The 6 Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets to Buy in 2018

Shop for the best stainless steel cookware sets available on the market today

Stainless steel cookware has been around for quite a long time, and for a good reason. Stainless steel is a very durable material that won’t rust, and it won’t react with acidic foods. It’s resistant to stains and can be used on high heat.

Stainless steel comes in a variety of food-safe grades, which can affect the properties of the cookware, and the handle material can affect the maximum oven temperature the cookware can withstand. Some stainless steel cookware can pit if you add salt to water...MORE before heating. The pitting won’t harm the cookware, but it can be unattractive. To eliminate the possibility of pitting, bring your water to a boil before adding salt.

While it sounds like stainless steel is the perfect material for cookware, it has one downside – it’s not nonstick. Good cooking techniques help to keep food from sticking, but a thick base that heats evenly is also very useful. However, it might be worthwhile to invest in an inexpensive nonstick skillet for cooking very sticky foods like scrambled eggs.

  • Best Overall: Cuisinart Multiclad Pro 12-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

    If you’re looking for a quality set of cookware that won’t break the bank, this set has everything you need. It has a brushed stainless exterior and a polished interior surface, cool-grip handles that are riveted on for security, and tight-fitting lids that self-baste the food as you cook.

    The triple-ply construction includes an aluminum core for heat retention and even heating. The rims are tapered for easy, mess-free pouring. The set is oven safe to 550 degrees and can be used on any cooking...MORE surface, including induction. The pans can also be used under the broiler. All pieces are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

    The set includes a 1 1/2 quart sauce pan with lid, a 3 quart sauce pan with lid, an 8 inch skillet, a 10 inch skillet, a 3 1/2 quart sauté pan with lid, an 8-quart stock pot with lid, and a steamer insert with lid. The only piece you might want to add to this collection is a nonstick skillet for your morning eggs.

  • Best Budget: Cook N Home 12-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

    If you don’t have the budget for a high-end set of cookware, this collection will fit your budget while it looks good on your stove. The pans have a mirror finish inside and out, and an encapsulated base for even heat distribution. These can be used on all cooking surfaces.

    The handles are made from stainless steel, and are riveted on for durability, and the lids are tempered glass, so you can see what’s cooking. The pots are oven safe to 350 degrees and the lids are safe to 270 degrees to...MORE preserve their appearance. If you’re not concerned about discoloration of the metal, you can use the pots up to 500 degrees and the lids to 350 degrees. They are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

    The set includes a 1 1/2 quart sauce pan with lid, a 1 1/2 quart casserole with lid, a 2 quart casserole with lid, a 3 quart casserole with lid, a 5 1/2 quart stock pot with lid, and a 10 inch frying pan with lid. While this set includes a variety of pots and pans that are useful, you might be tempted to add a smaller frying pan or a larger stock pot or Dutch oven to your collection. 

  • Runner Up, Best Overall: Anolon Nouvelle Copper 10-Piece Cookware Set

    This set ticks all of the important boxes – it includes cookware in sizes you’re likely to use, it’s made from stainless steel that won’t rust or stain or react with acidic foods. It also has a multi-metal base that offers the best heat distribution, retention, and control.

    The set includes a 1 1/4 quart saucepan with lid, 2 1/2 quart saucepan with lid, a 6 1/2 quart stockpot with lid, an 8-inch French skillet, a 10 1/2 inch French skillet, and a 3 quart sauté pan with lid.

    The base has a layer of...MORE copper enclosed in aluminum and covered with stainless steel that makes it suitable for any cooktop, including induction. The tulip shape looks elegant and the polished exterior adds to the class while the brushed interior hides the inevitable scratches that come from use.

    The handles are made from cast stainless steel, attached with two rivets for durability, and the domed lids have high loop handles that are easy to grab, even if you’re wearing mitts.

    The set is oven safe to 500 degrees, and can be used under the broiler. For easy cleaning, all pieces are dishwasher safe. Since the lids are stainless steel rather than glass, you can’t watch what you’re cooking, but it means the lids are also oven safe and are unbreakable.

  • Best High-End: All-Clad 10-Piece Brushed Stainless Steel 5-Ply Cookware Set

    If you’re ready to replace your inexpensive cookware with a high-end set that will make the neighbors jealous, this set will be the jewels of your kitchen. But it’s not all looks – these pieces are also workhorses that are designed for heavy duty use in your busy kitchen.

    This set includes all of the pieces you really need in your kitchen: an 8 inch frying pan, a 10 inch frying pan, a 1 1/2 quart sauce pan with lid, a 3 quart sauce pan with lid, a 3 quart sauté pan with lid, and an 8 quart stock...MORE pot with lid.

    These are made with a 5-ply bonded construction that has alternating layers of stainless steel and conductive aluminum for warp-free strength and even heating. The cooking surface has a starburst finish for stick resistance, and the pots have flared rims that make it easy to pour liquid from them.

    For those days when a recipe calls for a specific pot size and you can’t remember the details of your set, the capacity is etched on the bottom of each piece. The handles are made from stainless steel and secured with flat rivets. Lids are made from stainless steel so you can’t see what’s cooking, but they’re unbreakable and you can use them in the oven along with the pots.

    These are oven and broiler safe to 600 degrees and can be used on any cooking surface, including induction. They are dishwasher safe, for easy cleaning. Once you own this set, the one thing you might want to add is a nonstick skillet for cooking your morning eggs, but there isn’t much else that you’ll need for most of your cooking. 

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  • Best for Durability: Calphalon Classic 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

    This durable set will last a long time, while looking good. The impact-bonded base provides fast, even heating while the long handles are designed to be ergonomic and to provide a secure grip, even when the pan is full of hot food. The handles are double-riveted for security.

    There are fill lines inside the pan, so you can add a precise amount of liquid or food without pulling out measuring cups. The covers have straining holes that lime up with the pour spouts, so you can drain your noodles or...MORE vegetables without hunting for a strainer.

    The set includes an 8 inch frying pan, a 10 inch frying pan, a 1 1/2 quart sauce pan with lid, a 2 1/2 quart sauce pan with lid, a 3 quart sauté pan with lid, and a 6 quart stock pot with lid. The lids are made from tempered glass, so you can see what’s cooking.

    The cookware can be used in the oven or under the broiler, and the pans and lids are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

  • Best for Small Kitchens: Magma Products 10-Piece Nesting Cookware Set

    If storage space is at a premium, this set nests to fit in the space that’s not much bigger than the largest pot – less than 1/2 cubic foot. These were designed for small kitchens with induction cooktops, like you’d find in RVs and on boats, but they’re just as good for any small kitchen with minimal storage space, whether it’s a new apartment, a tiny home, or a vacation cottage. A bungee cord is included, to keep the pieces neatly together even when the boat hits a storm or the RV is on a bumpy...MORE road.

    These are made from mirror-polished marine-grade stainless steel, and they have encapsulated bottoms for even heat distribution. The set include a 1 1/2 quart sauce pan, a 2 quart sauce pan, a 3 quart sauce pan, a 5 quart stock pot and a 9 1/2 inch sauté pan. Two removable handles and two interchangeable lids are included.

    If you usually have more than two pans on the stove at a time, you might want to purchase additional handles so you don’t need to swap them while cooking. There is also a colander available that nests into the set that can be used for straining or for steaming. The obvious missing item in the set is a nonstick frying pan for your morning eggs, but if space is the prime concern, this set has you covered for everything else.

    These are both oven and dishwasher safe and can be used on any cooktop, including induction.

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