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The 12 Best Cookware Sets of 2024, Vetted for Every Type of Home Cook (Plus Shopping Tips from an Expert)

Face it: Your pots and pans have seen better days

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Whether you’re stocking your first kitchen or looking to upgrade your old pots and pans, a cookware set can be a major investment. With so many brands, from aesthetically-pleasing Our Place to iconic Le Creuset and a variety of materials (nonstick? ceramic? stainless steel?) out there, it can certainly be tough to choose. Luckily for you, I've handpicked the 12 best cookware sets below for every type of home cook, plus tapped a cookware expert for her shopping tips.

To choose the best cookware sets (TLDR: My top pick is the Caraway Cookware Set, $545, $395), I pooled editor recommendations, our food teams' industry knowledge and a cookware expert's advice to determine the essential brands and pieces to shop. I then tapped an expert and parsed through tons of customer reviews to narrow the list even further.

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


The 12 Best Cookware Sets of 2024 at a Glance

1

Best Cookware Set Overall

Caraway Cookware Set

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2

Expert Pick

All Clad D3 3-Ply Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set

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3

Best Large Cookware Set

Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set & Saute Pan

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4

Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Misen 5-Piece Stainless Cookware Set

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5

Expert Value Pick

Goldilocks Cookware Set

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Meet the Expert

Lisa McManus is the executive editor of ATK Reviews and has been at America's Test Kitchen for 17 years. She is the co-author of the new book, Kitchen Gear: The Ultimate Owner's Manual, written with her colleague and co-host of the YouTube series ATK Gear Heads, Hannah Crowley.

best cookware set: stainless steel pans and pots hanging on a rack
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What Are the Different Kinds of Cookware Set Materials?

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 sets you’ll find:

  • Cast iron is as durable as it gets. Despite its hefty weight, it'll last you literally forever if you take care of it properly. As enticing as nonstick may be to newbie cooks, McManus recommends cast iron. "I'd get one or two very good pieces of versatile, sturdy, durable cookware, like a 12-inch cast iron skillet and a 6- to 7-quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven, and start slow. Those pieces will help you as you learn and you literally cannot destroy them if you mess up."
  • Stainless steel cookware is made from a traditional, uncoated material that’s extremely durable, conducts heat evenly and can handle high-heat cooking. It’s also superior for browning and searing, making it a good choice for experienced home cooks and meat lovers. Since it lacks a coating, 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 cooking technique.
  • Nonstick cookware can be constructed out of a variety of metals (like aluminum or steel), but is finished in a coating that’s slick and 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 alternative 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. It’s a crowd-pleasing option because it’s beginner friendly and can come in a variety of colors. Like nonstick cookware, ceramic can scratch, but newer market options are designed with durability in mind.

How I Chose the Best Cookware Sets

My selection is based on a combination of testing, expert input and customer data. When vetting cookware sets, I kept in mind the attributes I look for in a high-quality product, like durability (can it take a beating?), longevity (will it hold up for years?), value (is it worth the money?) and design (is it user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing?). Considering a range of price points and materials in the process, my food team used our industry knowledge and editor recommendations to narrow down a list of popular brands (including All-Clad, Caraway and Le Creuset) to bring you the best cookware sets on the internet.

Best Cookware Set Overall

1. Caraway Cookware Set

What We Like

  • nontoxic ceramic finish free of PFTEs
  • oven-safe up to 550°F
  • stovetop agnostic
  • includes lids and storage

What We Don't Like

  • set doesn’t include a mini skillet
  • handles get hot

Caraway

PureWow’s Senior Food Editor Katherine Gillen gave this sleek Caraway cookware set 90 out of 100 points in her PureWow100 review for a few key reasons. It heats up evenly and requires less oil; it’s oven safe up to 550°F; it comes with modular storage and matching lids, and it’s super easy to clean. You also won't need to use the pans over high heat because of how well the ceramic retains heat. She also loves that the set includes a wide range of sizes. "I have used every piece since owning the set, and I particularly like the giant skillet for making pasta sauce, then dumping the cooked pasta directly in," she says. As a bonus, it’s available in a whopping 12 modern colorways, from perracotta to silt green to marigold. To clean the pieces, all you'll need to do is gently scrub them clean with soap and water. You can buy each piece individually, but the set will save you $100.

