Quality Stainless Steel Cookware Sets

Stainless Steel Set - Buying Guide

Stainless steel is one of the most popular choices for the home kitchen. The advantages of stainless steel make it perfect for all sorts of kitchen appliances, and the only real disadvantage to the material is easily dealt with. The uses of stainless steel are virtually limitless; it can be used in primary cookware like pots and pans, in forks, spoons and cutlery sets, and in larger appliances like espresso makers and gas grills. 

You see, every possible material has its own advantages and disadvantages. You should always consider durability, price, maintenance requirements, heat conduction, and how much the metal might react with certain foods. Acidic foods can react with copper or aluminum, mixing trace amounts of the metal in with your spaghetti sauce. Even if that's not particularly dangerous, it can seriously affect the taste.

Stainless steel doesn't react with foods, and it's perhaps the most durable, worry-free option available. It's also one of the more affordable options, so stainless steel is a good choice for shoppers on a budget. Why, then, do chefs ever use anything else? 

Some of of them don't ever use anything else, actually. Others, however, do stick to their copper or cast iron cookware, and that's because stainless steel by itself is not a very good heat conductor. A good conductor will heat evenly and quickly; a griddle with bad conduction will be hotter in some spots and cooler in others. For this reason, most stainless steel cookware will have copper or another conductor incorporated into the design. Some pots have copper bottoms, and others have a copper core sandwiched in between two layers of stainless steel. This helps to spread the heat evenly. 

Of course, pots, pans and skillets are not the only things that can be made from stainless steel. It's great for mixing bowls, measuring cups and other tools whose conductivity doesn't matter. The material's slow conduction actually becomes an advantage in other situations, too. Sometimes you don't want the metal to heat up; that's why stainless can be used for the exterior of a barbecue grill or rice cooker. The food inside gets cooked while the outside often stays cool enough to touch without fear of burns.

A water bottle, mug or thermos made from stainless steel has the same advantage: insulation and unbreakability all in one package. That also makes stainless the best choice for bbq implements; as we all know, there's a lot more to grilling than the grill itself. Grilling tools usually get used outside, so they need to be a little sturdier. And if they get left outside in the rain after the cook has a couple beers too many, they won't rust. 

A stainless steel set can be perfect for setting up just about any kitchen. First, you have to determine how much of a set you actually need. Buying a set is almost always cheaper than buying the pieces individually, but a casual cook might not use half the pieces in a large collection. Luckily, sets range from only a few pieces all the way up to huge, professional-grade collections with hundreds of pieces. Almost all of them, however, will include some of the following basics. 

Frying Pans - Flat and shallow, these are used to fry meat, eggs, and pretty much everything else. They're often lined with non-stick coating. Don't leave an empty non-stick pan on the burner too long or you'll ruin the coating.

Sauce Pans - These are deeper than frying pans, used more often for cooking liquids, pasta or rice. They are available in a wide variety of sizes and styles. 

Stock Pots - Deep, heavy pots used for cooking large volumes at once. The name comes from their usefulness when making soups and stocks, but they're very versatile in other areas as well. 

Roasting Pans - Large, flat pans used to cook in the oven. It needs to be strong enough to hold a heavy turkey or roast, so stainless steel is a good choice. Make sure to measure your oven and see if the pan will fit.