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Best Stainless Steel Cookware: The Ultimate Buying Guide 2022

Best Overall
Cuisinart 12-Peice Multi Clad
4.5/5
Best Luxury Set
All-Clad 401877R Stainless Steel 3-Ply
4.5/5
Best Budget Option
Cook N Home 12-Piece Stainless Steel
4/5

Are you looking for the best stainless steel cookware set for your kitchen? If so, look no further; we have the information you’re after.

Throughout the following sections, this comprehensive guide will cover the top stainless steel cookware sets available along with a detailed buying guide and some of the most frequently asked questions we get on the subject. You can also read more about the best pots and pans for electric stove and our guide for the best hard anodized cookware for convenience and to make an informed decision – so get yourself ready and let’s dive right in.

Our Top Stainless Steel Cookware Picks

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Top 10 Stainless Steel Cookware Sets

1. Cuisinart 12-Peice Multi Clad Cookware Set

With no toxic coating to flake off, this stainless steel cookware set is 100% dishwasher safe, and each item features a drip-free pouring rim making them just as practical as they are durable. Unlike some other cookware sets made out of lower-quality stainless steel, the outside layer of all pots and pans is made of 18/10 stainless steel, which is one of the highest-quality food-grade options around.

If you’re looking for the best mix of quality and affordability, this 12 piece set by Cuisinart will fit the bill perfectly. Made with triple ply construction and a pure aluminum conductivity core, this collection of stainless steel pots and pans exhibits unparalleled heat conductivity, distribution, and retention, and all are built to be oven safe at temperatures up to 550F.

With no toxic coating to flake off, this stainless steel cookware set is 100% dishwasher safe, and each item features a drip-free pouring rim making them just as practical as they are durable. Unlike some other cookware sets made out of lower-quality stainless steel, the outside layer of all pots and pans is made of 18/10 stainless steel, which is one of the highest-quality food-grade options around.

Lastly, each lid is designed to provide a snug fit, ensuring that food juices and nutrients stay locked in for favorable results.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1.5 and 3 quart sauce pans with lids
  • 8 inch and 10 inch open skillet
  • 3.5 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 1 steamer insert
  • 8 quart stock pot with lid
Pros
Cons

2. Calphalon Premier 11-Piece Cookware Set

Like most stainless steel cookware, all items are made using a three-layered, or plied, system that helps to add durability and even heat distribution throughout the entire pot or pan. However, stainless steel alone isn’t the best conductor, and each item in this cookware set comes fitted with an aluminum core, allowing it to better absorb and retain heat.

For value, construction quality, and overall performance, this 11 piece set from Calphalon comes in at a very close second place and is undoubtedly one of the best stainless steel cookware sets in its price range.

Like most stainless steel cookware, all items are made using a three-layered, or plied, system that helps to add durability and even heat distribution throughout the entire pot or pan. However, stainless steel alone isn’t the best conductor, and each item in this cookware set comes fitted with an aluminum core, allowing it to better absorb and retain heat.

Additionally, the two outer layers are metal-utensil friendly, and each piece of the cookware set is 100% dishwasher safe and backed by a lifetime warranty.

This cookware set is very versatile and can be used with gas, electric, induction, and even glass stovetops, and all pieces are oven safe at temperatures up to 450F.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1.5 and 2.5 quart saucepans with lids
  • 10 inch and 12 inch fry pans with a single lid
  • 3 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 8 quart stock pot with cover.
Pros
Cons

3. All-Clad 401877R Stainless Steel 3-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set

By adding an extra layer of conductive aluminum, All Clad has dramatically increased both conductivity and heat retention. Furthermore, these added layers result in one of the evenest distributions of heat one can hope for in a cookware set, ensuring no cold or hot spots arise during the cooking process.

For those who are more concerned with quality and functionality over price, this 10 piece brushed stainless steel cookware set is worthy of some serious consideration.

Along with fine attention to detail and made-in-USA quality, one feature that really sets this collection apart from the rest is its patented 3-ply construction that uses alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum.

By adding an extra layer of conductive aluminum, All Clad has dramatically increased both conductivity and heat retention. Furthermore, these added layers result in one of the evenest distributions of heat one can hope for in a cookware set, ensuring no cold or hot spots arise during the cooking process.

