Stainless Steel, Cast Iron and Aluminum Cookware Sets – FAQ & Buyer’s Guide!

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sets of stainless steel and aluminum cookware

“The heart of every kitchen is the chef, but the chef’s heart lay in their cookware. From saucepans to stockpots, saute pans to skillets, the right equipment allows the cook to bring their vision to the table.

Whether you’re serving a family or an army, you want to make sure that your cookware is going to go the distance. The best pans produce evenly cooked food, don’t develop hot spots, and are durable enough to become a family tradition.”

My family likes food. That may seem like a ridiculous statement that is bordering on the obvious and inane, but the fact remains that it needs to be said.

While some families will obsess over the decorations and children during family gatherings, the first place mine goes is straight to the kitchen to see what’s cooking. So, whether you cook on a professional gas range for the home or a 2-burner grill, trustworthy cookware will always be there to help with the process.

With a family like mine, you have to be sure that the food is top-notch, and since you’re always cooking you have to be certain that your cookware is going to be able to go the distance.

When I finally moved out of my parents’ house and got a place where family gatherings could become a reality, I quickly realized I better get myself a set of cookware. Not just any cookware would do, however.

I had to have a set that would put up with the abuse it was going to receive, and since my grandmother was very much alive and well, I couldn’t wait to inherit one. The result was a frantic search for the best cookware I could afford that was going to be able to honor my rich family tradition of recipes and bonding. Below is the list I compiled while trying to make a decision.

List & Comparison of The Best Cookware:

Rachael Ray 87000Rachael Ray 87000
  • Quantity- 14
  • Material- Aluminum
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Cuisinart GG-12Cuisinart GG-12
  • Quantity- 12
  • Material- Aluminum
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Calphalon SA10HCalphalon SA10H
  • Quantity- 10
  • Material- Aluminum
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Rachael Ray 11480Rachael Ray 11480
  • Quantity- 10
  • Material- Aluminum
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All-Clad 8400001085All-Clad 8400001085
  • Quantity- 10
  • Material- Stainless Steel
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Le Creuset 14-pieceLe Creuset 14-piece
  • Quantity- 14
  • Material- Stainless Steel
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Farberware 71238Farberware 71238
  • Quantity- 17
  • Material- Stainless Steel
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Fissler FISS-08437305000Fissler FISS-08437305000
  • Quantity- 8
  • Material- Stainless Steel
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Revere 1042262Revere 1042262
  • Quantity- 7
  • Material- Stainless Steel
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Ballarini 75001-652Ballarini 75001-652
  • Quantity- 10
  • Material- Aluminum
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Table of Contents

Review of the Best Cookware:

🥇 Rachael Ray 87000 Cookware

Rachael Ray 87000

Rachael Ray’s line of cookware is all about keeping cooking fun while using quality cookware. This line of cookware uses Hard-Anodized Aluminum to ensure that there are no hot spots on the pan, allowing the heat to properly distribute throughout the cooking surface.

The lids are of resilient tempered glass that lets you keep an eye on what you’re cooking without letting heat and moisture escape. The orange handles on the cookware make it easy to grip and are safe in the oven up to 350 degrees.


  • 1-Quart, 2-Quart and 3-Quart Covered Saucepans
  • 4-Quart Covered Saucepot
  • 6-Quart Covered Stockpot
  • 3-Quart Covered Saute
  • 8.5-Inch and 10-Inch Skillets


  • Lids Seal In Temperature
  • Non-Stick and Even Heating

🥇 Cuisinart GG-12 Cookware

Cuisinart GG-12

Cuisinart’s Ceramica line uses an innovative form of non-stick technology that uses ceramic as its foundation rather than petroleum. This coating is both environmentally safe since it uses no oil products, and safe for cooking since it lacks both PFOA and PTFE.

Hard-Anodization technology is used in its composition to ensure that it conducts heat quickly and evenly, reaching cooking temperatures in less time without hot spots.

The stainless steel handles are made from 70% recycled stainless steel, remain cool when cooking, and are firmly attached with rivets. The Ceramica line is part of Cuisinart’s dedication to producing a more Earth-friendly line of products by reducing its reliance on petroleum products.

