Best saucepan sets 2020: best steel and non-stick pan sets so you can cook better | T3

Best saucepan sets 2020: best steel and non-stick pan sets so you can cook better

Stainless steel, hard anodised, non-stick, copper look… what's your best saucepan set?

Best saucepan sets

No matter how experimental your cookery, you won't get far in the kitchen without the best saucepan set you can afford. It's one of those fundamental investments that people make, when moving out of the family home, getting married, moving onto the housing ladder, getting divorced, buying a really expensive saucepan set to cheer yourself up, just randomly buying a saucepan set on Amazon Prime Day cos it's cheap… there are so many reasons you might buy a saucepan set but it's an infrequent purchase so you want the best saucepans. 

• Amazon has a Tefal sale on today

Remember when you went to uni or moved out of home at your parents' insistence, and you got that cheap sh*t saucepan set made of aluminium covered in 'non-stick' that, with hindsight, you now realise was basically some paint? Well you don't want a pan set like that. You want one of these…

Saucepan sets Amazon Prime Day deals

Amazon Prime Day, slated for October 2020, will certainly have frying pan sets aplenty on sale. Perhaps not the ones in this buying guide, but there will be high quality pan sets to be had, at low prices. Having said that, pan sets are always getting discounts, and there is no guarantee that Amazon Prime Day will have better ones than what is available today, especially on the most sought-after models. Your choice, pan handlers. 

The best saucepan sets to buy, in order

Best saucepan sets: Stellar Stay Cool stainless steel 4-piece setT3 Best Buy logo

1. Stellar Stay Cool stainless steel 4-piece set

The classic mid-range pan brand serves up the perfect pan set

Specifications
Best for: Everyday cooking
Material: Stainless steel
Non Stick: 2 of the 4 pans have non-stick
Reasons to buy
+Everything a household could need in one set+All 4 pans are real quality+'Stay Cool' handles do indeed 'stay cool'+Excellent glass lids seal well but also let you pour water out without needing a sieve
Reasons to avoid
-The Stay Cool handles maybe don't look all that premium-Not everyone wants a frying pan in a saucepan set

• UPDATE: this set seems to have sold out everywhere for the time being. This set is very similar however, and £150 at Amazon. 

Wayfair also has a wide choice of similar Stellar Pan sets.

• Shop Stellar pans at Wayfair

Okay, call off the search, I have found your perfect saucepan set. Or at least the best pan set if you don't want to spend some insane amount on overpriced… and yet oh-so-enticing… Le Creuset pans.

Stellar kindly sent me this sample and I must admit I was fairly sure I had never heard of Stellar. I'm perfectly happy with the set of pans I've used for the last 20+ years and had no need of an upgrade. My 20-year-old pans have gone everywhere with me and been battered and misused and dishwashed thousands of times.

I bought them from an offer in a Sunday newspaper the first time I felt like I had enough cash and they have endured brilliantly ever since.

So anyway, I got these new Stellar pans home and I really liked them, but how can you tell that a pan set you like today is going to still be pleasing you 5, 10, 15 years later? 

That aside, I liked them. Realistically this set has everything a first-homer or newly-wed or even a pan upgrader could want. You've got 2 stainless steel saucepans and a non-stick milk pan and frying pan. The quality of all of them is excellent and they all work with every type of hob.

The non-stick pans seems substantially covered in Teflon, or whatever non-stick stuff  it is that they use nowadays (please don't use them on a really high heat or dishwasher them too much; that's not what you do with non-stick pans).

The steel pans are great – good sizes, robust, handsome enough but not so you're worried about whacking them about. They're easy to clean and the lids are cunningly vented so you can drain water off without needing a colander or sieve.

All the pans heat up quickly and evenly, and the 'Stay Cool' handles do indeed 'stay cool'. You know how I know that? I clumsily set fire to one of the steel pans while attempting to boil sprouts – hey, I got distracted – and came back to find the pan literally glowing, it was that hot. But I could still lift it using the handle (okay, and an oven glove to be fair). Oh, and I still am using that pan, though it has changed colour a bit.

As I say, I was perfectly happy with my hardy, 20-year-old set of pans, but using these ones did pique my curiosity. I decided I would find out who the no-name brand was that I bought a pan set from 2 decades ago, by filling in a little form in a ripped-out newspaper page and posting it off along with a cheque.

(For younger readers, a newspaper was a bit like this website, but on something called 'paper' and a 'cheque' was 1990's answer to Bitcoin.)

It turned out those pans were made by Stellar.

