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T-fal E765SH Nonstick 17 Piece Cookware Set

Top Pick
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This 17 piece set from T-fal comes with pretty much every pot and pan needed in the kitchen, including 3 fry pans, 3 saucepans, a square griddle, deep sauté pan, dutch oven, steamer insert, and a 1 egg fry pan, along with accompanying glass lids. No matter what dish you want to whip up, there is a pan in this set that can handle it!

The exteriors are made from a hard anodized aluminum while the interiors are a nonstick titanium that is also scratch resistant. Compared to other materials, these pans require much less maintenance, and are very easy to clean. We also love the thermo-spot indicator found in the frying pans and deep sauté that will turn red when the pan is heated up for optimal cooking.

This set is suitable to work in the oven up to 400° F, however lids are only recommended up to 350° F. Be sure to follow the care instructions that come with your set to improve its longevity. While dishwasher safe, we recommend hand washing, avoid using abrasive scrubbers to ensure the nonstick surface does not lose integrity, and using wooden or silicone utensils while cooking.

Key Features

  • Hard anodized exterior
  • Nonstick hard titanium cooking surface that is scratch resistant
  • Vented tempered glass lids
  • Thermo-spot preheat indicator
  • Riveted silicone handles

Specifications

  • Brand: T-fal
  • Includes: 10 pots and pans, steamer insert, and six lids

Pros

  • Great set for any level of cook - easy to maintain and clean
  • Wide variety of pots and pans for an assortment of dishes
  • Nonstick surface reduces need for oil or butter

Cons

  • Not compatible with induction cooking

2
Rachael Ray 16344 Cucina Nonstick Cookware 12 Piece Set

Honorable Mention
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Rachael Ray's Cucina cookware set is as fun and colorful as the TV host is! With seven gorgeous colors to choose from, there is a set perfect for every personality and decor. Included in this 12 piece set are 2 saucepans, 1 stock pot, 2 skillets, 1 sauté pan, shatter resistant glass lids, and slotted turner and spoon. We love the addition of utensils that won't scratch the interior nonstick surface that is PFOA, lead, and cadmium free. The exterior is constructed of durable aluminum and hard enamel porcelain that is oven safe up to 400°F, and feature stainless steel and silicone handles that match the colorful exterior.

For use and care, the set is suitable for all stovetops except induction, and cleaning in the dishwasher could cause oxidation of exposed aluminum so we recommend handwashing. But thanks to the combination of materials, cleaning shouldn't be much of an issue.

Key Features

  • Hard enamel porcelain colorful exterior
  • Nonstick interior
  • Rubberized handles

Specifications

  • Brand: Rachael Ray Cucina
  • Includes: Six pots and pans, four lids, and two compatible utensils

Pros

  • Easy to clean materials, which is a plus when needing to hand wash
  • Beautiful colors adds a pop of fun to your kitchen
  • Includes all the basics

Cons

  • Not dishwasher safe
  • Lids not vented

3
Cuisinart 66-17N Chef's Classic NonStick 17 Piece Set

Also Consider
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Those looking for a solid cookware set to begin or update their home kitchen, this 17 piece set from Cuisinart is a great choice. Featuring 3 saucepans, 1 sauté pan, 1 dutch oven, 3 skillets, 1 steamer insert, and 1 stockpot, all of which can fit the included tempered glass vented lids, you'll have a pot or pan for a variety of dishes. Beyond having a lid that can fit every piece, we are particularly a fan of the included stockpot, the taller design of which is ideal for simmering homemade broth while limiting excess vapors.

The anodized exterior is harder than stainless steel ensuring its longevity, and is designed to heat quickly and evenly. The nonstick surface reinforced with titanium will make cooking and cleaning simple, and is designed to accommodate metal utensils, though this is generally advised against when using a nonstick surface so proceed with caution. Riveted handles are made from stainless steel and are designed to not transfer heat from cooking.

For care, be sure to hand wash this set to preserve the nonstick coating.

Key Features

  • Nonstick surface reinforced with titanium
  • Hard anodized exterior
  • Vented tempered glass lids
  • Riveted handles
  • Pans/Pots oven-safe to 500°F, lids to 350°F

Specifications

  • Brand: Cuisinart
  • Includes: Nine pots and pans, steamer insert, and seven lids

Pros

  • Lids can fit all pots/pans, including largest skillet
  • Includes a stockpot, perfect for homemade broth
  • Nonstick surface easy to use and clean and requires less fat for cooking

Cons

  • Not dishwasher safe

4
Emeril Lagasse 62950 Cookware Set

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If you're looking for the bare essentials in a professional stainless steel package, this cookware set from Emeril Lagasse fits the bill. The set includes 2 fry pans, 3 saucepans, 1 sauté pan, and 1 stock pot, along with tempered glass lids with straining holes. Paired with the pour spout design of the saucepans, draining excess liquids from this set is much easier and safer than with other cookware sets, which we love -- no more dirting a colliander or awkwardly trying to drain water from the pan while holding the lid at angle. The saucepans also feature measurement marketings, which is a nice bonus!

The stainless steel construction with aluminum base bottom conducts heat very well, so you won't ever need to go over medium to medium-high heat. It also works with all stovetops, including induction, and is oven safe up to 550°F (pans/pots only). Riveted stainless steel handles stay cool while on the stove, but be sure to use extra protection when removing from the oven.

If you've never used stainless steel before, be sure to turn down the heat compared to what you are used to. You will also need a bit of butter or oil to prevent food from sticking, but you also don't need to fret about the surface being damaged overtime which is always a risk with nonstick coatings.