Lastly, these two extra layers greatly improve over durability, and each item in the set is both broiler and oven safe at temperatures up to 600F, which is noticeably higher than what the average stainless steel cookware set is capable of withstanding.

Besides durability and heat retention, these All Clad pots and pans are versatile and can be used on gas, electric, glass, and induction cooktops without issue. Moreover, all feature flared rims to ensure a mess-free pour every time.

To top it all off, each item in the set comes fitted with ergonomically designed cool grip handles and a brushed stainless exterior/interior, which some people strongly prefer over a polished finish.

Each Set Includes:

  • 8 and 10-inch fry pans
  • 2 quart sauce pan with lid
  • 3-quart casserole with lid
  • 3-quart saute pan with lid
  • 8-quart stockpot with lid
Pros

4. Cook N Home 12-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

One interesting feature worth noting is that almost all items come with tempered glass lids, all of which are fitted with small vent holes to allow steam to escape. While not everyone prefers glass lids, they have many advantages, the most important of which is the ability for users to visually inspect whatever they’re cooking without removing the lid and allowing heat to escape.

All the options we have looked at so far, especially the All Clad collection, have come with a much higher price than some people are willing to pay. If you fall into this group and you’re looking for a stainless steel cookware set that offers both quality and affordability, this 12 piece collection by Cook N Home is one of the better options around.

Made out of 18/10 stainless steel, this set of pots and pans is rated oven safe at temperatures up to 500F (although the lids are only safe up to 350F) and are fully dishwasher safe.

As is standard with tri ply cookware, each item in the collection features an aluminum core surrounded by two layers of stainless steel. However, the base of each item is extra thick to conduct and distribute heat evenly and is also designed to be perfectly flat for easy stacking.

One interesting feature worth noting is that almost all items come with tempered glass lids, all of which are fitted with small vent holes to allow steam to escape. While not everyone prefers glass lids, they have many advantages, the most important of which is the ability for users to visually inspect whatever they’re cooking without removing the lid and allowing heat to escape.

It is important to understand that, unlike the last three stainless steel cookware sets we looked at, this Cook N Home collection is no doubt a budget option and, as such, does have some flaws. To begin with, several user reports indicate that the bottom of the frying pan is prone to minor warping when used on high heat for long periods. Secondly, the stainless steel rivets are not as high-quality as some may like, and there are several reports of rivet heads popping off, although these reports are rare. Lastly, as we will see, some of the items, especially the sauce pan and stock pot, are a little undersized compared to what other stainless cookware sets offer.

These drawbacks aside, this offering by Cook N Home is no doubt one of the best stainless steel cookware sets in its price range, and for the money, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something of equal quality and functionality.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1 quart sauce pan with lid
  • 1.5 quart, 2 quart and 3 quart quart casserole pan with lid
  • 10″ frying pan with cover
  • 5 quart stockpot with lid.
Pros
Cons

5. Frigidaire 5 Piece Stainless Cookware Set

All three items are made out of two 430 stainless steel layers that sandwich a pure aluminum core designed to provide conductivity and even heating. Furthermore, two of the three items come with glass lids equipped with extra-large stainless handles.

Not everyone has sufficient kitchen space to justify purchasing a 12 or 14 piece stainless steel cookware set. If you find yourself in this camp, and want a highly-functional collection that is also space-conscious, this 5 piece set from Frigidaire is a great option.

All three items are made out of two 430 stainless steel layers that sandwich a pure aluminum core designed to provide conductivity and even heating. Furthermore, two of the three items come with glass lids equipped with extra-large stainless handles.

Like all cookware sets with glass lids, the items included have a different oven safe temperature limit depending upon whether or not they are placed in the oven with the lid or not. When placed in the oven without a lid, all three pans can withstand temperatures of up to 450F. This number drops by 50 degrees down to 400F when the glass lids are involved, which may be a minor drawback for some people.

That being said, at under $100, this small collection of stainless steel pans is very affordable and the overall construction quality is very good for the price. Additionally, each item is induction cooktop safe.

