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The 14 Best Cookware Brands for Every Type of Cook and Kitchen

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From cast iron to stainless steel to nonstick, the options for cookware are practically endless. But a skillet is just a skillet—or is it? To narrow down your selection, we’ve parsed through the market to find the best cookware brands available, from the most aesthetically pleasing to the workhorses you’ll use for every recipe.

What are the different kinds of cookware?

The exact cookware you choose will depend on a few things: your budget, your cooking style and your aesthetic preferences. That said, here are a few types of cookware you’ll find:

  • Stainless steel cookware is uncoated, extremely durable, conducts heat evenly and can handle high-heat cooking. Since it lacks a coating, it’s superior for browning and searing, and it’s also great for anyone who is tough on their pots and pans. That said, it’s not as beginner friendly, because foods will stick without the right technique.
  • Nonstick cookware can be constructed out of a variety of metals (like aluminum or steel) but is finished in a coating that releases food with very little cooking oil or technical skill. That makes it ideal for beginners, less frequent cooks or anyone who loves eggs. The downsides? Nonstick surfaces are susceptible to scratches, so they require specific care, and the cookware is usually less durable overall.
  • Ceramic cookware is a newer nonstick option that’s ideal for anyone concerned about PFOA or PFTE, two health- and environment-hazardous chemicals that used to be found in some nonstick coatings. (The FDA has required such materials to be phased out.) It’s beginner friendly, but like nonstick cookware, ceramic can scratch—newer market options are designed with durability in mind.
  • Cast iron cookware is heavy, extremely durable and excellent at retaining heat, so it’s good for searing, frying and other heat-intensive cooking methods. It requires regular seasoning (aka oiling and heating to create a nonstick surface) and isn’t easy to maneuver, but it will last a lifetime if cared for properly.
  • Carbon steel is an extremely hard, lightweight material that conducts heat quickly and has few hot spots. It can be used similarly to cast iron but is better for sautéing because it’s easier to physically handle.

The 14 Best Cookware Brands at a Glance:

Scroll down for in-depth breakdowns of each pick.

  1. Millennial Approved: Caraway
  2. Best for First Kitchens: OXO
  3. Best Carbon Steel: Made In
  4. Best Nontoxic: GreenPan
  5. Best Stainless Steel: All-Clad
  6. Best Cast Iron: Lodge
  7. The Instant Heirloom: Le Creuset
  8. Best Dutch Ovens: Staub
  9. Best Design Aesthetic: Dansk
  10. Loved by the Pros: Scanpan
  11. Best Nonstick: Calphalon
  12. Best for Everyday: Cuisinart
  13. For a Splurge: Mauviel
  14. Best on a Budget: T-Fal

The 10 Best Cookware Sets for Every Type of Home Cook, from Newbies to Seasoned Pros


best cookware brands caraway
Caraway

Millennial Approved

1. Caraway

Caraway

Caraway launched into the cookware space in 2019 as a “healthier” nonstick option that marries form and function. With bright color options and smart design elements, it’s already become a millennial (and Instagram) favorite. In our own tests, we were impressed by the slick ceramic nonstick surface, the oven-friendly design, the lack of hotspots and the included modular storage solutions. But because it’s a newer, direct-to-consumer brand, you won’t find as many product options here. The cookware line includes essentials only: a 10.5-inch fry pan, 3-quart sauce pan, 4.5-quart sauté pan and 6.5-quart Dutch oven.

Pros

  • Ceramic surface is very nonstick
  • Thoughtful design elements and modern aesthetic

Cons

  • Fewer product options
  • Stainless steel handles get hot
best cookware brands oxo
OXO

Best for First Kitchens

2. OXO

OXO

You might know OXO more for its kitchen gadgets than its cookware, but the brand applies the same considerate design to its pots and pans that it does to its corn peelers and iconic POP containers. All of OXO’s cookware has a similar aesthetic, but you have a few options to choose from: carbon steel, ceramic coated, Non-Stick Pro and Stainless Steel Mira, which features nonstick skillets. The cookware is accessibly priced, too, so it’s a great option for beginner cooks or someone outfitting their first kitchen. However, seasoned pros might feel limited by the somewhat small lineup—it’s mostly skillets unless you buy a whole set.

