Looking to get a nice (not pro quality, but something to last me for a long time) set of cookware. I understand the benefits of having the purty stainless/alum sandwich (or copper inset) type stuff.
Would like to get at least a stock pot, couple (small/med or big) frying pan, couple of sauce pans, and lid. I see pretty much everyone makes something like this now, but wanted to check and see if there was anything to avoid or what.
Would also like to stay under $300 for it all.
I know it might be out of your price range right now, but you can piece it together as you need them. Plus they have a few different series of sets that might fit your budget better.
When I was growing up my parents had Al Clad LTD series pots and pans, I didnt know how good they were untill I moved out and started cooking on cheap crap from Wally World. Just this past month I started building my own set. Look around online and you can get good deals
Another +1 for AllClad (especially for at least one sauce pan.
A cast iron skillet is very useful and dirt cheap. Go with Lodge.
Stockpots are less critical, and AllClad ones are expensive & heavy, you can save a little here by getting a generic stainless.
Might want to go for a LeCreuset soup pot, and possibly a wok...
It's made in Manitowoc, WI.
It's the last cookware line made entirely in the US, IIRC.
+1 on the AC. They are like AKs! As dirty as they get, they still work like a dream! (Only don't throw sand in them when you cook)
Sam's Club has a set that's made like All-Clad (aluminum core between two layers of 18/10 stainless steel extended all the way up the sidewalls ), only its under $130 for an 11 piece set. I have one of those $500+ All-Clad stainless sets. I don't see any compelling reason to get one of those rather than the far cheaper Sam's version. (But I've only handled the Sam's version. I haven't actually used them.)
If the link works, you can see it here. But in the past those links haven't travelled well. If the link doesn't work go to www.samsclub.com/ and search for Item: 955462
Take the money you save and get one of these. Unless you're some kind of vegetarian or something.
If you want to go old school and keep it really cheap, get a set of Lodge cast iron cookware. You'll get good, even heating and with use it'll develop a natural non-stick surface. And if you treat it right and it'll last forever. But they're not purdy like the more expensive stuff.
I have access to several different lines of cookware. It's all commercial, but for the money you will pay for All-Clad, Calphalon, etc. You can have some really decent commercial cookware that is induction ready as well as standard. When I get home, I'll get some links for you.
Of Course it also comes with the Arfcom member discount.
+1 on that. If you make soups (making soup doesn't involve opening a can), once you've used a Le Creuset soup pot you'll never want to use anything else.
My wife uses Calphalon Professional Nonstick II and until recently loved her pots, however recently she has noticed the nonstick surface coming off the pans (she uses rubber/plastic utensils ONLY). She has been using these pans every day for about 4-5 years.
This being the case she's considering 2 new brands as replacements, AllClad and Ultrex (the stuff you see on HSN). I think the Ultrex is crap (just a gut feeling) and would rather she went with the AllClad, but she's leaning towards to Ultrex as it's cheaper.
Any thoughts on Ultrex as it compares to Allclad?
Tagged, and sorry for the partial hijack.
Farberware Millennium and Cuisinart. It's not all-clad, but it's still darned good and a great value for the money. Cheap crap it ain't.
I absolutely refuse to pay almost $200 for a single piece of cookware, and my wife and I are both serious about our cookware. The stuff I have is 90% as good, and it was $40-$60 per piece, except my 5-qt saute pan, which was $80.
Just make sure what you get has a heavy bottom for more even heat distribution and less scorching. Also make sure it's oven safe to at least 300F. It'll make it more versatile.
Make sure you keep metal utensils away from non-stick cookware, even it it says its safe for metal. I take that to mean you can use metal on it gently about twice a year. If you have a dishwasher, make sure you get stuff that's dishwasher-safe. Other than keeping metal out of my non-sticks, I refuse to baby my cookware. They have work to do. Mine have held up great for over three years now with no signs of damage, other than a couple of nicks they got when I nested them inside each other for storage (don't do that!).
