The Best Stainless Steel Cookware of 2021 - Definitive Guide

Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets At A Glance:

  1. 1
    Best Overall: Made In Cookware Set
  2. 2
    Best On A Budget: Calphalon Classic Stainless Steel Cookware Set
  3. 3
    Best Durability: Made In Cookware Set
  4. 4
    Best For Starting Home Cooks: Cook N Home Stainless Steel Cookware Set
  5. 5
    Best For New Kitchen: Made In Cookware Set
  6. 6
    Most Safest: Made In Cookware Set
  7. 7
    Best Sleek Design: Made In Cookware Set
  8. 8
    Best For Gifts: Cook N Home Stainless Steel Cookware Set
  9. 9
    Best For Dads: Made In Cookware Set
  10. 10
    Best For Moms: Calphalon Classic Stainless Steel Cookware Set
  11. 11
    Best Starter Set: Made In Cookware Set
best stainless steel cookware

Why Stainless Steel Cookware Sets?

From utensils, pots and pans to appliances and even kitchen islands, steel cookware is present in so many corners of every kitchen.

As one of the most versatile, durable and safe materials currently available, stainless steel is always a top choice for cookware sets. Even so, the variety of brands, sets, and products, all of which come with different names and rather uncommon technical terms, make buyers have plenty of questions when deciding whether to opt for this material or not.

This definitive guide is meant to clear things out and ease your worries. First, we thoroughly evaluating not just the official manufacturer’s presentations but, most importantly, the direct feedback coming from our readers! We then discuss everything you need to know anything about steel pans, so if you have any burning quesitons you will find answers to these below the reviews. 

If you are familiar with stainless steel as a cooking material and you are ready to search for that perfect stainless steel cookware set, then begin looking at the 4 products that we will discuss in detail now.

Important Factors to Consider when Buying Steel Cookware Sets

By now, you already know that the only moments when steel cookware could really show up some weakness signs are when you’re preparing recipes that require sudden temperature changes or a really even cooking.

The secret to solving all these heat distribution and transfer drawbacks and avoiding potential leaks of nickel is to only buy cookware manufactured by well-known brands and made of high quality stainless steel. When you use high quality stainless steel, your cookware sets' heating will be that much better (and they'll last longer and save you money in the long term). 

The cookware made of high-quality materials will have low levels of nickel and its formulation will be particularly conceived to resist reactivity, leaching or corrosion for the years to come.

When you decided for a brand, make sure that the products cover some simple yet very practical design features such as:

  • Impact-bonded aluminum base or copper base to provide that fast and even heating you were looking for
  • Ergonomic handles, easy to grip even when the pan is full and heavy, long enough for easy handling, and, ideally, double-riveted;
  • Straining holes, fill lines, or anything else that will help you dose the ingredients and transfer them easily from one pot to another.
buying factor Stainless Steel Cookware

Nevertheless, the most important feature that your next cookware set should have is a multi-layer structure. Why a multi-clad or tri ply stainless steel product instead of plain steel?

Why is This Cookware different than Tri-Ply Construction?

Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware

As suggested, the sturdier the pot, the higher the quality, the longer its resistance in time, the safer and tastier the foods you cook in it.

Manufacturers know it well, and that’s why they have recently introduced this technology that relies on alternating metal layers. Every layer is called “clad” or “ply”, hence the terms of multi-clad cookware or tri-ply clad cookware. Note that clad stainless steel cookware is the same as ply stainless steel cookware.  This layering provides even heat whether your cooking with your cookware set  on the oven or on the stove.

The main advantage of sandwiching these layers is the fact that it allows you to enjoy the benefits of each metal and reduce the drawbacks that these metals would have had if used separately.

The combination of steel, aluminum, and magnetic steel is the most successful currently on the market:

  • It gives you all the benefits of cooking with steel cookware;
  • It covers the problem of even heating through the insertion of aluminum core;
  • It covers the problem of leaking through the isolation of aluminum inside the deeper layers; Heat is distributed evenly.
  • It allows you to use the pots and pans on induction cooktops through the magnetic stainless steel;
  • And the polished and sturdy outer layer also makes these pots and pans easy to wash in the washing machine.
Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware

As you can imagine, most 5-ply or 7-ply construction products are rather a marketing strategy, since a 3-ply structure alone is more than enough to provide all the benefits suggested above. Which is why it's found in most stockpot made of stainless steel.

If you’re aiming for quality, you should easily find a 3-ply set produced by a famous brand, for a decent price. The materials will differ depending on brand.