So I think I can vouch for the longevity of this brand's pans. Stellar has approximately 4 billion pan sets to choose from and I seriously doubt you'll find a better set of saucepans for the prices they ask.

• Shop all remaining Stellar pans at Amazon

Best saucepan sets

(Image credit: Le Creuset)

2. Le Creuset Toughened Non-Stick 3-Piece Saucepan Set

The pinnacle of non-stick saucepans

Specifications
Material: Stainless steel with PFOA-free non-stick coating
Non Stick: Clearly
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic looks +Even heating
Reasons to avoid
-Quite premium pricing

• Buy Le Creuset Toughened Non-Stick 3-Piece Saucepan Set at Amazon

This three-piece suite of non-stick saucepans from Le Creuset is just fantastic. The pans feel weighty and solid without being overly heavy while Le Creuset says that the new three-layer reinforced non-stick coating is 'four times stronger'. Given the price of this pan set, you probably want to take Le Creuset’s word for that rather than test it out with metal cooking utensils.

The set contains a 16cm, 18cm and 20cm saucepan each with solid stainless steel helper handles and glass lids, and they’re suitable for all hob types including induction. They’re also oven and dishwasher safe and they come with a lifetime guarantee.

The metal handles look much more premium than plastic handles but we did find that in use the lid handles can get quite hot.

We love everything about these pans. The price may be a little hard to swallow, but you know what else is hard to swallow? Food that's badly cooked due to you using a crap saucepan set. This set is discounted below its quite high recommended retail price from time to time. Today’s best prices for these pans are listed in our pricing widget above.

Best saucepan sets: Circulon Origins 5 Piece Cookware Set

3. Circulon Origins 5 Piece Cookware Set

An everyday pan set that’s well suited to induction hobs

Specifications
Best for: Everyday use
Material: Anodised aluminium with stainless steel base
Non Stick: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Induction friendly and oven safe to 180ºC +Glass lids let you see cooking progress+Stylish finish
Reasons to avoid
-Anodised coating wears away over time-The smaller frying pan is perhaps unnecessary

This five-piece pan set consists of a 14cm milk pan, 16cm and 18cm saucepans, and 20cm and 24cm frying pans, all coated with Circulon’s iconic, non-stick surface, which features raised circles on the inside base which are designed to increase the durability of the non-stick and allow air to flow around the food for better results.

The black anodised finish gives this pan set a classy look while the shatter resistant glass lids allow you to keep an eye on what’s cooking without lifting the lid. This is particularly useful if you have an induction hob: such hobs don’t get hot enough to cause the panic-inducing hissing noise as a pan boils over so being able to see the water rising before that happens is a bonus. 

The pans’ construction is also ideal for induction hobs: the stainless steel base contains the ferrous metal needed to work on an induction hob while the aluminium sides ensure rapid conduction of heat throughout the pan.

The heat-resistant handles mean that you don’t need to reach for an oven glove or towel before you can remove the pan from a hot hob – or hurriedly thrust your hand under the cold tap when you forget.

If we had one complaint about this pan set it’s that the anodised coating does tend to wear off over time – both where the pan edges rub against each other during storage and in the base of the pans from utensils or perhaps over-enthusiastic scrubbing during cleaning.

Best saucepan sets: GreenPan Venice Pro

(Image credit: GreenPan)

4. GreenPan Venice Pro 3 Piece

High-quality non-stick pan set with toxin-free coating

Specifications
Best for: Eco aficionados
Material: Aluminium and stainless steel
Non Stick: Thermolon
Reasons to buy
+High quality manufacturing+PFOA-free non stick ceramic interior+Superb heat distribution
Reasons to avoid
-Glass lids don’t have steam vents

•Buy the GreenPan Venice Pro Ceramic Non-Stick 3pc direct from GreenPan

Belgian company GreenPan gets its name from the ‘green’ credentials of its proprietary ceramic coating Thermolon, a safer alternative to PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) which is said to release toxins when overheated. According to the blurb, GreenPan’s curing process also produces 60% less CO2 than other methods.

Manufactured using an extremely durable bi-ply composite of stainless steel and aluminium with Thermolon interior and oven-ready stainless steel handles, these induction-friendly pans provide excellent heat distribution and impressive non-stick slipperiness when whipping up thick and sticky sauces like bolognese. However, we would have preferred so have seen the supplied glass lids fitted with steam holes to prevent froth from spilling over when boiling pasta and rice. Hint: removing the lid and placing a wooden spoon across the pan often helps keep froth at bay.

Available in dark grey with light grey interior and measuring in at 16, 18 and 20cm apiece, this is a supreme set to add to anyone’s kitchen armoury.

