What We Like
Food doesn’t stick, even after multiple uses
Dishwasher- and oven-safe
Fun color options
What We Don't Like
Included spatula is flimsy
The Rachael Ray Cucina Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware is highly praised as one of the best nonstick cookware sets out there, and at the same time, it’s also budget-friendly. If you’ve ever fallen victim to a nonstick cookware claim only to be disappointed after one or two uses when you find yourself scraping a bunch of pans full of stuck-on food, then you know how exciting it is to find a set that actually works. So we took the 12-piece set for several test runs to see if the hype was real or too good to be true. After several cooked meals, including eggs and pasta, here’s what we discovered.
Design: A functional build
The Rachael Ray set comes with a 1-quart saucepan with lid, a 2-quart saucepan with lid, a 6-quart stockpot with lid, an 8.5-inch skillet, a 10-inch skillet, a 3-quart sauté pan with lid, a slotted nylon spatula, and a nylon spoon.
The only issue we’ve noticed is that the bottoms of the pans do scratch pretty easily.
Aesthetically, this set knocks it out of the park. Available colors include agave blue, pumpkin orange, and red; the included spatula and spoon also come in the chosen color to perfectly complement a kitchen theme. The only issue we’ve noticed after months of use is that the bottoms of the pans do scratch pretty easily. Overall, though, they’ve stayed very intact.
Material: Nonstick-coated aluminum
The cookware in this 12-piece set is built with hard-anodized aluminum with a PFOA (chemical)-free nonstick cooking surface. It’s compatible with electric smooth-top, glass, and ceramic stoves and is oven-safe up to 400 degrees.
The nonstick material is designed to last in the long-term—and so far, for us, it has. 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. Our eggs didn’t stick in the frying pan, and the same went for the saucepan when we made pesto sauce—we were able to scoop out every drop.
We’ve used and washed the Rachael Ray set regularly for months now, and it’s still as nonstick as ever.
The set’s lids are made of shatter-resistant glass (making it easy to see what’s inside), and the handles are a cool-to-the-touch silicone with stainless steel. The spatula and spoon are made of nylon, and we noticed the spatula, in particular, was a bit flimsy.
Cleaning: Nonstick coating makes cleaning easy
The days of working out our arms while scraping the bottom of the pan are no more! This set cleans easily in the dishwasher and when hand-washed. In fact, there was hardly any debris after we cooked an egg. If we really wanted to, we could have easily just wet a paper towel and wiped it off—yes, cleaning is that easy!
Given its current functionality, we’re also doing everything in our power not to run this nonstick cookware. However, since they’re advertised as dishwasher-safe, we did put these pots and pans in the dishwasher multiple times as a test, and the nonstick stayed put. Like similar sets, the Rachael Ray set will benefit from some TLC, so make sure you know how to properly use and care for nonstick cookware.
Heating Capacity: Quick and even heating
One of the first things we noticed when cooking an egg in the frying pan was how quickly and evenly the pan warmed up. Our egg was sizzling within no more than one minute, and the heat was so even that it cooked perfectly on all sides. Plus, thanks to the nonstick coating, we could turn it over easily when it was ready (versus fighting with the bottom of the pan to get the egg unstuck).
Our eggs didn’t stick in the frying pan, and the same went for the saucepan when we made pesto sauce.
We also made ravioli, and the result was the same. The stockpot had water boiling in less than five minutes, and the ravioli didn’t stick to the bottom of the pot, either. We’re used to turning on the burner and relaxing with wine or coffee for a bit, but these pots and pans have switched up that routine and saved tons of time in the kitchen.
Price: For nonstick cookware, this is a steal
Usually on sale for less than $150, the Rachael Ray 12-Piece Nonstick Cookware Set delivers superb bang for your buck. Given it delivers on a promise few manufacturers can actually keep and comes with a full set of useful pots and pans, we think it’s worth much more than its price. (Keep an eye out for Black Friday and Cyber Monday cookware deals, when you could pay even less for the Rachael Ray set!)
Rachael Ray Cucina Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware vs. Calphalon Signature Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware
In the world of nonstick cookware, two sets reign supreme: Rachael Ray’s 12-piece set and the Calphalon Signature 10-piece set. Now, the Calphalon set comes at a significantly higher price point for two fewer pieces—think between $500 to $600 compared to the Rachael Ray one that can be found for under $150—so you may think it’s a better product. However, we tested both of them and found that they’re about the same in terms of nonstick functionality.
The Calphalon set does feel significantly heavier than the Rachael Ray set; it’s obviously built for the long haul. Like Rachael Ray’s pots and pans, Calphalon has a nonstick interior that’s PFOA-free. Its stainless steel handles stay cool while frying eggs (or, anything for that matter) on the stovetop. We did a side-by-side comparison while frying eggs one morning and found both had almost the exact same amount of residue left on the pan. On the flip side, we noticed the Rachael Ray set scratched more easily.
If you’re looking for nonstick pans that work, you can’t go wrong with either. We recommend deciding whether you want to make a long-term investment or snag a great value that will get the job done.
- Product Name Cucina Hard-Anodized Nonstick12-Piece Cookware Set
- Product Brand Rachael Ray
- UPC 051153876561
- Price $360.00
- Color Red, Agave Blue, Pumpkin Orange
- Material Hard-anodized aluminum pots and pans, silicone with stainless steel handles What’s Included: 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, spatula, spoon
- Warranty Lifetime limited warranty