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Caraway Stainless Steel Cookware: A Detailed Review

By trk

Last Updated: March 23, 2024

Caraway cookware, Caraway stainless steel, clad stainless steel, stainless pans

Caraway is best known for their chic ceramic nonstick cookware, but they now have a line of clad stainless steel cookware, too, as well as bakeware, cutlery, storage containers, and utensils. Here we take a detailed look at Caraway's clad stainless steel cookware so you can understand the performance, features, design, and pros and cons of this cookware. It's not cheap, but is it worth it? Read on to find out.


Table Of Contents (click to expand)

Caraway Clad Stainless Cookware at a Glance

Caraway Stainless Skillet

Here are the basic features of Caraway stainless steel cookware.

Feature

Description

Basic Construction and Design:

Caraway Stainless Cookware Diagram

-5-ply cladding

-0.5mm 304 grade (18/10) cooking surface

-0.5mm 430 grade brushed steel exterior (for induction compatibility)

-Heating core has two layers of 0.5mm pure aluminum and one 0.5mm core aluminum alloy (total core thickness 1.5mm)

-Straight sides with rounded bottoms

-Skillet has good amount of flat cooking surface.

Lid Construction and Design:

Caraway Stainless Sauce Pan with Lid

-Stainless steel

-Vent hole to release steam

-Flat (not domed)

-Heavy

-Swooped, riveted lid pulls.

Handles:

Caraway Stainless Steel Hande Closeup

-Straight, solid handles

-Riveted to pan

-Forked at pot to stay cooler

-Thumb stop on bottom to improve grip

-Helper handle on sauté pan.

Induction Compatibility:

All pieces are induction compatible.

Oven Safe to:

550F

Dishwasher Safe?

Yes, but hand washing is recommended.

Warranty:

Lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.

Made In: 

China.

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Caraway Clad Stainless Steel Buying Options

Caraway makes six pieces of stainless steel cookware (including lids on some pieces, which are typically counted as separate pieces by other cookware makers). These are all Caraway's stainless steel buying options.

Open Stock

All of Caraway's stainless pieces can be bought individually, so here are all the pieces. (Sets are listed below.)

Skillets

Caraway Stainless Skillet

See on Amazon

See at Caraway Home

About $155/$145 for 10"/8"

Features:

-2.5 lbs (10")/1.7 lbs (8") 

-No lid (Dutch oven lid should fit large skillet; sauce pan lid may fit small skillet)

-Straight handle with thumb stop on bottom

-Fairly straight sides with a lot of flat cooking surface

-Riveted handles

Sauce Pans

Caraway Stainless Sauce Pan with Lid

See on Amazon

See at Caraway Home

About $185 for 3 qt/$165 for 1.75 qt

Features:

-2.8 lb/4.2 lb with lid (3 qt)

--2 lb/3 lb with lid (1.75 qt)

-Flat, vented lid included

-Straight handle with thumb stop on bottom.

Sauté Pan

Caraway Stainless Sauté Pan with Lid

See on Amazon

See at Caraway Home

About $235

-12 inch diameter

-4.5 quarts

-Vented lid included

-Straight handle with thumb stop on bottom

-Helper handle (nice feature on a heavy pan)

-4 lb/6.9 lb with lid.

Dutch Oven

Caraway Stainless Dutch Oven with Lid

See on Amazon

See at Caraway Home

About $215

-10.5 inch diameter (lid will fit large skillet)

-6.5 quart capacity

-4.3 lb/6.6 lb with lid.

Steamer

Caraway Stainless Steamer

See on Amazon

See at Caraway Home

About $65 large/$55 small.

A steamer is a great piece that makes it easy to steam veggies and other foods. It's not included in the sets so if you want one you have to buy it separately. (You may be able to find a cheaper steamer insert that fits the 3-quart sauce pan.)

-Two sizes to fit 3 qt. and 1.75 qt. sauce pans.

Sets

These are the Caraway stainless steel set options.

4 Piece Set

Caraway Stainless Steel Cookware featured image

See on Amazon

See at Caraway Home

About $695

Includes 3 qt sauce pan, 10.5 in. skillet, 6.5 qt Dutch oven, 4.5 qt. sauté pan, lids, storage rack, and hanging lid rack. 

Caraway Stainless Lid Rack

Hanging lid rack.

Minis Duo Set

Caraway Stainless Minis Set

See it on Amazon

See it at Caraway Home

About $310

Includes 1.75 qt. sauce pan with lid, 8 inch skillet, and mini storage rack.

Cookware and Minis Duo Set

Caraway Stainless Cookware and Minis Set

See it at Caraway Home

About $1000

-Includes 3 qt/1.75 qt sauce pans and lids, 10.5 in. skillet, 6.5 qt Dutch oven and lid, 4.5 qt sauté pan and lid, 8 in skillet, 1.75 qt sauce pan and lid, storage rack, and hanging lid rack.

