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Kitchen cookware

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What's behind our kitchen cookware Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 36 models in kitchen cookware to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    Overall score is based on evenness of cooking; coating durability (nonstick models); handle safety, comfort, and sturdiness; and ease of cleaning.
  • Set
    Each set includes at least a saucepan, a frying pan, and a stockpot. Lids are typically counted as separate components in a set.
  • Material
    Material indicates that the tested pots and pans are made of aluminum, stainless steel, or cast iron.
  • Cooking evenness
    Cooking evenness reflects the ability of frying pans to turn out evenly browned pancakes on a gas range.
  • Nonstick food release-new
    Nonstick food release score reflects the nonstick qualities of a pan's interior by cooking four eggs consecutively. The pan is initially seasoned with vegetable oil prior to cooking the first egg. An Excellent score indicates that all four eggs slid off the pan without assistance; A Poor score indicates that scraping was needed to release any egg from the pan and some egg residue was left on the pan.
  • Nonstick durability
    To assess nonstick durability, we intentionally abraded frying-pan surfaces with steel wool until the coating was worn through or up to 2,000 strokes. Scoring for finishes that were still intact at 2,000 strokes reflects reduced nonstick performance.
  • Speed of heating
    Speed of heating reflects how quickly a 4-quart pot of water increased from room temperature to a near boil.
  • Ease of cleaning
    Ease of cleaning reflects how easy or difficult it was to clean sticky béchamel sauce from a saucepan.
  • Handle temperature
    Handle temperature relates to the temperature during heating.
  • Handle comfort
    For handle comfort tests, panelists assessed both the size and shape of the handle, as well as the distance between the handle and the pot or pan.
  • Handle sturdiness
    Handle sturdiness indicates performance in a test designed to stress the handle and its attachments.

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Recommended kitchen cookware

Recommended kitchen cookware are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
  • Buying Guide
  • Price & Shop
To find the best kitchen cookware for your needs, first do an inventory of your present pots and pans to determine what you’re missing. Do you need one pot or an entire set? If you're looking for information about cookware, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports’ cookware reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our cookware buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased Ratings and cookware reviews to help you choose the best cookware for your needs.

Kitchen cookware buying guide

The spate of cooking shows on TV or a recent kitchen remodel might tempt you to replace your tired pots and pans. But don't think the most expensive cookware sets are always the best. And despite the famous names, the chef-endorsed sets weren't that impressive in our cookware tests.

To find the best cookware for your needs, first do an inventory of your present pots and pans to determine what you're missing. Individual pieces, or "open stock" are usually available and if you only need to replace a scratched frying pan, it might be the way to go. Think, too, about what you like to cook, which will affect your choice of materials. If you fry a lot of meat, for example, you'll probably veer toward at least one uncoated pan.

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