If you’ve ever been swayed into buying a piece of cookware or kitchen gadget because your favorite TV chef or Hollywood star has a hand in it, you’re not alone. From Martha Stewart to Rachael Ray, some of the best-selling culinary wares come from famous people. But are they actually good?
When it comes to celebrity cookware lines, I have a healthy dose of skepticism. While many famous chefs and lifestyle influencers may lend their name to kitchen products, there aren’t that many brands that live up to the hype. But there are many that are, from my personal experience! I've experimented with the good, the bad, and the ugly cookware pieces, to find the ones worth owning.
If you’re curious, I’ve compiled the best celebrity cookware pieces—read on to find out which ones are really worth investing in.
Marth Stewart Enameled Cast Iron Round 6-Qt. Dutch Oven
Can be used on any kind of stovetop
Oven safe to 500 degrees
Heat capacity is lower than some other versions
Hand wash only
Why I Chose It: Other well-known brands charge $250 and up for Dutch ovens with similar style and functionality—this brand performs well and looks fantastic and is much more affordable.
An enameled cast iron dutch oven is an indispensable workhorse in the kitchen, but can often cost a pretty penny. Martha Stewart paired up with Macy’s for a very affordable version that also looks great and, most importantly, performs just as well as higher-end versions.
Made of heavy cast iron, it retains and distributes heat evenly—ideal for slow braises in the oven or simmering stews and chilis on top of the stove. The generously sized loop handles are easy to grab, even with oven mitts, and the lid helps to seal moisture into the cooking chamber. This 6-quart cooker can be used on any stovetop, from gas to induction, and is also oven-safe up to 500 degrees. It also comes in 2 quarts, 4 quarts, and 8 quarts. Unfortunately, it’s not dishwasher safe, but the enamel coating makes it easy to clean by hand.
Price at time of publish: $70
Material: Enameled cast iron | Sizes: 2 quarts, 4 quarts, 6 quarts, 8 quarts | Induction Ready: Yes | Oven Safe: 500 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: No
Babish Cast Iron Preseasoned Skillet, 10-Inch
Great price point
Can be used on any stove
Built-in pour spouts
Ready to use out of the box
Heavier than other 10-inch pans
Hand wash only
Why I Chose It: Every kitchen needs a cast-iron skillet, and this one comes at a fair price and arrives pre-seasoned. The large helper handle is an added bonus.
Andrew Rea made a name for himself with the popularity of his culinary-focused YouTube channel, Binging with Babish. He released a set of kitchen essentials last year, comprised of very affordable must-haves, like this 10-inch cast-iron skillet. While it is a touch heavier than some similar pans of the same size, it features a large helper handle for maneuverability and two side spouts for easier pouring. Like most cast iron, it can be used on just about any cooking surface, from electric to gas, glass to induction. And best of all, it arrives pre-seasoned and ready to use out of the box (though you will have to maintain the seasoning as time goes on).
Price at time of publish: $35
Material: Cast iron | Sizes: 10 inches | Induction Ready: Yes | Oven Safe: 500 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: No
Pioneer Woman Prairie Signature Cast Aluminum 4-Quart Everyday Pan
Excellent nonstick quality
Not compatible with induction
Lid edges are very sharp
Why I Chose It: This is an incredibly easy pan to use for almost every application, and it’s so lightweight and easy to clean, I find I use it more often than other pans in my kitchen.
Ree Drummond, known best as The Pioneer Woman, has made a foray into the cookware and home goods realm, exclusively available at Walmart. While some of the other cookware from TPW admittedly falls a bit short, there is one piece that stands out: The Prairie Everyday Pan, a multipurpose piece made of lightweight cast aluminum, with a vintage speckled finish and adorned with olive-wood details. This 4-quart vessel lends itself well to boiling, braising, steaming, frying, and sautéing. It has high walls (just over 3 inches tall) and a fantastically nonstick surface that lets you cook rice or eggs with practically no sticking.
One thing to note is that the pan’s glass lid works great at keeping moisture in, but the edges are very sharp so you’ll want to be careful when handling it. Other than that, this pan performed brilliantly when cooking potstickers, steaming broccoli, and making stir-fries, and when it came time to clean it, hand washing it was a breeze. If you’re short on space and need a pan that serves a multitude of purposes, this one is a solid choice at a fair price point.
Price at time of publish: $35
Material: Cast aluminum | Sizes: 4 quarts | Induction Ready: No | Oven Safe: No | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set
Excellent nonstick performance
Dishwasher and oven safe
Included spatula is flimsy
Why I Chose It: This has been tested by The Spruce Eats and has proven time and again why it’s one of the best-selling celebrity cookware sets out there.
The Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set is a top pick when it comes to nonstick cookware. Made of hard-anodized aluminum, it features a PFOA-free nonstick coating that has proven to be quite durable after months of use. The lids for this set are made of shatter-resistant glass, allowing you to monitor what’s cooking, and the handles stay fairly cool on the stove. The pans heat quickly and evenly, and offer effortless nonstick cooking—eggs don’t stick and the surface also makes it easy to clean off any bits of food by hand.
If you’re not into hand-washing, these pots and pans are also dishwasher-safe. There is a bit of concern about scratching the bottoms of the pan, but that can be avoided by making sure you don’t use any sharp metal utensils on the nonstick coating. At an incredibly affordable price point, you get a pretty extensive set: a 1-quart saucepan with lid, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 6-quart stockpot with lid, 8.5-inch skillet, 10-inch skillet, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, a spatula, and a spoon.