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How We Tested

Caraway Steel Skillet with Steak

For this review we tested the 10.5 inch frying pan. We weighed it, measured the wall thickness, and tested the heating evenness and heat retention by boiling water in the pan and measuring how long it took to cool to 100F. Then we put it to use in the kitchen as any cook would, using it for searing meats, cooking veggies, frying eggs, making omelets, and other things a cook would use a skillet for.  

Overall, the pan was well liked by our testers, and was close in performance to other clad stainless brands we like and recommend. 

Caraway mentions in several places on their website and in their marketing literature that these pans are great for "high heat cooking." This is true, especially if compared to nonstick cookware, which should never be used with high heat because it destroys the nonstick properties. You can heat a stainless pan as hot as you want to and it won't get damaged or be unsafe. This is true of all stainless cookware, so it doesn't set Caraway apart.

On the other hand, most clad stainless makers tell buyers that their pans are so heat efficient that you don't need to use high heat, and that medium is as high as you'll need to go. This is true for all good quality clad stainless cookware, and high heat causes cooking oils to polymerize and stain the pan, which looks like this:

Polyermerized oil on stainless steel

You can scrub these stains off a pan with no safety issues, but it can take a lot of elbow grease.

Too-high heat can also cause cooking oils to break down, which can be hazardous to your health. If the cooking oil begins to smoke, it's too hot.

So though you can use high heat with Caraway steel pans, you only need it for a few applications, such as searing steaks or making stir fries. If you want to keep your pans looking their best--and easier to clean as well--don't use high heat.

See below for our detailed review of the Caraway stainless steel skillet.

About Caraway

Caraway was founded in 2018 by CEO Jordan Nathan after he accidentally left a Teflon pan on a hot burner and got sick as a result (the "Teflon flu" can occur when PTFE pans are heated above 500F). The first Caraway product was ceramic nonstick cookware, which doesn't release fumes like PTFE when heated (though may have other potential health issues). Today, Caraway has expanded from ceramic nonstick cookware to selling stainless steel cookware, utensils, knives, bakeware, food storage solutions, tea kettles, and more.

Caraway began as a direct-to-consumer brand (DTC), sold solely on the Caraway Home website. Today Caraway sells through several retailers, including Crate and Barrel, West Elm, Food 52, Macy's, Target, Wal-Mart, Amazon, and most other major retailers.

Caraway products tend to have great design that's sleek, minimal, colorful, and just all-around beautiful. Their products look great in social media feeds, so they've become a darling of influencers. However, it's important to think about how the design affects usability, because what looks great isn't always great to use. We'll discuss design in more detail in the Important Features section and in the detailed review.

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About Clad Stainless Steel Cookware

This section covers the basics about what clad stainless steel cookware is. This info will help when you're ready to buy.

About Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an alloy of carbon, iron, and chromium, and can also contain nickel, titanium, molybdenum, vanadium, and other metals that provide various improvements in strength and/or corrosion resistance. There are hundreds or possibly thousands of different stainless steel alloys.  

The two most common alloys used in cookware are 300 grade for the cooking surface and 400 grade for the exterior. 300 grade steel contains nickel and is very corrosion resistant. The most popular grades seen in cookware are 304, which can be 18/8 or 18/10; these numbers indicate 18% chromium and either 8% or 10% nickel. 

400 grade steel contains no nickel. This makes it magnetic, which is necessary for induction compatibility. However, being nickel-free also means it is less corrosion resistant than 300 grade steel, so it is only used on the exterior. (You may see inexpensive clad cookware made entirely of "nickel free" steel, but you should avoid this unless you have a nickel sensitivity because it won't last as long as 300 grade steels.)

About Cladding

Caraway Stainless Cookware Diagram

Caraway clad stainless pan configuration.

Clad stainless steel cookware is composed of layers of steel bonded to a heating core that's usually aluminum but may also contain copper. This design offers cooks the best of both worlds: you get the durability of steel andh the excellent heating of aluminum (or copper). 

You can see the layers above in the diagram of Caraway 5-ply clad stainless cookware. Clad cookware can have as few as three layers (steel-aluminum-steel) and as many as seven. 5-ply has become very popular, but the number of plies isn't as important as other considerations, which you can read more about in our article about 3-ply vs. 5-ply clad stainless cookware

About Disc Cladding

Some stainless cookware has cladding only on the bottom, with sides that are a single layer of stainless steel. This is called disc clad, bottom clad, or impact-bonded cookware. You can tell disc clad cookware by the seam around the bottom: 

Disc clad pan with seam callout

Caraway stainless cookware is fully clad, so we won't talk any more about disc cladding in this article.

