There are several reasons why stainless steel cookware has been around for so long and yet remains so popular. The glistening, shiny look is just one of those reasons. The perfect heat conduction is another since it makes the cooking so fast and efficient. There is no risk of the material of the utensil reacting with the food it is cooking.
As we get ready to enter 2019, there are a wide variety of choices you have in stainless steel cookware. We tried to assess the comparative qualities of all the choices available. We have looked at both ends of the quality-cost spectrum. This list of the best stainless steel cookware also looks at the best in the class of some specific types of cookware. The comparisons on each feature are shown separately.
Best Stainless Steel Cookware : Our Top Picks
d5 Brushed Stainless Steel 18/10
18/10 Stainless Steel
18/10 Stainless Steel
Yes, but to be used only with other plastic or wooden utensils
Brushed Stainless Steel
Yes, but handwash recommended
18/10 Marine Grade Stainless Steel
18/8 Stainless Steel
Expert Best Stainless Steel Cookware Reviews
Best of the best – All-Clad BD005710-R D5 Brushed 18/10 Stainless Steel 5-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set, 10-Piece
This is one of the costlier models we checked out, and it did convince us that it is in the category of best of the best stainless steel cookware. The capacities of each utensil of this set are also etched at the bottom of each of the respective utensils listed above so that you don’t have to remember any numbers. The most unique feature of this set is that each piece is made with 5 alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum.
This patented technology guarantees even heating inside the utensil and there are no specific hot spots inside the vessel. The lids are made of steel instead of glass, so the heat stays inside. The handles are also made of steel and firmly fixed to the body with the help of rivets. The inner surface that comes in contact with the food has a starburst finish, which does provide some sort of resistance to the sticking of food. But some users didn’t like the fact that the 6 vessels of this set do not have any proper non-stick feature.
You can easily use the pieces of this set in a broiler or an oven, and take the temperature up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. When you have cooked something that has liquid in it, it will be easy for you to pour it from these vessels because all of them flared rims on which the lids rest. We are sure that when you buy this set, you will be able to impress your visitors, and that will not be due to the heavy price tag only.
The 10 useful pieces of this set are:
- Stock Pot with lid (capacity 8 quarts)
- Sauté Pan with lid (capacity 3 quarts)
- Sauce Pan with lid (capacity 3 quarts)
- Sauce Pan with lid (capacity 1.5 quarts)
- Frying Pan (diameter 10 inches)
- Frying Pan (diameter 8 inches)
- The steel used in the 5-ply surface is of 18/10 stainless steel of 304 grade and is ISO 9000 and ASTM 240 certified.
- All the pieces of this set are oven and grill safe.
- The aluminum and steel are bonded together in 5 alternating layers using a patented process.
- The smaller pieces of this set are light enough to handle, and for the larger pieces, there is a helper handle for ease of handling.
The inner surface of the vessels of this set does not have non-stick properties.
Best of the best – Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set
The Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel set is not one of the most economical options among the stainless less cookware we tested. But it can’t be denied that the Nouvelle from Anolon is worth every dollar you pay for it, so we would prefer to put it in the value-for-money category of the best stainless steel cookware. The 10 pieces of this stainless steel cookware set will last you a lifetime.
Apart from the benefits of stainless steel, you get all the benefits of copper as well. There is a layer of copper enclosed by two aluminum layers at the base of all the pieces of this set. This allows for even better heat conduction and faster cooking.
Each of the covered vessels has lids that fit perfectly, allowing no heat to escape. The exteriors of every piece are highly polished. This prevents scratches from other metal vessels. The interiors are also brushed. You will find the extra clearance on the lid handles very convenient for lifting. The handles of the pans are riveted, so even years of usage won’t loosen the handles.
Every piece of this set is compatible with dishwashers and is also oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. So you can easily use it inside a broiler. You do not need to worry about compatibility with the Nouvelle. It can be used on all kind of stovetops including gas and induction. The best thing about this set is its limited lifetime warranty which tells you how confident Anolon is about its product.
