Convincing yourself to buy new pots and pans can be difficult. But it’s easier to make the investment when you can find a good cookware set that meets your needs.
There’s a lot to take into consideration before buying new cookware. If you’re tired of replacing your pots and pans every couple of years, then maybe you should buy stainless steel or cast iron cookware. If you don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen, then you might not need anything more than a cheap non-stick set.
Thankfully, we’ve done some of the work for you. We’ve taken the time to consider different needs, different cooking styles, and different budgets. Here’s our top picks.
AmazonBasics 8 Piece Non-Stick Set ($28)
If you’re just looking for some affordable pots and pans that will do their job, then you should consider the AmazonBasics non-stick set. It’s packed with two saucepans, a pot, and two frying pans (three of the “pieces” in this set are glass lids). That’s more than enough cookware for most meals, especially if you don’t spend a lot of your time cooking.
Of course, there are some downsides to these cheap Teflon pots and pans. For one, they can’t handle the power of your dishwasher. They’re also a bit thin, so they won’t distribute heat as evenly as a set of thicker cookware. Oh, and if the Teflon coating starts to flake off, then it can end up in your food. That’s a shame, because there’s no long term data on the effects of Teflon injestion and people try to avoid it in light of that. But if you take good care of your pots and pans, then the Teflon coating should be fine.
Cuisinart 11 Piece Stainless Set ($117)
Stainless steel cookware is great to work with, and it can last forever if you treat it right. This 11 piece Cuisinart stainless set is an affordable, heavy-duty cookware set that can bring you into the world of stainless steel. It comes with two skillets, two saucepans, a saute, a stock pot, and a steamer-insert (four of the “pieces” in this set are lids).
This is a cookware set for people that spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Heavy stainless steel pots and pans are great at distributing heat, they’re dishwasher safe, and you can even use them in the oven. And you don’t have to worry about them discoloring or contaminating your food, because they don’t have a non-stick coating.
T-Fal 14 Piece Ceramic Set ($71)
A lot of people swear by ceramic cookware, and for good reason. It’s affordable, dishwasher safe, and relatively durable. A high quality ceramic cookware set should last you for years, even if you use it everyday. Not to mention, ceramic coatings are non-stick, so you can cut some of the butter or oil that you use to cook your meals.
If you’re interested in buying a ceramic cookware set, then you should take a look at the T-Fal Ceramic Set. It comes with two saucepans, a large pot, a saute, two frying pans, and four plastic utensils (four of the “pieces” in this set are lids). That’s more than enough cookware to service your busy kitchen.
T-Fal Hard Anodized 17 Piece Set ($155)
Hard anodized pots and pans are the modern incarnation of non-stick cookware. They’re not too expensive, they’re easy to clean, and they reduce the need for a lot of butter and oil. But hard anodized cookware is much more durable than ceramic or Teflon cookware, and it can distribute heat better than stainless cookware. This cookware is great for somebody that can’t give up on non-stick, but wants the durability of stainless steel.
T-Fal’s hard anodized set is a relative bargain, and it comes with three frying pans, a griddle, two saucepans, one saute, a dutch oven, a steamer, and a small pan for eggs (six of the “pieces” in this set are lids). If you’re the kind of person that always tries to use a pan before it’s properly pre-heated, then you might find these T-Fal pans especially exciting. The small red icons at the center of each hard anodized T-Fal pan glow when the pan is preheated. This can save you from a lot of cleaning, and it can make your food taste a whole lot better.
Before buying hard anodized cookware, you should know that it’s made from a processed form of aluminum. Aluminum, which is toxic, isn’t an ideal material for any kind of cooking. But the hard anodization process creates an oxide layer around the aluminum, which acts like an enamel and prevents aluminum from ever touching your food. It’s comforting to know that NASA uses this hard anodization process to keep aluminum satellites from falling apart, so it should be good enough for your saucepans.
AmazonBasics 5 Piece Cast Iron Set ($43)
You’ve probably heard a lot about cast iron, but there’s a good chance that you’ve never had the chance to use it. Cast iron is a versatile, durable cooking material that can work on the stove or in the oven. And if cast iron is properly seasoned, then it can work like non-stick, which is fantastic. Yes, cast iron cookware is pretty heavy and a little difficult to maintain, but it can make a great addition to any kitchen.
If you’re interested in cast iron but you don’t know where to start, then you should take a look at the AmazonBasics cast iron set. This set comes with a griddle, two skillets, and a dutch oven (one of the “pieces” in this set is a lid). This may seem like a bare-bones set, but a few frying pans is really all you need, and they can outlive you if you take good care of them.