Watching cooking shows may whet more than your appetite: It could leave you hungry for new kitchen cookware. But don’t think the most expensive cookware sets are the best.

The allure of owning top-shelf cookware is enticing. But faced with a smorgasbord of cookware styles, materials, and prices—from cast iron and stainless steel to nonstick enamel and copper—it’s wise to be well-informed. Use this guide to sharpen your shopping skills before buying.

Top 10 Ceramic Cookware

Bestseller No. 1
GreenLife Soft Grip 16pc Ceramic Non-Stick Cookware Set, Turquoise
2101 Reviews
GreenLife Soft Grip 16pc Ceramic Non-Stick Cookware Set, Turquoise
  • FREE YOUR HEALTHY CHEF - Our cookware is made of Thermolon ceramic non-stick, manufactured free of PFOA, PFAS,...
  • SET INCLUDES - 4" mini frypan, 7" open frypan, 9.5" open frypan, 1QT covered saucepan, 2QT covered saucepan,...
Bestseller No. 2
Cuisinart 54C-11BK Advantage Ceramica XT Cookware Set Medium Black
86 Reviews
Cuisinart 54C-11BK Advantage Ceramica XT Cookware Set Medium Black
  • Cuisinart Ceramica XT Non-Stick Interior - Exclusive titanium reinforced ceramic nonstick interior that will...
  • Silicone handles are riveted for strength and durability and designed to stay cool on the stovetop
Bestseller No. 3
GreenPan CC000675-001 Valencia Pro Hard Anodized 100% Toxin-Free Healthy Ceramic Nonstick Metal...
64 Reviews
GreenPan CC000675-001 Valencia Pro Hard Anodized 100% Toxin-Free Healthy Ceramic Nonstick Metal...
  • Set Composition - 11-Piece cookware set includes 8, 9.5 & 11-inch open frypan, 2 & 3-quart covered saucepan,...
  • Healthy Ceramic Nonstick - Our healthy ceramic non-stick Thermolon Minerals Pro coating is now metal utensil...
Bestseller No. 4
WearEver 2100087606 15 Piece Ceramic PTFE PFOA & Cadmium Free Nonstick Cookware Set, Red
2551 Reviews
WearEver 2100087606 15 Piece Ceramic PTFE PFOA & Cadmium Free Nonstick Cookware Set, Red
  • Soft-touch and riveted handles for secure, comfortable grip. The handles can cook with high temperature up to...
  • Nonstick Ceramic coating is metal utensil safe and PTFE, PFOA, Cadmium and lead free
Bestseller No. 5
Cook N Home NC-00359 Nonstick Ceramic Coating 10-Piece Cookware Set, Red
2503 Reviews
Cook N Home NC-00359 Nonstick Ceramic Coating 10-Piece Cookware Set, Red
  • Includes: 1 and 2 qt saucepans, 3 qt casserole, 5 qt dutch oven with lids, and 8 and 9.5 in. fry pans
  • Made of thick gauge aluminum that provides even heat conduction and prevents hot spots
Bestseller No. 6
Blue Diamond Pan CC001602-001 Toxin Free Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set 10pc Blue
186 Reviews
Blue Diamond Pan CC001602-001 Toxin Free Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set 10pc Blue
  • Completely Toxin-Free: Manufactured without PFAS, PFOA, lead or cadmium, which guarantees that no toxic fumes...
  • Warp Control Base: A lightweight forged base ensures extreme strength, so you'll never have to worry about...
Bestseller No. 7
Vremi 8 Piece Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set - Induction Stovetop Compatible Dishwasher Safe Non...
456 Reviews
Vremi 8 Piece Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set - Induction Stovetop Compatible Dishwasher Safe Non...
  • COOKWARE MADE for SERVING - This 8 piece ceramic cookware set includes 2 dutch oven pots, 1 casserole pot with...
  • CERAMIC COATING for EVEN HEATING - This pot and pan set is made of a durable and non-toxic die-cast aluminum...
Bestseller No. 8
hOmeLabs Ceramic 8 Piece Cookware Set - Compatible with Induction Stovetop Non Stick Pots with Lids...
101 Reviews
hOmeLabs Ceramic 8 Piece Cookware Set - Compatible with Induction Stovetop Non Stick Pots with Lids...
  • CERAMIC COATING for QUICK HEATING - It's all about the ceramic coating for this kitchen savior set. Its marble...
  • FUNCTIONAL COOKWARE SET - This cookware set of pots and pans keeps cooking in the kitchen fun and functional....
Bestseller No. 9
GreenPan Paris Pro 11pc Ceramic Non-Stick Cookware Set
364 Reviews
GreenPan Paris Pro 11pc Ceramic Non-Stick Cookware Set
  • GreenPan is the pioneer of healthy ceramic non-stick: safe cookware that doesn't contain any toxic chemicals...
  • Thermolon ceramic non-stick is manufactured without PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium. The coating won't blister,...
Bestseller No. 10
Rachael Ray Cucina Hard Porcelain Enamel Nonstick Cookware Set, 12-Piece, Agave Blue
2208 Reviews
Rachael Ray Cucina Hard Porcelain Enamel Nonstick Cookware Set, 12-Piece, Agave Blue
  • Rachael Ray Cucina Cookware features rustic, modern color, functionality and design to enhance mealtime warmth...
  • Crafted with durable aluminum and sturdy hard enamel porcelain exteriors; espresso-colored, PFOA-free nonstick...

