The Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set

OXO Good Grips Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Pro 13 Piece Set

Our Top Pick for 2016: OXO Good Grips Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Pro 13 Piece Set
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $392.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

As a person who cooks at home, you are most likely well aware that there are many different types of cookware available on the market. Some have non-stick coatings, some are cast iron, and others are uncoated metal pots and pans, but each style of cookware is not created equally. Finding a set of cookware that will last for years to come can be a daunting task, but if you are looking for an uncoated stainless steel option, then we have taken the initiative and done some of the research for you. We searched the market, taking into account the number of pots and pans in each set, the ability to conduct heat, and the durability and longevity of each stainless steel cookware set, and here’s what we came up with.

Table of contents

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Core Of Pure Aluminum
Heat-radiant Aluminum Core
Impact-bonded Aluminum Bases
Professional Triple Ply Construction
Clear Tempered Glass Lids
Safe For The Stove, Oven, Broiler, and Dishwasher
Heat Surround Technology
Scratch-resistant Materials
Ergonomic Handles
Does Not Discolor Or React With Food
Oven Safe Up To 430 Degrees F
Double-riveted By Hand
Oven Safe To 500f
Works On All Stovetops Including Induction
10-year Warranty

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): OXO Good Grips Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Pro 13 Piece Set

OXO Good Grips Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Pro 13 Piece Set Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $392.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerIf you are looking for a versatile set of cookware that can used to bake, broil, fry, braise, sauté, and simmer, then you can stop searching. The OXO Good Grips Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Pro 13-Piece Set is constructed of a heavy stainless steel material that is designed to cook food more evenly. It features a tri-ply construction that is not only a great heat conductor, it retains the heat, so make sure to prepare your food at medium temperatures instead of high ones to decrease the risk of burning the meal that you are preparing.

Aluminum is the second best heat conductor in the world. This OXO cookware set is designed to utilize that conductivity with an aluminum core that is surrounded by 18/10 stainless steel, which means the cookware is crafted of a material that is 18 percent chromium and ten percent nickel. This combination is a design that produces a durable, long lasting set of cookware. This durable construction means that the pots and pans can be used on any heat source, including inside of an oven, a broiler, or even on an induction heat source. Just be aware that the glass lids may not withstand heats that are above 430 degrees, so you may not want to risk using them in a broiler.

This set features interchangeable tempered glass lids that are designed to be tight fitting to seal in heat and steam, which will help thoroughly cook the food at a faster rate of time. The set also features handles that utilize “stay cool” stainless steel technology that will keep you from burning yourself while you are preparing dinner for your family. Not only will the handles stay cool while on the heat, they are designed with a comfortable style in mind that is great for shifting and moving the pots and pans when needed. You can easily transfer a streak that you just seared to the oven to finish cooking it throughout.

As far as the pots and pans that are included in this set of cookware, you will get all of the most used kitchen cookware options. Starting with skillets, the OXO set comes with three, which include an eight inch skillet, a ten inch skillet, and a 12-inch skillet. It comes complete with two saucepans; one that is 1.5 quarts and the other is 2.5 quarts. Both come with lids that neatly fit these stainless steel saucepans. The set also comes with a three quart sauté pan and lid, a three quart Dutch oven and lid combination, and an eight quart stockpot, which comes with a lid as well. All of these pots and pans are oven safe up to 500 degrees, and to make cleanup a breeze, they are all dishwasher safe as well.

Since this set is designed to be useful in the kitchen for decades, the OXO cookware set was designed with features to make cooking easier. The design of the pans feature a slightly rounded bottom, which means that stirring the food is more efficient and the corners will never be left to burn. The cookware is also designed to have slightly angled sides, which means that the liquid in the saucepans will simmer faster and evaporate more quickly during the cooking process.

In addition to having a shape that is more kitchen friendly, this set is designed to be easier to transfer the prepared food from the pots and pans when needed. Thanks to the unique rolled under edges, you can easily pour soups, sauces, and reductions without having to worry about spills or drips occurring during the transfer. Another valuable design feature of this cookware set is the measurement markings that are on the inside of each pot and pan. The markings are in both liters and quarts, which makes it an easy way to know exactly how much food is it in the pot. This is a great tool for anyone who enjoys making homemade tomato or spaghetti sauce. It will help you know the exact amount of quarts jars you will need to store all of what you have prepared.

