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I remember moving into my very first apartment on my own in my 20’s. The thing about moving into your first place is that you have no idea what things you really need.
This ranges from a toaster to towels to pots and pans. Someone moving into their first place as well as anyone on a budget needs a good and inexpensive cookware set.
I shopped around unguided in my 20’s for a cookware set that I could afford. The cookware I eventually purchased was easy on my budget but unfortunately hard on my cooking. That cookware sucked and ended up ruining most of my meals.
This doesn’t mean that a quality cookware set that won’t break the bank doesn’t exist. I just didn’t know what to look for at that time. Fast forward 10 or so (okay maybe more) years and I am now older, wiser and know what to look for in my selection. In this article, we will be reviewing some of the best, affordable cookware sets so you don’t end up like 20 year old me.
A Quick Glance At The Best Inexpensive Cookware Sets In This Review
Pieces You Want Included in The Best Affordable Cookware Set
In choosing a good inexpensive cookware set, you want to make sure that you don’t skimp on the very basics. There are “higher end” sets that you can buy for under $100 but these “sets” are usually only a 2 piece set – consisting of 1 pot and 1 skillet. Who can start off a kitchen with that?
At the absolute minimum you will need enough items to make sure that you can cook a full meal on the stove at one time. Think about your typical spaghetti dinner. At a minimum you will need 4 separate sets of cookware, so this is what you should look for in the best affordable cookware set.
Exactly what pieces am I looking for in this spaghetti dinner analogy?
- 1 Stock Pot – You will need to boil your spaghetti noodles
- 1 Large Saucepan – You will need to cook your sauce
- 1 Small Saucepan – You are going to have veggies with that right?
- 1 Skillet/Fry Pan – For your meatballs of course
A great set of affordable cookware will also include cooking utensils which is an added bonus. Our top pick includes a spatula, a pasta fork and a large soup ladle.
Consider Material Construction When Selecting The Best Affordable Cookware Set
One of the features to consider when selecting a good inexpensive cookware set is the material construction. Basically what are these pots and pans made of. The three choices at our price point are typically aluminum, stainless steel and ceramic.
Types of Material Construction
Well over half of all cookware sold in the USA is made of aluminum. This is because aluminum is a plentiful element on Earth. This makes it easily available and affordable.
Aluminum is a great conductor of heat which is why it is a good choice for cookware. You may have heard rumors that aluminum cookware is bad because aluminum can react with acidic food causing the metal to absorb into the food.
This is why most aluminum cookware is coated with a non-stick layer or is anodized to prevent this from occurring.
Stainless steel is typically thought of as fancy and a cookware set for around $100 seems out of reach. Luckily, we conducted hours of research and found a great set!
Stainless steel may not heat up as quickly as aluminum but it beats aluminum in terms of durability. Stainless steel will not scratch or dent and is typically dishwasher safe. In fact, many professional chefs prefer stainless steel as this cookware does not impact food flavor quality.
You may have seen videos of pans with a slick light-colored interior with an omelet easily sliding off and onto a plate. This is usually a ceramic non-stick pan or pot.
The cookware isn’t entirely ceramic throughout. They usually have an aluminum core with a ceramic interior overlay. This gives you the benefit of quick heating aluminum and the nonstick properties of ceramic free from PTFE, PFOA and PFOS.
Review Of The Best Inexpensive Cookware Sets
To ensure that you select the perfect set of quality inexpensive cookware, we have compiled detailed research of some of the best choices. Check them out below.
The NutriChef 12-Piece Nonstick Kitchen Cookware Set is a 12-piece aluminum cookware set. This set includes everything you need to start your kitchen off.
Included in this cookware set are THREE pots (1.5 qt/ 2 qt and 3.4 qt), 3 fry pans (11 in, 9.5 in and 8 in) and even 3 cooking utensils.
The Hard-Anodized Aluminum finish is a durable coating that makes this cookware both resistant to corrosion and easy to clean. With soft silicone handles, you don’t have to worry about burning your hand while handing this cookware on the stove.
- Hard anodized aluminum
- Heat insulation handle
- Induction ready
The Cooks Standard 9-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set will surely bring a look of elegance to your kitchen. But they aren’t just good looking. They are highly functional and provide even heat distribution thanks to an aluminum disc in the bottom.
If you are a fan of steaming veggies then this is the set for you as a steamer insert is included. Also included are 1.5 qt and 3 qt saucepans, a 6 qt stockpot as well as a 10 in. fry pan.
With some stainless steel cookware you risk burning your hand on hot handles, but not this set. These handles stay cool to the touch and are riveted for durability.
- Induction safe
- Oven safe to 500F
- Tempered glass lids with steam vents
The Nuwave Copper 10 piece Ceramic Cookware Set includes 2 saucepans (1.5 qt and 2 qt), a 5 qt dutch oven, an 8 qt stock pot and 2 fry pans (8 in and 9.5 in).
As this cookware is forged, not cast it allows them to be sturdy yet lightweight. The Duralon nonstick finish is an infusion and titanium and diamond. This allows simplified cleaning as foods will not easily stick to the surface.
The ergonomic stainless steel handles make picking these pots up a breeze, even for those with arthritic hands. This set is induction-ready as well as safe for gas and electric ovens.
- Free of harmful chemicals PTFE and PFOA
- Oven safe to 900 degrees
- Works with NuWave Precision Induction Cooktop
The Cuisinart Advantage Ceramica XT Cookware Set offers quality at an affordable price point. With an exclusive Ceramica®XT nonstick interior finish, you can use less butter and oil and still be assured that your food will slide off easily.
This 11 piece set includes 2 saucepans (1.5 qt and 2.5 qt), a 3 at saute pan, a 6 qt stockpot, 2 skillets (8 in and 10 in) as well as a steamer insert.
The set is compatible with gas, electric, glass ceramic and halogen stovetops. This cookware is not dishwasher safe but the nonstick finish makes for an easy cleaning job.
- Riveted silicone handles that stay cool
- Superior heat distribution
- Tempered glass lids that lock in food flavor and nutrients
The AmazonBasics 8-Piece Non-Stick Kitchen Cookware Set may be the lowest priced set of cookware we have reviewed. However, this set will amaze you as it is not short on quality.
As they are lightweight, this set is great for a RV or smaller kitchen. Included are 2 fry pans (8 in and 10 in), 2 saucepans (1.5 qt and 2 qt) and a 3 qt casserole pan.
A large stock pot is not included but at this price point you will easily have money left over to purchase one separately.
- Soft-touch handles
- Spiral bottom heats evenly
- BPA free
- Nonstick coating
Our Final Thoughts On The Best Affordable Cookware Sets
We are glad to have helped you learn more about what to look for in purchasing a a good inexpensive cookware set. Also, we hope that you found a set you like among those reviewed. Remember to select the set that meets your requirements and needs the most. Bon appetit!