If you are someone seeks cookware set that is risk-free to your health, then you certainly may need to go for one that is made of stainless steel material. Advice is to get the best stainless steel cookware set for long term usage and investment, so they can last for quite a while you wouldn’t need to change along the way.
Yes, non-stick coated cookware such as Teflon is easy to clean and wash but most of them are non-resistant to scratches and are non PTFE and PFOA free. Meaning the chemicals can react to food and be a health hazard to our body.
Copper cookware are used by many professionals but they are not easy to maintain and are one of the most expensive. Aluminium pots and pans have great heat distribution but the material will leech onto the food and produces chemical reaction that may cause health issues.
Cast iron cookware can do the job well but is heavy and prone to rust if not seasoned well. Cast iron are porous and the oil trapped in the pores may turn rancid.
One of the standout feature of stainless steel cookware is that it can resist corrosion very well, as the material is made from alloy of steel, chromium, carbon and nickel.
Besides, stainless steel ones are scratch resistant, ultra-durable and does not react with food or leech onto food. Some brands and models even have induction-ready function in it.
How to Choose Top Quality Stainless Steel Cookware?
A top stainless steel cookware should come with sturdy and heat resistant handles that are easy to grip. This is necessary so that the pans will not slip easily from your hands and will not scald your hands when the cooking temperature gets real hot.
It will be good if the lids can fit the different sizes of the pots and pans, this makes the lids interchangeable and very convenient any time you need to use other cookware of the same set. It will be another plus point if the lids are vented so that steam can pass through the holes easily.
Number of Layers
Stainless steel itself is not really a good conductor of heat and is not able to distribute heat well enough.
However with the invention of additional outer layers of copper core and aluminium core in the base, the pans can distribute heat very evenly and food will less likely to get burnt.
If you are someone who do not really mind the heavier weight of the 3-ply construction, it’s definitely advisable to go for it.
Grade of Stainless Steel
Types of Stainless Steel Grading:
200 series. They are less expensive than the 300 series but definitely not comparable to the latter in terms of high quality and corrosion resistance. In fact, they are seldom recommended for cooking and kitchen usage.
300 series stainless steel is the more common type of grade we will see in most cases.
316 graded. For ultra-high quality and durable grade, it will be the grade 316 surgical steel. This type of graded cookware will also prevent nickel from leeching into the food. They are one of the most expensive.
400 series. This series is nickel free which means the material will not have chemical reactivity with the food. Though this series is cheaper due to absence of nickel, they will be more prone to rust.
There are many grades of stainless steel which indicate the quality of the material. I believe you may have heard of the 18/0, 18/8 and 18/10 grade quite frequently. So what does that mean?
Those are actually part of the 300 series grade which are commonly used for dining and cooking.
It simply means that the proportion of the stainless steel is constructed with 18% of chromium and 10% of nickel.
Nickel enhances the shine of the cookware while chromium protects them by repelling stains and preventing rusts. The higher the nickel content, the better quality is the stainless steel.
- is magnetic
- is magnetic
- is magnetic
- more likely to rust than 18/8 or 18/10
- rust resistance is better than 18/0 but not as good as 18/10
- great resistance & toughness than 18/0 & 18/8
- does not clean as easily as 18/8 or 18/10. Contains zero nickel
- cleans pretty easily
- is the shiniest among the 3 grades. Cleans well.
- less expensive
- moderate price
- more expensive
- does not conduct heat as well
- conducts heat pretty well
- conducts heat pretty well
- good starter set
- quality is in between 18/0 & 18/10
- arguably the most superior among the 3 grades
To qualify as a top-rated stainless steel cookware, it should be constructed with 18/10 grade or better.
There are many reputable brands out there but which are actually the ones that are great and worth your time and money?
Fret not, me and my team has handpicked 5 of the best-rated sets below which consumers love the most. Check out the stainless steel cookware reviews below.
With almost all the features and technology in place for what a top-notch cookware should have, this 12-piece Cuisinart MCP-12N is voted as one of the best stainless steel pots and pans.
This is an elegant and deluxe cookware by Cuisinart intended to provide superior cooking performance so that you can enjoy not only the food but the process of cooking as well.
These pans are easier to clean as compared to the All-clad brand. Besides, the handles are sturdy, stay cool and easy to grip.
With almost every necessary pot and pan in this set, you may never need to get another set in the short to medium term. Durability is the name of the cookware, you can save more money by not needing to get additional pieces.
With this set of pots and pans, you will get delicious meals with the advanced technology that boast great heat distribution. You do not have to worry that the food will be burnt or uncooked.
Ultimately you will be paying lesser for quality that is somewhere on par.
It is not difficult to make a choice when you are comparing this Cuisinart MCP-12N MultiClad Pro to other pots and pans.
Highly recommended for a cookware set that is constructed with great quality, durability and yet doesn’t burn too big a hole in your pocket
#2. All-Clad D5 – Best Performance Stainless Steel Cookware Set
The Ultimate cookware. Durable as a tank. First off my mind, these are the few words I could think of to describe the All-Clad 401488R 5-ply 10-piece bonded set. They have one of the best stainless steel pans around.
