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Planning a wedding is one of the most stressful tasks I’ve ever undertaken. There have been lots of questions along the way.
For instance, what kinds of laws apply to serving alcohol at this kind of thing? When do I send save the dates? What is actually a good price for catering?
Fortunately, I’ve had lots of help answering these from an incredible maid of honor and a shamefully large stack of wedding magazines. With some of the bigger items now checked off my list, I’ve started the process of building my wedding registry.
While this has been some of the most fun I’ve had during the wedding-planning process (other than my dress, of course), it is also where I’ve run into one of the toughest questions to answer: What kind of cookware should I choose?
I already have a relatively well-stocked kitchen thanks to very generous friends and family. I’ve inherited some treasures like my mom’s first KitchenAid Standing Mixer, a very small Le Crueset dutch oven, and a well-loved family cookbook from my grandmother.
The one thing my kitchen is still lacking is a real, grown up cookware set.
Right now, I’m currently working with the cheapest set IKEA had to offer when my college roommate and I were outfitting our first place.
Considering I’m four years deep into a food blog and spend most of my free time in the kitchen, I think it’s time that I had a good quality set of cookware. There are a few things that I know I want in my set: very durable, easy to clean, oven safe, and compatible with all ranges.
With the help of the Amazon Wedding Registry Tool, in which you can list all of you wants and desires – whether or not you’ve found it on Amazon (although gift buyers do save 10%), I’ve narrowed down my selections. I hope my picks can facilitate your process in choosing the best cookware for your gift registry as well.
Budget-Friendly Options ($0-$100)
I began cooking with cast iron my junior year of college and couldn’t believe I hadn’t gotten my hands on it sooner. I started out with a pretty inexpensive pan, but have since moved up to an enameled Lodge skillet (thanks future mother-in-law!).
I still only have the very tiny dutch oven and would love to expand my cast iron cookware collection. This was one of the first things that came to mind when starting my registry for a few reasons: cast iron is very durable, an excellent heat conductor, naturally nonstick, and super multipurpose.
Just a few pieces could expand the range of what I can cook in my kitchen significantly.
Since I already have a great skillet, I’d like a large dutch oven and an enameled grill pan. I use cast iron cookware that’s enameled on the outside because I have a range with glass top, but I prefer the inside not to be enameled.
I enjoy the seasoning process and cooking with that interior feels a little more traditional. If I ever do upgrade to an induction stove, enameled cast iron is compatible, so that’s brings some reassurance.
I’m also considering a wok and a griddle, but one of the few downsides of cast iron is that it’s difficult to store due to its heft. If I can find room in my tiny kitchen, I’m sure these will find their way on to my registry. Since you only need a couple of pieces to complete a cast iron collection and cast iron cookware is relatively inexpensive, this is a great budget-friendly option.
T-Fal Nonstick was another line of cookware that I considering adding to my registry. It’s inexpensive, nonstick, and the set I had my eye on is even dishwasher safe. The nonstick interior is supposed to be exceptionally scratch resistant and durable, so the risk of it flaking off into my food would be minimal.
Amazon has a 10 piece set available for well under $100 and that would certainly free up some room on my registry. This set is also compatible with induction ranges, so it would work with any cook stove that I have in the future.
T-Fal’s biggest drawback is that it’s only oven safe to 350°F, and I’m hoping to have something a little more durable. I love being able to sear a dish on the stove and move it to the oven to finish baking without switching dishes. I’m also still a little wary of the nonstick lining and might prefer something more natural.
When considering registry options that are a bit more of a step up, I thought of Calphalon cookware. My mom has had her nonstick set for eighteen years and it’s still cooking perfectly, so there’s no question of its durability.
Although I initially started looking at nonstick 10 piece set, but discovered that they have a 10 piece stainless steel set that’s only about $40 more.
Calphalon has an excellent reputation for durable, well-made cookware and this type of brand recognition does bring some peace of mind. The nonstick line is made of hard anodized aluminum, so I know that either choice will give me great heat conductivity.
Although the nonstick line is only oven safe to 350°F, the stainless is safe up to much higher.
