Best Stainless Steel Cookware: sets and single pans compared


Made In Cookware 11-piece kit

This set will cover 99% of your cooking needs and won’t break your bank:

  1. Excellent quality and premium look. It’s a cookware that will last you decades.
  2. The set includes a nonstick frying pan and a carbon steel pan: none of other sets offer that. These are perfect items for cooking eggs or searing a steak.
  3. Made In provides a limited lifetime warranty and a free return within 45 days.
  4. Made In is direct to consumer brand – it helps to keep high quality without raising prices. Their cookware is comparable to high-end brands like All-Clad but at a fraction of the cost.
  5. We have tried their pans in our test kitchen.
All-Clad D3 7-piece set
If you are experienced with the upkeep of stainless steel and can appreciate the quality of these pots and pans, you will appreciate the quality for decades. It was a close race between this set and MadeIn, but 40 years of reputation is difficult to beat! All Clad repeatedly outperforms most of its competitors, so until MadeIn has a little more longevity behind it, All Clad is your best bet.

When shopping for cookware that will give you the best bang for your buck, you can usually save some money by investing in a set of cookware instead of investing in each piece individually. Cookware sets are available from many brands at many price points and can be an easy solution if you are stocking a brand new kitchen and need multiple pieces at once. If you can only buy one thing right now though, we recommend a stainless steel frying pan- it can go in and out of the oven, work on most stovetops and cook anything from eggs to meat to veggies to dessert!

Stainless steel is an awesome material to look for in cookware as it tends to have even heat distribution and heat retention- if you know what to look for! Stainless on its own is not a great heat conductor but is built for durability, which is why the best stainless steel cookware is either impact-bonded or feature multiple-ply clad cookware.

Multi-clad vs. Impact Bonded


  • The heat distribution and retention is almost universally better in multi-clad cookware because it is a single sheet of layered stainless, aluminum and sometimes copper that is formed into a shape.
  • This means that the durability of the stainless on the outside is consistent, and the heat-conducting properties of aluminum or copper radiate through the entire piece of cookware, including up the sides. This allows for better heat retention, meaning you can cook on a lower setting for temperature-sensitive sauces or syrups, and more hot surface for your food when sautéing.
  • Tri-ply means three layers of materials: stainless on the outside and inside for durability and non-reactive cooking, and an aluminum core for heat conduction.
  • You can even find 5 and 7 ply, which usually alternates stainless, aluminum and sometimes copper. More layers mean the cookware heats up a bit slower but retains the heat evenly for a longer time than tri-ply. For home kitchens, tri-ply is usually more than sufficient, unless you frequently cook temperature sensitive foods like candy or cream-based sauces and want that really even temperature. The heft is also nice and feels very professional.

Impact Bonded

  • Impact bonded cookware has a stainless interior and body, with an aluminum or copper bottom attached to the cookware.
  • Conducts heat on the bottom of the cookware, compatible with induction cooktops too.
  • Usually less expensive than clad cookware
  • Sides can be significantly cooler than the bottom, so heating can be uneven.

Here are some of the best options out there if you are wanting to purchase an entire set of cookware, whether you’re just starting a new kitchen or you want to replace everything all at once!

Best stainless steel cookware:

  1. Made In Cookware 11-piece kit – best value stainless steel set
  2. All Clad D3 – best stainless steel cookware set
  3. Duxtop Pots and Pans Set – best budget cookware set
  4. Made in 12-inch Fry pan – best value stainless steel frying pan
  5. All-Clad D5 12-inch Fry Pan – best stainless steel frying pan

1. Made In 11-piece Set

Best value stainless steel cookware set

Made In Cookware 11-piece kit

This set will cover 99% of your cooking needs and won’t break your bank:

  1. Excellent quality and premium look. It’s a cookware that will last you decades.
  2. The set includes a nonstick frying pan and a carbon steel pan: none of other sets offer that. These are perfect items for cooking eggs or searing a steak.
  3. Made In provides a limited lifetime warranty and a free return within 45 days.
  4. Made In is direct to consumer brand – it helps to keep high quality without raising prices. Their cookware is comparable to high-end brands like All-Clad but at a fraction of the cost.
  5. We have tried their pans in our test kitchen.

