Full sets of cookware are a great investment if you’re just starting out or ready to upgrade from your mismatched pans. Whether you’re cooking dinner for one or entertaining a crowd, they take the guesswork out of picking out the pieces you need. Stainless steel is the material of choice for both amateur and professional cooks because it browns meats really well and can go straight from stovetop to oven. While stainless steel does require a little more elbow grease to clean, proper maintenance will keep them looking new for years to come.
We’ve put together a list of the best stainless steel cookware sets to help you decide.
1. Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set
Looking for a quality cookware set that won’t break the bank? You needn’t look any further. This set has everything you need and more! It has a brushed stainless exterior and a polished interior surface, cool-grip handles that are riveted on for security, and tight-fitting lids that self-baste the food as you cook.
The triple-ply construction includes an aluminum core for heat retention and even heating. Our product tester can attest to this, saying that her food remains warm while she’s doing other tasks with the lid on. This also helps to evenly brown her food. To top it off, she says that no matter what she cooks, there is no sticking to the pan after it’s done cooking.
The tapered rims of the cookware allow for easy, mess-free pouring. The set is oven-safe up to 550 degrees and can be used on any cooking surface, including induction. The pans can also be used under the broiler. All pieces are dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. The set includes a 1.5-quart saucepan with lid, a 3-quart saucepan with lid, an 8-inch skillet, a 10-inch skillet, a 3.5-quart sauté pan with lid, and an 8-quart stockpot with lid and a steamer insert with lid. A nonstick skillet would round out your collection of pots and pans.
2. Anolon 75818 Nouvelle Stainless Steel Cookware
This set has everything you need for delicious cooking: pots and pans in the sizes you actually use, made from stainless steel, a material that won’t rust or stain food, or react with acidic foods. The multi-metal base offers the best heat distribution, retention, and control.
The set consists of one 1.25-quart saucepan with lid, one 2.5-quart saucepan with lid, one 6.5-quart stockpot with lid, one 8-inch French skillet, one 10.5-inch French skillet, and one 3-quart sauté pan with lid.
You’ll be glad to know that our tests found this cookware’s 5-layer construction makes it heavy but also makes it perfect for use on any kind of cooktop—including induction. And best of all, the base won’t create hot spots.
The shape of the Sistema® Tulip is elegant, the polished exterior is attractive, and the brushed interior hides inevitable scratches. Cast stainless steel handles are attached with two rivets for durability, and high loop handles—even when your hands are in mitts—are easy to grab.
The 4-piece oven set is oven-safe up to 500 degrees and can be used under the broiler. For easy cleaning, the lids are dishwasher safe; however, our reviewer warned that harsh dishwasher detergents could discolor or leave a film on the stainless steel. The lids are made of stainless steel rather than glass, so you can’t watch what you’re cooking.
3. Calphalon Classic 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set
This set will last you a lifetime while looking good. The impact-bonded base provides fast, even heating, and the long handles are ergonomic and provide a comfortable grip, even when your pan is full of hot food. The handles are double-riveted for security.
The pan has fill lines inside so you can measure a precise amount of liquid or food without using measuring cups. The covers have to strain holes that line up with the pour spouts, so you can drain the noodles or vegetables without hunting for a strainer.
This set includes an 8-inch frying pan, a 10-inch frying pan, a 1.5-quart saucepan with lid, a 2.5-quart saucepan with lid, a 3-quart sauté pan with lid, and a 6-quart stockpot with a lid. Tempered glass covers all the lids, so you can see what’s cooking.
The ceramic cookware can be used in the oven or under the broiler, and the pans and lids are dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. Simply follow preheating instructions and keep the heat low to medium to avoid food sticking. Many customers like that the pan heats up quickly and holds the heat well.
4. Made In Cookware The Sous Chef
This cookware set is crafted from stainless steel, but it also includes a nonstick pan and a carbon steel pan as well. That makes this collection the perfect addition to most kitchens.
The stainless steel pieces include a 10-inch frying pan, a 2-quart saucepan with lid, a 4-quart saucepan with lid, a 3.5-quart sauté pan with a lid, and an 8-quart stockpot with lid. It also includes a 10-inch nonstick frying pan that’s perfect for eggs or pancakes and a 12-inch carbon steel frying pan that has many of the same properties of cast iron but with a much lighter weight.
All of our cookware is induction-compatible. The stainless steel cookware is oven-safe to 800 degrees, the nonstick pan is oven-safe to 500 degrees, and the carbon steel is oven-safe to 1200 degrees. We recommend handwashing for these pans to keep them in top condition. People like how evenly each piece distributes heat, how the handles are designed to be ergonomic, and how easily they clean up.
5. All-Clad 10-Piece Brushed Stainless Steel 5-Ply Cookware Set
If you’re ready to replace your inexpensive cookware with a high-end set that will make the neighbors jealous, this set will be the jewel of your kitchen. Not only can you use these pieces to dazzle your guests with culinary creations, but they’ll also last forever—thanks to their solid construction—and make you look like a pro in the kitchen as well.
This set includes all of the pots, pans, and lids you need to prepare any meal: an 8-inch frying pan, a 10-inch frying pan, a 1.5-quart saucepan with a lid, a 3-quart saucepan with lid, a 3-quart sauté pan with a lid and an 8-quart stockpot with lid.