Best saucepan sets: Stellar 6000 Hard Anodised 5 Piece Pan Set

5. Stellar 6000 Hard Anodised 5 Piece Pan Set

A large, hard anodised saucepan set for induction hobs

Specifications
Best for: Induction hobs
Material: Stainless steel
Non Stick: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Versatile set+Compatible with induction cookers
Reasons to avoid
-Takes up space

Stellar again, and another great pan set. For a five-piece set, this is eminently affordable, cooks well and can take a beating. It is praised for its durability and the hard anodised material makes this one of the best saucepan sets for induction hobs.

 This set includes three saucepans, a frying pan and one milk pan with a spout for cooking soup or sauces with ease. If the banging and clattering of saucepans is a familiar sound in your household, opt for the Stellar 6000 pan set and you won't worry about your pans chipping or denting.

Best saucepan sets: Tefal Ingenio Pan Set

6. Tefal Ingenio Pan Set

A large saucepan set perfect for cooking family meals

Specifications
Best for: Family kitchen set
Material: Stainless steel
Non Stick: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Compatible with all hobs+Easy to store
Reasons to avoid
-Not dishwasher friendly

This large saucepan set is great for cooking big meals. Each of the pans uses thermo spot technology which tells you when the pan has reached optimum temperature and they are oven safe up to 260c so you can keep food warm. 

Although pricey, the extra thick titanium base means that this set will stand the test of time. If you cook regularly for big families, this 13 piece set is your go-to option.

Best saucepan sets: HOME 3 Piece Stainless Steel Pan Set

(Image credit: Home)

7. Home 3 Piece Stainless Steel Pan Set

A basic saucepan set ideal for students

Specifications
Best for: Students
Material: Aluminium
Non Stick: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Cheap+Easy to clean
Reasons to avoid
-Not suitable for induction hobs

• Buy Home 3 Piece Stainless Steel set from Argos

If you just want a basic saucepan set that will get the job done, this Argos 3-Piece Pan Set won’t let you down. Although it doesn’t include the essential frying pan, the set does includes 3 pans which measure 15, 18 and 20cm and have Bakelite handles and tempered glass lids for foolproof cooking. If you are a student looking for a basic set of pans, this is an ideal choice.

Best saucepan sets: Tower Scandi 3 Piece Set

(Image credit: Tower)

8. Tower Scandi 3 Piece Set

Budget-priced set for cottage-style kitchens

Specifications
Best for: Cottage kitchens
Material: Aluminium with bonded steel base
Non Stick: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Appealing caldron shape+Light in the hand+Glass lids with steam holes+Dishwasher safe
Reasons to avoid
-Grandma styling-Waxy wood-effect handles and lid tops

•Buy the Tower Scandi 3 Piece Set from Amazon

This retro-esque set is comprised of three cauldron-shaped pans – 16, 18 and 20cm – and forms part of Tower’s Scandi range of ‘minimalism designed’ cookware and small electrical appliances. Their spherical shape doesn’t necessarily help with heat radiation but the look is appealingly countrified and, if we were to be a little disparaging, reminiscent of what grandma used on her Aga.

Available in grey or white with non-stick cream interiors, the Scandi set’s bodies are constructed out of aluminium bonded to induction-ready steel. They’re very light in the hand and a good choice for anyone with arthritis or weak wrists. The chunky dishwasher-proof wood effect (ie plastic) handles, meanwhile, provide excellent grip and remain cool to the touch, though the jury’s out on their waxy feel. The whole set is topped off with tempered glass lids fitted with the same wood effect lid knobs and handy steam release vents.

If you’re on a tight budget, have a country-style kitchen and like bowl-shaped cookware then these are a worthwhile choice. Just don’t put them in the oven or those handles and lid knobs will likely melt.

Best saucepan sets: Morphy Richards Special Edition Pan Set

9. Morphy Richards Special Edition Pan Set

A stylish, functional and affordable cookware set

Specifications
Best for: Starter pack
Material: Stainless steel
Non Stick: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Dishwasher safe+Compatible with all hobs
Reasons to avoid
-Keeps selling out

If you want to start building up your kitchenware, then we recommend the Morphy Richards Special Edition Pan Set. Although it only comes with four pieces, they are of high-quality and allow room for you to add more items in the future. 

This cookware set comes with 16, 18 and 20cm pots and a 24cm frying pan which makes a great starter kit for new homes. Each piece has a silicone handle and glass lid for safe, easy cooking, so ideal for 'beginners'. The modern colour choices and sleek design make this the perfect housewarming gift for contemporary homes.