The 20 Best Cookware Brands for Every Type of Cook and Kitchen

From stainless steel to ceramic.

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best cookware brands
Photographer, Basak Gurbuz Derman/Getty Images

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.

The Best Cookware Brands at a Glance


Millennial Approved


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Best for First Kitchens


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Best Carbon Steel

Made In

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Best Nontoxic


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Best Stainless Steel


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Meet the Expert

Katherine Gillen is a recipe developer and food writer with a Culinary Arts degree from the Institute of Culinary Education, as well as professional experience cooking in New York City restaurants. She’s spent countless hours in her home kitchen not only making dinner, but trying out new cookware brands to find which ones are actually worth the money.

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. (PFOA in particular is classified as a possible carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and 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.

What Are the Best Cookware Brands?

In our experience, the absolute best cookware brands are those that are durable and versatile for a wide range of home cooks, from novice to expert. That includes legacy brands like All-Clad, Lodge, Staub and Mauviel, which prioritize quality materials and construction, as well as newcomers like Made In and Caraway, which prioritize new materials and modern aesthetics.

How We Chose the Best Cookware Brands

We researched myriad brands and selected what we deemed the best based on a few factors: quality, price, durability, versatility, customer reviews and, when applicable, our own experience with the brand. Here are just a few of the things we looked for:

  • Stovetop compatibility
  • Variety of cookware shapes and sizes
  • Oven safe
  • Aesthetic
  • Value for the price

The 15 Best Cookware Sets for Every Type of Home Cook, from Newbies to Seasoned Pros

best cookware brands: caraway cookware set

Millennial Approved

1. Caraway


  • Pros: ceramic surface is very nonstick, thoughtful design elements and modern aesthetic
  • Cons: fewer product options, stainless steel handles get hot
  • Material: ceramic nonstick

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.

best cookware brands: oxo cookware set

Best for First Kitchens

2. OXO


  • Pros: choice of four styles (Nonstick Pro, Stainless Steel Mira, carbon steel and ceramic), affordable but high quality
  • Cons: collection is mostly basics
  • Material: nonstick

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.

best cookware brands: made in carbon steel frying pan
Made In

Best Carbon Steel

3. Made In

Made In

  • Pros: professional quality at an affordable price, offers carbon steel pans
  • Cons: carbon steel requires regular seasoning
  • Material: carbon steel

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.

best cookware brands: greenpan cookware set

Best Nontoxic

4. GreenPan


  • 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
  • Material: nonstick

GreenPan is basically the OG “nontoxic” nonstick cookware brand. Quick refresh: Teflon was the gold standard for nonstick cookware, until studies found that certain chemicals used in its manufacturing process are potentially 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.

best cookware brands: all-clad cookware set

Best Stainless Steel

5. All-Clad


  • 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
  • Material: stainless steel and nonstick

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 steel 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.

best cookware brands: lodge cast iron skillet

Best Cast Iron

6. Lodge


  • Pros: inexpensive, durable, versatile
  • Cons: heavy, heats up slowly
  • Material: cast iron

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).

best cookware brands: green le creuset dutch oven
Le Creuset

The Instant Heirloom

7. Le Creuset

Le Creuset

  • Pros: beautiful, durable design, many options for color and size, great for braising and searing
  • Cons: expensive, heavy
  • Material: enameled cast iron

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.

best cookware brands: red staub dutch oven
Sur la Table

Best Dutch Ovens

8. Staub


  • Pros: unique lid design is ideal for slow-cooking and braising, enameled cast iron retains heat
  • Cons: expensive, heavy
  • Material: enameled cast iron

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.

best cookware brands: moss dansk kobenstyle pot

Best Design Aesthetic

9. Dansk


  • Pros: mid-century modern aesthetic, enameled carbon steel is pretty and functional
  • Cons: moderately expensive, lineup isn’t as expansive as other brands
  • Material: enamelware

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.

best cookware brands: scanpan cookware set
Sur la Table

Loved by the Pros

10. Scanpan

  • Pros: beloved by professionals; lightweight, oven-safe and heats evenly; combines nonstick abilities with stainless appearance
  • Cons: can be expensive
  • Material: nonstick

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.

best cookware brands: cookware set

Best Nonstick

11. Calphalon


  • Pros: hard-anodized aluminum is nonstick but durable
  • Cons: heavier and more expensive than other nonstick brands
  • Material: nonstick

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.

