A nonstick finish is the best way to keep food from sticking, so a nonstick pan is almost a must-have for making things like frittatas, pancakes, and crepes. But even when you’re making tomato sauce or rice, a surface that doesn’t stick will be very helpful. When it’s time to clean up, you won’t have to scrub the pan to get the stuck-on food off. You can also fry steaks, chops, and hamburgers in a pan that doesn’t stick. In spite of what most people think, you will get good browning and tasty brown bits to add to a tasty pan gravy. The only catch is that you can’t use a nonstick pan on a high heat setting, so getting a good sear may take longer.
Today, the best nonstick finishes don’t peel or flake off very often. Still, as time goes on, their ability to not stick will get worse, and you may need to replace your nonstick cookware. We don’t think it’s a good idea to pay a sky-high price for a nonstick cookware set because of this. Here are the best nonstick cookware sets we think you should have in your kitchen.
Is Nonstick Cookware Safe?
Chemicals called PTFE are used to make traditional nonstick coatings. There is no proof that PTFE finishes are toxic or bad for cooking. You also hear a lot about PFOA, a chemical that used to be used in manufacturing. During production, it ran off into the water and didn’t end up on the nonstick surface. But the PFOA in the runoff has been linked to health problems for people who live near the factory. This has made people worry about how safe nonstick finishes are. Since 2015, PFOA has been taken out of the process of making nonstick cookware and is no longer used.
But nonstick cookware can give off fumes if it gets too hot, which can happen if it’s heated up without food in it or if it’s used over very high heat. If you worry about the safety of nonstick, you can choose a ceramic coating. These finishes, which are made of sand, don’t always release food as well and don’t last as long, but they can be used safely at higher temperatures.
How We Picked
For years, we’ve been making pancakes and just about anything else you can think of to come up with recipes and feed our families. This helped us choose the best nonstick cookware sets. We checked again to see what both professional reviewers and home cooks said about home use.
We looked at how well pots and pans released food and how evenly they cooked. We also thought about how easy they were to use and clean. The usefulness of the different pieces in each set was also an important factor. We have full sets for people who want to replace all of their cookware, as well as single pieces for people who just want to add one to their collection.
Our Top Nonstick Cookware Set Picks
- Best Nonstick Cookware Set: Anolon Smart Stack Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware
- Best Value Nonstick Cookware: T-Fal Endurance Collection 14 Pcs Cookware Set
- Best Splurge: All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded 10-Piece Nonstick Cookware Set
- Best Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set: GreenPan Valencia Pro Ceramic Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
- Best Splurge Ceramic Nonstick Set: Caraway Cookware Set
1. Best Nonstick Cookware Set: Anolon Smart Stack Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware
Included: 8.5″, 10.5″, and 12″ skillets, 2- and 4- quart saucepans with lids, 8-quart stockpot with lid, stainless steel steamer insert
The nonstick coating on Anolon cookware is always one of the best you can buy when it comes to getting fried eggs out of the pan without using any butter. Also, the hard anodized aluminium base spreads heat evenly, so you don’t have to move things around and stir them all the time as you cook. The straight sides of the saucepans keep food from boiling down too quickly, and the sloped sides of the skillets make it easy to flip food like a pro or roll out an omelette. Because the handles are made of silicone, they are comfortable to hold and don’t get hot on the stove. This cookware can go up to 400 degrees F in the oven, which is hot enough to finish salmon but not hot enough to make the top of mac ‘n cheese crispy. The rivets that hold the handles to the pans are flush with the sides of the pans and have a nonstick coating, so you won’t have to scrub them to get them clean. Yes, you can put these pots and pans in the dishwasher.
This set has a lot of useful pieces that work well together. It comes with a 12-inch skillet for one-dish meals, an 8-quart stockpot for pasta and soups, and a colander insert for steaming vegetables or easily draining spaghetti. These are pieces that aren’t usually included in cookware sets. But what makes Smartstack truly innovative is that all the pieces can be stored in two stacks that are each less than 13 inches high. This means that it doesn’t take up too much space in your cabinet.
2. Best Value Nonstick Cookware: T-Fal Endurance Collection 14 Pcs Cookware Set
Included: 8.5″ skillet, deep 12″ skillet with lid, 1.5- and 3-quart saucepans with lids, 4-quart sauté pan with lid, 8-quart stockpot with lid, 3 tools
In the 1960s, T-Fal was the first company to make cookware that didn’t stick. It still makes great products and sells them at great prices. In fact, you can’t do better than this set of pots and pans if you want something that doesn’t stick and is strong enough to use with metal tools. It looks like it costs a lot more than it does because it has classic shapes and riveted stainless steel handles. You’ll notice it’s not very heavy, so it’s best to be careful and use it on lower heat settings. Endurance pans can go up to 500 degrees F in the oven, so you can make a Dutch baby pancake in the skillet.
