Home & Garden Home The 8 Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets of 2021 Feel like a pro in the kitchen with these eco-friendly cookware sets By Amanda Ogle Amanda Ogle is a freelance writer and editor covering sustainability, health, travel, food, and lifestyle topics. our editorial process Amanda Ogle Updated March 30, 2021 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Home Sustainable Eating Pest Control Natural Cleaning DIY Family Green Living Thrift & Minimalism Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. The Rundown Best Overall: Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel Cookware Set at Walmart "Whether you a beginning or pro chef, you can't go wrong with this 12 piece set." Best Budget: T-Fal PerformaPro Stainless Steel 14pc Set at Walmart "At 14 pieces, this stainless steel set is quite the steel, er, steal." Best Splurge: All-Clad D3 Stainless 10-Piece Cookware Set at Amazon "Consider this high-quality, non-toxic set an investment that will save you money in the long run." Best Induction: Anolon Nouvelle Stainless Steel Cookware at Amazon "The copper midlayer in this set means it has great heat conduction and distribution." Best Nonstick: GreenPan Venice Pro Stainless Steel 7 Piece Set at Amazon "This set is great for those who love nonstick cookware, but want to switch to stainless steel." Best Starter Set: Made In The Starter Set at Madeincookware.com "With four versatile pots and pans, this set gives you the basics to start cooking." Best Functionality: Calphalon Stainless Steel 11-Piece Cookware Set at Walmart "Well-designed handles and a range of sizes make this set the most functional one we found." Best Set for Small Spaces: The Proclamation Duo at Proclamationgoods.com "The Proclamation Duo is a great pick if you’re tight on space or just want a few pieces that can do a lot." Ever wonder why chefs usually opt for stainless steel cookware? It’s because of its great heat distribution and durability. Stainless steel doesn’t rust, it’s non-reactive even when cooking acidic foods, and free from concerning chemicals found in some non-stick coatings. It can be used on the stovetop or in the oven, and is great for searing and caramelizing meats. You can also use stainless steel cookware when working with high temperatures, and it’s generally easy to clean. Although it doesn’t happen often, low-quality stainless steel cookware can potentially leach out small amounts of nickel into food, but if you are buying quality cookware, you shouldn’t have to worry about that. Also, using cooking utensils made from materials that won’t scratch your stainless steel, like silicone or wood, helps eliminate the problem of nickel getting into your food. Clean your stainless steel with a non-abrasive scrubbing pad (do not use steel wool) and warm water and soap. While a bit on the pricier side, quality stainless steel can last you decades. Here are the best stainless steel cookware sets: Best Overall: Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set 4.6 Buy on Walmart Buy on Amazon Buy on Wayfair You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck with this 12-piece set that includes 1.5-quart and 3-quart saucepans, 8-inch and 10-inch skillets, 3.5-quart sauté pan, 8-quart stock pot, and a steamer insert. All the pots come with lids except the open skillets. They're made from triple-ply construction with magnetized steel, and an aluminum core creates excellent heat conductivity, distribution, and retention. Compatible with induction stove tops, this set is also oven-safe up to 550 degrees and dishwasher-safe. The riveted, cool-grip handles are an added perk, as are the self-basting lids. The pieces also have tapered rims for drip-free pouring, and the polished cooking surface won’t react with food or alter flavors. There’s no risk of off-gassing or leaching here, since the set is not coated, and the set also comes with a lifetime warranty against defects. This is a great set for beginners cooks and professional chefs alike. Nonstick Tip Stainless steel sometimes gets a bad rap for not being as easy to clean as nonstick cookware, but with a little oil and know-how, you can cut down on how much food adheres to the pan. Simply preheat your stainless steel pot or pan before cooking, then once it’s heated, add in a little oil or butter and also let it warm up. This will reduce the amount that foods stick as you cook. Best Budget: T-Fal PerformaPro Stainless Steel 14pc Set Buy on Walmart Buy on Amazon At 14 pieces, this stainless steel set is quite the steel, er, steal. The frying pans and sauté pans have a raised pattern on the interiors, so food releases easier and makes cleanup easier. The set is compatible with all stovetops and dishwasher-safe. The riveted, silicone-wrapped handles mean you can cook without worrying about burning yourself, and vented glass lids allow you to monitor food as it cooks. A limited lifetime warranty comes with the set. As a company, T-Fal guarantees clean, non-toxic coatings when they are used. They do not contain PFOA, lead, or cadmium. Best Splurge: All-Clad D3 Stainless 10-Piece Cookware Set Buy on Amazon Buy on Bloomingdales Buy on Macy's Yes, this set is a bit pricey, but if taken care of and used properly, this set should last, meaning you won’t have to spend more money in the long run on more cookware. This American-made cookware set features a three-ply design, with alternating layers of stainless steel and professional-grade aluminum bonded together all the way to the rim. The high-quality materials distribute heat beautifully along the bottoms