Cooks Standard Cookware Review (2021 Comparison)

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This article reviews the Cooks Standard Cookware set.

I don’t know about you, but I want my cookware to be durable, efficient, easy to use, effortless to clean, versatile, and beautiful.

The harsh reality? Most cookware materials offer a lot, but they can’t meet all of those criteria.

That’s why I like multi-ply stainless steel cookware sets. It’s the best of different cookware materials combined into a single, high quality stainless steel pan.

I found the Cooks Standard Cookware set to be a great value. It offers a lot of the benefits of the higher-end brands at a fraction of the cost. It’s not as flashy as All-Clad, but it’s significantly more affordable without skimping on quality.

But is the Cooks Standard stainless steel set right for your kitchen?

Read on to find out more.

What to look for in multi-clad stainless steel cookware

What is multi-clad stainless steel cookware?

Stainless steel cookware can hold in heat, handle high temperatures, won’t react to food, and can take a beating. That’s why it’s one of the best cookware materials on the market.

Its fatal flaw? Heat transfer. Stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat. This makes it slow to heat and prone to uneven heat distribution.

To solve this problem, manufacturers came up with multi-clad cookware. This cookware has multiple layers, with a copper or aluminum core and a stainless steel exterior wrapped around it.  The core is always a highly conductive material that helps the stainless heat quickly and evenly.

For those who like food analogies, I like to think of it as an aluminum and stainless steel sandwich. A sandwich that offers exceptional cooking convenience.

You might also see “multi-ply,” which is the same as multi-clad. “Tri-ply” and “five-ply” are also common labels. These are variations of multi-clad. Tri-ply has three layers, and five-ply has–you guessed it–five layers.

My recommendation? If you’re getting new cookware, don’t worry about having more than three layers, or tri-ply. You’ll spend a lot more money for only marginal benefits.

Stainless Steel Cookware

Is multi-ply stainless steel cookware induction compatible?

The short answer? It depends. Induction cooking works by creating an electromagnetic charge to generate heat within the cookware. Induction cooktops require magnetic material to create the charge.

Stainless steel can be magnetic, but it isn’t always. When looking for cookware that is suitable for induction stoves, look for magnetic stainless steel. Manufacturers typically label their induction-compatible cookware as such.

How do I clean multi-ply clad stainless steel?

Stainless steel is one of the most durable cookware materials, but keeping it clean can be challenging! There are a few tips to help you keep your stainless… well, stainless.

First, you want to cook with oil or another cooking fat. Make sure to preheat the pan before adding oil or butter. Adding oil to a cool stainless pan will cause sticking.

The reason? Although it appears smooth, stainless steel has tiny pores all over the surface. In a cold pan, the oil will seep into those pores and “latch on” to food. If you preheat the pan first, the oil can’t get into those pores.

Another tip? Avoid cooking food with high heat. Searing steaks require more heat, but most dishes can cook on a lower setting. Stainless steel retains heat well, so you may not have to use as high a heat setting as with other cookware like non-stick.

Cooks Standard Cookware Review

The Cooks Standard multi-ply clad stainless set features a stainless steel exterior and cooking surface with a multi-element aluminum core. This set includes the following 10 cookware pieces:

  • 1.5-quart (1.42 liter) saucepan with lid
  • 3-quart (2.84 liter) saucepan with lid
  • 8-quart (7.57 liter) stockpot with lid
  • Steamer insert with lid
  • 8-inch (20.32 cm) fry pan
  • 10-inch (25.4 cm) fry pan

I wish this set would come with a sauté, which I find helpful for some”one-pot” dishes. Overall, though, the Cooks Standard set includes most of the everyday essentials.

The steamer insert is useful for steaming vegetables or potstickers. I also like that the large saucepan is 3-quarts (2.84 liters). It would be nice for the frying pans to have lids, but open pans are more common. A quick rundown of the set’s features:

Versatility

Cooks Standard cookware works well in a range of kitchens and cuisines.

The Cooks Standard cookware line is oven-safe for temps up to 500°F (260°C), so you can take these pans from the stovetop to the oven. This cookware set is also compatible with electric, gas, halogen, ceramic, glass, and induction stovetops.

These Cooks Standard pots and pans are great for a wide range of foods. From marinara sauce and pasta to vegetables and meats, this Cooks Standard cookware set can handle it.

Lids & handles

The stainless steel lids are for the saucepans and the stockpot. Unfortunately, this set does not include covers for the fry pans.

Unlike glass, these lids aren’t see-through, so you can’t monitor food while cooking. This was one of the biggest complaints from reviewers. On the other hand, these lids are oven-safe.

What’s more? The handles use airflow technology to stay cool while cooking. Some users complained the handles go too hot, while several others had no problems at all.  When pulling these pots and pans out of the oven, you should use an oven mitt or potholder.

Ease of cleaning

Is dishwasher-safe cookware a must-have for you? You’re in luck. This Cooks Standard multi-ply clad set is completely dishwasher-safe. Hand-washing is preferable but not necessary.

Of course, it’s essential to let the cookware cool down before cleaning. Sticking a hot pan under cold water is a recipe for damaged cookware!

Several had issues with food sticking, but honestly? That’s just the nature of stainless steel. It’s not non-stick. However, preheating the pan and then adding sufficient oil will significantly reduce the sticking.

For stains, reviewers mentioned Bar Keepers Friend. Heating natural ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar can also loosen stains and give that shiny appearance. 

