Premium cookware comes with a high price tag, so many shoppers like to do their research to ensure they’re getting the most bang for their buck. Premium brands are well-known and (usually) highly-regarded, making it tough for newcomers to break into the market. However, there’s a new kid on the block that deserves some attention: the direct-to-consumer, USA designed and sourced cookware brand Made In.
We had the opportunity to try out a Made In stainless steel set, “The Starter,” which includes a 10″ fry pan, 2 quart saucepan with lid, and 5 quart stockpot with lid. This set is practical, pretty, and priced well (currently under $250) given its 5-ply, 18/10 stainless steel material and gorgeous craftsmanship. Performance-wise, we are impressed, and the set itself is both useful and durable. Read on for our in-depth review.
Right out of the box it’s easy to see how well-made this cookware is. Lovely details like rivets and designs on the bottoms of the pans show the care and attention Made In has put into their products. Each item is solid and feels good to hold. The stamping and shape of the stockpot handles are really aesthetically pleasing. Overall, this is just a beautiful set that looks so professional (and grownup!). I also really like the fact that Made In uses eco-friendly tags — you can even plant them and grow basil!
The Made In website is really outstanding, and I appreciate how much information is on there. They also include customer reviews — all are good right now, but it is still useful to read about what people like about the cookware. There is a ton of information on the site, from useful FAQs and blog posts to background about the brand. I recommend pursuing it if you want to get to know the Made In brand and team.
Made In is created entirely in the U.S.; from the metals to the manufacturing, each pot and pan is crafted here. The company also focuses on sustainability and community. They explain, “We…recognize that we have a unique opportunity to build Made In from scratch, responsibly. We’re proud to work with our U.S. manufacturers who both employ people in their communities and are environmentally conscious.”
Here are a few other things to know about Made In’s stainless cookware:
- It is induction compatible & oven safe
- It is made up of 5 layers of stainless steel and aluminum
- It comes with a limited lifetime warranty
- It is dishwasher safe (but hand-washing is always best)
After spending some time admiring the cookware design, I put it to the test on my stove. I’m happy to report that everything worked wonderfully. I even fried an egg — something I can’t do with my old stainless frying pan! The pans heat up quickly and cook beautifully. The handles stayed cool to the touch.
I really love the lids that come with the sauce pan and stock pot. They are tight fitting stainless steel — a nice change from the glass lids on my old set. The cookware sits flat on my smoothtop stove.
There’s not much more to say other than everything performed perfectly. Simmering, frying, boiling — the cookware works wonderfully, and Made In includes helpful tips on cooking with stainless steel to make the most of your cookware. I actually learned quite a lot from the website and the infographics that come with the cookware.
My husband, who does not usually use the stainless cookware, decided to make some hashbrowns in the frying pan. It did not go well. I blame him, not Made In (sorry, honey) because of the way he approached the potato cooking (which was wrong. Sorry again). Anyway, this left a mess in the pan, but, shockingly, it was super easy to clean the stuck-on potatoes. It took a bit of elbow grease, but nothing compared to my past experiences cleaning up his stainless fails. Once it was clean, I noticed a bit of the rainbow staining and dullness, so I grabbed Made In’s included cleaning powder and it quickly became shiny and new once more.
Aside from the hash brown incident, cleanup has been a breeze. I hand wash my pots and pans and Made In has been quick and easy. Nothing (else) has stuck, and I’ve had no issues with discoloration.
If it’s not already apparent, I’m a big fan of this cookware. There’s a lot to love about the brand’s aims, the excellent customer service, the beautiful website and literature, and the construction and details of the pots and pans themselves. But, instead of just raving about it in general, here’s a handy list of what I think are the most appealing aspects of Made In.
- Price: Yes, it’s kind of expensive, but in the context of high-end stainless, it’s actually priced very well. Many compare it to All-Clad, and this cookware is lower priced than All-Clad sets or pieces.
- Design: This is a gorgeously designed, solid set of cookware. From the rivets to the construction of the pan itself, each detail and aspect shows both a smart design and durability.
- Made in the U.S.A.: Lots of shoppers are dedicated to finding products made in the U.S., but they can be hard to come by, or they can be very expensive. Made In is transparent in its process and tells you exactly where the products come from and where the manufacturing occurs. They address the cost issue by offering products directly to the consumer.
- Versatility: This is tied to design, but I think it deserves to be highlighted as a key perk. Because of the design of the inside of the pans, the oven-safeness, and so forth, this is a highly versatile set capable of making whatever you need it to. It’s also safe for any type of cooktop, including induction.
- Customer service: Made In has done a great job of addressing the needs of customers. They have excellent and responsive customer service, a useful and easy-to-navigate website, and a solid warranty. They also sell lids separately (which is honestly a big deal in the world of cookware) and pride themselves on transparency and customer relationships.
There really aren’t any major reasons I wouldn’t recommend Made In, but there are a few potential drawbacks that I’ll tell you about.
- Price: Yes, I listed this as a pro above, too. But this cookware is an investment, and it might be out of budget for a lot of home cooks.
- Set offerings: I have their “Starter” set, and the included sizes aren’t the best. Of course, something called “starter” is probably fairly obviously not meant for a family of 4 and a long-time home cook, but still. I do suggest paying attention to what’s included in the set before you commit. You might be better off buying pieces.
I have only tried the stainless products and not the nonstick, so I can’t tell you anything about the nonstick pans other than they are highly rated by customers. Because I’ve enjoyed the stainless so much, I would absolutely give their nonstick pans a shot if I was in the market.
There’s a lot to love about Made In cookware, from their business model and philosophy to the design of the cookware pieces themselves. I’m so glad I had an opportunity to try this out, because I’m often skeptical about cookware from brands I haven’t heard of. And, I’m not sure I would’ve heard of them unless they had reached out (or at least not for a while), so I’m also happy to share this brand with you all now.
Bottom line? Made In cookware is worth the money, and it’s a company and product to get excited about. The fact that it is completely manufactured in the U.S. is a huge appeal for those customers looking for that feature. The direct-to-consumer model can sometimes seem scary for shoppers, but in this case you get a great price because of that model. Made In offers free shipping in the continental United States, and they offer a 45-day, no-questions-asked trial on your first order, so there’s really no risk in trying it out if you’re skeptical.
The sets are worth checking out, but the single pieces — like the frying pans — are well priced and a great way to build your cookware stock without a huge up front investment.
Ready to try out Made In cookware? Click here to get started!
Update July 2019
Well over a year later, we’re still loving our Made In pieces! While we use some of the pieces less often, the saucepan and skillet are still in fairly regular rotation. We’re also very happy with the Made In Chef Knife, which we reviewed here.
We still get frequent questions regarding the Wired review from January 2018. I addressed some of those in the comments below, but I’ll just say really quickly that Made In made some changes to their construction after that review and users and reviewers since have been overwhelmingly positive. We still highly recommend Made In!