Nearly indestructible stainless steel
Set needs larger skillet
Side handles can get hot
Handles on smaller pot lids are undersized
Though the Cuisinart brand may be best known for its food processors, the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set proves that the company is capable of producing other high-quality kitchen gear. This brushed stainless steel set not only looks great in any kitchen, but—as most at-home chefs are probably more concerned about—it also performs.
A good cookware set should provide you with all the tools necessary to whip up a multi-course meal, but it should also be straightforward to maintain so you aren’t a slave to dishes post-dinner. Does the Cuisinart set check all these boxes? We used the pans to cook everything from chicken and pasta to rice and soup—read on for our results.
Design: Bright and functional
The Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set includes a 1.5-quart saucepan with lid, a 3-quart saucepan with lid, an 8-inch open skillet, a 10-inch open skillet, a 3.5-quart sauté pan with lid, an 8-quart stockpot with lid, and a steamer insert with lid. The variety of sizes is sure to prove useful to any cook—none are too small for regular use. The 3.5-quart sauté pan has high sides that make it great for braising meats and making sauces, and it’s very useful for oven roasting, whether you’ve got cauliflower or chicken on the menu.
We also love the size of the stockpot as it’s large enough to make soup stock but doesn’t take up an unreasonable amount of space in our cabinet. Lastly, the steamer insert is a welcome addition to the set and definitely not a pointless thrown-in to increase the piece count. It doubles as a colander, so you can rinse food, cool ingredients under running water, or even drain and rinse canned goods.
On the aesthetic front, it’s hard to find flaws with the brushed stainless steel set. The bright metal design hides fingerprints and won’t clash with any color schemes should you decide to paint a new backsplash in your kitchen. A small strip of mirror-polished metal at the top of each rim adds a little extra style, and the included steamer is entirely mirror-polished on the exterior with different side handles than the rest of the set. The bottom of the pans are entirely smooth with rounded edges, and the lack of ridges or seams makes them easy to clean.
The bright metal design hides fingerprints and won’t clash with any color schemes should you decide to paint a new backsplash in your kitchen.
Since these pieces don’t have any type of nonstick coating, you can stack or nest them any way you like. However, keep in mind the metal-on-metal contact from nesting will likely cause scratches over time, taking away from the pretty finish. This probably won’t harm the effectiveness of the cookware, though, so if you’re short on space, it’s perfectly fine to nest them.
If we had one wish, we’d trade the 10-inch skillet for an 11- or 12-inch version, while keeping the 8-inch skillet for small quantities. If you’re cooking something large, like a ribeye steak, it may not fit in the 10-inch skillet. Instead, you may be forced to use the 3.5-quart sauté pan—it works perfectly fine, but it has higher sides than what you’d normally use for steak.
Another minor quibble is the loop handles on the lids are scaled to the size of the pots. While this looks good, you can’t fit all four fingers comfortably through the handle on the smallest lid. It’s still usable, but a little more finger space would be nice.
Material: Durable stainless steel with a responsive aluminum core
This set is made from stainless steel with an aluminum core, making them induction compatible. The long metal handles are also steel and they stay cool to the touch, even during extended cooking times. The side loop handles, however, can get hot if they’re positioned close to another burner. This isn’t a deal-breaker by any means, rather, you’ll just need to have pot holders on hand.
The lids are also made from stainless steel, but the metal is thinner than that used for the pots. This is fine—after all, you won’t be cooking on the lids—but it does mean that if you happen to drop one, you could put a dent in it. Like the side handles, the lids get hot during cooking, so you’ll want to have a potholder nearby to safely lift them.
These pans heat quickly and retain heat well, so you can put a lid on a pot and its contents will stay warm while you set the table or finish cooking side dishes.
One oddity of the lid design is that its tight-fitting nature can cause a vacuum if you leave a lid on a pot as it cools, sealing the two together rather firmly. It’s a bit inconvenient, but you simply need to put the pot back on the heat for a few moments to break the seal.
Heating Capacity: A balance of fast heating with good heat retention
These pans heat quickly and retain heat well, so you can put a lid on a pot and its contents will stay warm while you set the table or finish cooking side dishes. We love how well these pans brown food and didn’t notice any hot spots, even when the pan wasn’t perfectly centered on the burner. It was a pleasure to hear a distinct sizzle as meat met hot oil in the pan, then see even browning when we flipped food to cook the other side. Further, none of the food stuck to the pan once it was properly browned.