You can rest easy knowing that your children’s health, and their future, are safe when using Cuisinart products.


  • 8-inch skillet
  • 10-inch lidded deep fry
  • 1-1/2-, 2-1/2-quart lidded saucepans
  • 3-quart lidded everyday pan
  • 6-quart lidded Dutch Oven
  • Steamer insert


  • Ceramica Nonstick Surface Doesnt Peel and Is PTFE And PFOA Free
  • Hard-Adonized Aluminum Provides Even Heat Distribution

🥇 Calphalon SA10H Cookware

Calphalon SA10H

Whether you’re reheating a stew, stirring up a delicious sauce, or steaming rice Simply Calphalon’s line of hard-anodized cookware is perfect for the job. These pans are extra durable thanks to the non-stick interior being double coated in both their pots and pans.

Innovative design ensures that liquids pour evenly from the pan with ease, leaving the pan to be quickly cleaned with a little dish soap, water, and a sponge. Take care, this cookware is not dishwasher safe, and should never be cleaned with scouring pads or abrasive cleaners.

Up your cooking game with Simply Calphalon’s cookware


  • 8-inch omelet pan
  • 10-inch omelet pan
  • 1-qt covered sauce pan
  • 2-qt covered sauce pan
  • 3-qt covered saute pan
  • 6-qt covered stock pot
  • 4pcs tempered glass lids


  • Tempered Glass Covers
  • Double-Coated Non-stick interior

🥇 Rachael Ray 11480 Cookware

Rachael Ray 11480

When you cook with Rachael Ray’s cookware you’re cooking with equipment that’s been tested and approved by one of the world’s most respected professional chefs. The use of hard-anodized aluminum technology provides a smoothly heating cook surface that ensures no hot spots or unevenness in the cooking.

The tempered glass lids are shatter-resistant and convenient for monitoring what’s cooking without loss of heat or moisture. Never lose your grip with the rubberized orange grip handles. With this line of cookware, you can keep food warm and ready to serve in the oven at temperatures up to 350 degrees.


  • 2 covered sauce pans
  • Covered stock pot
  • 2 skillets Covered saute pan


  • Shatter resistant glass lens
  • Double-riveted handles with heat-safe rubber

🥇 All-Clad 8400001085 Cookware

All-Clad 8400001085

All-Clad has always shared cooking for passion with those that use their cookware, meaning they care as much about the quality of their product as the customers who end up using them. Every detail of this 10 piece cookware has been designed with obsessive attention to quality typical of All-Clad.

Get even heat distribution every time thanks to their 5-ply technology comprised of alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum. Never worry about getting your cookware clean, just throw them in the dishwasher and enjoy the convenience of their dishwasher-safe design.


  • 8” & 10” Fry Pans
  • 1.5 Qt. & 3 Qt. Sauce Pans with lids
  • 3 Qt. Saute Pan with lid
  • 8 Qt. Stockpot with lid


  • 5-ply bonded construction
  • Oven safe up to 500 degrees

🥇 Le Creuset 14-piece Cookware

Le Creuset 14-piece

Le Creuset has a reputation for being one of the world’s leading providers of professional-grade cookware. Built with the dedication to quality you can only find in European craftsmanship this brilliantly designed stainless steel set of cookware is an investment in fine cooking.

The high-quality stainless steel alloy is formulated to resist scorching, pocking, and pitting while presenting a beautiful luster that catches the light in a rainbow shimmer. Hot spots are eliminated with their innovative triple-layer design that aids in the distribution and conduction of heat.


  • 2-qt. Saucepan
  • 3-qt. Saucepan
  • 4-qt. Casserole
  • 4.5-qt. Saute Pan
  • 7-qt. Stockpot
  • 8-in. Stainless Steel Skillet with Glass Lid
  • 10-in. Stainless Steel Skillet with Glass Lid


  • Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Construction with Aluminum Core
  • Oven Safe Up To 500 Degrees
  • Induction Stove Compatible

🥇 Farberware 71238 Cookware

Farberware 71238

Faberware brings this incredible 17 piece set designed to fulfill all the basic needs of baking and cooking at home. 18/10 stainless steel is used in the construction of every pot and pan, matched with a hearty aluminum core that quickly distributes heat for an even cooking surface.

