Cookware

Trends in Cookware and Top Five Cookware Sets

When you need to revamp your kitchen cookware, you’ll often get confronted with two options. You can choose to either buy the individual cookware which is part of a set one at a time or buy a whole set at once.

The former is a good option when you are on a limited budget yet is often tiring and you will probably end up with cookware sets that are not matching.

Thus, the most practical solution is purchasing your complete set of matching pots and pans that will appear good in on a rack or in your pantry.

You can get these cookware sets at bargain costs. The only problem with this choice is that if you aren’t careful, you may end up cluttering the kitchen with worthless pots and pans.

To save you kitchen space and money, you require the skill of analyzing the best cookware set that provides you items that you will definitely use.

There’s an array of cookware set designs ranging from copper, non-stick enamel, cast iron to stainless steel.

Cookware purchasing guide

Whether you are only doing simple meals like boiling pasta or you are planning to cook gourmet food for entertaining, cookware is important.

You might just need an entire new cookware set or specific cheap pieces. Or if you are an experienced cook, you may be shopping for top-quality pots and pans to suit your advanced cooking needs.

For others, they may need to increase the size of cookware to suit a growing family or replace older ones.

Even when you buy a full cookware set, it is not strange to add a couple of new pieces that were not included in the cookware set, such as a roasting pan, a cast-iron Dutch oven, a nonstick frying pan, or a grill pan.

The trendiest cookware pieces are saute or fry pans for food items such as eggs, steaks, and burgers.

Other common ones are saucepans for cooking sauces and soups, steaming veggies, cooking pasta and making mac and cheese.

You can use stockpots for larger meals, as well as to make soup stock. Dutch ovens are the best for cooking food in large quantities that will not fit in the saucepot or making chili.

You can get cookware in an array of prices: Single starter cookware may sell for under $15, expensive ones may be ranging in the several hundred.

Also, there are luxury cookware sets that will cost thousands of dollars.

Not everybody requires an expensive cookware set; however, it is good to shop for the top quality if you can manage to pay for as it will last longer and work well.

Pots and pans are available in a range of materials, sizes and shapes. You can get them with or without decorative or nonstick coatings.

Whether you want a pot for cooking jam or a pan for searing steaks, there is a cookware piece that is well-suited for your lifestyle and your kitchen.

Features to consider when selecting the best cookware sets include:

Sustainability

This is not always a determining factor for some consumers; however, it is more essential than you think. Most of the cookware materials, which are good for the environment, are often good for your health, as well.

The important materials to stay away from here are Teflon, PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), or raw aluminum. Aluminum itself is quite reactive to acidic food items such as tomatoes.

For this reason, Aluminium is usually treated using a chemical to help in creating anodized aluminum. This means that more chemicals get introduced into cookware.

Teflon is popular among nonstick cookware. At high temperatures, Teflon can break down and leak poisonous substances into the food.

Teflon coated cookware should be safe for use so long as you maintain temperatures of 500°F and below.

Stainless steel is the best choice for sustainable pans and pots. It is safe for cooking at all temperatures, and it often lasts longer, which is good for the environment.

Durability

You do not want to purchase a cookware set only to have to replace it in a couple of years. With the correct materials, pans and pots may last for years.

Nonstick and stainless steel are very popular for being user-friendly and offering a constant heat temperature.

Non-stick pots and pans will cope with high temperatures but they do not last as long as  stainless steel, particularly if you regularly toss them in your dishwasher.

Anodized aluminum, cast iron, carbon steel often gets stain and rust. Stainless steel, conversely, is very durable and resistant to scratches.

Cleanup

Your cookware’s durability will greatly depend on the effort and time you spend maintaining it.

You can purchase dishwasher-safe stainless steel if you want a low-maintenance choice. Some meals might stick to it; however, it is good to allow it to soak for a little bit first, and then allow the dishwasher to deal with the rest.

Nonstick cookware set, conversely, are not always dishwasher-friendly. Some of the coatings might get eroded by high water temperatures.

Other kinds of cookware, particularly copper, carbon steel, and cast iron, are harder to clean up.

