Updated January 18,2023
Choosing the Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets isn’t easy, but it is definitely worth the effort. American-made cookware is designed for functionality, and it features ergonomic handles and a sturdy lid. The weight of the set is also perfect for easy handling.
If you’re unsure which one to get, we’ve put together a buyer’s guide to help you decide. This way, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about which cookware set to purchase.
- Best Stainless Steel Cookware
- Best Overall: Tramontina 12-Piece Tri-Ply Clad Stainless Steel Cookware Set
- Best Budget: Goldilocks 7-Piece Cookware Set
- Best High-End: All-Clad D3 Stainless 3-ply Bonded Cookware Set, 10-Piece Set
- Best for Beginners: Tramontina Gourmet Tri-Ply Clad 8-Piece Cookware Set
- Best for the Small Kitchen: Calphalon Premier Space-Saving Stainless Steel Supper Club Set
- Best for One-Stop Shopping: Made In Cookware The Sous Chef
- Best Stainless Steel Cookware Without Aluminium
- Best Stainless Steel Cookware In USA
- Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets
- Best Stainless Steel Cookware Canada
- What to Look for a Stainless Steel Cookware Set
- Final Verdict
Best Stainless Steel Cookware
The investment-worthy pots and pans that will last for a lifetime
Stainless steel cookware is the gold standard for home cooks and restaurant chefs alike. Why? It’s durable, easy to use, heats evenly, and is non-reactive. Most can go straight from the stovetop to the broiler and can even be thrown in the dishwasher once you’re done.
That said, pans that are just stainless steel are not ideal. What you really want is for the pan to be “fully clad,” meaning that it’s crafted from different layers of metal. The general consensus is that fully clad tri-ply stainless steel is most desirable. These have an aluminum layer sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel. That aluminum will distribute heat well and heat up more quickly, and the stainless steel will retain the heat.
There are also five-ply options, but those tend to take longer to heat up and the heat is less evenly distributed. You can also find “encapsulated” bases, sometimes called a “disk-bottom” where just the base is clad.
If you cook a lot at home, we recommend approaching your stainless steel cookware as an investment. It will serve you well and last just about forever. All-Clad is seen as the gold standard for most chefs, but there are many other good options.
Start planning your pasta sauces, homemade caramel, sautéed greens, and more because it’s time to get cooking! Here are the best stainless steel cookware sets.
All of this set’s pieces will heat quickly and evenly, while the handles stay cool on the stove.
It’s budget-friendly cookware, but thanks to its innovative business model, you don’t sacrifice on quality for the price.
All-Clad always covers the details that will matter for a lifetime of cooking.
Best for Beginners:
With two pans, two pots, and a Dutch oven, this is a great set to begin exploring the world of cooking.
Best for the Small Kitchen:
Designed to nest in any order, this will take up about 30 percent less room than comparable sets.
Best for One-Stop Shopping:
Made In Cookware The Sous Chef at Madeincookware.com
It’s reliable, well-made, and will make your cooking life far simpler with its ease of use.
Maximum Temperature: 500 degrees | Induction Compatible: Yes | Pieces Included: 8-inch fry pan, 10-inch fry pan, 5-quart sauté pan with lid, 1.5-quart saucepan with lid, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart saucepan with lid, 8-quart stockpot with lid
A great cookware set will not only have a good combination of pots and pans but will also have pots that can handle a variety of recipes. For a durable, easy-to-use set that checks both boxes, we love the Tramontina Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Clad 12-Piece Cookware Set.
For starters, it comes with two fry pans, though you may need to pick up a 12-inch one for larger recipes. Beyond that, the four pots, stockpot, and large sauté pan, can manage most everyday cooking. The entire set is produced with 18/10 stainless steel, an aluminum layer, and a magnetic stainless steel layer that will work on induction cooktops. All of this set’s pieces will heat quickly and evenly, while the handles stay cool on the stove.
It has a lifetime warranty, is dishwasher safe, and its European styling will look gorgeous in your kitchen. It’s not safe for metal utensils, but otherwise, there are very few drawbacks to this set.
Best Budget: Goldilocks 7-Piece Cookware Set
Maximum Temperature: 600 degrees | Induction Compatible: Yes | Pieces Included: 10-inch fry pan, 1.5-quart saucepan, 3-quart saucepan, 8-quart stockpot, 3 lids
Goldilocks, formerly known as Potluck, is a fairly new brand but is quickly building a following. Why? It’s budget-friendly cookware, but thanks to its innovative business model, you don’t sacrifice on quality for the price.
