The Best Cookware Sets for 2024

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Cookware Set Size

A big consideration is which pieces are included and whether or not they are essential to your kitchen. Larger cookware sets of up to 14 pieces are available, but they typically contain a lot of pots and pans of multiple sizes that you probably won’t use. I wouldn’t suggest getting a set larger than eight or nine pieces (this includes lids that count as pieces) unless you have both the space and the money for all those extra accessories.

Choosing the Right Cookware Material

The most important decision you’ll make is what material your pots and pans are made from. Cookware is typically made from aluminum, cast iron, stainless steel, copper, nonstick chemical compounds (Teflon), or a combination of several materials. As you might guess, each type of cookware surface has its own advantages and disadvantages as it relates to cooking, cleaning, durability, and storage.

For example, aluminum pots are inexpensive, but they are not very durable and I wouldn’t recommend buying pots made entirely of aluminum. Stainless steel pots and pans will hold up to abuse better and won’t warp or scratch like aluminum. Stainless steel is also a slow conductor of heat, which is why steel pots often have a core made of a more conductive material like aluminum or copper.

For most people, stainless steel with an aluminum core will be the best material for a pot set. Materials like copper and cast iron have their advantages but also some serious disadvantages. Cast iron and carbon steel are both a little heavier and require a little more cleaning and care, so you may not want a whole set. Copper pots are also more difficult to care for and generally cost more than stainless steel pots.

Nonstick is another popular choice. I recommend having at least one nonstick skillet — either Teflon or ceramic — for eggs and other sticky foods. You’ll never be able to cook food using nonstick the way you can with other materials, so keep that in mind if you’re opting for a completely nonstick cookware set. It also won’t last as long because the nonstick coating breaks down over time.

Costs and budget

When it comes to cookware, you get what you pay for, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay more than what it’s worth. High-end copper cookware and stainless steel collections can cost thousands, but you don’t have to spend more than a few hundred for a quality set of pots and pans.

Cheap cookware is different from budget-friendly. Our value pick is still sturdy enough to handle your nightly recipes and won’t break down for many years. If you settle for cheap cookware, you may face broken handles and burnt salmon from uneven heating.

Nonstick and cast-iron cookware are the most affordable materials and reliable sets are available for less than $100. A good stainless steel cookware set with three or four pans will typically cost a few hundred dollars. Copper cookware is the most expensive and typically costs around $500 or more for a small set.

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