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Best Cookware Sets for Your Kitchen According to Professional Chefs

Best Cookware Sets
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Updated April 4, 2024

You probably have a few pots and pans that are in constant rotation in your kitchen. I know I do! While I love my current Our Place pan and Le Creuset Dutch oven, I’ve been wanting to invest in a full cookware set for quite some time, but haven’t found the chance to sit down and actually consider my options. I know I’m not alone in wanting a set full of pots, pans, and lids that can be used to make stews, pastas, casseroles, and other traditional recipes. 

That said, I’ve scoured through the internet for cookware sets and came up with an extensive list based on price, material, and compatibility. Plus, I spoke with professional chefs about what to look for when purchasing a cookware set and how to keep it in pristine condition for years to come.

What to consider when buying a cookware set

Included pieces

The best cookware sets come with a variety of different pieces. However, you’ll usually find a variation of a frying pan, saute pan, Dutch oven, skillet, stock pot, and saucepan. Ann Ziata, chef at the Institute of Culinary Education, recommends looking for a dinnerware set with a 2-quart pot, a 4-quart pot, and an 8-inch sauté pan for a starter set for one to two people. “For households of 4+ people, add a 10-quart rondeau, an 8-quart pot, and a 10-inch sauté pan. I’d also include a nonstick pan too for eggs and fish,” she adds. 

Materials

You’ll notice cookware available in a variety of materials including stainless steel, copper, aluminum, and ceramic. That said, some materials are better than others in terms of durability and ease of use. According to Jon Butler, executive chef at KIKI’S in La Quinta, California, stainless steel is a great option for a cookware set. “It’s durable and can sustain high cooking temperatures without warping,” he adds. 

Price

The cost of a quality cookware set will depend on how many pieces are included, the brand, and the material. As a general rule of thumb, copper and stainless steel cookware sets are usually priced higher anywhere between $250 and $900+. On the other hand, you can find more budget-friendly options under under $250 if you’re okay with something more basic, but effective.

Our top picks for best cookware set

Best value cookware set: Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless Steel 17-Piece Cookware Set 

Best value cookware set
Cuisinart Chef's Classic 17 Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set Stainless Steel in Gray | Wayfair 77-17N

Cuisinart Chef's Classic 17 Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set Stainless Steel in Gray | Wayfair 77-17N

Although cookware sets can be expensive, there are options that are a good value like this one from Cuisinart. The 17-piece dinnerware set is designed for cooking and entertaining with its durable stainless steel construction and aluminum base that promote optimal heat conductivity. Not only are these pots and pans heavy-duty, but they also have an ergonomic design with riveted handles that make them easy to carry from the kitchen to the table. 

Specifications:

  • Number of pieces: 17
  • What's included: 1-quart saucepan with lid, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart saucepan with lid, 3.5-quart sauté pan with lid, 4-quart Dutch oven with lid, 8-quart stockpot with lid, 8-inch fry pan, 10-inch fry pan, 12-inch fry pan with lid, and steamer insert
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Oven-safe: Yes
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Price at publish: $179.95

The bottom line:

The Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless Steel 17-Piece Cookware Set is a solid choice for individuals looking for a great deal without sacrificing quality and performance.

Get it here: Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless Steel 17-Piece Cookware Set 


Best splurge cookware set: Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron 5-Piece Cookware Set

Best splurge cookware set
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron 5-Piece Cookware Set

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron 5-Piece Cookware Set

You’ve probably heard of the Le Creuset Dutch oven, but now it’s time to get your hands on this luxury five-piece cookware set that’ll take your kitchen to the next level. Inside you’ll find a Dutch oven, saucepan, and skillet, all of which offer hefty heat distribution and better performance thanks to its black satin interior enamel. Whether you want to make macaroni and cheese or stir-fry, these pieces are oven-, stovetop-, and induction-safe and can be put in the dishwasher for an easy clean.

Specifications:

  • Number of pieces: 5
  • What's included: 5.5-quart round Dutch oven, 1.75-quart signature saucepan and 9-inch signature skillet
  • Material: Enameled cast iron
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Oven-safe: Yes
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Price at publish: $574.99

The bottom line:

The Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron 5-Piece Cookware Set is a best-selling option for almost all of your cooking needs, comes in a plethora of colors, and has a lifetime warranty.