This set is for those who know that they need a stockpot and that they’ll want to use their pans in the oven. Everything is tri-ply stainless steel construction throughout the base and sides with handles that stay cool on the stove, and thoughtful details like that the lids fit every pan. The lids are also domed, so any condensation drips back into the pot, and not on your hand. The pieces are safe for the dishwasher and come with a lifetime warranty.
Maximum Temperature: 600 degrees | Induction Compatible: Yes | Pieces Included: 8-inch fry pan, 10-inch fry pan, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, 8-quart stockpot with lid
All-Clad is the gold standard for cookware. You’ll pay more, but its impeccable design and durability make it a worthy investment if you have the cash. All-Clad always covers the details that will matter for a lifetime of cooking.
Each piece in this set is made with an aluminum middle layer that’s bonded to the others for quick and even heating, while the exterior layer of stainless steel allows them to be compatible with all cooktops. The capacity or size is etched on each base so you can quickly identify what you’re working with. The riveted ergonomic handles stay cool and include loops should you want to hang these for storage. Made in the U.S., all of the pieces are safe in the dishwasher and have a limited lifetime warranty.
Related: Best Cookware Set
Best for Beginners: Tramontina Gourmet Tri-Ply Clad 8-Piece Cookware Set
Maximum Temperature: 500 degrees | Induction Compatible: Yes | Pieces Included: 8-inch fry pan, 10-inch fry pan, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart saucepan with lid, 5-quart Dutch oven with lid
Our best beginner set is a smaller version of our best overall from Tramontina. With two pans, two pots, and a Dutch oven, this is a great set to begin exploring the world of cooking.
Much like the bigger set, each of the pieces is made of three layers with an aluminum core and an exterior magnetic stainless steel layer that works with any cooktop. The riveted stainless steel handles will stay cool to the touch, especially when you’re whipping up a batch of chili in the Dutch oven. Though not having a stockpot or a 12-inch fry pan is definitely a drawback, this set is extremely reliable and will last you for years to come.
Related: Best Cookware
Best for the Small Kitchen: Calphalon Premier Space-Saving Stainless Steel Supper Club Set
Maximum Temperature: 450 degrees | Induction Compatible: Yes | Pieces Included: 4-quart chef’s pan with lid, 5-quart sauteuse with lid, 8-quart stockpot with lid
Perhaps you’re reading these sets thinking they sound great, but when you look at your kitchen, you just don’t know where you’d store it. If you don’t have much room, the Calphalon Premier Space-Saving Stainless Steel Supper Club Set is the way to go.
Designed to nest in any order, with lids made of flat tempered glass to save room, this will take up about 30 percent less room than comparable sets, without sacrificing quality. Each is still made with 3-layer construction for fast, even heating, and you can even use metal utensils without ruining the surface. A potential con is that the lids don’t have handles on top, which could be tricky to adjust to. But, for those who have teeny kitchens, it’s likely worth it.
Related: Best Circulon Cookware Set
Best for One-Stop Shopping: Made In Cookware The Sous Chef
Maximum Temperature: 500, 800, 1200 degrees | Induction Compatible: Yes, except for carbon steel pan | Pieces Included: 10-inch nonstick fry pan, 10-inch stainless clad fry pan, 12-inch carbon steel fry pan, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 4-quart saucepan with lid, 3.5-quart sauté pan with lid, 8-quart stockpot with lid
Made In is another direct-to-consumer brand that has quickly built a following among the press, professionals, and consumers alike. Its kitchenware is used in Michelin-starred restaurants like Chicago’s Alinea and Le Bernardin in New York City. In other words, Made In is the real deal; it’s reliable, well-made, and will make your cooking life far simpler with its ease of use.
Our favorite set to stock your kitchen is the Sous Chef set. This set is mostly 5-ply stainless steel with a carbon steel and a nonstick fry pan. Those two additions are what make this set worth it. Carbon steel is similar to cast iron in that it can handle extremely high temperatures (this one is safe to 1200 degrees), which makes it excellent for searing meat, but you’ll have to regularly season it. That’s why Made In includes a 2-ounce jar of seasoning wax. The nonstick pan, which is safe to 800 degrees, is PFOA-free and extra resistant to degrading.