Heating

A cookware set’s heat distribution can make or break your food. A skillet will not help you much if your steak emerges medium on one side and medium-rare on the other.

A cookware set’s heating abilities shows how evenly and fast your meals heat up and whether you can use your cookware in the oven or on different kinds of stovetops.

Stainless steel provides an amazing distribution of heat. In addition, it can withstand high heat better than nonstick pots and pans. This means you can use the cookware in the oven or on the stove.

Another good conductor of heat is aluminum, which is why you will regularly see it and copper included in tri-ply stainless steel, but it is costly.

Design 

Provided that you are purchasing a cookware set for practical use, usage is more essential than visual appeal. However, that does not mean you should avoid a good-looking product.

Cookware might appear stylish or inexpensive, and design usually affects the cost. Inexpensive cookware sets usually do not look as great and their looks deteriorate rather fast, because of lower durability.

Stainless steel will maintain its visual appeal, as it is easy to clean up, durable and scratch-resistant.

If you adhere to washing guidelines and stay away from high temperatures for your nonstick cookware sets, they should look great for an extended period, as well.

Apart from the look, the design has an impact on how the cookware feels to use as well. Non-stick cookware and lighter stainless steel are simpler to handle than sets made of heavy cast iron.

It will be easier to wield a skillet or saucepan with a single stick handle than two small handles. To avoid breakage, stay away from cookware that has plastic side handles.

What’s a cookware set?

This is a set of pans and pots, which cover the important cooking tasks that most kitchens require. It usually has at least ten pieces which includes the following:

  • 8-quart stockpot with lid
  • 3- or 4-quart saucepan with lid
  • 3- or 4-quart skillet with lid
  • 10- or 12-inch skillet
  • 8- or 10-inch skillet
  • 1.5- or 2-quart saucepan with lid

With a ten-piece cookware set in the kitchen, you can do many cooking chores, from sauteing veggies and searing meats, to making sauces and heating butter.

Understanding the most popular cookware material

Copper

Copper usually heats and cools fast. Unfortunately, it is also reactive to acidic food items and can stain with time and use. For this reason, it needs maintenance to ensure it looks shiny.

Some cookware made of this material has just a thin layer of copper on the pan’s outer surface that’s only for appearance. However, top-quality copper cookware is usually designed wholly from copper.

This means usually with a thin coating of stainless steel or tin on the outer surface so you can use it with any kind of food.

Indeed, copper cookware isn’t a well-suited induction cooktop; however, stainless types with a decorative coating of copper are compatible with induction cooktops.

Nonstick

Choosing a nonstick cookware set, whether it is nonstick pans or nonstick pots makes sure you don’t have discoloration on it.

In addition, it will make cooking stains such as foods, oil, and grease easier to clean out of the cookware.

Make sure you look at the level of temperature of your nonstick to ensure that it can survive high levels of heat.

Top-quality nonstick ceramic pots and pans mean you will use less oil in food preparation. For this reason, you should just purchase those made with high-quality materials.

Try and save up to purchase high quality nonstick cookware as it will be cheaper in the long run.

While the uncoated type isn’t a popular cookware material, coated ones are perfect as nonstick materials bond easily to the metal. This helps protect the aluminum and make the coating more durable.

Apart from having interior coatings that are nonstick, some aluminum pans and pots have an anodized outer part. This area helps to harden the metal, creating a colored surface to help protect the outer surface from corrosion and stains.

Anodized cookware often features either a thin stainless steel layer or a nonstick coated interior on the inner part, so there’s no exposure of the aluminum.

You cannot use aluminum on induction cooktops unless the cookware bottom comes with a stainless steel disk to let the induction cooktop recognize it.

While nonstick aluminum pots and pans are dishwasher safe, you have to read the instructions or contact the manufacturer to be sure.

Steel

While steel pans aren’t as popular as other household cookware materials, blue steel, and carbon steel is at times used for frying pans.

You should season the cookware before use and oil after you cook to prevent rusting in storage.

The enameled coating will protect the steel from getting rust; however, if the coating cracks or chips, rusting will take place.

