How to Choose a Kitchen Cookware Set

A kitchen cookware set often costs less than individual pieces and adds uniformity to a kitchen. Choosing the “right” kitchen cookware set is easy once you answer a few basic questions. When it comes down to it, the cookware material and pot/pan sizes are still the core components whether you are buying individual pieces or a cookware set.

Questions on Choosing a Kitchen Cookware Set

Which Kitchen Cookware Material is Best for Me?

Your Cookware Helper and this site put an emphasis on cookware materials. After all, the right cookware material will provide the right results when cooking and during clean up. There is no right or wrong answer here, it just depends on what suits your cooking time and style. In my article “Matching Cookware Materials to the Cook,” I define the 4 different types of cooks, and which materials are best for each. Making a mistake here can be costly in both cooking results, and the longevity of the kitchen cookware set chosen.

What Sizes of Kitchen Cookware do I Require?

Anolon Nouvelle Cookware SetThe June 2009 issue of Cook’s Illustrated has a good article on choosing the right kitchen cookware set. They put a focus on the sizes of cookware offered in various cookware sets. They find that many cookware sets offered by the manufacturers have individual pieces, like the fry pans, sauté pans, and sauce pans, that are simply too small. When it comes to kitchen cookware sets, size matters! If you are a one or two person household, most of the sets offered today will be fine since they tend to offer 1 to 3 quart sauce and sauté pans, and 8” to 10” skillets. If you are looking for a cookware set for a larger family, your choices become more difficult and prepackaged sets will not suffice.

How Many Pieces do I Need in a Kitchen Cookware Set?

Be aware that when it comes to the number of pieces in a cookware set, the lids count as a piece! So, a sauce pan and lid counts as 2 pieces, not 1. One would think a sauté pan would count as 1 piece with the lid. But it doesn’t. A 10 piece kitchen cookware set with a fry pan or 2, may include a couple sauce pans, sauté pan, and a stock pot. To answer how many pieces you need, you’ll need to consider how many you are cooking for, and how do you cook? If you tend to cook a lot at the same time, you will need more pieces. The standard pieces that come in a cookware set are the skillet, sauce pan, saute pan, and stock pot. These will come in varied sizes with or without lids.

Should I Buy Individual Cookware Pieces or a Kitchen Cookware Set?

Le Creuset Cast Iron SkilletThe best answer I can give is: It depends. But this one you need to answer for yourself. If you have determined the best cookware material for you, the best brand and product line for you, and find a kitchen cookware set with cookware pieces in the sizes you require, then a set will offer the best price and offer uniformity in your kitchen. On the other hand, if you like different cookware materials and the sizes you require are not offered in cookware sets, then you don’t have much choice other than purchasing individual cookware pieces. It would be a mistake to buy a cookware set with the wrong individual piece sizes for your cooking needs simply because it would be convenient or to save a few bucks.

Final Thoughts…

Many cookware marketers like to pitch cookware sets. There is more money to be made in cookware sets. I would love to refer you to Amazon.com, my favorite online store, to buy a cookware set. But I am in this for the long haul, and want you to make the right decision. You need to honestly answer the 4 questions above. Once you do, then you’ll know if a cookware set is best for you.

If you have decided to buy a cookware set, then you probably want to see which cookware sets I have awarded as best in terms of Premium Quality, and Value. Click here for the award winners: Award Winning Cookware Sets.

 

About Mark Jala

Consumer advocate Mark Jala has a passion for food. As an avid cook, he gives you his opinions about the cookware reviewed and how it will impact your cooking. Mr. Jala blogs at www.38MinutesToHappiness.com where his mission is to use home cooked meals as a time to create happy marriages and loving family relationships.