5 Best Kitchen Pots and Pans

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Looking to upgrade your cookware? We ranked sets for material safety, performance, and ease of cleaning—and found the 5 best kitchen pots and pans for clean, green, simple vegan cooking.

There’s a lot to consider when cooking vegan, even beyond the ingredients that go into the meal. You also want to pay special attention to the pots and pans you use to create your meals.

Cooking clean means avoiding cookware that contains harmful chemicals. And cooking green means choosing manufacturers that produce their cookware responsibly and sustainably. But these two features are often at odds with cooking simple—that is, cooking with pots and pans that are easy to use, easy to clean, and will last for years.

Luckily, there are 5 awesome cook sets out there that do meet all the above requirements.

Below, we’ve reviewed these 5 best kitchen pots and pans for clean, vegan cooking. I have personally tried each of these cook sets and know what they have to offer and which home chefs they are best suited for. If you’re in the market for new cookware, you’re sure to find a match for your needs right here!

Our Picks at a Glance

What We Looked For

When testing and reviewing cook sets for vegan cooking, there were three features we focused on.

First, we looked at the materials the pans were made from. Too many pots and pans these days contain chemical coatings, like PFAS and PFOA, that can be harmful when overheated and that are toxic to the environment when manufactured. We looked for cookware that utilizes natural non-stick properties and quality non-toxic construction.

Next, I tested each cookware set to find out how well they cooked traditional vegan fare. I looked for balanced heat distribution, quick heating, and responsiveness to temperature changes—all important factors when preparing vegetables, grains, and other common vegetarian staples. 

Lastly, I rated all the cookware for its ease of cleaning. Without synthetic coatings, it can be hard to keep foods from sticking. The best pots and pans utilize the natural properties of the materials they’re made from to avoid stuck-on foods for effortless cleanup.

The Best Pots and Pans for Vegans

TOP CHOICE: Hexclad

Hexclad 13-piece set of pots and pans.
Photo courtesy of Hexclad

Features:

  • 3-ply construction
  • Aluminum center
  • Unique stainless-ceramic cook surface
  • Induction, electric, and gas compatible

Take one look at a Hexclad pan and you can see this cookware is different from anything else on the market. And that’s one reason we love them.

These unique pans feature a hybrid surface that combines stainless steel ridges with ceramic valleys. The ridges allow you to sear and caramelize vegetables and plant-based meat with ease. Meanwhile, the ceramic nonstick valleys create air pockets that prevent food from getting stuck on. 

This combination of features means these pans cook like traditional stainless steel pans but clean up as easily as any non-stick option.

Before I tried my first Hexclad set, I was certain these odd-looking pans had to be a gimmick. But, as it turns out, they really do perform as advertised. They cook incredibly well and clean up with minimal elbow grease. 

Thanks to the aluminum core, this cookware is also incredibly responsive to temperature changes. It heats up quickly, distributes the heat well across the surface, and cools as soon as you turn the burner down.

The one downside to these pans is they do take a bit of work to maintain. For optimal performance, they need to be seasoned before use. And they require the occasional scrub with baking soda to avoid discoloration.

But these pans truly are worth that little bit of extra work.

If you do a lot of sauteing, caramelizing, or searing, there’s no better cookware for your kitchen than Hexclad. These highly durable, easy-to-clean pans come with a lifetime warranty and are well worth the price.

Looking for more? Hexclad also has an amazing lineup of knives that make meal prep a breeze.

Best Chemical-Free Non-Stick: Caraway Ceramic Cookware

Features:

  • Chemical-free non-stick ceramic surface
  • Aluminum core
  • Sustainable manufacturing processes
  • Induction, electric, and gas compatible 

If you’re adamant about avoiding harmful synthetic coatings like PTFE on your pans, then you may think non-stick is a non-option. But I’m here to make your day by telling you that isn’t true!

Enter sustainably-made, Earth-conscious, Caraway Cookware ceramic pots and pans.

These beautiful and functional pans are made of safe, chemical-free materials. And yet, foods do not stick to them, making them a breeze to clean.

The secret is in the multiple layers of diamond-strengthened ceramic that coats both sides of the functional aluminum core. This ceramic is food safe and will not leach toxins even if the pans get too hot. And, best of all, food slides right across the surface for non-stick cooking the natural way.

As someone who’s often short on time and who hates scrubbing pans, these are my go-to for every meal. Like traditional non-stick options, they do not sear or brown veggies and meat substitutes as well as my Hexclads. But they’re so easy to use and clean that they’re often worth the tradeoff. 

Now, the downside to ceramic is that it requires special care to prevent chipping and scratching. No metal tools should be used and scrubbing with anything other than a soapy cloth (not that you’d need to) is a bad idea. They also require careful warming up, lower cooking temperatures, and a dab of oil to perform their best.