Made In does recommended hand-washing its pots and pans, and everything is backed with a lifetime warranty.
Related: Best Titanium Cookware
Best Stainless Steel Cookware Without Aluminium
Stainless steel is a great material for cooking, and it is not affected by the presence of aluminum. Stainless steel is a superior heat conductor compared to aluminum. It is also resistant to warping, rust, and corrosion. Hence, it is ideal for all types of cooking. If you are on a tight budget, you can consider purchasing a single pan. However, if you want to avoid aluminum, you must buy the right cookware set.
The best cookware for the best price has a custom-formulated stone-derived surface coating. It does not contain any aluminum and is eco-friendly. This allows you to cook safely without worrying about consuming toxic substances. You can easily stir foods, and the lids help you check whether they are done. If you do not want to buy a set of different types of stainless steel pots, this 12-piece set will suit all of your needs.
When buying stainless steel cookware, remember that you should take into account the number of pieces that you need and how much space you have in your kitchen. You should also bear in mind the size of your cooking space. You can choose from round and rectangular pieces.
You can also choose glass lids, but these are bulkier than plastic and may break easily if you have an accident while handling them. But the glass lids are more durable than plastic, and they allow you to monitor the cooking process.
Best Stainless Steel Cookware In USA
If you’re considering buying stainless steel cookware, it’s important to consider its quality. Many of the best brands in this category have a lifetime warranty to protect you against structural, material, and workmanship defects.
Be aware that a lifetime warranty does not cover normal wear and tear or improper use. To avoid wasting money on a faulty set, check the company’s terms of service. It may be worth the extra money to ensure that your new cookware is free of defects.
Tri-Ply stainless-steel cookware is the best of the bunch. It has three layers to provide even heat distribution and is generally more expensive. Single-ply cookware is cheaper and less durable, and tends to warp easily. The best stainless steel cookware is made in the USA by the best companies. It’s important to check the manufacturer’s website for warranty information and to find out if they ship your product to the United States.
All-Clad is one of the leading companies selling premium stainless steel cookware in the US. Their cookware sets include a 10-inch fry pan, a three-quart covered saucepan, a saute pan, an eight-quart covered stockpot, and a number of other pieces for a variety of meal preparations. You can choose from different sized pieces of stainless steel, including a set of lids if you like. Glass lids are not as sturdy as plastic ones, and may be easily broken if you’re not careful. However, the glass lids allow you to monitor your cooking.
Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets
Buying a stainless steel cookware set is an excellent way to save money on cooking expenses. The quality of these sets is second to none, and they’re well worth the money. Stainless steel pans can be used for anything from pasta sauces to sauteed greens. And you can be sure that your dishes will turn out just as delicious. Read on for the best stainless steel cookware sets for the money.
One of the most important things to consider before buying a stainless steel cookware set is the material. Stainless steel has no flimsy seams that will let food stick. You’ll be able to keep your pans clean with just a cloth. Also, you won’t have to worry about your cookware warping or getting scratched because of uneven heat distribution. In addition to this, stainless steel cookware is lightweight, so you won’t have to worry about your cooking appliances.
The All-Clad 10-piece set is very popular with chefs. It comes with an impact-bonded aluminum base that’s perfect for oven, stove, and broiler. It also has ergonomic handles that prevent burns. The cooking surface is also marked with fill lines, so you won’t have to use measuring cups to measure out the ingredients. If you don’t want to spend a fortune on stainless steel cookware, consider buying a smaller set.
Best Stainless Steel Cookware Canada
The Best Stainless Steel Cookware Canada is not hard to find. It can be found in many stores and can be purchased online as well. If you’re unsure of which type to buy, here are a few tips to help you make an informed decision: Choose stainless steel cookware that is durable and easy to clean. You can also choose from a variety of sizes, depending on how much space you have available.
Stainless steel cookware is a great choice for your kitchen. Its non-reactive surface is great for browning and braising. It’s also great for creating sauces and soups. Stainless steel is easy to clean. This material is also very durable, meaning you can expect it to last for many years. This means less replacement costs, too! A set of three or four saucepans will last for years!