While these pots and pans are comparable to other stainless cookware, it’s essential to use proper cooking methods to keep your cookware looking nice.

3 Quart Saucepan

Durability

Since the Cooks Standard set is multi-ply construction, it should last for years. The bad news? Several customers did complain of water spots or discoloration, especially on the interior cooking surfaces. While this won’t affect the cooking performance, it isn’t as attractive.

Many users mentioned the weight. These are sturdy stainless steel pans. They have some weight to them. If you need lightweight pans for whatever reason, you should probably stay with non-stick.

When purchasing multi-ply cookware, it’s crucial to get cookware that uses high-quality materials. There’s a big difference between cheap, thin steel and thick, solid stainless.

This Cooks Standard cookware set uses quality materials, so you can reasonably expect it to last. Of course, proper care and cleaning influence a cookware’s lifespan, as well.

Price

Multi-clad cookware has a good reputation, but it’s expensive. This is especially true if you want the best quality. In fact, it’s one of the more expensive cookware materials on the market, only trailing behind copper.

This set is one of the most affordable out there. If you want the benefits of multi-ply clad stainless steel at a reasonable price, this Cooks Standard cookware is a good option.

Are there alternatives to Cooks Standard Stainless?

If you’re looking for something similar to the Cooks Standard multi-ply clad set, there are a few alternatives.

Cooks Standard Non-stick Hard-Anodized Set

In addition to their stainless cookware sets, Cooks Standard also has a non-stick product line. This non-stick hard-anodized cookware set includes 8 pieces:

  • Small saucepan with lid, 2 quarts (1.89 liters)
  • Large saucepan with lid, 3 quarts (2.84 liters)
  • Stockpot with lid, 8 quarts (7.57 liters)
  • 8-inch (20.32 cm) fry pan
  • 10-inch (25.4 cm) fry pan

They also offer a 10-piece set with a sauté pan with lid. This cookware set has a hard-anodized aluminum core with a non-stick coating. The pans are oven-safe up to 450°F (232°C), and the tempered glass lids to 350°F (177°C).

This Cooks Standard non-stick set might be a better option for you if:

  • You want non-stick cookware.
  • You want glass lids.

This Cooks Standard non-stick cookware set is probably not a good choice for you if:

  • You want to use metal utensils or stack your cookware. A pot rack would be better.
  • You have an induction stove. This set isn’t compatible.

All-Clad Stainless Steel 10-piece set

All-Clad has a reputation for making some of the best cookware on the market. All-Clad cookware is manufactured in the U.S., while Cooks Standard is made in China. These pots and pans have an aluminum core and stainless steel cooking surface and exterior.

The 10-piece tri-ply stainless steel cookware set features similar pieces to the Cooks Standard multi-ply clad cookware set. Instead of a steamer insert, however, it comes with a 3-quart (2.84 liter) sauté pan.

If you want a durable cookware set, All-Clad certainly fits the bill. Oven-safe and broilers safe up to 600°F (316°C), these pots and pans can take the heat! They are compatible with induction, halogen, gas, and electric stoves.

Customers raved about the even heat distribution and retention. The handles stay cool, and the stainless lids are safe for oven use.

But this premium brand also comes at a premium cost. Be prepared to pay significantly more for these pots and pans than the Cooks Standard cookware set.

This All-Clad set might be a better option for you if:

  • You are experienced in cooking with stainless steel.
  • You want nothing but the very best.
  • You don’t mind paying a lot for a stainless steel cookware set.

This set is probably not a good choice for you if:

  • You only use the dishwasher to clean pots and pans.
  • You’re on a budget.

All Clad actually go beyond tri-ply and offer a five-ply cookware set. Check out my All Clad Copper Core review for more details.

Cook N Home Stainless Steel 12-piece set

Cook N Home is an alternative brand to Cooks Standard, both under the same umbrella. This alternative is the larges of the cookware sets listed. The pieces are different than the Cooks Standard multi-ply set. Here is what you get:

  • 1.5-quart (1.42 liter) saucepan,
  • 1.5-quart (1.42 liter) saucepot casserole
  • 2-quart (1.89 liter) saucepot casserole
  • 3-quart (2.84 liter) saucepot casserole
  • 5.5-quart (5.2 liter) stockpot
  • 10-inch (254. cm) sauté fry pan with lid

I like having the sauté pan with lid, but I don’t love the saucepots over saucepans. They do have dual handles, though, which is helpful. A 5.5-quart (5.2 liter) stockpot is on the smaller side. And the 1.5-quart saucepot and saucepan seem a bit redundant. 

These pots and pans are oven-safe up to 500°F (260°C). They feature an aluminum core and stainless steel exterior like the Cooks Standard multi-ply set. But unlike the Cooks Standard cookware, their lids are glass.

This set is excellent for those on a budget, but it does come at a cost. Several customers had problems with the rivets popping off.

This Cooks N Home set might be a better option for you if:

  • You are on a tight budget.
  • You prefer casseroles to saucepans.

This set is probably not a good choice for you if:

  • You want your cookware to last a long time.
  • You need larger volume pieces

Cooks Standard Cookware: The last word

In terms of value, you can’t beat the Cooks Standard cookware set. Simply put, it’s high-quality cookware at an affordable price.

I would recommend this Cooks Standard Cookware Set for beginners or experienced cooks.