After replacing many pieces of cookware that were either warped or had a non-stick interior that was flaking off, I decided it was time to make the switch to stainless. I read a bunch of forums and reviews and watched a lot of YouTube videos regarding this choice, and was well aware that my cooking habits would have to change a bit in order to cook good food without a huge mess on this type of cookware. But after all this research, I was convinced stainless was the absolute best way to go for cookware (with the exception of a few pieces that might be better in non-stick).
If you understand the pros and cons of cooking in stainless and feel like you’d prefer it over non-stick, this Cuisinart set is the one to look at if you want something to last a lifetime.
While All-Clad seems to be the top of the line brand for stainless cookware, its $600+ price for the set is pretty nuts. Plus, I tried holding some of the pieces at Macy’s and Bed Bath and Beyond and the handles are just terribly uncomfortable. So I went with what appears to be the other “best” option: the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro MCP-12N 12-piece set. At $209 on sale, I really feel like this was a bargain (it’s worth 300+ when compared to All-Clad pricing), especially with its excellent and beautiful construction. It utilizes a “try-ply CLAD construction”, which means three layers (Magnetized Stainless, Aluminum Core, 18/10 Stainless) are used throughout the pans, including up the side walls. Note that not all tri-ply cookware is like this; be careful of “try-ply BASE” cookware which only uses this setup on the bottom of the pan therefore doesn’t provide the same level of even heating up the sides of the piece (they’re easy to spot because they have a seam around the base of the pan).
Everyone who owns the Cuisinart set seems to indicate you don’t need as much heat as you’re used to when cooking on it. I didn’t necessarily believe this given the fact that my glass electric cooktop has taken so long to cook things in the past, but it really does work great as long as you pre-heat. I’ve been pre-heating on level 5 (out of 10) until a water drop “skates” on the cooking surface, then back the heat off to 3.5 for a consistent cooking temp. This seems to cook faster than my previous cookware at higher heat, with no signs of warping on any of these pans — so they actually lay (lie?) flat on my range.
The biggest negative for this set is the questionable support. Half of this assertion is based on other peoples’ experiences I’ve read about, and half is from my own experience. I received my set with a dented lid (probably put in the package dented), and Cuisinart’s support told me I’d be better off working with Amazon to resolve it since I’d have to pay shipping BOTH WAYS on a defective-out-of-the-box product. He also made sure to place emphasis on the word “Limited” in “Limited Lifetime Warranty”, strongly implying that they reserved the right to not cover certain aspects of failure. Interesting, considering mine had arrived with a defective piece straight away. If you end up needing to use your warranty, be prepared to pay nearly as much in shipping (two ways) as a brand new replacement for the piece.
Other choices to consider: I almost went for the Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad pieces you can pick up for a reasonable price at Wal-Mart, but decided against it as this set looks better visually and includes all the pieces I wanted; finding all the Tramontina pieces I’d need looked like quite a chore. Also, some Costco locations have a Cuisinart MultiClad set very similar to this one with a few primary differences: glass lids instead of metal, a pasta insert instead of a steamer insert, an 8″ fry pan instead of a 5th lid, and different packaging. I’ve seen it locally for as low as $150 and if you’re okay with the differences, this is a total bargain of a price for a very similar set. Plus you’ll get Costco’s great return policy on it.
Overall this is a great set and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it or its older counterpart (MCP-12, which is the same with a different handle shape, and sometimes lower price) as your next set of cookware. Also consider the Costco option if you’re cool with the set’s slight variations at an even lower price!
- Really good looking (I greatly prefer the brushed exterior over polished)
- Set includes a lid that will fit each pan (not all at the same time, though)
- Curved lip for easy pouring
- Includes exactly the pieces I’d want
- Overall build quality rivals that of sets costing 2x the price or more
- Will probably last a lifetime
- Does take a bit of work to get used to and maintain (proper preheating and use of oil as well as a bit more elbow grease to clean over non-stick)
- Questionable warranty (representative placed strong emphasis on the word “LIMITED” before “Lifetime”, customer pays shipping BOTH WAYS)
If you found my review helpful and wish to purchase this cookware from Amazon, please check out the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro MCP-12N or MCP-12 page. I get a small percentage from each sale I refer. And yes, I really do love Amazon. I do as much of my online shopping as possible from there. In fact, here’s my Amazon review for this product — please mark it as helpful!