When it comes to stainless steel cookware, you’ll find a range of brands with high-quality but affordable prices. This means that you can find a full set of cookware without breaking the bank. The most common type of cookware is pots and pans with lids. These pots can range from small saucepans to large stock pots. They are durable and are perfect for any kitchen. A large variety of styles and materials is available for everyone.
What to Look for a Stainless Steel Cookware Set
The sets we included were generally 8 to 12 pieces (don’t forget that includes lids!), but you can find smaller ones. It’s important here to think about how often you cook and how many you’re cooking for. For a big family of food lovers, you may want the sets with more pieces and variety. For a couple who tends to order delivery more than you cook, you could likely get away with a smaller set or even individual pieces.
Stainless steel is durable and holds heat well. But, the best stainless steel pans have some aluminum sandwiched in between those layers to help distribute heat and get hot more quickly. Look for the words “tri-ply.”
Most blemishes on stainless steel cookware are just that—they may make it a little less lovely to gaze upon, but they’re not going to impact performance.
That said, there are precautions you can take, so your pots and pans stay gleaming. Always dry your pan as soon as you’re done using it. Add salt to your water once it’s boiling, not before, to avoid pockmarks in your pan. Food will be more likely to stick if it’s cold, so if you can, leave it out at room temperature so it doesn’t stick to your pan. Wait until your pan is hot to add oil and wait until the oil is hot to add the food you’re hoping to cook.
Just about any discoloration that occurs can be cleaned with a bit of Bar Keeper’s Friend, a powerful, non-corrosive cleaner.
Is stainless steel cookware coated at all?
No. Or at least, it shouldn’t be. However, it is often made with layers of metal alloys to assist in even heat conduction and durability, explains chef Joe Asto, whose name you may recognize from such shows as “Top Chef” and “Chopped.” Those alloys include nickel and chromium, the former of which increases its strength and the latter of which is essential to rust and corrosion resistance. However, none of these provide nonstick properties, which is why you need to ensure “there’s enough fat in the pan,” when cooking in stainless steel, advises Asto.
What’s the difference between stainless steel and aluminum cookware?
“Aluminum is much lighter and conducts heat better. However, it is reactive to food where stainless is not,” says Suzanne Vizethann, chef/owner of Atlanta’s Buttermilk Kitchen. This key difference means that acids and alkaline ingredients can cause metallic flavors in your food.
Stainless steel is also much stronger, as compared to the more malleable and softer aluminum. For that reason, Asto prefers not to use this material. “It can easily burn food, scorch, warp, and conduct heat unevenly,” he says, which is a poor pay-off for the minimal benefits of a lower price tag and lighter weight
What kind of stainless steel cookware is best?
The best stainless steel pots and pans have a thick base to prevent warping and ensure that food will cook evenly. A heavy stainless steel pot or pan is easier to handle and won’t tip over. It’s tempting to store leftover food in it overnight, but this can increase the risk of metal leaching and corrosion. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when choosing a cookware set.
What is the healthiest stainless steel cookware?
Stainless steel is one of the most popular types of cookware available. It is long-lasting, durable, and comes in different shapes and sizes. Different grades and series have different properties. Most stainless steel is a combination of carbon and iron, with chromium and nickel added for extra durability. Some of these types are healthier than others. It is important to know the health risks associated with certain grades and series of stainless-steel cookware.
Is 18/10 stainless steel good for pots and pans?
The common question is “Is 18/10 stainless steel good for pots, pans, and other kitchenware?” The answer to this question depends on your needs. The most important thing to know is that this kind of stainless steel does not conduct heat very well. It is better to use aluminum or copper. Moreover, it is more resistant to oxidation and corrosion. That’s why this type of stainless metal is perfect for cooking.
Why do chefs prefer stainless steel?
Stainless steel cookware is an excellent choice for high-volume chefs. The alloy is very easy to clean and maintain. The rust-resistant surface is a significant benefit for chefs who often prepare a large amount of food. This material also offers consistent temperatures that are easier to control. Stainless steel is not prone to stickiness and is suitable for a variety of foods. It is also extremely durable and will last for many years, even if used frequently.
It might be a splurge, but All-Clad’s D3 Stainless 10-Piece Cookware Set (view at Amazon) might be the last set of cookware you’ll ever need. Made In’s The Sous Chef set (view at Made In Cookware) is another worthy investment and favorite of the Simply Recipes team.