Cuisinart vs All Clad: two cookware brands that most of us think of as “quality” or “professional.” Both Cuisinart and All Clad offer popular tri-ply stainless cookware sets and other kitchen products. The question is, which is best?
If you just want to know which is best, my top choice is the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro 12 Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set MCP-12N due to the excellent value for money it offers. Continue reading to find out why I chose Cuisinart, along with which brand comes out ahead in the non-stick stakes.
Things To Consider Before Buying Quality Stainless Steel Cookware
When it comes to quality cookware, we’re usually talking about multi-clad stainless steel, which is the main focus of my All Clad vs Cuisinart review. But what exactly should cookware buyers consider when buying a quality steel cooking set?
With quality multi-clad stainless steel pots and pans, there are usually two layers of stainless steel wrapped around a layer of another metal. Often it’s aluminum since it’s a good heat conductor. This is called tri-ply cookware,–meaning it has three layers.
More expensive cookware might feature five layers of material, making the pan an even better heat conductor. Some brands even include a copper core in addition to or in place of the aluminum core. This is another high-end alternative.
The downside? A copper core is typically more expensive than simple tri-ply cookware. And depending on the thickness of the copper layer, it may not add as much heating effectiveness as you would expect.
The big stand out with stainless steel pots and pans is that they are harder to clean than almost anything else.
But hard isn’t impossible, and it also depends on how you cook with it. Read more about why food sticks to stainless steel.
I’ll be honest: I normally turn to a non-stick pan if I’m cooking with eggs, but it is possible to cook eggs relatively mess-free with stainless steel. Check out this video to see how:
I’ve included stainless steel and non-stick cookware sets from All Clad and Cuisinart–so it’s up to you!
Even heat distribution is one of the most important things to consider when it comes to cookware performance.
High-quality cookware has multiple layers both at the bottom and on the sides of its cookware. This makes cooking both predictable and consistent, and it turns out better results.
Lower quality cookware has multiple layers only on the bottom, if that.
A major consideration when buying cookware is how long it’s going to last. Higher quality normally translates to a longer lifespan. The best pieces can last a lifetime, saving you time and money. However, you can still get high-quality cookware, even if you aren’t searching for a “forever piece.”
Tri-ply pans will have extended durability for two reasons: the multiple layers of bonded materials the cookware has and the manufacturing process.
Durable, long-lasting cookware will have multiple layers of bonded materials.
The manufacturing process is essential for durability, and so are the quality controls. The brand’s reputation will tell you about these issues, and so will the country where the product is made. Made in the USA is always a good sign.
All Clad D3 Stainless Steel Cookware Set
All Clad is one of the premier retail cookware brands.
All Clad D3 Stainless Steel Cookware Set is a stainless steel, ten-piece professional-grade cookware set.
This All Clad set includes:
- Two fry pans: one eight-inch (20-centimeter) frying pan and one ten-inch (25-centimeter) fry pan
- A 3-quart (2.8-liter) covered sauté pan
- A 2-quart (1.89-liter) and a 3-quart (2.8-liter) covered saucepan
- An 8-quart (7.5-liter) covered stockpot
The D3 cookware set is so named because of the three layers it possesses:
- An induction-compatible magnetic stainless steel base
- An aluminum core
- A naturally stick resistant stainless steel cooking surface
(There is another cookware set the All Clad D5, available at a higher price with more layers. I’ve not reviewed it here as it is normally harder to find.)
The aluminum core of this All Clad D3 stainless steel set is thick, helping conduct heat quickly. The tri-ply material is not only at the bottom of the All Clad pots and pans but also runs up the sides. Buyers of this All Clad D3 set loved the even heat distribution.
You can clean All Clad stainless steel pots and pans in dishwashers, but some customers say a dusty powder appears on the top edge of the All Clad pots and pans after washing. A few customers complained of discoloration after the first use, the manufacturer of All Clad said that this was normal.
Looking at the interior of the All Clad set, you’ll find what they call a starburst finish; this gives you natural stick resistance. Customers commented that the food didn’t stick to the coating. Others reported some foods sticking and then having trouble cleaning.
It seems there’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to using the natural non-stick cooking surface of the All Clad set. Cooks used to a Teflon-type cooking surface might be disappointed. Some users of All Clad even suggested keeping an extra Teflon pan for eggs.
Customers mention that this All Clad set is easy to clean and doesn’t scratch even after years of use.
There’s some disagreement about the handles. Some users of this All Clad product felt the handles were very uncomfortable, while others felt the opposite.
All Clad cookware is mostly made in the USA. The handles and handle loops are manufactured in China.
You can use All Clad cookware on any cooking element, including induction cooktops.
