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The Best Stainless Steel Cookware For 2018
Buying the best stainless steel cookware is a must for anyone committed to cooking restaurant-quality food at home.
Stainless cookware allows chefs to sear, brown and crisp. Plus, it is incredibly durable.
A good set of stainless steel cookware will feature pieces that can go from the stovetop to the oven and even out on the grill. Stainless is considered the professional choice when it comes to cookware options, and choosing the right set will allow you to cook better food for years to come.
What is 18/10 stainless steel cookware?
18/10 is an indicator of how much chrome and Nickle the stainless steel contains. The first number in this case 18) indicates the % of chromium in the metal and the second number ( in this case 10) represents the % of Nickel.
Steel, on its own, is highly susceptible to rust and so when you add these two metals in the resulting alloy is one that is highly resistant to corrosion and rust.
There are different variations to this, you sometimes will see 18/10. This alloy will be cheaper but the quality of the finish will not be the same.
What is so great about stainless steel?
Stainless steel is an alloy, meaning it is a mixture of different metals, you are in essence combining these metals to produce something that has the best properties of the metals involved.
One of the most desirable traits of this alloy is its resistance to oxidation or rusting. Cookware like cast iron cookware is prone to this and so you have to season it so that does not rust.
With Stainless steel cookware you can:
- Leave it to soak in water and not worry about rust (I have tested this with the cookware I talk about below)
- It has the durability and robustness of cast iron
- The shiny finish makes it look good.
- While stainless steel is not the best conductor of heat, it does hold it very well lessening the chance of hotspots when you are cooking.
- You can use this type of cookware on any cooking surface.
- Is induction compatible
- Long lasting and safe
- You can cook everything in it – acidic foods, foods that stain other types of cookware etc.
- Will not degrade in time like ceramic and nonstick cookware
- Great for cooking foods that need high temperatures such as steaks
Why is stainless steel more expensive?
As with most things in life, there are various degrees of quality. This also applies to stainless steel. It is important to remember that stainless steel is not just one metal, rather is an alloy made up of Chrome, steel, and Nickel.
There is a process that needs to happen to get this right. The end result is something that has best qualities of all of this differing elements and that is better than each individual element.
What does this mean for you?
basically, this means you are buying something that will last longer, be easier to maintain, is far more robust and has a bigger range of uses. You can use this cookware on any cooking surface and cook pretty much anything with it at any temperature.
Stainless Steel Cookware made in USA
All of the products that we look at on this page are made here in the USA.
This means that the cookware in line the standards that you would expect from something made in the US and it means that you are able to communicate directly with the company that makes the cookware should you want to.
The advantages of stainless steel cookware
Stainless steel cookware combines the properties of a number of pretty hard and durable metals, It also has no coating on it like nonstick cookware or ceramic cookware which can wear off over time. With Stainless steel even if it gets scratched there is no decrease in the performance of the cookware as the properties on the surface of stainless steel are the same all the way through.
You can cook pretty much anything with stainless steel cookware, granted you will often need to add a little oil for some types of cooking. But temperature is not an issue here as there is not a coating that is going to break down when heated, this is perfect for cooking things like steak where you have to heat the pan so that you get a good searing action on the meat. You can also use any utensil with stainless steel as there are no issues with scratching.
One of the things that I love about stainless steel is that there are a number of different finishes that you can have, I personally like the brushed finish but there are other options
Can be used on any cooktop surface
This is a biggie as far as I am concerned. You can use this on any cooktop, from glass to gas to induction cooktops . This makes stainless steel cookware a must have in most commercial or restaurant kitchens.
There is very little maintenance when it comes to stainless steel. You use it, you wash it and then you put it away- job done.
Cost of stainless steel cookware
While this can be quite a bit more then other types of cookware, you need to take into account that this will most likely outlast any of often cheaper nonstick and ceramic cookware. I am not saying that this is better than some of the better made nonstick options but should be taken into account when looking at the price that you will pay.
It is important to note here that there are cheaper options for Stainless steel but as I have said before I make no apologies for always suggesting that you buy the best quality that you can afford
Disadvantages of stainless steel cookware
Yes, there are some disadvantages to using stainless steel cookware, here are a few of them.
Can be quite heavy
Stainless steel cookware can be quite heavy, this is something that you should be taking into account if you have some sort of injury and disability that makes your wrists weak. Lugging these around can be uncomfortable if you do not have the strength
Care needs to be taken on glass stop cookware
This is something else that is related to the weight of the cookware, you will need to take care of class surfaces as this type of cookware can potentially do damage and either crack or shatter the glass top.
Scratches can make the cookware look ugly
If you are working in a professional kitchen this will not be a problem, but for someone that is particular about how things look in your kitchen, you will need to consider this. Nonstick cookware does not last as long and is there for replaced from time to time whereas stainless steel will last a long time. It will still cook well, but you will start to see scratches.