ETA: Good point on the cast-iron. Make sure you have at least one cast iron skillet in the 10-12 inch range. A 2-burner cast-iron griddle is good too. Cast iron will laugh at heat that would warp an all-clad pan into all-crap. Also, certain jobs are just best done in cast-iron like burgers, steaks, and cornbread.
I have a nice cast-iron lodge now. Works great! Never knew Crisco could be used for kitchen things....
Anyways, All-clad eh...hm. that's like 3 pots for my budget I was also pointed at Calphalon tri-ply as well (dunno anything about it) and Sitram something or other.
Anyways thanks so far.
The Farberware Millenium I was looking at when I was at Sear's yesterday--looked kinda nice and wasn't too expensive.
I have plastic or wood tools for stuff as well. Dishwasher safe would be nice, I understand 1/2 the 'good' stuff out there will fall apart if you dishwasher it, though. Remember...Bachelor livin' folks!!! That means I'm mostly lazy about that stuff. And the maid doesn't do dishes.
CR Quick Recommendations Cookware
Quality cookware isn’t about price or celebrity-chef endorsements. Our tests found good performers at all price levels for both nonstick and uncoated cookware. Indeed the best performer overall was a $150, 14-piece set from Costco. We think most everyday cooks will do well with a set of nonstick cookware that includes the basic saucepans and skillets and a stockpot. If you want to whip the potatoes in the pot you’ve cooked them in, make a smooth roux or delicate sauce, or deglaze carmelized bits in a frying pan to add flavor to meat, you can supplement the nonstick set with a couple of pieces of uncoated cookware.
The Ratings rank models by overall performance. Quick Picks takes other factors into account, including value and versatility.
Best value in a nonstick set:
1 Kirkland Signature (Costco) $150,
CR Best Buy
A generous set with 14 pieces of anodized aluminum. Cooking was very even, and the nonstick surface was very durable. Safe, sturdy, comfortable handles. Easy to clean (though dirt does collect around handle rivets, which is typical). But not dishwasher safe. Not available as open stock.
Best value in an uncoated set:
27 Member’s Mark (Sam’s Club) $130
This 11-piece stainless-steel over aluminum set includes a small-diameter frying pan and a steamer. Mirrorlike finish makes the set look more expensive than it is. Cooking was very even. The handles are safe and comfortable, but they could be sturdier. Dishwasher safe. Cleaning fairly easy for an uncoated set. Not available as open stock.
If you want a bit of both in one set:
21 Calphalon $150
The eight pieces of stainless steel over aluminum include uncoated saucepans and large and small nonstick frying pans with glass lids. Set scored excellent for evenness of heating, and the coating performed reasonably well in our test of nonstick durability. Handles could be sturdier, but they are safe and comfortable. Cleaning the uncoated pieces requires some elbow grease, but all components except the frying pans are dishwasher safe. Some cooks may want to add an uncoated skillet to round out the set. If you’re the absent-minded type, note that this was one of the sets that oozed molten metal in our empty pot/hot burner test (see Avoid cooking accidents).
If your cooktop is an induction model:
23 KitchenAid $150
The 10-piece set of uncoated stainless steel over aluminum will work on an induction cooktop and can go in the dishwasher afterward. Silicone rubber handles are ovenproof and comfortable, but they could be sturdier. Typically, handle rivets collect dirt.
Best value if your budget is tight:
7 Bialetti $50
This inexpensive nine-piece nonstick set cooked very evenly. The handles aren’t particularly strong, but they’re comfortable to hold and stayed fairly cool during cooking. This was also the lightest cookware set we tested, despite its glass lids.
