiClad Pro
- Polished cooking surface does not discolor, react with food or alter flavors.
- Cookware also features cool grip handles secured with stainless steel rivets and self-basting, tight fitting lids, Triple-Ply construction...
- Oven safe up to 550F, Rims are tapered for drip-free pouring.
Cuisinart’s multi clad collection offers strength and durability at an attractive price point for just about everyone. Their durable line began a long time ago with the humble food processor, but now they’re a kitchen staple. Chances are, you already know someone with a Cuisinart piece or two.
Construction and Materials
Cuisinart uses a multi clad design, meaning several layers of materials designed to maximize the benefits of each metal while minimizing the downsides. They feature a triple-ply construction with an aluminum core sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel. A magnetic layer at the bottom is durable and induction compatible, while the interior stainless layer provides a scratch-resistant surface suitable for a variety of cooking utensils.
The cookware line includes a variety of standard kitchen tools with a classic design and a polished steel finish. Handles are riveted to the sides for durability and are made of all stainless to help them stay cooler during the cooking process.
The rims are tapered to help with pouring, while lids fit tightly enough to prevent too much moisture from escaping. The handles are also riveted for durability, while stainless steel helps lock in heat and makes them broiler safe.
Cuisinart’s stainless collection doesn’t stain or discolor when you cook. It offers excellent heat once you’ve taken the time to preheat, but there is no nonstick option. If you add oil and heat slowly before you place your food inside, it helps cut down on the sticking.
They’re dishwasher, oven, and broiler safe, so super easy to clean and versatile. You can hand wash them if you want to preserve their look, but overall, they’re highly durable. You have the choice of several frying pan sizes, several quart capacity saucepans, a stockpot, and a few other niche items. The lids aren’t interchangeable completely, but they are easy to store.
Cuisinart makes quality products for those on a budget. They’re excellent for beginners and those stocking a kitchen for the very first time. Cuisinart’s stainless set is easy to find in stores and online, making the pieces highly accessible for a variety of households.
They do offer even temperatures and all-around heating, but you’ll need to be careful adding food into the pan when using these. It’s best to put oil in the bottom and gently preheat the pan first to ensure that you have the best chance of avoiding stuck-on food. Even so, the interior surface is prone to it.
The handles are well balanced, but a little bit thin. However, they stay relatively cool and provide a nice, reliable feeling when moving the pot around even in oven mitts. The pots do well in a variety of kitchen tasks, including dishes that move from the stovetop to the oven.
The lids are an excellent fit. They aren’t glass, which would help with keeping an eye on food, but they are nicely made and help control moisture well. They’re durable and keep their finish easily.
- oven, dishwasher, and broiler safe
- tapered rims to help with pouring
- plenty of cookware choices
- food tends to stick
- handles are awkward
Best Everyday – Tramontina Gourmet Stainless Steel Trip-Ply Induction Set
- Set includes: 8” & 10” Fry Pans; 5 Qt Covered Deep Sauté Pan; 1.5 Qt, 2 Qt & 3 Qt Covered Sauce Pans; and 8 Qt Covered Stock Pot
- Premium Tri-Ply clad construction (18/10 stainless steel, aluminum core, magnetic stainless steel)
- Precision cast riveted handle and mirror-polished stainless-steel lid
Tramontina may not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of gourmet cookware, but its reliable performance and reasonable price point make it an attractive choice for cooks everywhere. It’s a wonderful option for first-time buyers outfitting a brand new kitchen.
Construction and Materials
Tramontina uses a triple-ply construction with an aluminum core that helps conduct heat more efficiently. Stainless steel encases the aluminum core, giving the set heat stability and a better chance of even temperatures. The magnetic steel bottom is induction compatible, and the interior helps cook food evenly.
The handles and lids are pure stainless, so they stay cooler during the heating process. The blend of the two materials helps ensure that the metals don’t warp or bend during high heat, but that it also doesn’t take forever for your pan to heat up.
