A cookware set is a necessity for any well-equipped kitchen. Cookware sets are also the perfect wedding and housewarming gifts. In addition, cookware sets are a great gift for new university students moving out of their homes for the very first time.
Cookware sets are available from a variety of North American online and in-store retailers. In addition, many online retailers offer free shipping as well.
Types of Cookware Sets
Cookware sets come in a variety of materials, including stainless steel, aluminum, hard anodized, cast aluminum, ceramic, non-stick, and copper.
- Stainless steel is considered the most common type of material. It is durable, scratch resistant, and inexpensive. However, it is a poor heat conductor.
- Aluminum cookware sets are also quite common. Aluminum is a great heat conductor and is often coated with nonstick coating ensuring that food is not burned. The nonstick coating is very easy to clean as well. However, it reacts with acidic foods and scratches easily.
- Copper is known for its excellent heat conduction. For this reason, it is the most expensive and is often used by professional chefs. However, it requires regular polishing, which is time consuming, and it reacts with acidic foods.
- Cast iron cookware sets are very durable, inexpensive, and retain heat well. They also have a non-stick base. In addition, they can be used on any type of cooking surface, including over a campfire! Disadvantages include high maintenance requirements, heaviness, and the tendency to rust.
- Hard-anodized cookware sets are reliable and flexible, with non-reactive surfaces.
- Mixed cookware sets are made of aluminum and stainless steel, featuring the best of both types of materials.
Cookware sets range from simple 3-piece sets to comprehensive 36-peiece sets. For the average home, a 10 to 12–piece set is sufficient.
- A 3-piece cookware set typically includes a 1.8L saucepan with glass lid, 2.5L Dutch oven with glass lid, and 3.2L Dutch oven with glass lid.
- A 10-piece set typically includes an8.5″ open fry pan, 10.25″ skillet with lid, 1.5-qt. saucepan with lid, 2.5-qt. saucepan with lid, and 5-qt. stockpot with lid.
- A 12-piece set typically includes a folding steam basket, spoon, spatula, 8″ open fry pan, 10.25″ open fry pan, 10.25″ x 10.25″ square griddle, 1 qt. covered saucepan with lid, 2 qt. covered saucepan with lid, and 5 qt. covered stewpot with lid.
- A 14-piece set typically includes a universal steamer with cover, 3 qt. (2.8 L) saucepan with cover, 2 qt. (1.9 L) saucepan with cover, 1 qt. (0.9 L) saucepan with cover, 6 qt. (5.7 L) Dutch oven with cover, 3.5 qt. (3.3 L) sauté pan with cover, 8″ (20 cm) open skillet, and 10″ (24 cm) open skillet.
Cookware Sets Cost
The cost of cookware sets depends on brand name, material, stove compatibility, and set size.
Budget sets can be found starting from $100 USD and can include up to 15-pieces.
Midrange sets, such as a 10-piece stainless steel cookware set, range from $200 to $500 USD.
Higher end sets begin at $1,000 and can cost up to $3,000 USD.
Choosing the Perfect Cookware Set
Choosing the perfect cookware set does not have to be a difficult process. Although there appear to be endless varieties, brands, and material types, choosing the right set is easier than ever.
Remember that the perfect cookware set depends entirely on one’s needs. In addition, consider heat conductivity, reactivity, maintenance, and price when making a decision.
For example, copper and cast iron cookware are much harder to care for than stainless steel. If one does not have much time to spend polishing pots and pans, consider purchasing low maintenance material types. In addition, certain foods, such as tomatoes, react with aluminum. If one often cooks with acidic foods, perhaps consider another material. In terms of durability, stainless steel is considered longest lasting. However, copper is considered a better heat conductor than stainless steel. This means that food cooks more evenly.
For those who cook a great deal of braised meats and stews, a Dutch oven is essential. One can start cooking on the stove and place it in the oven, saving time.
For those who often cook soups, consider a large stockpot.
For stir-fry’s, a stainless steel frying pan is recommended.
For pancakes and eggs, a non-stick frying pan is essential, while for the perfectly cooked steak, a cast iron skillet is ideal. Cast iron skillets work well on glass top stoves; they do not scratch.
In addition, it is important to consider inner surface material as well. For example, Teflon coated cookware sets can cook meals without the addition of oil, while ceramic-coated cookware sets are a great alternative to Teflon.
The perfect cookware set for any occasion can be found in a variety of in-store and online retailers.