Stainless Steel Cookware Sets
Long considered among the best choices for quality cookware by gourmet chefs and serious amateur home cooks wanting high quality at a lower cost than the extremely costly copper cookwares, stainless steel cookware has enjoyed immense popularity for decades now. As a result of this “in vogue” reputation, the best stainless steel cookware brands are also comparatively costly – pricier than most of the other kinds of cookware sets.
By and large, most chefs prefer stainless-steel to the nonstick cookwares. The manufacturing technique of wrapping stainless steel around an aluminum or copper core, makes a finished product that will heat evenly on gas or electric stovetops.
They are also considered to be superior in the process of browning food, and the resulting “fond” – a French word for “base,” referring to the small brown bits that stick to the bottom of the pan and can be scraped up and used to make delectable gravies and sauces.
Even the best stainless steel cookware brands, however, do have some drawbacks. Being nonstick, you will have to use more fat or oil to keep foods from clinging and sticking to the bottoms. And experts will tell you there is a learning curve to properly using stainless steel. Once you have it mastered, however, you will find they become a lot easier, and enjoyable to use.
Since food will tend to be more likely to stick, stainless-steel cookware will be harder to clean. Tests prove that using either baking soda or Bar Keepers Friend is best. And to make your cleanup easier and prevent doing any damage, fill the pot or pan up with hot, soapy water, until it covers any stuck food on the bottom and/or up the sides, and let it soak for an hour or so. Your cleanup will become immensely easier that way.
Let’s summarize with the pros and cons of stainless steel cookware.
- Heats up quickly and evenly, producing consistent results.
- Excellent for browning food and producing fond for great gravies and sauces.
- Once using the cookware has been mastered, most people will tell you their cooking is elevated several notches in results, simply because of the quality of the pots and pans used.
- Very sleek, attractive appearance, stainless steel cookware hung up in your kitchen will look like a set of glowing diamonds.
- Let’s face it, there is a “WOW” factor here, too, for the amateur home gourmet cook – having a set of top stainless steel cookware in your kitchen gives you immediate credibility as someone who knows his or her stuff.
- The price, for a top of the line set, is very expensive.
- Requires going through a learning curve to master the use of them.
- You have to use more fat and oil to cook your food.
- Cleanup is much more difficult than with nonstick and hard-anodized cookwares.
Okay, let’s now take a look at three lines of at what we consider the best stainless steel pots and pans sets in each of the price categories, starting with the most expensive, then the best mid-range priced, and lastly the best bang for the smallest buck.
All-Clad is the hands-down absolute top performer in all professional tests of stainless cookware. This set is one of the top-rated, best selling sets on the planet, and definitely the best stainless steel cookware made in the USA.
These aren’t just pots and pans, they are to be considered a savvy investment. Ask any avid cook who uses this set, they will tell you these pans make any cooking task easier, with excellent and consistent heating; and there are many professional test reports to back up that claim.
People who use induction ranges are especially zealous about All-Clad cookware. The long handles on this set do not get hot, making it easy to handle them during cooking, and the sleek silvery appearance makes this set something to be proud to have on open display in your kitchen.
The set includes an 8-inch fry pan, 10-inch fry pan, 2-quart sauce pan with lid, 3-quart sauce pan with lid, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, and an 8-quart stock pot with lid.
This set is expensive, at $699.95, but you will get back far more, over time, than what you paid for.
- Material: 18/10 Stainless Steel
- Size: 10-pc.
- Tri-Ply Heat-Surround technology for best distribution of heat
- Origin: Bonded cookware manufactured in the USA. Lids manufactured overseas.
- Cleaning & Care: Hand wash
- Warranty: Lifetime
This is an excellent set of cookware, that will make any kitchen a joy to cook in. At half the price of the All-Clad brand, it still has many great features that make it one of the very best stainless steel cookware brands.
The set is finely crafted, with lids that fit tight and firm. The handles are proportioned and balanced with the pots and pans for maximum ease and control with a comfortable grip. And, as with all stainless steel cookware, the metal is non-corrosive, and does not interact with the food being cooked, hence the true flavors of the food ingredients are kept consistent and non-tainted.
At just $279.95, this set is a marvelous deal and a good investment. Properly cared for and maintained, it will last a very long time.
Here are some additional spec’s:
- Set features an updated handle design that provides a modern and professional style while maintaining a comfortable and controlled grip
- Includes 1-1/2- and 3-quart saucepans; 8- and 10-inch skillets; 3-1/2-quart saute pan; 8-quart stockpot; steamer insert
- Tri-ply 18/10 stainless steel construction with aluminum core; brushed exterior, mirror-finish interior
- Solid 18/10 stainless-steel handles stay cool on stovetop; riveted for strength
- Tight-fitting 18/10 stainless-steel lid seals in nutrients; oven-safe to 500 degrees F
At less than a third of the cost, this set has performed nearly as well as All-Clad in two professional tests, equaling All-Clad in design, construction, and cooking performance. The one largest drawback reported was that the pans received more complaints about food sticking than with All-Clad, and one professional testing organization gave it lower grades for both ease of cleaning and all around performance.
That taken into consideration, still, most owners’ reviews say they are extremely pleased and do not consider the problem of sticking as any major issue. Sold primarily at Walmart and on Amazon, this set receives top ratings in hundreds of user reviews – including being happy with the ease of cleaning, which is in opposition to some professional test reports.
In most of the negative reviews we saw, it was obvious the users had not allowed for the normal learning curve that any stainless steel cookware set requires if you have not used them before. And the vast majority of reviewers gave the set 5-stars, with 96 percent saying they would recommend it to others.
At just $114.19, you can hardly go wrong!
Here are some additional specifications:
- 8″ saute pan, 10″ saute pan, 2-qt covered sauce pan, 3-qt covered sauce pan, 5-qt covered Dutch oven
- Riveted, ergonomic stainless-steel handles provide extreme durability and comfort
- Stainless steel lids provide ultimate durability
- Oven-safe to 350 degrees F for warming and baking
- Dishwasher safe
Again, the above sets are what we consider the best deals in terms of pricing and quality. But if you would like to see a full selection of Stainless Steel Cookware sets, CLICK HERE.
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