Summary of 4 Best Stainless Steel Cookware Reviews of 2021


Brand

Features

Price

made in kitchen sink

BEST OVERALL

  • Able to hold heat evenly, leading to better sears and browning
  • Induction, electric and gas compatible. Oven safe.
  • Professional quality at an amateur price
anolon-cookware-set

BEST VALUE

  • Safe to use on the stove, oven or broiler
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Lifetime warranty
cuisinart multiclad pro review pots and pans

DURABLE

  • Unsurpassed heat conductivity and even heating
  • Oven safe and dishwasher safe
  • Lifetime warranty against defects
Cook N Home 12 Piece Stainless Steel Set

BEST STARTER SET

  • Works on induction cooktops
  • Even heat distribution. Oven safe.
  • Incredibly economical price

Best QUALITY Cookware Set #1: 

made in cookware best stainless steel pan

Newcomer Made In has created premium 5-ply construction cookware set that combines durability, even cooking properties, ergonomic handles that are heating resistant, and a highly rated nonstick pan…and the best part it’s made in America.

Their “The Sous Chef” 11-piece set is perfect for the frequent cook who fires up all their burners and wants to use the perfect pan for each recipe. We should note all Made In cookware is dishwasher safe, oven safe, induction compatible, and stackable. It's the most versatile cookware sets we've seen.

Right now, Made In’s products are rated 5-stars by 99% of their customers. The use a direct-to-consumer business model to provide their cookware for almost half the price of their competition like All-Clad.

Read on to find out why this is our new favorite stainless steel cookware sets.

Tom Colicchio made in

"...I absolutely love it..."

"I use it at home, and I absolutely love it. I'm opening a new restaurant soon, and the entire kitchen will be outfitted with Made In."

Tom Colicchio //  Celebrity Chef & Top Chef Judge, Founder of Crafted Hospitality

grant achatz

"... best pans in the world..."

"Those are the pans we use at [3-star Michelin-rated restauran] Alinea. We're going to have the best pans in the world at one of the best restaurants in the world." 

Grant Achatz  //  Alinea Group, Chef

This set includes:

Everything but the kitchen sink and it's a serious cookware set.

But this cookware set includes everything you need to boil, simmer, fry, saute, sear, scramble, and braise. This kit includes 7 cooking pots and 4 lids / covers.

All items are made with 5-ply layers of stainless steel, American-sourced metal, which is combination of alternating layers of aluminum and steel materials. This composition combines the strength of steel with the heat conductivity properties of aluminum.

made in kitchen sink
  • 10 inch Fry Pan / Skillet with long handles
  • 10 inch Nonstick Fry Pan / Skillet with long handles
  • 12 inch Fry Pan with long handles
  • 1 2 quart Sauce Pan / Skillet with long handles
  • 3 quart Sauce Pan / Skillet with long handles
  • 8 quart Stockpot
  • 4 quart sauté pan
  • Two small lids for the sauce pans 
  • Two large lids for the sauté pan and 8 quart stockpot
made in cookware handles
made in pans small
made in lifestyle small

Main Benefits of this set

This cookware comes with a few notable benefits:

  • Manufacturing – Smart design and high-quality American manufacturing. 5-Ply steel and aluminum cookwar has the ability to hold heat evenly, leading to better sears, browning, and lock in heat with the lids. Great long handles on the saucepan for you to control the cooking of your food.
  • Professional quality at an amateur price – Made In’s set is just $569. A comparable All-Clad set is hundreds of dollars more. Though All-Clad is a great brand, it's super expensive.
  • Versatility – All cookware sets are induction, electric and gas compatible. Oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and dishwasher safe. In part, the lids are standard size and can fit on other coowkare you have at home. 

On the plus side (i.e. the Pros) of this set:

  • American made cookware set
  • This cookware set is designed to stack and nestle
  • Industrial brushed finish for a cool industrial look
  • Nonstick coating is made from ultra high grade, American, PTFE coating that is oven safe to 500 degrees, dishwasher safe, metal-utensil rated, and PFOA-free. The pans are triple coated for maximum durability, safety, and longevity. This PTFE nonstick coating has shown to last up to 10x longer than some competitor surfaces and is similar to tramontinas tri-ply clad cookware. While it's dishwasher safe, we don't recommend actually putting in the dishwasher. It could warp the triple ply construction.
  • Thick even walls that help with even heat distribution and heat responsiveness, without increasing weight.
  • Handles are ergonomically designed with long, cool-to-touch hollow handles that provide a more balanced, comfortable feel for the home cook. Great for cooking with saucepans that require high heat.
  • Bottom of the pans feature fun designs, such as recipes or cutting and cooking tips.
  • The base steel is a ferritic type of steel alloy that is induction compatible. Perfect for your oven and kitchen.
  • Made In’s website provides a great database of how-to’s when it comes to using their cookware set.
  • Metal lids. The lids come with all the different sizes of saucepan. The rivets are professional grade and feel strong in our hands. You can never get enough lids.
  • The 8 quart stockpot is perfect for cooking stews and broths. We used the 8 quart stockpot to make soup for the family for 2 days. It is a complete timesaver. It's definitely handy to have the 8 quart stockpot around if you're making stocks or boiling of chicken.