Again, Calphalon cookware is compatible with all ranges, so it’ll work in whatever kitchen I end up in next. Although I do love the easy cooking and cleanup (ahem, I’m super lazy) of nonstick, I’d probably end up picking the stainless steel if I were to go with a Calphalon set because I want to use it in the oven without worrying too much.
When I graduated from college, one of my aunts bought me a stainless steel Cuisinart saucepan as a gift and I’ve been really impressed with it. It cleans up very well and food doesn’t stick to the bottom or burn the way it does in my much thinner IKEA set.
It’s very solid and when I’m feeling lazy, I can run it through the dishwasher instead of hand-washing it.
They have a set of standard stainless, but I’m eyeing their MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set.
I’ve always wanted to use multi-clad cookware but have been scared off by the price tags on products from companies like All-Clad, and this set has very similar composition, even an 18/10 stainless steel interior, at about $230.
Multi-clad cookware is so great because aluminum, the heat conducting core, runs all the way up the sides of the cookware. In non multi-clad sets, only the base has an aluminum core. I also can’t help but notice that it’s a very pretty set.
High End ($300+)
Le Creuset is famous for their gorgeous dutch ovens, but they actually have lines of cookware, too. I’m considering their 12-piece Tri-Ply Stainless Steel set.
It’s dishwasher safe and compatible with all ranges. It comes with a lifetime warranty which is especially important since Le Creuset products take a chunk out of the wallet. Since Le Creuset is a very well respected name in the culinary world, I can feel pretty confident about getting a great product even though I haven’t used anything from this line before.
I love that it’s multi-clad, so I’d definitely be getting some of the greatest heat conductivity available. Le Creuset has a fantastic accessory line so I could add to my collection over the years and make my kitchen gorgeously matchy-matchy.
One big draw back of Le Creuset’s stainless steel sets for me is that they’re only oven safe to 400°F, and if this much money is going to be spent on a cookware set, I’d like it to be able to go in the oven a little more safely.
When it comes to cookware, the cream of the crop has got to be All-Clad. Their products are widely regarded by professional chefs and home cooks as one of, if not THE, best available; they offer lifetime warranties; most of their cookware is made in the USA; and they were the pioneers of bonded multi-ply cookware. Although their top line is Copper Core, I’ve been drooling over the Stainless line for ages. And how could I not?
All-Clad has few competitors when it comes to heat conductivity and I know the products will last forever. The Stainless line has an 18/10 stainless steel interior cooking surface that won’t react to food and an aluminum core for perfectly even heating.
It’s compatible with all ranges, including induction, and it’s dishwasher safe. The Stainless line meets every single one of my criteria. The only real downside is the price: this set will run you $675.
After some thought, I decided that I wasn’t comfortable with putting the high-end options on my registry. The thought of Aunt Susie shelling out more than $500 would make me squirm a bit every morning while I was cooking my eggs.
However, if you family and aquaintances are little more “well healed” then feel free to reach for the sky and possibly look at a set of Copper cookware.
For me, getting a cheaper line like T-Fal doesn’t feel like all that much of an upgrade, and I really want something that’s oven safe. Ultimately, I decided on the Cuisinart Multi-Clad Pro Stainless Set.
I’ll finally get to try cooking with multi-clad, it’s oven safe at any temperature I would want, and I’ve really enjoyed using other products from them.
I couldn’t quite give up my dream of a cast iron dutch oven, though, so I did throw one on the registry since they’re pretty affordable on their own. Overall, I think my kitchen will be pretty well-rounded!
Be sure to check out the Amazon Wedding Registry Tool. It’s really a great option to organize all of you registry – just not your cookware choices.
Click here to continue onward to “Part 2: Bakeware” in our journey in selecting the best kitchen accessories for your wedding registry.
Not into baking? Not a problem, we also have a Part 3: Small Kitchen Appliances.
About Chelsea Miller
Chelsea Miller, born and raised in Portland, Oregon, graduated from the University of Oregon where she discovered both her love of football and cooking great food. She's the founder of the food blog "A Duck's Oven" and began writing for Foodal in 2014.