Steel cookware is compatible with induction cooktops; however, if it has a very thin material, the induction may not identify it well.

Cast iron

This material is good at retaining heat, which makes it perfect for braising, frying, searing and baking. In addition, it can help in keeping food warm after you finish cooking.

It is extremely heavy, so it is hard to get in and out of storage or move on your stove. Cast iron cookware will be either coated or uncoated; both types can be used on the induction cooktop easily.

The uncoated type requires some special clean up and care; however, it usually arrives pre-seasoned, so you can use it immediately. More seasoning and cooking can make it even more nonstick ultimately.

You should not use the uncoated type with acidic foods such as tomatoes. Thoroughly seasoned pans will tolerate some acidic meals for short times.

An uncoated type of cast iron is almost indestructible. You can use it over a campfire, in the oven, on a stovetop, and possibly even on a grill. However, you should wash it by hand and might require re-seasoning occasionally.

Coated type of cast iron cookware, often coated using enameled material layers, doesn’t require seasoning. It is also safe for usage with acidic food items.

Some cast-iron pots and pans have a shiny colored enameled outer surface with a rough lusterless inside surface. This surface will often look like uncoated cast iron but is impermeable to acidic food items.

Some coated types are safe to use in the dishwasher. However, you need to check the instructions that come with the item or consult the manufacturer to be certain as dishwasher detergent can damage the coating.

Stainless steel

This is one of the most popular kinds available in the market, and for the best reason. It will not stain or rust, and it isn’t reactive when you cook acidic food items.

Stainless steel will cope with high heat and you can use it on induction cooktops. While the material will often be costly, pots will be made less costly by making the pots’ side thinner.

On the other hand, the expensive pots often have thicker sides and are bulkier overall.

Some expensive stainless steel cookware has layers of other metals, which are sandwiched inside the material. This will help offer the best cooking advantages of the combined metals.

Some stainless steel cookware features a disk attached to the pot’s bottom, which offers some of the similar advantages of clad cookware at a cheaper price.

To select the best cookware material, think about what is essential to you. Where do you prepare your meals regularly (oven vs. stovetops)? Is ease of clean up more essential to you than temperature control?

What to consider in a cookware set

What should you look for when purchasing a cookware set? Here are important considerations:

Price

Do you want the best price for the cookware set? It is essential to think about your needs? If you do not cook regularly, a budget set may work very well.

But if you would like to have more control over your cooking, an expensive better quality choice might make you much happier.

Usually, expensive cookware offers better quality cookware sets that last for a long time; however, that will mainly depend on the material used.

Be careful when it comes to buying big cookware sets since the number of cookware increases the cost as well.

Never allow a 14 or 17 cookware set to entice you if you will never use many of the items in the set. Choose a more practical 10 or 12 cookware set instead.

Shape

There’s a large array of pots in different shapes, such as grill pans. Generally, shallow, wide pans are perfect for cooking food items where you want evaporation. Shallow pots are perfect for minimizing sauces.

Narrow, tall pots are ideal when you aim to reduce liquid evaporation, such as when you are preparing pasta.

Lids

When purchasing a cookware set, you can commonly find more pots than lids, as it is most likely there are some interchangeable lids. When purchasing cookware a piece at a time, you should buy a lid.

However, if you have other pots and pans, you might already have a lid that fits perfectly. Lids are usually designed from the same pot material to help them tolerate the same heat.

Some lids are created with glass, which means you are able to see your meals as they cook without lifting the lid.

The lids might be unable to cope with the high oven temperature so you need to take them out when cooking in an oven.

Easy to handle

Most kitchens have a problem with storage space, and cookware may occupy lots of that precious space.

Easy to nest sets can help in saving pantry or cabinets space; however, you will have to get the entire set out to choose the one item you need.

And while extra-large frying pans, woks, and big stockpots will be beneficial, those pieces may not fit in a cupboard. You may therefore need to think of other storage options for such sets

Heat

While looking at your cookware maximum heat resistance, purchasing one created with materials that allow for quicker and even heat distribution is the best option. This means you will have quicker cook time and food that’s evenly cooked.

