The 3 Best Nonstick Cookware Sets of 2022 | People Tested

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Since there are many of us who enjoy the kitchen but aren’t exactly Top Chef status, nonstick cookware sets create opportunities for easy and pain-free cooking. Given the material (usually ceramic or aluminum), these pans are easy to use and to clean because they distribute heat evenly which shortens cooking time, prevent food from sticking, and are nearly scratch-proof.

We brought together two of our in-house recipe developers for a day of play in the kitchen. They cooked up some mouth-watering French omelettes, tomato sauce, and rice – three ingredients that have a tendency to stick – while evaluating each nonstick pan for its design, performance, temperature consistency, and ease of cleaning. The GreenPan SearSmart Hard Anodized Healthy Ceramic Nonstick 10 Piece Cookware Pots and Pans Set was the clear top performer, but there were a few other sets that also impressed us.

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Below, take a look at the best nonstick cookware sets that PEOPLE Tested for any chef, in any kitchen.

Best Overall: GreenPan SearSmart Hard Anodized Healthy Ceramic Nonstick 10 Piece Cookware Pots and Pans Set

Pros: The GreenPan SearSmart Hard Anodized Healthy Ceramic Nonstick 10 Piece Cookware Pots and Pans Set offers a premium nonstick coating, user-friendly cooking experience, and hassle-free cleanup.

Cons: It’s somewhat expensive.

Whether you’re sautéing vegetables, frying an egg, or whipping up that side dish you bought from Trader Joe’s, a good nonstick skillet can be a universal kitchen tool. Our testers loved the GreenPan SearSmart Hard Anodized Healthy Ceramic Nonstick 10 Piece Cookware Pots and Pans Set for its high performance during testing. (It also happens to be made by one of Cooking Channel star Kelsey Nixon’s favorite cookware brands!)

This set earned a perfect score for its nonstick coating which successfully prevented the rice pilaf from sticking to the sides of the pan, and allowed the omelette to slide off onto a plate seamlessly. The tomato sauce simmered in just over two minutes, leaving only a hint of a film on the pan when poured out. Our tester said the design had a “nice weight” and felt “balanced” when holding the pan. It also rinsed off with little effort, making cleanup a breeze.

Though our tester felt the price was a little high, and noticed the temperature was slightly inconsistent, we believe this is an ideal nonstick cookware set for everyday use. It comes with six different pans that are induction safe, highly durable, and built to serve years of delicious meals in your kitchen.

Ceramic, diamond-infused thermolon, stainless steel handle

Nonstick Coating Material

PFOA-free, lead-free, PFA-free, cadmium-free

Credit: People / Jennifer Causey

Best Value: Farberware Dishwasher Safe Nonstick Cookware Pots and Pans Set, 15 Piece

Pros: With this low-budget nonstick cookware set, the temperature remained consistent, there was minimal food sticking, and it was fairly easy to clean.

Cons: It doesn’t seem as durable as other sets.

This budget nonstick cookware set was another favorite of our testers for its consistent heating, effective nonstick coating, and low-maintenance cleaning. You get a lot with this set for the price, making it a solid value.

During the cooking portion of our tests, the pan from this set had consistent temperatures on all sides of the pan, did not scorch or burn the sauce, and the rice did not stick to the surface. With the omelette, there was some food stuck between the pan rivets after moving the meal to a plate. Our tester said the design makes “this pan really light and easy to maneuver.”

While she appreciated the price, our tester felt that the materials would not hold up over time, especially for home chefs who cook a ton, like herself. However, she suggested this set would be a great value for someone learning to cook, or even college students looking for good pans at a lower price point.

Nonstick Coating Material

Tempered glass, metal rim, screw welded phenolic

Credit: People / Jennifer Causey

Best Splurge: Scanpan Classic Cookware Set, 14 piece with Stratanium Nonstick

Pros: This high end set features a premium nonstick coating called “stratanium”, user-friendly design, and cooks consistently at the same temperature on all sides of the pan.

Cons: The pans have shallow sides which could result in spills.

If you’re willing to spend a little more, this cookware set from Scanpan proved to be a tester favorite for its effective cooking, luxurious design, ease of use, and cleanup. Our team observed consistent temperatures on all sides of the pan when heated, and detected no smell during the cooking portion of tests. The sauce took exactly two minutes to simmer without any scorching.

The highlight here is Scanpan’s signature 5-layer nonstick — called “stratanium” —which had a slightly different feel than other pans and was highly effective at preventing sticks. The eggs and rice both came out of the pan easily without leaving any residue behind. This nonstick material allowed for a quick cleanup, and felt “durable, like it would be harder to scratch,” notes our tester.

With regard to design, our tester said, “the pans are a little more shallow than some, which could be good for tossing and sautéing, but could invite spattering or spillage.” Bearing that in mind, she liked the weight and solid grip on these pans. She also noted that there were no rivets (often magnets for food residue) and liked that the saucepan had pouring spouts to dispose of drippings. While the price is higher for this cookware set, we believe its design and effectiveness make it a good value.

Nonstick Coating Material

Credit: People / Jennifer Causey

Things to Consider Before Buying Nonstick Cookware Sets

Durability

When buying nonstick cookware, you should consider the materials of each pan and how long they will hold up overtime. Aarti Sequiera, 2010 winner of The Next Food Network Starchef, and author of My Family Recipe Journal by DaySpring tells PEOPLE that she recommends sourcing a pan with a “heavy bottom,” as this will allow it to heat up more evenly and prevent overheating. She also loves a pan with a metal handle so that it can go in the oven, “if the manufacturer deems it oven-safe!” she says.

Function

The function of your cookware includes elements like heating consistency, nonstick capabilities, the ability to be cleaned, efficient cook time, and overall durability. Sequeira adds that the types of dishes you cook in your nonstick pan are also key; for example, she recommends avoiding high-heat dishes like seared or broiled meat (“unless the manufacturer has cleared it for temperatures over 600 degrees Fahrenheit”) and sticking to low to medium-heat dishes like pancakes, fish, and eggs.

Safety

This goes without saying, but safety should always be a consideration when working within a cooking space. Specifically with nonstick coating, you should look for pans that are free of PFOAs, a potentially dangerous chemical that could be released into the air if the pan is overheated and the coating begins to degrade, Sequeira explains.

Credit: People / Jennifer Causey

How We Tested Nonstick Cookware Sets

Two of our best recipe developers met up in our Birmingham test kitchen to whip up some delectable dishes using 25 different nonstick cookware sets. For each piece of cookware, they considered the temperature consistency while cooking, overall performance, design, and ease of cleaning once the food was prepared.

Our testers started by looking at the overall design of the set, observing the materials, quantity and quality of cookware pieces, storage capabilities, shapes, and any extra features. Then they performed two tests to evaluate temperature consistency using medium and high heat, placing them on a stovetop and in an oven. With a delicious tomato sauce as their test subject, they looked for any signs of scorching. Then, to test overall performance, these in-house chefs prepared two dishes — a classic French omelette and rice pilaf — checking to see if the eggs or rice stuck to the pans. Afterward, they scrubbed the pans to evaluate how easy they were to clean.

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