On the downside (i.e. the Cons) of this set:

  • More expensive than entry level lines such as Cuisinart. But hey, it’s made in America which is a sign of quality. Buy it once and have it last for years.
  • More durable and higher grade steel cookware set comes with slightly more heft (weight). On the flip side, it lets you feel the sensation of cooking.
  • Like all steel cookware – overexposure to heat can cause some discoloration. No problem though, this is easy to clean with cookware cleaner.

If you’re looking for chef quality cookware…

At more approachable price than the rest of the premium market, this set is perfect for you. That's why we rated this the #1 best stainless steel cookware set

The 11-piece “The Sous Chef” set from Made In is a great deal and the five-star ratings and 100 day free trial should ease any hesitation about buying this set today.

Tell them we sent you! They are very enthusiastic about their cookware set.


Best VALUE Cookware Set #2: 

Calphalon 10-Piece Classic Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Our second best rated is a 10 piece cookware set classic combo manufactured by Calphalon. Including all the necessary types of pots for frying, searing, simmering, boiling, and even more, this top pick comes with a lifetime warranty!

Safe to use on the stove of different sizes. It's oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, broiler safe, and compatible to use with a dishwasher, making it dishwasher safe. it makes your life in the kitchen not only easier but also a true pleasure.

So read on to find out what makes this particular cookware set as one of our favorite steel cookware set.

This set includes:

This Calphalon stainless steel set includes 6 cooking pots and 4 covers (that's 10 piece in total). All items are made of pure steel alloy, with an impact-bonded aluminum base:

  • 8 inch Fry Pan / Skillet with cool handles
  • 10 inch Fry Pan / Skillet with cool handles
  • 5 quart Saucepan / Skillet  with lid
  • 5 quart Saucepan / Skillet with lid
  • 3 quart sauté pan / Skillet with lid
  • 6 quart Stockpot with lid
Calphalon 10-Piece Classic Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Main benefits of this set

Opting for this particular 10 piece cookware set comes with plenty of benefits. The most notable ones are:

  • The variety of pots  and pans that cover most of your basic needs in the kitchen;
  • The versatility and compatibility with all kinds cooking facilities, including induction cooktops;
  • Ease of maintenance and the possibility to wash them in the washing machine;
  • Oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit in your oven
  • The reasonable price for a 10 piece cookware set (considering you'll use all 10 piece pots and pans);
  • The lifetime warranty.
Calphalon 10-Piece Cookware
Calphalon 10-Piece Cookware
Calphalon 10-Piece Cookware

As suggested, plenty of other aspects is worth mentioning in this chapter. All in all, you will notice that this steel cookware is made of high-quality materials (it's the materials that set the set apart) and with impressive attention to details.


The design of every single item of this set reflects the manufacturer’s concerns for comfortable use:

On the plus side (i.e. the Pros) of this set:

  • Good quality 10 piece cookware set for a decent price for your kitchen;
  • Impact-bonded aluminum base that provides fast and even heating on the bottom of the pots and pans;
  • A nickel content maintained between 8% and 10%;
  • Ergonomic and long handle sizes that make it easy to carry it around;
  • Double-riveted handles, which offers increased sturdiness and easy cleaning;
  • Convenient fill lines that help you measure volumes;
  • Versatile design that lets you strain liquids through the straining holes of the tempered glass covers;
  • The match between the pots’ lids and the pans is perfect
  • Super comfortable handles. When you grab the handles it fits nicely in your hands.
  • The possibility to use all types of utensils for stirring or handling the inside content;
  • The convenient weight and versatility of the sizes of skillets;
  • The lack of Teflon coating that flakes off and threats your health.

On the downside (i.e. the Cons) of this set:

  • This steel alloy cookware set has aluminum sandwiched between the layers of steel only at the bottom. For this reason, the sides seem to conduct heat a bit slower compared to the bottom of the pots and pans. 
  • Also, items are not completely nonstick, requiring the use of minimum amounts of butter or oil for cooking. And even so, some dishes can stick, mostly when the pot or the pan is not appropriately heated. The cookware is oven safe though up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The handles sometimes get warm, despite being advertised as stay-cool by the manufacturer.
  • Sometimes the lids on the stockpot felt warm after long cooking. Not too big of a problem if you have a cooking towel nearby to lift the lids (and part of the handle). 

Just to draw a conclusion, as most of our readers say, if you’re looking for good quality at a fair price, you have to buy these 10 piece cookware sets.

The 10 piece classic steel cookware set from Calphalon is a gem for your kitchen. It doesn’t just make your life easier, but it also helps you cook in a healthier way, no matter what dishes you have on the menu. That's a plus in our books and which is why it's our #2 best stainless steel cookware set.