Each Calphalon Cookware product is made with a five-ply bonded construction and features alternating layers of stainless steel and conductive aluminum. “The heat conductivity is excellent; I browned ground beef and seared chicken sausages and salmon filets in record time,” our reviewer raves, adding that only low-to-medium heat is needed to cook most things, resulting in energy efficiency. The cooking surface has a starburst finish for stick resistance and the pots have flared rims that make it easy to pour liquid from them.
If you can’t remember the details of your favorite pot, each piece is engraved with its capacity on the bottom. The handles are made from stainless steel and secured with flat rivets so they won’t come off. Lids are made from stainless steel so the pots can be used in the oven.
These are safe for ovens, broilers, and other cooking surfaces, including induction. They’re also dishwasher-safe, which makes cleanup a breeze. To complete your set, you may want to add a nonstick skillet for cooking your morning eggs; however, there isn’t much else you’ll need for most of your cooking.
6. Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper 10-Piece Cookware Set
The hammered copper exterior of this stainless steel cookware set is a favorite feature because it looks beautiful while the entire set is very sturdy and versatile. Years of use will eventually cause the copper finish to develop a patina that many cooks love, but it’s easy to clean the pans to bring them back to their original brightness if that’s preferred.
If you like having a hot meal on the table in a flash, then you’ll find that this cookware set serves up a mean dish. It includes an 8-inch skillet, a 10-inch skillet, a 2-quart saucepan with lid, a 3-quart saucepan with lid, a 3-quart deep sauté pan with lid, and a 6-quart stockpot with a lid. The pots are oven safe to 500 degrees for browning or boiling before transferring to the oven for other dishes. Other highlights are their solid and comfortable handles that keep your hands from getting too warm while cooking and that the cookware evenly distributes heat and retains it well.
7. Rachael Ray Create Delicious Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set
This set includes everything a new cook will need. The handles are riveted on for security, and the red silicone gives a secure grip. The rims are flared for neat pouring, and the lids are glass so it’s easy to check the cooking progress without lifting the lid and losing steam and heat. These are made from polished stainless steel with etched measurement markings inside that make it easy to see if there’s enough water for the pasta.
This set includes a 1-quart saucepan, a 2-quart saucepan with lid, a 6-quart saucepan with lid, a 10.25-inch deep pan, and a 3 quart sauté pan with lid, along with an oven-safe wooden spoon and slotted turner. These are induction-compatible and oven-safe to 400 degrees. Customers really like how sturdy yet light these pans are, and that they heat evenly without burning food.
8. Cook N Home 12-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Take advantage of this opportunity to buy a collection of cookware that has a mirrored finish inside and out, an encapsulated base for even heat distribution, and can be used on all cooking surfaces.
The handles are made from stainless steel and are riveted on for durability, and the lids are tempered glass, so you can see what’s cooking. The pots are oven safe to 350 degrees and the lids are safe to 270 degrees to preserve their appearance. They are dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
These pots and pans are surprisingly light given the thickness of their bottoms, but they’re a good fit for someone who doesn’t need to cook for large groups. The set includes a 1.5-quart saucepan with lid, a 1.5-quart casserole with lid, a 2-quart casserole with lid, a 3-quart casserole with lid, a 5.5-quart stockpot with lid, and a 10-inch frying pan with lid. While this set includes pans that perform most cooking tasks well, you might be tempted to round out your collection with a frying pan or larger pot, or Dutch oven.
9. Calphalon Premier Space-Saving Stainless Steel Supper Club Set
The cookware stacks neatly for storage on a shelf or in the pantry. It can stack and nest in any order you choose—so you can keep your favorite on top for easy access. Unlike some sets designed for space-saving that are most useful for single cooks, this includes family-sized cookware that has enough space for a whole meal or for prepping ahead. The set’s nesting capability and each piece’s generous capacity are two of the top reasons customers give it high marks.
The set includes a 4-quart chef’s pan, an 8-quart stockpot with cover, and a 5-quart sauteuse with cover. Made from stainless steel with an aluminum core, the cookware heats quickly and evenly. These are oven-safe to 450 degrees; simply take them out of the oven (using hot pads) before you put them in the dishwasher. You can also purchase larger sets that include 10 or 15 pieces if you need to scale up.
What to Look for When Buying Stainless Steel Cookware
Grade of Stainless Steel
In cookware, the grade of stainless steel is commonly conveyed through its fractional composition, with 18/10 being the most common. This tells you the percentage of chromium and nickel in the alloy used—18/10 contains 18 percent chromium and 10 percent nickel. In other words, stainless steel that is 18/10 will not rust and is shiny and smooth to the touch.
A good frying pan should not be too thin or too light, but substantial enough to retain heat. A heavy frying pan is more likely to distribute heat evenly than a lighter one, and it will stand up better for long-term use.
Core and Construction
When purchasing a saucepan, look for a pan with an aluminum or copper core. Pots made of stainless steel will have an aluminum disc sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel on the bottom and sides. The most common is tri-ply, which describes two layers of stainless steel with an aluminum or copper core. Riveted handles are also good quality features, as are spot-welded handles, although the latter is more likely to come off with heavy use.
Most stainless steel cookware can safely be used in the oven, although the capability of a pan depends on its quality. A low-end or light pan will be able to withstand only 350 degrees, while a high-end, heavy pan is often safe up to 500 degrees. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions to know the maximum heat of your cookware before use.
Stainless steel is all-in-one cookware. It can be used for braising, browning, and creating sauces and soups. The non-reactive properties of the steel make it ideal for cooking acidic foods like tomato sauce or meats stewed in wine. Many stainless steel pieces are oven-safe, allowing you to finish off a dish if needed.