The lids are constructed of the same high-quality stainless steel with handles made of black phenolic. These pieces are guaranteed oven-safe up to 350 degrees. This classic line has long been a standard of Faberware’s line of cookware and is respected the world over.

All pieces in this set can be washed in the dishwasher for convenience.


  • 1 Quart 2 Quart and 3 Quart Covered Saucepans
  • 4 Quart Covered Saucepot
  • 8 Quart Covered Stockpot
  • 8-inch and 10-inch Nonstick Aluminum Skillets
  • 9-inch x13-inch Cookie Sheet
  • 9-inch x 13-inch Cake Pan
  • 3 nesting mixing bowls


  • Oven safe up to 350 degrees, Bakeware to 450 degrees
  • Lids fit snugly for heat and moisture retention

🥇 Fissler FISS-08437305000 Cookware

Fissler FISS-08437305000

The Profi collection is one of the Fissler original lines of cookware that built its reputation around the world. Engineered in Germany this collection will withstand the test of time to become a wonderful heirloom.

18/10 stainless steel is used in the design of these pieces to create a superior design with unmatched quality and an aesthetically pleasing design. German construction means these pieces are made to a standard of durability suitable for the most challenging culinary spaces throughout the world.


  • 6.7Qt (24cm) stock pot with lid
  • 3.2Qt (24cm) casserole with lid
  • 2.1Qt (16cm) high sauce pan with lid
  • 8″ (20cm) fry pan and an 11″ (28 cm) fry pan


  • Solid Stainless Steel Construction
  • Condensate-Plus Lid Returns Moisture to Food
  • Induction Stove Compatible

🥇 Revere 1042262 Cookware

Revere 1042262

Stainless steel and conductive copper come together to create a piece that is easy to use, easy to clean, and unmatched in its ability to produce food that is evenly cooked and delicious.

Whether you’re making soup, stocks, or casseroles in the dutch oven or world-class sauces in the saucepan this set will create great results. Don’t let food get cold, these pots and pans are all safe up to 350 degrees in the oven.

The skillets and pans are all designed for hanging on pegs or hooks with their built-in loop handles.


  • 1-quart covered saucepan
  • 1-1/2-quart covered saucepan
  • 4-1/2-quart covered dutch oven
  • 9-inch open skillet


  • Stainless Steel Construction
  • Oven Safe to 350 Degrees

🥇 Ballarini 75001-652 Cookware

Ballarini 75001-652

Italian cuisine has long been trusted in the quality and tradition of Ballarini Parma cookware for household and restaurant cooking alike. The nonstick coating is made of a speckled Granitium design that makes food release quickly and effortlessly.

Even better this material is durable and resilient thanks to its stony heart, making it metal-safe, fork-proof, and resistant to scratching so it can last a lifetime or more.

No more guessing whether the pan is still hot with the revolutionary Thermopoint handles. When the pan is safe for picking up with your hands the handle will turn green, while perfect cooking temperatures turn the handle red. Never again will you have to worry about undercooking your food or overheating the pan.

Constructed of high-quality aluminum this cookware heats rapidly and evenly while being light enough to eliminate and strain from lifting.


  • 2 Frying Pans
  • Dutch Oven
  • 2 Sauce Pans
  • Saute Pan


  • Thermopoint Precision Temperature Control to Prevent damage and Overheating
  • PFOA-Free


Which Brand of Cookware Is Best?

Buying a new cookware collection can be a fun and inspiring experience, especially when you’ve just moved into a new place and are trying to make it your own. When you start looking for that perfect example you’re going to find that there’s a staggering variety of them available.

Before you even start thinking about brands you have to consider the various available designs. Once you know which style of cookware you want you can start looking for a reputable manufacturer who makes it.

All-Clad is well known for its professional-quality cookware and most people who buy them know that they’ll last them the rest of their lives. You’ll be paying a bit more at the outset but never having to replace your cookware can make it all worth it.

Cuisinart is another huge name in home appliances and cookware and terms of quality are right up there with All-Clad. Their cookware is a combination of professional-grade quality and an affordable price point that comes together to make them an incredible value.

