If you’re looking to stock your kitchen with some excellent pots and pans, I’ve been testing to find the best cookware sets for 2022. In fact, I hauled in the wares from over a dozen popular kitchen brands in every price range and in every cookware material to help you find the perfect match.
While some prefer to curate their cookware collection piece by piece, there are distinct advantages to buying a full set of cookware in one fell swoop. For one, you’ll save money since most brands offer a discount for the set versus buying each piece individually. You’ll also get the benefit of consistency and become more familiar with the cookware type faster – be it Teflon, ceramic, aluminum, cast iron or stainless steel – with less time spent adjusting from pan to pan. Finally, there’s an aesthetic bonus since all your cookware will match in whichever style you choose.
If you’re starting from scratch, I recommend All-Clad’s excellent D3 seven-piece collection as the best overall cookware set. It should have all the cookware you need to work through any recipe. And remember, you can always add more pieces like a small skillet, wok or cast-iron or carbon steel frying pan later.
But I have picks in other categories, including cast-iron cookware, ceramic and the best budget cookware. So strap on your apron and peruse our list of the best cookware sets for 2022.
Best cookware sets for 2022
Read more: We Tried 2 Lighter Cast-Iron Cookware Options
How we evaluate cookware sets
Testing and evaluating cookware sets at CNET works a bit differently than with other kitchen and cookware categories. Rather than run every piece of cookware from each set through cooking trials, I’m able to use the intel gathered from my exhaustive testing of frying pans for best lists and reviews. Frying pans are the most critical piece in any cookware set and are often constructed using the same materials as the rest. Because of that, I can determine the quality of a full set based on the performance of its key component – the frying pan.
Why the frying pans matter most
Don’t get me wrong, stockpots and saucepans are important but, in truth, attributes such as quality construction, even heating and heat retention won’t affect their performance the way they will a frying pan, sauté pan or skillet. A stockpot, for example, is mainly used to boil water for pasta or for cooking potatoes or shelled seafood. Materials used won’t affect how well it does this very much. Carefully pan-frying a cut of good steak or piece of fish in a skillet? Well, that’s another story.
After considerating the frying pans in these sets via our testing of cast-iron pans, nonstick cookware and stainless-steel skillets, I then looked at the makeup of the rest of the set, including how many pieces are included and how much it costs. I always take value into consideration but it won’t trump quality.
Don’t get stuck with a bloated cookware set
One big consideration is what pieces are included and if they are essential to your kitchen or not. There are cookware sets as big as 14 pieces but they are generally going to have lots of pots and pans in a range of sizes that you probably won’t use. I wouldn’t suggest going bigger than eight or nine pieces (this includes lids counted as pieces) unless you have both the space and money for all those extras.
Best cookware set FAQs
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