Pros

  • Choice of four styles: Nonstick Pro, Stainless Steel Mira, carbon steel and ceramic
  • Affordable but high quality

Cons

  • Collection is mostly basics
best cookware brands made in
Made In

Best Carbon Steel

3. Made In

Made In

Never heard of carbon steel? No worries: Like cast iron, it’s made from an alloy of iron and carbon, but contains slightly less carbon content, making it thin, smooth and lightweight. When seasoned properly, it can be as slippery as a nonstick pan, and it heats up lightning fast for searing and sautéing. Made In’s carbon steel line is versatile and affordable (but performs just as well as a higher priced, “premium” brand). The brand also offers stainless steel and nonstick pans, all in a variety of useful shapes and sizes.

Pros

  • Professional quality at an affordable price
  • Offers carbon steel pans

Cons

  • Carbon steel requires regular seasoning
best cookware brands greenpan
GreenPan

Best Nontoxic

4. GreenPan

GreenPan

GreenPan is basically the OG “nontoxic” nonstick cookware brand. Quick refresh: Teflon was the gold standard for nonstick cookware, until the FDA found that certain chemicals used in its manufacturing process are toxic to our health and the environment over time. GreenPan’s nonstick surface is made from silicon-based Thermalon, which is scratch resistant and can withstand temperatures up to 850°F. There are plenty of open-stock styles to choose—from skillets to stockpots, quick-heating to ultra-durable—or you can opt for a full set. Prices range from $150 to $720 for multi-piece collections.

Pros

  • Wide range of collections for diverse cooking needs
  • Nonstick surface is nontoxic and scratch resistant

Cons

  • Some styles are quite expensive
  • Nonstick is the only surface option
best cookware brands all clad
All-Clad

Best Stainless Steel

5. All-Clad

All-Clad

Upgrading your old cookware? Building a registry? Getting serious about searing? There’s All-Clad for that. While the 50-year-old company offers ceramic, nonstick and hard anodized cookware, it’s the stainless steel collection that keeps us coming back. It’s made from two layers of stainless bonded with aluminum for conductivity, durability and overall performance. The brand offers everything from tea kettles to massive 12-quart stockpots, and while it’s not the cheapest option on the market, consider it a lifetime investment.

Pros

  • Stainless steel is durable, heat conductive and great for browning
  • Classic design with plenty of styles to choose from

Cons

  • On the expensive side
  • Slightly heavy
best cookware brands lodge
Lodge

Best Cast Iron

6. Lodge

Lodge

Everyone should have at least one cast iron skillet in their cookware collection, and Lodge is a no-brainer choice. It’s extremely affordable, available in a myriad of sizes and styles, and will last forever with proper seasoning and care. (FYI, the new models come pre-seasoned). Cast iron is ideal for getting a gorgeously brown, crusty sear on proteins, and it does double-duty for baking projects (hello, skillet cookie). However, it’s very heavy and takes a long time to heat up, so it’s not great for every task (like sautéing).

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Durable
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Heats up slowly
best cookware brands le creuset
Le Creuset

The Instant Heirloom

7. Le Creuset

Le Creuset

The glossy enamel! The jewel-like colors! The French je ne sais quoi! What we’re trying to say is, Le Creuset (founded in 1925) is a staple among cookware brands. It’s not all talk though—the pieces are as high-performing as they are good looking, and if you’re willing to spend a little (OK, a lot) cash, the investment will serve you well for years to come. There are size and shape options in addition to color, and the enameled cast iron is great for searing and braising. But keep in mind that these pieces are capital-H heavy.

Pros

  • Beautiful, durable design
  • Many options for color and size
  • Great for braising and searing

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy
best cookware brands staub
Sur la Table

Best Dutch Ovens

8. Staub

Staub

TBH, whether you prefer Staub or Le Creuset is a personal preference—they’re both top performers. But we think Staub (also a French heirloom brand) has a slight edge for certain uses, thanks to the innovative design tweaks in its French ovens. The lid has a patterned, textured surface that continually returns moisture to the pot, ensuring that braised, slow-cooked dishes are moist and tender. Plus, the enameled cast iron retains and distributes heat evenly, and the interior is slightly textured for superior browning. It’s not available in quite as many colors, though, and is heavy and expensive like Le Creuset.

