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Buying guide for Best T-fal cookware sets

For serious cooks, a high-quality sauté pan or saucepan is a prized possession. Even better is a complete set of them. T-fal is one of the leaders in cookware. The company got its start in France in 1956 as Tefal, a mashup of Teflon and aluminum. Today, it continues to be a popular source of high-quality cookware known around the world for its everyday practicality.

A matching set of cookware from T-fal appeals to the new cook who wants to delve into cooking shows or online video inspirations. It also appeals to the seasoned chef seeking to replace their ragged pots and pans with a collection that is visually appealing and able to meet their culinary demands.

With the wide variety of cookware sets on the market, cooks can pick and choose which pieces they want in their collection and how much they want to spend. T-fal offers a bounty of quality choices. The only question is which set from T-fal to choose. Understanding the top considerations and features is key to finding the best T-fal has to offer.

cookware set
One benefit of nonstick surfaces on cookware is that you will use less oil, resulting in healthier food.

Stainless steel, aluminum, copper, and clad

Cookware may be made from a number of different kinds of metal. Each type of metal has its own unique characteristics.

Stainless steel

This is the most common material found in cookware. It’s not highly expensive, it doesn’t react with foods like other metals do, and it’s an effective all-around cookware material. However, it is also not a particularly effective heat conductor. For this reason, stainless steel is often paired with other metals.

Aluminum

An efficient heat conductor, pots and pans with aluminum construction are also inexpensive.

Aluminum is a soft metal, which means it can easily scratch and dent. It can also react with food. Hard-anodized aluminum is a type of aluminum that’s thicker and harder than standard aluminum. It largely wipes out the negatives associated with cheaper aluminum. That said, hard anodized cookware comes at a higher cost.

Copper

The choice of professional chefs due to its superior heat induction, copper has a number of downsides. These include its high cost, upkeep (you will need to work at it to maintain its appearance) and the fact that it reacts with certain foods.

Clad

Clad cookware features multiple layers of different metals. With clad, you end up with all the advantages of several metals and a few of the negatives. The majority of clad cookware pieces feature a “sandwich” of aluminum or copper encased in stainless steel. The result is cookware that heats up quickly and doesn’t react poorly with foods, all at a moderate cost.

If you fry a lot of food, choose a T-fal set with nonstick fry pans that will prevent stuck-on food and make cleanup quick and easy.

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Set pieces

The actual pieces you receive with your T-fal cookware set (usually between 10 to 20 pieces) will vary depending on what you buy. The majority of sets will contain the following.

Fry pans/sauté pans

These will usually be nonstick, and you will receive two to three different pan sizes. Home chefs need these versatile pans for preparing fried foods, from eggs to fried chicken.

Saucepans

These may be nonstick, and you should again receive two to three different sizes. All should have lids. Saucepans are go-to essentials for whipping up soups, stews, and sauces.

Dutch oven

This is a large pot you can use to cook everything from a chicken to pasta. It should include a lid and may be nonstick.

Griddle

Generally included in a set, this flat pan is typically nonstick andis designed to cook items like pancakes.

Stockpot

Most comprehensive cookware sets include a stockpot. With spacious dimensions that include tall sides, this type of pot is ideal for cooks who prepare huge portions of food, like chili for a large group.

Other pieces

Other pieces can vary greatly and include everything from steamer inserts to egg pans. Also included may be accessories such as spatulas, spoons, or forks. Some sets include a recipe collection along with a user manual.

cookware set
DID YOU KNOW?
Copper cookware is especially prized by professional chefs due to its high conduction. It heats and cools quickly, giving the chef more control over the cooking process.
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Look for these T-fal cookware features

Acceptable weight

Weight can be an issue with some cookware sets. A heavy pot on its own usually won’t be too cumbersome, beautiful you add the weight of the food being cooked, and a few pounds can make a big difference in user comfort.