Fast Facts

  • What's Included: 10.5-inch fry pan, 3-quart saucepan, 4.5-quart sauté pan, a 6.5-quart Dutch oven, storage
  • Material: ceramic

Expert Pick

2. All Clad D3 3-Ply Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set

What We Like

  • extremely durable
  • professional-quality
  • construction
  • aluminum core with steel finish for even heating and retention
  • oven- and broiler-safe up to 600°F, stovetop agnostic

What We Don't Like

  • expensive

All-Clad

If you’re ready to make an investment, McManus recommends this 10-piece set from All-Clad. The three-ply pieces boast aluminum cores and stainless steel, meaning the cooking surfaces will be evenly heated and stay that way as you go—no hot spots here. A starburst finish will also help keep food from sticking, and the stainless steel handles are secured with stainless steel rivets for long-lasting durability. Most importantly, the stainless steel interior is non-reactive, so it won't give your meals a metallic taste. "It is the best set of pots I have ever used," writes one reviewer. "No hot spots, everything cooks perfectly and very easy to use. I have copper pots that cost a fortune and these All-Clad are just as good. I am thrilled that I bought them!" Hand wash each piece to ensure they last as long as possible.

Fast Facts

  • What's Included: 8-inch fry pan, 10-inch fry pan, 2-quart covered sauce pan, 3-quart covered sauce pan, 3-quart covered sauté pan, 8-quart covered stockpot
  • Material: stainless steel

Best Large Cookware Set

3. Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set & Saute Pan

What We Like

  • cold grip handles allow for easy handling of pots and pans while on stovetop
  • compatible with induction cooking top
  • oven safe up to 550°F

What We Don't Like

  • only the lids are dishwasher-safe
  • heavy

Cuisinart

This stainless steel Cuisinart set contains saucepans with lids, skillets, covered sauté pans, a stockpot and a steamer. The rims are tightly fitted to prevent any drips, sealing in the flavor of what you’re cooking. The polished surface prevents discoloration over time, and the triple-ply construction allows for better heat distribution. "We have a glass cooktop and these are great! They heat up fast and distribute the heat better than my oldies...They come clean pretty well, they don’t slide across my cooktop when I stir them and the handle does not get hot," writes one reviewer. Bonus? The pieces are dishwasher safe, compatible with induction stovetops and won't discolor over time or react with food.

Fast Facts

  • What's Included: 1.5-quart saucepan with cover, 3-quart saucepan with cover, 3.5-quart sauté pan with helper handle and cover, 8-quart stockpot with cover, 8-inch skillet, 10-inch skillet, 20-centimeter steamer insert with cover, 4-quart saucepan
  • Material: stainless steel

Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set

4. Misen 5-Piece Stainless Cookware Set

What We Like

  • heats quickly and evenly
  • professional-quality materials
  • set includes only versatile essentials

What We Don't Like

  • somewhat heavy

Misen

If you're new to the kitchen, a huge cookware set is overwhelming (and unnecessary). This five-piece Misen kit covers all the essentials but is far from basic. The pieces are constructed from five-ply steel, the handles stay cool as you cook and the cookware is compatible with all types of stoves. Director of Branded Content Cristina Polchinski says this set checks her boxes for looks, quality and versatility. "It's held up really well to my touch-and-go cooking. I bought it after having to throw away a large set of ceramic cookware that just didn't last, and it was the best kitchen swap I've ever made." The pieces are both oven and dishwasher safe, but they'll be a cinch to hand wash as well.

Fast Facts

  • What's Included: 10-inch skillet, 3-quart sauté pan, 3-quart saucier, two lids
  • Material: stainless steel

Expert Value Pick

5. Goldilocks Cookware Set

What We Like

  • heats quickly and evenly
  • professional-quality materials at a more modest price
  • oven safe up to 550°F
  • relatively affordable
  • induction stovetop compatible

What We Don't Like

  • nothing

Goldilocks

No matter what type of stovetop you have, this simple set from Goldilocks will be a match. Constructed of three-ply stainless steel on the base and sides and an aluminum core, heat will be distributed quickly and evenly, while the riveted steel handles will stay cool as you cook. We also love the rolled edges that make for mess-free pours, as well as the domed lids that drip condensation back into the pan, keeping your food juicy and moist. Because the pieces are free of nonstick coatings, you won't need to worry about replacing them in a few years either. "The set has exceeded our expectations. I had never cooked with stainless steel before, but everything I make seems to turn out better now. The weight and quality is similar to much more expensive options. The handles on the sides stay cool. I have not had any issues with food sticking," raves one reviewer.

