They say an artist is only as good as their tools, and we think the same can be said about cooking. Even a really great chef has a hard time making a masterpiece meal with subpar cookware, proving that what you use in the kitchen is just as important as what you make. But on the flip side, using really good cookware can help an average chef nail it in the kitchen.
There’s a lot of different cookware types out there, including ceramic, cast iron, and nonstick. If you're looking for something ultra durable, low maintenance, and more affordable than other options, consider investing in a stainless steel set. Aside from looking sleek and timeless, stainless steel cookware is a kitchen staple that'll never go out of style.
If you're shopping for stainless steel, just be aware that it's not nonstick—you'll need to add enough oil to prevent food from sticking to the surface and will probably want to avoid certain foods altogether. Also, remember to look for a multi-ply construction, as stainless steel on its own is a poor heat conductor.
Ready to buy a set of your own? Here, the best stainless steel cookware sets.
Calphalon Classic 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Calphalon is well-known for its exceptional nonstick cookware, but they also make really great stainless steel sets. This particular set includes eight- and ten-inch fry pans, 1.5- and 2.5-quart saucepans with lids, a three-quart saute pan with a lid, and a six-quart stockpot with a lid.
Each piece is made of brushed stainless steel and has an aluminum base for fast, even heating. The tempered glass lids have straining holes that line up with pour spouts on the pieces, so you don’t have to grab a separate colander when straining liquids out—a small feature you didn't know you needed but will be so glad you have.
If you want something a little bigger, Calphalon also offers a 14-piece set that includes another 3.5-quart saucepan and a larger stockpot with a lid with all of the same features.
All-Clad D3 Stainless 3-ply Bonded Cookware Set
All-Clad cookware comes with a pretty hefty price tag, but it's absolutely worth it if you can swing it. Made of five alternating layers of aluminum and stainless steel, these pots and pans are built for function and durability. The lids are also stainless steel and have a flat design, so you can flip them over to stack the pots and pans on top of each other when storing them.
The 10-piece set includes eight- and ten-inch fry pans, two- and four- quart saucepans with lids, a four-quart sauté pan with a lid, and an eight-quart stockpot with a lid.
Sardel Full Cookware Set
Sardel is a newer kitchen brand, and their stainless steel cookware is definitely making waves. Each piece has a 5-ply construction (three inner layers of aluminum and two outer layers of stainless steel) to ensure even heat distribution and durable quality. With heat-resistant, ergonomic handles and curved edges for easy pouring, this is one set you won't want to pass up.
The Full Set comes with 10- and 12-inch skillets, a 10-inch nonstick skillet, a 2-quart sauce pan with lid, a 4-quart sauté pan, and an 8-quart stock pot with lid (skillet lids are sold separately). There's also a Small Set available if you're only looking for a few pieces, and each set comes with a 30-day trial period and lifetime warranty.
Great Jones Family Style Set
This Great Jones set isn’t totally made up of stainless steel pieces, but it’s so nice that we had to include it anyway. It includes three stainless steel pieces—a 10-inch fry pan, a 3-quart sauce pan, and an 8-quart stock pot—as well as an 8-inch ceramic nonstick fry pan and an almost 7-quart enameled cast-iron Dutch oven.
The Dutch oven, which is available in seven food-inspired colors like broccoli, mustard, blueberry, and marinara, serves as an eye-catching accent piece that really makes this set stand out. Even better? Great Jones offers a 30-day trial period and free returns, so you can buy with zero stress.
Demeyere Atlantis Stainless Steel Cookware Set
The price tag of the Demeyere set is even heftier than the All-Clad set, but there’s a reason. Demeyere takes cooking efficiency up a few more notches by using seven high-tech layers, an InductoSeal copper center base, and TripleInduc technology for flawless heat distribution and retention with absolutely no hot spots whatsoever. If you have an induction stove, these pans are especially great because they’re designed to cook 30 percent faster when using induction heat.
This 10-piece set includes nine- and 11-inch fry pans, 1.5- and three-quart sauce pans with lids, a four-quart sauté pan with a lid, and a 5.5-quart Dutch oven with a lid.
Le Creuset 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Le Creuset is most well-known for its enameled Dutch ovens, but the cookware brand isn’t just a one-trick pony. They also offer really great (and stylish!) stainless steel cookware sets, like this one. Each piece in this 10-piece set has a tri-ply stainless steel construction with an aluminum core for amazing heat distribution and retention, and each piece is infused with titanium to prevent scorching and discoloration over time
The set includes a 10-inch fry pan, 2- and 4-quart saucepans with lids, a 3-quart sauté pan with lid, and a 9-quart stock pot with colander insert and lid. Each piece features a precision-pour rim for clean, dripless pouring, and the set is oven-safe up to 500 degrees.
Misen Essentials Cookware Set
A newer brand, Misen sells luxury kitchen essentials at more affordable price points compared to the traditional cookware companies. Their stainless steel cookware has a 5-ply, 3 mm-thick construction that delivers impressive heat distribution and retention, and the pans include a stay-cool ergonomic handle that allows for more comfortable cooking.
The 9-piece Essentials Set comes with 10- and 12-inch skillets, a 3-quart sauté pan, a 3-quart saucier, and an 8-quart stockpot, plus lids for everything. A major benefit is that the set comes with a 60-day test period so you can be sure you love it before you commit. Once you decide to keep it forever, it'll also come with a lifetime guarantee.
Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set
Cuisinart undoubtedly comes up in any conversation about the best kitchen appliances or best cookware, and that’s because they really do things right. Made of a tri-ply construction that features a pure aluminum core and a brushed stainless steel exterior, this cookware set features maximum heat retention, excellent heat conductivity, and even heat distribution. The surface of the pots and pans is polished, so it won't discolor, react with acidic foods, or change the flavor of your dishes.
This 12-piece set includes 1.5- and 3-quart sauce pans with lids, 8- and 10-inch skillets, a 3.5-quart sauté pan with lid, an 8-quart stock pot with lid, and a steamer insert with a lid. If you don’t need so many pieces, Cuisinart also offers a basic seven-piece set and a 10-piece set.
Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 11-Piece Cookware Set
Designed for form and function, Anolon's Nouvelle Cookware Set combines two layers of aluminum, a layer of cooper, and bonded stainless steel that’s designed to expertly conduct, and hold onto, heat. While the body of the pots and pans is constructed of stainless steel, the bottom has a visible copper ring that not only helps with heat conductivity, but also makes the pans look pretty sharp too.
The lids are dome-shaped to help seal in heat and moisture, while the oversized handle makes it easy to lift and maneuver. This 11-piece set includes 1.75- and 3.5-quart saucepans with lids, a 3-quart sauté pan with lid, an 8.25-quart stockpot with lid, and 8- and 10.5-inch French-style skillets.
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Energy Plus Stainless Steel Cookware Collection
Zwilling offers a stainless steel cookware set that’s made with a thick aluminum core and a fully clad stainless steel shell. But to take things up a notch, Zwilling added a ceramic nonstick coating, called Ceraforce Xtreme, that makes these pans nonstick and easier to clean than traditional stainless steel. If you’ve ever burned homemade queso in a stainless steel sauce pan, you know exactly what we mean.
This 10-piece set includes 1- and 2-quart saucepans with lids, a 3-quart sauté pan with lid, a 6-quart Dutch oven with lid, and 8- and 10-inch fry pans. If you need an additional fry pan and another medium-size “everything” pan, Zwilling also offers a 13-piece set that's worth checking out.