If you’re like me, you want nothing but the best cookware in your kitchen, but you also want to have money in the bank. So balancing cost with quality is key.
All-Clad cookware is widely considered by chefs and home cooks as the best of the best in stainless steel clad cookware. Their D5 cookware has an impressive five layers. But is it worth the added cost to get those extra layers?
In this article, I do an in-depth review of the All-Clad D5 cookware set. I also explore whether it’s worth all the hype so you can make the best decision.
Can the All-Clad D5 set best serve your cooking needs? Keep reading to find out more.
What to Look for in 5-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware
When considering multi-ply cookware, it’s important to know what distinguishes quality from cheaper cookware. Well-made stainless steel cookware is an expensive purchase, so you want to get your money’s worth by selecting the best.
Most clad cookware is tri-ply, meaning it has three layers of metal. 5-ply cookware has–you guessed it–five layers.
All-Clad has a line of tri-ply cookware in addition to its D5 collection. Let’s quickly take a look at what features are must-haves in 5-ply stainless steel pots and pans.
The construction of 5-ply stainless steel is the most important consideration, in my opinion. The quality of a pan is shown in the food it produces.
The proof is in the pudding, if you will.
Most full-clad stainless cookware has alternating layers of aluminum and stainless steel. It might also include another highly conductive metal, like copper. These layers are bonded together to create a single piece of cookware.
An aluminum core increases heat conductivity and helps the cookware heat quickly, since stainless steel can be slow to heat on its own. The stainless steel layers, on the other hand, help achieve even heat distribution.
A solidly made multi-clad pan will have some heft to it. Look for quality stainless steel, like 18/10 or 304 stainless. These steels have a higher nickel content, making them corrosion-resistant and more durable.
How to Cook with 5-Ply Pans
I absolutely love my stainless steel pans. They work for almost all of my cooking needs, but they’re not like non-stick cookware. You can’t turn on the burner and go. Be sure to preheat your stainless steel pan.
You can test the pan by putting drops of water in the pan. If the drops roll around and sizzle, you’re ready to go. Once the pan is preheated, add your cooking fat (if you’re using any). Let the oil or butter coat the pan, and then you can add food.
Adding oil to a cold stainless steel pan will cause the food to stick…badly. Unless you enjoy scrubbing a pan for hours, preheat your stainless pan!
Even though stainless steel can handle high heat, it’s not necessary to use anything above medium heat for almost any dish. Higher heat will increase food sticking, so low to medium is best. And as a side perk, using lower temps will save money on your energy bills.
How to Care for 5-Ply Pans
When using multi-ply cookware, be sure to use wooden or silicone utensils. While stainless steel can handle metal utensils better than other cookware, it can still scratch. Taking a metal fork to a stainless pan is a recipe for disaster. Silicone is a safer option.
Most stainless cookware is dishwasher-safe, but it’s best to hand wash pans. Hand washing will avoid scratches, warping, and other possible damage from the dishwasher.
For stubborn stains, you can use a product like Bar Keepers Friend with a scouring pad to remove stains and restore shine. Some people recommend sprinkling the pan with baking soda. Others swear by boiling vinegar in the pan to remove stains.
Whichever method you choose, there are several easy ways to keep your cookware looking beautiful and shiny.
For more, see my guide to cleaning stainless steel pans.
All Clad D5 Set :Overview
This All-Clad cookware line is manufactured in the U.S. with only the highest quality materials. The D5 10-piece set includes:
- 8-inch (20.32 cm) fry pan
- 10-inch (25.4 cm) fry pan
- 1.5-quart (1.42 liters) covered saucepan
- 3-quart (2.84 liters) covered saucepan
- 3-quart (2.84 liters) sauté pan
- 8-quart (7.57 liters) stockpot
There are also options for a 4-piece, 5-piece, or 14-piece set. Each set comes with a limited lifetime warranty. The D5 set has three layers of stainless steel with an aluminum layer in between, totaling five bonded layers.
Customers absolutely loved their All-Clad D5 cookware. Several reviews even claimed their food tasted better with these pans. Many expected to pass this D5 cookware down to their kids.
The even heating and superior performance were the most significant factors for most users. Some people also were drawn to the “Made in the U.S.A.” label.
All Clad D5 Review: Cookware Features
Before we start, let’s check out this short video from the manufacturer to see the (claimed) highlights of the D5 cookware set:
Brushed Stainless Steel Exterior
Although performance is the top consideration, it’s a nice bonus when your cookware set adds a touch of elegance to the kitchen.
The D5 brushed stainless steel exterior does precisely that. Not only is the brushed finish beautiful, but it’s also easy to maintain. The interior cooking surface features a classic starburst design for aesthetic detail.
Stainless Steel Lids & Handles
The stainless steel handles are heat resistant for safe handling. These sturdy handles are secured with stainless steel rivets to the pan.