It’s good to have higher heat resistivity as it is more difficult for your product(s) to have heat damage.

Size

With cookware, the size will always make a huge difference. Smaller frying pans are good for cooking an egg or two.

The big pots are just what you require to cook huge batches of soup stock. There is no wrong or right answer when it comes to the best cookware piece size.

It will only depend on how much you want to cook at one time and the number of people you are planning to cook for.

While some may like small cookware for personal food items, other people may prefer big cookware, so they can prepare meals in advance and freeze food.

Dishwasher-safe

If you own a dishwasher, it’s good to have a cookware set that’s dishwasher-friendly as this will save you the time you would spend hand washing the cookware.

Handles

Insulated type of handles are user-friendly as well as a safe choice. While cooking gloves are good, their thickness doesn’t allow for the right feel and handling.

Buying a set with “always cool” handles is essential and will make things easier in the kitchen.

You can find several kinds of handle insulation with a few manufacturers making the handles pure non-heat conductors or coating the handles.

In addition, you can consider getting handles having holes for hanging since they will make your cookware set easy to dry and provide you easy storage.

Versatility

Cookware sets come in a range of types and sizes. Some are designed to be oven-friendly.

Be considerate about what you require from the cookware. If you frequently cook both in the oven and on stovetops, a cookware set that is compatible with both will suit you.

Get aluminum, cast iron, stainless steel and copper sets. If your recipes often lean more stovetop-only, the best choice to get is a nonstick cookware set.

In addition, consider the recipes you use. If you are creating lots of sauces, cookware sets with more pans might be more helpful to you than those with additional steamers and griddles.

Why do I require a cookware set?

A cookware set seems like a good idea; however, do you actually require one? Here are considerations to help you know if require a cookware set.

On a tight budget

Usually, sets are more inexpensive than buying all 10 pieces separately. The reason being, manufacturers make these products to function as a set, and they may be a bit smaller than those sold on their own.

While you might ultimately have to purchase random special recipe items, such as a crockpot for cooking or a cast-iron skillet for S’mores, a cookware set will suit most of your needs.

Moving into a new home

If you are moving into a new home, you will want the cookware to prepare food with. Cookware sets are an ideal housewarming present for you or anybody else in the same position, such as graduates and newlyweds.

Replacing several items of cookware at once

If your cookware is outdated or you’ve misplaced multiple pans and pots and their lids over time, it will usually be more economical to buy a new set than purchase the individual pieces of cookware.

The best brands of cookware sets

The list of the best brands includes Calphalon, Rachael Ray, Cuisinart and T-fal and not in any particular order. A more detailed review of some of these brands of nonstick pots and nonstick pans can be read on our kitchenhandsdown blog.

Here’s more detailed information to help you buy the best product to suit your needs.

Calphalon

These cookware sets are available in 3 categories, stainless steel, nonstick and ceramic.

The warranty will cover defects in craftsmanship and material under normal home use and will leave out any damage from abuse and mishandling or usage in a commercial establishment.

Rachael Ray

This brand includes household gadgets, cutlery, bakeware, furniture, kitchen tools, teapots, and cookware. The cookware sets, which include the stainless steel and non-stick versions, range from $80 – $150.

Cuisinart

Cuisinart offers the best food processors. It also makes an array of other kitchenware, which include a collection of nonstick pans and pots.

Presently, Cuisinart offers major cookware versions, the stainless steel and the nonstick versions. Those models that are nonstick will easily release food so clean up is a breeze. This cookware is perfect for daily cooking.

Stainless steel finish models provide an elegant addition to any kitchen. These are great for use at home and can last for a very long time

T-fal

T-fal cookware sets come in four major versions. They include Hard Anodized, Ceramic, Non-stick Titanium and Stainless Steel. All have a limited lifetime warranty on craftsmanship, construction, and material under normal usage.

You can get this model in an array of stunning colors that will take your cooking skills to a whole new level.

Conclusion

Cookware is important in our lives. Not only will it transform the way we cook, but it will also make clean up easy and fast when you are done cooking.

Regardless of your budget, you’ll get an appropriate cookware set to match your needs and without spending too much.