Pros

  • Unique lid design is ideal for slow-cooking and braising
  • Enameled cast iron retains heat

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy
best cookware brands dansk 1
Dansk

Best Design Aesthetic

9. Dansk

Dansk

If you’re a sucker for retro design and Scandinavian style, Dansk is all but sure to win you over. The 1950s brand is known for its Kobenstyle casserole with a stout shape and lid that doubles as a trivet. The construction is enameled carbon steel, so it heats up quickly and evenly and is available in a rainbow of colors. Once a vintage find, it’s now easy to scoop up since being acquired by Food52.

Pros

  • Mid-century aesthetic
  • Enameled carbon steel is pretty and functional

Cons

  • Moderately expensive
  • Lineup isn’t as expansive as other brands
best cookware brands scanpan
Sur la Table

Loved by the Pros

10. Scanpan

Many professional chefs will scoff at the mention of nonstick anything, but Scanpan is the rare exception. “I love and use Scanpan all the time,” the Institute of Culinary Education’s lead chef, Barbara Rich, tells us. That’s because the Danish cookware heats evenly, is relatively lightweight and is oven-safe up to 500°F. While the brand offers plenty of styles, we like that the CTX line combines the look of stainless steel with a food-safe ceramic interior for a slick surface that’s also nontoxic. You can also pick and choose pans as you please if you don’t want to commit to a whole set, but the cookware can get costly depending on the line you choose.

Pros

  • Beloved by professionals
  • Lightweight, oven-safe and heats evenly
  • Combines nonstick abilities with stainless appearance

Cons

  • Can be expensive
best cookware brands calphalon
Calphalon

Best Nonstick

11. Calphalon

Calphalon

Real talk: Many nonstick cookware brands aren’t all that durable. But Calphalon’s signature style, hard-anodized aluminum, is designed with durability in mind. It has a nonstick surface for easy cooking and cleanup, but the try-ply construction ensures it will hold up to regular use. The only downside to this is that the pieces are heavier and more expensive than other nonstick brands.

Pros

  • Hard-anodized aluminum is nonstick but durable

Cons

  • Heavier and more expensive than other nonstick brands
best cookware brands cuisinart
Cuisinart

Best for Everyday

12. Cuisinart

Cuisinart

Founded as a home appliance brand in 1971, Cuisinart made its name on the food processor. But its cookware line is just as useful for everyday kitchen tasks. With an extensive range of saucepans, skillets, stock pots and other essentials (all in a variety of finishes, all at reasonable prices), it strikes the ideal balance between high quality and useability (read: it’s not so expensive that you’ll only use it on special occasions).

Pros

  • Extensive range of products
  • Relatively affordable

Cons

  • Choices can be overwhelming
best cookware brands mauviel
Williams Sonoma

For a Splurge

13. Mauviel

Mauviel

If money is truly no object and you can’t resist shiny new (kitchen) toys, behold Mauviel’s copper cookware. The French brand, hailing from Normandy and founded in 1830, is known for its premium products and eye-catching copper-coated steel offerings. But it’s not just for looks: The copper encourages heat conductivity and control while cooking. But this also means it’s extraordinarily expensive—it’s not a must-have, but a worthwhile luxury if you’re looking to treat yourself.

Pros

  • Copper cookware is heat conductive and temperature sensitive
  • Aesthetically pleasing design

Cons

  • Cost prohibitive
best cookware brands t fal
Amazon

Best on a Budget

14. T-Fal

T-Fal

Fun fact: T-FAL was the first cookware company to introduce Teflon nonstick to home cooks (T-FAL is a portmanteau for Teflon and aluminum). It’s still known for being an accessible, budget friendly option, making it ideal for new cooks. (Don’t worry: The nonstick coating is safe as long as it’s not heated beyond 500°F.) While it’s a smart choice for budding chefs or outfitting an apartment kitchen, we’ve found that the pieces aren’t as durable as other brands.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Nonstick

Cons

  • Less durable than other nonstick options

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Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City restaurants. She used to sling sugary desserts in a pastry kitchen, but now she’s an avid home cook and fanatic baker.