best cookware brands: cuisinart stainless steel cookware set

Best for Everyday

12. Cuisinart


  • Pros: extensive range of products, relatively affordable
  • Cons: choices can be overwhelming
  • Material: stainless steel and nonstick

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).

best cookware brands: mauviel copper cookware set
Williams Sonoma

For a Splurge

13. Mauviel


  • Pros: copper cookware is heat conductive and temperature sensitive, aesthetically pleasing design
  • Cons: cost prohibitive
  • Material: copper-coated steel

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.

best cookware brands: t-fal cookware set

Best on a Budget

14. T-Fal


  • Pros: affordable, nonstick
  • Cons: less durable than other nonstick options
  • Material: nonstick

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.

best cookware brands material

Best Low Maintenance Copper

15. Material


  • Pros: heats up quickly and evenly
  • Cons: smaller selection than other brands
  • Material: copper core, aluminum and stainless steel outer

Copper cookware is notoriously expensive, but Material harnesses its properties while ensuring its pans remain affordable. The copper core cookware heats quickly and evenly on all types of stoves, but it’s much less fussy than traditional copper pots and pans. (Read: It won’t warp or scorch and it’s easy to clean.) The stainless steel outer looks professional in any kitchen, and there’s a nonstick pan if that’s your preference. The only drawback is that you’re limited to a sauté pan, sauce pot and nonstick skillet.

best cookware brands hexclad

Most Innovative Material

16. HexClad


  • Pros: good heat conduction and retention, durable, metal utensil safe
  • Cons: expensive
  • Material: hybrid stainless steel–nonstick

If you’ve ever been caught red-handed scraping at a non-stick pan with a metal spatula (yikes!), HexClad has your name all over it. The commercial-grade cookware is etched with a hexagonal pattern that is not only nonstick but scratch-resistant and metal-utensil safe. (During a demo in the PureWow office, a HexClad rep actually took an electric hand mixer and put it on high, grinding it into the pan. No marks, swear!) The line earns bonus points for being dishwasher safe and stovetop agnostic, but it is on the expensive side.

best cookware brands anolon

Best Variety

17. Anolon


  • Pros: large selection of cookware, nonstick is nontoxic
  • Cons: options can be overwhelming
  • Material: nonstick, hard-anodized aluminum, stainless steel

Anolon was the first cookware brand to combine a nonstick surface with hard-anodized aluminum, creating cookware that’s as durable as it is slick. The sheer number of options the brand offers can be overwhelming, but the brand has a handy buying guide to help narrow down your choice. The cookware should stand up to daily use, but rest assured your purchase comes with a lifetime warranty.

best cookware brands: farberware

Most Trusted Brand

18. Farberware


  • Pros: affordable, wide selection, trusted brand
  • Cons: poor heat retention
  • Material: aluminum, stainless steel, ceramic

Unlike the myriad direct-to-consumer cookware brands you see on Instagram, Farberware has been around for more than 120 years (which means you can trust it). The brand has a huge variety to choose from, including nonstick on aluminum, hard-anodized aluminum, stainless steel and ceramic nonstick. It’s also well priced—you can get a full 15-piece set for just $150. Some reviewers note that certain pieces have poor heat retention, so getting a good sear can be tricky. (Also, be aware that the pots and pans with plastic handles can only withstand temperatures up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.)

best cookware brands rachael ray

Best for a Starter Kitchen

19. Rachael Ray

Rachael Ray

  • Pros: affordable, colorful, wide variety
  • Cons: not as durable as other brands
  • Material: hard-anodized aluminum, stainless steel, nonstick

Celebrity association aside, Rachael Ray cookware offers a unique combination of affordability, quality and style, making it ideal for a cook who’s just beginning to outfit their kitchen. (For example, a set might include a few lidded saucepans, a stockpot and skillets of various sizes.) We’d go for the hard-anodized aluminum over other finishes, since some reviewers complain that enamel pieces don’t hold up well over time.

best cookware brands smithey
Smithey Ironworks

Most Stylish Cast Iron

20. Smithey Ironware

Smithey Ironworks

  • Pros: extremely durable, retains heat
  • Cons: expensive, heavy
  • Material: cast iron, carbon steel

Cast iron and carbon steel lovers will fall hard for Smithey’s selection of skillets, Dutch ovens and griddles, all of which are made to last a lifetime and look like vintage heirlooms. The pieces retain heat like a dream, and although they’re constructed of cast iron, the interior surfaces are smoother than other brands. When properly seasoned and cared for, they’re very slick. The only downside? They’re not cheap.


Senior Food Editor

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...

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