Made In is an impressive little company that crafts its clad cookware in the USA, Italy and France. All of their stainless is 5-ply, which is usually found in more high-end brands like All Clad. Because Made In is direct to consumer business model, you pay less as there is no middleman. If you are considering purchasing a set of All-Clad, consider buying this kit. It is slightly less expensive, and they have more flexible return policies. Plus, they pay the shipping both ways! This set includes:

  • 10″ Non Stick Frying Pan
  • 10″ Stainless Clad Frying Pan
  • 12″ Carbon Steel Frying Pan
  • 2 QT Saucepan with Lid
  • 4 QT Saucepan with Lid
  • 3.5 QT Saute Pan with Lid
  • 8 QT Stock Pot with Lid
  • One can of Carbon Steel Seasoning Wax


  • Five-ply clad construction for even heat distribution and retention throughout the entire piece of cookware, not just the bottom
  • Works on all cooktops, transferrable to oven and broiler
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Stainless pans are extremely slick, need minimal oil
  • Lots of online technique videos to help you use their cookware as intended
  • Includes a nonstick frying pan which is a rare option in stainless steel cookware sets. You won’t have to purchase a separate nonstick for your eggs and fish.
  • Includes a carbon steel pan – an excellent option for searing steaks. It’s also a great alternative to cast iron skillet.


  • Most complaints were actually about the time it took to receive their product. MadeIn is a smaller company, so sometimes items are out of stock or you need to wait for them to make more before it is shipped.

Is it worth it?

Yes – if you are looking for American made, multi clad cookware this is probably the best deal out there. Despite being a newer company, they have the advantage over All Clad in price and flexible return policy.

2. All-Clad D3 7-piece set

Best stainless steel cookware set
All-Clad 4007AZ D3 Stainless Steel Dishwasher Safe Induction Compatible Cookware Set, Tri-Ply...
  • Set contains a 10-inch fry pan for frying at high heat, a 3-quart Sauce pan with lid for sauces, a versatile 3-quart Saute Pan with lid, and a do-it-all 8-quart Stockpot with lid
  • Classic tri-ply construction, made with a responsive aluminum core bonded together with 2 layers of durable, stainless steel all the way around for maximum durability and fast, even heat distribution
  • Secured with riveted stainless-steel handles to ensure a safe grip and to add a bit of style with stainless-steel lids to match

All Clad seems to always beat out the competition when it comes to quality and longevity (they’ve been around over 40 years), but it is definitely an investment. Their products are professional grade and can range from tri-ply cladding to 7 or more layers. For home cooks, tri-ply is great as you get the durable 18/10 steel exterior and the heat-conducting aluminum core. This set has a basic set of essentials, nothing more and nothing less: 10” frying pan, 3 qt saucepan with lid, 3 qt saute pan with the lid and an 8 qt stockpot with lid.


  • Proven longevity
  • Tri-ply cladding ensures even heat distribution throughout the cookware, not just on the bottom
  • Lids are also stainless steel
  • Made in USA
  • Oven safe
  • Nonreactive surface, you can cook acidic foods without staining
  • Flared lip on all pieces in this set for easy pouring


  • An intimidating price if you are a beginner with stainless, but a worthwhile investment for the experienced cook. You wouldn’t drive a Ferrari as your first car, and you likely wouldn’t want All Clad as your first set of cookware.
  • “Dishwasher safe”, but can get water stains or a film from detergent. Handwashing and using Bar Keepers Friend will ensure the beautiful polish remains intact
  • All Clad doesn’t have great return policies and seem to do anything within their power to keep you from returning their products unless it is a clear manufacturing defect.

