Putting popular cookware to the test

ByMichael Finney and Justin Mendoza via KGO logo
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
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What are induction cook ranges? Are they worth buying? Consumer Reports checks to see if they are worth considering getting for your kitchen.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Buying cookware branded by a celebrity won't make you a better chef, or a TV star, but it might be an improvement over cooking on old, warped and worn out pots and pans.

Consumer Reports just tested cookware sets from celebrity names like Rachael Ray to popular brands All Clad, Cuisinart and Le Creuset, and more.

Browning pancakes to check for cooking evenness, simmering sauce, sauteing potatoes, these are just a few of the checks Consumer Reports runs to see how well cookware performs.

Recently testers looked at several sets from celebrities like Rachael Ray and the Pioneer Woman and familiar brands like All-Clad and Cuisinart.

The sets come in a variety of materials from anodized aluminum, coated cast iron, and stainless. Testers also looked at non-stick coated pans.

This egg release test checks how "non-stick" a pan really is. Testers are looking for the egg to slide off easily and leave nothing behind. They even scrub coated pans 2,000 times with steel wool to see how durable the non-stick coating is.

So, which sets do best in Consumer Reports' tests? "Non-stick cookware tends to do really well in our testing because it releases food easily and is easy to clean up," said Paul Hope, Consumer Reports Home Editor.

Cuisinart's Green Gourmet Hard Anodized set for 250-dollars seared the non-stick competition and earned top-ratings.

But you need more than non-stick for a well rounded cookware collection. "There are definitely times you want uncoated cookware like stainless steel or cast iron especially if you're searing food," said Hope. You can't really get non-stick cookware hot, but you can sear in cast iron and stainless steel."

Because cookware sets can be costly, for example, the top-rated uncoated All Clad cookware set costs 600 dollars. Consumer Reports also tested some fry pans separately and suggests buying pots and pans individually.

Top scores for individual fry pans went to this 115-dollar All-Clad Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Fry Pan.

And for non-stick fry pans, consider Red Copper Non-stick - a Best Buy for 20-dollars.

Consumer Reports says it's also important to choose the right cookware for the type of range you have.

For smooth top ranges, look for cookware with a disc base - a dead flat surface fused to the bottom. For gas ranges, skip the disc bases and opt for solid metal with the same thickness throughout.

Take a look at all of 7 On Your Side's stories with Consumer Reports here.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2018 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit ConsumerReports.org.