Whether you're a beginner, an occasional cook, or a professional chef, there's no denying the importance of having nonstick cookware in your kitchen. Not only are nonstick pans key to making the perfect eggs, pancakes, and even simmered sauces and seared meats, but they're also easier to clean and less likely to get discolored than their stainless steel counterparts.
But with countless brands of nonstick cookware on the market, it's difficult to know which ones you'll likely be using serious elbow grease on to clean after a few uses—and which ones will actually stand the test of time. To help you decide, we tested the top nonstick cookware options in our Lab and evaluated them based on temperature, performance, design, and ease of cleaning. We also sent several sets to our editors to test at home. When all was said and done, we put together this comprehensive list of the best nonstick cookware sets to help you decide.
Calphalon Signature Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set
Quick to heat
Easy to clean
Great temperature consistency and distribution
On the pricey side
We've liked this Calphalon set for years and, even though its pricey, it still holds up as one of the best. Like most nonstick cookware, this sturdy set is made of hard-anodized aluminum, which means it's undergone a process that makes it extremely durable, before the nonstick coating is applied. The 10-piece set comes with everything you'd need including an 8-quart stockpot and tempered glass lids.
All of our testers, both in the Lab and at-home, were impressed by how the pans in this set heat up quickly, distribute heat evenly, and retain heat well. The pans are heavy-duty with a nice weight and thickness, and are very easy to clean. Our Lab testers noted a little bit of sticking around the rivets on some of the pans, but overall the set had great nonstick performance.
Metal, wood, nylon, and coated utensils are all safe for use with this sturdy cookware. Although all the cookware has extra-long stainless steel handles, the handles do get hot to the touch.
Price at time of publish: $393
Material: Hard-anodized aluminum nonstick interior | Oven Safe: 500 degrees | Induction Safe: No | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What's Included: 10-inch and 12-inch fry pan, 2-quart and 3-quart saucepan with lids, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, 8-quart stock pan with lid
“This feels like professional cookware, and it has a nice thickness. We also liked the deep skillet and clear lids of this set.”
Le Creuset Toughened Nonstick PRO Cookware Set, 6-Piece
Beautiful minimalist aesthetic
Great temperature distribution
Only 6 pieces of cookware
This simple, durable, classic-looking set from Le Creuset offers great temperature consistency and very minimal sticking. The clean design features nice, thick material made from heavy-gauge, hard-anodized aluminum with a triple-reinforced, scratch-resistant nonstick coating. At first glance, you'd wonder why this is one of our top picks, seeing as it has slightly off sizes like an 11-inch skillet instead of a 10-inch or 12-inch. But this, combined with the durability, is precisely why we like it. An 11-inch pan is more versatile than either, the perfect Golidlocks middle, while the two pots are a great complement to a small collection of stainless-steel pots.
Overall in our Lab tests, it performed well with even temperature distribution, thanks to that aluminum core. And we loved that the set is easy to clean in the dishwasher or by hand. In some of our tests, there was a tiny bit of food sticking to the sides of the pan and rivets, whereas in other tests, there was no sticking at all. We did notice somewhat of a chemical smell when we took one of the pans out of a 400-degree oven during the first round of testing, so beware that that may happen upon first use.
As we continued to use this set in our test kitchens, it really proved it's worth the price tag. Every piece was used almost-daily for everything from fried eggs to making the perfect caramel. After six months of extreme use, the pans held up, looking as good as new.
Price at time of publish: $420
Material: Hard-anodized forged aluminum | Oven Safe: 500 degrees (pans only) | Induction Safe: Yes | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What's Included: 8-inch and 11-inch skillet, 3-quart and 4.25-quart saucepan with lids
“There was consistent temperature across the pans, and they were very easy to clean.”
Farberware 15-Piece Dishwasher-Safe Nonstick Cookware Set
Set also includes utensils
Great temperature consistency
Might not last as long as other brands
Food gets stuck between rivets and pan
Although this Farberware set is inexpensive, it offers great temperature consistency, fantastic nonstick performance, and good assortment of equipment. In our Lab tests, our testers noticed that omelets rolled out of the pans easily, sauces did not stick or scorch, and rice pilaf didn't stick or burn at all. They did notice a smell coming off of the pans when they were heated for the first time, and if you're looking for a Teflon-free option, this set is not the one for you.
