I am looking into a new set of cookware and I really like the Cuisinart Multi-Clad set but I know nothing about the difference between multi-clad and stainless steel. Does anyone have any suggestion? Thanks Lisa
Thinking of Getting Cuisinart's Multi Clad Cookware Any suggestions?
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The Cuisinart Multi-Clad line is tri-ply stainless steel with an aluminum core sandwiched between the layers of stainless for better/more even heat conductivity.
I'm not sure what the difference is between Cuisinart's French Classic Tri-ply line and the Multi-Clad Pro line might be. Both have aluminum cores. On the Cuisinart web site it says you can use metal utensils with the French Classic line, but not with the Multi-clad pro line, if that makes a difference to you.
The inferior option is stainless with aluminum encapsulated only in the base. It's lighter weight and doesn't conduct heat as evenly over the entire surface of the pan.
Stainless steel on its own is not a great conductor.
I have a Multi-Clad Pro 12 inch skillet and like it a lot but it's a bit heavy. I understand the comparable All-Clad skillet (which people like a lot--and pay a lot more for) is a bit lighter and easier to handle. The instructions that came with my pan tell you not to heat it above medium when cooking on a burner--which I admit, I tend to ignore with my wimpy stove--but I think that may be the reason I really need to invest in a can of Barkeep's Friend to bring the surface back to it's shiny, original state. It no longer looks pristine and I've had it less than 6 months. I don't know if All-Clad pans carry the same instructions.
Here's Cuisinart's own comparison chart of its cookware lines:
The MCP-12 set contains a saute pan rated as a "best buy" by Cooks Illustrated. I needed all new pots so I got the whole set. Couldn't be happier. Stainless is more work to keep clean, but I can toss pans in the oven.
A 12" skillet is TOO BIG (according to Cooks Illustrated, my go to source). This set comes with a smaller one that distributes heat more evenly.
This is a great set you can pick up for under $250
People's needs and desires will vary, but the pieces in this set are too small for me. It's nice to have some smaller pieces too but my most frequently used items are a 12" fry pan, 12 quart stock pot, and 6 quart (12") saute pan. None of these sizes are included. The largest sauce pan is 3 quart, which to me should be the medium size. In Cooks Illustrated review of cookware they rated All Clad the best (at any price) and Tramontina as a best buy option for a lot less money. They warned about the small sizes in the Tramontina set, and then a new set was created that contains the CI preferred sizes. It's the 10 piece set at wallyworld for 229.99. I think the MCP-12 looks good (haven't cooked with it) so if the sizes are ok with you (8 qt stock pot, 10" fry pan, 3 qt saute) then it seem like a good value. If you want the larger pieces for even a bit less money the Tramontina 10 piece will do that.
My experience with damaging the interior of a Cuisinart Everyday Pan (it is stainless with an aluminum encapsulated base) makes me think that the ones they say not to use metal utensils on have a microscopically thin layer of stainless over the aluminum. So thin that it is easily dented/cut if you are rough with it, since the thin layer of stainless doesn't give any protection to the soft aluminum layer. Now, the pan works fine, and there's nothing to corrode since neither the stainless nor the aluminum exposed by my rough handling corrodes. So maybe it doesn't matter too much. But just be aware that if they say not to use metal utensils it is probably a much more delicate thin layer of stainless steel in there on top of the aluminum core in the base of the pan.