Tramontina’s pots and pans are rounded, giving you a better surface to scrape off food and for stirring. It gives them a softer look than some other traditional choices, but the polished stainless finish is a beautiful look for a kitchen-to-table presentation.
The handles and lids are also stainless. Handles are riveted to the pan for durability and long-term use, while the lid handles are constructed the same. The set is medium weight, and the handles are wide and comfortable to carry using oven mitts.
They withstand a good range of heat with no hot spots or scorching. They’re oven and broiler compatible up to 500 degrees, offering plenty of versatility with kitchen tasks. The entire line is both an affordable option and a highly durable set with excellent heat resistance and even temperatures.
They’re highly resilient in the dishwasher but can sometimes discolor or develop a film. If you want to preserve the finish of the stainless, you might choose to wash by hand.
Tramontina is another excellent set of cookware for beginners or those needing to stock an entire kitchen for the first time. The gently rounded sides and bottoms help make stirring easier and have a much softer look overall than some of the other kits on the list.
Tramontina has the same sticking issues on the bottom as Cuisinart, but each piece handles a variety of kitchen tasks well. Make sure you gently preheat the pan with oil before adding food. Once you’ve got your food in, you should experience few temperature irregularities and no scorching.
Tramontina is also great for those on a tighter budget who don’t want to sacrifice performance. The layers of stainless and aluminum help conduct heat well but protect the pan from that same heat so that you won’t worry about warping or other high heat issues. Plus, they’re dishwasher safe and resist staining.
- curved edges help pour
- rounder bodies make scraping and stirring easier
- not quite as traditional of a look
- food sticks a lot
All-Clad D3 Cookware Set
- Set includes: 8 and 10-inch fry pans, 2 and 3-quart sauce pans with lids, 3-quart saute pan with lid, and 8-quart stockpot with lid
- Classic tri-ply construction, made with a responsive aluminum core bonded together with 2 layers of durable, stainless steel all the way...
- Secured with riveted stainless-steel handles to ensure a safe grip and to add a bit of style with stainless-steel lids to match
All-Clad is a big name in gourmet cookware. Snagging an All-Clad set might make you the envy of your friend and family group. Yes, they’re just that good.
Materials and Construction
All-Clad uses a triple-ply construction with aluminum sandwiched between layers of stainless steel for better heat conduction and even temperatures. The triply bonded construction extends throughout the body of each piece for the ultimate in durability.
All-Clad’s stainless steel handles don’t conduct heat quickly, so they’ll stay cool enough to handle. Plus, they’re riveted to the side of the pots for durability. The lids are stainless as well and fit tightly to keep in moisture. The entire line is outfitted for the best heat conduction possible and to ensure the right temperatures for cooking a variety of dishes.
The tight-fitting lid isn’t the only thing about the set that’s well constructed. This line uses a classic design with nice straight sides that make stirring and containing messes a little easier. They have a polished steel finish that doesn’t tarnish or stain with cooking.
The handles are All-Clad’s biggest weakness. They’re long and thin, making them uncomfortable to carry without an oven mitt, especially considering the weight of the pots. While they’re certainly lighter than other kitchen materials, wrapping stainless entirely up the sides of the pan does make for more weight overall and thus more uncomfortable handles.
The lids are one of All-Clad’s best features. They straddle the line between tight-fitting enough to keep in moisture while releasing pressure at just the right time to prevent food from getting soggy.
You’ll have to preheat the pan with some oil to help prevent food from sticking. While All-Clad handles this better than some cheaper alternatives out there, it’s still stainless and still sticks a little bit. Fortunately, the pans are dishwasher safe and comfortable to deglaze. The material is also suitable for both oven and broiler.
All-Clad is an excellent performing set of cookware, but the cost might put it out of reach for beginners or those needing to outfit an entire kitchen. However, experienced cooks who are replacing pots individually will find excellent and consistent performance with each piece.
