Cuisinart vs All Clad: two cookware brands that most of us think of as “quality” or “professional” are Cuisinart and All Clad. Both offer popular tri-ply stainless steel cookware sets, and other products, so 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. Continue reading to find out why I chose Cuisinart, and 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 clad stainless steel. So, what should you consider when buying a quality stainless steel cookware set?
With quality clad stainless steel cookware, usually, there are two layers of stainless steel wrapped around a layer of another metal. Often it’s aluminum as it’s a good heat conductor. We call this a tri-ply material–meaning three layers.
Some more expensive cookware might come with five layers of material, making it an even better heat conductor. Copper core instead of aluminum core is another high-end alternative.
The downside to a copper core is that it responds less quickly to change. So when you realize that you’re cooking too hot, it’ll take more time to reduce to your desired temperature with a copper core.
The big stand out with stainless steel cookware is that it is harder to clean than almost anything else.
But hard isn’t impossible, and it depends how you cook with it as well.
I’ll be honest: I normally turn to a non-stick pan if I’m cooking with eggs, yet it is possible with stainless steel to cook eggs without a mess. 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 distribution of hear is often the most important thing to consider when it comes to 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.
Lower quality cookware has multiple layers only on the bottom.
Often the bottom line is how long this cookware is going to last. Higher quality normally translates to a longer lifespan.
You’ll get extended durability for two reasons: how many layers of bonded materials the cookware has and the manufacturing process.
Quality cookware that’ll last the longest 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 comprises of 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 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 cookware 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 surface of the All Clad set. Cooks used to a Teflon-type 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 stainless steel 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 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 all dishwasher-safe.
There are none of the coatings you might find in cheaper sets, so with the Cuisinart set, 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 Cuisinart Multiclad Pro cookware 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
Cuisinart vs All Clad Comparison: What’s the Difference?
You’ll find excellent quality in both Cuisinart and All Clad 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 stainless steel 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 steel cookware set than in the Cuisinart 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.
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 cookware is safe up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit (315 degrees Celsius.)
- Cuisinart cookware is safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius.)
Non-Stick All Clad and Cuisinart Alternatives
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 handles, which are stainless steel and 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 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 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. 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 steel 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 will it make enough of a 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. This is a great plus in terms of both the environment and your health.
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.