Get it here: Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron 5-Piece Cookware Set


Best budget cookware set: The Pioneer Woman Classic Ceramic Breezy Blossom Cookware Set

Best budget cookware set
The Pioneer Woman Classic Ceramic Breezy Blossom Cookware Set

The Pioneer Woman Classic Ceramic Breezy Blossom Cookware Set

Give your kitchen a much needed upgrade with this classic floral cookware set from The Pioneer Woman. Inside you’ll find saucepans and skillets designed to whip up breakfast, lunch, or dinner with ease. Although the set is less than $100, it does not skimp out on quality since each set is made with aluminum bodies and is free from unsafe chemicals and additives commonly found in low-cost kitchenware. Although it is dishwasher safe, you’ll want to handwash it to preserve longevity.

Specifications:

  • Number of pieces: 12
  • What's included: 1-quart saucepan, 3-quart saucepan with lid, 4.5-quart saute pan with lid, 5-quart Dutch oven with lid, 8-inch skillet, 10-inch skillet, egg pan, acacia wood turner, and acacia wood ladle info
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Oven-safe: Yes
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Price at publish: $99

The bottom line:

The Pioneer Woman Classic Ceramic Breezy Blossom Cookware Set is adorned with an intricate floral design and is induction and electric compatible for easy use.

Get it here: The Pioneer Woman Classic Ceramic Breezy Blossom Cookware Set


Best nonstick cookware set: Our Place Cookware Set

Best nonstick cookware set
Our Place Cookware Set

Our Place Cookware Set

If you’re in the market for a nonstick pan that’ll suit your needs in the kitchen, then you’ll want to add this Our Place Cookware Set to your cart. Each piece features a slippery, toxin-free, nonstick ceramic coating to help keep food off and make it easier to clean after use. Aside from having a non-stick coating, the pans have an aluminum body that allows for even heating whether that’s vegetables, meats, or grains. Choose from a variety of colors including Spice, Blue Salt, Steam, Sage, Char, and Lavender depending on your preference.

Specifications:

  • Number of pieces: 4
  • What's included: Always Pan 2.0, Mini Always Pan 2.0, Perfect Pot, Mini Perfect Pot 2.0
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Oven-safe: Yes
  • Dishwasher safe: No
  • Price at publish: $395

The bottom line: 

The Our Place Cookware Set is a colorful option for any kitchen in need of nonstick pots and pans made with a patented multifunctional design.

Get it here: Our Place Cookware Set


Best induction cookware set: Made In Cookware Stainless Clad 6-Piece Set

Best induction cookware set
Made In Cookware Stainless Clad 6-Piece Set

Made In Cookware Stainless Clad 6-Piece Set

It’s likely that you have an induction stovetop at home or in your rental apartment, so finding a cookware set that is compatible is essential. This 6-piece set is equipped with pots and pans made from 5-ply stainless clad for enhanced heat conduction that’ll leave your food evenly cooked throughout and done in a jiffy. Plus, there’s two layers of professional-grade nonstick coating, so you won’t have difficulty cleaning it either.

Specifications:

  • Number of pieces: 6
  • What's included: 10-inch nonstick frying pan,10-inch stainless clad frying pan, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 8-quart stock pot with lid
  • Material: Stainless clad
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Oven-safe: No
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Price at publish: $529

The bottom line: 

The Made In Cookware Stainless Clad 6-Piece Set is compatible with gas, electric, and induction cooktops and ultra-lightweight making it easy to manage.

Get it here: Made In Cookware Stainless Clad 6-Piece Set


Best ceramic cookware set: Ninja Extended Life Premium Ceramic 9-Piece Cookware Set 

Best ceramic cookware set
Ninja Extended Life Premium Ceramic 9-Piece Cookware Set | CW99009

Ninja Extended Life Premium Ceramic 9-Piece Cookware Set | CW99009

Ceramic cookware is generally healthier to use than other types and this set is no exception. With nine pieces, this set is designed to last for years with its CeramicLock™ coating and Extended Life™ ceramic that make it easy to maintain and highly durable even with frequent use. It’s also oven-safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit so you can make your favorite casseroles and dishes without hassle or worry.