If you have the budget for the entire set, it’s a high-quality set that won’t let you down, no matter the kitchen task. It heats evenly without scorching, but as with all stainless steel, you have to preheat the pan with some oil first to avoid sticking.
All-Clad is very durable because the 3-ply layers extend out to the sides, not just the bottom. This provides protection from heat but ensures that the temperature is even throughout each piece for dishes that require even cooking around the sides.
- triply bonded materials extend to the sides
- induction safe
- even temperatures
- poor handle design
Best for Small Kitchens – Calphalon Premier Space Saving Stainless Steel
- Stacks smaller, saves 30% more space
- Stacks and nests in any order
- 3 layers of metal quickly and evenly distribute heat; Stainless Steel handles stay cool while cooking on the stovetop
If you don’t have a lot of space to move around in your kitchen, your cookware must be strategic. That’s where Calphalon’s space-saving line comes in handy. Here’s what you need to know.
Materials and Construction
Calphalon uses three layers to promote faster, more even temperatures. The middle layer is heavy-gauge aluminum, but it’s wrapped in stainless steel, so it’s induction compatible and holds temperature well.
The handles are all stainless and riveted to the sides of the pots for durability. Tempered glass lids ensure that you can see your food, but heat and moisture are kept inside for optimum texture.
The space-saving set stacks neatly, lids and all. Glass lids are flat with handles on the sides so you can nestle them inside themselves by stacking pots on top of lids. You don’t have to find space for lids away from your pots. Instead, everything stacks neatly together, condensing your storage needs and reducing sprawl.
They have a classic design with a polished steel finish that looks great going from the kitchen to the table. The steel finish resists staining and corrosion, so it will continue to look great for years. Stainless handles stay cooler overall, and glass lids help you see what your food is doing.
Calphalon’s performance is reliable, even with space-saving pieces. The steel and aluminum together help ensure that your food is cooked well with no scorched places or uneven temperatures, even to the sides.
The lids offer good moisture control and ensure you’ll see what your food is doing without having to break the moisture seal. Tempered glass works well, and the handles are riveted to the top to help with durability. Overall, it’s a solid set.
This is a great set for someone who wants to upgrade older kitchen pieces but may not have all the space required for sets that sprawl out over several cabinets. The side handles for lids are absolute genius and provide excellent storage options with lids inside of pots inside of other pots.
The pots and pans maintain consistent temperatures and have plenty of options for how and where you cook. They’re dishwasher, oven, and broiler safe, so you’ve got all the choices you need for your cooking style. The entire set is one of the best space-saving designs out there with the performance to match.
Like all stainless, be sure to preheat the pan and add oil before putting in food to prevent sticking. Deglazing can help ensure that food doesn’t stick to the bottom, and the dishwasher helps prevent spots and staining.
- innovative space-saving features
- triple-ply design provides even temperatures
- good lid design
- on the expensive side
- lid handles may take getting used to
Best High-End – All-Clad D5 Brushed Stainless Steel Cookware Set
- Set includes: 8 and 10-inch fry pan, 1.5 and 3-quart sauce pan with lid, 3-quart saute pan, and 5.5-quart dutch oven with lid
- 5-ply bonded construction with alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum for warp-free durability and supremely even heating that...
- For an added touch of refinement, it features a beautiful and easy to maintain brushed finish and fitted, stainless-steel lids
All-Clad offers fantastic performance with its line of brushed stainless steel cookware designed to minimize hot spots while maximizing flexibility. Their line is durable and a classic. Here’s what you need to know.
Materials and Construction
The All-Clad D5 line features a unique five-ply construction with gentle layers designed to maximize heat distribution while minimizing damage and scorching. It alternates aluminum layers (designed to conduct heat quickly and provide more response to temperature) with stainless steel, which has a higher point of heat but holds it well.
These layers resist warping even on high heat, but the good news is that you don’t have to use as high of a temperature to achieve the same results. All-steel handles stay cooler during the cooking process, and the lids are stainless steel as well. All handles, lid or regular, are riveted in place for durability.