The design of this set is balanced and lightweight; our testers noted that the pieces feel cheap, but at only around $80 for a full set plus utensils and a baking sheet, it's a great value. Our testers also noticed that the pieces are easy to clean aside from some food sticking between the rivets and the pans. The whole set is dishwasher safe, but cleaning by hand is recommended.
Price at time of publish: $80
Material: Silicone polyester-coated aluminum | Oven Safe: 350 degrees (cookware); 450 degrees (bakeware) | Induction Safe: No | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What's Included: 8-inch frying pan, 10-inch frying pan with lid, 1-quart and 2-quart saucepan with lids, 5-quart Dutch oven with lid, 9 x 13-inch cookie pan, 5 nylon kitchen utensils
“The set felt cheap—but it is literally cheap, costing around $77, and you get utensils, pans, and a baking sheet, so it feels like a good value.”
Scanpan 14-Piece Classic Cookware Set with Stratanium Nonstick
Fantastic nonstick performance
Great temperature consistency
Durable and heavy-duty
Have to screw on handles manually
Scanpan has its own trademark nonstick coating called Stratanium that's free of PFOA and PFOS. Our Lab testers were incredibly impressed with how this nonstick technology performed; there was absolutely no sticking, burning, or scorching in any of our tests. Cleaning was also very easy, and temperatures were very consistent and well-distributed.
Testers noted that there was a little bit of a smell when heating up these pans for the first time, but otherwise they seemed professional-quality. There are no rivets for food to get stuck in, and the weight of the pieces feels heavy-duty and balanced. Additionally, the set nests well together when stored away.
Even with six months of regular use, the pans kept performing well with no scratches. Since the pans are so durable, they are safe to use with metal utensils, but the one quirk is that you have to screw the handles onto the lids yourself.
Price at time of publish: $700
Material: Aluminum base; PFOA-free Stratanium | Oven Safe: 500 degrees | Induction Safe: No | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What's Included: 8-inch, 10.25-inch, and 12.5-inch skillet, 10.5-inch square grill pan, 1-quart, 2-quart, and 3-quart saucepan with lids, 2.75-quart sauté pan with lid, 6.5-quart Dutch oven with lid
“The nonstick material of these pans helped keep the food from sticking and allowed for very easy cleanup.”
Caraway Cookware Set
Well-made and durable
This beautiful set is made of an aluminum core with a mineral-based ceramic coating that's free of PTFE/Teflon, PFOA, lead, and cadmium. Our Lab and at-home testers loved the design of these pieces, which are sturdy and durable and come in a nice array of colors.
This set has been given perfect scores across the board by our Lab testers, our at-home testers, our long-term testers, and our own editors, cooking each dish without any burning, sticking, or scorching. Our at-home tester noted that although Teflon has been regarded as the best nonstick technology for years, these pans truly outperform Teflon and the ceramic coating retains heat beautifully.
These pans are dishwasher safe, but hand-washing is recommended. That being said, all testers reported that they were very easy to wash by hand. This set also comes with a lid holder, magnetic storage separators, and cork trivets. The price is mid-range (under $400), which is worth it for a 12-piece set that lends itself so well to everyday use.
Price at time of publish: $395
Material: Aluminum core with ceramic nonstick coating | Teflon Free: Yes | Oven Safe: 550 degrees | Induction Safe: Yes | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What's Included: 10.5-inch fry pan, 3-quart saucepan with lid, 4.5-quart sauté pan with lid, 6.5-quart Dutch oven with lid, canvas lid holder, magnetic pan racks
“Everything was easy to cook and clean. The set feels like something you'd use every day and would gladly keep on the stovetop to display.”
Best Starter Set
Farberware Glide Copper Ceramic 12-Piece Cookware Set
Copper ceramic coating releases easily
Built-in strainers in lids
Minor temperature inconsistency
Although many of the sets we tested were dishwasher safe and relatively easy to clean, this Farberware set was by far the easiest to clean by hand or in the dishwasher without sacrificing durability (hand-washing is recommended for most nonstick cookware). Between that, the set's assortment, and the price, this is a great set for someone just getting into cooking.
