Storage space is always a concern in the kitchen. It can be a hassle to find enough room to store quality cookware. Sometimes cooks find themselves making do with less, as a result.
Gotham Steel set out to solve that problem by making stackable cookware. They call this cookware collection the Stackmaster. It’s designed to stack together without scratching the non-stick coating or compromising cooking performance on the cooktop.
But is this Gotham Steel stackable set worth it? I’ve compiled a helpful report and reviewed the features, the customer feedback, and the alternatives, so you can make the best decision.
Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in.
What to Look for in Stackable Non-Stick Cookware Sets
Easy Food Release
Apart from actually cooking food, the most important job of a nonstick cookware set is to release food. Non-stick fry pans are a dime a dozen, but the ones that allow you to flip eggs without a spatula? Those have value.
There are two types of nonstick coating: PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene, a.k.a. Teflon) and ceramic. They can both be reinforced with all sorts of materials, including granite, titanium, and diamond dust, but the nonstick base is always PTFE or ceramic.
Nonstick ceramic coatings are usually sand-based–they’re great because they’re very stable and non-reactive. They are harder, can take more abuse, and will never release dangerous fumes no matter how high you heat them.
A ceramic coating is known to lose their non-stick qualities at a faster rate than Teflon. But the good news is that ceramic-coated pots and pans are safe to use, even when the coating breaks down.
PTFE is perfectly safe when used correctly. However, at high heat–around 500°F (260°C)–it begins to decompose, giving off fumes that are lethal to birds and can cause flu-like symptoms in humans.
Gotham Steel fry pans and cookware sets feature a ceramic-based non-stick surface that is PTFE-free. If you’d like options for non-stick pans that are Teflon-free, check out my complete review of the best PTFE-free pans.
A 15-piece cookware set without storage space is not helpful. On the contrary, it’s a nuisance. Stackable cookware is helpful because it allows you to save space without having to sacrifice pieces.
A proper space-saving system considers things like stackable height, ease of access, how to store lids, the diameter of a fry pan, and more. In a stackable set, a pot shouldn’t wobble when nesting.
Sometimes, in order to accommodate stacking, manufacturers make the cookware smaller. If an individual pot is too small to be useful, it doesn’t really matter that it stacks.
In addition to space considerations, stackable cookware sets must be designed to avoid damaging the pots and pans in the stack. Non-stick is notoriously easy to damage, so these sets must have a solid design and a durable coating.
Long-Lasting Performance & Durability
Durability… the Achilles’ heel of a nonstick pan. The simple average lifetime of non-stick pots and pans is anywhere from 1 to 5 years. Ceramic tends to land at the shorter end of that scale.
In an effort to prolong the life of the coating, manufacturers often reinforce the nonstick layer with titanium, granite, diamond, and other materials.
But even these reinforcements cannot completely prevent scratching. Sure, they provide some limited protection, but it is limited.
The chances of damage go up significantly when you put a non-stick pan in the dishwasher. Detergent has tiny abrasive particles that will break down a coating.
So even though some manufacturers claim their products are dishwasher-safe, I would advise against it if you want that ceramic coating to last.
Furthermore, metal cooking utensils can cause significant scratches. Again, many companies label their cookware as “metal utensil-safe.” But interestingly, those same companies never include metal cooking tools with their cookware sets. They include plastic utensils.
The bottom line? You will eventually have to replace your non-stick pan. That’s just the reality. But if you want your cookware to last as long as possible, avoid metal cooking utensils and avoid the dishwasher.
In order to be useful, pots and pans must be compatible with the stovetop. For those with an induction stove, this can be tougher to find. Non-stick cookware will often feature a stainless steel disc at the bottom of the cookware to make it induction-compatible.
In addition to the stovetop, it’s helpful when pots and pans can go in the oven. Many dishes, especially casseroles and frittatas, are stovetop-to-oven. Having an oven-safe fry pan allows cooks to prepare a wider range of recipes.
Gotham Stackmaster Review: A Brief Overview
Gotham Steel is among the top brands for making high-quality non-stick cookware. The brand became popular through its TV infomercials and iconic copper-colored pans. Despite the striking color, these Gotham Steel sets do not actually contain any copper.
Speaking of infomercials, check out this one of Chef Daniel Green introducing the Gotham Steel Stackmaster set:
This Gotham Steel Stackmaster Cookware Set features a non-stick interior surface, a copper color exterior, and a space-saving design to help free up room in the kitchen. It was my first choice for stackable cookware.
This Gotham Steel 15-piece set includes the following pieces:
- 8-inch (20.32 cm) fry pan
- 10-inch (25.4 cm) skillet
- 2.75-quart (2.6 liters) sauce pan
- 3.5-quart (3.31 liters) sauce pan
- 3.75-quart (3.55 liters) sauté pan with lid
- 5-quart (4.73 liters) stock pot with lid
- 5-piece utensil set
These pieces are enough to cover most cooking needs. The only two pieces that might be nice additions are a larger stockpot (5 quarts is small for stock pot) and a basket steamer. The utensils are plastic, which is great for keeping your nonstick pots scratch-free.