Any potential concerns that one may have should be eased by the lifetime warranty. If any of the 10 piece cookware are damaged, they are covered by the manufacterers warranty. Makes sense why we’re calling it the best value steel cookware set?


BEST DURABLE Cookware Set #3: 

Cuisineart 12-Piece Multiclas Pro Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Part of the Multiclad Pro line manufactured by Cuisinart, this 12 piece cookware set offers deluxe cookware for professional home chefs and passionate amateur chefs just as well. If you’re tired of cooking just stews and soups, this one will come in handy, offering you a lot more than the basics. From steaming veggies to grilling cheese or putting together a divine béchamel sauce, there’s little you cannot do.

So here’s what you should know about it before opting for this 12 piece cookware set:

This set includes:

As suggested, the set includes 12 stainless cookware set pieces; all made of stainless steel, in an elegant silver shade, with mirror-polished, non-reactive interiors and brushed 18/10 steel exterior:

  • 1-1/2 quart saucepan with lid
  • 3 quart saucepan with lid
  • 8 inch open skillet with ergonomic handles
  • 10 inch open skillet
  • Stock pot
  • Steamer inserts with lid
Cuisineart 12-Piece Multiclas Pro Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Main benefits of this set

If you’re eager to know what makes this steel cookware set the perfect instrument for those truly passionate about cooking, here are some of the most outstanding benefits:

  • Triple-Ply construction in the core, exterior and rivots. Consisting of magnetized stainless steel, aluminum core, and 18/10 stainless steel, ensuring unsurpassed heat conductivity and even heating;
  • Lifetime warranty against defects;
  • Versatility in cooking and maintaining it, being oven safe (up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit) and dishwasher safe;
  • Two 8 inch and 10 inch stainless steel pans. Great for cooking multiple foods at once. Think searing a steak togther with sauteed mushrooms together. Normally, a cookware set includes only one sauté pan. It's definitely useful to have two sauté pans handly. 
  • Compatibility with an induction cooktop.
Cuisineart 12-Piece Multiclas Pro Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Cuisineart 12-Piece Multiclas Pro Stainless Steel Cookware Set features
Cuisineart 12-Piece Multiclas Pro Stainless Steel Cookware Set features

Given the variety of items and the quality of their material, this cookware set is obviously a great fit for any kitchen, no matter what cooking instruments you have and what cooking style you adopt. The features below listed will give you an even better image of how to make the best of these skillet, pot and pans:

On the plus side (i.e. the Pros) of this set:

  • The pots heat up evenly, thanks to the layers of steel and aluminum that cover not just the bottom, but also the sidewalls;
  • The cool grip handles are easy to work with and rather sturdy, thanks to the steel rivets;
  • The tapered rims allow drip free pouring and the tightfitting lids help you keep the flavors inside and cook delicious meals;
  • Each piece is oven safe up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit and pans are safe for broiler use as well;
  • They work great even on an induction cooktop and the cool grip handles stay cool when used on the stovetop.

On the downside (i.e. the Cons) of this set:

There’s really little that one can complain about this multi clad pro steel cookware set from Cuisinart. The two most often commented issues regard:

  • The potential discoloration that may occur after cooking particular dishes;
  • The alleged tendency to stick some foods.
Cuisineart 12-Piece Multiclas Pro Stainless Steel Cookware Set downside

Nevertheless, the user’s instructions are pretty simple and clear, indicating how these stains might occur and what one would have to do in order to keep them look at their best or to avoid sticking the food.

All in all, this 12 piece set comes from one of the most reputable manufacturers of classic steel cookware - Multiclad Pro. The technology behind it is meant to provide an excellent cooking experience even for the pickiest persons. From the tri-ply clad structure to the design of each item, everything is conceived to help you get to the next level in the kitchen and be an amazing home cook.

So if you’re ready to experience more with your food, feel free to make the switch from a classic steel cookware set to this 12 piece deluxe version. That's why we rated it the #3 best stainless steel cookware set.

The price is really great for the quality that it provides!


Best STARTER SET Coowkare Set #4: 

Cook N Home 12-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Not on the top 3 but a worth recommendation includes a stainless steel cookware set manufactured by Cook N Home.

While it caters all the basic needs of every kitchen, it also comes with an incredibly economical price. If you want to know more about it, here are the basic details, as described by the manufacturer and our readers who already got to test it:

This set includes:

This set includes of 6 pots with dedicated, tightly fit tempered glass lids – sauce pan, casseroles, stockpot, and a frying pan:

  • 1/2 quart Sauce Pan with lid
  • 1/2 quart pot with lid
  • 2 quart stock pot with lid
  • 3 quart stock pot with lid
  • 1/2 quart stock pot with lid
  • 10 inch Frying Pan with lid
Cook N Home 12 Piece Stainless Steel Set

Main benefits

Despite being conceived as a rather economical option, all the products in this set:

  • Made of good quality - 18/10 stainless steel of premium alloy composition and on the rivets. This is great for cooking eggs due to the heat distribution. 
  • Work on induction cooktops;
  • Feature mirror polished stainless steel both on the inside and on the outside; The skillet looks great!
  • Provide even heat distribution through the aluminum encapsulated at their bottom.
  • Lids, lids, lids! As a home cook, I can't get enough lids at home. This set comes with lids for each of the pots for drip free pouring.
Cook N Home 12-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Cook N Home 12-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Cook N Home 12-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

What else should you know before purchasing them?