Food Sticking to you cookware
There is a nack to cooking with stainless steel, if you are new to this type of cookware then you will have to get used to this. Until you do, food will stick to the pan, there is more about cooking with stainless steel here.
The good news, of course, is that no matter how badly you burn your food with stainless steel you can always remove it with something like this
Things to be aware of when buying stainless steel cookware
Not all stainless steel is made equal
There are different qualities of stainless steel, often the cheaper cookware will not be as good as the more expensive ones. How the base of the cookware is made is very important as this will directly affect how well the pot or pan cooks your food. Stainless steel is not a great conductor of heat, so if you have a base that is layered with Aluminum then you are going to get a better spread of heat when it comes to cooking.
You will also be able to see that the finish on cheaper brands may not look as good for as long and this is important if you are someone who likes to have practical and good looking cookware.
You get what you pay for really and I have always advocated that you should be always looking to by the best quality cookware that you can afford. ( Note I am not saying the most expensive).
The importance of construction when it comes to cookware
Proper Care and Cleaning your Stainless Steel Cookware
“Stainless” steel might seem like a bit of a misnomenclature to those who’ve cooked in stainless steel a lot. If stainless pieces aren’t cared for properly, they can become spotted and discolored. This can be frustrating as pots and pans once shiny and new become dull and pitted. Leftover food and even trace amounts of calcium in tap water can be deposited on your stainless cookware, resulting in a dingy look. Cleaning and drying your stainless pieces thoroughly after each use will keep them looking nicer and newer for longer, though they will eventually show signs of age if well-loved. For more on this read our article on how to clean stainless steel cookware
Stainless steel cookware comes in an enormous array of options. While some stainless cookware sets can be quite expensive, you can purchase reasonably priced stainless steel pots and pans if pricier pieces won’t fit in your budget. In addition to a spectrum of price points, stainless steel is an excellent material for unique pieces like griddles and woks in addition to traditional pots and saucepans.
What to look for when you are choosing stainless steel cookware
There are a lot of different brands on the market to choose from
Here are some of the things to look out for:
What is the quality of the stainless steel 18/10 stainless steel has 10% nickel and 18% chromium? Chromium helps ensure that steel does not oxidize and rust.
3-Ply or 5-Ply Construction – Stainless steel on its own is not a great conductor of heat, It can hold heat for a long time (see our article Aluminum vs stainless steel cookware)
how well the handles are fastened to the pot or pan
What is the handle made from – cheap handles with plastic or rubber can melt when exposed to heat, having handles that are solid and made from something robust like stainless steel will ensure that you can cook with it on any cooktop surface as well as it being oven safe. If you are any sort of chef then you will know that this is important,
Select sets that have the pots and pans that you use often for your meals. A basic set will have a skillet or sauté pan, a saucepan for soups, sauces, and puddings, a stockpot for large soups and pasta. To know more about sets, read our product reviews here.
You will want to buy sets with sturdy handles and lids with handles or knobs for removing the lids quickly. Many are sold with easy-to-grip ergonomic handles or cool-to-the-touch handles and knobs. Do you need the handles and knobs to go in the oven? Be sure the set you have in mind has lids. Some sets have a lid that doubles up to be used on a pot and the skillet.
Sets sometimes include accessories such as a slotted spoon, measuring spoons, or spatula—or all—and they are counted as part of the set. I know, we don’t need another spoon or spatula. Be sure you are buying exactly what you want and need for the price of the set. You can cook with many utensil materials: wood, plastic, rubber, and metal. Remember, though, that metal can leave scratches.
Well priced surgical grade stainless steel cookware
Below are some of the products that I have been using. I was contacted by a company that had made its own range of Stainless steel cookware. Their range looked really interesting and after sending me some of their products to use in my kitchen, I am totally in love with what they offer.
The company has heart and passion and the people that I have met are all passionate and believe in the products that they are making. The products that they make are in my humble opinion, are some of the finest quality cookware that I have come across at the prices that they charge.
They are made by Americans using American metals so everything that you buy has been made to American standards
They are always taking whatever they are doing one step further, for example:
Before brushing the stainless steel they fully polish it( many manufacturers don’t!) so that the end brushed effect is smoother and just looks better.
I use this cookware pretty much every day now, I am hard on my cookware as I can be a little clumsy, they still look like new and look cool in my kitchen.
Read on to find out more…
Value for money
How Practical is this
- Well built and very easy to use
- Can be used on any surface and any temperature your cooker can throw at it
- 8″, 10″ and 12″ option so there is something to match your requirements
- The bigger pans might be a little heavy for some
- Food gets stuck around the rivet that holds the handle on
This is a well built and easy to use stainless steel pan. It comes in an 8inch, 10inch, and a 12-inch option
8″ has a 5″ base
10″ has a 7.5″ base
12″ has a 10″ base
You can use these for just about anything and on any cooktop.