Is Clad Stainless Cookware a Good Choice?

Clad stainless steel cookware is excellent cookware for many reasons (we talk more about the great features below). 

Stainless steel cookware is a smart move for Caraway because just as people turned from PTFE to ceramic nonstick cookware for safety and environmental reasons, people are starting to turn away from ceramic nonstick because of its short life span and potential for releasing unsafe chemicals into your food. More and more people are choosing clad stainless steel for their cookware because it's safe, durable, non-reactive, and doesn't require seasoning (more on this in a minute). 

On the other hand, there are soooo many brands of stainless cookware on the market today, it's hard to make the case that we need yet another one. Caraway makes good quality cookware, and overall we liked it in our testing, but it's not an improvement over time-tested brands such as All-Clad, Demeyere, and Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad. Furthermore, it costs as much as some of these brands and more than others without offering any distinguishing characteristics other than Caraway design (and includes storage with sets, although this isn't always a plus). Fans of Caraway will buy this cookware and love it, but if you're looking for something unique in the market or decidedly better than other good brands, Caraway is not it. 

Does Clad Stainless Steel Cookware Need to Be Seasoned?

Until recently, cookware seasoning was restricted to cast iron and carbon steel because they rust easily, and seasoning creates a barrier that prevents rusting. It also provides a smooth, near-nonstick cooking surface that's appealing to cooks who want nonstick cooking without the potential health hazards of nonstick cookware.

Seasoning cookware has now moved beyond cast iron and carbon steel to stainless steel and even nonstick pans, with many makers and influencers telling people to "season" their pans by applying a thin coating of oil, heating the pan to a moderate temperature for a short time--usually just a few minutes--then wiping out the excess oil, and voila! You have a "seasoned" stainless steel or nonstick pan. 

This is not really seasoning. When you season cast iron and carbon steel, you "bake" the lightly oiled pan at high heat for a long time. This process actually changes the molecular structure of the oil as it reacts with the cast iron and carbon steel. The oil is turned into a polymer that creates a smooth, nearly impenetrable barrier that prevents rust and is also very slippery. (Note: this polymer does not contain any of the potentially hazardous materials that PTFE contains.) 

When you "season" a steel or nonstick pan at low temperatures for a short time, you're not changing any molecular structures or creating polymers. Instead, you're just coating the pan with oil, warming it up, and wiping the excess oil out of the pan. This procedure can result in a more slippery (nonstick) cooking surface, but it's really just because of the cooking oil residue. You would likely get the same result whether you heat the pan or not.  

Theoretically, you could season a steel pan the same way you season cast iron, and you would get a polymerized surface like the one shown above, although ideally the polymer would be an even coating over the entire cooking surface. But as you can see from the image above, polymerized oil looks terrible on a stainless steel pan, and it doesn't seem to create a nonstick cooking surface like it does with cast iron and carbon steel; it just looks terrible.

So the answer is that no, you do not have to--nor can you--season a stainless steel pan. However, wiping the cooking surface with a thin layer of oil before use may help keep food from sticking.

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Important Features of Caraway Clad Stainless Steel Cookware (What to Think About Before Buying)

When we review cookware, we look at specific features that determine overall quality and satisfaction for users. They are: heating, durability, safety, design, ease of cleaning, and value. We will look at each of these and how the Caraway pan measures up in each category. 

We give Caraway stainless cookware a rating in each category so if you don't want to read the whole section you can still get an idea of our testing results. 

Heating 

Assuming cookware is safe to use--and we only review safe cookware--good heating performance is the most important aspect. Good heating means a pan heats evenly and holds heat well

For clad stainless steel cookware, this means that you want a thick heating core, which is the internal layer(s) of aluminum and/or copper: the thicker, the better. (Stainless steel does not transfer heat well; it's there for its durability.)

For fully clad pieces, you want a heating core at least 1.5mm thick; this is the minimum we recommend. 

The thickness of the stainless steel layers is less important, but they do contribute to heat retention, so they make a small difference in heating performance (sort of). When considering heating properties, the heating core is the most important aspect.

Notice that we don't talk about the number of plies. This is because overall thickness of the heating core is the important feature, regardless of the number of plies. For example, a tri-ply pan with a 1.7mm aluminum heating core is going to heat more evenly and hold heat better than a 5-ply pan with a 1.5mm aluminum heating core. These numbers change if the heating core contains copper--or another layer of steel, like All-Clad D5--but the Caraway stainless heating core is aluminum, as is most of its competitors, so we won't discuss other configurations in this review. (Check out our All-Clad review if you want to read more about Copper Core or D5.)  

It can be frustrating trying to find heating core specifications because not all brands supply them. Caraway did not supply them on their website (that we could find), but when we requested the information, they sent it within a day--an example of Caraway's excellent customer service. 