Cookware Sets vs. Open Stock

Consumer Reports buys and tests cookware sets, fry pans, and Dutch ovens, so we know that cookware can be an expensive investment. Here are some things to consider before you go shopping:

Take Stock
Take inventory of the pots and pans you own to determine what needs to be replaced or what is missing from your cookware arsenal. Individual pieces—or “open stock”—are widely available. If you only need to swap out a scratched frying pan, the open stock is a cost-saving way to go, and what’s popular now.

Dutch ovens are versatile, moving from stovetop to oven to your table. A Dutch oven can brown, braise, boil, and bake bread. It has high sides, and when made of enameled cast iron, it holds heat well, making it a good choice for deep frying.

Consider Your Cooking Style
Think about what you cook frequently; this will influence your choice of materials. For example, if you sear meat often, uncoated stainless steel will facilitate even browning. If you prefer slow-cooked tomato sauces, even creamy sauces, you’ll want to steer clear of unlined copper cookware, which can impart bitterness.

Match Your Cookware to Your Cooktop
Finally, consider how your new cookware will pair with your cooktop. Flat-bottomed pans—overwhelmingly the most popular type—are essential for a smooth top range. Round-bottom works will need a vented ring placed on top of a burner to support the work. If you have an induction cooktop, cookware with magnetic properties is a must. Bring along a magnet when you shop. If it sticks to the bottom, it’ll work with an induction cooktop.

Shopping Tips to Chew On

Quality cookware is at the heart of any serious cook’s kitchen. You need a variety of pots, pans, and casseroles, maybe even a few specialty items. Will a $500 set of cookware make your meals twice as tasty as a $250 set? Not necessarily. Here’s how to build the perfect culinary collection:

Choose Your Pieces
If you’re building a set of cookware from scratch, depending on how you cook and how many people you cook for, you will want an assortment of skillets and pots, a stockpot, and lids. In boxed sets, manufacturers count a lid as a piece, and it might fit more than one piece of cookware in the set. A set that contains more pieces might not be the smartest choice if you use only a few and the rest take up space in your cabinet. Note: Utensils and even a cookbook can count as pieces of a set.

Pick It Up
We all shop online, but it’s essential to handle the cookware at a retailer. See how it feels in your hand. If it’s heavy, think how much heavier it will feel when it’s full of food. Make sure that the handles are easy to grasp and that the pot or pan is well-balanced. Check that handle attachment is tight and sturdy. Read the packaging to see whether the cookware can be cleaned in a dishwasher.

Glass Lids
These allow you to see what’s going on inside the pot without having to lift it off, letting steam escape. But they add weight and can break, which could be a problem in a household with young kids.

From Stove to Oven
If the box says the cookware is oven-safe, be sure to check the specifics. What temperature can this cookware safely be used? Some cookware can be used in ovens set to 350°F, while others can withstand higher heat—up to 500°F.

Picks & Pans: Cookware Types

Choose a cookware material that suits the cooking technique. For example, sautéed foods turn out best in pans that transmit heat quickly, braised foods need pans that retain heat over long periods, and you shouldn’t cook white sauces or tomato sauces in unlined copper or aluminum cookware because those ingredients react with the metal. (The below types are, more or less, in order of popularity.)

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