Whether you're a cooking enthusiast or a beginner in the kitchen, you'll need good quality and reliable cookware. This is to ensure that your time in the kitchen is well-spent and stress-free.
When it comes to the material and build quality of cookware, stainless steel is one of the most popular options.
This is because stainless steel is a tough and durable material that will last for years to come. It's also great for beginners and those who cook basic meals, as it's practical and easy to maintain.
Stainless steel cookware is also a better option than nonstick cookware, as those are usually less durable and harder to handle. This article will cover the pros and cons of stainless steel cookware, as well as all the different options available.
Pros and Cons of Stainless Steel Cookware
Is durable and long-lasting
Non-toxic option; chemicals and metal do not leach into your food
Ideal for sautéing, boiling, and baking
Heats up quickly and allows for evenly-cooked food
A versatile choice that is also oven-friendly
Easy to clean and normally dishwasher-safe
Has a sleek, professional look
Isn't non-stick, so it's not ideal for cooking sticky food
Can be unsafe for people who are sensitive to nickel
Can be difficult to clean
Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets
If you have decided to take the plunge into purchasing stainless steel cookware, you must make sure that the cookware set you pick is not only sturdy and durable, but also caters to your specific needs.
Here are some of the best stainless steel cookware sets available:
#1: Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware SetCheck Latest Price
The Cuisinart stainless steel cookware range is a classic option that is guaranteed to satisfy your cooking needs.
The best part is that you can select the number of pieces in the set you want to purchase: you can choose a 7, 10, 12 or 13-piece set.
This set comes with sleek and polished cookware that maintains its elegant look even after long periods of use. Each pot and pan has sturdy, cool-grip handles, which make every piece easy to use.
The stainless steel material is also oven safe up to 550F, making this set versatile.
Another great feature is that this set is dishwasher safe. This makes the cleaning up process easy and quick. Therefore this option is great for you if you are too busy to clean by hand and prefer dishwasher-safe cookware.
The set includes the typical pots and pans you need, as well as a skillet, saute pan, stockpot, and steamer insert.
Shiny, brushed surface
Oven safe up to 550F
Tight-fit and drip-free lids
Multiple choices for number of pieces
Tri-ply construction for even, rapid heating
#2: Calphalon Stainless Steel Cookware Set, "Classic" 10-Piece Cookware SetCheck Latest Price
Another great option is the Calphalon Classic Stainless Steel Cookware Set. This 10-piece set includes frying pans as well as saucepans, sauté pans, and a Dutch oven, all with lids. It's the complete fix for your essential cooking needs.
A unique feature of the pots in this set is that the spouts and lids come with built-in strainers. This makes it easy to strain your food after cooking without buying or using a separate colander.
This set is also extremely sturdy and durable. It has a tough aluminum base that is impact-bonded. This means that it heats up evenly, which helps you prepare perfectly cooked food!
The only downside to this cookware set is that it's not non-stick. In order to prevent food from sticking, you'll have to follow the directions that come with the set. Our findings showed that if you cook on medium heat, use a teaspoon or so of butter or oil, and don't cook meat from frozen, you'll be fine.
Stay-cool stainless steel handles
Oven-safe up to 450°F
Tempered glass lids
#3: All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware Set, Tri-Ply Stainless Steel, Professional Grade, 10-PieceCheck Latest Price
All-Clad Stainless Cookware is a reliable option. It includes all the essential cookware, including fry pans, saucepans, a stockpot, and sauté pans.
Each piece has a solid stainless steel body with a tri-ply construction. This makes it sturdy and allows for even heat distribution.
Each piece also comes with a sturdy stainless steel handle with a solid grip.
Another great feature is that it is safe to use in the oven.
Not to mention, All-Clad is a renowned, made-in-America brand, so you can't go wrong when it comes to quality and reputation.
However, one disadvantage of this set is that even though it is technically dishwasher safe, its aluminum body may corrode when exposed to chemicals in the dishwasher. We recommend hand-washing this cookware set.
