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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 they 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. That's why we've come up with a list of the best nonstick cookware sets to help you decide.
Lightweight but sturdy
Includes a lot of pieces
Silicone covered handles stay cool
Not suitable for induction
Looking for a nice set of pans that won’t break the bank but also performs way above its price point? Turn to this Rachel Ray 12-piece set. The handles are covered in silicone (in a variety of colors) for a decorative touch and a functional purpose—since the silicone doesn’t retain heat, you won’t need to grab potholders before picking up one of these pots or pans. (You’ll also get a slotted spoon and spatula in the same color as the cookware’s handles.)
If you’re cooking a meal that needs to finish in the oven, this set can probably handle the heat up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. These pans are relatively lightweight (handy for people who don’t want to feel like they’re weight-lifting while cooking up dinner), while still being sturdy enough to not slip and slide on stovetops with a flat surface. Important note: this cookware cannot be used with induction stovetops.
"A common problem with most nonstick cooking sets is the coating peels off. We’ve used and washed the Rachael Ray set regularly for months now, and it’s still as nonstick as ever." — Stephanie Vermillion, Product Tester
Oven safe to 400 degrees
Durable nonstick surface
Not induction compatible
Must be washed by hand
This 11-piece set, which includes saucepans, frying pans, a sauté pan, and a stockpot, comes with a lifetime warranty. All the cookware—including lids—is oven-safe for temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Food truly won’t stick to these pans, which the manufacturer says can even hold up to metal utensils. (Sticking with wood utensils is probably your best bet to avoiding scratches over the long-term, though.) Even eggs cooked without butter or oil release without issue.
"These anodized aluminum pans are triple-coated with a nonstick finish, which explains why our omelet released oh-so easily from the pan." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Quick to heat
Easy to clean
Great performance from nonstick interior
Like many other selections on this list, this sturdy set of Calphalon nonstick pots is hard anodized, which means it's undergone a treatment process that left it extremely durable. According to the manufacturer, metal, wood, nylon, or coated utensils are all safe for use with this sturdy cookware. Although all the cookware has extra-long stainless steel handles, some cooks note the handles do get hot to the touch, so you may need to use a potholder if you’re moving the pan from one burner to another.
The pans in this Calphalon set heat up quickly, distribute heat evenly on the pan’s surface, and retain heat well. The set includes two omelet pans, two saucepans, a sauté pan, and a stockpot, plus lids. Each of the pots and pans has a pleasing weight and heft, making them enjoyable to cook with.
"The pots and pans have a lifetime warranty. It’s definitely an investment, but we feel the longevity makes this cookware worth the purchase." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Beautiful minimalist aesthetic
Does not contain PTFEs or PFOAs
Oven safe to 650 degrees
Available in several unique shades that aren't often found in the kitchen—pink terracotta, sage, cream, navy, and dove gray—new direct-to-consumer brand Caraway’s collection isn’t only non-toxic and non-stick, but also extremely easy on the eye. This 7-piece set includes everything you’ll need to furnish (or re-furnish) your kitchen: a fry pan, sauté pan, saucepan, Dutch oven, and three lids. It also comes with a handy magnetic pan storage rack and canvas lid holder, easy storage options that other brands typically don’t consider.
The pots and pans themselves are coated in ceramic, allowing for a non-stick surface that doesn’t contain PTFEs or PFOAs. They're oven safe (up to 650 degrees) and dishwasher safe for easier clean-up. Although this set is on the pricier side, reviewers love that these pans are easy to use and clean, and they feel a bit more lightweight than other pots and pans in their arsenal. Also note that hand-washing is recommended.
Includes every essential pan for beginners
Easy to clean
Great price point
May not be enough capacity for larger families
Setting up a first kitchen can be overwhelming—and also downright pricey. This 15-piece set comes with a baking sheet as well as five kitchen tools that’ll come in handy as you build kitchen supplies. All the items have a sleek, elegant appearance, and the cookware is available in a variety of colors.
In this set, you'll get three saucepans, a Dutch oven, two sauté pans, a grill pan, a fold-up steamer, and an assortment of plastic kitchen tools. This cookware is durable and has all the easy-to-clean qualities you’d expect from nonstick pans.
Note: Families and avid home cooks may find the pan sizes a bit smaller than usual (the larger of the skillets is 10 inches, where some sets have an 11- or 12-inch skillet).