Specifications:

  • Number of pieces: 9
  • What's included: 8-inch fry, 9.5-inch fry pan, 11-inch fry pan, 1.5-quart saucepan with lid, 2.5-qt saucepan with lid, 6-quart stock pot with lid
  • Material: Ceramic
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Oven-safe: Yes
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Price at publish: $199.99

The bottom line: 

The Ninja Extended Life Premium Ceramic 9-Piece Cookware Set can give you peace of mind in the kitchen with its durable ceramic construction and chemical-free design.

Get it here: Ninja Extended Life Premium Ceramic 9-Piece Cookware Set 


Best nontoxic cookware set: GreenPan Lima Ceramic Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set

Best nontoxic cookware set
GreenPan Lima Ceramic Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set

GreenPan Lima Ceramic Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set

This cookware set is made without PFAS, PFOA, lead, or cadmium, yet it’s nonstick, easy to care for, and stylish to boot. Aside from being nontoxic, the ceramic set is oven safe up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit (lids up to 425 degrees) and features stainless steel handles for easy handling. You’ll even notice they are scratch-resistant, so they’ll last many years to come without making a dent.

Specifications:

  • Number of pieces: 12
  • What's included: 8-inch fry pan, 9.5-inch fry pan, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 2.75-quart saute pan with lid, 5-quart stockpot with lid, stainless steel steamer, bamboo utensils
  • Material: Ceramic
  • Induction compatible: No
  • Oven-safe: Yes
  • Dishwasher safe: No
  • Price at publish: $214.99

The bottom line: 

The GreenPan Lima Ceramic Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set offers a nontoxic way to cook food while giving your kitchen a much needed upgrade. 

Get it here: GreenPan Lima Ceramic Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set


Best stainless steel cookware set: Caraway 4-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set 

Best stainless steel cookware set
Caraway Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Caraway Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Stainless steel cookware is a staple in many kitchens because it’s durable, easy to clean, and free from controversial chemicals. Made from 5-ply steel, this set includes a saucepan, fry pan, saute pan, and Dutch oven all of which are corrosion-resistant and easy to maintain. Unlike other sets, this one comes with lid and pan storage, so if you’re tight on space in the kitchen you’ll be met with some space.

Specifications:

  • Number of pieces: 4
  • What's included: 10.5-inch fry pan, 3-quart saucepan with lid, 4.5-quart sauté pan with lid, 6.5-quart Dutch oven with lid
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Oven-safe: Yes
  • Dishwasher safe: No
  • Price at publish: $695

The bottom line: 

The Caraway 4-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set is a solid option for kitchens in need of updated dinnerware that’s easy to maintain, use, and stow away.

Get it here: Caraway 4-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set


Best copper cookware set: Mauviel Copper Triply M'3 S 7-Piece Cookware Set

Best copper cookware set
Mauviel Copper Triply M'3 S 7-Piece Cookware Set

Mauviel Copper Triply M'3 S 7-Piece Cookware Set

Copper cookware is popular for its ability to conduct heat and electricity making it ideal for cooking. Its three-layer construction includes a stainless steel interior, heat-responsive aluminum core, and copper exterior that aids in temperature control and heat distribution for optimal cooking conditions. Although it has a hefty price tag, the set is not prone to browning and easy to clean for beginner and professional chefs. 

Specifications:

  • Number of pieces: 7
  • What's included: 10-inch fry pan, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 3.5-quart sauté pan with lid, 6.5 quart stew pan with lid
  • Material: Copper
  • Induction compatible: No
  • Oven-safe: Yes
  • Dishwasher safe: No
  • Price at publish: $899.95

The bottom line:

The Mauviel Copper Triply M'3 S 7-Piece Cookware Set uses a three layer construction to cook food evenly, minus the arduous cleanup process.

