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 All-Clad as other good options. Nordic Ware led the way for non-stick cookware, 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 Starter Kit Overall Value
Viking 5-Ply 10 Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set Stainless Steel
USA Pan 8-Piece Cookware Set Affordability
Nordic Ware Restaurant 7-Piece Cookware Set Non-Stick
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 Overall Cookware Set: Made In Cookware Starter Kit

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 each piece in their starter kit 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 all pieces: their frying pan, saucier, and stock pot. 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. Their starter kit is a no-brainer, and they have "expansion packs" on top of that. "The Core" is one of their best sellers, with 5 pieces that are essentials for every kitchen.

What We Like

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

What We Don't Like

  • None

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
Honorable mention: All-Clad Stainless Steel 10-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 Non-Stick Cookware Set: Nordic Ware Restaurant 7-Piece Cookware Set

Nordic Ware has been making high quality cookware in their Minneapolis manufacturing facility since 1946. Their 7-piece cookware set was the best we found with a reliable non-stick surface, and for a good price too. The non-stick surface worries some folks due to health concerns - these pots and pans were tested and certified by NSF International, an organization for public health safety. The Nordic Ware pans have a nice, even heating surface and a bit of a concave bottom to help prevent any warping, which can happen with some lower quality pans. Overall, a very solid starter cookware set for a great price.

What We Like

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Non-stick surface
  • Comfortable, stay-cool grips
  • Even heating surface, no hot spots

What We Don't Like

  • Lid is a little thin in the larger stockpot, making it tougher to retain heat

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. 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 cookware products outside of the United States.

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


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.


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.


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.


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.