This set of pots and pans seem to be once in a blue moon, not only in its quality but also in its pricing. They may be one of the most expensive around but it definitely meets the promised superior quality that you will not come across very often.
The only single drawback may be the slight efforts needed for maintenance. As this has non-stick feature, some of you may find it slightly challenging to keep it as shiny and flawless compared to those non-stainless surface.
I will spare you the boring saying “You get what you pay for”. However if you have been cooking for some time, used a number of inferior brands before and are now looking for a durability surpassing all-in-one set, then this All-Clad stainless steel cookware may be the smartest investment you will ever make.
Moreover, what else can match the bold backing of “Guaranteed For Life” cookware warranty?
This set of 9-piece premium stainless steel cookware set is touted the most complete for induction cooking. It could be the only set that you need for your daily cooking duties.
Not only are they attractive and shiny in all sorts of lighting angles, they are constructed with 18/10 commercial graded stainless steel which is designed to be used for a lifetime.
Though this is an extraordinary and superior set, taking basic care is a must. Do not try boiling water in this set of cookware till it is dry, it will slowly reduce the lifespan.
You are also encouraged not to use cooking sprays on the pans as the chemicals can be difficult to remove and you may risk staining the cooking surface.
Cleaning has been easy and you may not even need to use a dishwasher at all.
This set of Duxtop pots and pans is one of the most professional cookware I have come across. What really boast this set is its premium quality and performance in induction, coupled with excellent heat distribution that cooks your food evenly and perfectly.
You will get 9 pieces with this Duxtop set and this is probably one of the most complete set you find in the market right now!
What’s so special about this 10-piece Magma A10-360L induction-ready, stainless steel cookware set is that the pieces have a “Nesting” feature, meaning you can stack them up nicely for real easy storage. A bungee storage cord is included as well to keep them steadily in place.
When you set them up as nesting storage, the area takes up only less than half a cubic foot of cabinet space!
Another interesting feature of this Magma’s gourmet set is their detachable handles. The set comes with 2 removable handles so you can attach and detach them easily from any of the cookware as and when you need.
In 2015, this Magma nesting model attained 2 awards namely the ‘Product of the Month’ and ‘Gear of the Year and Editor’s Choice’.
The Magma set will be near perfect if not for its one little shortcoming.
As this marine-grade yacht-quality cookware is designed for RVs and boats, you can expect these heavy duty pans to be long-lasting and perform remarkably at the highest level.
If you are just starting your new home and may not have that much budget to invest in great quality pots and pans, fret not.
We have done much research and found the Cooks Standard 11-pieces set to be one of the most affordable and best rated stainless steel cookware under the budget category.
You can use this set of versatile pans on most cooktops. It works seamlessly with induction, gas, electricity, glass etc.
Although the price is on the lower side, surprisingly the quality is no lesser than those top-end sets like Cuisinart, Rachel Ray, T-Fal and other brands.
This may not be a non-stick set but it is not difficult to clean and wash. Just soak or wash it with some dishwashing detergent and they should be cleaned without too much efforts. Moreover you can place them in dishwasher if you really have no time to spare.
If you have any doubts about buying this cookware set, yes you should be aware that most of the super high quality stuffs doesn’t come that cheap. So what are some of the drawback of this cookware?
This set should never go more than high heat (about 400 degree Fahrenheit) on stovetop, so do not try to cook with that kind of high heat temperature because it will only reduce the lifespan. Anyways, you do not need to use high heat for most of the cooking activities and not many pots and pans out there can withstand such high heat too.
Another slight drawback is the vented lids. Steam not only comes out from the vented hole but also comes out slightly from the edges of the cookware. Depending on how you see this ‘flaw’, it shouldn’t affect much of your cooking or the quality of the food.
Considering the low price point and with almost all the features you need, I would recommend and list this Cooks Standard NC-00391 set as the best budget stainless cookware set.
Though the materials used to construct the pots and pans are durable, it can prove a little difficult to clean and wash tough stains. However there are a few ways to season the pans so they will have the non-stick function.
To remove burn marks on the cookware, try using some baking soda. Dry the pan first before sprinkling some baking soda on the surface. Rub the pan using sponge. If baking soda doesn’t work, another effective way is to use Bar Keepers Friend. It’s a proven way to make sure your cookware looks as new as you first bought it.
Cleaning water spots. It is one of the easiest to wash off. Water spots are developed by minerals in the water. Use some club soda to rinse them off. You may also use vinegar to soak the pan and clean off using a cloth.
Stubborn Stains. If the food is stubbornly sticked to the pan, soak it with vinegar or washing detergent for a couple of hours before scrubbing with a scouring pad. Refrain from copper or steel scrubbers as they could scratch your pans.
Hopefully our stainless steel cookware reviews above can help you in your purchasing decision. Do let me know if you have any more questions and I’ll be more than happy to assist you. And oh…share with your friends on this article so you can help them on choosing the cookware as well!
Katy is the founder and publisher of this Thinkcook kitchen blog. She manages a team of 8 that conducts extensive research, scouring the web for best kitchen products.
In 2016, she was listed in the ‘Top 10 Most Trusted Reviewers of The Kitchen’ and came in top for the ‘Kitchen Reviews Masterclass’.
Everyone calls her the Queen of Kitchen.