On the plus side (i.e. the Pros) of this set:

  • This set is suitable for all cooking sources, electric and gas stove, glass, and ceramic;
  • Pots and pans are dishwasher safe, very easy to clean and maintain;
  • Items feature stainless handles riveted to the body, for enhanced durability;
  • The tempered glass lids give you clear view while cooking;
  • The customer support is great, replying fast and making everything possible to solve any problems.
  • There are lots of sets that do not include the 2 quart pot with lid. We think the 2 quart pot is a must have for any kitchen to store food away. 

On the downside (i.e. the Cons) of this set:

  • These pots and pans only have aluminum at the bottom, not on the side walls;
  • The tempered glass lids might develop small cracks, depending on the temperature they are exposed to, which shouldn’t exceed 270 degrees Fahrenheit;
  • The pans, even though usable in the oven, again, shouldn’t be exposed to temperatures higher than 350 F;
  • They have no stay-cool handles, requiring some mittens to remove them from any heat source.
  • Normally multiple stainless steel pans are included. However, in this set, there's only one 10 inch included.
  • The 2 quart pots is a bit small for stock. However, it's the right size for to heat small sauces like gravy. It has great handles and a solid base (like the frying pan cookware brother). Great to have a 2 quart pot in this stainless set!

Without pretending to be top-notch steel cookware, this set from Cook N Home is your best choice in terms of budget steel pots and pans. It is a 12 piece set (as opposed to the usual 10 piece cookware sets). 

All items look and feel nice, and as long as you follow the basic rules of cooking with stainless steel, you should be able to enjoy all the benefits, without worrying too much about sticking food or discoloration. Which is why it's our #4 best stainless steel cookware set.

This 12 piece cookware set is a must buy for the top quality stainless steel.


Common Stainless Steel Cookware Questions

What is A Stainless Steel Cookware Set?

For those who still wonder what is this steel alloy is, we will outline some general information. To begin with, let’s have a look at what this material is made of and what the numbers that usually describe it really stand for:

  • It is, in fact, a metal alloy consisting of around 10% chromium and several other metals, nickel included.
  • Chromium enhances durability and protects against rust by forming when exposed to air, a non-toxic, passive film of chromium oxide.
  • Nickel, while also helping with rust resistance, gives extra hardness and that high polishing look.
  • The balance of chromium and nickel dictates the so-called “grade” of a particular type of cookware alloy. Quality, durability, and the maximum cooking temperature are also connected to this grade, which is represented in numbers separated by a “/”. The first number indicates the percentage of chromium and the second number the one of nickel (e.g. 18/8 or 18/10).
  • These grades are divided into three main series: 200, 300, and 400.
  • The ones from the 200 series are the less expensive and also the less resistant because they have manganese instead of nickel and are more prone to corrosion.
  • The ones from the 300 series, most often labeled as 304 respectively 316, represent the high-quality range, with more resistant products – in fact, the 316 products (the high-end grade, with surgical steel) also have some titanium or molybdenum in their alloy, which increases their resistance to salt water erosion.
  • As for the 400 series, it consists of alloys even more corrosive than the 300 series, which is why are often used for the manufacturing of the inexpensive stockpots, pots and pans, kitchen utensils or mixing bowls. They are almost nickel free (with a maximum of 0.75%).

So now we know what this famous metal is made of, let’s see what it’s good for.

Does Stainless Steel Cookware Stick?

Stainless steel pans aren't non-stick. To prevent food from sticking:

  • Make sure oil is hot. Use high heat to heat the oil before cooking.
  • Dry surface and room temperature food. The moisture in the food will cause it to stick to the steel cookware
  • Clean the cooking surface. Tiny food bits can remain on a pan which cause sticking. 

Can Stainless Steel Cookware Be Toxic?

High quality stainless steel cookware sets provides a superior cooking surface that will not be toxic. This means that the cooking surfaces will not react with food, leach chemicals or compounds into the food, nor harm the food in any way. Some poorly constructed stainless steel cookware can leach nichel into the food.

Can Stainless Steel Go In The Dishwasher?

Yes. Your stainless steel set can go into the dishwasher. However, the cookware set may dull over time. The fear is that the cleaning detergent may cause the cookware to tarnish.

