The 12 Best Cookware Sets for Every Type of Home Cook, from Newbies to Seasoned Pros
Whether you’re stocking your first apartment kitchen or just looking to upgrade your old pots and pans, a cookware set can be a major investment—not to mention an overwhelming thing to pick out. With so many options on the market, we handpicked the best cookware sets for every type of home cook.
What are the different kinds of cookware sets?
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:
- 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 serious home cooks. 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 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. (The FDA has since required such materials to be phased out.) It’s a crowd-pleasing option because it’s beginner friendly and usually available in a variety of colors. Like nonstick cookware, ceramic can scratch, but newer market options are designed with durability in mind.
How we chose each set:
Our selection is based on a combination of testing, expert input and customer data. When vetting cookware sets, we kept in mind the attributes we 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?).
Best Cookware Sets at a Glance:
- Best Overall: Caraway Cookware Set
- Best Value: OXO Good Grips Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set
- Best for Beginners: Misen Starter Cookware Set
- Best for Small Kitchens: GreenPan Levels Stackable Ceramic Nonstick Set
- Best Splurge: All-Clad FUSIONTEC™ 7-Piece Set
- Best Range of Colors: GreenLife Soft Grip Healthy Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set
- Best Handles: Rachael Ray Cucina Nonstick Cookware Set
- Best for Easy Cleaning: T-fal Signature Nonstick Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set
- Best Stainless Steel Set: Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set
- Best Budget: Amazon Basics Non-Stick Cookware Set
- Best Carbon Steel Set: Made In Blue Carbon Steel Set
- Best Ceramic Set: Le Creuset 10-Piece Cookware Set
The 12 Best Cookware Sets of 2022
- Pros: Nontoxic ceramic finish is free of PFTEs, oven-safe up to 550°F and stovetop agnostic, includes lids and storage solutions, set features a 10.5-inch skillet, 3-quart saucepan, 4.5-quart sauté pan and a 6.5-quart Dutch oven
- Cons: Set doesn’t include a small skillet size, handles get hot
We gave this sleek Caraway cookware set 90 out of 100 points in our 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. As a bonus, it’s available in six modern color options. You can buy each piece individually, but the set will save you $100.
- Pros: Hard-anodized bodies and nonstick interiors are scratch-resistant and durable, thoughtful ergonomic design, set includes 8- and 9.5-inch skillets, a 2-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart sauté pan with lid and 3- and 6-quart stock pots with lids
- Cons: Oven-safe only up to 390°F
Some larger cookware sets can cost as much as a month of rent, but this ten-piece OXO set covers all your bases at a 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 an easy grip and the scratch-resistant three-layer nonstick coating is PFOA-free.
- Pros: Heats quickly and evenly, professional-quality materials at an accessible price, set includes only versatile essentials: a 10-inch skillet, 3-quart sauté pan and 3-quart saucier
- Cons: Somewhat heavy
If you’re new to the kitchen, a huge cookware set is overwhelming (and unnecessary). This three-piece Misen kit covers all the essentials but is far from basic—the pieces are constructed from 5-ply steel, the handles stay cool on the stove and the cookware is compatible with all types of stoves.
- Pros: The coating is strong enough to stack without scratching, saving storage space, nonstick coating is free from PFAS, PFOA, lead and cadmium, oven-safe up to 400°F, dishwasher-safe and metal utensil safe
- Cons: Lid knobs get hot during cooking
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). This GreenPan set features a multi-layer diamond-infused ceramic coating that can hold up to stacking and still perform on the stove. The included lids also double as strainers to replace your bulky colander. The entire 11-piece set measures just 13.5 inches tall when stacked.
- Pros: Extremely durable professional-quality construction, steel core and ceramic finish combine even heating and nonstick capabilities, oven- and broiler-safe up to 500°F and stovetop agnostic
- Cons: Cost prohibitive
If you’re ready to make an investment, the cookware in All-Clad’s Fusiontec set is made with steel cores for even heat distribution and a ceramic finish for a nonstick surface. It’s compatible with all stovetops, oven safe up to 500°F and dishwasher safe, and the set—a 9-inch skillet, 4.5-quart universal pan, 7-quart stockpot and 4-quart soup pot—comes with universal lids.
- Pros: Nontoxic ceramic coating doesn’t contain BPA, lead or PFOA, ergonomic handles that have a comfortable grip and stay cool to touch, sturdy aluminum body for even heat distribution
- Cons: Accumulates residue if you use cooking spray on it
This GreenLife Thermalon ceramic cookware set includes fry pans, saucepans, a stockpot, a sauté pan, a steamer and matching kitchen utensils to help you gear up for any cooking challenge. It’s also available in a wide range of colors, from turquoise and lavender to basic black.
- Pros: The 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
- Cons: Not compatible with induction cooktops
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.
- Pros: Oven-safe up to 350°F, ergonomic handles for easy handling and comfortable grip, vented glass lids allow steam to escape
- Cons: Not compatible with induction cooktops, needs to be rubbed with cooking oil before using it the first time
This classic T-fal nonstick set includes 7.75-inch and 11-inch skillets, 1-quart and 2-quart saucepans with lids, a 5.5-quart Dutch oven with lid, a 10.25-inch griddle, and a spoon, ladle and slotted spatula. It’s ultra-convenient to clean since it’s dishwasher safe, and it’s also free of harmful substances like PFOA, cadmium and lead. Each piece has a thermo spot indicator that turns solid red when it’s fully heated.
- Pros: Cold grip handles allow easy handling of pots while on stovetops, compatible with induction cooking tops, oven safe up to 550°F
- Cons: Only the covers are dishwasher-safe, heavy
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 and the triple-ply construction allows for better heat distribution.
- Pros: Nontoxic and BPA-free, glass lids are vented to let excess steam escape, handles have comfortable grips and are heat resistant, spiral bottom ensures even distribution of heat
- Cons: Not dishwasher-safe
These Amazon Basics pots and pans are made of aluminum and have a nonstick coating to help prevent food from sticking to the surface, making the cooking process easy for beginners. Considering it includes two sizes of skillets, two saucepans with lids and a casserole pan with a lid, it’s a steal.
- Pros: Thin, lightweight material heats up fast and is great for searing and sautéing, can be nonstick if seasoned properly
- Cons: Requires regular seasoning for maintenance, set does not include lids
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 differently. It’s stronger and harder, so it can be manufactured thin and lightweight, and its smooth surface heats up quickly. This Made In carbon steel set includes a 12-inch skillet, roasting pan and rack, wok and seasoning wax so you can keep your cookware in working order.
- Pros: Will last a lifetime with proper care, versatile pieces have excellent heat distribution and retention, oven safe and stovetop agnostic
- Cons: Cost prohibitive
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. This cookware offers superior heat distribution and retention thanks to that cast iron core, plus it works with any type of stovetop and is oven safe.