In addition to being easy to clean, the copper ceramic coating on the pan’s interior helps ensure that food releases, while the shatterproof saucepan lids have built-in strainers to make it easy to drain water or excess sauce. Our Lab testers' eggs, sauce, and rice pilaf all cooked beautifully in this set without any sticking, scorching, or burning at all. We did notice a tiny bit of inconsistency in temperature distribution, but not to the point that it impacted our cooking.
Price at time of publish: $95
Material: Copper ceramic-coated aluminum | Oven Safe: 350 degrees | Induction Safe: No | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What's Included: 8.5-inch skillet, 10-inch skillet with lid, 1-quart and 2-quart saucepan with lids, 5-quart Dutch oven with lid, nylon slotted turner, slotted spoon, pasta fork
Calphalon Premier Space-Saving Nonstick Set
Great for smaller kitchens
Durable, well-performing pieces
Great temperature distribution
This nonstick cookware collection boasts 15 pieces: two saucepans, a sauteuse pan, a sauté pan, a soup pot, and stockpot (all with flat, space-saving glass lids) plus three different-sized frying pans. This set is designed to stack and nest, so you'll save a whopping 30 percent of storage space compared to a typical 15-piece cookware set.
Constructed of hard-anodized aluminum, these durable pans are built for quick, even heating and are safe for use with most metal utensils. Our Lab tests found the temperature consistency and distribution of these pans to be top-notch, and the only sticking noted from our tests was a little bit of egg stuck to the rivets of the skillet. When we tested them for six months, they did collect a few scratches, so be sure to use rubber, silicone, or wood tool. A major plus though was having them easy to tuck away helped keep our test space clear.
Though the price on this set is a little on the high side, it's because you get virtually every type of essential pot you'd need. If the 15-piece set is just too much for you, there are smaller sets available.
Price at time of publish: $650
Material: Hard-anodized aluminum core with nonstick coating | Oven Safe: 450 degrees | Induction Safe: Yes | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | What's Included: 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch fry pans, 2.5-quart and 3.5-quart saucepan with lids, 4.5-quart soup pan with lid, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, 5-quart sauteuse with lid, 8-quart stockpot with lid
"I use them on a daily basis. The variety of size options is my favorite part and the main reason why I keep going back to use them."
|Overall Rating||Heating Ability||Durability||Design||Ease of Cleaning||Performance|
Calphalon Signature Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set
Le Creuset Toughened Nonstick PRO Cookware Set
Farberware 15-Piece Nonstick Cookware Set
Scanpan Classic Cookware Set
Caraway Cookware Set
Best Starter Set:
Farberware Glide Copper Ceramic Cookware Set
Calphalon Premier Space-Saving Nonstick Set
Our top spot goes to the Calphalon Signature Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set, which all of our testers loved for its beautiful and durable design, ease of cleaning, and incredible performance. For an incredibly well-made, long-lasting set with even better temperature distribution, the Caraway Non-Toxic Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set is oven-safe up to 550 degrees.
How We Tested
We tested 25 nonstick cookware sets side-by-side in our Lab and evaluated their temperature consistency and distribution, nonstick performance, design, and ease of cleaning. Our testers took note of whether or not there was any chemical smell when heating the pans, whether there was major temperature disparity across different spots in each pan, whether there was any sticking while making French omelets, whether there was any scorching or sticking when heating tomato sauce, whether there was any sticking or burning when making rice pilaf, and whether there was any difficulty with cleaning.
We also sent several nonstick cookware sets to our editors to test at home, as well as used many sets in our test kitchens to thoroughly test the durability of the nonstick coating.
When We're Testing Next
In the first half of 2023, we'll be testing more nonstick cookware sets, both the tried-and-true and newer models. Each set will be tested for its heating and nonstick capabilities including how evenly it heats, how comfortable it is while cooking, its durability, and how the separate pieces affect its overall value.
