The reason to get a good stainless steel cookware is simple: It is said to last you a lifetime. Sure, the cost may be a little high, but it will more than pay for itself, especially when you consider the need to replace the cookware often with other materials. For stainless steel cookware sets that have greater durability and longevity as well as offer you greater versatility in the kitchen, these selections here will quite simply match your needs.
Click on a link below to quickly know what to get, or read on to learn more about stainless steel cookware.
- Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set
- Best Value Stainless Steel Cookware Set
- Best Budget Stainless Steel Cookware Set
- Best Stainless Steel Saucepan
- Best Stainless Steel Fry Pan
- Best Stainless Steel Saute Pan
- Best Stainless Steel Sauce Pot
- Best Stainless Steel Roaster
- Best Stainless Steel Dutch Oven
What is Stainless Steel
This question may seem like something you are too embarrassed to ask, but let’s ask, together, and know the answer to it. To put it simply, stainless steel is an alloy—meaning a metal made by combining two or more metallic elements—of carbon and iron. This type of metal is very resistant to rust, staining, and corrosion. In addition, it’s also very easy to maintain which when taken everything into consideration makes it ideal for a variety of applications for a variety of industries.
Especially when there is prolonged exposure to water, air, heat, and moisture, the usage of stainless steel is particularly suitable. Also due to its polished reflective appearance, it has become a popular design element, used in sculptures and modern furniture, for example. To create a certain desired effect on top of what’s already inherent in the stainless steel, most metallurgical engineers will also manipulate the properties by adding nickel, titanium, aluminum, or other elements.
Stainless Steel Cookware
It goes without saying due to the desired characteristics of stainless steel, it is very suitable for cookware use. Not only is it very strong, rust- and corrosion- resistant but easy to care for, which thereby makes it easy for you. After cooking with it, if you prefer, you can also dump everything into the dishwasher, as the durability of the stainless steel makes it able to withstand the water pressure and washing cycles of the machine.
Accordingly, it is also in this durability that makes the stainless steel cookware able to tolerate high levels of heat. Unlike nonstick cookware which you are required to use it safely, under 500 degrees Fahrenheit, you can otherwise cook over high heat with this cookware, without damaging the pieces. Cooking over high heat in particular is great for getting a good sear on meats; therefore, if you do this often along with stir-frying and pan-frying, then this material type will be perfect for you.
While nonstick cookware can indeed be healthier to cook with, as you have the option to use less or no oil when cooking with it, it is not great in creating better fond (browned bits of vegetables or meats stuck to the bottom of pots and pans) though. For this, it is said that stainless steel is a better material for the task, as well as giving your food a richer color for more flavor. Most stainless steel cookware sets will also often be magnetic, making them induction compatible, and they will also be oven- and broiler-safe (depending on the handle material.)
Pros of Stainless Steel Cookware
- Very long lasting—it resists dings, dents, scratches, rust, and corrosion very well.
- Very versatile—can be used over high heat; can be used directly from the stovetop to the oven; can be used in the refrigerator.
- Dishwasher safe.
- Often magnetic, and can be used with induction cooktops.
- Nonreactive—won’t react to acidic foods.
Cons of Stainless Steel Cookware
- Pure stainless steel cookware does not conduct heat well and evenly, which is why it’s often fused with higher thermal conductivity metals.
- Usually more pricey than other materials.
- Tend to discolor under high heat.
How to Clean Stainless Steel Cookware
If used improperly, stainless steel cookware is said to present some tough cleaning challenges. Brown spots or discoloration may occur which can be very difficult to remove, especially with regular cleaning alone. This will not affect the performance of the cookware, but presumably you, like me, would like to keep your stainless steel cookware looking bright and shiny at all times. To do this, simply follow the instructions below to learn how to clean various types of stains. Also, say hello to Bar Keepers Friend, a non-bleach, non-abrasive cleaner, that you would love to call on for every tough stain removal. You can get it here.
1: How to clean food residue or buildup from the cookware. If bits of food have stuck and crusted onto your stainless steel pots and pans, soak the pieces in warm, soapy water for several hours. After that, drain the water and then use a scouring pad to scrub off the built-up food. If possible, do no use steel wool pads, although effective, as they are very harsh on the surface of the cookware.
2. How to clean brown spots or discolored areas from the cookware. Brown spots or discolored areas are largely caused by constant high heat. In this respect, the higher the chrome content in the stainless steel, the less prone it is to occur, according to the Cookware Manufacturers Association. So whenever possible, try and get the 18/10 stainless steel, which numbers refer to the composition of the steel with 18% chromium and 10% nickel. The other numbers you will commonly see are 18/8 and 18/0.
If brown spots occur, simply sprinkle some Bar Keepers Friends along with a little water, and then use a good scrubbing pad to remove them. Optionally, you may also use a combination of baking soda and warm water, and then a dry cloth or sponge to scrub them off.
