As a foodie and a food magazine owner, I really enjoy having a good set of pots and pans. Cookware is a valuable investment—just ask any professional chef. When treated well, high quality cookware doesn’t just last a lifetime. It can be one of the best multi-generational gifts that you can give yourself.
Needless to say, people in the food industry (and culinary writers like me) are majorly obsessed with expensive cookware. But, what is the most expensive cookware out there?
Cookware doesn’t have to be expensive, but if you want to get the kind of cookware that chefs use, you may need to shell out serious cash. Here’s why some sets will be more expensive than others.
Number of Pieces
This should be a no-brainer, but the more cookware you’re getting in a set, the more you’re going to have to pay. Making three pots will always cost more than making two. So, quantity matters. If you want to keep quality but have a budget, consider getting a smaller cookware set.
Material + Engineering
There is a difference between Teflon that you get from the grocery store and specially engineered stainless steel alloys. The most expensive cookware sets are made with the best materials. In many (but not all) cases, top rated companies will also have special engineering put into the cookware they make.
The engineering and materials have a major perk to your cooking results. The better these two factors are, the more evenly your cookware will heat your food. Additionally, it can cut down on cleaning time and improve durability. It’s important to note that some materials, like copper, will be heavily impacted by the price of raw goods.
Some brand names are more popular than others among the cooking elite, and that matters a lot. Much of the appeal of certain brands comes from their track record of making great quality cookware. When you’re working in a kitchen or have your name on the line when you cook, you’re going to want to get the security that comes with a good name.
It’s extremely rare to see cookware of any sort that involves handmade items. To a point, it’s almost a lost art. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. More often than not, artisan crafts like this will fetch a premium price and can only be found through specialty dealers. As such, we didn’t include many on this list because they are so exclusive.
How Much Is A Typical Cookware Set?
While elitists may want to splurge thousands of dollars on cookware, the truth is that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on a typical set. Most cookware sets that you’ll see will carry between three to seven pieces and cost between $100 to $500, with $500 being on the more expensive side.
People who don’t need much can easily skate by with a $150 set, especially if you are a fan of stainless steel. (Guilty!) Moreover, it’s important to realize that you can get a lot of cooking done with as little as three pans. If you want quality, you can sometimes save more money by buying them individually.
Is Buying Expensive Cookware Worth It?
There are a lot of things where going expensive isn’t always necessary—skateboards, chess sets, and lamps, to name a few. However, when you’re buying cookware, splurging is highly encouraged. Here’s why:
When you have cheaper cookware, you run the risk of having uneven or slow heating. How your pans and pots heat your food can make all the difference. We’ve all tasted burnt food before, as well as food that is cold in some parts but hot in the other. Microwaves aside, that’s how this happens.
Cheap cookware can be less durable and harder to clean. Not all stainless steel is made equal. Not all copper cookware is made equal, either. Cheaply made stuff can rust (even when it’s not supposed to) or have grooves that are difficult to scrub around. This can lead to food buildup around the edges and nastiness.
Many cheap cookware brands also don’thave any form of warranty. This is not a big deal for many of us, but let’s be honest. It’s good to invest in cookware that will last and last. There’s nothing worse than spending $400 on a set that breaks after a year. (I’ve seen it. It’s bad, bro.)
There is also a tendency among low tier cookware companies involving using bad chemicals. You know how nonstick pans at the grocery store smell kinda funky, like a new car? Those chemicals may be legal to use, but they also are noted for turning into cancer-causing compounds when temperatures exceed a certain level. High-end cookware won’t use that stuff, which means that you won’t put your health at risk.
The Most Expensive Cookware You Can Buy
Now that we’ve discussed the why’s and how’s, let’s talk about what it takes to make the list of the priciest cookware.
All-Clad is one of those names that most chefs will respect, often with a slight nod of approval. It’s a brand that gained fame for being on the forefront of engineering. This set is proof of it, too. Each pot and pan in this cookware set has a copper interior core that helps speed up heating and spread heat evenly through the pan.
Unlike full copper, All-Clad’s cookware is easy to clean and won’t have the sensitivity that copper cookware would. It also has the crisp and shiny appearance that people love when it comes to stainless steel. 5-ply stainless steel exteriors also mean that you have less worries about stuck food and you can also expect it to stay safe up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
Author’s Note: They also have a smaller set of these (only 10 pieces) for under $1400. There is another one available with 15 pieces for $2229. Personally, I think that a 24-piece cookware set is overkill unless you have a professional-grade kitchen that involves a sous chef by your side.
