For most, the move to their first apartment is filled with nervousness, excitement, and a little bit of joy about striking out on their own. Of course, moving to your first apartment also means that you’ll need to furnish it—from the living room furniture to cookware and other appliances.
As you read, you’ll learn more about some of the best cookware sets for a first apartment and what you should look for while shopping.
In a hurry? This is our winner!
Best Cookware Set for a First Apartment – Runner Up
Best Cookware Set for a First Apartment – Comparison Table
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Best Cookware Set for a First Apartment – Reviews
Best Cookware Set for a First Apartment – Buyers Guide
As you consider the best cookware set for your first apartment, think about what you are going to need. The major advantage of buying a set of cookware instead of individual pieces is that you can get everything you need for your first kitchen with one simple purchase. Additionally, cookware sold in sets is usually cheaper than buying pieces individually. This is also nice for matching pieces to a color or design theme, especially if you decide to invest in a higher-quality set that you can add to at a later time. Here’s a look at some of the things we considered while choosing the best apartment cookware sets.
When you’re shopping for a first apartment, the best place to start is with the basics. Some of the things you’ll want to look for include:
- Saucepan– Saucepans are great for reheating leftovers, making small portions of soup or canned goods, and preparing sauce or side dishes.
- Stockpot– Stockpots are best for boiling pasta or entertaining guests. They are also good for slow cooking soup, chili, and stews, especially if you want to have leftovers for another night.
- Frying/Saute Pans– It’s useful to have a smaller frying pan that is good for eggs, grilled cheese, and other simple dishes. A larger saute pan is also useful, especially for cooking meats and veggies.
The cookware you’ll want to choose should reflect the apartment buyer’s cooking style. For example, while some people might want a stockpot for entertaining guests or preparing homemade soups and stews, others will not use it.
Some of the most common materials used to cookware include:
Aluminum- Aluminum cookware is usually affordable and a great conductor of heat. It heats up evenly and responds to changes in temperature quickly. The downside of aluminum is that it is prone to damage, including scratching and chipping. Since aluminum is not a non-stick surface, it is not uncommon to find it coated with stainless steel on the inside and outside. A non-stick surface like PTFE or thermolon may also be used to make aluminum non-stick.
Stainless Steel- Stainless steel is the best choice for induction ranges because of its magnetic properties. It is known for its durability and is easy to clean when food is cooked properly. Even though it is not as non-stick as a surface like PTFE, using the right heat and enough oil prevents sticking. It is also dishwasher safe. The one downside of stainless steel is that it heats up slowly and does not conduct heat well. It is not uncommon to see it combined with other metals or used as a coating for this reason.
Copper- Copper is the best conductor of heat, however, it is also one of the most expensive materials. It is also heavy and delicate, which might make it a poor choice for first-time apartment renters. Copper should not be used for acidic foods and copper pans require a lot of maintenance. Often, copper is used alongside other metals like aluminum to make hybrid pans.
Ceramic- Ceramic pans are often coated with a product called Thermolon, which creates a non-stick surface. Many say ceramic pans are superior to those coated with PTFE because they are good conductors of heat. Additionally, unlike PTFE, they won’t chip or peel at higher temperatures. Something to note is that ceramic pans can be heavy and are more expensive than traditional non-stick pans. Thermolon also requires a small amount of oil to remain non-stick.
PTFE- PTFE or Teflon-coated pans are non-stick, affordable, and a common choice for first apartments. Something to note is that you should not heat PTFE pans to high temperatures because it releases toxic gases once 4-500 degrees Fahrenheit is reached. PTFE is the only true non-stick surface and today’s pans are often scratch-resistant, though you’ll want to clean them properly and avoid using metal utensils.
Cast Iron- If you are going to buy any single pan for your apartment, cast iron would be a good choice. Cast iron is most commonly found as a skillet and it is great for searing meats and cooking foods at high temperatures. While cast-iron needs to be carefully cared for and maintained, the high-quality cast iron pans can last for decades.
As you shop for the best cookware set for your first apartment, it’s important to consider how you’ll be using the pots and pans. Someone who likes cooking roasts might prefer a pan that can easily be transferred to the oven to finish cooking. When considering oven-friendliness, you’ll want to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for heating the pan to see what temperatures it can withstand before incurring damage. You’ll also want to consider the oven-safety of the lids (if you’ll be cooking with a lid) and the handles on the pot.
Something else to consider is how the handles and lids are designed. Some pans do not come with lids at all, while other sets come with lids that fit more than one pan. When looking at handles, you’ll want to choose something that does not conduct heat as much if you want to avoid having to use potholders every time you pick up the pan. However, for pans with oven-safe handles, you may have trouble finding handles that don’t heat up too much.
Finally, think about how much room you’ll have to store your cookware. Smaller kitchens might require pots and pans that are safe to stack together or multi-purpose cookware.
Choosing the best cookware for a first apartment is about choosing what works best with the space you have and your cooking style. We chose our top pick (the Cook N Home 10-Piece Red Cooking Set) based on the nonstick ceramic coating. However, it is not oven-safe so we’d recommend the T Fal set for people who want the option to use their pans in the oven. Either comes with all the essentials you need to get started cooking in your new home!