The D5 set uses a classic design with the alternating layers wrapped around and throughout the sides for even temperatures. The brushed stainless exterior and interior resists scratches and prevents staining from acidic foods.
The handles are long and thin, which can be uncomfortable for a variety of cooking tasks unless you wear gloves. Unfortunately, that tends to be a trend with All-Clad design and is no different here.
The lids are tight-fitting and stainless steel themselves. They offer excellent moisture control so that there is enough moisture to soften tough textures, but not so much that the food turns out soggy. They let out just the right amount of pressure to make the food palatable.
Straight sides prevent spills when you’re stirring and give you a bit more room to work with. Soups and stews are particularly well-suited to this set.
The five layers maximize what you can do with this set. Aluminum makes the steel more responsive, decreasing the amount of time it takes for the pan to heat up or cool down, while the stainless holds and distributes heat more evenly. Plus, the risk of warping under high heat is lower.
The D5 set comes with a variety of pan and pot options to cover just about any cooking task. Plus, they’re dishwasher safe and oven and broiler safe. There is so much flexibility with this set to handle the cooking tasks that you want to manage.
Like all stainless steel, food is more likely to stick to the bottom than it would be with nonstick coatings. The way to get around this is to heat the pan with oil gently before putting any food into the pan. This cuts down on the chances of food sticking. Deglaze the pan and hand wash for best results.
This particular set might be a little much for beginners, but if you’re upgrading to a new set after a few years, this is a beautiful, higher-end option. It holds temperatures well and transfers to the oven easily, so you don’t have to worry about using a bunch of different pots.
The five layers aren’t necessary for beginning cooks, but for cooks who need that kind of responsiveness, they’re a great option opening more subtle cooking tasks. The sets can be quite an investment, but switching out individual pieces gradually could be a way to mitigate the cost while getting the advantages of this cookware.
The magnetic steel bottom makes it induction capable so that you can cook on any surface. The set is dishwasher safe, but if you want to preserve the finish, you may want to hand wash to be safe.
They’re worth the upgrade if cooking is your thing. If you don’t do much in the kitchen, you may not notice the subtleties of the five-ply layering, so the cost may not be worth it. When you need a set that responds and provides temperature-sensitive cooking, this is the right set.
- five-ply construction
- really durable
- handles are not comfortable
- five-ply benefits may be too subtle for novice cooks.
These five sets have our gold standard for a variety of reasons, but other quality cookware sets are out there that you may want to check out. Let’s take a look at a few other options.
If you’re a beginner cook or you’re outfitting your very first kitchen on a budget, our Tramontina pick above is a good option. However, if you want more choices, there are a few that could work.
What to look for:
- beginner-friendly designs
- even temperatures as much as possible
- little evidence of warping
- stay-cool handles
- variety of cookware pieces
T-Fal Copper Bottom
- Set includes: 8 inches fry pan, 10.5 inches fry pan, 12 inches fry pan with lid, 1 quart saucepan with lid, 2 quart; Saucepan with lid, 3...
- Multi layer strength: Heavy gauge base with multiple layers of copper, stainless steel and aluminum for fast, even heat; Durable 18/10...
- Stainless steel interior: A well loved cooking surface, the stainless steel interior won’t react to acidic foods; Works best using...
Copper is a chef’s classic. It’s responsive and durable. Unfortunately, T-Fal’s copper bottom is a little too responsive, offering some scorched spots if you aren’t paying attention. It uses an encapsulated base, an inexpensive alternative to triple-ply designs, and it performs basic cooking tasks adequately.
The set is highly affordable and offers a variety of cookware pieces to cover most classic kitchen tasks. If you happen to warp a pan or scorch the bottom so badly that it’s unusable, you won’t be so sad about losing this set.
- Innovative no boil-over insert puts a stop to messy spills when making pasta, rice, potatoes, and beans—giving you the freedom to focus on...