Because of the excellent heat transfer, the manufacturer suggests you don’t heat these pans over high heat or else risk burning your food. That kind of heating might take some getting used to, but it’s nice to be able to keep the heat lower and still get excellent results. When you want to boil water, medium-high is sufficient, saving energy, but you could crank it higher if you have more water to boil or if you’re a bit impatient—just remember to turn down the heat once it gets going. These pans are oven-safe to 500 degrees, which is more than enough for most uses, and they’re also broiler safe.
Cleaning: Dishwasher safe and stain-free
Stainless steel will never be as easy to clean as nonstick pans, but as long as you haven’t burned your food or let sticky sauce congeal in the pan, cleaning this set is simple. We found that adding water to the pan immediately after cooking made the whole process even easier. Plus, when we added wine to a pan to create a sauce, all of the brown fond released, adding flavor to our sauce and leaving the pan easy to clean after the dish was done.
Stainless steel will never be as easy to clean as nonstick pans, but as long as you haven’t burned your food or let sticky sauce congeal in the pan, cleaning this set is simple.
If you’re not keen on scrubbing, these pans are dishwasher safe. The manufacturer recommends a non-lemon cleaner and advises against using any type of steel wool or other abrasive cleaners that can scratch the metal and mar the surface. Similarly, the brand also recommends using silicone or wood utensils during cooking to avoid scratching the interior.
Over time, general wear and tear will change the look of the cookware as it accumulates battle scars from metal utensils, banging into other items in the dishwasher, and scratches that occur from normal use. Personally, we like the patina of age that shows cookware has been well loved, but this set may not be the best option for those who want pans to look immaculate throughout their lifetime.
While basic cleaning requires little more than dish soap and a scrubbing sponge, the manufacturer also offers advice for cleaning the base of the pans if they discolor, which is helpful for long term maintenance.
Price: Surprisingly reasonable for the quality and quantity
There are certainly cheaper cookware sets on the market, but the price of the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set is affordable considering the quality and number of useful pieces you get. There aren’t any extra items that will collect dust in your cupboard, and unless you run a pot over with your car, we expect this set will last nearly forever.
Competition: High- and low-end options
All-Clad D3 Tri-Ply Bonded 10-Piece Cookware Set: If you’re a diehard cook, you may have a soft spot for All-Clad cookware. The high-end brand carries a hefty price tag for a similar 10-piece set, though, costing about three times as much as the Cuisinart option. The descriptions of the two sets make them sound nearly identical, but the All-Clad cookware is slightly higher quality. Does it matter? Perhaps not. We’d argue that the average home cook would be just as happy with the Cuisinart cookware, and the price certainly makes it more appealing. Cookware connoisseurs, however, might want to take a peek at the All-Clad set if they have room in their budget.
Farberware Millennium Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set: Economy-minded cooks, on the other hand, might like an offering from Farberware. The company has been making cookware for generations and offers highly rated pots and pans at affordable prices—including this comparable 10-piece set. While the quality isn’t equal to that of the Cuisinart cookware, it costs about half as much, so it’s a good starter set and great for the vacation cottage where cooking isn’t a gourmet event.
Read more reviews of the best cookware sets available for purchase online.
1.5-quart saucepan and lid, 3-quart saucepan and lid, 8-inch open skillet, 10-inch open skillet, 3.5-quart sauté pan and lid, 8-quart stockpot and lid, steamer insert and lid
We loved cooking with this set—and think you will, too.
While this isn’t a perfect set (does that exist?), it has nearly everything that most home cooks will ever need. We might suggest adding a nonstick pan for cooking eggs and perhaps a cast iron pan to round out your purchase, but overall, the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set is a worthwhile investment that will serve your family well for years to come.
- Product Name Multiclad Pro Stainless 12-Piece Cookware Set
- Product Brand Cuisinart
- Price $299
- Color Silver
- Model Number MCP-12N
- Material Stainless steel with aluminum core
- Warranty Lifetime warranty; specific exclusions apply