Be sure you’re comfortable with the weight and balance of all the pieces in a cookware set. If you are shopping online, the product specs should provide some information about how much the pieces weigh and how they feel in the hand.

Easy cleanup

Are all elements of the cookware set dishwasher safe, or do some or all need to be washed by hand?

T-fal has many dishwasher safe options. These are ideal for cooks who don’t like to hand wash dishes. Keep in mind that pots and pans with nonstick surfaces can be easier to clean than those without.

Nonstick options

A pan with a nonstick interior can certainly be easier to cook with. However, there are a number of different surfaces we’re talking about when we bring up nonstick. Make sure you know what you’re spending money on.

A nonstick coated surface like Teflon should be free from PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and other potentially harmful chemicals. Ceramic coatings are another durable way to affix a nonstick surface to a pan. Features like starburst surfaces are designed to resist sticking without the use of a coating. That said, some people find them to be less effective.

Remember that most nonstick surfaces are not very scratch-resistant. As such, care must be taken during use and cleanup to keep the interiors looking and performing their best.

Thermo-Spot technology

Some T-fal cookware features Thermo-Spot indicators built into the bottoms of the pans.

During preheating, a Thermo-Spot changes color. Solid red alerts the cook that the pan has heated to its ideal temperature for excellent cooking results. This unique technology is a welcomed feature for novice cooks who need a little extra help cooking their favorite foods.

Thoughtful handles

Thoughtfully added cookware handles can help you to safely move around pots as you’re cooking. But some are better than others. The handle should be securely fastened to the side of the pan or pot using rivets (more common) or welds. It should stay cool to the touch when on the stove. A rubberized or silicone handle will help in this regard and provide a more comfortable grip.

An ergonomic design will also make a handle easy to grasp. A handle should include a hole or loop so the pan or pot can be hung for storage. Ideally, it will also be oven-safe.

Lid considerations

All saucepans, stockpots, and Dutch ovens should have their own durable lids. A cookware set receives extra points from us if the lids also fit the fry and sauté pans.

Lids should fit tightly to keep steam and food inside the pan. Those made of tempered glass allow you to monitor the cooking process without interrupting it by constantly having to lift the lid.

If the option to release excess steam during cooking is important to you, the cookware set you choose should have vented lids.

While T-fal backs the safety of its nonstick cookware that contains PTFE coatings, the brand offers some ceramic-coated sets that are PTFE-free as well.

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T-fal cookware set prices

Low-cost

Some budget T-fal cookware sets can be purchased for under $60. These sets tend to have fewer pieces and may be limited to just pans within the set.

Average

The majority of T-fal cookware set prices sit in the $60 to $110 range. For a consumer who wants a little bit of everything (several pots, several pans, and lids for everything), this is a good place to start looking.

High-end

Some of the best high-end T-fal cooking sets run in the $110 to $200 range. Pricier options are usually the result of one of two factors. Either more pieces are included, or the materials used to make the cookware are more expensive.

pan
DID YOU KNOW?
Stainless steel cookware stands out in terms of durability. Proper heating and use of oil will help prevent food from sticking to the interiors of stainless steel pots and pans.
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Cooking pancakes in a stainless steel pan

Do you like the idea of the versatility and durability of stainless steel cookware but not the hassle of trying to prevent foods from sticking to the interior surfaces? While it’s not as easy to remove cooked food from a stainless steel pan as it is from one that has a nonstick surface, it can be done.

Almost everyone likes fluffy pancakes, but not when they stick to the pan and tear in half when serving them. The following are steps to preparing pancakes in a stainless steel pan for excellent results. The good news is that most of these steps can be used for other foods too.

  1. Start with a clean pan that doesn’t have any built-up oil residue.
  2. Prepare your pancake batter.
  3. Heat the pan on medium heat on a stovetop burner.
  4. Add oil. Canola or vegetable oils are best for cooking pancakes.
  5. Swirl the oil around the pan so that it covers the entire cooking surface.
  6. Pour the batter in the pan in sections. The number will depend on the size of the pan.
  7. Watch for the batter to bubble and turn slightly golden brown on the edges.
  8. Use a stainless steel spatula to flip the pancakes.
  9. Gently lift the pancakes while they cook to release them from the pan’s surface. Flip them after about a minute.
  10. Transfer the pancakes from the pan to serving plates.
  11. Enjoy!

