What We Like
Durable nonstick surface
Large loop handles
Safe for use with metal utensils
What We Don't Like
Handle rivets aren’t nonstick
Must be washed by hand
Anolon got its start in 1984, creating cookware for serious home cooks. The brand’s anodized aluminum cookware, such as the pieces included in the Anolon Advanced Hard-Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set, is designed for long-term use.
We can vouch for the fact that they hold up, since we’ve been using Anolon saucepans and frying pans at home for years! While our well-worn pots don’t look sparkling new, they’re still the cookware we choose when scrambling eggs or making sticky caramel—we even reach for our tried-and-true Anolon skillet when it’s time to sear a steak or burger. This brand really is a go-to option.
To see if Anolon’s modern offerings are held to this same high level of quality, we put the popular cookware set to the test, using each piece in our kitchen and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses. Here’s what we discovered.
Design: Classy but not flashy
The Anolon Advanced Hard-Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set includes a 1.5-quart saucepan with lid, a 3-quart saucepan with lid, an 8-quart stockpot with lid, a 3-quart sauté pan with lid, a 12-inch deep covered skillet with helper handle, and an 8-inch French skillet. We loved the inclusion of the helper handle on the 12-inch deep covered skillet, as it can get rather heavy when filled with food. That pot was the perfect size for cooking long spaghetti using the cold-start method, so it got a lot of use during our testing.
We love the variety of pan sizes included in this set, from the 1.5-quart saucepan and 8-inch skillet on the small end to the 12-inch deep skillet and the 8-quart stockpot on the large end. You’ll undoubtedly find uses for the smallest pans, whether it’s toasting spices or warming sauces, and the large pots will come in handy whenever you need more space for extra food. Aside from perhaps a turkey-size roasting pan, it’s hard to imagine what other cookware might be needed to make this a comprehensive set.
In terms of appearance, the dark gray finish and elegantly curved handles of these pans give them a classic, understated look. No one’s going to walk into your kitchen and exclaim, “Oh, shiny!” but it’s obvious at a glance that this is a high-quality cookware set. The gray non-slip grips on the handles aren’t just for show, either—they make these pans easy to hold securely, and they feel cool to the touch no matter how hot the pot gets. Plus, the hanging holes on the ends of the handles let you dangle the pans on a rack to keep them within reach.
These pans are triple-coated with a nonstick finish, which explains why our omelet released oh-so easily from the pan.
This set includes a lid for each pot and pan, with the exception of the smallest skillet. The lids are glass with a metal rim and loop handles. The loop handles are the same size on all the lids, and we found them easy to wield. At first glance, it looks a little odd to have a large handle on a small lid, but this design choice is all about function—we were able to get all four fingers through each handle for safe lifting. For storage, the lids can be flipped upside down to save some space. In terms of function, we were pleased to find it was easy to position the lids slightly ajar to let out steam while still leaving the pot mostly covered.
One of the saucepans is described as a “pouring saucepan,” and since none of these included a spout, we decided to use it to make a controlled pour—a test to see how much of a mess we would (or wouldn’t) make. We were quite pleased that the rim funneled liquids in a tight stream, so you can be confident pouring from these pans, whether you want to neatly sauce food on a platter or pour liquid into a container for serving or storage.
Material and Performance: Durable and nonstick
While untreated aluminum is a softer material than stainless steel, the anodizing process hardens the metal so these pots are actually tougher than most of the stainless steel cookware you can buy.
If you have an uncanny knack for burning food, you’re not alone. It seems impossible, but we’ve burned potatoes in boiling water, and don’t get us started on how many times we’ve scorched tomato sauce. However, these common cooking problems disappear with high-quality nonstick saucepans. Since food doesn’t stick, it doesn’t burn easily! These anodized aluminum pans are triple-coated with a nonstick finish, which explains why our omelet released oh-so easily from the pan, and the rogue cheese that dripped from the eggs slid out of the pan with ease, landing on the plate where it belonged.
We also put the nonstick properties of this cookware to an even more intense test: Cooking a special grilled cheese sandwich with cheese both inside and out—yum! This requires a pan that can melt and crisp cheese without it burning or sticking. The test was a smashing success; when the sandwich was removed, there wasn’t a single bit of cheese stuck to the pan.