The tight-fitting stainless steel lids retain heat and moisture, resulting in perfectly cooked food. The lids are also oven-safe for max versatility.
So what did customers think? They liked the stay-cool handles, even though some said they got hot when boiling water. Some also said the lid handles get quite hot.
But several users did complain about the handles being uncomfortable. Since this cookware is quite heavy, any discomfort is more pronounced.
As far as the lids, most people were pleased. They said the lids fit snugly, which is exactly what you want. They aren’t vented, but I didn’t see any complaints about that.
Construction: Stainless/Aluminum Core
All-Clad’s D5 cookware set has a bonded construction with five alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminum to maximize cooking performance.
The stainless steel core reduces hot spots, meaning these pans heat evenly. The aluminum layers have excellent heat conductivity to reduce the time it takes to preheat the cookware.
The outer layer of polished stainless steel provides durability, while the interior stainless steel cooking surface has superior heat retention.
In addition to the bonded layers, the All-Clad D5 set has a flared edge on the pans. These flared rims allow for drip-free pouring.
Users raved about this cookware’s even heat distribution. In fact, the even heating was mentioned more than any other feature in the positive reviews. And there were a lot of positive reviews.
And even though stainless is slower to preheat than thin aluminum pans, people still praised the heat conduction and (relatively) quick heating.
The All-Clad D5 set is compatible with all cooktops, with optimized performance for induction cooktops.
If you have an induction cooktop, make sure the pan’s surface completely covers the burner for best performance.
As a matter of fact, this cookware’s performance with gas and induction stovetops was a high point for a lot of customers. They loved how these All-Clad pans heated evenly on all stove types.
Whether you’re preparing stovetop-to-oven dishes, bread puddings, or hearty casseroles, oven compatibility is a must.
These All-Clad pots are oven-safe up to 600°F (315° C). Need to brown the dish under the broiler? No problem. These pans are also broiler-safe up to the same temperature.
Ease of Cleaning
For many people, outside of performance, this is the make or break feature. If a pan isn’t easy to clean, I will end up avoid using it.
This is not a problem with the All-Clad D5 cookware set. These pans are dishwasher-safe for those who want the ultimate convenience. Some users said they had no problems with cleaning this cookware in the dishwasher.
Of course, I would recommend hand washing these pans. Some customers said they strictly hand washed their All-Clad D5 cookware.
Be sure to let your cookware cool before cleaning to avoid thermal shock. In case of stubborn stains, use Bar Keeper’s Friend or baking soda.
Some people did have problems with a bluish tint appearing after use, especially on a gas stove. This is likely due to heat transfer from the burner. The All-Clad cleaner supposedly helped clear that up, and some said Bar Keeper’s Friend did the trick, as well.
The All-Clad D5 set has superior quality, but it comes with a steep price tag. Expect to pay significantly more for All-Clad than other brands. If you don’t have the wiggle room in your budget, there are some alternatives listed below.
This All-Clad D3 cookware set features a tri-ply construction, with two layers of stainless steel surrounding an aluminum core. The All-Clad D3 set features the same brushed finish, flared rims, and starburst finish on the interior.
This cookware set includes the same pieces as the All-Clad D5 set, swapping out a 1.5-quart saucepan for a 2-quart saucepan (1.89 liters).
Customers were pleased with this cookware set. They liked how quickly and evenly these pans heated. Some people had problems with food sticking, but preheating the pans and cooking at low temps will help prevent those issues.
Although technically, these pans are dishwasher-safe, several people had problems with damaged pans from the dishwasher. I would stick to the safe side and hand wash them.
Bottom line? This All-Clad tri-ply set is a lighter weight and less expensive alternative to the All-Clad D5 cookware set.
Legend is a New York-based company that makes quality stainless, cast iron, and enameled cookware.
This 14-piece set includes the same pieces as the All-Clad D5 set, with the addition of a 12-inch (30.48 cm) fry pan and a 5.5-quart (5.2 liters) Dutch oven.
The 5-ply design features two layers of stainless steel surrounding three layers of aluminum. It’s oven-safe up to 450°F (232°C) and compatible with all cooktops, including induction.
This cookware has flared edges for easy pouring and stainless steel lids. All of Legend’s cookware is backed by a forever guarantee.
Customers applauded the quality and performance of these pans. They especially liked the interior measurement markings and the design.
Some people did find them hard to clean, but they were overwhelmingly happy with these pans. This set is similar in price to the All-Clad D5 set.
If you want interior measurement marks or find All-Clad’s handles uncomfortable, this is a good alternative option.
All Clad D5 Pans: Are They Worth It?
If you have an induction cooktop or want the very best heat conduction, then get the All-Clad D5 cookware set. Its cooking performance is excellent, and it will last a lifetime.
If you struggle to lift heavy cookware or have an electric stovetop, you could get away with using tri-ply. The All-Clad D3 tri-ply set has two fewer layers but is slightly lighter and has glowing reviews.