and sidewalls, meaning you'll need less energy and only medium heat for much of your cooking. All pieces (without the lids) are oven-safe up to 600 degrees, and are also safe in the dishwasher. The set includes 8-inch and 10-inch fry pans, 2-quart and 3-quart sauce pans with lids, a 3-quart sauté pan with lid, and an 8-quart stockpot with lid. There’s also a limited lifetime warranty on the set. The 8 Best Cast Iron Pans of 2021 Best Induction: Anolon 75818 Nouvelle Stainless Steel Cookware 4.2 Buy on Amazon Copper has great heat conductivity, and the addition of a copper mid-layer between the stainless steel pieces in this set means it has great heat conduction and distribution. Each piece here has a five-layer base, and the handles are dual-riveted for strength. The set is oven-safe up to 500 degrees, and compatible with all stovetops, including induction. The stainless steel lids are designed to help seal in heat and lock in moisture, and everything is dishwasher-safe. The set includes 1.25-quart and 2.5-quart saucepans with lids, a 6.5-quart stockpot with lid, 8-inch and 10-inch frying pans, and a 3-quart sauté pan with lid. A lifetime warranty rounds out this sweet deal. Best Nonstick: GreenPan Venice Pro Stainless Steel Healthy Ceramic Nonstick, 7 Piece Set Buy on Amazon This combo stainless steel/nonstick set is great for those who love nonstick cookware but want to make the switch to stainless steel. This set is made from multilayer stainless steel, and the interiors are coated with GreenPan’s Thermolon Minerals Pro, a non-toxic, ceramic nonstick coating that’s free from PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium, so it won’t release toxic fumes even if overheated. The cookware is also reinforced with Evershine technology to resist discoloration. It's safe in the oven up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, and glass lids are safe up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. GreenPan says the set is metal utensil safe, due to the durable nonstick coating, but we recommend sticking with silicone or wooden utensils any time you’re cooking on a metal surface. The set is also dishwasher-safe and comes with a limited lifetime warranty covering defects in material and workmanship (the nonstick coating is covered by a warranty for two years). Pieces include a 10-inch open fry pan, 3-quart covered skillet, 5-quart covered casserole with two spouts and a straining lid, and a 1.5-quart covered saucepan. The 7 Best Nonstick Cookware Sets of 2021 Best Starter Set: Made In The Starter Set Buy on Madeincookware.com This is a great set for those who just want a few pieces to get started or have small kitchens, as the pots and pans are great sizes to cover all the basics. The set comes with a 10-inch stainless steel frying pan, 10-inch blue carbon steel frying pan, 2-quart saucepan with lid, 8-quart stock pot with lid, and a 2-ounce can of carbon steel seasoning wax. The stainless steel pieces are 5-ply stainless steel, and all pieces are induction-compatible. Stay-cool handles avoid high heat, and the stainless steel products are oven-safe up to 800 degrees, with the carbon steel cookware is safe in the oven up to 1200 degrees. Made In recommends seasoning the carbon steel cookware with the provided seasoning wax before use and to avoid metal utensils with the set. We also like that Made In has a recycling program for old cookware. Best Functionality: Calphalon Premier Stainless Steel 11-Piece Cookware Set Buy on Walmart Buy on Amazon Buy on Bed Bath & Beyond Smartly designed handles, a variety of pot and pan sizes, and great design make this set the most functional one we found. Unlike lots of other sets, it has a larger 12-inch frying pan with a lid in addition to a 10-inch frying pan with a lid, both 1.5-quart and 2.5-quart saucepans with lids, a 3-quart sauté pan with a lid, and an 8-quart stockpot with a lid. The ergonomic handles make it easy to pour from the pan, or hold steadily while tossing a stir fry or flipping pancakes. The 3-ply construction has an aluminum core surrounded by stainless steel on both sides, which provides maximum heat retention. All pieces are dishwasher-safe and oven-safe up to 450 degrees. Feel free to use it with all types of stovetops, and rest easy knowing the pan’s performance means it will last. A lifetime warranty comes with the set. Best Set for Small Spaces: The Proclamation Duo in Stainless Steel Buy on Proclamationgoods.com The Proclamation Duo is a great pick if you’re tight on space or just want a few pieces that can do a lot. This stainless steel set comes with the Hybrid Pot, the Sidekick Skillet, and a lid that fits both pans. The Hybrid Pot can be used as either a wok or a pot that’s big enough to fit a whole chicken. The Sidekick Skillet is 12 inches in diameter and deep enough to use as a saucepan. A special feature of this combo is that they fit together to form a Dutch oven that can used in the oven to bake bread or roast a chicken. The handles are hollow-cast to help them stay cooler, and the pot’s handle can also serve as a spoon rest. Final Verdict Our top pick is the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Set (view on Wayfair), which you can use to cook just about anything. If you’re on a budget, consider T-Fal PerformaPro Stainless Steel set (view on Amazon). Why Trust Treehugger? Author Amanda Ogle is a freelance writer and editor covering sustainability, health, travel, food, and lifestyle topics. She loves writing about sustainability and believes it is important that we all strive to be as environmentally friendly as we can.