The nonstick finish of these pans is technically “metal utensil safe,” but with the advent of silicone cooking utensils, most people won’t need to use a metal spoon to stir food or a metal spatula to flip burgers. However, you certainly shouldn’t be afraid to use a metal utensil in the pan if needed. Just keep in mind that the nonstick surface isn’t indestructible, so you shouldn’t cut foods in the pan, scrape it with the sharp edge, stab it with a fork, or gouge it with a chisel.
The thick bottoms and sides of these pans distribute the heat evenly, preventing any hot or cold spots as you cook.
Finally, the tempered glass lids in this set are resistant to breakage and make it easy to see inside the pots. Condensation and splattered food can blur the view a little, but we were able to get a good enough look to see if the liquid was running low or the vegetables looked cooked. Another advantage to these lids is that glass is a good insulator, keeping heat in your pan—perfect for keeping food warm until you’re ready for seconds. While the glass shouldn’t break during normal use, the lids may very well crack if you drop or otherwise manhandle them, so treat them with care.
Heating Capacity: Responsive, even, and efficient
Aluminum heats and cools quickly, so when you adjust the stove temperature, you’ll see the results in the pan sooner. This is helpful, as it will allow you to control boil-overs and thwart overcooking. Additionally, water will boil faster, and oil will heat quickly for frying.
The thick bottoms and sides of these pans distribute the heat evenly, preventing any hot or cold spots as you cook. Early versions of nonstick pans didn’t brown ingredients well, but these pans are great for everything from sausages to skin-on chicken thighs. Because of the heavy material and thick bottom, you can achieve a proper browning while still easily releasing food from the pan.
Further, all of this cookware, including the lids, is oven-safe to 400 degrees, so you can sear a steak on the stove and finish in the oven or cook a stew in the oven without wrestling with the weight of a cast iron Dutch oven.
Cleaning: Nonstick makes washing by hand easy
This cookware is not dishwasher-safe, but the nonstick interiors and exteriors make these pans easy to wash by hand. Because the exterior is nonstick too, accidental drips and dribbles over the edge won’t mar the appearance and are easy to wipe off. At worst, when we left a pan unwashed for a short while, we just had to add hot water and let it sit for just a minute to release the bits of food so we could wipe them away.
The one area that needs a little extra care is on and around the rivets that attach the handles, since those aren’t covered with nonstick finish. This tiny area isn’t a deal breaker, though, since the rest of each pan is so easy to clean.
Price: Quality has a cost
If you’re comparing this set to grocery store nonstick pans, you’re going to experience some sticker shock; the MSRP is $299.99. However, there are much more expensive nonstick products on the market—a single pan might cost up to $100! With that in mind, we think that the price for this set is reasonable for the high quality.
This cookware is not dishwasher-safe, but the nonstick interiors and exteriors make these pans easy to wash by hand.
Competition: It depends on your budget
There are a large number of nonstick cookware sets available, including low-cost, low-quality options from off-brands that could almost be considered disposable. We don’t recommend those unless you truly need a pan for just a few uses. If you’re looking for a lower-priced set, T-fal is a brand to consider, but pay attention to what is included in a set, as the company often includes spatulas or other utensils in its piece count. Further, while T-fal pans are well-made, they’re not designed as well as the Anolon pans. Overall, a set from T-fal might be good for people who are setting up a new kitchen and need to pay close attention to price.
On the high end of the price scale, Scanpan offers several cookware sets, as well as a number of single pans. While this brand has many fans, there are a significant number of users who say the products lose their nonstick qualities in a short period of time. At this price point, there shouldn’t be issues with the coating, so these reviews are definitely a deterrent.
1.5-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart saucepan with lid, 8-quart stockpot with lid, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, 12-inch deep covered skillet with helper handle, 8-inch French skillet
Yes, buy this set.
After successfully using other Anolon pans for many years and taking this new set through its paces, we wholeheartedly endorse this cookware. It looks good and performs well, and the price matches the quality. The only holdups with this set are that it doesn’t work with induction cooktops and that it’s not dishwasher-safe.
- Product Name Advanced Hard-Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
- Product Brand Anolon
- SKU 82676
- Price $299.99
- Color Gray, Bronze, Pewter Special Edition
- Material Anodized aluminum, nonstick coating
- Warranty Lifetime warranty