If you can't find the heating core specs on a brand you're interested in, you may want to consider buying a different brand. Or, you can look at weight: in general, the heavier the cookware, the more likely it has a substantial heating core (although there are sometimes exceptions to this, and Caraway is one of them--more on that in the actual performance review below). 

For the best heating performance, you should buy the heaviest cookware that you can comfortably handle. 

At 1.5mm, Caraway clad stainless cookware has a thinner heating core than other brands we like, including All-Clad D3, Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad, Demeyere Industry, and Cuisinart Multiclad Pro. The heating was pretty good, but not quite as good as these other brands. The difference may not be noticeable to cooks in daily use, so if you really like the design, Caraway is a good choice--but it's only slightly above average in terms of heating performance.

For the best heating performance, you should buy the heaviest cookware that you can comfortably handle. 

Durability

Durability determines how much abuse cookware can take and how long it will last. It also means you can use high heat, metal utensils, and abrasive scrubby pads to clean it. These are desirable traits in any cookware, as it is a pain to work with delicate cookware and always be worried about if the heat is too high or if you've somehow damaged it (nonstick, we're looking at you).

If you're a fan of nonstick cookware, then durability probably isn't an important feature to you. But once you get used to using durable cookware--like clad stainless or cast iron--it's hard to go back to the delicate stuff. 

Durable cookware also has a much longer life span: clad stainless steel and cast iron will last for decades, while nonstick cookware (both PTFE and ceramic) have a life span of just a few years. This means you spend less on durable cookware in the long run, and it means fewer pans ending up in landfills. So durability not only means cookware is more enjoyable to use, it also means it's better for the planet. 

Stainless steel is a very durable material that will last for decades, take high heat, metal utensils, and just about anything else you can throw at it. It can go in the oven and (in most cases) the dishwasher. The only thing you have to be careful about is abrupt temperature changes, which can warp a stainless pan if it's on the thin side. So always let a hot pan cool before you wash it. 

Caraway stainless cookware is heavy enough and thick enough to be resistant to warping. The 304 cooking surface is standard for stainless cookware, and it should last a lifetime (as will all good brands of stainless cookware). For these reasons, we give it 5 stars for durability. 

Safety

Safety is of course the most important feature of any cookware. But we don't review or recommend any unsafe cookware, so you can assume that all the cookware we review is safe--or, that if there are potential safety issues, such as with both types of nonstick cookware, we address them so you have all the information you need to make up your mind. 

"Safe" means that cookware won't transfer unsafe chemicals into your food, that it won't react with food or the environment in an unsafe way, and that it won't break down into toxic substances. 

Stainless steel cookware is one of the safest cookware choices you can make because it's a stable, non-reactive material that's safe for all types of foods and liquids and won't break down or even rust (at least, not with proper care).

New stainless steel pans can leach very tiny amounts of nickel and chromium into your food, but your body needs both of these elements in small amounts, so unless you have a nickel sensitivity, these are harmless. Leaching stops after several uses, or if you want to try to remove as much as possible before use, simmer acidified water in the pan for a few hours (to acidify, add a small amount of plain white vinegar to the water). This will remove much of the chromium and nickel that would otherwise leach into food.

Caraway clad stainless cookware is made with 18/10 stainless steel, so it will behave like most other clad stainless brands including All-Clad and Demeyere. That is, it will leach small amounts of chromium and nickel when new, but this stops after a few uses. Caraway clad stainless is one of the safest cookware choices you can make, so we give it 5 stars.

Design

Caraway Stainless Sauté Pan with Lid

Caraway makes gorgeous stainless cookware.

Design is a fairly subjective category, meaning that what you like may not be what somebody else likes. Design can include pan shape, handle design, lid design, color, material, and more. We think the most important design features are pan shape, handle design, and lid design because these are the features that can make using cookware a great experience or a terrible one. 

Caraway design overall is good: the pans are beautiful, the pan shapes are functional, the matte exterior is quite fashionable now, and the lid pulls and handles look great. 

The pan shape is excellent: The skillets have fairly straight sides and a good amount of flat cooking surface, and the rest of the pans have straight sides that make for easy use and cleaning; straight-sided skillets can slow down evaporation of liquids, which is not what you want in a pan used primarily to brown food, but the sides are shallow enough to allow for good evaporation.

The pans are curved where the bottom meets the sides, which is great because there aren't any corners for foods to get caught in. Overall, we love the pan shape.

The handles look great, but they aren't the most functional we've used. They're on the thin side, with no groove to help with grip and only a small thumb stop on the underside. They're also fairly heavy; so much so that they feel like they're solid rather than hollow which most steel handles are on cookware. (We're not sure they're solid, but they fell like they are.) Hollowness helps keep handles cool and also reduces weight and keep the weight where it should be, which is in the pan itself. Some reviewers complained about the weight of the Caraway steel pans, and we suspect a fair percentage of that weight comes from the handle.