Aluminium core and stainless steel combination for rapid, even heating
Oven/Broiler safe up to 600°F
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Made in the USA
Can be used on all cooktops, including induction
#4: Goodful Classic Stainless Steel Cookware Set, Dishwasher Safe, 12-PieceCheck Latest Price
The Goodful Stainless Steel cookware is a functional and economical option.
This 12-piece set is great for all your essential cooking needs. Each piece is dishwasher-safe and oven-friendly, so you can also use it for baking.
The stainless steel body is solid and heats up evenly so you can produce a perfectly cooked meal.
Another great aspect of this set is that the frying pan is non-stick. This allows you to easily fry eggs and other sticky foods without worrying about them sticking onto the pan surface.
In addition, the set comes with a steamer basket for steaming vegetables and other foods, as well as a stainless steel splatter screen to protect you (and your kitchen) from hot oil splashes.
The only con we could find with this cookware set is that the lids are not glass, so you'll have to lift them while cooking to check on your food.
Heats evenly thanks to the tri-ply, impact bonded bases
Comes with a nonstick pan
Measuring marks in the saucepans and stockpot
Oven-safe up to 350 degrees
Best Alternative and Indvidual Stainless Steel Cookware
In case you're not looking to purchase an entire new cookware set, you can still buy individual stainless steel cookware products!
#1: Misen Stainless Steel Frying Pan Set - 5 Ply Steel SkilletCheck Latest Price
The Misen Stainless Steel Frying Pan is available in many different sizes, including an 8, 10, and 12-inch option. It is also a versatile option and is great for searing and sautéing. The solid aluminum body makes it sturdy and durable, also allowing it to heat up evenly.
A unique aspect of the Misen pan is that it has a larger cooking surface compared to the average pan. This allows you to cook more food in one go. Additionally, as it's on the heavier side, you won't need to hold it steady while stirring food.
You can also rely on its stay-cool handle for a smooth cooking experience.
On the downside, stainless steel frying pans aren't great to cook sticky foods with, although this pan performs better compared to other stainless steel brands in terms of food release.
Another downside is that it does not come with a lid.
Perfect for all needs, including sautéing, searing, and more
Thick, five-ply steel and aluminum
19% larger cooking surface than other brands
Very fair price
Heats up quickly and evenly
#3: Goodful Classic Stainless Steel Cookware Set with Tri-Ply BaseCheck Latest Price
Opting for a stainless steel cookware set does not mean you have to compromise and forgo owning non-stick cookware! In fact, there are stainless steel cookware options that are also non-stick, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds!
The Goodful Classic Stainless steel cookware set is a great set to have in your kitchen. While 11 out of the 12 cookware pieces are stainless steel, it also comes with a non-stick frying pan.
Goodful recognizes how essential a non-stick pan is to complete your cooking experience. Without one, you would not be able to fry eggs and other breakfast foods like pancakes without using some kind of oil or butter.
Some other pros of this cookware set include that it is sturdy, dishwasher-safe, and user-friendly. This makes the entire cooking experience safe and simple.
However, a downside of this set is that the sides of the pots and pans can be difficult and time-consuming to clean.
Nonstick pan for cooking sticky foods
Includes stockpots and sauce pans
Oven-safe up to 350 degrees
#4: Viking Professional 5-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set, 10 PieceCheck Latest Price
When it comes to stainless steel cookware, the higher ply (thickness) its construction has, the better. Therefore, a 5-ply stainless steel cookware option is extremely sturdy and reliable.
The Viking Stainless steel Cookware is the sturdiest 5-ply option you can buy. This 10-piece set includes frying pans, sauté pans, and stock pans. All of them come with lids.
The 5-ply construction allows for great heat transfer, ensuring that your food cooks evenly. The 5-ply construction also makes it safe to use in the oven, broiler, and even on a grill!
The handles on each piece are ergonomically designed which means it is easy and safe to use.
Keep in mind that the cookware may lose its shine after some use, but this can be remedied with a product like Barkeeper's friend and a gentle scrubber.
If you're looking the best stainless steel cookware made in the USA, you can't do any better than this.
