The 8 Best Cookware Sets to Buy in 2017

Shop for the best cookware sets in a range of materials on the market now

Just because buying cookware in full sets is less expensive than buying the same pieces individually, doesn’t mean sets are always the best bargain. Not everyone will need all of the pieces in a particular set. Nor will everyone have the space to store all of the pieces as well. Some sets have more saucepans, others go heavy on the frying pans. Some sets include large stockpots while others seem geared towards smaller families who need smaller cookware.

The good news is that there are a large...MORE number of cookware sets to pick from, so it’s possible to find a set with most of the pots that you’ll need. It’s simple to buy extra pots to add to sets, and you might find that you find uses for pots you never thought you’d like.

Sets are great when you’re starting a new home, registering for a wedding, or replacing those old mismatched hand-me-downs. They are also a smart option for outfitting the kitchen of a summer vacation home. Keep in mind that when manufacturers list how many pieces are in a set, that number includes lids and other accessories. So a six-piece set might be three pots and two lids, and a strainer.

  • 01 of 08
    Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set
    Courtesy of Amazon.com.

    If you don’t want nonstick cookware, this could be the perfect set for you. The three-layered construction with an aluminum core ensures even heating and the stainless steel surface won’t stain or react with acidic foods. This is a heavy duty, attractive, classic-looking set that will fit in with any kitchen’s décor. This cookware has rims that are designed for drip-free pouring, and it’s oven-safe up to a whopping 550 degrees Fahrenheit.

    The cookware and lids are dishwasher safe, but since the...MORE lids are metal, you can’t peek inside the pots without lifting the lid. The set includes 1 1/2- and 3-quart covered saucepans, 8- and 10-inch open skillets, a 3-1/2-quart covered sauté pan, an 8-quart covered stockpot, and a steamer insert with lid. If this set is a little too large, there’s a smaller set with two covered saucepans, a covered stockpot, and an open skillet.

  • 02 of 08
    Farberware Traditions Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set
    Courtesy of Amazon.com.

    This set includes a mix of nonstick aluminum skillets and uncoated stainless steel cookware, for the best of both worlds. The nonstick skillets should be hand washed, but the rest of the set is dishwasher safe.

    The cookware is oven safe to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can gently finish food in the oven, but not at higher temperatures required for things like no-knead bread. This set include 1- and 2-quart saucepans with lids, a 3-quart sauté pan,  a 5-quart Dutch oven with lid, 8- and ...MORE 9-3/4-inch nonstick skillets, a nylon slotted spoon, a nylon slotted turner, and a nylon solid spoon.

  • 03 of 08
    Rachael Ray Hard Enamel Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set
    Courtesy of Amazon.com.

    If you love bright color in the kitchen, this nonstick cookware set will make you happy. It comes in seven different colors and all pieces have a nonstick interior and an enameled exterior. The handles have a rubberized grip and the lids are glass so you can check the progress of your food without having to remove them.

    This set includes a 1-quart saucepan with lid, a 2-quart saucepan with lid, a 6-quart stockpot with lid, a 3-quart sauté pan with lid, and 8 1/2- and 10-inch skillets. The...MORE stockpot is smaller than those in other sets, but large enough for a pot of soup or chili for a crowd. This set is oven safe to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and should be hand washed. If orange isn’t quite your style, the set is also available in blue, two shades of green, purple, and red.

  • 04 of 08
    Anolon Advanced Hard Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
    Courtesy of Amazon.com.

    This isn’t your mother’s nonstick cookware. The pans are made from hard-anodized aluminum and coated inside and out for even cooking without excessive weight. The nonstick coating is metal-utensil-safe, so you can use a spoon without worrying about damaging a saucepan.

    If you need to finish cooking in the oven, the cookware is safe to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The glass lids let you see what’s cooking, the tall loop handles on the lids made them easy to grasp, and the pot handles are designed for a...MORE cool, sturdy grip. The set includes a 3-quart covered sauté pan, 1-1/2- and 3-quart covered saucepans, a roomy 8-quart covered stockpot, and 8-1/2-inch open skillet, and a 12-inch covered deep skillet. This cookware should be hand washed.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08
    Calphalon 10 Piece Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set
    Courtesy of Amazon.com.

    These aluminum pans have a shiny black exterior and a nonstick white ceramic interior for a classic look that won’t clash with your kitchen colors. The silicone handles remain cool during cooking, and the lids are made from tempered glass so you can see what’s cooking.

    You can use the pans and their lids in the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit to finish cooking or keep foods warm. This set includes 8- and 10- inch fry pans, a 1- and 2-quart saucepans with lids, a 3-quart sauté pan with lid, a...MORE 5-quart Dutch oven with lid. This set should be hand-washed. The set also comes with a limited five-year warranty.

  • 06 of 08
    Le Creuset 5-Piece Signature Enameled Cast Iron Cookware Set
    Courtesy of Amazon.com.

    You might not need a 15-piece set of cast iron cookware, but a set with a few essential items can save you a bit of money over buying the pieces individually. This set includes a 3 1/2-quart round Dutch oven with lid, a 1 3/4-quart saucepan with lid, and a 9-inch round skillet. The Dutch oven and saucepan have a cream-colored interior, while the skillet has a black interior. The Dutch oven is on the smaller end of the scale for Le Creuset Dutch ovens, but it’s a good starter piece and great for...MORE smaller families who don’t need to cook large amounts of food.

    Like any cast iron cookware, this is heavy, and should be hand washed. It’s also available in plenty of colors including cherry, Caribbean, flame, hibiscus, Marseille, palm, and soleil.

  • 07 of 08
    All-Clad Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded 14-Piece Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set
    Courtesy of Amazon.com.

    If you’re in the mood to splurge, this 14-piece cookware set is one of the top quality sets available, and it comes with a top price tag. The five-layered cookware has a thick copper core for even and very responsive heating. It has a decorative copper accent, and is oven, broiler, and dishwasher safe.

    The cookware sizes are great for just about any size family, with small and medium saucepans along with a large stockpot for big batches. This set includes 10- and 12-inch fry pans, 2- and 3-quart...MORE saucepans with lids, 3- and 6-quart sauté pans with lids, a 12-inch chef's pan with domed lid, and an 8-quart stock pot with lid. If that’s more cookware than you need, there’s a 7-piece set that includes a 2-quart saucepan with lid, a 10-inch fry pan, a 3-quart sauté pan with lid, and an 8-quart stockpot with lid. The lids are metal, so they’re unbreakable, but you can’t see inside without lifting the lid. 

  • 08 of 08
    Mauviel M'heritage M250B 9-piece 2.5mm Copper Cookware Set
    Courtesy of Amazon.com.

    Copper cookware is expensive, but thick copper – as opposed to a decorative thin layer that you’ll find on some sets – offers fast, even cooking and super-fast heat conductivity for precise cooking control. The copper on these pots is 2 1/2 mm thick, and the pots are 90 percent copper with a stainless steel interior that won’t stain or react with foods. The handles are polished bronze, attached with stainless steel rivets.

    The set includes a 1.9-quart saucepan with lid, a 2.7-quart saucepan with...MORE lid, a 3.2-quart sauté pan with lid, a 6.4-quart stock pot with lid, and a 10-inch skillet. These are oven-safe, but will not work on induction cooktops.

    These pots are made in France and have a lifetime warranty. The downside to copper is that it discolors and needs polishing if you don’t like the patina that occurs from use. This cookware is heavy, so that’s another consideration.