The lids are flat and quite heavy, which is what most people want in a pot lid: the weight helps keep in steam to keep food moist and also build pressure, which helps food cook a little faster. However, Caraway lids have a tiny vent hole, which is not typical for high end stainless cookware. Some people love a vent hole because it helps prevent boil-overs. But it also lets steam escape, so you can't build up as much pressure or keep steam (thus moisture) inside the pan as well as you can with a non-vented lid. We're not fans of vented lids, but if you are you can bump up our rating--and if you hate vented lids, you can bump it down.

Our least favorite feature of these pans is the lid pulls: the flattish, swooping design looks great, almost organic, but it's not the best shape for gripping and handling. There's nowhere for your fingers to grasp the handle comfortably, and if you have large hands, you might have difficulty fitting your fingers under the handle at all, especially if it's hot and you need to use a towel or pot holder.

Overall, Caraway stainless cookware has beautiful design, but because we believe they went with design over functionality in a few crucial instances, we give Caraway just 4 stars in this category. 

Ease of Cleaning

If easy cleaning is important to you, then stainless cookware might not be the right choice. However, it has so many other great qualities--durability, even heating, long life--that cleanup is just something you accept and live with if you want all the other features. We give all clad stainless cookware a 3-star rating for ease of cleaning: it's not nonstick, but it's also not awful to clean, most of the time.

In fact, stainless cookware actually cleans up pretty easily if you use the right temperature and cooking techniques. What's more, you can make a pan sauce with all those bits that stick to the pan, which kills two birds at once: it gives you a delicious pan sauce, and the deglazing loosens the stuck-on gunk that you would otherwise have to scrub.

People who've used stainless cookware for a long time don't understand objections to it because it's really not that hard to clean. Even if you do get a stuck on or burnt on mess, soaking in hot soapy water usually takes care of it. If it doesn't, then you can break out the Barkeeper's Friend and scrubby pads and go to work on it (but if you know the right cooking techniques, this is rarely necessary).

We talk about stainless cooking techniques below.

Value

When we consider value, we look at more than just price. We look at cost-per-year-of-use, which is a more accurate way to think about how much you should spend on cookware. For example, though most Teflon nonstick pans are cheap, they last only a few years and need to be replaced. Clad stainless cookware is more expensive, but it lasts for decades (and most of it comes with a lifetime warranty), so its cost-per-year-of-use is actually lower than cheap pans you have to replace every few years. 

A lot of cooking sites recommend nonstick cookware for beginner/novice cooks, but we think it's a better idea to buy good quality cookware that's going to last for decades rather than a "starter" set of nonstick that you'll have to toss in a few years. Thus, clad stainless, cast iron, and carbon steel are all good choices for all cooks. (Copper is a good choice too, but it has some drawbacks: see our article on copper cookware if you want to learn more.)

There's no getting around the fact that Caraway stainless cookware is expensive. In fact, we think it's too expensive for a few reasons: 

  • It's too new to the market to know if it will last
  • The heating core is on the thin side, so it won't heat as evenly as some other tested brands
  • It's made in China.

We don't mind paying more for top quality cookware, and we actually recommend it. But there are many time-tested brands to choose from, and though Caraway is likely to last for many decades and have a low cost-per-year-of-use, it can't compete with high-end brands like All-Clad or Demeyere, or even bargain brands like Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad or Cuisinart Multiclad Pro, which cost much less than Caraway.

And though Caraway can probably compete on longevity (though it's too new to the market to say for sure), more importantly, the heating core is thinner than that of the other brands mentioned. With a 4 piece set going for almost $700, you really have to love Caraway to choose it over a more established brand. Yes, the 4 piece set includes lids (so it's really what most makers would call a 7-piece set), and it also includes storage pieces, but it's debatable whether this is a good thing or not. (We talk more about the Caraway storage pieces below.) 

Caraway is also made in China, so the high price probably means a huge percentage is profit for the seller (though we are just speculating).

For these reasons, we're giving Caraway a lower than average rating for value. 

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How to Cook on Stainless Steel Cookware with Little to No Sticking

Here's the basic technique for stainless steel cookware: 

  • Heat the pan on medium low to medium heat for a few minutes, then add enough cooking oil to lightly coat the entire surface. 
  • Add food when the oil begins to shimmer (if it smokes, it's too hot).
  • Let the food sit for a few minutes (or more, depending on temperature and food) without touching.
  • When it's formed a crust, it will release from the pan on its own and you can flip it over--no sticking!
  • Repeat on the second side and flip a few more times if necessary.

