Glass-top stoves are a popular choice because their smooth surfaces are sleek and easy to clean. Today, most electric stoves on the market feature glass-top cooking surfaces. These stoves are strong and built to withstand frequent and dramatic temperature changes. They are, however, still susceptible to scratching, and can even potentially shatter, so it’s important to be mindful of the type of cookware you use. Read on to learn about the different options available, as well as our recommendations for the best cookware for glass-top stoves.
- BEST OVERALL: Cuisinart 10 Piece Tri-ply Cookware Set
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Rachael Ray Brights Aluminum Nonstick Cookware Set
- BEST NONSTICK: GreenLife Soft Grip Healthy Ceramic Pots and Pans Set
- BEST STAINLESS STEEL: All-Clad Stainless Steel 5-Ply Bonded Cookware Set
- BEST COPPER: All-Clad Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded Cookware Set
- BEST CAST IRON: Nutrichef Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet 3 Pieces
- BEST TITANIUM: T-fal Hard Anodized Titanium Cookware Set
Popular Types of Cookware for Glass-Top Stoves
Cookware sets are available in a variety of different materials. Though the differences may seem subtle, some materials are better suited to different types of cooking, and can have a major impact on your meal. Read on to find out which cookware will be the best fit for your kitchen.
Stainless steel has long been a popular cookware material because of its lack of reactivity and impressive strength. It performs well at high temperatures and does a great job of retaining heat. Because it’s uncoated, you should have no concerns about scratching your stainless steel cookware with standard kitchen utensils. Stainless steel is largely easy to maintain and is typically dishwasher-safe. However, pots and pans made from exclusively stainless steel can have poor conductivity, which is why higher-end products feature an aluminum core with stainless steel cladding to provide even heat distribution. This type of cookware is often referred to as tri-ply or triple-ply due to its three layers, though 5-ply and even 7-ply options are also available. The layered base provides a sturdy foundation that is unlikely to buckle.
Aluminum cookware is popular because it’s lightweight, provides excellent heat conductivity, and is often available at a low price point. Aluminum cookware is typically anodized, meaning it has undergone a process to control oxidation in order to prevent corrosion. The end result is a smooth and durable surface that does not react to acidic foods. Because of its durability, it can be used with a variety of kitchen utensils without scratching. Uncoated aluminum can impart both discoloration and an unpleasant taste to food, so most products on the market today feature a protective nonstick coating. Aluminum is often used at the core of high-end stainless steel cookware to improve heat conductivity. It is not, however, induction-compatible, unless clad with stainless steel.
Like aluminum cookware, copper cookware provides even cooking because of its superior heat conductivity. While uncoated copper pots have a beautiful vintage look, copper is reactive when it comes into contact with alkaline and acidic foods, which can affect your meal’s appearance and flavor. Uncoated copper pots also require a lot of maintenance in order to keep their finish looking polished, and washing them in the dishwasher is not recommended. Copper pots and pans lined with stainless steel, however, offer the benefits of copper without the reactivity and maintenance needs.
Titanium cookware is gaining popularity because of its strength and light weight. It’s just as strong as stainless steel, and is unlikely to become corroded. Many products on the market are not actually fabricated with pure titanium, however. There are two types of commonly found titanium cookware.
- Pure titanium cookware has a titanium core and is sometimes coated with a layer of ceramic silicone. It is strong and lightweight but doesn’t distribute heat evenly.
- Titanium reinforced cookware has an aluminum base, but features a titanium-infused cooking surface. The titanium makes the aluminum more durable and increases nonstick capabilities.
True ceramic cookware is not recommended for use on glass-top stoves because its rough texture can damage the surface. However, most products on the market today labeled as ceramic are not actually ceramic, but metal with a silicone coating that creates a nonstick cooking surface. They’re marketed as a safer and healthier alternative to traditional nonstick materials like Teflon.
