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Best Cookware

Pots and pans for your home are a significant long-term investment, so doing your research up front can definitely pay off when you decide to buy. We did a ton of research to find the absolute best cookware made in America. Below, you'll find the summary of our findings, top picks, additional details about each one, and the factors we considered in our research.

Our Findings

There is a lot to consider when buying cookware, especially with all of the different product varieties. Stainless steel is one of the most popular, and can come back to bite you if you don't buy the right steel quality. We found that Viking makes the best stainless steel cookware products, followed by USA Pan and Nordic Ware as other good options. All-Clad led the way for bakeware, Lodge is the best in the business for cast iron skillets, and a little guy named Brooklyn Copper Cookware is producing great copper pots and pans. More details about each one of our recommendations is below!

Top Recommendations

Best Cookware Best for:
Made in Cookware Stainless Steel Frying Pans Frying Pans
Viking 5-Ply 10 Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set Stainless Steel
USA Pan 8-Piece Cookware Set Affordability
All-Clad Stainless Steel Bakeware Bakeware
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet Cast Iron
Brooklyn Copper Cookware Copper

Recommendations: Going Deeper

We've compiled product details, what we liked, what we didn't like, and even some close alternatives for each of our top picks.

Best Frying Pan: Made In Cookware Stainless Steel Frying Pans

Made In is relatively new on the scene (started in 2016), but they are producing some of the highest quality cookware on the market right now, all factory direct. We ordered a couple different frying pans and were thoroughly impressed with overall quality for a very affordable price. So much so that we reached out to their founders for an interview! Heat control was great in their frying pans in particular. The handles were surprisingly cool as well - we could handle them with ease. Overall, you're getting close to restaurant quality here without the price tag.

What We Like

  • All stainless steel
  • Good heat control
  • Cool handles
  • Lids fit well
  • Affordable

What We Don't Like

  • Copper and carbon cookware not made here

Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set: Viking 5-Ply 10 Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Viking sets the standard for quality among other stainless steel cookware brands. It's also a great company that treats their employees well, rated best place to work in Mississippi in 2016. Their 10-piece cookware set was the front runner coming out of our research; handcrafted right here in the USA. The 5-ply construction and aluminum core gets you nice heat transfer from your stove top, an even heating surface to cook on, and actually reduces energy usage compared to other cookware manufacturers. It's also made with 18/10 stainless steel, which means it contains 18 percent chromium and 10 percent nickel - bottom line, that means it's super high quality and helps prevent rust. The ten piece set includes frying pans, saucepans, and stockpots of varying sizes.

3-ply Viking alternative: Found here
Most affordable stainless steel set: USA Pan 8-Piece Cookware Set

What We Like

  • Quick and even heating
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Oven, broiler, and grill safe
  • “Stay cool” handles

What We Don't Like

  • None

Best Bakeware: All-Clad Stainless Steel Bakeware


All-Clad has been making high quality cookware and bakeware in their Pennsylvania manufacturing facility for over 50 years. Their bakeware (baking sheet shown here) was the best we found for reliable ovenware, and for a good price too. All-Clad bakeware has a nice, even heating surface (oven safe up to 600 degrees) with a slightly tilted edge to make taking it in and out of the oven super easy. Overall, a very solid starter bakeware set for a great price.

What We Like

  • Oven safe up to 600 degrees
  • Durable stainless steel
  • All bakeware is ergonomically designed to make it easy to handle
  • Even heating surface, no hot spots

What We Don't Like

  • Customer service can be spotty sometimes

Best Cast Iron Skillet: Lodge Cast Iron Skillet


Headquartered in Tennessee, Lodge Manufacturing is synonymous with pre-seasoned cast iron skillets and has been perfecting their craft for over 100 years. They are also one of our top picks for the best Dutch ovens made in the USA. These Lodge skillets are super sturdy (weighing in at over 5 pounds), retains heat well, and can be used in pretty much any cooking environment - stove top, oven, campfire, you name it. After you use it, make sure to clean it with just some hot water, a stiff brush, and a towel dry - any form of soap or throwing it in the dishwasher is not recommended.

What We Like

  • Cooking versatility
  • Pre-seasoned
  • Sturdiness and longevity – this skillet can last you a lifetime
  • Great heat retention

What We Don't Like

  • Requires some upkeep to stay conditioned and prevent rust (this is a requirement for all cast iron, not just Lodge skillets)

Best Copper Cookware: Brooklyn Copper Cookware

Copper cookware is a great choice for your kitchen if you need very refined heat management, and Brooklyn Copper Cookware does it best. Copper pots and pans are known for warming quickly and evenly distributing heat. That's why you see professionals like expert candy makers use copper - they need to be very scientific about the temperatures they are cooking at and making sure heat is evenly distributed throughout their cooking surface. Brooklyn Copper Cookware is simple and organic, only made with 3 ingredients - copper, tin, and iron. Overall, we really like the quality of this cookware and how it performs against other copper cookware manufacturers. Produced in Brooklyn, New York.

What We Like

  • Even and quick heating
  • Ergonomic handles
  • Copper shine looks good in the kitchen

What We Don't Like

  • Requires a little more upkeep than traditional stainless steel or other material

Recap: Best Cookware Made in the USA


What About the Best Ceramic Cookware?

We were disappointed to find no quality US manufacturers of ceramic pots and pans. Brands known for their ceramic cookware like Ceramcor Xtrema Cookware, GreenLife, Calphalon, and Tramontina all make their ceramic products outside of the United States.

Also - if you're looking for a slow cooker, Crockpot slow cookers are not made in the USA, but we list a couple of other decent options in the article linked here.


Factors We Considered

Cooking Performance

Performance is obviously one of the most important criteria when choosing a new cookware set. Pots and pans that don't perform like they are supposed to and undercook or overcook your food is extremely frustrating. We looked out for products that satisfied our criteria for:

  • Even heat distribution
  • Heat retention
  • Weight and sturdiness
  • Scratch resistance
  • Handle performance
  • Ability to clean

Longevity

Pots and pans are a long-term investment. We want to make sure you're getting products that will last a lifetime. We eliminated any products from our research that easily rusted, dented, or had the potential to lose significant quality over time. If you take care of them correctly, your pots and pans can even improve over time.

Tasteless

We know it sounds weird, but certain cookware will leave behind an unpleasant taste of metal if it's not very high quality. With the exception of cast iron (where you want good flavor), most stainless steel cookware should leave behind zero taste.

Reactivity

Some metals react to certain foods, which means that your food will likely absorb some of metallic taste. For example, acidic foods like tomatoes have a tendency to make aluminum react. We looked for metals that have a very low likelihood of reacting negatively to a large number of foods.

Value

We want to make sure that you're getting the best cookware for your money. And that means not overpaying for the product quality that you're receiving. If we thought the cookware quality didn't line up with the price tag, we eliminated it from our consideration. We feel that our recommendations will give you a great bang for your buck.

Looking for more kitchen recommendations? Check out our guide on the best American made kitchen knives and cutting boards made in the USA.

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