This works especially well for proteins, but will also work with most other foods; eggs can be sticky so be sure to use plenty of healthy cooking fat with them. 

You can also try "seasoning" to get easier release (see above), or the Leidenfrost effect, which is tricky to get the hang of but works like a charm once you do.

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Caraway Stainless Cookware Claims (True or False?)

Here, we look at some of Caraway's marketing to see how it stands up to the scrutiny of our testing.

Passivation Provides a More Durable, Corrosion-Resistant and Chemical Free Cooking Surface

True. Passivation is a common finishing treatment used on stainless steel to remove surface iron and give it a protective layer that helps prevent rust and corrosion. This is probably similar to Demeyere's patented Silvinox™ treatment, and does result in a more durable cooking surface that will resist corrosion better than non-treated stainless steel. 

What we don't know is if other brands also treat their stainless cookware. Most probably do not, because passivation is a costly process that is also not environmentally friendly.

5-Ply Construction Maximizes Durability

False, sort of. As we said above, the number plies has little to do with durability. The overall thickness is the most important factor--and some tri-ply brands are thicker than some 5-ply brands, so the number of plies is not the best way to determine durability. For example, with a total heating core thickness of 1.5mm, Caraway stainless cookware is thinner than All-Clad tri-ply's heating core, which is 1.7mm. This may seem like a small difference, but the thicker heating core is going to outperform and outlast the thinner one every time.

Naturally Non-Toxic

True. Stainless steel is a safe, non-toxic material and one of the best choices for safe cookware. This is true for all brands of stainless steel cookware, not just Caraway. 

Usable for High Heat

True, with a caveat. Caraway makes this claim in several places on their website. And when compared to nonstick cookware (the original Caraway cookware), this is certainly true. You can use high heat on stainless steel and it won't harm it or cause it to break down (again, true for all stainless cookware, not just Caraway). You only need high heat for a few applications such as searing and stir frying, but it's nice to know you can use it safely when you need it.

Interestingly, although Caraway markets their stainless line as great for high heat cooking, the instruction manual suggests that you use medium heat to "maintain longevity." This isn't really why you use medium heat because high heat won't harm the cookware like it will nonstick, but the pans heat quickly and evenly, so you can often get all the sear you want with medium heat, and using medium or lower heat settings tends to keep the cookware easier to clean (fewer polymerized oil stains to deal with).

Easier to Clean than Other Stainless Steel Cookware

Possibly true. Like Demeyere's Silvinox treatment, Caraway's passivation process may make their cookware slightly easier to clean than other clad stainless cookware brands. We didn't notice a huge difference in cleaning during testing, but we didn't have any problems cleaning the cookware, either.

If you are new to stainless steel cookware, you may appreciate a brand that offers slightly easier cleaning because it can take awhile to get the hang of using stainless cookware with minimal cleaning required.

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About the Storage Pieces (Are They Really Useful?)

One of Caraway's famous marketing tricks is to include storage if you buy a set. You get a magnetic rack for the pans: 

Caraway Stainless Steel Cookware featured image

And a canvas bag for the lids which you can hang on the inside of your cupboard door:

Caraway Stainless Lid Rack

If you have a cupboard large enough or a spot on the counter to put it, then you may appreciate the Caraway's pot storage solution. It's magnetic, so you can take it apart and use the storage slots separately. But either way, the Caraway rack(s) take up more room than simply stacking the pans, so our testers had mixed feelings: some loved the racks and thought they looked great, while others hated them and thought they took up too much space and weren't a good solution (why not just stack them in a cupboard, which is more space efficient?). 

The lid rack is a hanging canvas bag you attach to the inside of a door or to a wall. If you don't mind it hanging on a door, it's a good solution. Too bad it's only big enough for the Caraway lids, as it would be great if you could store other lids in it, too. The one drawback of the lid storage is that it can bang and clang if you open the door too fast or too hard, but you'll learn pretty quickly to not do that. 

Our overall opinion of the Caraway storage is that it's alright: some people will love it and others will find it a waste of space and an added expense that they would have preferred to not pay for. We recommend pot racks you can hang from ceilings or walls because they make the most efficient use of your space, and they're available in so many different shapes and sizes that they're an option for almost every kitchen. In most cases, you can slide the lid over the pot handle so extra lid storage isn't needed, though sellers tend to not show this in pictures (see below). Short handled pots can sit on top of the rack with their lids (as there is no long handle to store the lid on):

Wall hanging pot rack w:pots

If the rack is large enough, you can add hooks for utensils, strainers, colanders, and more, which can save a ton of drawer and cupboard space. 

We wish Caraway offered sets with or without storage, so buyers could decide if they wanted it and could pay less for a set if they didn't. But if you buy a set, you get the storage. If you don't want the storage, it's the same price--actually slightly less--to buy the 4 piece set pieces individually (about $790). However, if you want the mini pans as well, you'll pay about $100 more by buying individually rather than in a set. 

