You might have heard the saying “a poor craftsman blames his tools” once or twice before. While it comes in handy whenever someone blames the bat for a strikeout, that philosophy is a little different when it comes to cookware. Having great pots and pans won’t cover up sub-par knife skills, but they can help make sure your steaks and sauces get just the right amount of sizzle.
While they can seem like a big investment initially, purchasing a restaurant-quality cookware set means you’ll have highly functional—and great looking—skillets and saucepans for years to come. But with so many options on the market, it can be hard to separate the ones that can actually sustain a lot of use from the ones that merely look like they’re built for high-pressure environments. Here, a handful of well-made and most comprehensive cookware sets that’ll stand up to almost any kitchen task. The only missing ingredient is you.
1. All-Clad Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set
There’s a reason you see the All-Clad logo on almost every cooking show. The American company’s pots and pans, made from aluminum sandwiched between layers of stainless steel, heat evenly and are built to last for generations. This set includes an 8-quart stockpot, two frying pans, two saucepots and a skillet with a lid. They’ll work with induction, electric and gas cooktops and can even withstand time in the oven.
Pros: Sturdy construction makes this set the only cooking set you may ever need.
Cons: This no-frills set doesn’t include as many options as packages from other brands.
2. Mauviel M’heritage Copper 12-piece Cookware Set
Copper heats up and cools down more quickly than iron and stainless steel, so it makes great pots and pans for home cooks who value precision cooking—or who just want their water to boil faster. This copper set from Mauviel includes 12 pieces, comprising everything you need to cook like the pros. It even includes a special cleaner to ensure your pans look newer longer.
Pros: Superior control over heat and a great, timeless look.
Cons: Even if you have the money, this set is expensive.
3. Cuisinart Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set
If you’re starting from scratch, Cuisinart’s 12-piece cookware set is a great and efficient way to fully equip a kitchen. It includes everything those on the beginning of their culinary journeys need, including a stockpot, sauté pans, two frying pans and even a steamer insert. Its aluminum and stainless steel construction ensures even heat distribution, meaning you won’t have to worry about your food not cooking properly.
Pros: A hard-working set with great looks provides a lot of value.
Cons: Some pieces may take up more space than they’re worth.
4. 360 Stainless Steel 9-piece Cookware Set
360’s stainless steel cookware set offers the least amount of pots and pans—but that’s not a bad thing. By focusing on the cookware home cooks tend to use the most, you can rest assured you won’t be getting more than you need. Plus, these pieces are oven safe up to 500 degrees, so you’ll have lots of flexibility in how you use this set.
Pros: The less-is-more approach is great for those who don’t want to buy more than they need.
Cons: You may end up buying more cookware down the road.