Fast Facts

  • What's Included: 1.5-quart saucepan, 3-quart saucepan, 10-inch skillet, 8-quart stockpot, three lids
  • Material: stainless steel

Best Nonstick Cookware Set

6. OXO Good Grips Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set

What We Like

  • hard-anodized bodies and nonstick interiors are scratch-resistant and durable
  • thoughtful ergonomic design

What We Don't Like

  • oven-safe only up to 390°F

OXO

Some larger cookware sets can cost as much as a month of rent, but this 10-piece OXO set covers all your bases at a comparatively reasonable price. The pieces are designed with angled walls for quick evaporation of liquids and easy stirring, the handles are ergonomic and silicone-coated for easy grip and the scratch-resistant three-layer nonstick coating is PFOA-free. We also love that the glass lids allow you to take a peek at your food without letting all the steam out. "I started with the saucepan set several years ago and have been surprised how well they have held up. I'm now hooked on OXO pots and pans," asserts one reviewer.

Fast Facts

  • What's Included: 8-inch fry pan, 9.5-inch fry pan, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, 3-quart and 6-quart stock pots with lids
  • Material: PFOA-free nonstick

Most Splurge-Worthy Cookware Set

7. Le Creuset 10-Piece Cookware Set

What We Like

  • will last a lifetime with proper care
  • versatile pieces with excellent heat distribution and retention
  • oven safe and stovetop agnostic
  • pretty

What We Don't Like

  • expensive

Wait, your beloved Le Creuset is ceramic? Yep. While it’s often referred to as “enameled cast iron,” the coating is a type of porcelain, and porcelain is a ceramic material. While this Le Creuset set is an investment, the versatile pieces will last a lifetime with proper care—plus, they're decidedly iconic. "Beyond the colorful enamel being aesthetically pleasing, I was amazed at how evenly and consistently the pieces cooked, and how they could take the beating of being used all day, every day," says VP of editorial Candace Davison. This cookware offers superior heat distribution and retention thanks to a cast iron core, plus it works with any type of stovetop and is oven-safe up to 500°F. Choose from orange Flame, red Cerise, blue Marseille and white.

Fast Facts

  • What's Included: 4.5-quart round Dutch oven with lid, 1.75-quart saucepan with lid, 2.25-quart braiser with lid, 10.25-inch skillet, 10.25-inch square grill pan, 5.25-quart roaster, 10-inch diameter glass lid
  • Material: ceramic

Best Handles

8. Rachael Ray Cucina Nonstick Cookware Set

What We Like

  • aluminum body is durable
  • porcelain enamel exterior withstands high heat
  • nonstick coating for easy cooking and cleanup
  • rubberized handles ensure easy handling of hot pots, oven safe up to 400°F

What We Don't Like

  • not compatible with induction cooktops
  • not dishwasher safe

This 12-piece Rachael Ray set includes saucepans with lids, a stockpot with a lid and two skillets, in addition to a sauté pan, a slotted spatula and a cooking spoon. The lid handles are rubberized and stay cool while cooking. It’s also available in multiple colors to fit the aesthetic of modern kitchens. "I hated cooking because the pan would be too hot or food would stick and burn...These nonstick pans and smooth finish make cleaning a breeze and my meals have been on point. This set is sturdy, gorgeous and makes cooking and cleaning easy. Enjoy cooking every night again!" says one Amazon reviewer. Color options include Agave Blue, Cranberry Red, Lavender Purple, Lemongrass Green, Mushroom Brown, Pumpkin Orange and Sea Salt Gray. As far as cleaning goes, you'll need to hand-wash the pieces with a soft sponge, warm water and soap (a mix of water and lemon juice or vinegar will work on stubborn, stuck-on messes).

Fast Facts

  • What's Included: 1-quart and 3-quart saucepans with lids, 6-quart stockpot with lid, 8.5-inch and 10-inch frying pans, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, slotted turner, slotted spoon
  • Material: nonstick

Best Carbon Steel Cookware Set

9. Made In 3-Piece Carbon Fry Set

What We Like

  • thin, lightweight material heats up fast and is great for searing and sautéing
  • oven safe up to 1,200°F

What We Don't Like

  • requires regular seasoning for maintenance
  • does not include lids

Made In

A quick primer in case you’re unfamiliar with carbon steel: Like cast iron, it’s made from an alloy of carbon and iron, but since it contains less carbon, it behaves and feels different. It’s stronger and harder, so it can be manufactured thin and lightweight, and its smooth surface heats up in a flash. This Made In carbon steel set includes three different frying pans—one of them especially for grilling—and seasoning wax (you'll need to season it regularly to develop a patina...more on that here), so you can keep your cookware in working order. "This set is beautiful, resistant, efficient and everlasting. One of the reasons I bought it after having kept my eye on it for a long time is its ability to be used in the home, in the fire pit and on camping adventures. All things are cooked to perfection, keeping all favors and textures to make your mouth water," claims one reviewer.