Get it here: Mauviel Copper Triply M'3 S 7-Piece Cookware Set


Best splurge stainless steel cookware set: Sur La Table Classic 5-Ply Stainless Steel 14-Piece Cookware Set 

Best splurge stainless steel cookware set
Sur La Table Classic 5-Ply Stainless Steel 14-Piece Cookware Set

Sur La Table Classic 5-Ply Stainless Steel 14-Piece Cookware Set

Stainless steel cooking sets can be expensive and this one from Sur La Table is no exception. With an almost $800 price tag, this set is on the higher end but comes with a full 14 piece set for all of your cooking needs. The 18/10 stainless steel offers unparalleled durability against high temperatures and is corrosion-resistant to preserve appearance and integrity. 

Specifications:

  • Number of pieces: 14
  • What's included: 8-inch skillet, 10-inch skillet, 12-inch skillet, 1-quart saucepan with lid, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, 8-quart stockpot with lid, and pasta insert
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Induction compatible: Yes
  • Oven-safe: Yes
  • Dishwasher safe: Yes
  • Price at publish: $799.95

The bottom line: 

The Sur La Table Classic 5-Ply Stainless Steel 14-Piece Cookware Set has a hefty price tag, however, it provides pieces for any dish and measurement markings for added convenience. 

Get it here: Sur La Table Classic 5-Ply Stainless Steel 14-Piece Cookware Set 


How we selected the best cookware sets 

I looked at the top cookware brands on the market to find the best cookware sets for everyday use. Whether you’re a beginner in the kitchen or professional chef, here’s how I found the best ones: 

Material 

I looked at the material each cookware set was made out of and the function that plays in its effectiveness. For example, stainless steel is durable and doesn’t warp at high temperatures. Other popular materials I evaluated include ceramic and aluminum. 

Price

Cookware sets can be expensive depending on how many pieces are included and the brand. That said, I looked at a variety of options that cost between $99 and $900—that’s a broad spectrum, however, that provides options for a wide range of budgets. 

Pieces

A solid cookware set has an assortment of pots and pans to use in the kitchen. I looked at sets from four to 17 pieces that can be used for large dinners, daily meals, and on special occasions. 

What pieces does a cookware set need? 

According to Butler, the essential pieces needed for a cookware set include a frying pan, cast-iron skillet, non-stick pan, Dutch oven, and saucepan. This can vary based on the number of pieces in the set. Some even come with storage or bonuses like chef knives

What cookware set material should you buy? 

The material you choose depends on your priorities and budget. For example, if you prioritize dishes that are easy to clean and non-stick, then you’ll want to opt for stainless steel or copper. “Look for 18/10 or 304 stainless steel with a copper or aluminum core,” says Ziata. “Anodized cookware is wonderful, but is quite heavy and more expensive, too.”

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is the healthiest type of cookware to use? 

According to Ziata, cookware made from stainless steel, copper, anodized metal, and cast iron are the healthiest to use. More specifically, Butler says that stainless steel is the best choice since it does not react to ingredients that could damage the pan and emit harmful chemicals.

What is the most durable brand of cookware? 

There are numerous cookware brands, but the ones mentioned in this list such as Made In, Le Creuset, Our Place, and GreenPan are all great picks since they have options that are durable and easy to maintain.

What is the best material for everyday cookware? 

Everyday cookware should be functional and durable. “Stainless steel layered with an aluminum center is affordable and great for at-home use,” says Ziata. Ceramic is also a safe bet since it’s easy to clean and can withstand high temperatures.

When should I buy a cookware set versus buying individual pieces? 

This varies based on what you already have in your kitchen. “Buy individual pieces if you already have some solid cookware in your kitchen or if you are very specific about what you want,” says Ziata. “If you want to splurge on a ceramic coated cast iron pot for long braises, but are okay with a more run-of-the-mill gallon pot for cooking pasta, then individual pieces [are] more suitable.”

On the flipside, some people really want the aesthetic of matching cookware. “If having an eclectic assortment of pieces is not your thing, invest in a set for a cohesive look,” says Ziata. “If you do not like looking at your cookware, you will not enjoy cooking with it.”

How long does a cookware set last?

According to Butler, a cookware set can last anywhere between five to 10 years. “Ultimately the longevity of the set is determined by the user and how they maintain the pieces,” he adds. “It’s always a good rule of thumb to know how to maintain the pieces for long term use.”

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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