1 Kirkland Signature (Costco) Item 783634
CR Best Buy
$150 14 anodized aluminum
2 Anolon Titanium
300 10 anodized aluminum/titanium
3 Anolon Advanced
200 8 anodized aluminum
250 10 anodized aluminum
5 Scanpan Classic 20203
400 8 • aluminum/titanium
6 Wearever Excellence
100 8 • aluminum
7 Bialetti Fusion 45459
50 9 • aluminum
8 Berndes Signo Classic 697101
200 5 • aluminum
9 Circulon Elite
250 10 anodized aluminum
10 Farberware Select Non-Stick
100 10 enamel/aluminum
11 Calphalon One Infused Anodized Nonstick
480 8 anodized aluminum
12 Cuisinart Chef's Classic Non-Stick 66-7
100 7 anodized aluminum
13 Calphalon Kitchen Essentials
150 8 anodized aluminum
14 Cook's Essentials Stainless
100 10 • stainless steel/aluminum
15 Circulon Steel
150 8 • stainless steel/titanium
16 T-Fal Encore Hard Enamel
100 10 • enamel/aluminum
17 Calphalon Simply Calphalon
150 8 anodized aluminum
18 Farberware Millennium Soft Touch Colors
150 10 aluminum
19 T-Fal Perfection Hard Enamel
100 9 • enamel/aluminum
20 Nordic Ware Rangeware
100 8 • enamel/carbon steel/aluminum
MIXED Only frying pans are nonstick.
21 Calphalon Simply Calphalon
$150 8 • stainless steel/aluminum
22 Wearever Cook & Strain
60 8 • stainless steel/aluminum
Brand & model
23 KitchenAid Gourmet Essentials Brushed Stainless
$150 10 na • stainless steel/aluminum
24 Calphalon Contemporary
400 8 na • stainless steel
25 Emerilware Stainless
200 10 na • stainless steel/aluminum/copper
26 Magnalite Classic
130 8 na aluminum
27 Member's Mark (Sam's Club) Tri-Ply-Clad Item 955462
130 11 na • stainless steel/aluminum
28 J.A. Henckels Classic Clad
200 7 na • stainless steel/aluminum
29 T-Fal Jamie Oliver Professional Stainless
150 9 na • stainless steel/aluminum
30 All-Clad Master Chef 2 700393
320 7 na • stainless steel/aluminum
31 Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless 77-7
100 7 na • stainless steel
32 All-Clad Copper Core 6000-7SS
700 7 na • stainless steel/copper
33 Wolfgang Puck Bistro Collection Stainless 690533
200 20 na • stainless steel/aluminum
34 Farberware Millennium Soft Touch Stainless Steel
130 10 na • stainless steel/aluminum
35 Scanpan Fusion 5
300 8 na • stainless steel/aluminum
36 Daniel Boulud Kitchen (DBK) Generation Stainless Clad
350 11 na • stainless steel/carbon/
37 Revere Copper Cuisine
60 7 na • stainless steel/copper
38 Viking Professional Starter Set VSC1009
565 5 na • stainless steel
Except frying pan.
Now that is intersting to me, what lines of cookware do you have access to?
Ok a couple of quick questions...
-Is it worthwhile to get the non-stick stuff? (I am not a pro-chef, I am a part-time wannabe, and lazy).
-Is the stainless/alum sandwich better than the aluminum non stick for any other reason?
-My stove is one of those flat glass-top ones, if that makes any difference.
Never heard of Ultrex, but then I don't watch TV...
Should add that there are a couple different types of AllClad - with aluminum, anodized aluminum, stainless & copper exteriors, not all of which are dishwasher-safe (I know the stainless are and the anodized are not)
I used to subscribe to Cook's Illustrated, and AllClad always received top honors (living only an hour or so from the factory permitted hitting the factory sale for good discounts also), now the factory sale doesn't do much better than 40% off list, but if you pick & choose carefully (or get a deal on a set) you can do OK
Apparantly still getting high marks
The ChiCom stuff may be almost as good (I think that AllClad's "Emerilware" line is Chinese, but it is not as heavy/good as the original) but I would steer clear of any imported nonstick (which you really only need for an omelet pan anyway - or a well-seasoned cast iron)
Really depends on budget & if you want cookware for show or for go.
Calphalon Tri-Ply -- cheaper than All-Clad and just as nice. Often on sale at Amazon.com, too.
thermal conductivity is the reason for using aluminum, stainless is nonreactive, nonstick is just that, they are different, not better, maybe rephrase the Q?