Fast Facts

  • What's Included: 10-inch fry pan, 12-inch fry pan, 11-inch perforated grill pan, seasoning wax
  • Material: carbon steel

Most Durable Cookware Set

10. HexClad 13-Piece Hybrid Cookware Set with Lids

What We Like

  • dishwasher-safe, scratch-resistant, long-lasting
  • set includes a wide range of sizes and pieces
  • oven safe up to 500°F, chemical-free nonstick surface
  • tri-ply construction

What We Don't Like

  • expensive
  • only certain pieces are dishwasher safe

HexClad

Hexclad's claim to fame is the brand's patented laser-etched hexagon surface design, which provides all the durability of stainless steel and slip of nonstick. Senior Editor Rachel Bowie can't rave enough about this collection. "I actually thank HexClad aloud (even though they can't hear me) every time I use these pans because they're scratch-resistant, so my husband—who does most of the cooking in our house—doesn't scold me and I don't panic when I use a metal utensil in them." she says. They're also oven-safe up to 500°F, boast both stainless steel and nonstick surfaces and are dishwasher-safe (but "they scrub clean fairly easily if you're hand-washing, thanks to the laser-etched stainless steel design," adds Bowie).

Fast Facts

  • What's Included: 12-inch hybrid pan with lid, 10-inch hybrid pan with lid, 8-inch hybrid pan with lid, 12-inch hybrid wok, 2-quart hybrid pot with lid, 3-quart hybrid pot with lid, 8-quart hybrid pot with lid
  • Material: stainless steel, aluminum, ceramic

Best Cookware Set for Small Kitchens

11. GreenPan Levels Stackable Ceramic Nonstick Set

What We Like

  • the coating is strong enough to stack without scratching
  • saves storage space
  • nonstick coating is free from PFAS, PFOA, lead and cadmium
  • oven-safe up to 400°F

What We Don't Like

  • lid knobs get hot during cooking

Greenpan

Ceramic cookware isn’t 100 percent scratch-proof, so stacking and storing comes with its risks (unless you put a paper towel between each pan). But this GreenPan set features a multi-layer, diamond-infused ceramic coating that can hold up to stacking and still perform on the stove. Executive Editor Alexia Dellner warns that egg dishes tend to stick, but the pans still stack nicely and look sleek in her cupboards. Managing Editor of Branded Content Rachel Gulmi adds that they're a breeze to clean, and most messes can be wiped away with a paper towel. The included lids also double as strainers to replace your bulky colanders. The entire 11-piece set measures just 13.5 inches tall when stacked. "I bought these last year and they're worth every penny. Easy to store, nonstick and super easy to clean," adds a reviewer.

Fast Facts

  • What's Included: 1.6-quart saucepan with straining lid, 3.2-quart saucepan with straining lid, 6-quart stockpot with straining lid, 10-inch fry pan, 12.5-inch fry pan with lid, 11-inch round grill pan, stainless steel foldable flower steamer, three protective sheets for storage
  • Material: nonstick, aluminum

Most Insta-Worthy Cookware Set

12. Our Place Home Cook Duo

What We Like

  • the pan and pot replace 18 cookware pieces in your collection
  • nonstick surfaces
  • aesthetically pleasing colors and design
  • oven safe up to 450°F

What We Don't Like

  • not as durable as others on this list
  • can't be used on high heat
  • not dishwasher safe

Our Place

By now, not a single home cook hasn't seen these colorful multipurpose pieces on their Instagram or TikTok feed. The cast-aluminum, nonstick Always Pan gained a cult following first, since it was designed to replace an 18-piece cooking set and look good doing it. The Perfect Pot followed suit, standing in for your stockpot, sauce pot, Dutch oven, roasting rack, steamer, strainer, braiser and spoon rest. If you're a newbie with limited storage, these two pieces will help you get the job done without cluttering your cabinets. Of course, these Insta-worthy pieces are available in ten chic colors: Char, Steam, Blue Salt, Cielo, Tierra, Sage, Spice, Lavender, Azul and Rosa.