The major downside, of course, is the limited functionality of the three items. Although Frigidaire has done a good job at choosing three designs that cover a wide range of uses, basic items such as a sauce or fry pan are missing.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1.5 quart sauce pan with lid
  • 3 quart sauté pan
  • 5 quart stock pot with lid
Pros
Cons

6. Legend 5 Ply Copper Core 14 Piece Cookware Set

For those who don’t mind dishing out the extra money for a superior conductor, this 14 piece stainless steel cookware set by Legend is one of the better options on the market. Legend is a New York based company known for making high-quality stainless steel and cast iron cookware, a reputation they have certainly lived up to with this offering of 5 ply construction and professional-grade quality.

Many cooking enthusiasts strongly believe that copper has better heat transfer properties than aluminum, and as a result, have a preference for stainless steel cookware equipped with a copper inner core. That being said, copper is a much more expensive metal than aluminum, and anyone hoping to enjoy the superior conductivity of the reddish-brown metal will have to pay more to do so.

For those who don’t mind dishing out the extra money for a superior conductor, this 14 piece stainless steel cookware set by Legend is one of the better options on the market.

Legend is a New York based company known for making high-quality stainless steel and cast iron cookware, a reputation they have certainly lived up to with this offering of 5 ply construction and professional-grade quality.

However, the five ply construction used here is fairly unique, and instead of a single layer of copper sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel on either side, Legend has taken a different approach.

The first (inner) layer consists of 304 stainless steel for easy cleaning and high durability that gives way to the second layer of aluminum to help with even heating. The third layer is the pure copper core for superior conductivity, and the fourth layer is another installment of aluminum. The fifth and final layer is made out of 430 stainless steel, whose durability makes it useable on any type of cooktop.

What’s more, this collection of stainless steel cookware is as visually pleasing as it is durable, and as we can see from the photo, each item is fitted with a gold-colored set of handles.

In addition to all this, each item in the set comes with rivet attached handles and Legends’ well-known lifetime warranty. The only downside to this set of stainless steel cookware is the price, which will no doubt be too expensive for some people.

Still, given its 5 ply stainless steel construction, copper inner core, and lifetime warranty, this Legend collection is no doubt one of the best stainless steel cookware sets on the market.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1.4 quart and 2.3 quart sauce pan with lid
  • 3.5 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 3.4 quart casserole pan with lid
  • 8 inch, 10 inch, and 12 frying pans (only one lid)
  • 8 quart stockpot with lid.
Pros
Cons

7. Calphalon Signature Series

Speaking of durability, all items in this set (lids included) are oven safe up to 500F and are 100% dishwasher friendly for easy cleaning. Additionally, all pots and pans come with a cooking surface made out of robust 18/10 stainless steel, meaning not only is it highly corrosion-resistant, but it’s also metal utensil safe.

Next up, we have another quality cookware set from Calphalon – this one being a 10 piece, five layer collection with excellent heat distribution and tremendous durability.

Speaking of durability, all items in this set (lids included) are oven safe up to 500F and are 100% dishwasher friendly for easy cleaning. Additionally, all pots and pans come with a cooking surface made out of robust 18/10 stainless steel, meaning not only is it highly corrosion-resistant, but it’s also metal utensil safe.

For those who’re unaware, 18/10 stainless is a high-quality, food-grade type of stainless steel which, with its 10% nickel content, is significantly more rust-resistant and long-lasting than the cheaper, more common 430 stainless steel. For anyone wondering why this particular stainless steel cookware set has a higher than average price tag, it’s due in large part to its 18/10 construction.

Like all quality cookware, the Calphalon Signature Series comes with stainless steel handles fastened in place by rivets, a far superior method in terms of longevity to welding. Furthermore, the cookware collection is induction compatible and, in its price range, is no doubt one of the best stainless steel cookware sets available

Each Set Contains:

  • 2 quart and 3 quart sauce pans with lid
  • 3 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 8 inch and 10minch omelet pan
  • 8 quart stock pot with lid
Pros
Cons

8. All Clad D5 Stainless Steel Cookware Set

This particular set features two conductive layers of aluminum and three sturdy layers of 18/10 stainless steel, which, as we have already mentioned, is one of the highest-quality types of food grade stainless available. Sporting an aesthetically pleasing brushed cooking surface, excellent attention to detail, and a tastefully laser-etched All Clad logo on every handle, this collection of stainless steel pans and pots is truly is one of the better looking sets we have reviewed.