Yes, you need perfectly flat, smooth bottomed cookware for effective heat transfer. Cheap stuff will warp and will cook unevenly.
You shouldn't use copper or non-coated aluminum on glasstops, AFAIK. Non stick will break down over time and have to be replaced. Aluminum sandwiched in stainless steel is just about indestructible, and very effective at holding heat. It will also not react with foods or mar your cooktop.
Le Creuset is nice stuff, too. Enameled cast iron. Very heavy, and you have to use a pot holder at all times since even the handles get super hot. It can be a pain in the ass to clean if it has grill ridges (my one LC pan does), but it does an awesome job on everything from filets mignon to grilled cheese sandwiches.
Hm, thanks for the link....good reading.
In short, All-Clad rules, Calphalon makes good stuff also, Farberware millenium non-stick frying pan is a good alternative (even though it's not dishwasher safe) and Emeril's set is not bad as well.
All-clad recommends "Bar Keeper's Friend" for cleaning it back to a polish. Dunno how that differs.
I believe that BKF is a cleaner, while Peek is a polish.
Ok, having spent way too much time reading on this I am leaning towards the Calphalon Tri-ply 8 pc. set and a good non-stick frying pan. This will replace a motley collection of crap-ass $5 Wal-Mart pots and pans I've built up over the years.
So, I'll be happy to hear other suggestions for a day or so, if you want to sway me towards something else.
The Le Cruset Soup Bowl loks...interesting. It is good for making Chili in?
$180 - $25 coupon + free shipping = $155
This is the HA stuff, not the non-stick.
Also, watch the Amazon.com Friday sales. They commonly have the Calphalon stuff on super sale.
Just keep in mind that that hard anodized Calphalon stuff is not dishwasher safe. I had a set about 10 years ago. The ex- put one of the pots in the dishwasher, and the anodization came off the cooking surface.
I'm not much of a chili cook, but I'd think the Le Creuset soup pot would be about ideal. They're very good for anything that you want to cook slowly over a low, even heat. The cast iron distributes the heat well and helps avoid hot spots so stuff doesn't burn on the bottom of the pot as easily as it would on a lot of other cookware. Also, the sloped sides seem to make a big difference in keeping the heat even with a gas stove. I don't know whether it would make any difference on a glass top electric.
Here are a few links to some commercial cookware manufacturers. IM me if you need any specifics. Keep in mind this is all restaurant/professional cookware, and you'd be surprised at the value vs. quality aspect.
(that's what wives are for )
tagged for later
It's done no apparent harm to my stainless All-Clad.
Now knives, on the other hand....
But now since I have neither a wife nor a dishwasher, I have to do it all myself by hand.
My advise is that you go with Lodge cast-iron cookware.
Ok.. Brief hijack..
I've got access to an employee discount at one or another super yuppie cookware store. I'm looking at either an entire set of AllClad or an entire set of LeCreuset..
I frankly don't know dick about cooking, but SHE does.
So which, AllClad or LeCreuset?
All Clad Ltd
If you are going with a whole set, stick with the All-Clad. Le Creuset is nice and all, but All-Clad is more practical for everyday. I'd still go with Calphalon Tri-Ply over All-Clad, though. Same stuff, lower price.
-LadyLiberty signed in as LS
For a set get All-Clad. MC2 is just as good as the Stainless series, but isn't dishwasher safe (but you don't put your pots and pans in there now, do you? I hope not..) The biggest benefit of stainless over all-aluminum is the presentation value, so if you don't plan on putting one on a table and serving from it, screw stainless.
Le Creuset is great for braising and whatnot, but not for every-day cooking. Makes great chili.
I'd recommend Look brand for non-stick fry pans. Best non-stick I've ever seen or used.
Lodge is a must-have for any guy who likes iron skillets (ooh, so nice...)
