This is a review of Epicurious Non-stick Aluminum Cookware.
I enjoy cooking tasty, healthy meals for my family. But with our busy schedules, being efficient with my time is essential. Having to wait a long time for cookware to heat can be a pain.
Sometimes, a non-stick pan is the best for those weeknight meals on the run. They’re easy to clean, quick to heat, and lightweight.
I found the Epicurious Cookware Collection to be a good value set for those who want pretty cookware that performs well. However, this isn’t the type of cookware that you pass down to your children.
Is the Epicurious Non-stick Aluminum set right for your kitchen? Keep reading to learn more.
What to look for in non-stick aluminum cookware
What is aluminum nonstick cookware?
Aluminum nonstick is cookware with an aluminum core and a non-stick cooking surface.
This is not the same as hard-anodized cookware, which is aluminum that has been oxidized to form a hard, durable layer on the outside.
Hard-anodized aluminum cookware will also sometimes have a nonstick coating, but it’s typically much more expensive.
Is nonstick aluminum safe to use?
This is probably the most common question about aluminum cookware. So let’s break down the major concerns:
Some wish to avoid aluminum because they don’t want it to leach into their food. If you cook acidic foods in uncoated aluminum? Yes, that will happen. And while high amounts of aluminum have been linked to Alzheimer’s, the amount of aluminum that enters food is minimal.
Still, I’d rather not have metallic lemon pasta, so the nonstick coating helps prevent that from happening.
With non-stick, many people wish to avoid harmful chemicals like PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid). PFOA has been banned in the U.S. since 2014, so you don’t have to worry unless your cookware is older.
Another chemical mentioned is PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene). This polymer, the active ingredient in Teflon, releases toxic fumes at high heat, above 500°F (260°C). So unless you’re sticking your non-stick under the broiler (which is a huge no-no), you should be fine.
The best way to ensure safety is to properly use and care for your non-stick aluminum cookware. If it gets damaged or the non-stick peels, toss it and get a replacement.
What features should I look for in Aluminum Cookware?
Aluminum is a great heat conductor, which means it heats up quickly. It also has even heat distribution, so food will cook evenly. And if you’ve ever had a frying pan with hot spots, you know the importance of even heating.
Another nice bonus? Since aluminum is one of the most common metals found in nature, it’s very inexpensive. For these reasons, it’s a popular choice for cookware construction.
When choosing aluminum nonstick cookware, look for a heavy-gauge aluminum construction. It will retain heat longer and be more durable.
In my opinion, this is one of the top considerations. Aluminum is highly reactive with acidic foods. So unless you want a metallic-tasting tomato sauce, it’s best to avoid contact between aluminum and your food.
The only thing standing in the way of that aluminum? The non-stick cooking surface. That’s why it’s essential to have a top-quality nonstick coating.
But even the best non-stick coating will need proper care. Avoid overly high heat and metal utensils. Also, better to clean with mild soaps and soft sponges. Abrasive cleaners and scrubbers can damage the non-stick.
Handles and lids
Having comfortable handles improves the cooking experience. It’s useful to have cool-touch handles that won’t overheat while cooking.
Tempered glass lids allow you to monitor the progress of your cooking. Plus, they can go in the oven, although the maximum temperature varies among cookware sets.
Being able to take a pan from the stovetop to the oven is key to getting the perfect frittata. But you can’t do that unless the pan is oven-safe. Some non-stick aluminum pots and pans are designed for oven use, while others are not.
Most non-stick pans are oven-safe for temperatures up to 350°F (177°C), while some can go up to 500°F (260°C). Check the product information for maximum oven temperatures.
If you have an induction cooktop? You’ll need cookware that’s induction compatible. Look for one with a flat, magnetic base.
In my opinion, this is the most significant advantage of nonstick cookware. The average home cook doesn’t want to spend hours cleaning stuck food from pots and pans.
Non-stick aluminum pans have effortless food release, making cleanup a breeze. While many manufacturers claim their cookware is dishwasher-safe, I would still recommend hand-washing your non-stick cookware.
Arctic Blue Epicurious Cookware Review
If the name Epicurious sounds familiar, that’s likely because it is. The popular website is a go-to for new recipes and other helpful cooking tips. But did you know this cookware brand also manufactures its own cookware line?
This Epicurious Cookware set features an eye-catching design in an arctic blue color. It includes 11 pieces:
- 8-inch (20.32 cm) open fry pan
- 10-inch (25.4 cm) open fry pan
- 1.5-quart (1.42 liters) saucepan with lid,
- 2.5-quart (2.37 liters) saucepan with lid
- 4-quart (3.79 liters) sauté pan with lid
- 8-quart (7.57 liters) stock pot with lid
- Stainless steel steamer insert (fits both saucepans)
A rundown of the features:
This Epicurious cookware set has an impact bonded stainless steel base that works with all heat sources, including induction.
Even heat distribution
Customers raved about the efficient heat distribution of these pots and pans. The heavy gauge aluminum means these cookware pieces conduct heat quickly and evenly.
Another perk? The even heating makes these pots and pans thermally efficient, saving energy- and hopefully money on the energy bill!