3. Duxtop SSIB-17 Professional 17-piece set

Sale 12%
Duxtop Professional Stainless Steel Pots and Pans Set, 17PC Induction Cookware Set, Impact-bonded...
  • FOOD GRADE STAINLESS STEEL & STURDY: Duxtop stainless steel pots and pans are made of premium food grade 18/10 stainless steel, which keeps the flavor of the food. Heavy bottom with impact-bonded technology, built to last for a life time.
  • FAST & EVEN HEATING: Heavy gauge impacted-bonded aluminum encapsulated bottom of the kitchen cookware set provides a quick, even and energy-efficient heating. Suitable for all stovetops, such as induction, gas, electric and halogen cooktops—perfect for even the most seasoned cooks.
  • FEATURES: Duxtop induction cookware feature a classic straight-sided and drip-free pouring design. The tight-fitting tempered glass lids allow cooking to be monitored while sealing in heat and moisture. Large riveted stay-cool stainless steel handles for easy, confident handling. Clear measure marks inside is for easy measuring.

This may be the best bang for your buck we’ve found- 17 pieces, including a spatula, serving spoon, meat fork, two frying pans, 3 saucepans with lids, 2 stock pots lids, and 2 colanders.


  • Lots of pieces- comes to less than twenty dollars per piece
  • Impact bonded aluminum base for even heat distribution along the bottom
  • Oven safe up to 550F
  • Works on all cooktops
  • Lids are made from tempered glass and stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Heavyweight
  • Measuring marks inside pots


  • Some reviewers found the larger stockpot and frying pan to be smaller than they expected
  • Sometimes advertised on Amazon as “nonstick”, but it is in fact polished stainless steel so some customers were disappointed when their food stuck. Must use some oil and lower heat to cook with stainless properly.
  • Handles can get a little too warm
  • Lots of reports of discoloration- it is made with 18/8 stainless rather than the acidity-resistant 18/10 steel. Doesn’t affect functionality, but not pretty to look at.

Is it worth it?

Yes – you get so many pieces for basically the same price as one All-Clad pan, so there is very little risk if you are equipping a student kitchen or are on a tight budget and want to avoid nonstick coating. It has also made to our best cookware for electric stove list

4. Made In Cookware Frying Pan

Best value stainless steel pan

MadeIn Frying Pan, 10 inch

The price is really hard to beat for a USA made, 18/10 steel, 5 ply cladded product. The wait between ordering online and receiving the cookware is definitely worth it, and the reasonable price makes it a great option if you want to try out stainless steel cooking with premium gear.

As previously mentioned, MadeIn is an American company who is really giving the premium clad brands a run for their money. Made mostly in the USA, with some products being made in France and Italy, all their stainless products feature 5 ply stainless steel with an aluminum core. Their direct to consumer model saves the customer money by cutting out the middleman.


  • Five ply clad construction for even heat distribution and retention throughout the entire pan not just the bottom
  • Works on all cooktops, transferrable to oven and broiler
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Need minimal oil for cooking eggs
  • Lots of online technique videos to help you use as intended


  • Most complaints were about the time it took to receive their product. MadeIn is a smaller company, so sometimes items are out of stock or you need to wait for them to make more before it is shipped.

5. All Clad D5 Frying Pan

Best Stainless Steel Pan
All-Clad BD55110 D5 Brushed 18/10 Stainless Steel 5-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Fry Pan Saute Pan...
  • A kitchen staple featuring a flat base and flared, mid-sized sides that allow for easy flipping and tossing
  • 5-ply bonded construction with alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum for warp-free durability and supremely even heating that eliminates hotspots
  • For an added touch of refinement, it features a beautiful and easy to maintain brushed finish and fitted, stainless-steel lids
  • Compatible with all cooktops and optimized performance for induction tops - also oven and broiler-safe up to 600°F
  • Heat-resistant stainless-steel handles, designed a comfortable grip and permanently secured with stainless-steel rivets, and flared rims for drip-free pouring

This is an offering from All Clad’s D5 line, which means it has 5 alternating layers of stainless steel and heat-conductive aluminum. The stainless steel protect against damage, the aluminum assure even heat distribution and retention throughout the entire pan. All Clad has been a top of the line brand for over 40 years, so it has the reputation to back it up.