Simply Calphalon is reputed for the high-quality non-stick nature of their equipment. Their pricing is very reasonable and you won’t find quality sacrificed to make them affordable. They won’t last as long as Cuisinart or All-Clad, but they’ll be around for years after you purchase them.

T-Fal produces a line of the oven and dishwasher-safe non-stick cookware that won’t break the bank. There are few limitations on their product line and they’ve come out with some fairly innovative extra features for their line that make them a great choice.

Cook N Home is another great brand that falls at the lower end of the price spectrum. They’re a good basic line of cookware that will get the job done, and are perfect for those who are shopping on a budget.

They’re not going to be the most durable cookware you’ve ever had, but they’ll last and won’t drain your account.

These are just a few of the lines that are out there but they each represent a balance between quality and money that makes them a solid choice for the right consumer. I looked at a few of these while making this list, some of them made it onto the list, some didn’t.

You’ll also find a couple of brands that aren’t listed here in my Top Ten below.

What Is The Best And Safest Kind Of Cookware?

We’ve all heard about how convenient non-stick cookware is to use in the kitchen, but you’ve likely heard that there are some associated risks with it. This has likely got you wondering just how safe your cookware is, and what you can do to improve the safety of the tools you use to make your food.

Let’s take a look at some of the cookware that’s on the market today and what risks are associated with each of them.

Non-stick cookware is one of the most popular styles of cookware on the market today, but it’s also one of the least safe if precautions aren’t taken.

If these pans get above 700 degrees, which they can easily do in just 3-5 minutes, they begin to outgas toxic chemicals and gases, two of which are known to cause cancer, and one that’s a greenhouse gas.

They’re great pans, but make sure you never let them overheat, especially if you have birds in your home.

Stainless Steel cookware is comprised of multiple materials, including molybdenum, nickel, and chromium. These materials can get into the food you cook on them, but in minute amounts so long as the pans remain undamaged. When cleaning these types of pans avoid using abrasives. Fairly safe all around.

Aluminum cookware isn’t good for cooking and it isn’t good for you. The metal is highly reactive and isn’t appropriate for use with acidic foods. It doesn’t heat evenly, and aluminum has been implicated in symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

While it’s nearly impossible to avoid consuming aluminum due to its abundance in nature, there’s no need to aggravate it by cooking on what is essentially poison.

Cast-Iron cookware stands out as the best cookware available in terms of health safety and performance.

Using iron cookware can help treat anemia and can make sure you’re getting sufficient levels of the mineral in your diet. Properly seasoned (Baking it with oil) these pans are better at non-stick than the non-stick pans listed above. There’s a bit of a learning curve to keep them seasoned, but it is worth it.

While copper is an excellent conductor of heat you shouldn’t be cooking with a pan that has copper on the cooking surface. This is why you’ll generally find copper cookware coated with stainless steel, tin, or nickel.

So long as this layer remains intact copper is no more dangerous than the material it’s coated with, so don’t use abrasives on it.

Ceramic cookware can be amazing but you need to pay attention to the particulars of the individual pan. Many ceramics are not intended for use in cooking, and so are coated with glazes that contain either cadmium or lead.

Before using ceramic to cook with be certain you know that it’s safe to do so. Once you’ve confirmed that you can rest easy knowing that ceramic cookware doesn’t transfer anything harmful into the food.

Out of all of these the best quality and safest cookware fall to Cast Iron.

What Is The Best Non-Stick Cookware Material?

Calphalon currently stands as the reigning king of non-stick cookware. Made of anodized aluminum this material is durable, distributes heat well, and is difficult to damage. This means it is safe to cook on and doesn’t tend to flake off into your food.

T-Fal Titanium comes in second place in the world of non-stick surfaces. This material doesn’t require butter or oil to be non-stick, even if you’re cooking eggs or pancakes. They wash up beautifully and the debris just slides off.

If you’re looking for a natural way to get a non-stick coating then nothing beats a properly seasoned cast iron skillet. When you coat them in oil and bake them the metal opens up and seals its uneven surface with a layer of carbonized oil.

This leaves the surface mirror-smooth, distributing heat and ensuring things don’t stick to it.

How Do I Choose A Cookware Set?