- The BPA-free silicone insert recirculates boiling water back into the pot, based on testing of rice, beans, pasta, and potatoes
- The insert allows for stirring and additional seasoning through its center opening, while stay-cool handles allow the insert to be easily...
Another budget option from a well-known cookware name, Calphalon Classic provides excellent performance with a disc-bottom base. Temperatures are reasonably even, and it does an admirable job of avoiding scorching, but doesn’t prevent it completely.
It offers beginner-friendly design elements. There are strainer style lids and pouring spouts, details that make cooking a little more convenient. If you’re on a budget but want a well-performing set of basics to learn, this could be a good choice.
Anolon Nouvelle Copper
- SET INCLUDES: 1.25-Quart and 2.5-Quart Saucepans with Lids, 6.5-Quart Stockpot with Lid, 8-Inch and 10.5-Inch Frying Pan, 3-Quart Sauté Pan...
- BUILT TO PERFORM: The cookware set's polished stainless steel construction is crafted with copper for optimum heat control and cooking...
- INDUCTION READY, DISHWASHER SAFE: European style for a luxurious look, induction-compatible, and dishwasher safe for the ultimate in...
For a little bit more, this set offers a five-ply construction with copper, but don’t be fooled. It does provide excellent basic performance, but a little too responsive at high heats to comfortably brown or sear foods.
It’s okay if your focus is mostly on basics—soups, stews, and one-pot meals—but if you’re going to add to the price for this beginner set, it might be a better idea to get a well-performing three-ply option. Don’t be wowed by the five-ply choice. It’s better to have a consistent three-ply than a mediocre five-ply.
When you’re ready to move past beginner sets, our choices above are excellent. There are some excellent contenders for top spots here, too, so let’s look at a few options if you’ve got a wider budget and an expanded kitchen capability.
What to look for:
- triple- or five-ply construction (preferably around the sides, too)
- riveted handles
- dishwasher, oven, and broiler safe
- durable stainless exteriors
Cuisinart French Classic
- Stainless 13-piece set with aluminum core includes 1-1/2 & 2-1/2-quart covered saucepans and 4-1/2-qt covered dutch oven
- Set also includes 3-quart covered sauté pan, 8-quart covered stockpot, 24-cm pasta insert and 8- & 10-inch skillets
- Imported from France
The French Classic option is basically the same as our Multiclad option, but it’s made in France. That may sound appealing since French cuisine is one of the pinnacles of cooking greatness, but in reality, you’re paying a lot for some annoying features.
The sides are taller and straighter, which makes the pots and pans unwieldy. They’re hard to pour and hard to move around. The handles are a different shape, but not a marked improvement, and you’re paying more just for the location of manufacture. If you love all things French, go for it. Otherwise, stick with Multiclad.
Oxo Stainless Steel Good Grips Pro
- Set includes: 8-in/20 cm, 10-in/25 cm, and 12-in/30 cm Frying Pans; 1.5 Qt/1.4 L and 2.5 Qt/2.4 L Saucepans with Lids; 3 Qt/2.8 L Sauté Pan...
- Two 18/10 stainless steel layers with a heat-radiant aluminum core deliver even cooking from every side
- Handy measurement markings on the stock pots, saucepans, and sauté pan provide an easy reference
This set includes a lot of pieces for the price, which might appeal to those who need to cover a wide range of cooking tasks. The stainless steel is an excellent choice for durable and even temperatures, but they don’t perform well on induction cooktops despite the magnetic steel bottoms.
They are dishwasher safe, but regularly putting them in there seems to degrade the surface more than the average cookware. Most stainless is technically dishwasher safe but really should be hand-washed. For some reason, this set appears more susceptible to damage than other sets. If it’s the sheer quantity you’re looking for, this could be a suitable choice.
Misen Complete Set
This set is a straight-to-consumer brand with solid performance. It’s heavier than the All-Clad choices and doesn’t quite perform as well with some basic cooking tasks. Plus, the construction and design are a little far off from traditional.
