Running on a tight budget, and looking to get a budget cookware that is still pretty decent in quality? Good news is that it’s possible. To this end, I have combed through dozens of cookware sets with prices under $100, yet they have an average customer reviews of four stars and above, so you don’t have to. Moreover, I have also studied materials provided by companies and read customer reviews on Amazon before laying it all out in this post.
Straight up, within this price range, you will be looking at aluminum cookware here; therefore, if its perceived health risks and tendency to leach into food don’t bother you, then these sets will be right for you.
Here are the best cookware sets which you can buy and certified of their quality, all for under $100.
T-fal C530SC Signature Nonstick Expert Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set, 12-Piece
- 7.75-inch and 11-inch fry pans
- 1-quart and 2-quart saucepans with lids
- 5-quart dutch oven with lid
- 10.25-inch griddle
- Spoon, ladle, slotted spatula
For only $61, last I checked on Amazon, the T-fal Signature line is a steal. It is made of aluminum, which you think might be very thin, but many buyers have been surprised by what they got instead, which is quality to say the least. The interior is coated with nonstick surface which is lead-, cadmium-, PFOA-, and metal-utensil safe; and the lids are tempered glass which is also vented. Vented lids, in case you didn’t know, offer several advantages over non-vented lids in that they allow steam to escape. In addition, they also help prevent boiling over. The handles are ergonomically designed, making them comfortable to hold, and are oven-safe up to 350 ° F.
To make it easy to preheat the pans, the line also features a Thermo-Spot heat indicator, which lets you know when the pan is hot and ready to cook. Once the pan is heated up, which is very fast due to the aluminum construction, little or no oil can be used, and food will not stick to it due to the nonstick coating. This also means cleaning will be very easy, and if you would so prefer, just dump everything into the dishwasher, as it’s also dishwasher-safe.
Only complaints received have been about the cookware’s durability, which comes as no surprise due to its aluminum construction. Many users have said the pieces showed signs of chipping after repeated use over a few months; therefore, extra care should be taken when using them.
You can get the Signature line here
Vremi 15 Piece Nonstick Cookware Set – Kitchen Pots and Pans Set Nonstick with Cooking Utensils
- 1.1-quart saucepan with glass lid
- 1.5-quart saucepan with glass lid
- 2.1-quart saucepan with glass lid
- 5.3-quart stockpot with glass lid
- 8″ frypan
- 10″ frypan
With a lower price tag, at almost $50, and more to offer, the Vremi nonstick cookware might set off the initial response that it seems too good to be true. But let’s dig a little deeper and see if that’s true. Like the T-fal Signature line, the Vremi line is also made of aluminum, which heats up quickly and evenly. Also, the formation of hotspots can be avoided as a result of this. The handles are cool to touch during cooking, and the utensils are made of FDA-approved nylon. In regard to whether the pieces are oven-safe or not, the manufacturers have stated that they are, but to what degrees Fahrenheit is unclear. Therefore, as a requisite to cooking with nonstick cookware, you are always advised to cook over low or medium heat only–below the recommended temperature of 500 ° F.
About this, immediately the thing that caught my attention is that the cookware is advertised as PTFE/PFOA free. To my knowledge, nonstick coating that is either ceramic- or silicone-based only will be PTFE free, but if it’s not, then there will be some form of PTFE. That said, I guess the coating in the line is ceramic or silicone-based, but then again, it’s not stated, hence the confusion. Anyway, that’s just probably me being a little cautious. If it’s stated as such, I guess there is really no reason to doubt it.
In terms of cleaning, everything is very easy to clean due to the nonstick coating, and it’s also dishwasher safe. That said, to preserve the coating, it’s best that you wash it by hand. You may also not want to stack the pots and pans after cleaning them, as the metal-on-metal contact could cause scrapes to them.
The only complaints received have been about the cookware’s durability, like the T-fal Signature line. Many users have reviewed that the set could easily be bent and warped, therefore, careful use is also required.
You can get the Vremi line in either rainbow or black here
13 Pieces Heavy Duty Cookware Set – Black, by Utopia Kitchen
- 20cm fry pan
- 24cm fry pan
- 14cm sauce pan with lid
- 18cm sauce pan with lid
- 24cm casserole with lid
- 5 nylon cooking spoons
Made of 3003 aluminum, which is an inexpensive form of aluminum that’s very pliable, allowing it to easily form the cookware, this heavy duty line by Utopia Kitchen is among the best sellers on Amazon with an attractive price tag to boot–at around $38 after discount, last I checked. Although inexpensive, it’s certainly not substandard, as this particular aluminum is very popular for cookware use and, in fact, more rust resistant than other alloys.
But certainly, the other reason to get this cookware is its excellent thermal conductivity. Due to this, it is great for frying eggs and omelets as well as sautéing vegetables. (Just remember not to use acidic ingredients, as aluminum is porous and will react to them.) After frying the eggs, the cookware is also very easy to clean, as its interior is lined with nonstick coating, which is PFOA-, lead-, and cadmium-free.
If you’re feeling lazy, you can also put the pots and pans into the dishwasher after using them, but using a soft scrubber and sponge with a few drops of dishwashing soap is recommended for cleaning Teflon coating. Also, use plastic or wooden instead of metal utensils to preserve the life of the coating.
Not surprisingly, like other aluminum cookware sets, this line, too, has gotten a bummer of a review about its durability. Many have said the pans and the plastic utensils can be bend by using their bare hands alone. Also, due to the rings on the bottom of the heat diffuser being made very thin and therefore sharp, some people have accidentally cut themselves while washing it.
You can get the Utopia Kitchen line here