An Honest Review of All-Clad Cookware (from Someone Who’s Used It for 15 Years)
My All-Clad collection started in earnest 15 years ago, when I snagged a two-quart saucepan (with lid) at a seconds sale. But I had been longing for that pot for two years before I finally got one. You see, before I owned an All-Clad pot of my very own, I used them every day at my day job working for Alton Brown. All-Clad is synonymous with quality — almost all the big magazines and television shows have them in photos and on set — but they also come with a hefty price tag.
Are they really worth that money? Here is my honest review of my favorite All-Clad pots and pans, some that I’ve owned for more around 15 years, plus what I think you should buy (and what to skip).
My All-Clad Collection and How It’s Held Up to 15 Years of Cooking
I built my All-Clad collection over the course of a few years — buying one or two things myself at sample sales (which we cover religiously on this site, so be sure to keep an eye out!) and asking for specific pots as gifts for big occasions. I even bought one pan (without a proper lid) at a thrift store when I saw it.
First I bought that two-quart saucepan during a seconds sale online. Mostly, I wanted it to cook caramels and other candy in my tiny post-culinary school apartment with a crappy stove. I burned a lot of sugar in that pan in the early days of owning it and it still looks brand new. Now it sees lots of morning oatmeal, stove-popped popcorn, and Annie’s mac and cheese for my two kids. It is the pot I buy most for newlywed friends because it is perfect for making soup, rice, and more when cooking for two.
Buy: All-Clad 2-Quart Stainless Steel Sauce Pan with Lid, $167
When my family grew, so did my All-clad Collection. I added a four-quart soup pot (which All-Clad calls a “casserole”) to my cupboard. It is also a “seconds” pot and it doesn’t sit completely flat on some cooktops (I used to have a gas range where it didn’t matter, but it can spin on the flat glass cooktop in my current kitchen). This is one of my favorite pots — it cooks weeknight pasta with ease and I love using it for making fudge or creating a double boiler for melting chocolate. It has a bit of burnt-on blackness that I blame on a batch (or two) of burnt popcorn by my husband. Admittedly, this could probably be scoured out with a little elbow grease, but it still works just fine — even with the blackened bottom.
Buy: All-Clad Stainless 4-Quart Casserole, $200 at Sur la Table
I was gifted a 12-inch sauté pan when my internship with Alton ended and I was offered a full-time job managing cookbook projects for him. This is the All-Clad pan I use most for stovetop-to-oven cooking. It gets used as often for Trader Joe’s frozen potstickers as it does for boiling homemade pretzels. My husband calls this “the family pan” because it cooks big meals with ease and he likes that it’s easier to clean than our cast iron skillet. Stainless steel cookware does require generous greasing to keep things from sticking, which is especially true of this pan. I love it as much as our 12-inch cast iron skillet — just for different uses (its great for acidic sauces and long braises that require a lid).
Buy: All-Clad 4-Quart Sauté Pan, $244
I also have a handful of other All-Clad pots that are well-made and have lasted through lots of use, but that I reach for less and less: a giant eight-quart pasta pot that I found secondhand and doesn’t have a lid, a one-quart saucier that is actually pretty great for reducing marinades and making pan sauces (but I actually just use it for melting butter), and little 1/2-quart cocottes that mostly get used as toys by my kids. Any of these would be fine pans to own if you had a specific use for them, but I don’t buy them for friends (the way I do these others ones) and occasionally even consider purging them from my cabinets.
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, I vote to skip All-Clad’s expensive nonstick pans. I had an eight-inch nonstick skillet and it didn’t last more than a few years of regular egg frying. In my opinion, you can buy a better nonstick skillet for way less.
Related: This Is the Best Nonstick Pan Your Kitchen Needs
Most All-Clad cookware is designed to last a lifetime and I’m 100% confident mine will. (I’ll write another review in another 15 years!) Given the high price point, I can definitely understand the temptation to buy a set to try to save a little money, but I love the way I built my collection over time, getting the pots and pans I truly needed.
Do you have All-Clad pots and pans? Which ones do you use the most often?
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