If this All Clad stainless steel ten-piece set is beyond your budget, consider the All Clad 401599 five-piece set. With one fry pan, one sauté pan and one saucepan, the five piece set is ideal if you are mixing stainless steel with cast iron and non-stick cookware–as I do.
- Even heat transfer
- Natural non-stick interior
- Doesn’t scratch
- Dishwasher safe
- Made in the USA
- Rigorous testing procedures
- Some foods stick
- Some discoloration after first use
- Uncomfortable handles
- Difficult to clean
- High price
Cuisinart Multiclad Pro 12-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set MCP-12N
Cuisinart is a high quality cookware brand, not quite reaching the All Clad top tier, yet its products normally come with a more affordable price tag.
Here’s what you get included in the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro 12 Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set MCP-12N.
- Two saucepans with stainless steel lids, 3-quart (2.8-liter) and 1.5-quart (1.4-liter.)
- Two open frying pans, 8-inch (20.3-centimeter) and 10-inch (25.4-centimeter.)
- One 3.5-quart (3.3-liter) covered saute pan.
- An 8-quart (7.6-liter) covered stockpot for stews and soups.
- One steamer insert with lid.
The Cuisinart Multiclad Pro is easy to clean and dishwasher-safe.
There are none of the coatings you might find in cheaper sets, so with this Cuisinart cookware, there’s nothing to flake off or melt away.
Cuisinart Multiclad Pro pots are made of sturdy tri-ply stainless steel. The exterior is also stainless steel, with a brushed finish.
Users report that eggs don’t stick to this Cuisinart cookware collection when used properly. Yet, if you’re worried about food sticking, consider this Cuisinart MCP-13 piece set that includes a non-stick fry pan. What a great choice–healthy stainless steel most of the time with a non-stick backup for quickly frying eggs!
Some users found that the mirror-polished finish on some of the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro pans gets scratched easily or gets swirl marks.
The Cuisinart Multiclad Pro is oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius), and the pots and pans are safe to use in the broiler. Some customers had a problem with warping.
Customers report loving the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro set’s tapered rim, which makes pouring easier with fewer spills.
- Eggs don’t stick
- Dishwasher safe
- Tapered rim for easy pouring
- Suitable for all oven tops, including induction
- Shiny finish gets scratched
- There have been reports of warping
- Long instructions about avoiding scratching
All Clad vs Cuisinart Comparison: What’s the Difference?
All-Clad vs. Cuisinart: Similarities
You’ll find excellent quality in both All Clad and Cuisinart cookware sets. They have quite a few things in common:
- High-quality stainless steel
- Tri-ply construction
- Attractive traditional design
- Suitable for various heat sources including, induction cooktops
- Dishwasher safe
So, with so much in common, what could the differences be?
The number one bragging right of All Clad cookware is that it’s made in the USA. This suggests that the quality may better because of the more stringent testing procedures for All Clad products. Skilled craftsmen inspect each piece at each step of the process. Yet this also drives the price up.
Where are Cuisinart products made? Their website says their cookware collections are produced primarily in France and China. I’d guess, because of lower labor costs, it’s mostly China.
As mentioned above, both Cuisinart and All Clad sets have tri-ply construction. There’s one important difference. The tri-ply structure in the Cuisinart cookware only refers to the base of the pot or pan. In the All Clad pans, the tri-ply construction is on the sides as well.
What does this mean? It means that you’ll get better heat distribution in the All Clad stainless cookware set than in the Cuisinart cookware set.
This tri-ply comparison shows the higher quality and attention to detail of All Clad. This is, in my experience, the case generally across the All Clad brand–including both cookware collections and other product lines.
All Clad vs Cuisinart: Differences in a Nutshell
- All Clad is made in the USA
- Cuisinart products are made in China and France
- All Clad has tri-ply construction all over the pan
- There’s only tri-ply construction in the base of the Cuisinart pan
- All Clad is one of the most expensive cookware sets
- Cuisinart is a more affordable choice
- All Clad is safe up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit (315 degrees Celsius.)
- Cuisinart cookware is safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius.)
Non-Stick Alternatives to All Clad and Cuisinart
If you’re not sure that you are ready for cooking with stainless steel, consider these non-stick alternatives from All Clad and Cuisinart.
All Clad Hard-Anodized Nonstick PFOA-Free 10-Piece Cookware Set
All Clad Hard Anodized Nonstick Dishwasher Safe PFOA Free 10 Piece Cookware Set brings the reputation of All Clad to a non-stick cookware set.
The construction includes heavy gauge aluminum and three layers of non-stick coating. Some customers reported the non-stick coating peeling off.