  • Compatible with all cooktops including induction
  • Oven safe up to 600F including broiler
  • Lifetime warranty against manufacturing damage
  • Slick, polished stainless steel is nonstick with just a touch of oil, becomes more nonstick as the pan gets seasoned.
  • Made in the USA


  • High price point- less expensive options available, but with fewer reviews and reputation
  • Stainless can become sticky if food is cooked at too high of a heat
  • The warranty has lots of regular use limitations and is only useful if a manufacturing defect is found

Why is this the Best Overall?

It is often a toss-up between Made In and All Clad, after all, they have a lot of similar qualities: 5 ply cladding, high quality stainless, made in the USA. But, All Clad has been around for 40 years and has a much broader range of reviews to consult and compare. This frying pan had consistently positive reviews, with any negatives seeming to be related to customer service or improper use. Many customers have had All Clad products for many, many years, which is proof that these larger initial investments can pay off when purchasing an heirloom piece.

6. Calphalon Classic Pots and Pans 10-piece set

Sale 17%
Calphalon Classic Stainless Steel Pots and Pans, 10-Piece Cookware Set
  • Impact-bonded aluminum base distributes heat evenly, for exceptional browning, searing, and sauteing
  • Stainless steel long handles stay cool on the stovetop
  • Convenient measuring marks, pour spouts, and straining covers allow you to cook with efficiency
  • Dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup
  • Oven-safe up to 450 degrees F, so you can easily go from stovetop to the oven

Calphalon is a cookware brand that balances quality and price point, making it an affordable option that will last you a couple of years. This set comes with three saucepans (with lids), a stock pot (with lid), a saute pan (with lid), large skillet (with lid), a small stainless frying pan and one nonstick pan.


  • Built-in colander: the tempered glass lids have straining holes that line up with pour spouts, so straining foods like pasta doesn’t require a separate colander- do it all in the saucepan!
  • One non-stick coated pan for convenient and quick meals like eggs.
  • Flared lip and pour spouts for easy pouring
  • Great variety of items, perfect for a starter kitchen
  • Fill lines on sides for measuring
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Oven and broiler safe


  • Impact bonded: aluminum bottom gets the most heat.
  • Handle: gets too warm to touch
  • Interior claims to be non-reactive to acidic foods but isn’t the gold-standard of steel. 18-10 stainless is the industry’s best standard for non-reaction to acidic foods.
  • Nonstick coating on the pan can flake
  • Customer complaints of staining after one use
  • Lid handle heats up too, so need oven mitts

Is it worth it?

Yes – A great starter option if you need a really versatile assortment of cookware. First home, student off at college- anyone who needs cookware that will last them a few good years before they invest in a more heavy-duty brand.

7. Cuisinart TPS-10 Stainless Steel set, 10-piece

Cuisinart TPS-10 10 Piece Classic Tri-ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set, PC, Silver
  • Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Construction
  • Polished Stainless Exterior w/ Riveted Stainless Steel Stick Handles and Tempered Glass Covers
  • Set Includes: 1.5 Qt. Saucepan with cover, 2.5 Qt. Saucepan with cover, 3.0 Sauté Pan with cover and helper handle, 6.0 Qt. Stockpot with cover, 8” Skillet and 10” Skillet
  • Induction Ready and Dishwasher Safe

Cuisinart set is a great alternative to Calphalon if you are looking for a clad metal set. It features a solid aluminum core and stainless steel exterior. Set Includes: 1.5 Qt. saucepan with cover, 2.5 qt. saucepan with cover, 3.0 qt. sauté pan with cover and helper handle, 6.0 Qt. stockpot with cover, 8” skillet and 10” skillet.


  • Tri-ply clad construction for even heat distribution and heat retention
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Perfect for all stovetops and induction compatible
  • Tapered rim for easy pouring


  • An obvious dip in quality for reviewers who had used premium brands like All Clad.
  • Made in China
  • Reports of surface warping
  • Scratches easily- avoid metal utensils
  • Stains without use of abrasive cleaner like Bar Keepers Friend.