Cast-iron cookware is a favorite of professional chefs and home cooks alike for its ability to withstand and retain high temperatures. Cast-iron pans are durable and long-lasting, often passed down for generations. Like traditional ceramic, however, uncoated cast iron runs the risk of scratching your glass-top stove because of its rough texture. Cast-iron cookware with a porcelain or enamel coating, however, provides a smooth finish to reduce the risk of damage. For those looking to purchase a true, uncoated, cast-iron pan, however, some manufacturers pre-season their cookware so that its finish is smooth and safe to use on your glass-top stove.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Cookware for Glass-Top Stoves
Before you begin to shop for cookware for your glass-top stove, weigh some key considerations. Though it would be easy to assume that all cookware will perform similarly, there are several factors to consider. Read on to find out what to keep in mind when shopping for the best cookware set for your kitchen.
Pieces in the Set
Cookware sets can feature anywhere from three to 15 or more items, but the right set will depend on your specific needs. For those moving into their first homes or looking to replace all their existing cookware, a more extensive set with a wide variety of pot and pan sizes is useful. While some sets boast a large number of pieces, however, it’s important to think about which pots and pans that will most likely be used. Those with limited storage space would benefit from a pared-down set that includes just the essentials.
Some key items to look for in a set are a 10 to 12-inch frying or sauté pan, a 3 to 4-quart saucepan, and an 8 to 10-quart stockpot.
Cooking Surface and Depth
The type of cooking surface you need depends largely on what’s being cooked.
- Nonstick cooking surfaces are useful for cooking eggs and pancakes, as well as any other delicate dish that you don’t want sticking to the pan. They also allow you to use less oil when cooking. These surfaces are prone to scratching, so don’t use stainless steel utensils that will damage the coating, which is usually either polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon) or ceramic.
- Uncoated stainless steel cooking surfaces are more durable and are ideal for browning meat and vegetables.
You may have noticed recipes instructing you to use a “heavy-bottomed pot” for certain kitchen tasks. Typically, that means a pot or pan that has several layers of stainless steel and either aluminum or copper to achieve ideal heat conductivity. Cookware sets marketed as tri-ply, 5-ply, or 7-ply will have heavy bottoms.
Handle Material and Features
Just as the pans themselves come in a variety of different materials, so do their handles.
- Stainless steel handles can withstand high temperatures and are typically oven- and dishwasher-safe. They can get hot, however, so keep your oven mitts handy, especially when cooking over very high heat.
- Comfort-grip handles are ergonomically shaped to make your pots and pans easier to maneuver. They are typically made from plastic or silicone. Unlike stainless steel handles, these cannot withstand high heats from the oven or broiler. Some are made to handle heats of up to 350 degrees.
- Cool-touch handles can either be integrated or removable, and ensure that the handle’s temperature is controlled separately from the pan’s heat. They can be made of stainless steel, silicone, and other materials. Depending on the material, they may or may not be oven-safe.
While some cookware sets feature metal lids, many options on the market today come with clear glass lids, which offer the added benefit of allowing you to keep an eye on what’s cooking. They are, however, heavier and breakable. Some higher-end options include tempered-glass lids featuring shatter-proof designs. Stainless steel lids can often handle high temperatures while glass lids often have a maximum heat capacity of 350 degrees, depending on the material of the handles.
Lids can be either vented or non-vented. Vented lids include a small hole or holes that allow steam to escape. This prevents liquids from boiling over. Non-vented lids have a tight fit and ensure that all moisture remains contained.
Weight is a major consideration for some home cooks, especially those with limited mobility. For some cooking tasks, like making crepes, you want a lightweight pan that can be easily maneuvered. For other cooking methods, like slow-cooking a stew or large cut of meat, heavier cookware is preferable. Some prefer lightweight cookware because it’s easier to manage while doing dishes. Lightweight cookware options include traditional nonstick, ceramic, aluminum, and titanium, while heavier options include copper, stainless steel, and cast iron.