3. How to clean any water spots from the cookware. Water spots can occur if there is high mineral content in your water, also known as hard water, or if your cookware has been exposed to added compounds like fluoride. If they occur, simply douse the pots and pans with some club soda (yes you heard it right), rinse them off, and then use a clean cloth to wipe them dry. If possible, try hand drying your pieces, as this will most likely prevent the water spots from occurring in the first place.
How to Choose Stainless Steel Cookware
More often than not, when you select a stainless steel cookware, you will be spending quite a bit of money on it. Therefore, it should satisfy you in more ways than one. This means it should last for a very long time, be very versatile, and perform well—not to mention also be very easy and comfortable to use.
Immediately, the first thing that comes to mind with which fulfills these criteria is the fully clad tri-ply stainless steel. Fully clad means the cookware has an aluminum core that extends all the way up the cookware’s sides, ensuring even heat distribution, whereas tri-ply means three layers have been bonded together to form the cookware. Usually, for a tri-ply cookware, the three layers fused together will be stainless steel-aluminum-stainless steel, indicating two layers of stainless steel surrounding an aluminum core. As a result, you will benefit from the advantages conferred by both materials instead of only one while at the same time avoiding the disadvantages presented by one material.
If combining three layers is better than one, why not combine more, you may ask. Yes, in the world of ply cookware, you also have the option to choose 5-ply and 7-ply, even. These options do in fact have more materials bonded together; however, the pros have tested them and said tri-ply actually heated more evenly. In other words, what they are really saying is that there is no point getting beyond the tri-ply. Moreover, as more layers fuse into the cookware, they will also be more expensive.
Of course, while the fully clad tri-ply cookware is very much recommended, its price may not be for everyone. For something a little more down to earth, and can also tackle any cooking job without any hiccups, you can get the stainless steel cookware with tri-ply disks, also known as encapsulated bottoms. This type of cookware is a notch below fully clad, but it can distribute heat more evenly as compared to pure stainless steel alone.
So, at the very least try to get a stainless steel cookware with tri-ply disks instead of one that is made from a single piece of stainless steel.
Stainless Steel Cookware Reviews 2017
Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set – All Clad 10-Pc Set
Take any stainless steel cookware and compare it with the All-Clad Tri-Ply Stainless Steel 10-Piece Set, and it’s likely that the latter will come out on top in performance and durability. Chicken pieces have been reported to be sauteed very evenly, turning out perfectly golden brown, and caramel to be made until it appeared evenly-colored and very quickly, too, in its skillet and saucepan respectively.
All of this is made possible due to the All-Clad set’s superior heat conduction, enabled by its fully clad tri-ply construction. But of course, a top-of-the-line cookware must not only have excellent performance but it also must be comfortable to use. To satisfy this, the All-Clad set also offers stick handles with a rounded bottom that has a nice ergonomic feel.
The handles are also provided at a comfortable angle so that you can quickly move the pieces around the stovetop, even with one hand. The only drawback to this set is that it is quite pricey, but it’s worth noting that this is a buy-for-lifetime set. This means you buy it once, and it’s likely you will never have to replace it.
Best Value Stainless Steel Cookware Set – Cuisinart Multiclad Pro 12-Pc Set
I know asking you to drop more than $600 for the best stainless steel cookware set is not easy, even though it’s a buy-it-for-lifetime set. The good thing as a consumer is you have choices. And a very solid option, which is also my top pick best cookware set 2017 is the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro cookware set.
With a fully clad tri-ply construction, the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro set is also a knockout performer in heat conduction, but was slighty outdone by the All-Clad set. Chicken breasts have been reported to be sauteed until golden brown, though some pieces were lighter than others, and caramel to be made until it appeared even-colored, though more swirling was required, in its skillet and saucepan respectively. Also, caramel took longer to make in this saucepan than the All-Clad saucepan.
As for the handle, the MultiClad Pro set offers stick handles that are secured with rivets, with an appropriate length and angle. However, because they are more narrow and thin than the handles of the All-Clad set’s pieces, they are not as comfortable to use than the latter.
That said, what really makes the MultiClad Pro set a winner is because of its price. Though costing almost three times lesser than the All-Clad set, it’s still able to compete very closely with the All-Clad set. I also particularly like the MultiClad Pro’s mirror finish as compared to the starburst finish used on the All-Clad set for food release.
Best Budget Stainless Steel Cookware Set – Calphalon Classic 10-Pc Set
If you for some reason don’t quite fancy the Cuisinart brand in my Cuisinart MultiClad Pro recommendation but still like all that it has to offer, then this Calphalon Classic set will make a great option. I say this because in terms of how the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro set compares to this set in construction, design, performance, and even price, they are very similar.
Both the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro set and this set have the fully clad tri-ply construction. Both have a brushed stainless steel exterior and mirror finish interior. And both distribute heat really well, ensuring even cooking, but with more effort required as compared to my top pick.