When you first start searching for that perfect set of cookware you’re going to stumble into a dizzying number of options you didn’t know existed. The only problem is a lot of them are going to look a lot alike to the untrained eye.

Others will offer features whose benefits may not be apparent to the average shopper. I’m going to suggest a few things to look out for when purchasing a set of cookware that can make a huge difference in your final selection.

The first thing you want to look for is materials that are heavy gauge and have suitably thick bottoms. The bottom of your pans is where heat will accumulate and thicker surfaces will distribute heat more evenly. Cast Iron is a popular choice since it’s one big hunk of iron that’s quite sturdy.

Copper is also popular but tends to be on the expensive side and requires special attention to maintain. The perfectly balanced choice is to find a copper-coated stainless steel pan that combines the best of both worlds.

The handles of your cookware should be heatproof and solidly constructed. You’re going to be hauling around sauces, soups, and foods that are scaldingly hot in these things, there’s no way you should skimp on the durability of the handle you move it around with.

The perfect pan has a solid metal handle with a rubber guard that can be removed so you can use the pan in the oven.

Lids are often an afterthought by most people shopping for pans, but leaving lid quality to chance is a mistake. The best lids are made of tempered glass, have a top vent, and fit snugly on the pot to keep everything inside.

The glass lets you avoid letting the pan boil over, which the vent can also help with while keeping heat trapped inside. The snug fit will help the food inside stay moist by trapping moisture inside.

The last choice is whether you should buy a pre-packaged set or stick to picking them out one at a time. Most people will opt to do a little of both, buying a starter set and then expanding on it by buying additional pieces as need requires.

This is probably the best way to go about it since it means you’ll get the basics, and then can flesh out the rest of it.

What Brand Of Cookware Do Professional Chefs Use?

As you can probably imagine, professional chefs are some of the most particular people in the world about their cookware. Their very livelihood requires having equipment that can stand the test of time and performs perfectly every time.

The variance in their food has to be the result of experimentation or the chef’s whim, not a frying pan that doesn’t heat evenly or reliably. Their dedication to performance extends to what they choose to use in their homes.

The most recognizable name for most consumers is going to be All-Clad, a popular choice used by professionals like Laurence Edelman. He doesn’t stick to one brand though, he has an assortment of brands like Staub, Zwilling, and Le Creuset in his kitchen.

It’s not about brands, it’s about performance, and that means you’re going to find a fair variety of choices in the kitchens of professionals.

The best option? Stick to what works, buy a piece at a time, and make sure that the items you pick give you a performance worthy of their price tag.

Is Calphalon toxic?

To begin with, let’s define exactly what Calphalon is. Calphalon isn’t a coating, it is a company that produces a line of non-stick cookware using a coating made of Polytetrafluoroethylene, otherwise known as PTFE.

This is the same chemical that is used in Teflon’s products. Like Calphalon Teflon describes a particular companies coating, and so it is accurate to say that Calphalon does not contain Teflon.

Instead, they have a coating made of a very similar material using the same chemical in its composition. Both Calphalon and Teflon are safe to use provided that you have maintained the pans. If the surface begins to flake, it’s time to toss the pan out and get a new one. There is nothing safe about consuming either of these materials.

Modern Calphalon pans are produced in China, a stark move away from their wholly USA-made taglines of yesteryear. This may mean that the quality control standards used in their production are below those that were required while under USA manufacturer.

Either way, the coating isn’t going to make you sick unless you ingest it, or let it get too hot.

When Calphalon reaches temperatures over 700 Degrees Fahrenheit they begin to outgas chemicals that can kill birds and are known to be cancerous. Also, one of the chemicals it releases is a greenhouse gas, which is bad for everyone.

The final point regarding Calphalon’s toxicity is this: It’s perfectly safe provided you treat your pans right and dispose of them if the coating starts to flake.


In the end, I knew this purchase was going to be an investment, so I spent a little more than I had originally intended. The result, however, was an incredible 17 piece set that I knew would do everything I needed it to. I’ve been using this set religiously since I first got it, and there isn’t a day that goes by that one piece or another of it graces my stove and oven. It’s been reliable and consistent, and I’d highly recommend picking it up as a starter kit for any new home. I’ve bought additional pieces since buying this set, but none of them have taken center stage in my cooking like these have.

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