Some cooks may want to invest in cookware that can be used on a glass-top stove while also performing well at high heats in the oven. Cast iron, coated cast iron, and stainless steel cookware is generally oven-safe, allowing you to go from the stovetop to the oven when braising or slow-cooking. Nonstick pans have not traditionally been oven-safe, though many modern sets can handle moderate heats of up to 350 degrees. Some cookware sets are optimized for use on induction stovetops as well as gas and electric stoves, which provides a versatile option if you ever make the switch.
Considering the fact that a cookware set can be a significant financial investment, you want to ensure that you purchase one that suits your aesthetic tastes. If your kitchen is equipped with stainless steel appliances, matching stainless steel cookware can provide a sleek and modern look. Both copper and enameled cast-iron cookware have a classic vintage look, making them excellent decorative serving vessels along with being practical for cooking. Many nonstick cookware sets feature bases in a variety of colors, lending to more bright and eclectic decor styles.
Ease of Cleaning
Many cookware sets are dishwasher-safe. Stainless steel, in particular, is known for faring well in the dishwasher. Many people clean their pots and pans by hand, however, so it’s important to consider how easy or difficult a material is to clean. Nonstick surfaces can typically be lightly cleaned with soap and water, while stainless options may require a little more elbow grease.
Cast-iron cookware has a reputation for being difficult to clean, and there are conflicting opinions on how best to do it. You should never put cast-iron cookware in the dishwasher, and you should avoid using soap to clean it unless you plan to re-season it.
Lightweight pots and pans tend to be easier to maneuver in the sink, while heavier ones can be unwieldy.
Our Top Picks
The following recommendations take into account all the considerations mentioned, including the pieces in the set, the cooking surface, weight, aesthetics, and versatility. This list features a variety of top-notch cookware sets to help you find the right one for your needs and budget.
This versatile aluminum and stainless steel cookware set from quality kitchenware brand Cuisinart includes the key pieces you need to prepare a wide variety of dishes. This 10-piece Cuisinart set includes 1.5 and 2.5-quart saucepans with lids, a 3-quart sauté pan with lid, a 6-quart stockpot with lid, and 8 and 10-inch skillets.
With an aluminum core and stainless steel cladding, this set is dishwasher-safe and oven-safe up to 500 degrees and is suitable for use on gas, electric, and induction stovetops in addition to glass-top stoves.
Each piece features an aluminum core that is bonded to an interior and exterior of stainless steel, making them non-reactive and ideal for conductivity. The riveted handles stay cool while you cook, and the lids are tempered glass.
Those looking to furnish their kitchen without breaking the bank will be well-served by this 10-piece set from Rachael Ray. The set includes a 1-quart saucepan, 2-quart saucepan, 6-quart stockpot, and 3-quart sauté pan with lids and well as an 8.5-inch frying pan and a 10-inch frying pan.
These hard-anodized aluminum pots and pans feature a nonstick surface, and their rubberized, double-riveted handles are sturdy and easy to grip. All the lids feature shatter-resistant glass, and all elements are dishwasher-safe.
The colorful handles (available in four bright color options) and low price point make this cookware set a great pick for a first apartment.
For those interested in nonstick cookware, but unsure about Teflon’s safety, this 14-piece ceramic set might be an appropriate option. Featuring a coating derived from sand that’s free of PFAS, PFOA, lead, and cadmium, you won’t have to worry about the material degrading or releasing dangerous fumes when exposed to high heat.
Available in eight vibrant colors, the 14-piece set includes 7-inch and 9.5-inch frying pans, 1-quart and 2-quart saucepans with lids, a 2.5-quart sauté pan with lid, and a 5-quart stockpot with lid, as well as a ladle, slotted spoon, and two spatulas.
