Nests and stacks to maximize space
Scratch-free lid storage inside pans
Sturdy lids fit snugly
Lightweight, yet durable
Easy to clean inside and out
Only oven safe to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Tramontina Nesting Cookware Set
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The Tramontina Nesting Cookware Set pulls together a full range of pots and pans that fit like Russian dolls, one inside the other. It immediately caught my eye with its sleek, colorful pans and innovative single-stack design. Put simply, these pans make cooking look fun.
Brazilian-based Tramontina started bringing its products to the United States in the mid-1980s, offering almost everything you need to outfit a kitchen. I was eager to test their nonstick surface against my favorite glue-to-the-pan foods, from buckwheat porridge to steamed rice. I was also curious about their glass lids rimmed with silicone. Would they protect each pan’s interior while they were stacked? Would they keep steam in without vacuum sealing to the pot’s rim while in use?
I was considering this space-saving set both for daily cooking in my cabin’s tiny kitchen and for multiweek trips on land and water, so I tested it at home and took it on the road, using the entire collection across a range of kitchens. Here’s what I found.
Design: Nests like Russian dolls
Nesting is the prime selling point of this 11-piece cookware set. Everything—six pans and five lids—forms one stable stack that’s just 12 inches tall. Tramontina says the set gives you 50 percent more storage space in your cabinet, but that seems understated compared with my old pile of pots and pans. The cookware truly nests, with all but one pan sitting atop its own lid deeply inside the next-largest pan.
The tempered-glass lids are rimmed in silicone, a smart design that protects the pans’ nonstick interior while stacked. The silicone knob atop each lid helps to balance the pan above it. Only the 12-inch sauté pan lacks a lid and has a pan resting directly inside it. Its smooth exterior seems unlikely to scratch the surface, but I slid a cloth napkin inside for extra protection.
The cookware truly nests, with all but one pan sitting atop its own lid deeply inside the next-largest pan.
Material: Functional and stylish
A core of heavy-gauge aluminum makes this cookware ideal for all stoves except induction burners. The porcelain enamel exterior (in gray, red, naval, or sage) is functional and stylish. The smooth surface stayed unscratched after a couple of weeks of use and travel, especially since I avoided sliding the pans over my gas cooktop’s grates.
Inside, the pans feature a triple-coated nonstick interior that the company says is free of lead, cadmium, and PFOA. The slick surface quickly released steamed rice, fried fish, and sautéed shrimp. To keep the interior in tiptop shape, Tramontina recommends seasoning the cookware before first use. I forgot this with one pan, but the steamed buckwheat grouts still slid free with minimal residue.
I achieved a white wine reduction for a lovely mushroom pan sauce and put a crisp edge on curried sweet potatoes.
The pan capacities are on the small side, making them ideal for daily meals for two to four people. The three saucepans (holding 1.25, 2, and 3 quarts) have long silicone handles that nestle together. The three pans below them (a 3-quart casserole, a 4.75-quart saucepot, and the 12-inch sauté pan) have side handles. All felt balanced and easy to hold when empty or full of a tasty meal.
The lids fit snugly, but not too snugly—my fear of a vacuum seal was unfounded. That’s thanks to two indentations under each lid’s silicone rim. The gaps are so small that rice cooked evenly, but the flat glass fogged up, clouding my view of the progress inside. The lids’ top silicone knob doubles as a handy spoon rest.
Heating Capacity: Even cooking at low temps
Working with a nonstick surface, I had to tweak my cooking style, long accustomed to cast iron and stainless steel. That adjustment will help keep the pans in good shape, since most nonstick cookware performs best when the pans are oiled before preheating and when burners are on low to medium heat. With this set, the heavy-gauge aluminum heated rapidly and evenly, even over medium heat, and the pan responded promptly when I turned down the gas burner beneath it.
The pans’ heavy bottom and thick sides made techniques I tend to reserve for stainless-steel pans surprisingly effective. I achieved a white wine reduction for a lovely mushroom pan sauce and put a crisp edge on curried sweet potatoes. The only downside is that I couldn’t slide the pan into the oven for final browning: The cookware is oven safe only to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cleaning: Drips wipe right off
Inside and out, Tramontina’s pans were easy to clean, although the silicone parts were magnets for specks of minced herbs. Food slid right off the nonstick interior. Drips along the porcelain enamel exterior wiped off easily with a damp cloth.
When washing the cookware by hand, all I needed was a little soap and a soft dishcloth. Although the cookware is dishwasher safe, Tramontina recommends hand washing and drying to keep it looking and working well.
Price: Midrange and worth It
For what you get, the $149.95 price tag seems well worth it—in both performance and looks. The only consideration may be pan sizes. With a range from 1.25 to 4.75 quarts, they handily cook fresh meals for two and sometimes up to four people. Even in my household of two, I reached for the widest pan (a 12-inch sauté pan) more than any other in the set. Larger-capacity pans of the same quality tend to cost more. If you go with a smaller, lower-priced set, you may regret having a smaller range of pan sizes.
Competition: Stacks up well
There are more affordable space-saving sets, but few are as complete and tidy as Tramontina’s nesting cookware. Even against more traditional, non-stacking sets, its looks and performance are hard to beat in the midpoint price range. Still, if you want a smaller travel set or larger pan capacity, there are some other great options out there.
Abizoe Compact Cookware Set: If you’re really tight on space or can’t imagine what you’d do with six pots, Abizoe’s compact cookware may be more suitable and affordable. Its removable handle attaches to any of its four pans but lets them stack like soup bowls.
Anolon SmartStack Cookware Set: If you’re regularly feeding a larger family or often make oversize batches for quick freezer meals, you may prefer larger-capacity cookware. Anolon’s 11-piece set offers full-size pots and pans, but eats up more of your cupboard space and budget.
This cookware is lovely inside and out.
The Tramontina Nesting Cookware Set (view at Amazon) has a functional nonstick interior, attractive exterior, and small footprint. It will look tidy in your cupboard and stylish on your cooktop as you use it for small everyday meals.
- Product Name Nesting Cookware Set
- Product Brand Tramontina
- Price $149.95
- Weight 19.4 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 14.25 x 14.37 x 15.12 in.
- Color Gray, red, naval, sage
- Capacity 12 inches, 1.25 quarts, 2 quarts, 3 quarts, 4.75 quarts
- Material Aluminum, stainless steel, silicone, nonstick interior
- Warranty Lifetime warranty
- What's Included 1.25-, 2-, and 3-quart saucepans with lids; 3-quart casserole with lid; 4.75-quart saucepot with lid; 12-inch sauté pan