What we like
Very solid build that is both practical and very easy on the eye. I have been using these for a while now and they are my goto pans when I am cooking. The handles are built just right, easy to hold and don’t get hot except when you use them in the oven (I made a huge omelette and put it under the grill to cook and brown the top.
What we don’t like
There is nothing to not like about these skillets, the only thing I have to say here is that it is a little bit of a pain that food gets stuck around the rivets that hold the handle in place. I have got around this by using a toothbrush to clean around this and get that food out.
Value for money
How Practical is this
- Practical and very well built
- Can be used on any cooktop surface and with any utensil
- Comes as a 2Qt and 3Qt so you can pick the size that will suit your kitchen
- May be a little heavy for some
Summary of 2QT & 3QT Stainless steel sauce pans
What we like about this stainless steel saucepan
This has been well thought out in the design stage, The walls are a little lower so that is is easy to stir and whisk (it is a saucepan after all!). What they have also done is extended the 5-ply base up the walls. This ensures that there is an even heating throughout the saucepan so that you minimize cooking time as well as making sure that there is an even heat around the sauce that you are cooking.
Something to think about
Again there is nothing really not to like about this saucepan. It is a good idea to think about the style of your cooking before you by something like a saucepan, for example, I use a big frying pan to make my sauces just because it I find that easier, my partner, on the other hand, thinks I am a little crazy and loves her saucepans
The best stainless steel saute pans
Value for money
How Practical is this
- 5-ply from the base to the rim of the saute pan
- two handles ( long handle and helper handle) to make moving it about easy
- You can use the saute pan for anything from single pan meals to roasts to sauces
- Be aware that this does not automatically come with a lid, however, there is the option to buy one. I would like a pan to come with a lid as standard.
Summary of Stainless steel 4Qt saute pan
If you are looking for a real workhorse for your kitchen then a saute pan is something that is worth considering. Because of the build, large surface area, and straight walls, you have a larger area to cook with. While this means that a saute pan is not the right one for making an omelette, it is a solid option for searing, shallow frying and braising.
One of the things that impress me about this pan is the thought and attention to detail that has gone into the construction of it.
Here are a few of them:
Well designed and heat resistant handle that has a helper handle opposite it to make lifting this much easier. This is important as the pan is well built and carries a bit of weight, add to that the weight of the food that you are cooking and you begin to have something that would be a little hard to lift just with one hand.
The 5-ply structure of the stainless steel is not just at the base, but all the way up to the top. This means that there is a fast and even distribution of heat. This means that even the sides of the pan become cooking surfaces making the process more even and faster.
You can use this pan on any type of cooktop. If you are considering an induction cooktop then if you have this then you are not going to have to change or upgrade this, it will work.
One of the only small issues that I have with this is that while the rivets make the handles extremely robust they are also a trap for food, you just need to be aware of this, I have got around this by having a toothbrush in the kitchen that I use to clean around them. Don’t use the same one that you brush your teeth with:)
Best stainless steel stock pot review
Value for money
How Practical is this
- Beutifully designed
- Well built and robust
- Perfect for big pasta and soups
- Big- You need to make sure you have storage space
- Is heavy amf can be dificult to move about
I love stock pots. There are so many things that you can use them for from cooking pasta to making batches of soup and even batch- cooking mince.
The desing of this stock pot has been well thought out, really well thought out. The result is something that is has a lot going for it.
1) The design is functional and practical and built to last( I could stop here and it would still sell itself).
2) It is huge! You really can cook large quantities with this handy stock pot.
3) Did I mention that it is a stunner and will really go with any kitchen.
- 5-ply construction
- 18/10 stainless steel
- Induction compatible
- Dishwasher and oven-safe
Right now for some of the things that you should consider before you go further.
This stock pot has been created with precision and love from a single sheet of 5ply metal making it all of the above. All of the above comes with a price – weight. On its own it is quite heavy, add in a full pot of hot water or boiling soup and you have something that needs strength and respect.
If you have weak wrists or something else that may hinder you from picking something heavy up then this is something that you should be considering.
The other thing that you should be aware of is that this does not come with a lid as default and you will need to make sure that you order it when you order the stock pot.
I have looked at stainless cookware from just one brand in this review because I believe that all of the above have a lot to offer you. I use this cookware every day pretty much, I have one other ceramic wok that I got from Italy this is brilliant but it is showing its age. and the ceramic coating is coming off.
The point I am trying to make here is that these are good and I think that you should at least be considering them as an option before you make your choice.
They are new and hungry to make a product that will have a positive and lasting impact in the kitchen, it has in mine.
Other Stainless steel Articles
About the author
Understanding the science behind cooking helps me to understand what are the best tools for a particular job.
I like to help people better understand exactly what it is that they need when it comes to buying for the kitchen.
Making the right choice is easier when you know what it is you need to get.