Each Gotham Steel Cookware set is backed by a 10-year limited warranty. Users didn’t speak highly of the customer service, though.
Overall, this is an inexpensive set of non-stick ceramic cookware that does its job and releases food easily. It’s not going to last forever, and it does require some careful handling.
But with proper care, this Gotham Steel pan set should perform well in the kitchen and stack easily once you’re done.
Gotham Steel Stackmaster Cookware Set: Features
Ceramic Coated Nonstick Surface
The Gotham Steel Stackmaster set features aluminum construction with a non-stick cooking surface.
This non-stick coating is applied three times and is reinforced with ceramic and titanium. It’s non-toxic and free of PFOA and PTFE (Teflon). The ceramic coating is there to release food naturally, while the titanium adds durability.
Gotham Steel asserts that no oil or butter is needed to cook with these non-stick pans, thus making for healthier eating. More than one review back up that assertion, but many ended up using oil or butter anyway.
Users were very pleased with the performance of the non-stick cooking surface. They were able to make eggs, pancakes, and even cheesy dishes without sticking.
Many reviewed their pans after a few months, and the Gotham Steel non-stick pots were still going strong.
When it comes to using metal cooking tools, Gotham Steel gives them the green light. The manufacturer’s website even shows a photo of metal beaters being used to beat eggs… in the pan.
On top of that, the product description states that these non-stick pans are safe for metal utensils.
But in my opinion? Gotham Steel has definitely taken license with its advertising.
When customers reviewed the pans, they roundly disagreed. Several had scratches from metal cooking tools, and others said they ruined their pans by using metal tools. Unfortunately, there is an arbitration agreement that essentially blocks people from suing them over those claims.
So even though this nonstick surface performs well, I would treat it with extra care. Stick to silicone or wooden utensils. And please, please, please, do not use metal beaters in the Gotham Steel frying pans!
These Gotham Steel pots and pans have a stainless steel encapsulated base that make them compatible with all cooktops, including gas, electric, and induction stovetops.
With that being said, there were mixed reviews on their performance with induction stoves. Some people had no trouble at all and said their pots worked great. Other users had problems with the stainless steel base being too small to work effectively.
This was not as prevalent with the larger pots, but it happened frequently with smaller frying pans and saucepans. Induction stovetops require a certain amount of weight for the pan to be recognized. The lightweight saucepans may not have registered with the cooktop.
If you have an induction cooktop, be prepared to test your Gotham Steel pans soon after receiving them to check compatibility.
This Gotham Steel pots and pans set features a stackable design that can be placed in one stack or stored separately in two stacks.
The lids are interchangeable, so instead of 10 separate lids for 10 separate pots, this set only has four lids that can be used on multiple pieces. The lids are flat are are stored on top of one another, with the bottom lid going upside down.
Gotham Steel claims these stackable pans can save up to 30% more space in the kitchen. Many users backed up that claim, saying this Stackmaster set really was space-saving and stacked well in the kitchen cabinet.
There is a specific order for stacking, too, so you know each time where to put the pans. That’s great, but some people found that to be inconvenient.
Let’s say you use the pan in the middle of the stack most often. Each time you cook requires removing half the stack, then replacing the top half of the stack.
Doing this over and over lead some people to just stop stacking them, which defeats the purpose. So if you want easy access to the few pans you use the most, you might invest in a smaller set.
Do these Gotham Steel pots and pans save space? Absolutely, but you have to be willing to stack them in order each and every time.
Handles and Lids
The Gotham Steel Stackmaster set’s stainless steel handles have a safe and secure grip. Customers agreed that the handles are comfortable to hold. They are fastened to the pan with double stainless steel rivets.
Gotham Steel claims the handle stays cool to the touch on the stovetop. However, a few users said that the handles got very hot.
The tempered glass lids are tight-fitting and allow you to monitor food on the stovetop. But beyond that? The lids were the primary complaint among reviewers.
Many people said the lid handles also overheat, so be sure to use pot holders when lifting them from the pan.
Perhaps the most common complaint was liquid and food matter getting trapped under the top rim of the lids. Several users said the lids were impossible to clean once that happened.
While the handles have a good design and utility, the lids are definitely a design failing.
The Gotham Steel Stackmaster set is oven-safe for temperatures up to 500°F (260°C). A few buyers that reviewed the set said they were able to successfully cook food in the oven.
Gotham Steel did not list a maximum oven temperature for the glass lids, but generally 350°F (177°C) is a safe assumption.
Since the Stackmaster pots are oven-safe, they’re ideal for stovetop-to-oven dishes. With these pans, you can make everything from baked macaroni and cheese to goat cheese frittatas.
This aluminum cookware is very thin and lightweight. It heats up quickly and loses heat quickly. And while a lightweight pan is nice for easy handling, it is more susceptible to uneven heating or warping at high heat.
Several users said that their pan had even heat distribution, whereas a few said they had problems with hot spots and uneven results.
One thing everyone can agree on, though, is that it’s best to cook with the Stackmaster pans on low to medium heat. Unless you’re boiling water, a lower heat setting will be enough for most cooking needs.
