Some might say matching cookware is a sign of reaching true adulthood. Chances are, if you're looking for your own cookware set you're finally over the phase of craving fast food multiple times a week, and want to be the home cook you've always aspired to be. I'll be honest, I'm still taking my mom's best cast iron, fry pan, or casserole dish after each visit back home.
She says she has enough to share, but I feel bad taking her favorite frying pan and kitchen tools, so I started looking for my own 12-piece cookware set. I was ready to add any pot and pan to my cart until I realized comparing pan sets isn't actually a frivolous task. From stainless steel, copper, and ceramic cookware sets, you might have your preference after doing a little research. Luckily for you, we've found cookware sets that you'll surely love for everyday cooking.
How to Choose a Cookware Set
It mostly depends on what you're cooking! If you're up for cast iron recipes 3 times a week, put your money toward a nice cast iron cookware set. If you're big on cooking pasta, I would personally go with stainless steel.
Best Cast Iron
Get your cast iron recipes ready! If you love cooking classic Southern recipes, you definitely need a reliable cast iron cookware set. From cornbread, bacon, or chicken pot pie, you can't go wrong using a cast iron skillet. This set features a 6, 8, and 10 inch skillet for all of your favorite cast iron dishes.
- Under $60
Best Stainless Steel
Oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit is impressive! Throw your delicate salmon fillets or eggs in stainless steel cookware for a nice even cook.
- Dishwasher safe
- Includes measuring spoons
Remember 5th grade science class? Yeah, I don't remember much either. Although, I do remember learning that copper is a great heat conductor. If you're like me and hate waiting for pasta to boil, a copper dutch pan will be perfect for a quick boil. Enjoy your dutch oven, two sauce pans, and two round fry pans!
- Slotted spatula
- Matching glass lids
Do you ever have tons of leftover tomatoes? If you're not sure what to do with them, make some homemade salsa or homemade tomato sauce for pasta. Just don't bring an acidic recipe to cast iron. A ceramic 10-piece cookware set will take care of all of your acidic foods for a nice even heat distribution.
- Nonstick 10-piece cookware set
- Riveted handle
If you read our article on what not to cook in a cast iron skillet, you'll know that delicate foods like eggs and fish are not to be cooked in them. Trust me, eggs and fish will not want to flip in a cast iron skillet. A simple non-stick cookware set is perfect for delicate foods. Also check out Circulon's hard-anodized nonstick cookware set for easy cooking.
- Nonstick coating
- Shatter resistant
Do you have an induction stovetop? Check out Rachael Ray's Stainless steel cookware set! The induction base will stand strong to any stovetop. A major perk are the silicone handles, which are oven safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Flared rims for easing pouring
- Suitable for any stovetop
Best for a New Cook
AmazonBasics has a simple cookware set available for $39.99. These are perfect for young adults headed to college soon. Trust me, the majority of their homemade meals will be spaghetti and stir fry. It is hand-wash only, but it's a great starter set.
- Under $40
- BPA free
Best Big Ticket
This Calphalon cookware set is stackable. They are perfect for small kitchens where cabinet space is limited. That is definitely one feature you're paying a pretty penny for. It's a beautiful dishwasher safe set that is also boiler safe for stovetop cooking. Many customers love the even heat distribution, which is one of the most important aspects of a cookware set. Remember, do not store food in a cast iron skillet. You may do so with a stainless steel set.
- Stainless steel
- 3-qt sauté pan
For under $23, you can own this 9-piece cookware set. If you're on a budget and are in need of new cookware, you'll be amazed with the quality of this set. It's ideal for cooking omelettes and fish.
- 4-qt dutch pan
- Dishwasher safe
Best Dishwasher Safe
I think most of us grew up learning how to make breakfast meals before lunch or dinner dishes. One of the biggest pains was learning how to flip pancakes without them tearing in half. Thankfully, nonstick pans allow you to make pancakes look just as good as they taste!
- Heavy-gauge aluminum nonstick cookware set
- Tempered glass covers
Best for Steak Dinners
When you get the cravings for a New York strip and don't feel like going to Texas Roadhouse, thaw your steak and get your carbon steel skillet ready. With the right seasoning and skillet, you'll be able to cook your steak to your liking. Many people love using carbon steel for steak because they heat quickly and retain heat for a perfect sear.
- Under $40
- Great for campsite use
Best for Cobbler Desserts
Out with the old, and in with new aqua blue cookware. Dutch ovens are a popular bakeware choice for cooking peach cobbler. If you're cooking a smaller batch, opt for a small skillet. Otherwise, a ceramic dish is perfect for getting your dessert to a golden brown. Don't forget to top it with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream.
- Freezer safe
- Attractive serving ware for holidays
Depending on how much cooking you do, a 17-piece cookware set could be too much. I'd say 10-14 piece sets should be enough. A nice fry pan set and saucepots are major essentials to look for in your cookware set. Of course, all sets are different. If you're looking for a square griddle, check out Farberware's high performance cookware set. For Amazon shopping, I recommend All-Clad cookware. Their stock pots have anti-warp bases, and fantastic reviews.