These All Clad cookware sets clean up easily and are dishwasher-safe, but the company recommends hand washing. Most users were happy about how easy the clean up is. However, others say that these All Clad cookware sets scratch easily, even from cooking shellfish.
The stainless steel base is very durable and compatible with an induction cooktop.
Customers definitely disagree about the stainless steel handles, which are concave. Some like them, while others report difficulty handling heavy pots and pans with them.
The finish on this All Clad set is an attractive matte black.
- Carries the All Clad reputation
- Three-layer construction
- Stainless steel bottoms
- Matte black finish
- Non-stick coating may peel off
- Concave handles are difficult to use
- Might scratch easily
- Likely contains PTFE (active Teflon ingredient)
Cuisinart GG-12 GreenGourmet 12-Piece Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set
Cuisinart calls the Cuisinart GG-12 GreenGourmet Hard-Anodized Nonstick 12 Piece Cookware Set its “going green” Cuisinart set.
The material in this Cuisinart product is hard-anodized aluminum, and the coating is ceramic-based and eco-friendly. Some users reported that food, like eggs, still stuck to the fry pan, and the coating started flaking after a few months.
Cuisinart uses 70 percent recycled steel in the handles. Most customers reported that the handles stayed cool, but some said the stainless steel lids got too hot.
The packaging for this Cuisinart cookware collection is recycled materials and printed using soy-based inks.
The hard-anodized material means even heat distribution; there shouldn’t be any hot spots when using this Cuisinart product.
Cuisinart says this cookware is dishwasher-safe, but some customers disagree; they find it discolors easily.
The set is oven-safe to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius), and each piece is PTFE/PFOA and petroleum-free. Some customers reported warping at high temperatures.
- PTFE/PFOA and petroleum-free
- Coating is ceramic
- Stainless steel handles are mostly recycled metal
- All with lids except the frying pan
- Handles stay cool
- Some foods stick
- Coating may flake off
- The lids get hot
- May warp at high temperatures
- Large pots aren’t large enough
All Clad vs Cuisinart Non-Stick Cookware
All clad uses a Teflon-based non-stick that works well and is durable for non-stick. But, like all non-stick, it won’t last forever.
Cuisinart uses a Teflon-free ceramic non-stick, at a more affordable price than All Clad. It does not reach All Clad’s durability, nor is the cookware set as sturdy.
Cuisinart take the Green Gourmet concept into environmental aspects as well by using mostly recycled metal.
For more hard-anodized non-stick options, check out my guide to the best hard anodized cookware.
All-Clad vs Cuisinart Cookware Comparison and Conclusion
So, which is better: Cuisinart or All Clad cookware?
There’s no doubt in my mind that All Clad cookware offers the better product, but Cuisinart is my choice because it’s more economical.
The only question is: is All Clad worth the rather hefty price difference? Not for most home chefs.
In my view, the biggest difference is the heat distribution. As mentioned, the tri-ply material is on the sides and bottom of the All Clad cookware sets. This means that you’ll get even heat distribution throughout your food.
The tri-ply material is only on the Cuisinart base, so the heat won’t go as easily up the pan’s sides.
Does this really make a difference? Would the average home cook even notice this? Probably not. They would, however, notice the extra dollars in their bank account.
So, for average, everyday cooking, I’d go for the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro. Those home chefs with an unlimited budget might be a little happier with the All Clad.
All Clad vs Cuisinart: Non-Stick Battles
Many customers of these stainless steel All Clad and Cuisinart sets mention a learning curve with stainless cookware.
Cleaning is another difference with stainless steel; even though both manufacturers say they’re dishwasher safe, I’d still recommend hand washing.
If cooking with stainless steel doesn’t sound like a good fit for you, try one of the All Clad or Cuisinart non-stick alternatives mentioned above.
Personally, I would go with Cuisinart. It’s the same logic as before: yes All Clad is better but is it worth the price difference? In this case, I think there’s an even stronger argument: all non-stick is just less durable than stainless steel. It will last a few years, or maybe a bit longer with care. So there’s not much point in “investing” in the more expensive set.
There’s one more thing I like about the Cuisinart non-stick: It’s PTFE (Teflon) free vs All Clad which contains Teflon. This is a great plus in terms of both the environment and your health.
More Comparisons & Other Cookware
All Clad Vs Calphalon
If you like All Clad, but aren’t yet convinced, then I’ve also compared it with Calphalon. As I’ve done in this review, I review both stainless steel and non-stick. Check it out!
All Clad Copper Core
If you are looking for even better performance than the tri-ply cookware featured here, check out my All Clad five-ply cookware review.
All Clad D5 Cookware set
As I mentioned previously the All Clad D5 cookware set is harder to find. Yet you can check it’s availability on Amazon, if you are looking for a super-premium set.