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Looking for more products that have earned our BHG Recommends seal of approval? Check out our picks for everything from picnic blankets to humidifiers. Plus, a heavy-duty construction will even make for a better cooking cuisinart knife experience. This article was updated in December 2022 to ensure all product picks tested and vetted by the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Culinary Innovation Lab were up-to-date and in stock.
This is partly what made us excited about our new budget pick, the Goldilocks set, which is one of the only sets we’ve seen lately that includes both 10- and 12-inch pans. Many sets also have 6-quart stockpots; these are too small for making large batches of stock (8-quart or larger stockpots are best for preparing stocks, and they provide ample room for boiling pasta). The main incentive for buying piece by piece is that most sets come with smaller pan sizes. Even the stickiest foods, like fried eggs and pancakes, fall out of the pan, leaving the surfaces virtually spotless, even when you don’t use butter. While you may think of nonstick as best for frying, you’ll also appreciate how rice doesn’t stick to the pots. You can also count on these pots and pans to brown burgers evenly and simmer a tomato sauce steadily.
She also consulted Jason Santos, a chef, Will Gilson, chef and co-owner of Puritan & Company, and Mary Rodgers, head of marketing communications at Cuisinart. None of the pans on this list were made using PFOAs; few manufacturers continue to use the chemical. If you want a nonstick alternative to a PTFE-coated pan, consider a cast iron skillet. You can season these pans to be naturally nonstick; they’ll require more maintenance over time, but will last for many years. Aside from considering the ratings of each set we researched, we also evaluated the durability and quality of each set. They also needed to fulfill aspects such as heat retention, heat distribution, and price point.
The set was noticeably easy to clean, which is a plus given that it’s not recommended to put the pieces in the dishwasher. It’s worth noting that since the lids aren’t glass, you’ll have to lift them to check on your dishes as they cook. However, all of the pieces are dishwasher safe, so they’ll be easy to clean in case anything spills over. Unlike other pans on this list, which feature traditional PTFE coatings, Caraway’s pans have a ceramic coating. These pans were truly nonstick in our tests, but you’ll need to cook with lower temperatures to preserve their coating. After years of cooking on PTFE nonstick, I didn’t expect much of a difference with ceramic—and I was quickly proven wrong.
A frying pan will have a tapered or flared outside and are perfect for quick cooking. A sauté pan will have tall, vertical sides and is best used for searing or dishes with sauces. Lodge cast iron has been around for over 125 years and can be used on just about any cooking surface, including a grill or campfire. Their cook set comes with a seasoned Dutch oven and lid, a seasoned griddle, and two skillets.