Key Features

  • Stainless steel with aluminum core
  • Built in pour spouts and lid strainers
  • Measurement markings
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Useable on all cook surfaces including induction

Specifications

  • Brand: Emeril Lagasse
  • Includes: Seven pots and pans with five lids

Pros

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Easy to strain excess liquids
  • Conducts heat very well

Cons

  • Some pots might not be big enough for all use cases

5
Calphalon 2029640 Premier Stainless Steel 11-Piece Cookware Set

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If you're ready to invest in a quality, professional set of cookware that should last the test of time, this 11 piece set from Calphalon is a quality pick with a lifetime warranty to back it up. So, what makes this set so special?

The answer is the 3-layer metal construction, which is highly durable and can work with all stovetops, including induction, in the oven up to 450°F, and in the dishwasher for easy cleanup. The heavy-gauge aluminum core heats evenly and quickly to ensure your food comes out beautifully seared, browned, or sautéd to perfection. The feel is hefty but not too heavy, and the stainless steel handles stay cool to the touch while using via stovetop. Plus, the slightly brushed finish just looks so classic and elegant.

This 11 piece set features 2 fry pans, 2 saucepans, 1 sauté pan, and 1 stockpot with five tempered glass covers, so all the basics are covered.

Key Features

  • Three-ply metal construction with aluminum core and stainless steel exterior
  • Oven safe up to 450 degrees
  • Compatible with all stovetops, including induction

Specifications

  • Brand: Calphalon
  • Includes: Six pots and pans with five lids

Pros

  • Full lifetime warranty
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Large stockpot included

Cons

  • A bit of an investment

6
Nuwave Copper 12 Piece Cookware Set

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We round out our list with this lovely copper 12 piece cookware set from Nuwave. One of the main benefits of using copper cookware is its ability to conduct heat, providing excellent heat distribution. Copper also provides great adhesion with other metals, such as this sets aluminum base and duralon ceramic nonstick coating interior, which aids in its durability and product life. Plus, copper just looks nice!

Even though it contains a nonstick interior, this set is still compatible with all stovetops, including induction, and is oven safe up to a whopping 900° F (not including lids)! Not that we ever recommend using such extreme heat, but it just goes to show how durable the materials are. We also love how large the induction plate is on the base of the pans, which only further aids its even heat distribution.

With 3 sauce pans, 1 dutch oven, 1 stockpot, 2 fry pans, and accompanying tempered glass vented lids, you'll have all the basics to whip up a number of dishes.

Key Features

  • Copper aluminum construction
  • Duralon ceramic nonstick coating
  • Stainless steel handles

Specifications

  • Brand: Nuwave
  • Includes: Seven pots and pans with five lids

Pros

  • Good for use on all cook surfaces including induction
  • Pots and pans safe up to 900° F (without lids)
  • Durable and easy to clean
  • Conducts heat very well

Cons

  • Not designed for the dishwasher

When cooking it is important to find a set of cookware that will meet all of your needs, and will be compatible with your range. Don't move too quickly and drop hundreds of dollars on a set that fails to work in your kitchen. The type of range you are working with, cooking preferences, and ease of cleaning are all important to consider when selecting such a key piece of your kitchen arsenal. While aesthetics are important for most, this is one product where usability concerns is likely more important than looks, but even so many fine looking products exist on the market.

Cooking Surface

Cooking surfaces will depend on what is installed in your kitchen and is not generally easily changed out. Induction cooktops can be purchased as separate entities, but if counter-space is a rare commodity at your home like it is at mine, you will unlikely be able to accommodate more than one which is not a very efficient setup. Open-flame gas ranges are quite common as are electric ranges which often come in either a heating coil or glass top surface variety.

Different cookware sets will be made out of materials that are not compatible with some surfaces. For instance, induction cooking requires a conductive metal for energy transfer, and many aluminum based sets on the market are not compatible. Other materials may not hold up to the direct flame contact that comes with gas burners. When researching cookware sets, make sure to be aware of what cooking surface you have at home and find a set that is compatible.

Material

Cookware is made from various materials, each with its own benefits and drawbacks to consider. For instance, some materials such as aluminum are selected for how lightweight and inexpensive they are which allows for the product to be made more affordable and accessible to those unable to afford higher-end sets. Aluminum also partners well with many nonstick coatings for cooks looking to avoid oils during cooking while saving time during cleanup. These nonstick coatings can be damaged overtime if not handled with care and most are not dishwasher safe so make sure to keep this in mind.

Stainless steel on the other hand is more durable and resilient to scratches but at the cost of being heavier and often more expensive. Stainless steel is generally dishwasher safe but may require more soaking and scrubbing than nonstick materials. However, since there is not a nonstick layer to contend with, cleaning can be done with more abrasive materials such as steel wool.

Ceramic and copper are two other common options. Ceramic sets look nice though they are less durable than a hard metal. Copper is highly conductive making it work well with induction systems.

Cookware Pieces

Make sure to find a set that will work for your specific needs. If you are cooking for only one or two and are not all that adventurous, a 17-piece set is likely to be overkill. However, if you regularly use 2-3 pots per meal, having a larger set is beneficial so that you are not waiting for dishes to be cleaned to be able to start the next meal. Stock pots are very handy and as a general rule of thumb should be at least 8-quarts in size to accommodate some larger meals to avoid sloshing during stirring. Lids are very useful, even on frying pans, so look for a set that either has interchangeable lids or a dedicated lid for at least one of the frying pans. Make sure to buy the right pieces for your kitchen, and not an ideal kitchen setting you are unlikely ever to need with pieces remaining in storage that are never used.