This set has the most-used pots and pans, like a small skillet for making omelettes and a large skillet for making chicken cacciatore. Also, there is an 8-quart stockpot, which is the best size for spaghetti. Even though three of the 14 pieces are made of stainless steel, this set is still a good deal. And it’s safe to put in the dishwasher to clean.
3. Best Splurge: All-Clad Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded 10-Piece Cookware Set
Included: 8″ and 10″ fry pans, 2- and 3-quart saucepans with lids, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, and 8-quart stockpot with lid
Serious cooks swear by All-stainless Clad’s steel cookware. By heating steadily and evenly, it cuts down on the time you have to spend adjusting the heat, flipping food over, or rearranging it in a pan, and it reduces the risk of burning or scorching. This set gives you all of those benefits plus the convenience of a nonstick surface. You can safely put them in the oven at temperatures up to 500°F. Use a frypan or a sauté pan to make a frittata puff up in the oven. These pans are pretty enough to put on a party buffet table for serving.
Even though the nonstick coating means you won’t have to spend much time scrubbing the cooking surface of these pots and pans, you may have to work a bit to clean around the rivets, where food like scrambled eggs or tomato sauce can get stuck. Plus, keeping the stainless steel exterior looking clean and shiny will take a little extra work. All-Clad does not recommend putting these pans in the dishwasher. This set comes with all the pots and pans you need for weeknight cooking, but serious cooks, like those who buy All-Clad, may want to add some larger pieces for soups and braises.
4. Best Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set: GreenPan Valencia Pro Ceramic Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
Included: 8″, 10.5″ and 11″ fry pans, 2- and 3-quart saucepans with lids, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, and 5-quart Dutch oven with lid
This is our top choice if you want ceramic nonstick cookware that can be used over high heat without worrying that it will get too hot and give off fumes. Without the lids, you can use these pans at temperatures up to 600 degrees F, which means you can sear a steak on high or put them under the broiler to crisp up a topping or caramelise sugar. Unlike many ceramic finishes, this one releases foods like sunny-side-up eggs and stays nonstick for a long time, just like traditional finishes. The cookware is made of hard anodized aluminium so that it won’t get dents and will brown evenly. When you cook on the stove, the handles made of stainless steel don’t get hot, so you don’t need a mitt to grab them.
The set comes with three different-sized skillets with sloped sides and a straight-sided sauté pan for making dishes like risotto, skillet pot roast, or chicken in a creamy sauce. You also get a 5-quart Dutch oven, which, along with the saucepans, should be big enough for most soup and stew recipes. But if you like to cook pasta in a big pot of water or make a lot of chilli, you might want a stockpot as well. GreenPan says this cookware can go in the dishwasher, but it’s best to wash it by hand.
5. Best Splurge Ceramic Set: Caraway Cookware Set
Included: 10.5″ frypan, 3-quart saucepan, 4.5-quart sauté pan and 6.5 -quart Dutch oven with lids, magnetic racks, canvas lid bag, 2 cork trivets
Even before you open the box, you can tell that Caraway cookware is something special. The pieces are smooth and have a nice weight to them. The bases and handles are made of stainless steel, and the outside is matte and comes in cream, black, grey, navy blue, sage green, marigold, or a trendy shade of pink called Perracotta.
When we made pancakes, rice, a chicken-and-vegetable dinner, and marinara sauce in the pans, they browned evenly and kept a steady boil. You can quickly finish cooking fish or chicken after sautéing it on the stovetop because you can put any of the pieces in a 550°F oven without worrying about burning them. Caraway recommends hand-washing the pans, which isn’t too hard to do thanks to the ceramic nonstick finish. However, you may need a stronger sponge to clean around the rivets on the handles and get spots off the finish.
The racks that come with the set are a nice bonus for keeping pots and pans organised, but they take up more cabinet space. In the same way, the canvas lid storage bag that looks like a shoe bag makes it easy to find a lid when you need it, but you need a cabinet or closet with a large door to hang it on. You get a good variety of pieces that should cover most of your cooking needs.
In conclusion, nonstick cookware sets can be a great option for those looking for easy and convenient cooking experiences. The nonstick coating on these sets allows for effortless food release and easy cleaning, making them ideal for busy households or those with limited time for cooking and cleaning. However, it is important to note that nonstick cookware sets may not be the best choice for high-heat cooking or for those who prefer traditional cooking methods. Additionally, care should be taken to avoid scratching or damaging the nonstick coating, which can lead to potential health risks. Ultimately, the choice of whether to use nonstick cookware sets is a personal one, and should take into account factors such as individual cooking habits and preferences, as well as any potential health concerns.