What To Look For In A Stainless Steel Pan?

Tips to look for the best stainless steel pan:

  • Size. They usually come in 8 inch, 10 inch, 12 inch. Pick one that suits your cooking needs.
  • Quality. 18/10 stainless steel cookware is high end quality steel.
  • Accessories. Purchase a steel pan that has glass lids and durable handles.
  • Set. Usually a steel pan is part of a 10 to 12 piece cookware set. The set includes cookware such as 2 quart sauté pan, 3 quart sauté pan, or 8 quart stock pot.

What Sizes Are Stainless Steel Pans?

Most stainless steel pans come in 8 inch, 10 inch or 12 inch. The most common stainless steel pan size is the 10 inch pan. The 10 inch pan can cook 3 eggs very comfortably. All Clad makes a very good stainless steel pan that's not included in a cookware set. However, we think the Made In stainless steel pan is of more value.

Can Stainless Steel Cookware Be Used On Induction Cooktops?

Yes! Your stainless steel cookware set can be used on an induction cooking surface if it is made of magnetic grade steel. One way to check is to use a magnet on the bottom of the cooking surface. If the magnet sticks to the stainless steel cookware, then the heat will transfer on your induction cooktop.

Is Stainless Steel Ovenproof?

Yes! Generally stainless steel cookware is oven (or broiler) friendly up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending whether your cookware is made entirely of stainless steel, the quality of the make, it can typically withstand the oven heat. 

Are Stainless Steel Cookware Lids Ovenproof?

Stainless steel lids are oven (or broiler) safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Note that some glass lids are oven safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The metal handels can become extremely hot. It's best to check the exact temperatures with your stainless steel cookware set guide or instructions.

What Are Stainless Steel Cookware Used For?

Most commonly sold in different configurations of cooking ware set, the classic, uncoated and long-lasting high grade metal suits all kinds of cooking techniques.

  • With enhanced heat distribution, sautéed foods are the most delicious when cooked in such pots and pans, and stockpot;
  • With enhanced heat retention, braised foods also turn out surprisingly well;
  • Because tiny pieces of meat or vegetables can stick and caramelize on the pans’ surface, deglazing with a glass of wine or chicken stock makes for the tastiest fonds;
  • Searing or frying is also very easy to handle when using the right cooking tips for cooking with steel
Stainless Steel Cookware

In a nutshell, as long as you have a bonded or clad stainless steel cookware – or other material options – you are sure to get the most flavored dishes with the least hassle. This really is the perfect alternative to Teflon-coated aluminum core cookware, which happens to be not only very easy to scratch, but also somewhat unsafe for your health. Plus it's also dishwasher safe.

And just to show you how good is this cookware, let’s ponder the goods and the bads of having such utensils in your kitchen.

On the plus side, this alloy is:

  • Heavy and durable;
  • Easy to care for;
  • Oven safe, broiler safe, and dishwasher safe (even the stockpot);
  • Nonreactive, thanks to the smart tri-ply clad construction;
  • Very resistant to chipping, bending, cracking, and even scratching;
  • Lots of cookware sizes available like 1 quart, 2 quart saucepan, 3 quart sauté pan, 6 quart frying pan, 8 and 10 inch saucepan with lid and base.
  • Very convenient since it doesn’t impart any kind of flavor to the food you cook in it.
stainless steel cookware

On the downside, steel in its various combinations is:

cooking pancakes on stainless steel water spots
  • A bit sensitive to sudden changes in temperature;
  • A tad vulnerable to discoloration or pitting when it gets in contact with salted water on high temperatures, mostly when the alloy contains less chromium;
  • Sometimes not as easy to clean and maintain in good condition if certain basic cooking rules are overlooked when handling it.

Is Stainless Steel Cookware With Aluminum Safe?

Since, as already indicated, steel usually has chromium, nickel and other potentially heavy metals in its composition, some people worry that it’s not safe for cooking. So you may look at your 10 inch steel pan and wonder.

Others, on the contrary, claim that it is actually completely non-reactive, therefore totally safe.

The truth is that the current production of this type of cookware is long focused on using as little cheap heavy metal core as possible.

The safest cookware (such brands as Calphalon, Cuisinart, Cook N Home, and other famous manufacturers) make use of a high-performing technology that leaves no room for metal leaking. 

Their cookware boasts impact-bonded aluminum bases that not only retain and conduct heat flawlessly but are also the safest and easiest to sanitize products currently on the market.

Combining steel alloy with aluminum is one of the best choices because:

  • You get to solve the heat transfer and distribution problem of steel;
  • Aluminum is in the inner layers, sandwiched between several other layers of stainless steel, precisely in order to avoid the potential leaks;
  • The process of introducing nickel in the alloy is very stable and also ensures that will be no transfer of metals during cooking.
  • The final material poses the tremendous advantage that it doesn’t contain Teflon at all, thus sparing you from the danger of ingesting those carcinogenic fumes that enter food once the Teflon layer starts deteriorating. That's why nonstick cookware isn't dishwasher safe.

