In reviews and tests, All-Clad Stainless Cookware is consistently identified as the best stainless-steel cookware. The name All-Clad reflects its construction, with a heat-conducting aluminum core sandwiched between two layers of slower-heating stainless steel. The aluminum core extends fully up the sides of the pan for even heating. In 2011, the pans were updated with what the company calls "an improved handle." The new handle is larger, which may be a drawback for those who prefer a daintier one. The pans are heavy and sturdy, with riveted stainless-steel handles that stay relatively cool.
All-Clad Stainless cookware is also safe to put in a dishwasher (though some experts recommend hand washing) or in an oven up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This cookware is balanced and easy to maneuver. However, as with all stainless cookware, food can easily stick to its surface -- making it great for browning food, but not ideal for cooking eggs. If you aren't prepared to spend more than $700, reviewers say the Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless Cookware (*Est. $115 for a 10-piece set) is a good budget choice.
There are more professional reviews for All-Clad than for any other brand of cookware. Cook's Illustrated magazine includes All-Clad Stainless in its 2009 review of six stainless cookware sets and in separate reviews of everything from skillets to stockpots. The New York Times includes All-Clad in its review of eight skillets. We found plenty of positive owner reviews at Amazon.com and Macys.com.
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1. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Editors test six stainless-steel cookware sets, including All-Clad Stainless. Each set is evaluated on cooking performance, construction and the selection of pieces. This is one of the few sources that test whole sets of cookware rather than individual pieces.
Review: Cookware Sets, Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, May 2009
2. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Editors compare seven 12-inch stainless-steel skillets. Although the All-Clad Stainless cookware set does not include a skillet this size, the review provides helpful information about this cookware's durability, overall quality and ease of use.
Review: Traditional Skillets, Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, Jan. 2009
3. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Saucepans, including one from the All-Clad Stainless line, are evaluated here. This report is helpful because saucepans are included in All-Clad's cookware sets. Models are subjected to performance testing with three different tasks: sauteing onions, steaming rice pilaf and preparing pastry cream. The All-Clad saucepan is the top performer.
Review: Large Saucepans, Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, June 2007
4. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Editors test nine 12-quart stockpots, including the All-Clad Stainless, by preparing pasta, corn and beef chili. They also evaluate how easy each pot is to handle, wash and stow away.
Review: Stockpots, Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, Feb. 2007
5. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Nine saute pans, including an All-Clad Stainless pan, are tested in tasks ranging from pan-searing strip steaks to cooking crepes. Each pan is rated on performance and design, and the results are listed in chart form.
Review: SautZ Pans, Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, Sept. 2006
6. The New York Times
Food safety expert Marian Burros tests eight, Teflon-free skillets and uses only a thin film of oil in each. Burros does not like the All-Clad Stainless pan because she finds that food sticks to the bottom.
Review: In Search of a Pan That Lets Cooks Forget About Teflon, Marian Burros, June 7, 2006
The All-Clad Stainless 9-Piece Cookware Set receives an average of 4.5 stars (out of 5) in more than 60 reviews. Many call it the best cookware around, citing superb quality and excellent durability, but others say the pans are difficult to clean. A few users complain about the cost and say the quality doesn't justify the expense.
Review: All-Clad 5000-9 Stainless 9-Piece Cookware Set, Contributors to Amazon.com
The All-Clad Stainless 10-Piece Cookware Set earns an average of 4.9 stars in nearly 70 user reviews. Owners say the pots are durable, heat easily and are easy to clean. A few complain that they are heavy and say the long handles make them difficult to maneuver.
Review: All-Clad Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set, Contributors to Macys.com