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Review: Caraway Clad Stainless Steel Skillet

Caraway Stainless Skillet

We tested the Caraway large (10.5 inch) frying pan, but this review applies to all the Caraway stainless pans.

Features

Here are the basic features of the Caraway stainless pans:

  • 5 ply cladding with 3 internal layers of aluminum
  • Total heating core thickness 1.5mm
  • 0.5mm 304 grade cooking surface (18/10 steel)
  • 0.5mm 430 grade brushed steel exterior (for induction compability)
  • Pans have straight sides with curved bottoms for easy reach with whisk or other tools
  • Good amount of flat cooking surface
  • Flat (not domed) stainless steel lids (lids not available for frying pan, but Dutch oven lid fits)
  • Lids are heavy with vent hole to release steam
  • Lid pulls have characteristic Caraway "swoop" design
  • Handles are riveted and feel solid rather than hollow, forked at handle
  • Long handles are straight, squarish, and on the thin side, with thumb stop to help with grip
  • Helper handle on sauté pan
  • Induction compatible and dishwasher safe (though you should wash by hand for best results)
  • Oven safe to 550F
  • Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects
  • Made in China.

Performance and Handling

The skillet is heavy, weighing 2.5 lbs without a lid (compare this to the All-Clad D3 10-inch skillet, which weighs 2 pounds without a lid). This was surprising, given that the heating core and overall thickness is less than that of an All-Clad D3 skillet, which is closest in configuration to this pan (because the All-Clad D5 has an extra layer of steel rather than an all aluminum heating core). It feels like much of the weight is in the handle, though the pan is well balanced and doesn't tip when empty. 

The handle, though solid, is a little on the thin side, so it doesn't provide the best grip we've ever seen, but the thumb stop on the underside helps with stabilizing the pan. If the pan is full and hot, we recommend using both hands with pot holders or towels to move it.

Water test: To measure thermal conductivity, we added 2 cups of room temperature water to the pan and heated it on high to see how quickly it would bring the water to a boil. It took 1 minute, 44 seconds for the water to reach a rapid boil.

This isn't a scientific test, so the result isn't all that important, but it does show that the pan heats similarly to most other clad stainless pans, all of which take between 1:30-2 minutes to reach a boil. What it does show is that the heat is even throughout the pan, as you can see from the bubbles:

Caraway frying pan with water bubbles

To measure heat retention, we removed the pan from the heat and measured the water temperature. After 5 minutes, it was 121F. This compares favorably with most other clad stainless steel brands. 

The upshot: the Caraway steel frying pan heats evenly and holds heat about as well as most other clad stainless pans on the market.

Caraway Steel Skillet with Steak

Food: We cooked eggs, steaks, hamburgers, chicken breasts, fresh spinach, caramelized onions, and more to test the cooking performance. Over about a month of use by different testers, we concluded that the Caraway stainless pan performs as well as most other brands in its price range, and no better than some than some cheaper ones. This actually surprised us a bit because the heating core is thinner than All-Clad D3 and Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad. The millimeter of difference does matter, but in daily cooking, it's unlikely to be noticeable to most chefs. 

The pan handled like all stainless steel, meaning that you need to use enough cooking fat to keep food from sticking. It cleaned up well and we had very few complaints about this pan.

What we didn't like: Some testers thought the handle was too thin which made it hard to stabilize the pan. We didn't like that the pan itself felt heavy in a sort of unbalanced way: as we said earlier, the pan seems to have a higher amount of weight in the handle compared to other brands. If the weight was because of a thicker heating core, that would be great, but with the performance as good as it was--even browning, good heat retention--this is a small complaint.

And though we didn't test the lids, we don't like the vent. It's there to help prevent boil overs, which seems smart, but it also prevents a pan from building up pressure as well as a non-vented lid can, which is often what you want because pressure helps food to cook slightly faster, and a non-vented lid holds in moisture better. 

If you like a vented lid, you'll probably love this cookware, but if you don't, you may want to look at All-Clad D3 for about the same price, or Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad for considerably less.

Another tiny complaint is that the pans don't have grooved lips. The non-grooved lips have a great minimalist look, but it can make pouring messy. We didn't find it too bad, but some liquid did drip down the sides--if this happens, be sure to wipe it off before placing the pan back on the heat, or you can get a big ugly stain to clean.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Beautiful, thoughtful design
  • Curved bottoms make it easy to reach everywhere in a pot
  • Good amount of flat cooking surface in skillet and sauté pan
  • Stainless lids
  • Induction compatible, oven safe to 550F, and dishwasher safe
  • Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.
Cons
  • Heating core is thinner than All-Clad
  • Handles are on the thin side, making them a bit hard to grip
  • Vented lids (some people might like this)
  • No grooved lip for drip free pouring.

