Stainless steel cookware is popular with home cooks for its corrosion resistance, lack of chemical leaching, and excellent durability.
Cooking with stainless steel is predictable in terms of temperatures and cooking times. Find the right pots and pans and your cookware will last a lifetime.
If you’re planning on buying stainless steel cookware, here’s what you should know before you get started.
Look for a Combination of Materials
The best stainless steel cookware isn’t made purely from stainless steel.
While stainless steel is excellent for durability and heat transfer, it isn’t the best material for heat retention.
This can lead to unevenly cooked food and unpredictable results.
Manufacturers address this limitation by inserting another metal into the core of the cookware.
The two most commonly used core materials are copper and aluminum. Either one works well.
Some manufacturers also add materials to the sides of pots and pans. Inside the stainless steel will be a layer of either copper or aluminum.
Again, this is to improve heat retention and ensure consistent temperatures throughout.
Cuisinart uses a combination of materials in its premium pots and pans.
They call it MultiClad Pro.
The cookware is made using a three-ply system where pure aluminum is bonded to polished stainless steel on the inside, with brushed stainless steel on the outside.
This is why sets like the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set have a unique brushed and polished appearance.
Be sure to read the details when investing in your cookware.
Three-ply systems ensure even cooking and excellent performance throughout the lifetime of pots and pans.
Buy Individual Items if You Don’t Need a Whole Set
It’s tempting to buy an entire set of cookware. Indeed, for most people, this is the best option.
However, if you aren’t sure about the types of recipes that you will cook, then you should stick to the basics.
Most people start with a large pan that is good for frying as well as stews and soups in a pinch.
As you develop your cooking skills, you can incorporate more individual pieces, or simply buy a complete set.
A good quality stainless steel pan will last forever when cared for, so you don’t lose anything by starting with just a single piece.
This All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware 12-Inch Fry Pan with Lid has a triple-ply design similar to the Cuisinart set mentioned above.
The price is considerable especially for a single pan, but with a lifetime warranty and outstanding quality, it’s a pan you can use forever.
Choose the Right Stainless Steel
Not all stainless steel is created equal. If you need budget-friendly pots and pans, then 430 stainless steel will serve you in the meantime but will be unlikely to last for a lifetime.
If you want to make a real investment that continues to perform for years to come, look for 18/10 stainless steel (also known as 304 Stainless Steel).
Both the All-Clad and Cuisinart cookware mentioned above are made from 18/10 stainless steel.
Sets Count Accessories as Pieces
One of the most important things to know when buying stainless steel cookware is that some manufacturers count lids and accessories as pieces.
So what might look appealing as a 20 piece set, could actually be a 10 piece set with lids, or maybe even a 15 piece set with a few extra accessories?
Rather than trust the marketing at face value, take the time to look through all of the items included in the set. Take note of the pots, pans, and trays that are listed, as well as any accessories.
With attention to detail, you’ll know exactly what’s in the set and won’t be disappointed when it arrives at your home.
In an age where online shopping is the most convenient and often the most affordable way to buy cookware, it pays to have an eye for detail.
Ready to Buy Your New Stainless Steel Cookware?
If you want cookware that could last your lifetime and beyond, stainless steel is a great material to choose from.
You’ve got our tips for buying stainless steel cookware, and now you can start exploring what’s available.
For one more option to consider, take a look at this Tramontina Gourmet Stainless Steel Induction-Ready Tri-Ply 8-Piece Cookware Set.
It includes all of the essentials for home cooking including two skillet pans and three pots of varying sizes.
You’ll note that the lids have been counted as pieces, so there are only five individual pots/pans.
Regardless of the marketing, this is a quality set that will last for years to come. It’s reasonably priced when compared to some of the more familiar names.
Quality stainless steel cookware will inspire you to work with fresh ingredients at home. Cooking is more rewarding when you have great quality tools at your disposal.