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The best nonstick cookware lives up to its name with a Teflon, ceramic, or hard-anodized aluminum coating that ensures that cooked foods release easily and seamlessly from the pan. Nonstick skillets are a home cook’s must-have for turning out flawless omelets and pancakes and ensuring even, stick-free cooking of sautéed vegetables, like asparagus, and seared proteins, like salmon. Nonstick saucepans and stock pots are essential for heating soups, boiling pasta, making rice, and simmering sauces.
Due to their unique finish, nonstick cookware is also lauded for its effortless cleanup, and many brands are durable enough to withstand trips through the dishwasher, too. Purchasing a set of nonstick pots and pans, which typically includes a variety of different-sized skillets and saucepans with lids, can be an economical way to stock (or refresh) your kitchen with this versatile, user-friendly cookware.
Here are the best nonstick cookware sets to have in your cabinets.
Best Overall: Anolon Advanced Home Hard-Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set
Anolon's heavy-duty, hard-anodized aluminum construction, which is twice as hard as stainless steel, practically screams quality. The material also ensures even heating for consistent cooking results. Nonstick inside and out, the interior coating on this 11-piece set consistently releases foods like a dream, and the outer coating ensures easy cleanup.
The set wins points for its versatility, too. It includes an 8.5-inch and a 12-inch covered deep skillet, which offers more cooking space than the oft-included 10-inch skillet. There's a larger covered 8-quart stockpot, which is a boon for boiling pasta and making big batches of soups, stews, and grains. Two saucepans with lids are included—a 1.5-quart and a 3-quart—as well as a 4-quart sauté pan.
These pans are also oven-safe up to 400 degrees, so you can easily finish stovetop dishes like skillet chicken Parmesan in the oven. They’re designed with brushed stainless steel silicone handles for a comfortable grip and have shatterproof glass lids for ease of checking on cooking progress. The modern design is stylish enough to go from stovetop to tabletop, making for a seamless serving of family-style meals like fish stew.
Best Budget: Tramontina Nesting 11-Piece Nonstick Cookware Set
This durable, easy-to-clean Tramontina set boasts a nonstick interior finish made without PFOA, lead, or cadmium, and a sturdy enamel porcelain exterior. The price is easy on the wallet yet still includes features such as ergonomic, riveted handles and heat- and shatter-resistant tempered glass lids with knobs that double as spoon rests.
This set includes a versatile 12-inch sauté pan, 1.25-, 2-, and 3-quart covered saucepans, a 3-quart covered casserole pan, and 4.75-quart covered stockpot, which is a little bit smaller than the traditional 5- or 6-quart stock pots often included in other sets. Pans are dishwasher safe and oven safe up to 350 degrees.
The set wins points for the easy-to-store stackable design. The pieces nest together to save up to 50 percent storage space and panhandles lock together to ensure spacing in between pans to protect the nonstick interior finish. The sleek, polished exterior finish comes in a range of sophisticated hues to complement your kitchen décor.
Best Dishwasher-Safe: T-fal Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick 12-Piece Cookware Set
This scratch-resistant, nonstick coating is backed by a trusted name in nonstick cookware, and the rugged, hard-anodized aluminum construction makes it a kitchen workhorse. Best of all? It’s dishwasher safe.
T-fal’s hard-anodized finish promotes fast, even heating, and consistent cooking results. It also touts T-fal’s patented Thermo-spot indicator technology, which indicates when the pan is adequately preheated, making this set a good pick for beginner cooks, too.
The set includes 8-inch and 10-inch fry pans, 1-, 2-, and 3-quart saucepans with lids, and a 5-quart stockpot with lid, as well as a solid spoon and slotted spatula. The non-stick protective layer shouldn't react to acidic foods, either, making it safe for cooking sauces like marinara or lemon-garlic butter sauce.
Related: The 8 Best Nonstick Pans in 2021
Best Ceramic: GreenPan SearSmart Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set, 10-Piece
GreenPan’s Thermolon Diamond Advanced ceramic nonstick coating is toxin-free. There’s no PFAS, PFOA, lead, or cadmium, so even if you accidentally overheat the pan there’s no chance of it releasing toxic fumes. The diamond-infused finish also helps to ensure fast heating and easy cleanup, and its durable construction makes it scratch-resistant and dishwasher safe, too.
GreenPan’s smart design makes optimal use of space, which allows for 25 to 40 percent more cooking space compared to traditional models. The set includes 8-inch and 10-inch frying pans, 1.5- and 2.25-quart saucepans with lids, a 3-quart sauté pan with lid, and a 5-quart stockpot with lid. These pans are also oven and broiler safe up to 600 degrees, which helps finish dishes like skillet lasagna. The durable glass lids allow for ease of checking on cooking progress and are oven safe up to 425 degrees.
Related: The 8 Best Cookware Sets in 2021
Most Durable: Ninja Foodi NeverStick Hard-Anodized 12-Piece Cookware Set
This Ninja set lives up to its name with a no-chip, no-flake, nonstick finish. The cookware is created at a maximum temperature of 30,000 degrees (traditional cookware is created at a maximum of 900 degrees), which results in a durable, textured nonstick coating. The finish allows it to withstand daily wear and tear and makes it safe to use with metal utensils. The Ninja’s durability promise is backed by a heavy-gauge, hard-anodized 4.55mm aluminum base, which also ensures even heat distribution (no hot spots!).