This 13-piece set of stainless steel cookware is designed to last, so it appropriately comes with a lifetime warranty, which means you will never have to purchase a cheap set of cookware that you will need to replace in a few years again. On Amazon, the OXO Good Grips Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Pro cookware set can be purchased for about $380, which is a great price considering that 89 percent of all Amazon reviewers who have purchased this cookware set have given it a five star review.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Cuisinart MCP-12N MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set

Cuisinart MCP-12N MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set

View it on Amazon for $199.63*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerCuisinart has been producing quality cookware for over 30 years, so it is no surprise that their stainless steel cookware would end up on our list. The Cuisinart MCP-12N MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set is comprised of cooking equipment that is designed to have you cooking at home with the same type of cookware that a aspiring chef would use at home. This 12 piece set comes with and eight inch and a ten inch skillet. It also comes with a 1.5 quart saucepan as well as a three quart saucepan, both of which come complete with lids. A 3.5 inch sauté pan and lid is included that has an additional support handle for your added safety. The set also comes with an eight quart stock pot and a three quart steamer insert, both of which have covers as well. The steamer insert is designed to sit on top of the three quart saucepan, which cuts out the need for other steaming devices.

The set is designed to be durable as well as to appeal to the eye aesthetically. The outside of the pots and pans are brushed up to the rim, which is polished. Inside, the bottom of the cookware is brushed and the sides and handles are both polished, which makes for a beautiful cookware set to display and show off if you have the space to do so. The cookware itself is comprised of an 18/10 stainless steel that is built with a three ply durability that is designed to withstand decades of wear and tear. Because of this durable construction, the Cuisinart MultiClad cookware set is capable of withstanding temperatures of up to 500 degrees.

The heat surround technology features an aluminum core center that will evenly distribute the heat across the entire surface and sides of the pan. This technology prevents hotspots from forming in certain areas of the pan, which means that the food will brown and cook more evenly instead of one side of a pork chop being burnt while the other side is barely cooked. Even with this technology, the handles are designed to remain cool, ensuring that you can handle the cookware without the need of hot pads or other hand protection. In addition, the handles have a sleek design that is not only attractive to look at, it is extremely easy to handle while sautéing, frying, or simply moving the pans. It’s designed with unique thumb rests that provide balance and control during the cooking process.

The lids are stainless steel as well, and they are designed to be interchangeable on the different pots and pans. They are also tight fitting lids that are designed to seal in the flavors of the meal and ensure a more nutritious preparation. Another feature that is great for any cook is the tapered rims that are designed to help you transfer liquids to a serving plate without spilling anything. Insofar as cleanup is concerned, this set of stainless steel cookware is completely dishwasher safe.

Since this cookware set is designed to last, the manufacturers have graciously included a lifetime warranty on defects. 78 percent of all Amazon users who reviewed the Cuisinart MultiClad stainless steel cookware have rated it with five stars. This 12-piece set can be purchased for a mere $225 on Amazon.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Calphalon Classic 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Calphalon Classic 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

View it on Amazon for $134.65*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardCalphalon is a company that has manufactured quality household cookware for decades, so it is no surprise that the Calphalon Classic 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set upholds this standard and proves to be one of the best stainless steel cookware sets available today. Calphalon has strict standards for all cookware to ensure quality and durability of each pot and pan. Each piece is complete with an impact bonded aluminum base that is great for creating an evenly heated cooking surface. The interior surface of the cookware is designed to limit hotspots, which is excellent for browning and creating flavorful sauces. In addition, the durable stainless steel surface is also scratch resistant, so you will not have to worry about using metal utensils while cooking.

The Calphalon cookware set is a ten piece set that includes an eight inch frying pan, a ten inch frying pan, a 1.5 quart saucepan with a lid, a 2.5 quart saucepan with a lid, a three quart sauté pan with a lid, and a six quart stock pan with a lid. As with most quality cookware, this set can be used on most cooking surfaces, which includes on a gas range, on an induction top, in an oven, and in a broiler. In fact, the base of each pot and pan is designed specifically with induction heat sources in mind. All of the pieces of this set are also dishwasher safe, so cleaning up after dinner is a breeze.

Each handle of this cookware set is double riveted by hand to ensure that it is both long lasting and comfortable to cook with. The ergonomic design is lightweight and perfect for sautéing. In addition, the stainless steel handles are designed to stay cool, even when the rest of the pan is hot, so there is no need for unwieldy pot holders or oven mitts to protect your hands. To make cooking new recipes an easier task, each pot and pan in this set comes with interior fill lines. They are marked in both cups and ounces, so you will be able to portion and measure ingredients with ease.

The lids are made from tempered glass, which means that you can see your food as it cooks without removing the lid and losing vital nutrients and flavor. They are in the shape of a dome in order to allow steam that builds up in the pan to return to the food. The lid’s edge is a wide metal band that not only provides a stable place for the lid to rest; each lid also has drain holes that can be lined up with the pour spouts on the cookware to create an easy way to drain pasta, potatoes, or other foods. You will never need to use a separate colander with this Calphalon cookware set.

