Updated: June 8, 2015
Stainless Steel Cookware Reviews:Why Choose Stainless Steel Cookware? Many people are choosing stainless steel cookware over nonstick. Teflon was popular for many years after its advent in 1961. That was the year that the first Teflon frying pan was made and called "The Happy Pan." Teflon is made of the chemical compound PTFE, which makes a very effective non-stick coating for pots and pans. So why choose stainless steel over Teflon? First of all, stainless steel can be placed in the oven. Also when you choose stainless steel cookware you are skipping the potential health hazards associated with Teflon. There has been a lot of controversy over the safety of Teflon cookware in recent years. Although the FDA says Teflon is safe for cooking at medium temperatures, many people just don't want to risk it. Besides, if you accidentally heat something to over 500 degrees, experts agree that the Teflon coating starts to deteriorate and become harmful to the body. When I used to use Teflon products, I was always worried I would forget and heat the Teflon up to a temperature that is too high. At that point, your cookware will become toxic and you won't even realize what has happened. The good news is that if you want to skip using Teflon completely, there are a wide variety of stainless steel cooking sets. But be aware, there are some drawbacks. When you cook something that is difficult to remove, you will be scrubbing your pots and pans. This can be a tiresome process. Eggs, in particular, can be very difficult to remove from stainless steel pans.
What is stainless steel? It is an iron alloy containing a minimum of 11.5% chromium. The stainless steel blends used for cookware contain 18% chromium and is resistant to corrosion. As far as stainless steel cookware goes, the steel is paired with what is called a "disk" of copper or aluminum. The copper or aluminum is necessary for conducting heat properly during the cooking. According to Cooks Illustrated Magazine, skillets that have stainless steel wrapped around aluminum are best. Since stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat, the aluminum allows it to heat up faster and makes the heat easier to control. According to Cooks Illustrated, the worst performers amongst stainless steel pans were disk-bottom pans. The best stainless steel has the aluminum or copper coated on the sides as well. Of course, you are going to pay quite a bit more for this type of coating on the sides. Also these reviewers recommended that when looking for the best stainless steel cookware, you should look for a large cooking surface. Sometimes the pan's angle takes away from its surface and there is less room for the actual cooking. When choosing stainless steel cookware, you really need to consider how much cooking you plan to do and at what level of complexity. If you are a die-hard chef and simply love experimenting in the kitchen with professional level recipes, you may want to indulge in stainless steel cookware that has aluminum or copper coating on the sides. If you mostly throw your food into the microwave or go out to eat, you may be better off saving the money and buying a simpler and cheaper stainless steel cookware set. You can browse the best selling stainless steel cookware sets online here.
Best Stainless Steel Cookware:Consumer Reports issued a guide to stainless steel cookware and recommended KitchenAid Gourmet Essentials Brushed Stainless set, Calphalon Contemporary and Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless. Also Consumer Reports liked All-Clad, which is the company that makes the Emerilware line. Emeril's 10 piece set runs for about $282 and has professional tri-ply bonded stainless steel and aluminum construction. Consumer Reports also liked All-Clad Master Chef 2 700393, and All-Clad Copper Core 6000-7SS. The All-Clad Copper Core is appropriate for those who don't like aluminum. You can find the top stainless steel cookware online here with a lot of good prices as well as free shipping.
Cuisinart Stainless Steel Cookware - Perhaps the highest rated cookware is Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless-Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set, which sells for about $119. Almost 300 people have reviewed this cookware on Amazon.com, and it has 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. This cookware set has an aluminum core and it is also completely safe for dishwashers, freezers, broilers and ovens. Cuisinart's product also has a limited lifetime warranty. The cookware also has a mirror finish that retains its brightness even through using a dishwasher. Reviewers who surveyed this item commented that the aluminum core within the base did indeed provide even and efficient heating. Reviewers also love a wide variety of factors about this cookware set including how it looks because it is very shiny. Also people commented that the weight of the cookware is impressive and gives a very solid feel. A few other pluses that were mentioned are that fact that the covers fit snugly and the handles stay cool. So far, we have only seen a few small complaints like the silver turned a bit purple after the dishwasher. Some people thought that the metal of the pans is thinner than it should be. However, this is clearly a debatable issue depending on your preference. Another plus for Cuisinart's stainless steel is it was highly endorsed by the legendary French chef Paul Bocuse.
KitchenAid's Stainless Steel Cookware - A similar option for high quality stainless steel would be the KitchenAid Gourmet Essentials 10-Piece Brushed Stainless Steel Cookware Set which sells for about $114. Reviewers of this product also liked that the pans were heavy and a few people commented they were "the perfect weight." Reviewers thought this product was a very good deal for the money. In contrast to the Cuisinart line, this cookware is only oven safe to 400 degrees, where the Cuisanart was oven safe to 500 degrees. If you want your stainless steel cookware to last, obviously it is important to abide by the directions. This set also has an aluminum base and is dishwasher safe. Also this set has 3 skillets instead of 2 with the Cuisanart 10-piece set.