 If you cook large portions for a large household, opt for a T-fal cookware set that has a Dutch oven or a stockpot. Both types of cookware are designed for preparing generous amounts of food.

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Tips

  • High heat can be harmful to nonstick surfaces. Turning down the heat will not only help prolong the life of your nonstick pans, but it will actually improve the way the pan cooks.
  • If you have an induction stovetop, check that any cookware set you are considering will work with it.
  • Let all cookware cool completely after cooking before you clean it. Placing a hot pan in a sink filled with water could warp the metal and permanently damage it.
  • Check the documentation carefully before using metal utensils with your cookware set. While some nonstick surfaces claim to be “metal utensil safe,” the majority are not.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t have measuring cups on hand. Pots with measuring marks on the sides are handy if you adhere closely to recipes while cooking.
  • Sets can range from 10 to 20 pieces or more, but you should know exactly what you’re buying in terms of these pieces. If you are buying a 20-piece set, you’ll want to know if spatulas and lids comprise pieces 14 through 20.
  • When your set first arrives, admire it for several minutes, and then wash it thoroughly with a cloth and warm, soapy water prior to using it for cooking.
  • To keep food from sticking to stainless steel, heat the pan first. Then, add the oil and food when it is hot. Take the opposite approach when cooking on a nonstick surface: Add oil and food to the pan. Then, turn on the heat on your cooktop.
  • If you choose a stainless steel cookware set, invest in a quality stainless steel spatula. This is a must-have utensil for flipping and removing food while leaving behind little to no stuck-on pieces.
  • Hard-anodized aluminum cookware is made of aluminum that has been electrochemically transformed. This leaves the cookware harder than stainless steel, resistant to reacting with foods, and largely nonstick.
  • If you would like more choices than “polished stainless steel” for your cookware, search for sets that offer finishes in a variety of colors. This is a great way to match your cookware to your kitchen décor.
cookware set
Do you want cookware that allows for easy pouring? Be sure to choose pots with tapered rims.

FAQ

Q. What potential health risks should I worry about when using a cookware set?

A. Some nonstick coatings contain chemicals such as PFOA, which should be avoided. Metals like aluminum and copper can react with certain ingredients like tomatoes and leach into foods. Ceramic-surfaced pots may also contain trace elements of lead or cadmium.

Cooking with stainless steel (or hard-anodized aluminum) and knowing the composition and origin of any pan coatings can cut down on the majority of potential cookware-related health risks.

Q. I’m new to cooking. What should I concentrate on when buying a T-fal cookware set?

A. First, take stock of what you like to eat. Try to find a set that contains the pans you need (without the ones you don’t). Aim for a low-price stainless steel set that includes utensils to start yourself off right. Or, if you prefer, try a set of cookware with a nonstick finish to take the hassle out of cleanup. Bon appétit!

Q. How long do nonstick cooking surfaces last?

A. There are several factors that will determine the longevity of pots and pans with nonstick coatings. Pricier sets are typically made better and hold up well to use. T-fal sets that feature ceramic nonstick surfaces are also known for being long-lasting.

The manner in which you care for the pieces in a nonstick set is vital to their longevity. Never use metal utensils on nonstick coatings, and avoid cooking temperatures that are higher than the manufacturer recommends. With proper care, the coating on a quality set should last five years or more.

Q. Will my T-fal cookware work in the oven?

A. It depends on the cookware set. Some sets are as much at home in the oven or under the broiler as they are on the stove, while others could be damaged or destroyed in the oven. Check your documentation carefully. If your cookware is oven safe, note the maximum recommended temperature, and stay within that range.

 

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