When choosing what type of cookware is right for you, you’ll first have to decide between traditional stainless steel, nonstick, or ceramic cookware. There’s lots to love on all sides, but we will say that stainless is best for high-heat searing and even heating (hello, steak night!).
The Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab evaluated 29 stainless steel cookware lines. We checked how well skillets were able to distribute heat on gas and electric ranges, their ability to evenly brown steaks, and how well their exterior surfaces resisted staining. Then we tested the ability of a saucepan to maintain a steady simmer and to cook tomato sauce without scorching. We scored for ease of use, considering the usefulness of the owner’s manual, whether the cookware and its lid are oven-safe and dishwasher safe, and whether the handles and lid become too hot during use. We inspected each piece is inspected for rivets (which attach handles to the pan and create additional crevices that require cleaning).
These are the best stainless steel cookware sets, including top-tested picks, as well as some new favorites:
What are the pros and cons of stainless steel cookware?
The pros: Stainless steel can handle screaming-hot temperatures and conducts heats evenly for foolproof cooking. Most stainless steel cookware has a core or interior made from aluminum for even heating. Stainless steel cookware also lacks a nonstick coating, which some people prefer.
The cons: Cleaning. Contrary to the name, stainless steel pans are prone to staining since food sticks to the surface more than other materials. We recommend stocking up on Bar Keepers Friend if you want to keep them looking as gorgeous as they are out of the box.