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

    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

    If you’re looking for an inexpensive set of cookware for a new kitchen, a vacation home, or extra pieces to round out what you have, this 12-piece set will fit nicely into your budget. Even better, it doesn’t include extra pieces that you don’t need.

    The cookware is made from polished stainless steel with a capsulated bottom for even heating and more reliable cooking. Lids are tempered glass, so you can see what’s cooking without lifting the lid and releasing heat. Handles are riveted on for...MORE secure, long-lasting use.

    The set includes a 1 1/2 quart saucepan with lid, a 1 1/2 quart casserole with lid, a 2-quart casserole with lid, a 3-quart casserole with lid, a 5 1/2 quart stock pot with lid, and a 10-inch frying pan with lid. This set works on any cooktop, including convection. The pans are oven-safe to 350 degrees and the lids can be used in the oven up to 270 degrees.

    While the pans won’t be functionally damaged at higher oven temperatures, they are likely to discolor with higher heat. If appearance isn’t a priority, the pans can be used in the oven at temperatures up to 500 degrees.

  • 03 of 08

    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

    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

    Ceramic is the newest type of nonstick coating for cookware, and it has its own pros and cons. Since different manufacturers use different proprietary coatings, it’s wise to read the instructions for care, cooking and cleaning. While this set is dishwasher safe, it is likely to last longer if it’s hand washed.

    The coating is PTFE and PFOA free and the pans are made from heavy gauge aluminum. The set can be used on any type of stove, except induction. They are stovetop safe to 570 degrees and oven...MORE safe to 350 degrees.

    This set includes a 7 1/2 inch frying pan, an 11 inch frying pan with lid, a 1 quart sauce pan with lid, a 2 quart sauce pot with lid, a 5 quart Dutch oven with lid, and a mini frying pan that is perfect for cooking one egg or melting butter. The set also includes four nylon tools: a spoon, a slotted spoon, a spatula, and a slotted spatula.

  • 06 of 08

    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

    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

    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.

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