All the lids are made from durable glass, allowing you to keep an eye on your food while it’s cooking, and the soft-grip handles make for a comfortable, ergonomic cooking experience. While the nonstick surface makes these pieces easy to clean, they’re also dishwasher-safe for even more convenience. Keep in mind these pieces are only oven-safe up to 350 degrees, so they won’t withstand high oven temperatures or a broiler.
All-Clad is one of the most respected names in cookware, known for its high-quality pieces, and this stainless steel set is no exception. Featuring 5-ply construction with alternating levels of stainless steel and aluminum, this cookware set offers a stick-resistant cooking surface that provides even heating. With a 10-inch frying pan, 1.5-quart and 3-quart saucepans with lids, and an 8-quart stockpot with lid, this set offers an easy-to-clean set of kitchen essentials.
In addition to being dishwasher-safe, making cleanup a cinch, this set is also oven-safe up to 600 degrees, making them great for dishes cooked on the stovetop and finished with a quick run under a hot broiler.
While cookware made exclusively from copper tends to be reactive and impart unwanted flavors into certain foods, stainless steel-clad copper cookware offers the benefits of copper without the drawbacks. This set from All-Clad features a 5-ply construction, with a copper core and additional layers of aluminum and stainless steel. This creates ideal conductivity for even heating and temperature control.
This set’s 10-inch frying pan, 2-quart covered saucepan, 3-quart covered saute pan, and 8-quart covered stockpot can handle heats of up to 600 degrees, making them compatible with the oven and broiler. This set is safe to use on induction cooktops and is dishwasher-safe.
If your glass-top stove has deterred you from buying cast-iron cookware, take note. This 3-piece set from Nutrichef was designed to be used on glass-top stoves. With 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch pans, this set offers versatility for all your frying, sauteing, and braising needs. New cast-iron pans often need to be seasoned in order to develop a nonstick surface, but this set comes pre-seasoned and ready to use. All three pans are safe to heat up to 500 degrees, so they can withstand going from the stovetop to the oven.
Because the handles conduct heat, three cool-touch silicone handles are included to prevent burns. Along with glass-top stoves, this set can be used on gas, electric, and induction stoves.
For the home cook looking for a robust cookware set, this 17-piece titanium option from T-Fal might do the trick. This 17-piece set includes 8-inch and 10.25-inch frying pans as well as an 11.5-inch frying pan with lid; a 10.25-inch griddle; 1-quart, 2-quart, and 3-quart saucepans with lids; a 3.5-quart sauté pan; a 5-quart dutch oven with lid; a 3-quart steamer insert with handles; and a one egg wonder pan.
The exterior is made from hard-anodized aluminum while the nonstick surface is reinforced with titanium, making it scratch-resistant and compatible with the use of metal utensils.
T-Fal’s signature thermo-spot heat indicator lets you know when your pan has finished preheating. Vented, tempered glass lids allow you to see the contents of your pots and saucepans. The handles are made from riveted silicone and the cookware is heat-resistant up to 400 degrees while the lids are safe up to 350 degrees. This entire set is dishwasher-safe.
FAQs About Your New Cookware for Glass-Top Stoves
With all the choices available, finding the best cookware set for your glass-top stove can be a bit overwhelming, so you might still have some questions. Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about glass-top stoves and compatible cookware.
Q. What does induction compatible mean?
Induction compatible means that cookware is safe to use on induction stovetops. Induction cooktops use magnetism rather than direct heat for conductivity and therefore require the use of cookware that is responsive to magnetism, such as steel.
Q. What pans should not be used on a glass-top stove?
In order to avoid damaging your glass-top stove, you should avoid pots and pans made from glass, stoneware, traditional ceramic, and cast iron that has not been crafted to be compatible with glass-top stoves.
Q. Can glass-top stove cookware be cleaned in the dishwasher?
It depends on what material your cookware is made from. Generally, stainless steel and most nonstick cookware are dishwasher-safe. However, be sure to check the care instructions of your specific product before putting it in the dishwasher.