Since these stainless steel pots and pans are designed to last, a full ten year warranty comes with the purchase of this ten piece set. This Calphalon Stainless Steel Cookware Set is available on Amazon for just under $200, and 71 percent of all users who reviewed this classic cookware set were happy enough with the product to give it a five star rating.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Cook N Home 12-Piece Stainless Steel Set

Cook N Home 12-Piece Stainless Steel Set

View it on Amazon for $44.35*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickNot every home chef can afford to get a top of the line set of cookware that professionals would enjoy using, but that does not mean those individuals have to settle on cheap cookware that will need to be replaced in a few years. Our ballin’ on a budget choice is the Cook N Home 12-piece stainless steel set. The cookware is designed with an all stainless steel body, which means that they can be used on any cooking surface, including induction and in an oven that is set to temperatures of up to 500 degrees. If you do use the cookware in the oven, be aware that the tempered glass lids are not safe to be placed in the oven. They are great; however, for looking into the pot as it is cooking on the stove and seeing how close the food is from being ready, so if you need cookware for the top of the stove this set may be a great option.

This set includes 12 pieces of cookware that any chef could utilize in a versatile kitchen, including a 1.5 quart saucepan. In addition, this set includes several different sized casserole pans that range in size to accommodate your cooking needs. It comes complete with a 1.5 quart casserole, a two quart casserole, a three quart casserole and a 5.5 quart stockpot, all of which come with lids. This set of cookware also comes with a ten inch frying pan. That means that even though this cookware set has 12 pieces, it only comes with one ten inch frying pan, which may not accommodate some dishes. There is not an additional sauté pan or larger frying pan that comes with this set. It is a great set of cookware for a family who may cook a lot of stews or soups during the winter months, but if you sauté or fry on the regular, you may need to purchase an additional skillet for that purpose.

Each of the pots and pans included in this set feature an aluminum disc that is housed between the layers of stainless steel in the bottom of the cookware. This design is meant to provide a surface that distributes heat evenly. This means that the cookware provides a nice surface for browning foods and cooking meat thoroughly, but it also means that the handles will hold the same temperature as the rest of the cookware. Luckily these pots and pans have an ergonomic design that makes handling it with an oven mitt, a pot holder, or a towel a more practical way to maneuver the cookware. The stockpot and the casseroles all have handles on both sides of the pot; however, the skillet and the saucepan have longer handles that may not get as much of the heat from the source.

The Cook N Home 12-piece stainless steel set is a great option for someone venturing out into stainless steel cookware. It can be purchased on Amazon for a little less than $60. Many Amazon users who bought this cookware have been satisfied with their purchase; in fact, 82 percent gave it a four star rating or above.


Pre-purchase considerations

Cookware Core Material and Conductivity

As you can imagine, having a good conductive core is an important feature that needs to be in any piece of cookware. Stainless steel is a common material for cookware, but the main concern with this type of cookware is that it is not a great heat conductor by itself. To assure that your pots and pans retain heat and cook your food evenly, it is important to purchase a set of cookware that has either an aluminum core or a copper one. Both materials are great at retaining heat and offsetting the stainless steel, but typically a copper core will conduct the heat a bit faster, but that means that it is also a bit more to purchase as well.

Stainless Steel Composition and Durability

When you purchase a new stainless steel set of cookware, one of the things that most people look for is a long lasting set that will be able to stand the tests of time for decades to come. One way to ensure that you can pass your cookware down to your grandchildren when they are of age is the material that the actual pots and pans are made of. Of course we know it is stainless steel, but not all stainless steel cookware is created the same. Some have metal combinations that will not protect and preserve the cookware. The best option when looking for stainless steel cookware is to look for a 18/10 set, which means that the pots and pans are comprised of 18 percent chromium and ten percent nickel. This combination of metals is considered to be one of the more durable, rust resistant options for stainless steel cookware.

Pieces Included in the Cookware Set

When you are considering purchasing a set of cookware that is meant to last you for your lifetime, make sure that you do not purchase a set simply because it is a good deal. Make sure that the cookware that comes with the set can be used to make your favorite dishes and meals that your family will enjoy. Most sets of cookware have a few saucepans, a skillet or two, a stock pot, a sauté pan, and some lids. Having a 20 quart stockpot is not going to be worth your investment if you never cook for that many people, so consider who you cook for the most and what fits your cooking style before deciding on a specific set of cookware.

