Last year, we got a new set of cookware!
We had been using various pieces of non-stick and stainless steel cookware that had been purchased at garage sales, and through our years of marriage (7 years today!) the non-stick pieces had worn out, leaving me with just a few pieces of usable cookware -- two sauce pans (the largest being 2 quarts) and two skillets (both warped) and my cast iron skillet.
So finally, new cookware was more than just a want; it was a necessity for our growing family. Joshua is always great about researching big purchases, and he spent several weeks reading everything he could find online about different cookware sets!
When he finally came to me with his conclusions, he suggested we buy this Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-piece set. I did some reading of my own, and then did something I don't normally do: suggested we spend even more money and get the 17-piece version of that same set.
Having grown up with 5 younger siblings, I saw my mom reach for her larger pans almost daily. I already could fill a 6-quart stock pot with soup easily, especially since we frequently had dinner guests.
We looked at the price of buying a couple additional larger pots to supplement the 12-piece set, but of course, the larger pots were the more expensive ones and quickly would have raised the price up and beyond the price of buying everything together in the 17-piece set.
After much prayerful thought (since it was a large purchase and a once-in-a-lifetime purchase!) we ordered the 17-piece set. The prices of their cookware sets fluctuate, so be sure to watch for a sale price or special offers (particularly on the 12-piece or fewer sets). Our set came with a 3-piece set of Cuisinart stainless steel mixing bowls and 2 wooden Cuisinart trivets, along with free shipping.
The very heavy box arrived on our doorstep and I could hardly believe my eyes as I pulled out piece after piece of beautiful, heavy, shiny cookware. All those big pans and lids completely filled up our kitchen table! It looks like a lot more in person than in the pictures online. I was in joyful shock and could hardly believe what I was seeing was real! This cookware just didn't look like it belonged in my humble little kitchen, that's for sure! :)
After I washed everything, I got busy using it. And I love it. Seriously, cooking with the Cuisinart Multiclad feels so luxurious!
As with everything in life, there are pros and cons. We've had our cookware for 8 months now and have been very satisfied with it. I use it multiple times each day, and feel I can honestly recommend it to others. :)
Things I love about my Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel cookware:
1. As the name indicates, this cookware is "multiclad" meaning that in between two layers of stainless steel is a layer of aluminum, which conducts heat better than stainless steel alone.
Nicer cookware frequently features this design on the bottom of the pans, but what makes Cuisinart Multiclad Pro special is that the aluminum core extends all the way up the sides of the pans. This means that when you heat something on the stove-top in one of these pans, the heat surrounds the food rather than just drifting from the bottom up.
All-Clad is a famous brand of cookware that has this same feature (the aluminum core on the sides as well as bottom) but All-Clad is quite a bit more expensive than this Cuisinart line. The Cuisinart Multiclad Pro cookware functions comparably to All-Clad, for a much more affordable price tag. (I haven't cooked with All-Clad but I have looked at it in person and it does feel/look very similar to the Cuisinart Multiclad I have.)
2. Due to the multiclad construction of these pans, they heat things quickly and evenly. I do find myself using a lower heat setting on the stove with these pans, and they're heavy enough to hold some heat while sauteeing.
3. The interior of the pans is smooth and shiny (but not a true mirror finish; the lids do have a mirror finish) and cleans easily. I have cooked down chili, fried veggies, boiled pasta, everything -- and these pans clean almost as easily as non-stick, with just a rag and soapy warm water.
One exception seems to be fried or scrambled eggs; if the right temperature and the right amount of oil is used, my scrambled eggs will fall from the skillet like it's non-stick. If the temp isn't just right when the eggs are added, they will stick, and when that happens I just soak the skillet for 5-10 minutes before cleaning (again, with just a rag and warm soapy water).
4. There are plenty of lids in my set, and they are also interchangeable on some items, meaning that I have lids that will fit everything, including both 8" and 10" skillets. This is so handy!
5. Speaking of lids, they are also air-tight; if you leave a lid on a hot pan and it starts to cool, the lid will completely seal. (Re-heat slightly to get lid off!) The lids have a great design that allows them to drip condensation easily into the pans if you wish, or not.
6. These pans are designed so that they all pour very easily with no drips. This is a huge plus in my opinion, since I frequently pour from my pans!
7. Since we got the 17-piece set, I have enough large pans. (And I put them ALL to use last fall when I was doing tomatoes!!) I use the stock pots frequently, as I expected.
What I didn't really expect was how much I'd like the big saute pan that came in the 17-piece set. I often had to use a 6-quart stock pot for sauteeing larger amounts of things, since a skillet was nowhere nearly big enough. This saute pan is huge, seriously huge, and I no longer have to worry about overflowing a skillet!
8. These pans are heavy, but not as thick as I expected. At first glance I thought perhaps they would burn things and not work as well as I had anticipated. I was definitely wrong! :)
9. The handles on the pans stay cool during cooking. Another big positive is that the handles are all riveted to the pans, rather than welded. This means that they aren't going to come off, as welds sometimes break.
10. These pans are all metal and are oven-safe.
Now, for the things I don't like so well. :)
1. The riveted handles (#9 above) is a plus, but it presents the slight difficulty of cleaning around the rivets on the inside of the pan. If food is sticking around the round rivets, I have to make sure I really wipe them rather than just brushing my dish cloth around the inside of the pan.
I've gotten used to this and hardly notice it now, but I hadn't expected it the first time I used them. :)
2. The handles on the lids get hot. Gotta use a potholder, unless you have calloused hands and for some reason like to get burned (like me). But even I used potholders for the lids when we were canning tomatoes. :)
3. The lids don't stack well at all. The raised handles are part of the reason for this, and also the fact that the lids, when turned upside down, don't really cradle in the pans like some other cookware I've seem/used. If you have a pot rack to hang this cookware, great! I don't have a place to hang a pot rack, so I have my pans and lids all carefully stowed into a cupboard. The pans do stack somewhat; I'm just saying they aren't made to be stacked, so they don't have the stackability that some pans do. ;)
4. Made in China.
You can read many reviews on Amazon.com if you're interested in what others have to say about this cookware! :)
Click here for my tips on cooking with stainless steel! I've even discovered how to cook scrambled eggs in stainless steel with NO sticking -- it's amazing and easy!
Full Disclosure: I wrote this review to share some of our research and experience with this cookware. All links are to Amazon.com through my affiliate. If you want to order cookware through my affiliate links, go right ahead, but please know I am not trying to convince anyone to purchase exactly what we decided on for our family. :)