These top-rated pots and pans will renew your love of spending time in the kitchen.

By Jenna Sims
Updated January 06, 2021
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Credit: Amazon

A good set of cookware is an essential component of any Southern kitchen. They’ll be the pots, pans, and skillets you use to cook dinner for your family on busy weeknights and the trusty cookware that you'll use to try your hand at Mama’s famous recipes during the holiday season. Whether you're looking to replace a well-loved set that you received as a wedding gift or are ready to once and for all replace your mismatched collection with one of the coordinating variety, we're here to help you find the best cookware set for the job.

When the time comes to purchase a new cookware set, the amount of options can be overwhelming. Before you start your search, it's important to determine your budget and what the most important features are to you. After purchasing, be sure to read the care instructions before using them for the first time so that you get the most life out of your new pots and pans. From stainless steel to ceramic to cast iron, here are the top-rated cookware sets in each category, starting at just $41.

  1. Best Overall Cookware Set: T-fal Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set
  2. Best Budget-Friendly Cookware Set: Farberware Dishwasher Safe Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set
  3. Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set: Cuisinart Tri-ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set
  4. Best Nonstick Cookware Set: Calphalon Simply Pots and Pans Set
  5. Best Ceramic Cookware Set: Caraway Cookware Set
  6. Best Cast-Iron Cookware Set: Lodge Cast Iron Cookware Set
  7. Best Amazon Basics Cookware Set: Amazon Basics Non-Stick Cookware 8-Piece Set
  8. Best Splurge-Worthy Cookware Set: Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron 5-Piece Cookware Set
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Consider this set from T-fal a one-stop-shop for all of your cooking needs. It includes four pots with lids ranging in size from one to five quarts as well as two frying pans in 8-inch and 10-inch sizes. The anodized-aluminum material makes them strong enough to withstand everyday use while also being resistant to scratching. Thermo-Spot Technology in the center of each pan lets you know when it’s preheated and ready for use. And of course, the nonstick finish makes cooking and cleanup a breeze. The set is dishwasher and oven safe.

BUY IT: $139.25;

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Coming in at just under $60, this cookware set from Faberware is an inexpensive cookware set option that still delivers on quality. Each piece is dishwasher safe and lids are made with shatter-proof glass. It's a great option to outfit kitchens for dorms, apartments, and first homes. "For the price you can’t go wrong!" shared one reviewer. The 15-piece set includes three pots, two pans, a cookie sheet, and a set of five cooking utensils. 

BUY IT: $59.99;

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Cuisinart’s Heat Surround technology helps the temperature spread evenly through each piece of cookware to eliminate hot spots while cooking. And cool grip handles reduce the risk of overheating when using on the stovetop. The 10-piece set includes a 1.5-quart saucepan with a lid, 2.5-quart saucepan with a lid, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, 6-quart stockpot with a lid, 8-inch skillet, and 10-inch skillet.

BUY IT: $210;

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No just one, but two nonstick layers prevents food from sticking to this Calphalon cookware set. Made from hard-anodized aluminum, the durable pieces resist corrosion, warping, and are also oven safe up to 400 degrees. Included in the 10-piece set is an 8-inch fry pan, 10-inch fry pan, 1-quart sauce pan with lid, 2-quart sauce pan with lid, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, and 6-quart stock pot with a lid. One reviewer best sums it up by stating, "Yes, buy it. You won't be sorry."

BUT IT: $199.99;

Credit: Caraway

Caraway ceramic cookware offers a nonstick, and nontoxic cooking surface so slick that it'll allow you to use less oil while cooking and nearly eliminate time spent scrubbing pans clean. A mineral-based coating ensures that no toxic materials are released into food as it cooks. Not to mention, this set is as chic as it is functional. It comes in five shades: perracotta (pictured), cream, gray, sage, and navy. "Everything I was looking for!" writes one reviewer, while another says, "We bought the entire set and haven’t looked back." Each set includes a fry pan, sauté pan, sauce pan, and Dutch oven. 

BUY IT: $395;


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Lodge cast-iron cookware has been made in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, since 1896. Cast iron offers unmatched heat retention when compared to other cookware materials. Once you've mastered the art of cooking (and caring for) cast iron, it'll become your favorite way to cook. In addition to the stovetop, cast-iron pieces are also safe for use in the oven, on the grill, and over a campfire. This cookware set includes five basic pieces to fit all of your cast-iron cooking needs: 8-inch skillet, 10.25-inch skillet, 10.5-inch round griddle, 5-quart Dutch oven, and a lid that fits both the skillet and the Dutch oven.

BUY IT: $192;

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For easy and safe cooking, soft-touch handles on this cookware set stay cool during use while vented glass lids let steam escape. This Amazon Basics nonstick cookware set includes an 8-inch fry pan, 10-inch fry pan, 1.5-quart sauce pan with lid, 2 quart saucepan with lid, and 3-quart casserole pan with lid. Coming in at well under $50, reviewers agree that for the price, they're worth every penny. Plus, the nonstick coating makes them effortless to clean. 

BUY IT: $41.49;

Credit: Williams Sonoma

Le Creuset cookware is known for its even heat distribution and ease of use. Enameled cast iron provides the same premium cooking quality as regular cast iron without the need to be seasoned. Plus, for ease of cleanup, each piece is dishwasher safe. This cookware set includes three basic pieces that are the ideal Le Creuset starter set for any home cook: 10-inch fry pan, 1 3/4-quart saucepan with lid, and 4 1/2-quart round Dutch oven with lid.

BUY IT: $520;