A lot of cooks go with something that isn’t traditional and end up wishing they still had those classic designs. Misen is certainly interesting, but may not pan out in the long run.
With lots of room in your budget, there are quite a few choices you can get in both materials and design. Here are some beautiful options.
What to look for:
- Copper or heavy-duty aluminum cores
- Finishes like brushed stainless and rolled edges
- A good balance of weight and agility
- Guarantees and warranties
Fissler Original Profi
- High-quality: Made of 18/10 stainless steel, this 9-piece cookware set is extremely durable, and exceptionally designed.
- Convenience features include a pouring rim, integrated measurement markings, cold metal handles and oven safe to 350°F/180°C
- Versatile: Multiple sizes for all cooking needs from frying to roasting
This set will require a lot from your wallet, and in return, you get a quality-made disc-bottom set (going entirely against the triple-ply advice). It performs well and heats evenly without much effort. Plus, it doesn’t warp or bend under high heat.
However, it’s heavy—really heavy. The heft can make these pieces inconvenient. If you’re changing from cast iron, it may not be a big deal, but upgrading from your light-as-a-feather aluminum set could cause quite a stir.
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Aurora
- Includes Fry Pan 9.5" Fry Pan 11" Saucepan w/lid 1.5QT Saucepan w/lid 3QT Stock Pot w/lid 8QT Saute Pan w/lid 3QT
- Made in Belgium
- 5-Ply Fully Clad Construction with aluminum core
Zwilling makes amazing knives, and this five-ply cookware set is another gorgeous offering from the company. It has a flat bottom for compatibility with a variety of cooktops, but it does have a problem with sticking.
It doesn’t include as many pieces in the set. You’re paying a lot for the name here, rather than genuinely outstanding performance, so you may enjoy one of the All-Clad choices a little better in the long run.
Top of the Line Cookware
With top of the line cookware, you’re looking at parting with a chunk of your wallet in exchange for peak performance. Let’s take a look at a few of these dream sets to see if they’re worth it.
What to look for:
- premium materials
- highly temperature-responsive but no scorching
- unique features to make cooking easier
- plenty of cookware piece choices and sizes
- The Package length of the product is 21.1"
- The Package width of the product is 21.1"
- The Package height of the product is 11.8"
Mauviel is the standard for copper cookware. The M’Cook set offers a five-ply construction with all the benefits of copper in a set designed for induction cooking. It’s simple and effective with some really peak cookware options.
The roll-top edges and handles make this set easy to use. It offers lots of capability, but really shouldn’t be washed in the dishwasher. And at this price, you could choose to save some money getting the same type of five-ply construction with the All-Clad instead and shave off a few hundred dollars.
Demeyere Industry 5-Ply
- Set includes 9.5" Fry Pan; 11" Fry Pan; 2-qt Saucepan w/Lid; 4-qt Saucepan w/Lid; 3-qt Saute Pan w/Lid; 8-qt Stock Pot w/Lid
- Manufactured in Belgium
- 5-Ply construction offers outstanding heat conduction and retention
Demeyere is Belgian cookware designed to harness the power of multiple types of metals for heat conductivity and even temperatures. It’s a truly remarkable set of cookware with excellent heat retention and no hot spots. You don’t have to stir frantically to make up for heat distribution, and they don’t weigh a ton.
Silvinox linings help keep food from sticking and provide a better overall surface for cooking. It’s an excellent line of cookware, but the major downside is the price. It’s well over $1,000 for a full collection of these pots, and that doesn’t even give you much quantity. Basically, ten pieces. Ouch.
Purchasing stainless steel cookware is a good option for beginners and experienced cooks. It’s the most flexible for different types of cooktops and provides enough control over heat that you don’t have to babysit your pots. Here’s what to keep in mind when choosing stainless cookware.
Why Should I Use Stainless Steel?
