What to Look for in Stackable Cookware

Truly Space Saving 


Plenty of cookware sets are touted as stackable, but that could only mean the pot sizes vary enough that a smaller pot can wobble around inside a larger one or that every lid can be inverted to hold the next-smallest pot, letting you build a refrigerator-high tower. True space-saving sets should be short and stable when stacked or nested.


Stacks and Stacks 


When choosing a space-saving cookware set, check how many stacks are recommended by the manufacturer. Some collections may work as a single stack, but if the manufacturer says two stacks are better, believe it. Forcing them into one stack may sound appealing until you have to lift the entire heavy load to get to the pan on the bottom. Even if you need two stacks, they’ll likely take up less space than your current setup.


Just the Right Size 


Stackable cookware tends to be on the smaller side, so consider the individual pot and pan sizes to be sure they’ll fit your needs. If you’re replacing your kitchen’s existing set, be sure that the new one includes your favorite, most frequently used pieces. You can always buy a stackable set with the basics and use the storage savings for the one-off pans you reach for the most. If you have a glass or induction cooktop, check that the cookware sizes align with your burner diameters to maximize efficiency.

How do you know a pan’s size? 


Fry pans, or skillets, are typically measured across the top rather than the base. If a 10-inch fry pan has sloping sides, the diameter of the top rim will be 10 inches and the base will be smaller.

Pots are usually sized based on the volume they hold. If you measure out and pour 3 quarts of water into a 3-quart saucepan, it should be full to the brim.


Can you buy extra pans to add to a stackable set? 


Add-on options vary for stackable sets. Even though many cookware companies sell individual pots and pans as open-stock pieces, space-saving sets are so streamlined that you may not be able to add your favorite size pot to a stack. Your best bet is to search the manufacturer’s website for extra pots and pans that are compatible with its stackable collection.


Do you need to protect pans when stacking them? 


Stacking can mean you risk scratching an interior surface with a nested lid or pot bottom. Some stackable pans come with built-in protection, like locking handles or support plates. Other companies include pan protectors in their sets. When in doubt, check the manufacturer’s recommendations. If a pan’s bottom rests directly on a lower pan’s cooking surface, you can always play it safe and lay a cloth napkin or other protective layer between them.