I’m super excited to be doing this review of Made In cookware. This is a brand new line of cookware launched in Sept 2017 and the great thing about it is that it is designed, sourced and made in…you guessed it…..the USA!
Over the years, I’ve had a lot of readers ask me to recommend them a cookware that is made in America and so far I only knew of All Clad. Trouble is, All Clad comes with a price tag that few can afford and I didn’t know of any affordable yet high quality alternatives…
That is, until now with Made In cookware.
So when this new, young company asked me to review their line-up of cookware, I was very eager to do so. I love their proposition which is to offer consumers high quality cookware that is made in America but at an affordable price point.
Do they deliver on that proposition?
A big fat resounding YES!
Not only that, they embrace the philosophy of creating a fun and exciting presence in the kitchen.
To quote one of the co-founders, their aim is to “shake up the sleepy cookware industry”.
Let’s dig into this review and see what they are all about.
Disclosure: I have to let you know that some of the links in this write up are affiliate links which means that if you buy Made In products through my link, I will get paid a small referral fee which will help support this website. This does not impact my review, I am truly excited to be introducing this innovative company and their products to my readers, specially the ones who kept asking for American made cookware.
WHAT IS THE PRODUCT LINE UP FOR MADE IN COOKWARE?
While Made In cookware offers ‘kits’ i.e. pre-made sets in their product offering, their focus seems to be on an ala-carte selection, almost encouraging consumers to ‘make your own cookware set’.
I don’t know about you, but I have several pieces of cookware that i didn’t need but have them because they came with the set. So I can really appreciate this modular approach.
The current line up for Made In includes:
- 8”, 10” and 12” Stainless Steel Fry Pans
- 8”, 10” and 12” Nonstick Fry Pans
- 4 Qt Stainless Steel Sauté Pan
- 2 Qt and 3 Qt Stainless Steel Sauce Pans
- 5 Qt and 8 Qt Stainless Steel Stock Pots
WHAT ABOUT THE LIDS? IS THERE ONE FOR EACH PAN?
I always wonder why cookware manufacturers don’t make it clear as to which lids fit which pan, pot or fry pan so you can make an informed decision to buy or not to buy….
Wait… Made In cookware does!
Firstly, the lids are an optional add-on! Meaning you choose to buy or not to buy a lid and you pay accordingly. According to the owners, they sell the lids at cost with no mark-up, which is pretty much unheard of in this industry.
Secondly, and this is what won me over, they have a separate section for just the lids on their website and they clearly state which lids fit which pan and which lids are interchangeable. No more having to hunt for that information and guessing what will work.
So from their lid line-up, turns out they have lids for all the pans and pots except for the 8” and 12” fry pans.
The lids themselves are made of a solid, rust-proof stainless steel and fit snugly on the pans without creating a vacuum.
WHAT IS MADE IN COOKWARE MADE OF?
Made in Cookware is 5 ply stainless steel cookware with an aluminum core. If you’re not familiar with ply, it means layers and more specifically layers of different metals bonded together. This means the layers run throughout the cookware (base and sides) rather than just on the base. ‘Ply’ cookware is generally a more premium quality than cookware that has aluminum only on the base.
In the case of Made in Cookware, the inner and outermost layers are high grade American stainless steel which sandwich 3 thick layers of premium aluminum. The inner most aluminum layer has additional properties that add to the overall structural strength of the cookware.
HOW DO I KNOW ITS GOOD QUALITY?
This is something I cover in great depth in the article Buying Stainless Steel Cookware? Read This First. Specifically there are 3 things that you can use to gauge the quality of a stainless steel cookware (short of walking around with calipers). As part of this review, let’s measure Made In cookware against each of these standards:
1. The grade of stainless steel. Made In Cookware is made of high grade American Stainless Steel. The inner layer which touches the food is 18/10 304 series stainless steel which is rust and corrosion resistant and doesn’t warp easily. The outermost layer is magnetic stainless steel which allows all the pans to be induction friendly.
2. The weight of the pot. The first thing I noticed about the Made in Cookware pans was the ‘heft’ – these are heavier pans which feel solid in your hands. They are not overly heavy like cast iron, rather they have a comfortable and well balanced weight.
A heavier pan is a sign of quality since it means more metal was used to produce, so it costs more to make. It is also less likely to warp with usage and provide more even heating without hot spots.
Add the fact that the pans are made in America from source to finish, you know you have a good quality pan, given that America is known for premium metals and premium craftsmanship.