The main difference between the two sets lies in what’s included in their sets. While the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro offers 12 pieces in its set, the Calphalon Classic offers 10 pieces. The former’s set includes 2 saucepans, 2 skillets, a saute pan, a stock pot, and a steamer insert; while the latter’s set includes 3 omelette pans, 2 saucepans with lids, a chef’s pan with a lid, a stock pot with a lid, and a saute pan with a lid.
Which cookware set you should select then, besides the brand consideration, should be based on your consideration of the pieces you prefer in the cookware set. Personally, I prefer the MultiClad Pro set, as I like the steamer insert included in it. But that’s just me, as you will certainly have your own personal preference.
Best Stainless Steel Saucepan – Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 2-Quart Saucepan
If you’re looking for a saucepan that is versatile enough to handle just about anything, take a look at the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 2-Quart Saucepan. I believe this is a piece of cookware that is designed to meet the needs and demands of every chef and home cook.
With a bright stainless steel finish and an aluminum core, this saucepan delivers great heat distribution all the way up its sides. Its short but wide design makes whisking easy, while its bent lip allows for clean pouring.
The handle is comfortable to hold, with an indentation in the center, crafted to cradle the thumb, and it’s attached to the pan at a slight angle, making maneuvering easy. The saucepan also retains heat really well, which is great, as it allows you to concentrate on other tasks while leaving your sauce to stay warm in the pan, long after you have taken it off the heat.
Best Stainless Steel Fry Pan – All-Clad Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Fry Pan
A well-made skillet is a must have in any household. It is great for searing steaks, sautéing chicken pieces, and creating pan sauces. Such an important kitchen item should not be overlooked if you are serious about cooking.
When it comes to the skillet, or any other kitchen utensils, the All-Clad don’t mess around, and this All-Clad Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Fry Pan is an archetype of their product excellence. With an excellent heat conduction, sturdy construction, and comfortable handle, this stainless steel skillet is a workhorse, sure to handle most of your cooking tasks with ease.
The weight of this 12-inch All-Clad skillet is heavy yet well balanced for great heat retention and balanced heat distribution. Its stick handle offers a nice firm grip and comfortable angle, allowing you more control over tossing food. The only drawback to this skillet is that it’s quite expensive. That said, it’s certainly something you will get a lifetime of use out of it due to its durable construction.
Best Stainless Steel Saute Pan – Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 5-1/2-Quart Saute Pan
The Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 5-1/2-Quart Saute Pan makes me feel like a professional gourmet chef in my kitchen. This saute pan is nothing like the other saute pans that I have used. It distributes heat evenly and perfectly due to its large, flat, and heavy aluminum core.
There are a few special nuances that keep me so attached to this saute pan. The feel of the pan, the construction of the pan, and even the handles of the pan assure me that this pan will last a lifetime. The handle on this pan is also very sturdy. I wasn’t ever worried when I was sauteing or braising any of my ingredients.
Both the pan and lid are well insulated, as they never get to a point when they are too hot to hold with my bare hands.
Best Stainless Steel Saucepot – Farberware Classic Stainless Steel 3-Quart Saucepot
Everything about Farberware Classic Stainless Steel 3-Quart Saucepot is awesome. The thickness of this saucepot makes steaming fun because it heats up effortlessly.
I believe I got value for my money when I bought this pot because it is very durable. Besides the convenience of the fitted handles on top of the pot, both the weight and size of this pot makes steaming an easy chore for me.
Besides steaming, stewing and making sauces was a delight because once hot, the pot retains heat and stays that way. It slowly yet evenly simmers and heats whatever you cook in it.
Best Stainless Steel Roaster – Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster
I am glad I spent my cash on the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster. This kitchen cookware has made roasting fun. It has a curved rack that holds and supports my chicken and turkey, and it is also large enough to accommodate a larger roast.
It has stainless steel handles that are well riveted. This gives me a much easier time to place the roaster in the oven. The solid and durable cookware also circulates heat evenly, which allows my chicken or turkey to drain well as it cooks.
The Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster is dishwasher friendly, but I also find it very easy to hand wash. If any alteration was to be made to the roaster, I would suggest that the manufacturer fits the handles straight out of the roaster rather than on the sideways.
Best Stainless Steel Dutch Oven – Calphalon 5-Quart Stainless Steel Dutch Oven
This Calphalon stainless steel dutch oven is the best there is. On the pan’s exterior is beautiful long handles that offer a firm grip, even when the pot is full. In addition, they remain cool to hold even when the pan is hot.
This dutch oven has an aluminum base that ensures the pan heats fast for efficient cooking. This base is also safe for use on a broiler, oven, and stove. When using this 5-quart dutch oven, you need not worry about draining your liquids. Its covers have straining holes that fall in line with pour spouts. Which makes draining very easy, as you don’t need to use a separate colander.
If you wish to sear, braise meat, or just make delicious soups, this classic cookware is just the piece to get the job done . Being made of stainless steel, you can be rest assured all your food will retain its natural flavor.