For over five decades, All Clad has been producing some of the finest collections of hand crafted cookware on the market, all of which are made in their Pennsylvania shop using their patented bonding process.

This particular set features two conductive layers of aluminum and three sturdy layers of 18/10 stainless steel, which, as we have already mentioned, is one of the highest-quality types of food grade stainless available.

Sporting an aesthetically pleasing brushed cooking surface, excellent attention to detail, and a tastefully laser-etched All Clad logo on every handle, this collection of stainless steel pans and pots is truly is one of the better looking sets we have reviewed.

Looks aside, each item is extremely durable and is both broiler and oven safe at temperatures up to 600F, which is significantly more than what most cookware sets can stand. On top of this, each item is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning and equipped with the classic All Clad flared rims for easy and spill-less pouring.

It’s also worth pointing out that each item in this stainless steel set is much more resistant to warping than many other stainless pots and pans on the market. As any cookware expert will agree, warping is one of the major drawbacks of stainless, an issue All Clad has done a good job at mitigating using high-quality stainless, a five ply construction, and their special bonding process.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1.5 quart and 3 quart sauce pans with lids
  • 3 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 8 inch and 10 inch frying pan
  • 5.5 quart Dutch over with lid
Pros
Cons

9. T-fal Copper Bottom Stainless Steel Cookware Set

One unique feature worth pointing out is the construction of the pots and pans in this set. While we have seen several examples of 5 layer cookware, T-fal has taken a very unique approach and incorporated both copper and aluminum into the design. The result is a highly conductive cookware set that not only retains heat very well, but because of the copper layer, is very quick to heat up.

Founded in 1956, T-fal (whose name is a portnamnue of the words Teflon and Aluminum) is a quality French manufacturer of cookware and small home appliances that still isn’t very well-known in the United States and North America.

That being said, don’t let T-fal’s lack of popularity fool you; the company makes some of the highest-value cookware sets one can buy, and there is perhaps no better example of this than their 13 piece Copper Bottom collection.

One unique feature worth pointing out is the construction of the pots and pans in this set. While we have seen several examples of 5 layer cookware, T-fal has taken a very unique approach and incorporated both copper and aluminum into the design. The result is a highly conductive cookware set that not only retains heat very well, but because of the copper layer, is very quick to heat up.

Along with the aluminum and copper layers, T-fal has outfitted all items in this set with high-quality, dishwasher safe, 18/10 stainless steel, which is impressive for its price point.

Lastly, the entire cookware set is oven safe at temperatures up to 500F when used without lids, which brings us to the one minor drawback to this set. While it is true glass lids are often preferable for stove top activities, they are not the best for oven use as they aren’t capable of withstanding high temperatures. This means that any stainless steel pan or pot from this set cannot be used at high temperatures with the lid on in the oven.

Still, for its price and the fact that it includes both copper and 18/10 stainless, this collection is undoubtedly one of the best stainless steel cookware options under $300.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1 quart, 2 quart, and 3 quart sauce pans with lids
  • 8 inch , 10 inch, and 12 inch fry pans (one lid)
  • 1 steamer insert
  • 5 quart Dutch oven
Pros
Cons

10. Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper Exterior Cookware

When we look at this particular 10 piece set and its hammered copper exterior, it’s not hard to see why this manufacturer has garnered such a reputation, and with its triple ply, 18/10 stainless construction, it’s as durable as it is attractive. The tight fitting lids are also made of 18/10 stainless steel and polished to an almost mirror finish. Moreover, the handles are attached with high-quality rivets, and each pot/pan comes with flared edges for a drip-less pour.

Founded by a father and son duo in Italy during the early 1900s, Lagostina is one of the oldest manufacturers of stainless steel cookware around, one that has gained a reputation for creating cookware that is both high-quality and visually appealing.

When we look at this particular 10 piece set and its hammered copper exterior, it’s not hard to see why this manufacturer has garnered such a reputation, and with its triple ply, 18/10 stainless construction, it’s as durable as it is attractive.

The tight fitting lids are also made of 18/10 stainless steel and polished to an almost mirror finish. Moreover, the handles are attached with high-quality rivets, and each pot/pan comes with flared edges for a drip-less pour.