3. The material used in the core. We all know that stainless steel on its own is a poor conductor of heat and needs a middle layer of another metal to improve its heat conductivity.
How well a stainless steel pan performs depends on how evenly the pan spreads the heat across the cooking surface, without creating hot spots. This in turn, depends on the thickness of the middle layer: the thicker the better.
Made in Cookware has not one but three layers of thick aluminum sandwiched between the outer layers of stainless steel. This means quick, even heat and no hot spots in the pan.
According to the company, this cookware is designed to outperform and outlast other cheaper cookware!
Sounds good so far. But made in America, high quality 5-ply construction sounds pricey.
HOW EXPENSIVE IS IT ?
Here’s where their innovative business model comes in. Made in Cookware delivers direct to consumers, meaning there is no middle man to drive up the margins.
This translates into lower costs which means you get to buy premium quality cookware at affordable prices. They explain it very well with this nifty little diagram to show how they can supply you with a premium pan for $69 where a comparable pan would cost you $150 at retail.
Now I know what you’re thinking : $69 for a pan isn’t cheap. And you’re right, you can find many pans for much cheaper. But this is premium cookware, comparable to All Clad. 5 ply of high quality metals, designed, sourced and manufactured in America.
As I’ve said before in my Buyer Guide, whatever your budget, buy the best cookware that you can afford. For cookware like this, that is designed to last a lifetime, price becomes less of an issue.
I think Made In cookware is a bit of game changer – American-made premium cookware is now available at a more affordable price.
For anyone looking for an All Clad alternative, this might be it!
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover but when it comes to cookware, I beg to differ. Premium cookware is bound to have a premium look because of the quality of the metals and the superior craftsmanship.
Made In cookware is no exception. The pots and pans were definitely not ‘meant to be hid in a cabinet’, to quote their website. They have a brushed finish which is the result of first polishing and then brushing the cookware.
According to the company, the extra step creates a smoother and prettier finished brushed product.
Bonus: this industrial-chic finish also hides scratches and thumbprints!
WHAT ABOUT THE HANDLES?
The handles on these pans feel incredibly secure and comfortable. They’re stainless steel with a sleek design and are riveted to the pans. The company claims that the long handles (on the sauce pans, fry pans and sauté pan) are designed to stay-cool, even when the pan is hot.
I tested this by boiling water in a saucepan and letting it boil on medium heat for an hour. The handle did, indeed, stay cool to touch!
WE PUT IT TO THE TEST!
8 QT Stock pot
Heat up: I tested the stock pot for making beef stew. The pot was quick to heat up which was great, and the helper handles only got slightly warm so I didn’t need pot holders.
Simmer test: I left the pot to simmer for an hour on the lowest setting on my stove and the stew simmered away, without needing any stirring, much to my delight.
With my other stainless steel pots (which are lighter and have aluminum only on the base, not clad up the sides), I have to keep the heat on a higher setting for any simmering to happen.
This meant the Made In pot was conducting heat efficiently and evenly. That’s an indication of the quality and thickness of the aluminum layers in the pot.
Washing: Cleaning up was a breeze! After the pan was cooled, I let it soak for a few minutes then used a soapy soft foam to sponge and clean. Effortless!
Heat stains: I let the pot air dry after washing and once it was dry, I noticed some rainbow stains at the bottom.
These are known as heat stains and, in theory, show up when a pan is heated too high (which I might have done, I’m not admitting to anything!) though in practice, I hear of readers getting it even at lower heat settings.
In my experience, all stainless steel products get this stain at some point, whether it’s All Clad or a much cheaper T-fal stainless steel pan. I’ve explained in detail why this happens in my article 6 Stains on Stainless Steel if you are interested in more. Point is, these are unimportant and tend to come and go with reuse. The only thing affected is the aesthetics.
Normally I wouldn’t bother but this gave me an opportunity to try out the Made in Cookware Stainless Steel cleaner which goes by the name Make It Like New!
So as per the instructions on the cleaner, I wet the base of the pot and sprinkled the cleaning powder over it. Using a soft sponge, I scrubbed the pot, washed and dried. Here’s the end result.
Wow! Can we say ‘like new again’?
If you’re facing rainbow heat tints on your stainless steel cookware, you can also try lemon juice or vinegar. Or just wait for the next round of cooking, chances are, it will disappear.
NONSTICK ON STEROIDS?