I'm also recommend a good pressure cooker (maybe a single 6Qt.) - they are fast, and so nice to use. I've been able to borrow one from work (one of those overpriced yuppie cookware stores) and made a tomato-based pasta sauce. Priginal recipe took 4 hours, I made it in 10 minutes and I'll be damned if it doesn't taste better now. (This was with a Duromatic, but the Fagor stuff is supposed to be nice, too)
+1 on the All-Clad
I like the stainless.
Stainless is sturdier and doesn't dent as easily
Stainless is mainly non-reactive, so tomato sauces and acidic foods won't discolor or stain it
Wear-Ever is a very good brand. My wife and I are using the set we received as a wedding present.
I also use the aluminum Wear-Ever pot my Grandma had when I was growing up...which was a wedding present for her and Granddad in 1930. Popcorn only tastes right when cooked in that pot.
Ooops! That obviously didn't come out right!
ETA: Will try and fix and repost!
Listen up grasshoppers (I speak like I know something...but you all know better)
I have several types will describe below:
1. All clad stainless: Expensive, very high quality- yes I put it in the dishwasher- you think I am gonna wash this shit by hand? No problems with it. I would shy away from their mc2- seems like it would "corrode/oxidize" on the outside. Got mine at Amazon as individual pieces-they have sales on single pieces here and there.
2. Cast Iron- Have one 12" with lifting handel on oppisite side of norman handle. Now seasoned good, heavy as hell, but takes and holds heat better than any other cookware. NEVER put in dishwasher, scrape out rub with dish rag and thats about it. Seems a bit heavy for everyday use to me
3. Anodize aluminum pans: Teh suxxor-BUT i put mine in the dishwasher, not good. outside is faded white (was black) maybe better versions hold up better but i would not reccommend putting in dishwasher. note:mine was a cheap-o so I cant say much. I am also wary of this aluminum alzheimers rumor thing- every time i cook with I cant remember what i ate...
4. professional cookware like gunguy1911 is selling: I have one single aluminum fry pan- nonstic interior. I like it alot. and they are pretty cheap- I think mine is Vollrath- got it at a resturaunt supply shop/ make sure you get them with rubber handles as some do not come with them. I have not used the aluminum only( aluminum interior-uncoated) as it seems food would stick unless you use tons of oil. would recommend people try at least one pan like this
5. Lecruset: dont have any, but want some- like a 5 qt broiler with lid- Friend has some and works great in the oven- heavy. Get this line from www.jr.com for WAY better pricing than chefs and other places.
6. Cuisenart tri-ply I have two of their frypans that are tri-ply and nonstick interior. I really like them except both had trouble with the non-stick. Sent back and got new ones for free(lifetime warranty) - looks like the new pans have better non-stick than the old. reall like for the price and way cheaper than all clad. I have not seen their tri-ply line in chef catalog for a while- they still make it? Either way, for the price i like them.
7. Emrilware- is NOT tripple ply- (the ones i have seen) but rather have the thick disk sandwiched in the base- friend has these- look decent and cook well too.
I cook 99% of my stuff in non-stick pans- just for easy cleanup and less oil. Stainless pans work great, but can be more work to clean so keep that in mind. That was my reasoning for tripple ply with non-stick interiors. Be sure to find one with lifetime warranty.
Emerilware is good stuff. I got some for my wedding and really like it. All-Clad makes it. I have the stainless.
Stainless is not very good by itself- should be sandwiched or have a disk of alum or copper in base
Aluminum has good conductivity, but is reactive and doesn not hold heat
Copper pretty good all around but very expensive
Cast is heavy, holds heat the best but is kinda tough to work with on a daily basis
I bought the Calphalon Tri-ply Stainless 8 piece set. Smartbargains has them, and a 10% off coupon ended up making it about $200. They arrived and I had a chance to use them last night. Very nice compared to the old crap I was using. I also bought a 10" Farberware Millenium non-stick frying pan for frying eggs and such.
AL CLAD is nice. But I've always found the best quality for the buck at holeinthewall restaurant supply stores. No name aluminum pots and pans. Lasted longer than anything else.