Unfortunately, there are some crucial drawbacks to mention. Because of the hammered copper finish, all pots and pans included in this cookware set are not dishwasher safe. Furthermore, unlike stainless cookware, which is relatively low maintenance, anything with a copper exterior requires much more attention and care, which not everyone will enjoy.

Each Set Includes: 

  • 2 quart and 3 quart sauce pans with lid
  • 3 quarts sauté pan
  • 8 inch and 10 inch frying pans
  • 6 quart stock pot with lid
Pros
Cons

11. Cuisinart 17 Piece Chefs Classic Set

Featuring a mirrored stainless steel exterior, an aluminum conductivity core, and an induction compatible base, all included items live up to the high-level quality one can expect from Cuisinart.

With 17 total pieces, this stainless cookware collection from Cuisinart is one of the larger sets we have examined.

Featuring a mirrored stainless steel exterior, an aluminum conductivity core, and an induction compatible base, all included items live up to the high-level quality one can expect from Cuisinart.

In addition, each stainless steel pan comes with convenient and easy-to-read measurement markings and a metal utensil safe cooking surface. Lastly, all items in this stainless cookware collection are freezer friendly and oven safe at temperatures up to 500F.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1 quart, 2 quart, and 3 quart sauce pans with glass cover
  • 3.5 quart sauté pan with glass cover
  • 4 quart Dutch oven with glass lid
  • 8 inch, 10 inch, and 12 inch fry pan with glass cover
  • 8 quart stockpot with glass cover
  • 1 20cm steamer insert.
Pros
Cons

12. OXO Stainless Steel Cookware Nonstick Version

This 13 piece stainless cookware set by OXO, a New York based manufacturer of kitchenware, comes with rolled edges and angled sides for the perfect drip-free pour.

This 13 piece stainless cookware set by OXO, a New York based manufacturer of kitchenware, comes with rolled edges and angled sides for the perfect drip-free pour.

Similarly, all handles feature a highly ergonomic design that provides a sturdy grip perfect for transporting pans in and out of the oven.

However, while OXO has used the term ‘nonstick’ in the title, none of the items actually come with a nonstick coating as such a feature is almost non-existent when it comes to stainless steel cookware.

Each Set Includes:

  • 1.5 quart and 2.5 quart sauce pan with lid
  • 3 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 8 inch, 10 inch and 12 inch frying pan
  • 3 quart and 8 quart stockpot with lid
Pros
Cons

13. All Clad Tri-Ply Bonded Stainless Steel Set

Unlike the other two All Clad cookware sets we have looked at, this one is designed as a three layer system, something which may surprise some individuals given the price.

Here we have another cookware set by All Clad, which, as may be clear by now, is one of our favorite manufacturers of stainless cookware.

Unlike the other two All Clad cookware sets we have looked at, this one is designed as a three layer system, something which may surprise some individuals given the price. However, all items are broiler and oven safe up to 600F, and all come with the made-in-USA quality that All Clad has become known for over the last 50 years.

Each Set Includes:

  • 2 quart and 3 quart sauce pans with lid
  • 3 quart and 6 quart sauté pans with lid
  • 10 inch chefs pan
  • 10 inch and 12 inch fry pan
  • 8 quart stockpot with lid.
Pros
Cons

14. All Clad D3 10-Piece Cookware Set

Even with such a large price discrepancy, every item in this collection is still oven safe up to 600F and built with two 18/10 stainless steel layers surrounding a single conductive layer of aluminum. As we have covered several times, this tri-ply construction is created for heat transfer and cause the cooking surface to heat evenly.

Each All Clad stainless steel cookware set we have looked at has come with a price tag of well over $1,000. If you would like to enjoy the All Clad quality and lifetime warranty but at half the price, this 10 piece cookware set is a great option.

Even with such a large price discrepancy, every item in this collection is still oven safe up to 600F and built with two 18/10 stainless steel layers surrounding a single conductive layer of aluminum. As we have covered several times, this tri-ply construction is created for heat transfer and cause the cooking surface to heat evenly.

As with other All Clad stainless steel cookware, this set is fully dishwasher safe and uses rivets to hold the handles in place.

Each Set Includes:

  • 2 quart and 3 quart sauce pans with lids
  • 3 quart sauté pan with lid
  • 8 inch and 10 inch fry pans
  • 8 quart stockpot with li
Pros
Cons