A comprehensive cookware set provides aspiring chefs and foodies the proper tools they need in the kitchen. Nonstick sets are a popular choice due to their durability, convenience and reasonable price.
Nonstick cookware sets vary in construction, what’s included and a variety of extra features, but most notably, they allow you to forego oil or spray when preparing meals and offer easy cleanup. This durable, functional set by Calphalon is an excellent choice, though before jumping in, it’s worth assessing your cooking needs and best care practices.
What to know before you buy a nonstick cookware set
There are two main types of nonstick coating: sol-gel “ceramic” cookware and PTFE. Ceramic coatings are increasing in popularity. They’re made without chemicals or toxins but tend to be more delicate and have a shorter lifespan. They can struggle evenly dispersing heat, too.
PTFE cookware has been the traditional option for decades, proving itself durable and easy to use. However, it doesn’t stand up to higher temperatures due to its chemical makeup, raising health concerns for some users.
Handling and care
Improper handling can ruin the nonstick coating of your pots and pans. PTFE cookware, in particular, can be potentially harmful if not treated carefully.
Nonstick cookware is intended for use on low to medium heat. Avoid heating it over 500 degrees, the temperature at which the coating may emit fumes. It’s advised to avoid heating an empty pan as well — use a bit of liquid when starting the heat before adding your items. Lastly, use proper utensils made of wood or silicone to avoid chipping or flaking the material. Any pots or pans that start to flake should be thrown out immediately.
A basic cookware set typically features one or two fry pans, one or two saucepans and a stock pot along with matching lids. Companies advertise the number of pieces in each set, but note that this number includes the lids, so it can be a bit deceiving. Some sets include luxury extras, like an egg pan, a steamer basket or even a grill pan or griddle. Matching utensils may also be included.
Nonstick cookware should be a minimum of three layers: typically two nonstick layers and a third durable exterior layer. Look for a thick base, sometimes referred to as gauge, for more durability and protection. Hard-anodized aluminum is a common option, as this is a long-lasting material that resists corrosion and warping.
What to look for in a quality nonstick cookware set
Some cookware sets feature dips or divots in a part of the rims to allow for easier pouring and serving. Others are consistently straight all around, better utilized by those who may be flipping and stirring items frequently. However, most rims are designed to resist dripping.
The materials from which handles are made provide increased versatility. Wood or silicone handles remain cool to the touch, but only silicone handles are oven-safe up to certain temperatures. Stainless steel handles may go in the oven as well, typically to higher temperatures, though the handles get quite hot. Some handles may feature holes so they can be hung.
How much you can expect to spend on nonstick cookware set
A quality nonstick cookware set featuring around 10 pieces costs $100-$250, with price increasing alongside the number of pieces included as well as durability.
Nonstick cookware set FAQ
How should I clean for my nonstick cookware set?
A. Most nonstick cookware sets are dishwasher-safe, although it’s recommended to wash by hand whenever possible. The nonstick coating may wear down more quickly due to chemicals used in detergent, and there is the potential that items can move within the dishwasher and scratch the surface. Warm water, soap and a soft cloth should easily clean the pots and pans, particularly if done so soon after use.
What food is best cooked in nonstick pots and pans?
A. Nonstick cookware caters to a variety of foods and meals, especially more delicate items like eggs, fish and vegetables. As nonstick cookware shouldn’t be used on high heat, you should avoid braising and browning. Some meat-heavy dishes are best cooked in other cookware, though vegans and vegetarians will find nonstick cookware suitable for most recipes.
What’s the best nonstick cookware set to buy?
Top nonstick cookware set
Calphalon Simply Pots and Pans Set
What you need to know: High-quality, comprehensive set that covers most kitchen needs, providing durability and versatility.
What you’ll love: Set features two fry pans, two saucepans, sauté pan and stockpot. Durably made, resists corrosion and warping. Oven-safe up to 400 degrees. Silicone grip handles stay cool.
What you should consider: Items are quite heavy. Utensils not included.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top nonstick cookware set for the money
Rachael Ray Brights Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set
What you need to know: Colorful, budget-friendly set offering plenty of value for casual cooks seeking convenience and easy cleaning.
What you’ll love: Heats quickly and evenly. Oven-safe up to 350 degrees; dishwasher-safe. Colorful handles stay cool. Low price.
What you should consider: Some concerns about durability and longevity.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
T-Fal Ultimate Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set
What you need to know: Heavy and durable aluminum construction for frequent, reliable usage in the kitchen, with a few perks as well.
What you’ll love: Vented lids and riveted handles allow for easy use and great cooking results. Thermal ring indicates when preheating is complete. Resists scratches and corrosion. Oven-safe up to 400 degrees. Includes two compatible utensils.
What you should consider: Largest fry pan is only 10 inches.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Anthony Marcusa is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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