Other Options We Tested
- Rachael Ray Cucina Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set, 12-Piece: Our Lab testers found that the temperature consistency on this set wasn't bad, but the nonstick performance was nothing to write home about. This set was also one of the most difficult to clean, and although the pans felt sturdy and high-quality, there was a chemical smell when they came out of the oven.
- Ninja C39800 Foodi NeverStick Premium 12-Piece Cookware Set: We liked the design of these pieces and the fact that they could nest, but our testers noticed more food sticking to the pans than with other sets—tomato sauce stuck to the pan and needed to be scrubbed off. This set also received relatively low scores for temperature consistency.
What to Look for When Buying Nonstick Pans
By Bernadette Machard de Gramont
Nonstick pans can be made out of many types of base material, which will help determine how well your pan conducts, maintains, and responds to heat. The lightest and most popular of these is aluminum, which conducts heat well and can be used on a variety of cooktops. Stainless steel is another popular choice—these pans tend to be heavier, with more substantial thickness making them less susceptible to dings and dents. Copper is another great option, as this metal has superior heat conductivity, and is also extremely responsive to changes in heat. As for the interior, the coating is mostly either polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE or Teflon) or ceramic, which we'll discuss later.
Number of Pieces
Depending on your cooking style and family size, the number of pieces you need will vary. The most utilized nonstick pan will likely be a skillet, so be sure to choose a set that has at least one. Another essential pan to have is a stockpot, which is great for cooking rice, sauces, and stews. More pieces will give you more versatility but will require more space to store.
Most nonstick cookware functions just fine on gas, electric, and halogen cooktops—always check with the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure. The most common material used to make nonstick cookware is aluminum, which is not induction-friendly on its own. If you have an induction cooktop, look for one that has a stainless steel base that specifies it is compatible for use with this type of stove.
Nonstick cookware is generally safe for low and medium temperatures, though some of the more modern versions can stand higher heat. Traditional PTFE coatings are generally approved for use up to about 400 degrees, ceramic coatings can typically withstand higher temperatures (over 500 degrees with some models), and hard-anodized cookware can fall somewhere between 400 to 500 degrees, depending on the manufacturer. If you often start foods on the stove and finish them in the oven, make sure to check what temperatures the cookware can withstand, so you won’t have to transfer from one pan to another to finish your cooking.
Nonstick cookware is available at a wide variety of price points, the least expensive of which are lightweight aluminum pans with PTFE or ceramic coating. Since medium- and heavyweight pans require more material to construct, they will naturally be a little more expensive. Keep in mind that nonstick cookware generally wears out more quickly than stainless steel, copper, or enameled cast iron pieces and will need to be replaced at some point.
Many manufacturers offer some type of limited warranty against defects in material, construction, or workmanship. This warranty typically will not cover damage from thermal shock, improper use, nonstick deterioration, damage from metal/sharp utensils, or damage caused by abrasive cleaners and scouring pads. Be sure to double-check the warranty provided by the vendor to ensure it is to your satisfaction.
There are some universal rules for nonstick cookware that will help you prolong its life. Always use the pans within the recommended heat range, as some nonstick coatings do not work well at higher temperatures. Ghee, butter, and oil are recommended for cooking, but nonstick sprays will leave a sticky buildup that can be difficult to remove and will affect the pan's nonstick properties.
Protect your cookware's finish by avoiding sharp or metal cooking utensils, which can cause scratches and gouges that can lead to eventual chipping or flaking. Should you notice that the coating on your nonstick cookware is beginning to crack, it is time to replace it. While some nonstick pans claim to be dishwasher safe, you'll get more wear out of your cookware if you wash them by hand. Since the nonstick surface lets food debris come off easily, washing your pots and pans with a non-abrasive scrubber and mild dish soap is a simple and effective method to clean them.
Some cookware sets will also come with extras, like nonstick-friendly spatulas, spoons, and other non-cookware items. If you’re setting up a brand new kitchen, these items are a nice addition, but if you’re already well-stocked in the tools department, look for a set that includes cookware only.
Types of Nonstick Cookware
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), also known as Teflon, is what serves as the coating for traditional nonstick cookware. Pans made with PTFE are easy to use and clean, but the coatings do wear away as you use them. The biggest concerns with PTFE mainly have to do with the breakdown of the coating, which begins to happen at 450 degrees.