This is the list of the covered and open cookware you get in this set:
- Covered sauté pan of 3 quarts capacity
- Covered stockpot of 6.5 quarts capacity
- Covered saucepan of 2.5 quarts capacity
- Covered saucepan of 1.25 quarts capacity
- 5-inch French skillet
- 8-inch French skillet
- Double cap copper base helps the heat to get distributed much faster, allowing the food to be cooked faster.
- The Nouvelle can be used on all kinds of stovetops.
- Safe for use in both dishwasher as well as an oven (for broiling).
- The manufacturer provides a limited lifetime warranty.
- The stainless steel body is attractive to look at and durable in use.
- The stainless steel handles are riveted well to ensure that there is no loosening.
The stainless steel inner surface does not have non-stick properties.
We looked at a very high-end model, and then at a value-for-money set which was neither too costly nor too cheap. Let us look at a budget model which gives great features at an attractive price. This Cuisinart cookware set can certainly be labeled the best stainless steel cookware in the budget category. You get three layers of the metal, with a layer of aluminum inserted within the stainless steel sheets, and this helps retain the heat inside the vessel.
The addition of aluminum is a much better alternative than having only stainless steel. This way, the food gets heated evenly and gets cooked fast. You get the revolutionary ‘Heat Surround Technology’ in this product. This technology distributes the heat evenly across the bottom and sides of the vessel.
This set is not only economical with your money, but it also takes great care of your health as well. The steaming that is possible is much more efficient than boiling and helps to retain more nutrients. This set works perfectly fine on all types of stovetops, including an induction stove. The rims of all the vessels of this set are tapered and flared so that you can pour liquid from them without any mess.
The lids of all the vessels of this set are made to have tight fits so that there is no escape of hearing while cooking. The handles are made of special cool grip material so that you can handle the utensils easily. The outside of each vessel has a brushed stainless steel finish, while the interiors are well polished.
These are the utensils you get as part of this set:
- Steamer Insert (with lid)
- 8-inch skillet
- 10-inch skillet
- 5-quart saucepan (with lid)
- 5 quart sauté pan (with lid)
- 3-quart saucepan (with lid)
- 8-quart stockpot (with lid)
- Advanced Heat Surround technology to ensure that the food getting cooked is heated evenly and cooked fast.
- Tight fitting lids and easy to use non-heating handles.
- Healthy cooking with retention of nutrients
- 3 – Ply surface of vessels, with the aluminum core in between the stainless steel layers.
- Most of the attractive features are available at a much lower cost than most competitors.
- All pieces of this set are safe to use in the dishwasher, including all lids.
Only ships to select countries outside the USA.
A Few Special Categories
We looked at a very costly high end set, then we looked at a value for money middle-of-the-road offering, and finally, we looked at a very low-cost model. But it is also possible that a customer might be looking for the best stainless steel cookware that fulfills some specific criteria. That is why looked at four more cookware sets which seemed to be the best in certain specific categories.
Best for Durability – Calphalon Classic Stainless Steel 10-Pc. Cookware Set
Compared to the limited warranty offered by most manufacturers, Calphalon has brought in the lifetime warranty for this product. One reason for the long life of this set is the impact-bonded aluminum base for all pieces. The handles of the pieces are long and ergonomic, making them easy to use and also avoiding breakages etc. These handles are made of stainless steel and have the Stay Cool feature.
The rivets used to fix the handles make it possible to work frequently with full utensils. All the utensils have pouring spouts and also a straining lid, which means you need to use a separate colander while draining liquids from these vessels. The lids of each piece of this set have integrated straining holes that align perfectly with the pan pour spouts. This makes this set very easy to use for cooking with liquids.
Each piece of this set is sturdy and very useful to use. An interesting feature of this best stainless steel cookware set is the tempered glass which is used to make the lids. It allows you to look at the progress of your recipe easily without having to lift the lid again and again. The marks etched on the side of the utensils make it easy to measure out specific volumes while cooking.