Price at time of publish: $190
Material: Hard anodized aluminum | Piece Count: 12 | Induction Ready: No | Oven Safe: 400 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Beautiful by Drew Barrymore 12-Piece Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set
Compatible with any stovetop
Oven safe to 500 degrees
Would prefer a little more heft
Why I Chose It: This set has a lot of similar attributes to another trendy ceramic cookware brand but is available at a fraction of the price.
If budget isn’t a concern, the Caraway Cookware set is a wonderful investment, but if you don’t want to spend that much, then turn to Beautiful by Drew Barrymore. With a very similar aesthetic and four stylish color options, this set offers a ceramic nonstick coating over lightweight aluminum. Additionally, this cookware set can be used on all stovetops—gas, electric, glass, and induction—and is oven safe up to 500 degrees, including the die-cast lids.
This set includes an 8-inch fry pan, 10-inch fry pan, 3-quart saute pan, 2-quart saucepan, 5-quart dutch oven, and four cookware protectors so you can stack pans without scratching them. These pans are deemed dishwasher safe, but we recommend hand washing them to preserve the nonstick coating.
Price at time of publish: $150
Material: Ceramic-coated aluminum | Piece Count: 12 | Induction Ready: Yes | Oven Safe: 500 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Hestan Thomas Keller Insignia Cookware Set
Very high-quality construction
Compatible with all stovetops
Made in Italy
May be too large for some
Why I Chose It: The performance and design of these pans is amazing, I’d expect nothing less from cookware vetted by Thomas Keller.
There are tons of splurge-worthy cookware sets out there, but none as comprehensive and thoughtful as this collection by Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller. Made in partnership with California-based Hestan, this set is manufactured in Italy and designed to be used by professionals and amateurs alike.
Most of the pans are made of multi-clad stainless steel around an aluminum core, and offer larger circumferences that are compatible with the larger burners of a restaurant kitchen. The pans feature flush rivets for easier cleaning, flared rims for spill-proof pouring, and vents on the handles to lessen heat buildup. Included are a 1.5-quart, 3-quart, and 4-quart saucepans, a 6-quart Rondeau, 2-quart saucier, 8-quart stock pot, 11-inch and 12.5-inch saute pans, an 8.5-inch TITUM nonstick saute pan, and two universal lids, virtually everything a chef or home cook will need.
Cleaning stainless steel pans may require a little bit of elbow grease, but it’s easy to get them looking like new with a good scrub. The heft and quality construction of these pans will help them last for years, if not a lifetime.
Price at time of publish: $1040
Material: Stainless steel, aluminum | Piece Count: 11 | Induction Ready: Yes | Oven Safe: 600 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Ruffoni The Pasta Queen 7-Piece Set
Handcrafted in Italy
Offers excellent heat conduction
Requires extra care
Not induction compatible
Why I Chose It: Copper cookware is always a splurge, but these handcrafted pieces will last for decades.
Nadia Caterina Munno is known as The Pasta Queen, growing a massive social media following with her flair for the dramatic in her instructional pasta videos. She partnered with Italian cookware manufacturer Ruffoni on the design of this 7-piece, handcrafted set. It includes an 8-quart copper and stainless steel stockpot with pasta insert, a 4-quart copper and stainless-steel chef’s pan, and a stainless-steel serving and frying pan. The copper of each piece helps conduct heat and makes the pots more responsive to temperature changes.
Each piece is hammered for strength and adorned with decorative embellishments for an undeniably Old World aesthetic. One caveat with this gorgeous cookware is that it must be washed by hand. As with any copper cookware, hand polishing is required in order to keep the shiny appearance. But if you love the ultra-Italian style of this heritage quality cookware, you won’t mind the extra upkeep.
Price at time of publish: $1990
Material: Copper, stainless steel | Piece Count: 7 | Induction Ready: No | Oven Safe: 500 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: No
Our celebrity cookware top pick is the Thomas Keller Insignia Cookware Set by Hestan because of its high-quality construction, excellent heating capabilities, and overall value. If you want a more wallet-friendly set that still gives you a comprehensive, well-performing assortment, opt for the Rachael Ray Cucina Nonstick Hard-Anodized Cookware Set.
What to Look for When Buying Cookware
As with any cookware, you want to choose a material that suits your style of cooking and stands up to regular use. Nonstick pieces tend to require a little more attention as they’re susceptible to scratching, but are typically easier to clean than other types of cookware. Cast iron is very durable and retains heat beautifully, but is also heavy and tends to take up more storage space. Stainless steel is a nice all-purpose choice for serious cooks, but also requires a little more elbow grease to clean. Copper is a beautiful option that conducts heat well, but will also need continuous polishing to maintain its shine. Whichever material you choose, be sure you are comfortable with its durability and how much is required to maintain it.
Since cookware is often subjected to lots of wear and tear, you’ll want to pick pieces with a solid build. Look for pans with heavy bottoms so they are stable on your cooking surface, and handles that are securely riveted with crevices that are easy to clean.
Another factor to consider when buying cookware is its compatibility with your cooktop. Most cookware works well with electric and gas ranges, but if you have an induction range, your pots and pans need to be specifically designed to work with the magnets that power it. If you intend on using your cookware in the oven, double check with the manufacturer’s instructions to see that the piece (and its lid, if applicable) can indeed be placed in the oven, and stay within the recommended temperature range.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats
Bernadette Machard de Gramont is an LA-based writer who specializes in global food and wine content. After a 2-year stint at Williams-Sonoma Headquarters in San Francisco, she now researches and tests a variety of cookware, bakeware, and wine tools, and interviews field experts for their insight.
United States Environmental Protection Agency. Technical Fact Sheet - Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA). November 2017.