Also, because these pots and pans are so thin, it’s important to let them cool before washing. A big temperature drop might result in thermal shock, which can warp a pan.
Ease of Cleaning
The Gotham Steel Stackmaster Cookware Set is dishwasher-safe… sort of.
The company claims these are dishwasher-safe, and some users were able to clean them that way. However, many people had damaged pans as a result of testing that claim.
Dishwashers are notorious for damaging cookware due to the high heat, contact with other objects, and harsh detergents.
The upside? Those who hand-washed these pans said they were very easy to clean. The non-stick surface releases food easily, so a simple rinse with warm, soapy water is enough.
In fact, the top reviews consistently stated that they avoided putting these pots in the dishwasher.
Plus, these pans are so easy to clean by hand that a dishwasher won’t save much time or effort.
What Are the Alternatives?
If you’re looking for an alternative to the Gotham Steel Stackmaster 15-Piece Cookware Set, there are several similar sets. Read more about them below.
This is the almost the same set as the Gotham Steel Stackmaster 15-piece set but without the five plastic utensils. It’s a good budget alternative if you want the benefits of the Stackmaster without paying as much.
The handles on this Ultra Stackmaster set are not as comfortable as the handles on the reviewed Stackmaster set. These pans have a more angular handle that some said dug into their hands.
Customers had mixed reviews about this cookware’s performance. A lot of people were frustrated that these pans were advertised as dishwasher-safe. They had poor results cleaning them in the dishwasher. Others used metal spoons or forks, and there were significant scratches on the ceramic coating.
Most everyone did agree, however, that the non-stick quality is very good on these pots. Food releases easily, and they’re easy to clean by hand.
So if you can stand the handles and are willing to baby these, this Gotham Steel set might be a good option. But if you’re willing to pay just a little more for more comfortable handles and some utensils, go with the 15-piece set.
Granitstone is another brand of non-stick coated cookware that has made its name via TV infomercials. This Granitestone set comes in an attractive, speckled black granite pattern finish and includes the following 15 pieces:
- 2.75-quart (2.6 liters) frying pan
- 2.75-quart (2.6 liters) sauce pan with lid
- 3.5-quart (3.3 liters) sauce pan with lid
- 3.5-quart (3.3 liters) frybasket
- 10-inch (25.4 cm) fry pan with lid
- 5.35-quart (5 liters) stock pot with lid
It has similar specs to the Gotham Steel set. The pieces stack on top of one another, and the lids stack, as well. Granitestone claims these pans are dishwasher-safe and oven-safe up to 500°F (260°C).
Customers had similar issues with the handles getting hot. They also had many problems with using this cookware on an induction stove. Apparently, the stainless steel encapsulated base is too small to pick up on a lot of induction surfaces.
Overall, they said the nonstick performed well. Food released easily enough, and they said this cookware was easy to clean. This Granitestone set is similar in price to the Gotham Steel set, but I wouldn’t say it outperforms it.
This NutriChef Stackable Cookware set looks like an inverted Gotham Steel pan, with a copper-colored interior and black exterior. It comes with the following pieces:
- 8-inch (20.32 cm) small fry pan
- 2.1-quart (1.99 liters) cooking pot with lid
- 1.4-quart (1.32 liters) sauce pot with lid
- 3.2-quart (3.0 liters) jumbo cooker with lid
- 4.6-quart (4.35 liters) stew pot with lid
- 9.5-inch (24.13 cm) small fry pan
- 11-inch (27.94 cm) griddle pan
- 3 plastic kitchen utensils
Even though there are 14 pieces, three of those include a spatula, spoon, and slotted spoon. Still, there are enough pieces to make this useful in most kitchens.
This set features a non-stick ceramic coating that’s PFOA- and PTFE-free. It has three layers of copper, with a hard-anodized aluminum (which they call “lacquer”) exterior. Their ceramic coating is non-toxic and releases food easily.
I’m honestly skeptical about the copper layers. Copper is an expensive material, and I would expect these pieces to cost significantly more. However, I couldn’t find anything that refuted that description.
This NutriChef set is similar in quality to the Gotham Steel Stackmaster set. These pieces stack nicely in the cabinets, but one review recommended using felt pads to protect the coating.
The handles are a nice feature. They have a heat-resistant silicone that’s comfortable to grip and stays cool on the stovetop. Customers enjoyed these handles more than the Gotham Steel handles.
Oh, and one other bonus? Users didn’t seem to have problems with the lids accumulating food debris or water.
This NutriChef set is more expensive than the Gotham Steel Stackmaster Cookware Set, but the better quality lids and handles might be worth it to some.
Gotham Steel Pans Stackmaster Review: Yay or Nay?
The Gotham Steel Stackmaster is a great set for saving space, and the non-stick performance should hold up well for a while, with proper care. So if you have a tiny kitchen and are willing to treat your nonstick pots and pans with care? You’ll be happy with this Gotham Steel set.
However, if you’re expecting a lifelong cookware set, you’ll be disappointed. The Gotham Steel Stackmaster Cookware Set will probably need replacing after a couple of years.