Stainless steel is a food-grade material that holds heat well and prevents scratching and staining. Softer, thinner metals can degrade from using the wrong type of cooking utensils, like metal, or from repeated scorching.
Stainless steel is really durable and less fussy about the type of cooking utensils you use. It’s typically compatible with all kinds of cooktops, including induction, and can go in the dishwasher for easy cleanup.
Stainless is going to look good long after you buy it even with a polished finish. If you get brushed stainless, you may never notice scratches or stains, but even polished finishes come back swinging with products designed specifically for them. Bar Keepers Friend is a great option.
Stainless is nonreactive as well. Copper is a higher-end cooking material with better response times, but acidic food will react poorly and stain. It’s not going to warp if you accidentally leave it on high heat, and once again, you can practically beat it down in the kitchen without causing any damage. It’s still going to look new.
Stainless steel holds temperatures well, allowing you to cook more evenly with fewer scorched areas. Companies often combine stainless with other types of metals on the interior of the pot to help improve heat response and to get the best of both worlds.
What Should I Look for with Stainless Steel?
Here’s what to keep in mind when looking for stainless steel cookware at any price point.
- Steel Grade: You need to find 18/10 or 18/8 to ensure that it’s quality stainless steel designed for cookware and durability. You’ll typically find these numbers stamped on the bottom of the pots and pans. If you don’t see a number, be suspicious.
- Weight: Stainless cookware can teeter on the heavy side. Unless you’re a bodybuilder, make sure you check weights for pots and pans, especially when shopping online. The best option, however, is to find the sets in real life so you can pick them up. It’s a balance between heavy enough to take advantage of durability and not so heavy that it’s uncomfortable.
- Core Material: You’ll never want solid stainless steel because the pot would be too heavy to use and would never heat up properly. Instead, a lining like heavy-grade aluminum can help the pot conduct heat more quickly. A copper core is even better but can be expensive.
- Company Reputation: Although not high on the list of criteria, some companies have more experience creating quality stainless steel options. All-Clad is one that reliably produces excellent stainless cookware.
How Do I Care for My Stainless Set?
When cooking with stainless, always preheat the pan gently and add oil before you ever put food in it. Because stainless holds heat so well, it doesn’t need to be on high to get a nice sear or browning.
Once the food is cooked, deglazing the pan can help remove any stuck-on proteins. After that process, be sure to allow the pan to cool down before placing it in water. Cold water on a hot pan is hard on the structural integrity of the pan.
Hand washing can help preserve the finish of your stainless after grueling cooking sessions, but most stainless is also dishwasher safe. Your best bet, however, is always to remove stuck-on food before placing it in the dishwasher.
Bar Keepers Friend can help restore stainless and mitigate any minor scratches or stains. Don’t store food in your stainless pot, and don’t soak pans longer than a few minutes because it can cause pitting.
How Do I Know When to Replace My Stainless Steel?
If you notice that the finish is beginning to corrode or you have fine pits developing in the bottom, it could be time to replace your pan. Scratched and pitted stainless could begin leaching metals into your food, so be sure you care for the finish.
Never scour your stainless with traditional scouring tools, and don’t store your leftovers in your pots in the fridge. Particularly acidic foods could damage the finish over time. It might even be a good idea to make slow-cooked acidic foods such as chili or tomato sauce in ceramic cookware instead.
Choosing Stainless Steel
When upgrading to stainless steel cookware, you get a highly durable material that can take a lot of abuse. When the stainless steel is combined with other metals within the core, you get efficient, even temperatures with less need for stirring and a watchful eye.
Because stainless can be used on a variety of cooktops and with an array of cooking utensils, it’s a versatile cookware option for a variety of cooking styles and levels. Choosing one of the cookware sets on this list will give you excellent cooking tools and open up your abilities, whether you’re a new cook or an experienced one.
Be sure you understand how to use stainless to avoid food sticking and issues with the interior. With a little bit of planning and some creativity, you can get cookware that will last a long time and provide outstanding results.
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