If you can’t guess from all the copper-hued cookware on our list, it’s safe to say that copper is the go-to material for people who want to have quick-heating, elegant cookware that’s lightweight and pretty. Mauviel has been the go-to cookery brand for Parisian chef schools since 1830, so it’s prestige on prestige here.
This particular set has a copper exterior with an 18/10 stainless steel interior. This makes the interior nonstick and easy to clean, while the exterior offers an even heat distribution system that’s fast AF. Between having the best quality copper pans in Paris and knowing you’ll never have to replace them, it’s a safe bet.
Heck, even saying the bame of this company sounds fancy. Say it with me: Mauviel. No wonder it’s such a status symbol among professional chefs.
Oh, now this just also looks fancy—and that’s saying something considering that most people don’t really take aesthetics into account when they’re buying cookware. However, this isn’t just a pretty face. This 10-piece cookware set uses copperbond technology to ensure even and fast heating thanks to its copper core.
Unlike most other pots and pans, the Hestan line also comes with flush rivets. This means that you are going to be able to clean everything down with a single wipe. Less clean time means more fun time…and a lot less grime you have to worry about building up.
Nanobond is Hestan’s answer to the love of copper that so many cooks have. This 10-piece set doesn’t have copper, but rather, focuses on triple-bonded stainless steel alloys that help conduct heat 35 percent faster than usual. There is a lot of benefit to having these beautifully engineered pans and pots.
The biggest perk, of course, is that you don’t have to worry about having to clean stains off this stuff when you use them. (Yes, this remains true, even for pasta night!) If you are looking for fast and even heating, these Nanobonded wares will not let you down.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone, really. Williams-Sonoma is one of the biggest retailers in the world of cookware, especially among foodies. This crazily large 19-piece culinary set isn’t just from the store’s house brand. According to the description, this is actually a mixed-brand set that features the best of a bunch of different brands all in one kit.
You will get the most even heating that you want, the pace that you need, and the durability that matches the best kitchens in America. That alone should make you hit the pause button and ask if you can swing it. It’s worth it if you can afford it.
Oh yeah, Viking is a #badnbougie brand that looks as expensive as it is. This massive cookware set features high-end stainless steel that is absolutely gorgeous, easy to clean, and durable. With a name like Viking, you can expect excellent quality that won’t let you down, along with some of the most even heating that money can buy.
This cookware set features a total of 17 different cookware pieces, including saucepans, colanders, pots, as well as regular ol’ frying pans. If you have a massive kitchen and tend to cook with a lot of different pots, this set will have you covered.
Among professional chefs and culinary fiends, there is a certain low-key flex that people tend to want to have. That flex? It’s hammered copper, like the material that makes this beautiful seven-piece set from Amoretti Brothers. This is real Italian cookware at its finest, people!
This features a tin-lined interior that helps keep pans light, with all the gorgeousness (and fast heating) of a copper exterior. Flush rivets on the inside make your pots easy to clean. Oh, and the handles? They’re sculpted brass. If that doesn’t make this a work of art, I genuinely don’t know what does.
It’s important to note that hammered copper remains one of the few “artisan” styles of cookware that’s still regularly requested by cooks.
Viking does it again. This time, the company released a professional-grade set of cookware. The cookware that they make is always going to be high-grade, but this is not your average upscale set of cookware. This is 5-ply stainless steel, giving it a unique level of durability that’s perfect for heavy use, high heats, and hectic handling.
You still get the same beautiful look that you expect from the Viking brand, along with its trademark stamp. The only main difference is the level of durability and how smooth the steel is. Actually, wait! No, scratch that. There is a major perk that you should be aware of if you want to buy these.
The bottoms of the pans are slightly magnetic, so you actually can also use them on induction cooktops. That’s not your average cookware!
Are These Cookware Sets Expensive Enough For You?
Cookware sets are always going to be a matter of investment. A good set of pots and pans are hard to put a price tag on, especially if you pride yourself on being a whiz in the kitchen. Whether you’re a fan of copper or stainless steel doesn’t matter. What matters is that you seek out a set of pots, pans, and lids that will work with the kitchen you have.
While spending big on cookware sets is always encouraged, it’s still important to remember that you have to look at your kitchen’s priorities. There’s no such thing as a universal cook set, so if you’re not sure what to get, read up on different cookware sets and what they are made for.