The size and shape of the utensils in the combination listed above to make them versatile for different kinds of food and food volumes. You can use them to sear, simmer, boil and fry your food. You can easily put the pieces into the dishwasher without worrying about them getting misshaped or bent. The manufacturers do recommend hand washing, though, to prolong the luster of the steel body. These utensils are all oven safe and can easily be used in the broiler.
Let us take a look at the components of this set:
- Covered stockpot (6 quarts capacity)
- Covered saucepan (1-quart capacity)
- Covered saucepan (2 quarts capacity)
- Covered sauté pan (3 quarts capacity)
- Large Fry Pan (10-inch diameter)
- Medium Fry Pan (8-inch diameter)
- A number of time-saving features like transparent lids, easy pouring features, volume markings on side of vessels etc.
- The combination of stainless steel and impact-bonded aluminum makes the body of these pieces very resilient, and the pieces much more durable.
- The vessels are made for ease of use in cooking a variety of dishes.
- You can use this Calphalon set on induction stovetops
- Lifetime warranty provided by the manufacturer.
- If any item is found to have any defect, it would be replaced by the manufacturer free of charge.
Some users reported slight discoloration on the insides, which could probably be due to the acidity in the foods.
Best for space saving – Magma Products, A10-360L-IND, 10 Piece Gourmet Nesting Stainless Steel Cookware Set, Induction Cooktops
Who wouldn’t love to own a 10-piece stainless steel cookware set? It would allow you to cook a wide variety of dishes in a number of variations. But even if you select the best stainless steel cookware, the issue you might face is how to make space in your kitchen. When you are going away for a long road or water trip, you would need to take along a set of utensils which do not occupy a large amount of space.
For such requirements, this 10-piece Magma product is ideal. All the utensils of this set use 18/10 grade stainless steel have a tri-clad base, which prevents the steel from warping or breaking from regular use. The storage cord is used in securing all the utensils together in the unique nesting arrangement.
This nesting can be achieved because all the utensils have a gradually reducing pan-base, so that the base of one exactly fits into the top of the other, allowing to keep all utensils in a vertical arrangement and save space. The tri-clad base, we mentioned earlier is flat for all the vessels of this set. It comes with the Impact Bonded Even Heat Base.
This arrangement ensures even heating of the food that is being cooked. You do not need to worry about any hot spots. In the long term, it also ensures that you eat healthy food in which the nutrients have been preserved. Whatever your stove top is made of, the Magma can work easily – ceramic, electric cook top, gas stove, etc.
Let us see what you get in the shipping package:
- Lid compatible for all saucepans
- Lid compatible to the sauté pan, frying pan and stock pot
- Sauté Pan
- Frying Pan (diameter 9.5 inches)
- 5 quarts Sauce Pan
- 2 quarts Sauce Pan
- 3 quarts Sauce Pan
- 5 quarts stock pot
- 2 removable handles
- 1 storage cord
- The system of metallic clips for the pans and handles lets the user store the vessels in a space-saving vertical manner.
- In terms of horizontal area, this 10-piece set will not take up more than half a cubic foot.
- The detachable handles also allow you to store them separately side by side if needed.
- The handles of the pans are detachable and light. They do not heat up while cooking.
- The tri-clad arrangement of aluminum between two layers of high-grade stainless steel allows for uniform and healthy heating.
- Magma can be used in the dishwasher, and also cleaned separately using soft detergent.
- This set has won 2 awards – Gear of the year and Editor’s Choice from Practical Sailor, and Product of the month from the Good Sam Club.
It does not ship outside the US.
Best for variety – Chef’s Star Professional Grade Stainless Steel Cookware, 17-Piece Set
We reviewed a number of sets which all had 10 or 12 pieces. But there are some people who prefer more variety in the utensils of their cookware set. The best stainless steel cookware set we could find with the number of pieces was the Chef’s Star professional set. When you buy this set you will not need to buy additional utensils for specific needs because every variety is covered here.
