A Complete List of the Best Pots and Pans We've Ever Tested
Purchasing cookware is no small task. With all the options available, scouring the internet to find the best cookware is enough to overwhelm anyone. That's why we decided to compile a list of the best pots and pans we've ever tested for reviews, so you don't have to sort through the rest.
Looking for a new nonstick fry pan? Here, you'll find our favorite. What about cookware sets? We've tested a bunch. Sheet pans? We've narrowed down your options to just two of the best. These are the kitchen pots and pans you'll want to gift, add to your wedding registry, or buy to stock your own kitchen.
Nonstick Fry Pans
Nobody needs to go out and purchase a 10-piece nonstick cookware set, but everybody could benefit from a nonstick skillet. When cooking delicate foods like fish or pancakes, a nonstick skillet will provide an easy release surface that prevents tearing or sticking. We tested eight of the top-rated nonstick skillets available, and Anolon's hard anodized nonstick fry pan came out on top thanks to its even heating, comfortability, and durable nonstick finish. It was the only skillet of all those tested that didn't have significant losses in nonstick ability after being scraped with a metal spatula (you shouldn't use metal utensils on nonstick cookware, but we wanted to really put these pans to the test). It's available in three different sizes, or you can purchase a two-piece set that includes both the 10-inch and 12-inch pans.
Stainless Steel Cookware
We understand that purchasing a stainless steel cookware set can seem daunting, but rest assured, it's a wise investment. Not only do stainless steel cookware sets offer plenty of variety at a great value, but a quality set will last for years and years. After testing six of the best, this 11-piece set from Calphalon received our stamp of approval. It has everything any home cook could need — two frying pans, two saucepans, a sauté pan, a stockpot, and five lids. The aluminum core provides optimal heat conduction, while the three outer layers of stainless steel provide a nonreactive, easy-to-maintain surface.
Most folks don't consider copper when they're shopping for pots and pans, and understandably so — it's infamously pricey and hard to maintain. However, copper is commonplace in professional kitchens because it's an excellent conductor; it heats quickly and loses that heat quickly, giving your maximum control in the kitchen. Out of the seven sets tested, our favorite was All-Clad's stainless steel cookware with a copper core. It's kind of the best of both worlds: You get the precise heating of copper with an easy-to-maintain stainless steel body.
All-Clad Copper Core 10-Piece Cookware Set
Buy it: $1500; Williams Sonoma
If you're more of a copper cookware purist, you may be inclined to go for this stainless steel-lined copper cookware from Made In. The pans are made of 90 percent copper, with the other 10 percent being the thin stainless steel lining in the interior. The copper provides optimal heat conduction, while the interior lining prevents the copper from reacting with acidic foods or even leaching into your food.
Made In The Copper Set
Buy it: $1200; Made In
Ceramic Nonstick Cookware
Ceramic nonstick cookware has become a popular alternative for those with concerns about conventional nonstick cookware. It's usually made with an aluminum or stainless steel core, and has a silicone-based nonstick coating, as opposed to Teflon. The trade-off is ceramic nonstick tends to be far less durable than conventional nonstick. Out of the eight sets tested, GreenPan's Revolution was our favorite. It's available in a full set, or you may just want to purchase the fry pan or two-piece fry pan set.
GreenPan Revolution Ceramic Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set
Buy it: $320; Williams Sonoma
Dutch ovens can be pricey, but fortunately if you invest in a quality one, you'll find they can last decades. You can use these handy pots to bake bread, simmer soups, braise, deep fry, and more. Our favorite out of the 12 we tested was Le Creuset's enameled cast iron Dutch oven. This beautiful pot truly lives up to Le Creuset's reputation for cookware that's both highly efficient and beautiful. The easy-to-clean enameled cast iron surface sears beautifully, and the snug-fitting lid locks in moisture during cooking.
If you're not looking to shell out hundreds of dollars for a Dutch oven, Lodge's enameled cast iron Dutch oven was a close second, and it hovers around $100.
Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Buy it: $70 (originally $115); Amazon
Related: The 12 Best Dutch Ovens of 2021
A saucepan is essential, and it's likely one of your most reached for items in the kitchen, so why not make sure it's a good one? We tested nine different three-quart saucepans of all different materials, and landed on the Cuisinart's Contour Hard Anodized Saucepan as our favorite. It has a wide base and an aluminum core that helps it to boil quickly, and the contoured body makes it easy to pour without dripping. Plus, its nonstick interior makes it so easy to clean.
Cuisinart Contour Hard Anodized 3-Quart Saucepan with Cover
Buy it: $55; Target
Woks come in many different shapes, sizes, and materials — we'd recommend going with a carbon steel wok as this is the most traditional material, and for good reason: Carbon steel is lightweight (so it's easy to toss with one hand), durable, and super conductive.
Traditional woks are also made with a round bottom, which most modern stovetops do not accommodate. This means you'll likely need to purchase a wok ring, unless your stove is equipped with a wok top. Despite this inconvenience, wok traditionalists argue that the rounded bottom makes for a wider surface area and makes it easier to toss food. Our favorite of the round bottom woks we tested was this wok from Craft Wok that is hand-hammered in China. We found it developed a natural nonstick surface with seasoning.
Craft Wok Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok
Buy it: $71; Walmart
If you prefer the convenience of a flat bottom wok, we like Yosukata's carbon steel wok: "Its flat bottom allows for use without a wok ring, yet it has rounded edges on the bottom which made stir frying without the wok spatula easy," says Allrecipes product Tester Marianne Williams.
Yosukata Carbon Steel Wok Pan
Buy it: $58; Amazon
A grill pan is an easy solution for anyone without a grill (or without the outdoor space for one). But even those who have a grill will benefit from having a grill pan in the winter months, when it's not exactly pleasant to stand on the patio for an extended period of time.
A grill plan allows you to achieve those signature sear marks from your stovetop. Plus, the ridges also help elevate your food above its juices and fats, so you get a better sear. Though pricey, Scanpan's nonstick grill pan really performs. Even though it has a nonstick surface, it's metal utensil-, dishwasher-, and oven-safe. The ridges are closer together than many of the other grill pans tested, which resulted in a more caramelized and densely striped surface.
Scanpan Professional Nonstick Grill Pan
Buy it: $140; Sur La Table
We understand that $140 is a lot to shell out on a grill pan, so we're also including our favorite budget-friendly grill pan. It's cast iron, so it will require seasoning, but it also gives a beautiful sear every time.
Cuisinel Cast Iron Grill Pan
Buy it: $30; Amazon
One of those most overworked and overlooked pans in your kitchen, a sheet pan is essential. This one from Made In will make you wonder how you ever survived without it. Made with commercial grade 3004 aluminum into an 18-gauge thickness, it's lightweight enough to handle with one hand, but sturdy enough not to warp or buckle, thanks to the reinforced rim.
Made In Sheet Pan ½ Sheet
Buy it: $25; Made In
For less than half the price, Nordic Ware rivals Made In in just about every way. Their pan is lightweight yet durable, and roasts evenly without scorching.
You don't need anything fancy to make a good banana bread, just a basic, no-frills loaf pan. Out of the 10 we tested, this two-piece set from Great Jones is our favorite (so you can always make a second loaf for sharing!). It has an aluminized steel core and an easy-to-clean ceramic nonstick coating that's dishwasher-safe. The brightly colored finish is just a bonus!
Great Jones Breadwinner, Set of 2
Buy it: $65; Great Jones Goods
For a slightly more industrial looking, but just as effective loaf pan, USA Pan's loaf pan is a fraction of the price. Like the Great Jones pans, it has an aluminized steel core and a silicone-based nonstick coating.