Long story short, if you shop for the best quality products, you will enjoy the food you can get! While this statement alone should considerably ease your mind, it can still leave room for some other uncertainties.

If there are high-quality products on the market, completely safe to use, how can you spot the low-quality ones? Otherwise said…

Is Made In As Good As All Clad?

Made In is a much economical alternative than All Clad. All Clad is more expensive and made in China. Made In is made in the USA and is amde with 5-ply premium materials which is of excellent value for home cooks. If it's Made In vs All Clad, we recommend Made In because of the price.

Which Is Better All Clad or Calphalon?

While All Clad and Calphalon make stainless steel cookware sets, the main difference is the temperature rating on the lids and the price. For a stainless steel pan, All Clad is more expensive than Calphalon for the roughly the same product. When it comes to All Clad vs Calphalon, we recommend Calphaon

Can I use A Cast Iron Scrubber on Stainless Steel?

Yes you can. Quite often, you can wipe down stainless steel with a steel scrubber as well along with dish washer soap. A cast iron scrubber is chainmail has less hooks than a stainless steel scrubber but operates similiarly on cast iron.

Is Cast Iron Better Than Stainless Steel?

Cast iron is great for long slow cooking. However, it takes a long time to heat up and evenly. Stainless steel is quick to heat up and great for everyday cooking. In addition, the weight on stainless steel is a lot lighter. Cast iron contains more iron and thus heavier. In addition, cast iron may not work on all stovetops because of the iron composite. 

What is NOT so Good About Stainless Steel Cookware?

We wondered the same thing and we found some brands lacking in certain departments.

To spot the not so good steel cookware, the first thing to do would be to look at the warranty. A renowned brand offers a decent warranty for its products and a not so good one sadly doesn’t.

Aside from that, carefully read the product details, to understand what metals they have in their composition. Some stainless steel cookware is made of cheap materials (often sandwiched in between layers of stainless steel) with uneven cooking surfaces, and therefore, does not provide even heating.

The more features you will read about and the more products you will get to compare, the easier it will be for you to spot the low-quality products that you should really avoid.

Some helpful queues would include the following aspects:

  • The less chromium a cookware has, the higher the chances that it will rust in time. Perfect for those that use the dishwasher because it's dishwasher safe.
  • The plain steel cookware, with no addition of aluminum or copper, is also more vulnerable to tear;
  • If the handles of the cookware are made of plastic and aren’t even riveted to the stainless steel pan, the chances for them to melt when exposed to hot temperatures are higher and your efforts to clean them will be more consistent.
  • If the product is too light, chances are it will also present a lot of hot spots, making it difficult to cook food evenly.

From the low cost and weight of the product to the anonymity of the manufacturer, all these are indicators that you should be focusing on other products available out there.

While you do so, consider the following:


Technical and Practical Aspects of Choosing The Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Now that you know the basics, you probably wonder what surfaces can steel cookware be used on, whether it is fit for induction cooktop and glass top stoves or how difficult will it be for you to clean it up…

For starters, versatility is one of the biggest advantages of relying on steel as cookware in the kitchen. Think of it as a true workhorse, perfect to use for anything from deep-fried dishes to finger licking stews, all cooked pretty much everywhere from stovetop to oven (or broiler).

Since induction is one of the biggest concerns of our readers, allow us to set things straight in this chapter:

How to Take Proper Care of Your Steel Cookware Set

Taking care of these products refers to both the most recommended cooking techniques and how to clean them when you’re done cooking. These apply to pots and pans, and your favorite stainless steel stockpot. Keep the surface nice and they will serve you well in the long term. 

The basics of handling such cookware include:

  • Preheat your stainless steel pans before adding oil or other ingredients, rather on medium heat than on high heat – that’s because steel always expands when it gets hot and contracts when its temperature drops down suddenly, making the cooler part (the newly added ingredient) to stick to its hot surface;
  • Never try to forcefully remove dried bits of food stuck on its bottom, but rather soak it and use gentle, nonabrasive sponges with baking soda or Bar Keeper’s Friend to clean it up;
  • Boil a mixture of water with vinegar in it to remove pitting (which shows up because of the salt water previously boiled in it) and fade away discoloration;
  • Dry it with paper towels after washing, to avoid the appearance of water spots;
  • Avoid using bleach when cleaning the cookware because it will strip way the chromium oxide layer from its surface and leave room for rust to develop.
Proper Care of Stainless Steel Cookware
Proper Care of Stainless Steel Cookware

If the staining is too hard, fill the pot or the pan with water; let it boil for about 20 minutes until you can easily scratch the tough burnt stains with a wooden spoon; drizzle it with Bar Keeper’s Friend or baking soda and gently scrub with a mesh dishcloth. Repeat, this time with vinegar added into the water if the burn still doesn’t go away gently.