Construction and Thickness

To have a durable set of cookware that will last, you need to make sure that it has a durable construction that is the proper thickness to properly conduct heat and disperse it throughout the surface of the pot or pan. Layers will increase the weight of the pan, but if you are still able to maneuver it with ease while cooking, then having a few layers may be a great option for you. The base that you want to consider for stainless steel cookware is a three ply construction, which means that there is a layer of copper or aluminum between the layers of stainless steel. As we previously discussed, that layer is what conducts the heat in any stainless steel cookware. When you have an aluminum core, you will want to shoot for a thickness that is between three millimeters and five millimeters to create the ideal heat conductivity. With a copper core, you will not need as thick of a surface. Between one and two millimeters should provide enough metal to evenly distribute the heat.

Handles and Lids

The pots and pans are not the only things to consider before making a purchase; you will need to consider the handles and the lids as well. Starting with the handles, make sure that they are comfortable to grip and easy to maintain a secure hold of while doing tasks such as straining pasta or transferring the ingredients into a bigger pan. Cool touch handles are a great option that will allow you to touch the handles without worrying about heat transferring to them, but the most important thing is to make sure that if you want a set of cookware that is capable of being transferred into the oven, you do not purchase an option with plastic grips on the handles or glass lids. Make sure that there are enough lids to fit your needs in the set of cookware that you are thinking of purchasing. If you do cook in the oven a lot using pots and pans, then make sure that the lids are adequate enough to endure the heat. If you broil a lot, be aware that glass lids may not be able to withstand the same high temperatures as stainless steel lid options.

Maintenance and Cleanup

Durability is once again an important aspect to look for in a stainless steel set of cookware. The more durable the outside of the cookware, the less you will have to do to keep it in good condition. Consider simple things like how the handles are connected. Will they last or were they constructed as a flimsy after thought? Also, consider the reactivity that the metal stainless steel cookware may have. How will it react with the food you cook inside it? Will the cookware rust easily? Make sure you know the answer to those questions as well as how much cleanup the cookware will require. Most stainless steel pots and pans clean easily. Many are dishwasher safe, and if they are not, they tend to clean with ease after an overnight soak in warm soapy water. If food is stuck on, never use steel wool to remove it unless it is scratch resistant. It may remove the food, but it may also put small abrasions on the cooking surface that will allow food to stick more easily the next time you use the cookware.

Accessories

Oftentimes you may see a 19-piece cookware set or a 24-piece cookware set at a low price point. It may seem like a bargain for all of those pieces, but one thing to remember is that the piece count also includes accessories that you may or may not need. Make sure you consider all of the pieces before you decide if it is right for you; for example, you make not need a set of cookware that includes a spoon, a slotted spoon, a ladle, a spatula, and a slotted spatula. Maybe you have all of the utensils that you need and you only want a nice set that has pots, pans, and lids. It is an easy way that companies make you think that you are getting more cookware for less, but some even include a cookbook and count that as a piece of the set.

Warranty

If you are looking for a great set of cookware, make sure that it has a warranty to stand behind it. Many warranties on stainless steel cookware sets are designed to protect the cookware for a lifetime, some may be ten years, and others may not have a warranty at all.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

When it comes to cookware, there are a lot of different options available to purchase, but not all of them are manufactured equally. Some have surfaces that can be scratches, some conduct heat better than others, and some are just too bulky an unwieldy to cook with. Find the cookware that is perfect for you by discovering a set that has all of the features you are looking for that will last you for years. Stop buying pots and pans that will need replaced in a year or two, it’s time to find a stainless steel cookware set that you can be proud to hang about the island in your kitchen. Which set of cookware suits you best?

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. Tips on Buying Stainless Cookware Sets, Overstock, May 31, 2011
  2. Robert S. Donovan, Best Stainless Steel Cook Sets: Reviews of Top Rated Pots and Pans, Cookware Nation, 2016
  3. OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Pro Tri-Ply 13-piece Cookware Set, Sur La Table, November 25, 2015
  4. OXO 13-Piece Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Review, Caplan Consumer, October 27, 2015
  5. Amazon Reviewer, OXO Good Grips Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Pro 13-Piece Set, Amazon, November 4, 2014
  6. Jenn Clarens, Cuisinart MultiClad Stainless Steel Cookware, Food Bloggers Unite, 2016
  7. Ultraconsumer, Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Cookware Review, YouTube, December 28, 2012
  8. Amazon Reviewer, Cuisinart MCP-12N MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set, Amazon, July 10, 2008
  9. Calphalon Classic Stainless Steel Cookware, Set, 10-Piece review, The Kitchen Advisor, 2016
  10. Elizabeth Sheer, Cook N Home 12-Piece Review, Cheapism, November 14, 2014
  11. Audrey, Cook N Home Stainless Steel Review, Pots and Pans Place, April 7, 2014

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