Other ceramic pans I’ve tried have failed to last and lose their non-stick character after about 6 months to a year. But my Caraway’s still look and function as well as they did on day one after 2 years of nightly use.

Compared to other premium ceramic options, these pans are also fairly well-priced. They’re available in 6 fabulous colors and come with a one-year warranty. 

Best Stainless Steel: Legend 5-Ply Cookset

Features:

  • 5-ply stainless with aluminum core
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Induction, electric, and gas compatible 

When it comes to clean cooking, it doesn’t get any simpler than stainless steel pans. But not all stainless is created equal. 

For quality pans that cook better than your average stainless, are well crafted, and will last a lifetime, Legend Cookware is the way to go.

Their 5-ply stainless steel pots and pans are as beautiful to look at as they are fun to cook with. They have an aluminum core for highly reactive cooking and excellent heat conduction. This core is clad in multiple layers of stainless steel for safety and durability.

The cooking surface is not non-stick, but with proper preparation, it is possible to cook on these pans without food sticking. All it takes is a little preheating and a dab of oil or vegan butter. As long as you take those necessary steps, cleanup is fairly easy.

One of my favorite things about these pans is the rounded, ergonomic handles. They’re a little different than most pans, but they feel smooth and comfortable in your hand. And most importantly, they are well-balanced. 

Like other stainless steel options, these pans will discolor with use and are prone to visible scratches. But these blemishes are easy to get rid of with a little baking soda, vinegar, and a soft rag. Most importantly, though, it’s very difficult to damage these pans in a way that will affect their performance. 

You can find Legend 5-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware in various set sizes, including the full 14-piece set and the 5-piece starter set. Or, if you really want to up your cooking game, opt for the premier copper-core cookware set from Legend.

Best for Oil-Free Cooking: 360 Cookware

Features:

  • Oil-free or traditional cooking
  • Highly conductive for responsive cooking
  • Earth-first manufacturing principles
  • Induction, electric, and gas compatible 

If your mission to find new pots and pans coincides with a resolution to eat healthier, then I recommend 360 Cookware to help you with both endeavors. 

This revolutionary cookware is made of three highly functional layers to deliver responsive cooking and quick heating. The aluminum core is highly conductive and aids in balanced heat distribution while the outer stainless steel layers provide a safe and durable cooking surface.

But what really sets these pans apart is their shape.

Both the pots and the pans feature exaggerated, rounded sides and domed lids with extended edges. These features work together to create a vacuum seal between the lid and pan during cooking, effectively turning every piece of cookware into a steamer.

When used this way, these pans require zero oil. The water inside the food or the splash you add to the pan acts to lubricate the ingredients to keep them from sticking. This allows you to cook healthier meals without added oil and makes cleaning up afterward super easy.

These pans were a game changer for me as I transitioned from a typical vegan diet to one more focused on whole food, plant-based. They made preparing oil-free meals so much easier and more enjoyable.

But, if you want to switch it up, you can also use these pans as you would any traditional stainless steel option.

To get started with 360 Cookware, I recommend picking up their 4-piece starter set. You can also purchase individual pans, including their large 12-inch saute pan and their 2-quart pot

This cookware is more expensive than most, but the quality alone makes it worth it. Plus, these pots and pans are manufactured in America with Earth-first sustainability principles. And for peace of mind, they come with a lifetime warranty.

Best Budget Buy: GreenPan Treviso Stainless Steel Ceramic

Features:

  • Non-stick ceramic cook surface
  • Stainless steel core and exterior
  • Earth-friendly manufacturing principles
  • Induction, electric, and gas compatible 

If you’re after clean cookware on a budget, GreenPan is a great option. These ceramic-clad stainless steel pans have many of the same great features as Caraway Cookware but are priced in a range even those on a strict budget can afford.

GreenPan is well known for its environmentally friendly, nontoxic cookware. We like their Treviso line, especially, because these pans are highly versatile and affordable.

These unique pots feature a stainless steel core and exterior surface. This gives them a more traditional look and some added durability. The cooking surface is made of a non-stick, chemical-free Thermolon ceramic coating.

Much like Caraway, this coating prevents food from sticking to the pan for easier cooking and cleanup. And it does this without utilizing toxic chemicals or plastics that contribute to greenhouse gas pollution.

As you can guess, these pans do require careful handling to keep them functioning like new. They need to be preheated and oiled and are prone to chipping and scratching if handled too roughly. But they’re advertised as being dishwasher safe and capable of withstanding temperatures up to 600 degrees.

GreenPans come with a 2-year limited warranty and are available in a 10-piece set or as individual pieces. 

Looking for More Amazing Kitchen Tools?

In need of more amazing kitchen gadgets and tools to bring your vegan meal prep to life? Here are some more product recommendations worth checking out:

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