If rust shows up, you should scrub it again, with Bar Keeper’s Friend or with a paste of tartar cream and lemon juice (as a natural alternative); dry it thoroughly and wait for a couple of days until the protective layer of chromium oxide will form again.

Those who were wondering is steel cookware non-stick are probably a bit disappointed right now, but there’s really no need to! The following tips will make you feel more confident than ever about making this choice.

non stick stainless steel cookware

Is Steel Cookware Non-Stick?

The term of non-stick defines the cookware surface coated with PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), like the ones manufactured by Teflon.

But if you are already familiarized with the controversies floating around the safety of cooking with Teflon-coated pots and pans , you will want to read more about the amazing alternative that steel alloy cookware provides.

This material, even though it isn’t a non-stick option by definition, it allows you to get similar results by simply heating the pan properly.

The water droplet trick (also known as the Leidenfrost effect) is a great way to see if the pan has reached the optimum temperature:

  • If the droplet remains intact and starts moving around the pan, the temperature is perfect;
  • If it splits into smaller droplets and moves around, you’re close, but you still need to wait a bit;
  • If it bubbles and evaporates quickly, the temperature is still too low.

Depending on what you get, you can take the pan off the heat or keep it longer and repeat the test. Either way, make sure you wipe de droplets before pouring in the oil.

Alternatively, you can try the butter test: place a cube of butter in the hot pan and spread it with a spoon. If it suddenly starts browning, the temperature is too high. You will know you got the right temperature if it starts bubbling briskly over even heat.

Once you have obtained the desired temperature, you just need to add just enough oil to coat its bottom with a very thin layer. You wait again until you notice smoke starting to come out gently, and then you can add in the ingredients.

Meat will sear up perfectly under these circumstances, as long as you let it sit until it’s perfectly seared on that side. Small chunks of meat stuck to the pan only if you try to flip it too early.

To sum up, you can use your steel cookware as if it’s non-stick if you:

  • Heat it to medium temperature;
  • Wait for the oil to be properly heated;
  • Wait for the meat to sear and release from the pan’s bottom on its own.
non stick stainless steel cookware

When you’re done, don’t just pour water into the hot pan. Let it cool off at the room temperature and even soak it in soapy warm water for a while. 

And just in case you were wondering if this cookware is dishwasher safe, again, an encouraging answer: Yes, most of them are! But just to be on the safe side, always look up for the manufacturer’s indications. 

One benefit of using a stainless steel set is oven safety. Non stick pans have a surface coating that is formed in a kiln at high temperature. When these surfaces are put in an oven, they will usually melt and become sticky which ruins the pan. With stainless steel, the skillet, handles, lids, and rivets are oven safe. 

You have two choices...

Most people read up to this point and quite enjoy the thought of owning stainless steel pan, or stainless steel cookware sets. 

And they are presented with one decision with two choices:

  1. Do nothing - This is the simpliest choice. You'll be using the same cookware you have in your kitchen. You'll wish that your food will turn out tasting great, safe to use, have good heat conductivity, and great cooking performance. You won't be able to experience the value of a stainless steel cookware set.
  2. Buy a new stainless steel cookware set - You'll can get the best Made In cookware set or the Cook N Home 10 piece set which is the best 10 piece set for starting home cooks. You can be busting that new 10 inch shiny new steel pan (or sauté pan) that has even heating and sear some tasty fish. Or you can bring out the 3 quart, 5 quart or 8 quart stockpot and slow cook some delicious chicken noodle soup. Either way you'll be indulging in the food cooked over layers of stainless steel.

The choice is yours. But if you choose choice #2, here's the cookware set, here's our favorite sets: 

Our guide to finding the best stainless steel cookware sets and pots and pans should be your go-to resource when you need helping finding your next steel pan.

Again to summarize, stainless steel pots and pans, skillets and stockpot are very versatile. Whether you decide to get a set with 2 quart, 3 quart saucepan. 6 quart saucepan, clad stainless, clad cookware is a fantastic addition to your high end kitchen. It's oven safe, dishwasher safe and offers a variety of pots and pans. 

The top cookware set mentioned above has pans that distribute heat evenly. As you know, heat is a major factor in cooking that you must control as a home cook. Your food will be a product of your cookware quality. 

If you would like to read more about these individual stainless steel cookware sets in greater detail, click the links in the table above. 

Whatever extra questions you may have, feel free to ask!

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About the author 

Nate Lau

Nate is an aspiring chef, and father of two. He is always on the lookout to try new healthy recipes and kitchen gadgets. He has a passion for cooking delicious miso black cod and enjoys a nice sip of pinot on occasion.

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