Is it worth it?

Yes – if you’re looking for a starter set of clad cookware. Ideal for a student getting their first place.

8. Cook N Home Stainless Steel Cookware Set, 12-piece

Cook N Home 12-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set, Silver
  • Includes: 1.5 qt saucepan, 1.5, 2, and 3 qt saucepot casseroles, 5.5 qt stockpot, and a 10-inch saute fry pan with lids
  • Made of mirror polished 18/10 stainless steel with an aluminum disc bottom between steel layers for even/quick heat distribution
  • Reflective finish inside and out for appearance and easy cleaning; Stackable and flat base for storage and sits evenly on cooktops
  • Tempered glass lids with steam vent to view food; Riveted stainless steel handles are durable, comfortable, and wide/deep for grip
  • Induction compatible and works on: gas, electric, glass, ceramic, halogen, etc.; Oven safe to 500F, lids to 350F; Dishwasher safe

This is another impact-bonded set, with an aluminum bottom. This set is unusual in that it only comes with one pan with a lid, followed by 5 different pots/saucepans with lids.


  • Tempered glass lids with steam vent allowing you to see your food as it cooks
  • Aluminum disc bottom conducts heat evenly
  • Mirror polished inside and out for easy cleaning
  • Stainless steel rivets for durability
  • Compatible with all cooktops


  • Not oven safe, despite one pot being advertised as a casserole dish
  • Not dishwasher safe
  • Lots of pots, only one pan
  • Sides of cookware don’t heat as evenly due to impact bonding

Is it worth it?

No – there are many sets with a much more versatile selection of cookware in the set, such as the Calphalon or the Cuisinart for similar prices.

9. T-Fal C836SD Ultimate 12-piece

Sale 15%
T-fal C836SD Ultimate Stainless Steel Copper Bottom 13 PC Cookware Set, Piece, Silver
  • Set includes: 8 inches fry pan, 10.5 inches fry pan, 12 inches fry pan with lid, 1 quart saucepan with lid, 2 quart; Saucepan with lid, 3 quart; Saucepan with lid, 5 quart; Dutch oven with lid and stainless steel steamer
  • Multi layer strength: Heavy gauge base with multiple layers of copper, stainless steel and aluminum for fast, even heat; Durable 18/10 stainless steel; Visible copper bottom helps channel heat from the center outward
  • Stainless steel interior: A well loved cooking surface, the stainless steel interior won’t react to acidic foods; Works best using moderate heat; To prevent food from sticking, simply preheat the pan, then add a thin coat of cooking oil

T-fal is a brand most well known for their non-stick, celebrity-endorsed cookware but their stainless steel set is definitely worth a look. It features a good variety of cookware, including 3 saucepans of different sizes with lids, a stockpot with lid, colander, saute pan with lid, and two frying pans. What is unique for this price point is the use of copper in the impact-bonded bottom, featuring a multi-layered base of copper with an aluminum core, with 18/10 stainless steel on the outside for durability and stain resistance.


  • Use of both copper and aluminum in the bottom of the pan for even heat distribution
  • Industry standard 18/10 stainless steel means you can cook acidic foods with no or minimal staining.
  • Dishwasher safe


  • A large number of reviews reported that the handles get really, really hot and even caused some injuries.
  • Though dishwasher safe, it will discolor the copper
  • Not scratch resistant

Is it worth it?

Yes – but be careful of the hot handles! If you are used to a cool-touch handle, you may get burned out of habit. That aside, this is a good variety of kitchen staples and a recognizable brand that you can easily replace if a lid breaks or you lose a piece.

10. Viking Culinary Professional 5-ply, 10-piece

Viking Professional 5-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set, 10 Piece
  • Set include 8 inch and 10 inch fry pans, 2 quart and 3 quart saucepans with lids, an 8 quart stockpot with lid and a 3.4 quart saute pan with lid
  • Viking Professional 5-Ply Cookware provides commercial grade quality for in-home use
  • 5-Ply construction maximizes heat transfer and reduces energy usage, features that enable Viking cookware to deliver superior cooking performance

It is a direct competitor with All Clad, however, the price is a bit higher, likely due to the steel grade. This set includes 2 frying pans, 2 saucepans with lids, 1 saute pan with lid, and a stockpot with lid.


