My current pots and pans, mamas? I’m almost ashamed to tell you how old they are. Not that the old hand-me-down, formerly high-end Calphalon set wasn’t getting the job done for my basic cooking needs (I’m no Stacie, that’s for sure), but yeah, it was time. So I went to one of my most trusted professional sources for such things: My Facebook friends. I was looking for something relatively low maintenance (homecook that I am) so nothing copper, something durable and long-lasting and, ideally, something that wouldn’t cost me my kids’ college education.

Basically, I would like to buy one set of cookware and have it forever. The end.

Stainless steel seemed to be the recommendation of choice from the opinionated Facebook crowd, so I started looking. Which is when OXO reached out to let me know about their new line of  OXO Pro 13-piece stainless steel cookware set. And boy, as a longtime fan of OXO kitchen gadgets, am I thrilled I got a chance to try them out.

Not too surprisingly, OXO cookware absolutely lives up to my expectations of the brand. What’s more, it turns out the OXO stainless steel cookware offers so much of what my friends like about All-Clad, but literally at half the price. Or even less.

Plus it goes with my tea kettle.

Related: OXO tot helps kids in the kitchen


OXO stainless steel cookware review | affordable alternative to the big name brands

I tried out a 12″ fry pan, a covered sauce pan, and a 5 qt covered casserole, and let me just say in TLDR fashion, that I’m in the process of ordering a few missing pieces from the line to fill out my cookware collection.

Overall OXO cookware is extremely sturdy, appropriately heavyweight, and I thought it had fantastic heat conductivity.

I am used to a pan that requires food to be right over the burner in order to cook properly —  no luck for you, food around the edges. But even with its wide cooking surface, the large 12″ OXO fry pan let me saute a ton of chicken strips for fajitas with all the pieces cooking fairly evenly at once. That’s some impressive conductivity. I can’t wait to get my hands on the 8″ version too, for grilled cheese sandwiches and the occasional dinner for one.


OXO Stainless Steel pro cookware review: Like the high end brands at half the cost

The 2.5-quart covered saucepan is a fantastic size — though if you’re ordering individually you need to get the 3.5 quart OXO stainless steel saucepan, since the smaller one only seems to come in the 13-piece set right now — and I’m really liking my first experience with pans with sloped sides, which makes it so easy for a spatula to really get in there. I understand it also has a benefit as far as evaporation effects, which is useful if you’re simmering sauces. And I also like the clear lids which are new to me; it’s really nice to see how your covered dishes are coming along or whether the water is boiling without having to lift the lid.

Another pro: The cookware is safe in temperatures up to about 430-degrees in the broiler or oven, should you actual use your casserole for casseroles.

Of course parents are always going to ask about the heat of the handles. While they’re called “stay cool” handles, I have to say that the closer to the pot you get, the hotter the handles are going to be. (Duh, right?) The edges of the long fry pan handle do stay fairly cool though I’d still keep little ones away, but when it comes to the the handles on a casserole, stockpot, or the lids, you definitely don’t want to be lifting those without potholders.

They are metal after all, and near heat.

Also, if you haven’t yet taken the plunge to heavy duty stainless steel cookware, know that these are heavy. That’s why they perform so well. It makes the helper handle on the skillet a necessity, and I can only say, please use it!  It took me some getting used to after being able to go one-handed with my smaller pots.

OXO Pro Stainless Steel Cookware: Fantastic line at a really great price

As for clean-up, A.K.A. the bane of my existence, stainless steel is not without its maintenance requirements. I’m impressed so far with how easy these have been to get clean after basic cooking so long as I remember to get them into the sink pretty quickly. But when they do get stained, I’m prepared to go at it with white vinegar and a soft cloth.

And while they’re dishwasher safe, I’m old school that way; I still like to hand wash my pots and pans then dry them immediately.

So. Price.


Stainless steel pro cookware smackdown: OXO vs All-Clad

For comparison sake, the OXO 12″ fry pan lists for $59.99 while the comparable All-Clad version is $119. Similarly, the 5-quart casserole with cover is $99 while the comparable 4-quart from All-Clad is $210. That’s a hefty difference, even if there are some bargains and sales to be found on the web. Perhaps if you’re a professional chef you’ll be able to tell a difference and justify the All-Clad price, but for my own needs, honestly, I’m having trouble with the idea of spending the extra money.

An entire 13-piece set of OXO stainless steel cookware (or, as I think of it, 8 cookware pieces plus lids) retails for $399.99 on Amazon. Please ignore the $499.99 list price thing because it’s also $399.00 on the OXO site, only Amazon gets you free prime shipping. (I hate when sellers give you fake list prices so that you think you’re getting more of a bargain.)

But in all? Wow, I’m happy to have discovered a more affordable option that gives me the control and performance I need. 8″ fry pan: I’m coming for you.

You can find the OXO 3-ply stainless steel cookware with free Prime shipping from our affiliate Amazon, or get more info from the OXO website. Thanks to the company for sending CME several pieces for review consideration.

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