Each of the vessels has high quality 18/8 commercial grade stainless steel which makes it very durable. The base of the vessels is made of impact-bonded aluminum so that the heat can be distributed evenly. Most of your recipes can be prepared on medium heat with these vessels. Even then, you can shorten your cooking time because of the quick conduction of heat.
The handles of all the vessels have a satin finish for a good grip, and they are riveted to the respective pans. You can wash the vessels in a dishwasher, and also use them in an oven. While using an oven, please make sure to use a pot holder. In the oven, these vessels can tolerate temperatures of up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can also use these vessels for keeping food in your refrigerator. You can easily check the progress of the cooking with the help of the tempered glass lids, and you don’t need to open the lids from time to time to check. You can use these vessels on a variety of cooking surfaces, like gas Cooktops, electric or infrared stoves, induction stoves, and even ceramic Cooktops.
These vessels are all scratch free and dent free, so whether you wash them by hand or in a dishwasher, there will be no damage to the vessels.
It has as many as 17 pieces, the details of which are provided below:
- 8-inch frying pan
- 5-inch frying pan
- 6-quart saucepan with lid
- 5-quart saucepan with lid
- 2 casserole with lid
- Boiler basket (for spaghetti)
- Slotted spatula
- 2 prong cooking fork
- 6-quart stock pot with lid
- 5 quart sauté pan with lid (with helper handle provided)
- Ergonomically designed vessels and handles designed for easy anti-slip grip.
- Glass lids with vents provided on all vessels.
- Freezer safe utensils, apart from being oven safe and dishwasher safe.
- Limited Lifetime warranty.
- Can be used on a variety of cooking surfaces.
- The aluminum core keeps the vessels lighter and also allows for the heat to be distributed evenly.
- If pans are not heated properly, the food might stick to them, making cleaning difficult.
- The right temperatures and usage might be a little difficult initially for a beginner.
Best for celebrity signature line – Paula Deen Signature Stainless Steel Cookware, 12-Piece Set
When we are looking for a stainless steel cookware set, we usually put a lot of thought and effort into comparing the features. But sometimes it is easier to check out which is the best stainless steel cookware set that celebrities are endorsing. Paula Deen is an American celebrity chef and cooking show host on television, and she also runs her own restaurant called The Lady & Sons. She has her own signature line of stainless steel cookware, and who better to know what is good cookware than someone who makes a living from them?
The vessels are made with high-quality stainless steel with no nickel used, therefore no risk of poisoning. The vessels can be washed in the dishwasher. Only the 2 skillets need to be separately hand washed because of the Teflon coating. Additionally, it is also suggested to separately, wash the transparent lids because of their copper-colored lid handles.
In case the vessels are used inside an oven, they can tolerate temperatures of up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Each vessel has easy to use handles which are firmly riveted to the body, and provide soft to touch convenience of handling. Most of the cooking surfaces can be used for these vessels, like electric, radiant glass, gas and also ceramic. Induction cooking tops are the only ones which do not go with this set.
The 12 pieces in this set are listed below:
- 1-quart capacity saucepan with lid
- 2-quart capacity saucepan with lid
- 3-quart capacity saucepan with lid
- 6-quart capacity stock pot with lid
- 8-inch aluminum skillet (nonstick with Teflon)
- 10-inch aluminum skillet (nonstick with Teflon)
- Slotted spatula
- Slotted Spoon
- Comes with the endorsement of a celebrity chef.
- Skillets coated with easy to clean Teflon.
- The vessels are quick to transmit heat and lower cooking time.
- The price is very reasonable considering the quality and the features.
- Good for use in ovens.
- Skillets and lids need to be cleaned separately.
- Cannot be used with an induction cooktop.