  • Non-reactive steel so you can cook acidic foods without stains/oxidation
  • 5 layers of metal, featuring an aluminum core for excellent heat conduction and stainless for durability
  • Oven and broiler safe up to 600F
  • Good set of kitchen basics
  • Compatible on all cooking surfaces, including induction
  • Made in the USA


  • Much higher price point than other 5 ply, USA made brands such as All Clad and MadeIn
  • Some reviews said the weight of the handle made the frying pans lift off the cooking surface when cooking lighter items

Is it worth it?

Maybe – if you already collect Viking and have a loyalty to the brand, it is a great product. However, there are less expensive options available with comparable quality, though not the same flexibility with warranty. More money upfront for a Viking product may be more worthwhile than trying to deal with All Clad’s limited warranty conditions if you frequently have buyer’s remorse. MadeIn’s set has some items that are not pure stainless, such as a nonstick pan, so this is better if you want all stainless steel multi-clad.

11. Hammer Stahl Heritage Steel 7-piece

American Clad 7-Ply with 316Ti 7 Piece Cookware Set, Stainless Steel
  • Collection includes: 2-quart sauce pan with cover, 3-quart sauce pan with cover, 4-quart deep saute pan with cover, and a 10.5-Inch fry pan
  • 7-Ply Stainless Steel construction; durable; non-porous
  • Transfers heat evenly; induction ready. It is designed to fit your hand, making cooking easier and more comfortable

This is one of the more expensive stainless steel cookware sets on the market, but still within a reasonable value. Though similar in price (or even a little less) to All-Clad, this made-in-America cookware set has a full 7 layers of cladding. You get a frying pan, two different sizes of a saucepan and a classic saute pan.


  • Exterior layer of stainless is reinforced with titanium for extra protection against rust
  • 7 layers of metal mean slower to heat but the retention lasts longer
  • Heats up evenly on the sides
  • Flared lip for easy pouring
  • Lids included for all 3 saucepans
  • Works on all cooktops and in oven


  • While there are no negative reviews, the price point for a smaller set can be off-putting if you aren’t wanting to invest in your cookware.

Is it worth it?

Yes – if you’re looking for heavy-duty, long-lasting, made in the USA cookware this will be a wise investment. There are no fancy bells and whistles, just reliable, durable cookware.

12. Farberware Millennium Nonstick 10-piece

Farberware Millennium Stainless Steel Nonstick Cookware Set, 10-Piece Pot and Pan Set, Stainless...
  • PREMIUM NONSTICK: Cookware set integrates a top-quality, long-lasting, dishwasher safe nonstick for effortless food release and easy cleanup.
  • HIGH QUALITY STAINLESS STEEL COOKWARE: Cooking set features stainless steel cookware construction with a fully encapsulated aluminum base for fast, even heating.
  • EASY CLEANUP: All pots and pans in this set are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup and convenience, though hand washing is recommended to help make the set last.

This set combines the best of both stainless steel and nonstick cooking, giving the heat retention and distribution of stainless with the easy cooking and cleaning of nonstick. This is also one of the least expensive sets, so it is more accessible to beginner cooks and experienced cooks alike on a budget.


  • Impact bonded, a thick aluminum base that retains heat evenly
  • Solid stainless body
  • Nonstick coating on all cooking surfaces
  • Glass lids with a tight seal to retain moisture
  • Oven safe up to 500F
  • Dishwasher safe


  • Cannot use metal utensils
  • Cannot use cooking spray. Use oil or butter on low heat.
  • Handles get hot

Is it worth it?

Yes – especially if you don’t mind nonstick coating. If you have concerns about nonstick, this won’t be the set for you. A great set for adjusting to stainless, since you still must learn to cook at lower temperatures, but you’ll have the “training wheels” of nonstick cooking to fall back on.

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