Handles and lids
The tempered glass, dishwasher-safe lids have a stainless steel rim for moisture circulation. And since they are see-through, you can easily monitor food.
Some said it would have been nice to have lids for the skillets, though. Others had issues with the lids not fitting properly, especially with the large stockpot.
The riveted handles are wrapped in heat-resistant silicone to stay cool while you cook.
This Epicurious cookware set has an unusual belly shape with rounded sides, and higher lid handles. Many reviewers loved the bright color of this cookware line.
In addition to the arctic blue, this cookware set comes in sleek ebony, bright red, and copper.
Ease of cleaning
Reviewers praised the non-stick coating on this Epicurious cookware set. They loved how easily food came off the frying pans.
The manufacturer claims these pots and pans are dishwasher-safe. I wouldn’t risk it, though. If you can hand wash your Epicurious cookware, you’ll be better off in the long run.
Besides, the non-stick makes cleanup as simple as a quick wipe down with mild soap and a soft cloth. Then rinse and let dry.
If you must use the dishwasher, try to avoid having your pieces touch any metal. This will help prevent scratching or other damage.
Here’s the thing about this Epicurious aluminum set: It’s probably not going to be an heirloom. If you want your cookware set to last a lifetime, this is not your best option. However, you should be able to get several years of use with proper care and cleaning.
While Epicurious claims these cookware pieces are metal utensil safe, I would be wary about getting metal anywhere near this cookware. Stick to silicone or wooden utensils instead.
Several customers complained about nicks and scratches on the exterior. It seems the coatings are sensitive, if not fragile.
If possible, avoid stacking this cookware to help preserve its appearance. Also, be sure to cook on low to medium heat. Overheating can cause damage to the non-stick coating and/or the exterior.
Epicurious does offer a limited lifetime warranty, although the reviews of their customer service were definitely mixed.
For an 11-piece cookware set, this is as affordable as they come. In fact, this complete set is less expensive than a single pan by other brands.
Are you going to sacrifice some durability? Yes. But for what you get, this Epicurious cookware has a lot of value.
Other Epicurious Cookware Reviews
The Arctic Blue Epicurious cookware set is the most common, but not the only one. Here are some others you might be interested in.
This is the same 11-piece cookware set as the Arctic Blue one above, except it comes in a copper exterior. It has the same excellent heat distribution and non-stick performance. It’s also oven-safe up to 350°F (177·C).
Customers loved the copper color, which looks great in any kitchen. It is slightly more expensive than the blue set, however. Also, some users had issues with knicks and scratches on the exterior. Be sure to handle your Epicurious cookware with care.
For those that don’t want nonstick cookware, Epicurious also has this stainless steel cookware set. It features a stainless steel exterior and interior.
This Epicurious cookware set swaps out the 8-inch (20.32 cm) fry pan for a pasta insert to use with the stock pot. I would rather have a smaller fry pan, but that’s up to personal preference.
For those that don’t need or want an entire cookware set, Epicurious does sell a single stockpot. They call it a chili pot, but it’s really the same cooking vessel. This pot holds up to 5 quarts (4.73 liters), making it great for stews, chilis, and soups. It’s also good for boiling pasta or rice.
This single piece is oven-safe up to 350°F (177°C) and is covered under the limited lifetime warranty.
Are there alternatives?
If you’re looking for alternatives to Epicurious cookware, there are some other options by other brands.
I would imagine the vast majority of households in the U.S. have at least one piece of Farberware in their kitchen. This family-friendly, budget-friendly brand makes all types of cookware and cooking utensils.
The Millennium set features an aluminum construction with a porcelain enamel exterior and non-stick coating on the interior. It’s also oven-safe up to 350°F (177°C).
It has a similar 12 pieces to the Epicurious cookware set, but it swaps the stockpot for a Dutch oven and the steamer insert for a slotted spatula and spoon. The saucepans are slightly smaller, and the skillets are a little bit larger.
Unlike the Epicurious set, the Farberware Millennium set does not have an impact-bonded stainless steel base, so it isn’t compatible with induction cooktops.
This set is comparable in price to the Epicurious, albeit a little less expensive. This is a good set for those on a budget and for those without an induction stovetop.
The Cadillac of cookware sets, All-Clad is synonymous with high-quality cookware. This All-Clad set is no different. It includes the same pieces as the Epicurious cookware set, minus the steamer insert. The saucepans are larger, however.
This set is oven-safe up to 500°F (260°C) and has dual-riveted stainless steel handles. The All-Clad set also features a hard-anodized aluminum core to increase its durability. It also has rounded sides and a heavy stainless steel base.
While this cookware offers more features and versatility than the Epicurious, it’s also significantly more expensive. These pots and pans would be better for a seasoned chef or someone willing to pay top dollar for the very best.
Let’s be honest, though–non-stick never lasts forever; that’s true of All-Clad as with any other brand. This All-Clad set will last long than Epicurious but is that worth the price difference? Perhaps not.
Epicurious Cookware: The Last Word
If you want a high-end set of cookware that you’ll never have to replace? This set is not for you.
But if you want an inexpensive set of non-stick cookware that will give you good value and performance for a few years? This Epicurious cookware set is great option.