Stainless Steel Cookware Comparison Table
|Brand||Product Name||No. of pieces||Induction Ready||Dishwasher Safe||Oven Safe||Warranty Years||Price Range|
|All-Clad||BD005710-R D5||10||Yes||Yes||Yes||Limited Lifetime||$$$$$|
|Cuisinart||MCP-12N Multiclad Pro||12||Yes||Yes||Yes||Limited Lifetime||$$$|
|Magma Products||A10-360L-IND||10||Yes||Yes||Yes||1 year||$$$|
|Chef's Star||Pots and Pans||17||Yes||Yes||Yes||1 year||$$$$|
|Paula Deen||Signature||12||Yes||Yes||Yes||Limited Lifetime||$$|
Buying Guide for Stainless Steel Cookware
It is not enough to want to buy the best stainless steel cookware. Before you set out to buy your set, there are some things you need to keep in mind. As you saw above, some of the common parameters people judge are the cost, heating efficiency, ease of handling, a variety of sizes and volumes and also the ease of maintenance. Based on these parameters you could make your choice. Outside of these factors, though, there are five things which are common to all the sets that you will assess. These five factors impact the performance as well as the cost of the cookware. Let us look at a few of these below.
While stainless steel by itself is very popular as a raw material for cookware, but because of its high conduction and its weight, some of the stainless steel vessels could overheat in some parts quickly, and also be unwieldy to use. That is why other metals like aluminum or copper are also added in layers. This heats the food evenly and also helps to retain the nutrition. Again, the addition of nonstick Teflon to the steel is now no longer a viable option because it is not permissible anymore. That is why the proportion and combination of different metals along with steel decide the heating characteristics of the cookware.
Stainless steel is made by adding other metals to iron. Some of the metals added are chromium and nickel. The stainless steel is given grades according to the proportion of chromium and nickel. So 18/10 grade stainless steel has 18% chromium and 10% nickel. This grade is considered very good for stainless steel cookware. The grade of steel would determine the heating efficiency of the cookware.
Reasonable Number of Pieces
For anything we buy, we are always tempted to get more bang for our buck. When it comes to the best stainless steel cookware as well, we sometimes think that the more the number of pieces in the set, the better it is. But that is not necessarily true. Often you might realize that two pieces of a set are able to do the same job because they are very similar in size and volume. That would also mean having to find storage space for both of them. Instead of that, think of the different recipes, you might cook usually, and the size of your family, and choose the stainless steel cookware set accordingly.
The Smaller Details
Most people who are looking for a stainless steel cookware tend to focus more on the size, shape, number, and material used for making the vessels. But after some time goes by, it is the lids and handles of the vessels that start to give problems. Either the handles become loose or come off, or they and the lids become heated during cooking. That is why you should also pay attention to the handles and lids, and see what they are made of, and how well they are secured. The lids should fit as tightly as possible, so there is no heat loss.
A number of pieces
If you have actually counted the number of pieces of the 7 sets we reviewed above, you would have noticed that a 12 piece set does not have 12 vessels for you to cook in. Lids, ladles, spatulas, forks and even instruction/recipe booklets are usually counted as pieces. So when you are assessing a stainless steel cookware set, go through the contents carefully. In each of the 7 options above, the details are provided.
Maintenance Guide for Stainless Steel Cookware
Now that you are ready to buy the best stainless steel cookware you can find, you need to also be aware of how to take care of the utensils you have purchased, so that their service life can be enhanced.
- All labels and stickers should be removed before first use.
- Before the first use, you must wash all the vessels as well as ladles, lids, forks, etc. with mild soap solution and use a nonabrasive cleaning pad, or a soft piece of cloth, or simply a sponge.
- For frying pans, use some oil and heat on low flame for some time, and then throw away the oil, wash and then use it.
- Similarly, for other vessels, you can fill them with water and boil the water before throwing it away.
- To remove cooking stains which are not going by the use of simple soapy water, please boil with vinegar (1 part vinegar to 4 parts water).
- Try avoiding the use of these utensils for prolonged storage of food.
Whichever country you are using stainless steel cookware in, it helps in easy cooking and is durable and attractive. If you can choose the best stainless steel cookware for yourself, you can enjoy years of good cooking. You can choose from any of the seven cookware sets listed here, according to your specific needs.