Commonly linked to PTFE, PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) was used in the manufacture of traditional nonstick coatings. Since 2006, major companies have voluntary worked towards eliminating PFOAs from products, though it can still be produced overseas.
Ceramic nonstick cookware is coated in a material that is derived from silica, one of the components of beach sand. This is applied—either dipped or sprayed—to coat the interior surface of the pan, and then it is cured by high-firing in an oven. While most PTFE coatings need at least three coatings, ceramic coatings can require as little as just one layer, reducing the time and energy required to manufacture these types of pans. The drawback of ceramic is that it is more brittle than traditional nonstick coatings, making it more susceptible to developing surface cracks and losing its nonstick property faster.
While PTFE and ceramic coatings are coated onto other metals to make a nonstick layer, hard-anodized aluminum has a nonstick surface that is essentially “baked in.” It is made by electrochemically hardening soft aluminum to make it stronger than stainless steel, and an oxidized top layer that is also nonstick and tougher than traditional nonstick coatings. Hard-anodized aluminum stands up well to high heat, resists scratches, and doesn’t react with acidic foods, and because the nonstick surface is part of the actual pan (versus being bonded onto the metal), it is not prone to chipping or flaking.
This popular French cookware brand (sometimes known as Tefal) takes its name from the combination of Teflon and aluminum. It has a reputation for high-quality, affordable nonstick cookware that can be used for years. T-Fal's portfolio includes full sets of cookware, single pans, and specialty pieces such as woks and grill pans.
Calphalon invented hard-anodized aluminum cookware using a process adapted from the aerospace industry in the 1960s. This Ohio-based brand is still a leading producer of premium quality cookware, with mid-range price points that make it a popular and attainable brand for avid home cooks.
The GreenPan brand was created by two school friends from Belgium who wanted to find an alternative to traditional nonstick cookware. Its proprietary coating is called Thermolon, a ceramic glaze that does not use PFOA in its manufacturing.
The Pennsylvania-based cookware company All-Clad is beloved by professional and home cooks around the world. It is a premium cookware brand known for its high-quality stainless steel lines but also offers hard-anodized nonstick and stainless steel nonstick options, as well.
What heat setting is best for nonstick pans on the stove?
Since nonstick coatings tend to break down at high temperatures, it's advisable to keep your heat settings on medium to medium-low. You can always check with your manufacturer's instructions for specific heating instructions.
Can nonstick pans go in the oven?
It depends on the pan. Many traditional nonstick pans have lower heat thresholds that aren't ideal for putting into the oven, but there are definitely some pans that are built for oven use. Check the manufacturer's specs to see if your nonstick pan can take the heat. If you aren't sure and need to finish a dish in the oven, pick a carbon steel or cast-iron skillet instead.
Can nonstick pans go in the dishwasher?
Most of the time, they can, but the strong water pressure and dish detergents used in a dishwasher can cause your nonstick surface to wear down faster. To prolong the life of your nonstick cookware, hand-washing is recommended.
Do nonstick pans lose their nonstick capabilities?
Over time, the nonstick coating will inevitably wear away, causing food to stick. If you notice that your pan is sticking more than usual, it may be time to replace it.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
The Spruce Eats writer Madeleine Burry has compiled several kitchen-focused roundups for us, including the top dry food containers, cutting boards, and dinnerware sets.
This piece was edited by Katya Weiss-Andersson, a writer and editor with almost a decade of experience as a professional chef, and Bernadette Machard de Gramont, an LA-based writer who specializes in global food and wine content.
United States Environmental Protection Agency. Technical Fact Sheet - Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA). November 2017.
United States Environmental Protection Agency. Basic information on PFAS.
Sajid, Muhammad, and Muhammad Ilyas. PTFE-Coated Non-Stick Cookware And Toxicity Concerns: A Perspective. Environmental Science And Pollution Research, vol 24, no. 30, 2017, pp. 23436-23440. Springer Science And Business Media LLC, doi:10.1007/s11356-017-0095-y