Set also includes utensils
Thermo-spot indicates when pan is preheated
Silicone handles stay cool when cooking
Might not last as long as more expensive brands
In addition to six pans (two frying pans, two saucepans, a griddle, and a Dutch oven) you’ll also get a nonstick coating-safe spoon, ladle, and spatula in this budget-friendly set. You can use these pans on any stovetop aside from induction, and they're also oven-safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Each of the pans has the letter “T” inside a circle; this little visual isn’t just a decorating motif—the “thermo-spot” turns solid red when the pan is preheated and ready for you to start cooking.
Pans heat up and retain heat well. Silicone handles also mean you can skip oven mitts or potholders when moving the pan. You’ll find this cookware set easy to clean and a good choice for basic home cooking.
Copper ceramic coating releases easily
Build in strainers in lids
Sure, nonstick pans are easy to clean. But often, they handle the test of time best if they’re only washed by hand. That can be a drag, especially at the end of a long night when plopping everything in the dishwasher is the speediest—and most appealing—option. Enter this attractive Farberware set, which is dishwasher safe for hands-off cleanup.
This set comes with two saucepans, two sauté pans, a stockpot, four lids, and a set of cooking utensils. In addition to being easy to clean, the copper ceramic coating on the pan’s interior helps ensure that food releases, while the shatter-proof saucepan lids have built-in strainers to make it easy to drain out water or excess sauce.
Oven safe up to 500 degrees
Non-toxic ceramic coating
Will require extra care to maintain seasoning
While some nonstick pans can handle the oven’s heat, most tap out at a fairly low temperature. That’s what sets the Cuisinart cookware set apart—it’s oven-safe to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Go ahead: put items you’ll need to bake—or broil!—in these pans with confidence.
The pans are made with ceramic (and don't use the usual PTFE coating that most nonstick pans take advantage of). Because of that, some extra steps are required: before use, the pans need to be washed, and the manufacturer also recommends seasoning the cookware twice a year.
This set comes with two saucepans, a saute pan, a Dutch oven, and stockpot, all with lids, as well as an open skillet and pasta insert.
Oven safe up to 500 degrees
Sizes might be limiting depending on what you're cooking
If you don’t need a full set of nonstick cookware, or if you tend to use skillets the most, this 3-piece set from All-Clad is a great option. It comes with a 10-inch fry pan and 4-quart sauté pan. While those sizes may seem specific, they’re the ones you’re most likely to use for everyday cooking. From weekend pancakes and a quick grilled cheese to seared steaks or sautéed chicken at dinnertime, these skillets can handle it all. The nonstick interiors heat up quickly and cook food evenly—no weird hot spots here. Plus, they're dishwasher and oven safe up to 500 degrees.
Great for smaller kitchens
Durable, well-performing pieces
In a kitchen that is lacking in storage, less is more—but not if you pick up this space-saving set from Calphalon: more is definitely more here. This nonstick cookware collection boasts 15 pieces, comprised of two saucepans, a sauteuse pan, sauté pan, 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 in 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 even resistant to most metal utensils. The welded stainless steel handles stay cool while used on a cooktop. These pans are also oven safe up to 450 degrees. 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 and then some.
The top spot goes to the Rachael Ray Cucina Nonstick 12-Piece Nonstick Cookware Set: it's durable, well-priced, and it cooks well consistently. Plus, it comes in a whimsical assortment of colors. On a budget? You won't have to sacrifice quality with the T-fal Signature 12-Piece Nonstick Cookware Set. These pans retain heat well and are sturdy. Plus, they're stackable—great for small kitchens.
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 of 2020.
What to Look for in a Nonstick Cookware Set
Number of pieces: Is a large set better than a small one? It really depends on your cooking style and your family size. More pieces give you more versatility, but that also means you need more space to store your new cookware. Do you really need three or four saucepans in different sizes? Maybe you do.
Sizes: It’s always a good idea to check the sizes of the pots and pans in a set to make sure you’re getting items you’ll use. A large family might never need a tiny frying pan, but they might need a giant stockpot for big batches of soups. You can always buy extra pieces to add to your set, but if your set contains two or three pans you’ll never use, it’s not a great bargain.
Extras: Some cookware sets include extra pieces, like spatulas, spoons, and other non-cookware items. Those are a great bonus if you’re setting up a new kitchen and you need them, but if you already have a fully equipped kitchen, those extra pieces will just eat up storage space.