5-Ply construction for maximum durability and rapid heat transfer
Limited lifetime warranty
Manufactured in the USA
Ergonomic, stay-cool handles
Oven and broiler safe up to 600°F
Works on all cooktops, including induction
#5: Cuisinart 77-17N 17 Piece Chef's Classic Set, Stainless SteelCheck Latest Price
Cuisinart is renowned for its state-of-the-art kitchen cookware and appliances. It is a well-known innovator in the world of kitchen cookware. And like all of its other products, its line of stainless steel cookware does not disappoint!
This 17-piece stainless steel cookware set is great for both professional chefs and home cooks alike. It has a sleek and elegant finish. The aluminum bottom heats up quickly, and allows your food to cook through evenly.
It also has well-built handles which make it easy to use. Some other pros of this set are that it is dishwasher safe and oven-friendly up to 500 F. This is not just one of the best stainless steel options by Cuisinart, but also one of the best options overall.
#6: KitchenAid 3-Ply Base Brushed Stainless Steel Cookware Pots and Pans SetCheck Latest Price
This 3-ply stainless steel cookware set by KitchenAid is a sturdy and reliable option. It includes all the cookware basics such as a saucepan, stockpot, and frying pan. The set also comes with a straining lid and a non-stick grill pan. These last two additions set it apart from the average cookware set.
The cookware is triple-layered and the aluminum base is great at conducting heat evenly. The glass lids with the pots lock-in moisture and flavor so you can cook delicious food.
Another great thing is that each piece is easy to clean. This is a set that will last you for years to come!
Is stainless steel non-stick?
Well, the short answer to this is no! Stainless steel is normally uncoated and not ideal for cooking eggs and other foods that stick. However, there is a way around this. If you use butter and oil and heat it up to a medium temperature before you add your food, the stainless steel surface essentially becomes non-stick.
However, stainless steel definitely has some advantages over nonstick cookware such as it is more durable and can also withstand higher temperatures. So even though stainless steel might not be non-stick, it has a lot of advantages!
Stainless steel cookware is also easy to wash, but it's important that you clean it properly to maintain its shine and durability.
What to look for in stainless steel pans?
Once you have decided to purchase a stainless steel pan, you need to consider some other aspects to ensure you make the right choice.
One important aspect is the price. Stainless steel pans come in a range of different prices. You can get one for less than $100 and there are some that are way more expensive.
So, you need to consider what works for your budget and then look for a pan that fits within that budget and fulfills your needs. However, keep in mind that, as a general rule, a stainless steel pan that comes cheap is likely poor quality and you'll have to buy another one soon than you'd want.
Pay attention to the weight of the pan. While heavy stainless steel pans can be more durable, they are also harder to handle for new and inexperienced cooks. Consider your level of experience and how often you will be using the pan before making a purchase.
You should also opt for cookware options that have higher ply (cladding). The higher the ply of the cookware, the better it functions as a conductor of heat. This allows for even heating and better-cooked food.
What stainless steel is best for cookware?
When it comes to stainless steel, you can look at its grade to gauge its type.
Stainless steel that have a grade of 18/8 or 18/10 are usually the best option for cookware. These types of stainless steel have great chromium-to-nickel ratios, which makes them resistant to corrosion as well as super durable.
Now that you've read this guide, you have a solid grasp on the great stainless steel cookware options available on the market.
With so many choices, it may feel overwhelming to try and find the best option for you.
When it comes to stainless steel pots, pans, and even entire sets, you should consider aspects like weight, cladding, corrosion resistance, and price.
You will also have plenty of choices, but we recommend choosing a set from trusted and known brands like Cuisinart, Calphalon, KitchenAid, All-Clad, and more.
In case you don't want to purchase an entire set of cookware, you can even buy separate pots and pans. Stainless steel cookware will last you for years and take your cooking experience to the next level!
Talya, like all members of the HomeDesignX team, is enamored by all things related to cooking and eating. She’s written cookware articles for numerous publications before working with her lifelong friend Jessica to create their very own website on cookware.
She's currently writing a book on induction cooktops, and enjoys making clean, vegan meals for her family.