Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve written about the best kitchen gear before — including the best toasters and toaster ovens, the best frying pans and skillets, and even asked chefs about their favorite pots and pans — here, we’ve rounded up the best cookware sets as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
Best-rated cookware set
With over 4,000 reviews, this cookware set from T-fal is one of most beloved on Amazon with reviewers raving about the quality of the nonstick coating, ease of cleanup, and the even heat distribution. One reviewer writes that the pans are “almost as strong as cast iron, at a fraction of the weight. These pans have all the advantages of cast iron without the need to first season them, will never rust, will never require heavy scrubbing, and, apparently, will never scratch or dent,” adding that, “They preheat evenly and retain the heat almost as well as cast iron, but have the advantage of faster response time. And absolutely nothing sticks to them.” One reviewer who has used the set for four months writes, “I’ve been cooking for over 50 years and have gone through several sets of cookware — everything from seen-on-tv fads to classic Faberware. They clean up like a dream, heat quickly and evenly and the handles stay relatively cool.” And the set is dishwasher safe, too. One satisfied customer writes, “I’ve resorted to being super lazy and just throwing everything in the dishwasher. Why? Because I can and it’s awesome.”
Best-rated (less expensive) cookware set
From breakfast to dinner, reviewers gushed about this affordable set, with dozens of reviewers noting how perfectly sized and lightweight it is: “These frying pans are terrific. I suffer from arm and hand weakness, so these lightweight frying pans are perfect for me,” writes one reviewer. Another adds, “First of all, I cook constantly and really appreciate … having different sizes for preparation. Recommend it highly for anyone making dinner in a timely way, without the worry of sticking and burning.” A third asks, “What’s not to love? These omelet pans are the perfect sizes and food slides right off. Oh, and then there’s the price, which was another plus.”
And now some micro-picks for every type of cookware set you might be looking for.
Best complete cookware set
The largest set on our list, “This has every pan that you’ll need,” according to one reviewer. “Actually maybe more than you need.” In addition to some standard pieces — like a pot and two frying pans — this set also comes with a few extras, like a griddle and a set of utensils, which one reviewer describes as “not cheap and flimsy either.” As for the functionality of the pots and pans, one user says, “They cook even [and] get hot quick.” Others comment on how non-stick they are. One user forgot to oil up their pan before making pancakes, and reports, “They turned out perfect even without nonstick spray.” This makes them easy to clean, but even if you were to encounter a tough stain or stubborn residue, you can toss this set into the dishwasher for a deep clean.
Best starter cookware set
“Amazon has outdone themselves with making living luxury a bit more affordable,” says one reviewer. “These are truly nonstick pans, of course, they aren’t copper quality or anything, but for an everyday pan set, they will 9 times out of 10 not let you down, look no further.” While dozens were impressed with the quality, many say it’s a great set if you’re just starting out – or maybe starting over. “ I bought them as a Christmas gift for my ex-husband so he would return the pots and pans he took from me without asking,” writes one reviewer, and the ex-husband apparently “likes his new ones.” Others mention that they are using them in an RV or at a vacation home, but no matter where you use them, lots of reviewers are pleased with the non-stick coating. One user (accidentally) put it to the test and was pleasantly surprised by the results: “I left Ramen noodles in one of these bad boys to the point all the water was out and the noodles more resembled a pancake, and still they slid right out of the pan!”
Best cast-iron cookware set
“I’m never going back to supposedly nonstick pans again,” declares one reviewer. “This Lodge set is a great deal if you’re wanting to get started with cast iron because you get several essential pieces for many uses. These are more nonstick than my nonstick pans ever were, and they hold heat remarkably well.” Reviewers agreed that this is the ideal set for “for someone looking to transition to cast iron” and were generally pleased with the durability and versatility of these affordable pots and pans: “Highly durable. There’s a reason sets well over a century old are still in use today.” However, reviewers did note that it is important to read and follow the care instructions: “I recommend doing your homework and learn all the usage tips regarding temperatures and cleaning/seasoning. I recommend baking them at 200 degrees and oiling them down with a film of your preferred seasoning oil before your first use.”
Best seven-piece stainless-steel cookware set
Many reviewers noted that this basic set is an affordable way to upgrade to stainless steel. “This set is a great deal. They have a good weight to them, heat fast, and cook evenly. Whenever anyone sees them, they’re surprised at the quality of them. Never having personally owned anything other than nonstick pans, this was a real upgrade for me,” writes one reviewer who has worked in commercial kitchens. “This is the perfect set for a small, minimalist kitchen. This has all the right sizes of cookware for the person that wants just the basics,” seconds another who bought this set to replace their nonstick pans. “The thick bases work fantastic for even heat distribution, and the pans hold their heat beautifully. In addition, the all-metal construction allows for oven use making this set, in my opinion, the best starter set for someone who wants to try a little of everything.”
Best ten-piece stainless-steel cookware set
Reviewers loved this “excellent, heavy, substantial stainless steel” set that comes with a “useful and flexible steamer insert.” One reviewer says, “The best part of this set (in my opinion) is the vegetable steamer! It’s such an AMAZING little attachment.” Another adds, “The reason I bought this set was for the selection of pieces. I needed the steamer. I needed the covered fryer. I needed the stock pot. What I didn’t need was more uncovered frying pans, so it worked out great. Terrific set.”