Made In Cookware currently has 3 sizes of nonstick fry pans in their line-up. The nonstick coating is PFOA free and is PTFE based (i.e. like teflon). Here are some interesting features:
- The pans are coated with 3 layers of the most premium nonstick formulation made in the USA. (Most non-stick pans have only 1 to 2 layers of nonstick coating).
- In-house tests by the company have shown it to be 10x more durable than other brands tested, making it the most durable surface in the market!
- The nonstick coating is safe up to a temperature of 660 F without any damage. As a benchmark, even the most expensive nonstick pans are limited to 500 F. This means there is little danger of overheating these pans and causing any fumes or breakdown of the coating.
- Made In’s nonstick coating is also extremely scratch resistant, which means it is metal utensil safe. Though I would recommend sticking to wooden or silicone utensils for any nonstick pan.
We put it to the ‘Egg Test’!
Now normally I don’t mind a light brush of butter or oil before adding eggs to my regular non-stick pans but the company says to use it without any oil, butter or spray.
So I did.
Excuse my early-Saturday-morning-before-I’ve-had-coffee-Iphone-photography but here’s a pic of the eggs literally sliding out of the pan.
According to the company, the non-stick will ‘stick around’. Time will tell but all indications line up that it will.
*Update Nov 2019: I’ve been using this 12″ non-stick pan regularly (i.e. 4-5 times or more a week) for over 2 years now and its still going strong. Yes, it shows signs of wear from almost daily use and yes, I can see fine lines in the non-stick layer (which, BTW, are inevitable in any non-stick pan over time) even though I have only ever used plastic or wooden utensils and a soft sponge for washing. But the non-stick coating is still intact, the pan still performs and the crepes and eggs still slide off easily . No complaints here!
CAN MADE IN COOKWARE PANS BE USED IN THE OVEN?
Yes Made In cookware is safe to use in the oven. This includes the non-stick coated fry pans, which are oven safe up to 500 F.
WHAT ABOUT THE BROILER?
Made In cookware is also broiler safe. That includes the non-stick pans which are safe up to 500 F. Though I wouldn’t recommend using ANY nonstick pans under a broiler, that’s just not the intended use of a nonstick pan and will definitely work towards shortening the life of your nonstick pan.
ARE THEY DISHWASHER SAFE?
Yes, all the cookware, including the non-stick pans, is dishwasher safe. But as always, I would advise you to wash by hand. The pans that I tested cleaned up SO easily, I wouldn’t want to subject them to the harshness of a dishwasher.
CAN THE POTS BE USED WITH INDUCTION COOK TOPS?
Yes, this cookware is induction compatible. The outer layer of stainless steel is high quality magnetic steel which allows this cookware to be induction cooktop ready.
IS THERE ANY WARRANTY?
Made in cookware offers a lifetime factory warranty against defects.
Here’s another game changer: they are so comfortable with the precision and care that goes into their products that they also offer a 45 day no-risk home trial.
I asked the company to explain what this means. In their own words:
This is a 45 day no questions asked return policy. So if they don’t like the cookware, they can return it back to us and we’ll pay for return shipping from 45 days of the date of purchase. It is definitely the best return policy in the cookware industry.~Chip Malt, CEO & Co-founder, Made In Cookware
ANY NEGATIVES WITH MADE IN COOKWARE?
So far, in this Made In cookware review, I’m really impressed with their offering, starting with the quality of their products, the made in America appeal, and the fact that they stand behind their products with a 45 day risk free trial as well as a lifetime warranty.
The only thing I can say is that since they have a ‘choose your lid’ option, I would really have liked lids with the 8” and 12” fry pans. I know, I know, that’s hardly a deal breaker and most fry pans don’t come with lids anyway. But anyway, I reached out to the company to ask. Turns out they are already developing a lid for the 12″ pan, though they don’t have a time frame for it yet!
So there you have it. I think I’m ready to pass my final verdict in this Made In cookware review:
AND THE VERDICT IS…?
Made In cookware gets a strong buy recommendation from The Cookware Advisor.
They pass all the criteria for superior quality cookware with flying colors and are really on a mission to offer high quality premium cookware that is Made In America at an affordable price point.
WHERE CAN I BUY MADE IN COOKWARE?
You won’t find Made In cookware in the stores, shelves or on Amazon. They sell directly to consumers through their website which you can access here.
This is how they keep costs down and pass on the savings to you.
Made In cookware currently ships to US and Canada.