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Best saucepan sets: durable, non-stick pans to improve your cooking

Pete Wise
·7-min read

Buying a pots and pans set is an efficient way to equip your kitchen with much of the cookware you need. A good set should contain a variety that will help you prepare food in a number of ways, or in different quantities.

Some cookware sets focus on saucepans and frying pans – the basic tools you’ll need for the hob. Others are aimed at use inside the oven, as well as on top of it, featuring items such as casseroles and dishes.

If you’re looking for cooking instruments that are especially easy to use, we recommend choosing a pots and pans set that has non-stick surfaces on at least some of the pans. This makes it drastically easier to avoid burning food onto the pan base.

Non-stick pans may be convenient, but they tend not to be the most durable. If longevity is what you’re looking for, you might be better off getting a cast iron or stainless steel cookware set instead. These materials tend to resist warping and scratching relatively well. Cast iron sets from the likes of Staub and Le Creuset also happen to look aesthetically pleasing enough to be a presentational game-changer for your dinner parties.

When buying a pots and pans set, be sure to check whether the set is compatible with your preferred heat source. Some are not made to work with certain types of hob, such as ceramic hobs and induction hobs, and some are not suitable for use inside the oven.

See our pick of the best.

£127.99 | Amazon

VonShef 5 Piece Stainless Steel Pan Set

These are great pans for the price you pay, robustly made and with plenty of weight to them. The bases of the set are aluminium-encapsulated, a feature designed to help them distribute heat evenly across the pan. Our testing indicated this worked well, as food turned out really evenly cooked. After cooking, the amount of residue stuck to the pan surface was impressively low. In most cases, we could wipe it off easily.

The pans in this set are of sizes best suited to cooking for one or two people. You might fit about four eggs into the frying pan, at a push. We were pleased to note the inclusion of a 14cm milk pan – a really handy option for heating sauces (or milk, naturally).

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Includes:

  • 16cm, 18cm and 20cm saucepans with glass lids

  • 24cm frying pan

  • 14cm milk pan

£74.99 | VonShef

Also buy on Amazon

Anolon Nouvelle Stainless Steel 6-Piece

This classy set from Anolon is our favourite stainless steel pan set on the market. The pans conduct heat amazingly well thanks to the copper inserts in their bases, ensuring food is cooked evenly throughout the pan.

It can be quite easy to burn food onto stainless steel pans like these – so we were relieved to discover that this particular set is very easy to clean, too. Our reviewer coated the bottom of the pan with burnt potato and creme fraiche in a profoundly unsuccessful attempt to make potato scallops (his fault, not the pan’s). The dirt lifted off with impressive ease, leaving the bottom of the pan looking good as new.

Whether you see this as a good thing or a bad thing, take note that this set is a little heavy.

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Includes:

  • 1.25-quart saucepan with lid

  • 2.5-quart saucepan with lid

  • 6.5-quart stockpot with lid

  • 8-Inch French skillet

  • 10.5-inch French skillet

  • 3-quart saute pan with lid

£267.91 | Amazon

Also buy individually here

Alternatively shop:

Salter Easy Pour 3Pc Saucepan Set at Argos (£55)

Salter Megastone 3Pc Saucepan Set at Argos (£60)

Salter BW08664 3-Piece Marble Gold Non-Stick Frying Pan Set

If you’re in need of some frying pans that are basically impossible to mess up, the 3-Piece Marble Gold Non-Stick Set from Salter will be your friend.

This extraordinarily-good-value set gives you three sizes of frying pan: a 20cm one that’s ideal for frying a few eggs, a 28cm pan that we found handy for making thin pancakes, and a 24cm for all sorts of foodstuffs in-between.

The non-stick coating on these pans is a real life-saver. For an easy life in the kitchen, buy this and the Salter COMBO-4844 saucepan set reviewed above.

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Includes:

  • 20cm frying pan

  • 24cm frying pan

  • 28cm frying pan

£39.19 | Amazon

Staub Cast Iron Cookware Set

This versatile four-piece set brings together some of the best and most beautifully crafted cookware we’ve ever set upon the hob. With chic, minimal designs and heavyweight construction, each item looks and feels like something to cherish.

Handily, they also cook brilliantly. We found that these pots and pans prepared food just as well as some of their high-end rivals, but were less liable to get food burnt onto their surfaces. The wooden handle of the frying pan is really nice to hold – which is just as well, since the pan is at the top end of what we’d consider a desirable weight for cookware.

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Includes:

  • 24cm round cast iron cocotte

  • 24cm round cast iron saute pan with chistera lid

  • 28cm oval cast iron baking dish

  • 26cm cast iron frying pan with beechwood handle

£449 | Zwilling

Tefal 5-Piece Essential Pots and Pans Set

Tefal’s pots and pans offer something a little different to the competition: namely, their unique ‘Thermospot’ tech. This is the red circle in the middle of the pan, which changes in appearance when the pan is at the right temperature to cook. It’s a handy guide to have, if you’re the sort of cook who sometimes chucks things into the pan a bit too hastily.

Thermospots aside, this is a decent basic cookware set that will ably cater for most households. All the pans are non-stick, so they’re difficult to mess up.

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Includes:

  • 20cm Frying pan

  • 24cm Frying pan

  • 16cm Saucepan with lid

  • 18cm Saucepan with lid

  • 20cm Saucepan with lid

£50.30 | Amazon

Prestige 5-Piece Everyday Stainless Steel Pan Set

The Prestige Everyday Pan Set combines the excellent heat distribution of encapsulated stainless steel construction with non-stick surfaces where you need them the most – in the frying pan and the milk pan. In our experience, this made the Everyday set particularly easy to clean and to cook with. Food never stuck to the bottom of the pans during an extensive testing period.

There’s a good thickness to the pans in this set, which tells you that they’re made to last. They have a little heft to them, although they’re far lighter than the sets we’ve tested from Anolon and Staub.

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Includes:

  • 14cm milkpan

  • 16cm saucepan with lid

  • 18cm saucepan with lid

  • 20cm saucepan with lid

  • 24cm frying pan

£58.99 | Prestige

Morphy Richards 3-Piece Stainless Steel Saucepan Set

You won’t find a better-value-for-money saucepan set than this stainless steel three-piece from Morphy Richards.

Yes, it’s a little on the simple side, with just three pans of relatively similar sizes – but the cookware you do get in this affordable set is very good. The lids feel tough, the bases distribute heat effectively, and pouring spouts on the lips of the pans are a very handy feature when it comes to serving your culinary creations. Add a few frying pans, and this set will cover most of your hob-top needs.

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Includes:

  • 16cm saucepan with lid

  • 18cm saucepan with lid

  • 20cm saucepan with lid

£34.99 | Amazon

Verdict:

The Circulon Momentum Hard Anodised Cookware Set is functionality at its finest, combining great ease of use, excellent performance and compatibility with a huge array of cooking tasks and heat sources. It is deservedly our ES Best Top Pick out of the pots and pans sets you can buy in 2020.

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£716 | Le Creuset

£44.99 Amazon

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