This 12-piece set earns points for including versatile workhorse pieces like a 12-inch frying pan with lid and an 8-quart stockpot with lid, which is particularly helpful for boiling pasta or making batches of soups and stews. The cookware is oven safe up to 500 degrees and you can sear proteins in it like you would with stainless-steel cookware. The extra-long, stainless-steel handles are double-riveted for durability, too, and maintain a cool touch during stovetop cooking.
Best High-End: All-Clad Essentials Nonstick 10-Piece Cookware Set
All-Clad cookware is synonymous with quality, which makes it a go-to brand for professional chefs and seasoned home cooks alike. These pots and pans boast a heavy-gauge anodized finish that promotes rapid heating with even temperature control, as well as a sturdy PFOA-free nonstick interior that’s easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
The All-Clad 10-piece set comprises a versatile assortment of nonstick cookware, including an 8.5-inch and a 10.5-inch skillet, a 2.5-quart saucepan with lid, a 4-quart sauté pan with lid, a 7-quart stockpot with insert and lid, and a 13-inch square pan, which lends itself to frying bacon or to be used as a griddle for grilled cheese sandwiches. This is also designed to nest for compact stacking, making this an especially great choice if you’re a serious home cook who’s short on space.
The set includes two trivets that can be used for placing hot pans on the counter or for serving at the table or to separate the pans when stacked. Other features include cool-touch, riveted stainless-steel handles designed for comfort and durability, and safe in the oven up to 500 degrees.
Related: The 9 Best Frying Pans in 2021
Best Space-Saving: Calphalon Premier Space Saving Nonstick Set
A top name in nonstick cookware delivers a stackable set with all the essentials, including an 8-inch and a 10-inch frying pan, a 2.5-quart and a 3.5-quart saucepan, a 3-quart sauté pan with cover, and a 6-quart stockpot. The flat, tempered glass lids and pans are designed to nest in any order and can save up to 30 percent more space than non-stackable sets. A part of Calphalon’s Premier line, the nonstick coating is designed to last up to 40 percent longer than the Classic series, which makes this set worth the investment if you value high-performance cookware but lack storage space.
The triple-layer, hard-anodized aluminum interior has a scratch-free finish that withstands the use of metal utensils. The nonstick coating allows for easy cleanup and the pieces are dishwasher safe too. The long handles stay cool on the stovetop omitting the need for oven mitts or potholders. And the pans are oven-safe up to 450 degrees, making for a seamless transition from stovetop-to-oven recipes.
The top spot belongs to the Anolon Advanced Home Hard-Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set (view at Bed Bath & Beyond) for its versatile assortment of pots and pans, durable construction, and overall nonstick performance.
What to Look for in a Nonstick Cookware Set
Traditional Nonstick Coating: Traditional nonstick coatings are made with Teflon, or Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is what helps prevent food from sticking while cooking and makes for easy cleanup. But at high temperatures (450 degrees and above) the coating starts to break down and releases toxic fumes (links to healthcare concerns have not been substantiated). Related to PTFE is perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), another element that bore safety concerns. But since 2015, regulations stipulate that all cookware sold in the U.S. are PFOA-free, which is why you’ll see many brands tout that in their product descriptions.
Ceramic: If you’re still concerned about chemicals, opt for pans with a ceramic nonstick coating that can be safely used at higher heat. The ceramic coating is made from silica, one of the elements of beach sand. This is either dipped or sprayed onto the interior surface to coat the pan, and then finished in a high-heat oven. Many ceramic models’ nonstick performance is on par with traditional materials, but the coating isn’t as durable.
Hard-Anodized Aluminum: Because hard-anodized aluminum’s nonstick surface is baked in, rather than coated onto other metals (as in the case of PTFE and ceramic coatings), it renders the product stronger than stainless steel and produces an oxidized layer that’s both nonstick and more rugged than traditional nonstick coatings. This makes for a product that heats quickly and evenly and withstands chipping or flaking.
The Included Pieces
When shopping for a set, consider what pieces are included, bearing in mind that manufacturers often include lids or additional utensils, like a spatula, as a piece. Typically, a set will include two skillets or frying pans, which are key for making eggs, pancakes, and sautéing veggies. Saucepans, ranging from 1 to 3 quarts are usually included; a 2-quart saucepan is big enough to heat a can of soup, a 3-quart saucepan is big enough to make mac ‘n’ cheese. Lastly, sets include a stockpot (sometimes called a casserole pan or Dutch oven), 5- or 6- quart models are common, but some sets include an 8-quart stockpot, which is a boon for big-batch cooking.
You’ll want to consider features like whether the pans are dishwasher safe or oven-safe, and if so, up to what temperature. Look at the design, too, like if pans are built with rubberized coated handles for a comfortable grip or an extra-long design to assure a cool-touch guarantee. If you’re short on storage space, look for sets that have nesting capabilities for ease of stacking.
Once you’ve invested in a nonstick cookware set, you’ll want to ensure that you follow the proper use and care instructions outlined by the manufacturer. One rule of thumb—never use non-stick cooking sprays as they can cause a build-up of film. Plus, you don’t need it! Most pans tout the ability to cook without the use of added oil or butter, but a little bit is okay.
Avoid overheating pans. Generally, nonstick pans are best used at medium or low heat, and never heat an empty pan as it can cause the pan to release fumes. Be sure to check the oven-safe temperature capabilities of your pans to avoid overheating, which can cause the coating to flake or chip. Check care instructions to determine if your set is hand wash only or dishwasher safe. Even if a set is dishwasher safe, many manufacturers recommend hand washing to protect the coating and extend the life of your pans.
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