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Your cooking will be easier and better if you have quality cookware sets. This Cookware Sets Shopping Guide should be of great help!

 

Buying a cookware set is often cheaper than buying the pieces separately, but there are several things to consider when choosing the right set for your kitchen.

Copper, aluminum, cast iron, and stainless steel are common materials. Prices will differ based on the material. It would help if you knew what pieces you would need since cookware sets do not come with a default. The number and variety of pieces also affect the price of the set.

You should be able to use a cookware set for several years if you purchase a well-constructed set and treat your tools properly, so choose one that meets your cooking needs.

WHAT IS THE BEST METAL?

Copper, aluminum, cast iron, and stainless steel are the four most common metals used to make cookware. Every metal has its pros and cons.

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

  • Polished cooking surface does not discolor, react with food or alter flavors.

  • Cookware also features cool grip handles secured with stainless steel rivets and self-basting, tight fitting lids, Triple-Ply construction includes the unsurpassed heat conductivity of a pure aluminum core. It insures maximum heat retention and even heat distribution, eliminating hot spots

  • Oven safe up to 550F, Rims are tapered for drip-free pouring.

  • Dishwasher safe, Tight-fitting stainless steel covers seal in food's natural juices and nutrients for healthier, more flavorful results. Covers are dishwasher-safe

  • 12-piece cookware set. The set consists of: 1-1/2- and 3-quart covered saucepans; 8- and 10-inch open skillets; 3-1/2-quart covered saute pan; 8-quart covered stockpot; steamer insert with lid. 12 pieces total. Professional Triple Ply Construction features a core of pure aluminum and a brushed stainless exterior.Suitable for use with induction cook tops.Drip-Free Pouring Rim Tightfitting cover seals in moisture and nutrients for healthier, more flavorful results, every time you cook.Included components: 12 PC Set

Copper cookware sets

The heat conductivity of copper is excellent, providing even, fast heating and sensitivity to variations in flame temperature. Many professional chefs prefer copper for its heat conductivity.

Copper is also beautiful, and it makes a lovely display in your kitchen. Copper cookware’s downsides include its high price, need for polishing, and tendency to react with acidic foods. It can also be scratched and discolored.

Aluminum cookware sets

Aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat, but it’s soft and easily scratched or dented. Additionally, it reacts with acidic foods, potentially leaching into your food. Aluminum cookware is usually anodized to avoid these problems. A scratch-resistant surface resists leaching.

Often, aluminum cookware has a nonstick coating, making cleanup a breeze.

Pots and pans made from anodized aluminum are easy to find at bargain prices, but a super-low price usually indicates low quality.

Rachael Ray Cucina Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set, 12 Piece

  • SET INCLUDES: 1-quart and 3-quart saucepans with lids, 6-quart stockpot with lid, 8.5-inch and 10-inch frying pans, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, slotted turner and spoon

  • DURABLE DESIGN: Nonstick pots and pans from Rachael Ray are crafted with durable aluminum and sturdy hard enamel porcelain exteriors to stand up to busy kitchens

  • ENHANCED PFOA-FREE NONSTICK: Cookware set features espresso-colored, PFOA-free nonstick for effortless food release and easy cleanup

  • CONVENIENCE AND CONTROL: The 12-piece nonstick cookware set boasts dual-riveted rubberized stainless steel handles and shatter-resistant glass lids; includes slotted turner and spoon

  • OVEN SAFE: Oven safe to 400 degrees F, these versatile pots and pans are suitable for all stovetops except induction

Cast iron cookware sets

Cast iron is a poor conductor of heat, but once it is heated, it remains warm for a long time due to its mass. It is durable and inexpensive.

Despite this, cast iron is heavy, can rust or pit, and is reactive with acidic foods. A thin layer of oil (called seasoning) applied periodically to cast iron helps prevent these problems and makes the pans nonstick.

Some cast-iron cookware comes with an enameled surface, eliminating the need to season it with oil. However, these are still heavy pots and pans.

Stainless steel cookware sets

Stainless steel is resistant to scratches, denting, and discoloration. Additionally, stainless steel does not react with foods. However, it is a poor conductor of heat, so cookware must contain a core of aluminum or copper.

Stainless steel pots and pans generally cost more than anodized aluminum pots and pans. Still, they are versatile and suitable for just about any cooking the average home chef desires. Low-quality stainless cookware will only have an aluminum or copper bottom.

WHAT PIECES DO YOU NEED with Cookware Sets?

Having decided what metal you want, you need to determine how large a set of cookware you need.

Pots and pans can be purchased separately, but buying a set is usually more economical. It’s also quicker and easier to choose an entire set. Be careful not to rush into your decision, and don’t assume that a bigger set will always be better. Many people dislike the idea of filling their cupboards with useless cookware.

You may be able to get by with a set containing just the basics if you’re a casual or infrequent cook. Nevertheless, if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen and enjoy cooking, a larger set with a few specialty items would likely be your best choice. You can also purchase individual pieces of cookware if you need them beyond that.

This is a basic cookware set that covers most cooking needs.

Here are a few additional pieces that are useful but not essential.

TIPS FOR CHOOSING COOKWARE SETS

The handles should be riveted or welded to the cookware. Unless the handle is held securely by a screw, it will eventually come loose and fall off.

Handles made of silicone are easy to grip and do not transfer heat. They are not oven-safe at high temperatures, so if you do a lot of stovetop-to-oven cooking, a skillet with a metal handle would probably be best.

Glass lids allow you to see the progress of your food without lifting the lid and letting heat escape.

Lids should fit tightly on cookware. If they rattle or leave gaps, they should be replaced.

TIPS FOR USING COOKWARE SETS

Nonstick cookware should not be scratched by metal or sharp edges. Basic cooking utensils should include:

  1. Spoon with slots
  2. A tablespoon
  3. a spatula with slots
  4. and a basting spoon
  5. to serve pasta
  6. Turner

Even the hardest of metals can sustain scratches or nicks if they are not stored properly. Nonstick surfaces tend to scratch easily.

Dishwashing nonstick cookware is rarely a good idea.

Despite the best care, nonstick coatings eventually scratch and wear away.

You may also like:

Calphalon Classic 10-Piece Cookware Set, Stainless Steel

4 Responses

  1. Thank you for this article. Having a good set is a great asset because one won’t have to worry much about kitchen issues. I have made a mistake twice in buying cooking pots online. I think it was either fake or overrated. It was supposed to be nonsticky but the shiny polished part started scraping off and it is now burning food. I would have to bookmark this site, this article is really helpful.

     
  2. Hi Jennette,

    Thank you for such an informative post. I have recently moved to another county for my post-graduation and I need to start making my own as I am away from my family and having lunch and dinner outside is a bit expensive. I think Lodge pre-seasoned cast iron 5 piece set will be a good and affordable option for my needs. Do you have any other suggestions for me so that I can get good quality utensils for my need at a more affordable price? I am a bit tight on my budget.

     
  3. This is actually pretty interesting. I am a guy but I tend to stick around the kitchen a lot because I do love cooking but I’ve never gave it much thought on the metal of the pots I use. I’ve used mostly copper and aluminum pots but I think I’d prefer the stainless steel pots. Like you mentioned they are really strong and aren’t easily scratched and since they usually have a core of a more heat conducting metal I’d say that this type of pot would be perfect for most of my needs and to add more to that I don’t need to worry about the pot being corroded by acidic foods.

     
  4. I had mixed and matched cookware one time if I find a piece of cookware I liked would buy it without thinking especially a stock pot so could prepare a big pot of chili for my family. 

     

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