Fast Facts

  • What's Included: 10.5-inch pan with nestable steamer and lid, 5.5-quart pot and lid, two wooden spoons
  • Material: nonstick ceramic

Frequently Asked Questions

What to Consider When Shopping for Cookware Sets

Above all, McManus says we should buy cookware with quality in mind. "You don't want to have to keep replacing your cookware every few years," she says. "It's better to buy a few high quality, versatile pieces and build on that core over time than get a lot of cheap, poorly functioning, non-durable items that end up in the landfill and don't perform well anyway."

Note that quality isn't always about price, though. It's more about the construction of the pieces and the material they're made from. "For instance, an excellent 12-inch cast iron skillet can cost you just about $30, and it will last forever," she adds.

Next, you'll want to consider the sizes of the pans and pots. Most cookware sets are about offering the most pieces (including lids) for the lowest price, so some pans and pots tend to be on the small size. "A tiny, crowded skillet will steam rather than brown your food; food needs to spread out so steam can evaporate, and it'll be hard to get a spatula under the food," explains McManus.

What Pieces Should Be in a Cookware Set?

Full disclosure: McManus suggests buying individual pieces over cookware sets. Yet, she likes to see a 6- to 7-quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven, a 4-quart saucepan and 12-inch skillets ("You can make do with one cast iron or carbon steel skillet, but I love to have two from this list: cast iron, fully clad stainless steel, carbon steel and nonstick," she adds) in a set. "If you have the money, add a 6- to 12-quart stockpot, 2-quart saucepan, 10-inch skillet and then maybe an 8-inch skillet."

Here are her additional tips for shopping sets:

  • Size: "Look for saucepans of at least 2 or 3 quarts, skillets of 10 to 12 inches and a good sized stockpot, at least 5 quarts (6- to 8-quart size is even better). You can always make less food in a bigger pan, but the reverse isn't true."
  • Material: Stainless steel and carbon steel are arguably the best options, since they offer cast iron durability and heat retention without the extra weight. Some cooks adore nonstick, even though it's less durable. Regardless of the surface though, stainless steel is the best material for handles. "Steel transmits heat much more slowly than aluminum, so a steel handle will stay cool on the stovetop without requiring an oven mitt. And it will never wear out like a silicone handle."
  • Design: "Look for fully clad construction, where there are three or more layers of metal bonded together before the pan is made. This is a sturdy material that distributes heat well and is responsive to heat changes, meaning it gets hotter and cooler as you turn the heat up and down," explains McManus. Be sure that the entire pan is fully clad, not just the bottom. "You can see a seam all around the edge of the bottom...This style is cheaper to make and does not work well. Food scorches around the edges of the pan where the disk doesn't cover, and the disk tends to heat slowly first, then too fast." 
  • Your Stovetop: Basically any material is free game for gas and electric coil stovetops, but if you have an induction stovetop, you'll need to make sure the cookware is compatible before you buy. ("Grab a magnet, and if it doesn't stick to the cookware, it won't work on induction," says McManus.) If you have a glass-top electric stove, you'll want high quality, very flat cookware. "Some people find carbon steel skillets and many nonstick pans can warp and the bottom will lose contact with the glass top...Cast iron is great but beware of dropping or dragging it over the glass top, which can make it scratch or break. Lift and lower it gently!"

What Type of Cookware Do Professional Chefs Use?

Carbon steel and stainless steel tend to be the go-to materials for chefs, since they're durable, easy to clean and have great heat distribution and retention. The same can be said about cast iron, but carbon steel and stainless steel are much lighter and easy to maneuver in a busy kitchen.

Are Nonstick Cookware Sets Safe?

Nonstick coating makes cleaning and cooking a breeze, but it oftentimes used to contain PFOA, a chemical found in Teflon, which is used to produce nonstick cookware. Thankfully, Teflon has been PFOA-free since 2013, so today's nonstick cookware is usually considered safe as long as it's not exposed to temperatures past 500°F, says Healthline.

That being said, nonstick isn't the most durable. "Nonstick coating will not last more than a year or two, and then the set will be worn out," says McManus. (On this note, you'll also want to avoid silicone handles due to their limited durability and less-than-stellar cooling potential. "They get slippery if splattered with grease and limit the maximum temp you can use them in the oven," adds McManus.)


taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...

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