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Recommendation

The Caraway stainless steel cookware line has beautiful design that you could easily fall in love with. It performed well and cleaned up well, but other than looks it didn't really distinguish itself in any way from other clad stainless brands that have been around a lot longer, and the Caraway is almost as expensive as All-Clad even though it's made in China. If you love the design, it's a good choice, but you can get other time tested brands for the same or less.

Caraway Stainless Cookware and Minis Set

buy caraway stainless steel cookware:

Amazon buy button

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What Users Are Saying about Caraway Clad Stainless Steel Cookware

Overall, these pans get excellent reviews. People love how they look and how they cook. The few complaints were about weight (they're heavy) and cleaning, which are both standard complaints for stainless cookware. 

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How Caraway Clad Stainless Compares to Other Popular Clad Stainless Brands

Here's a table comparing basic features of Caraway, All-Clad D3 (which, again, is closer in configuration to Caraway than D5), and our bargain brand of choice, Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad. 

Caraway/All-Clad D3/Made In Comparison Table

Feature:

Caraway

All-Clad D3

Tramontina Tri-Ply Clad

Price:

10" Skillet:

Basic Cookware Set:


$155 (10.5", no lid)

$695 (4pc + lids and storage)


$99 (lid included)

$545 (7pc incl. lids)


$40 (no lid)

$300 (10 pc incl. lids)

Body Construction

2.5mm thick body with 1.5mm heating core (3 aluminum layers)

2.6mm thick body with 1.7mm heating core (1 aluminum layer)

2.6mm thick body with 1.7mm heating core (1 aluminum layer)

Finish

Brushed stainless

Polished stainless

Polished stainless

Country of Origin

China

USA

China or Brazil

Induction Compatibility

Induction compatible.

Induction compatible.

Induction compatible.

Oven Safe Temp

550F

500F

500F

Dishwasher Safe*

Yes

Yes

Yes

Metal Utensil Use

Yes

Yes

Yes

Warranty

Limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.

Limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.

Limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.

*Hand washing recommended for all stainless cookware.

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FAQs About Caraway Clad Stainless Cookware

Here are some commonly asked questions about Caraway clad stainless steel cookware.

Is Caraway Clad Stainless Cookware Good Quality?

Yes, Caraway clad stainless cookware is good quality. It's well made, has great design, and a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.

Where Is Caraway Stainless Cookware Made?

All Caraway cookware is made in China.

What Is the Warranty on Caraway Clad Stainless Steel Cookware?

Caraway stainless cookware has a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.

Is Caraway Stainless Cookware Oven Safe?

Yes, it is oven safe to 550F.

Is Caraway Stainless Cookware Induction Compatible?

Yes, all Caraway stainless cookware is induction compatible.

Can You Use Metal Utensils with Caraway Stainless Cookware?

Yes, you can use metal utensils with Caraway stainless cookware. However, you may not want to as some metal utensils may scratch the pans.

Is Caraway Stainless Cookware as Good as All-Clad?

When we compare clad stainless cookware, we look at the quality of the steel and the thickness of the heating core, which determines how evenly the cookware heats and how well it will retain heat. The stainless steel of Caraway is as good as All-Clad stainless steel. However, Caraway's heating core is slightly thinner than All-Clad D3 by about 1 millimeter. This isn't a lot, so the performance is very similar, but technically, All-Clad D3's heating core is superior to Caraway's heating core.

Can You Really Use Caraway Stainless Cookware with High Heat?

Yes, absolutely. High heat won't harm stainless steel or cause it to release any toxic fumes, as with some nonstick cookware. However, high heat can cause worse stains, and isn't necessary for most cooking. Other than high heat searing, you probably won't need to use high heat (but it's nice to know that you can if you want to).

Where Is the Best Place to Buy Caraway Stainless Cookware?

Caraway began as a direct-to-customer brand, available only on their website. But today, you can buy Caraway stainless cookware in several retail outlets including Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart, and many more. The prices seem to be the same everywhere, but comparing a few different outlets is always a good idea because you may run into a sale at one of them.

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Final Thoughts About Caraway Clad Stainless Steel Cookware

Caraway Steel Skillet with Steak

Caraway clad stainless steel cookware is beautiful, with striking design that turns people's heads. It's solid and well made and has a lifetime warranty. However, it's expensive, and it's too new to know for sure how it will hold up to other time-tested brands. The heating core is also on the thin side, though in testing it compared favorably to other stainless cookware brands. If you love the Caraway design, you'll love this cookware. But other than the gorgeous design, it doesn't really offer buyers anything new or unique in the clad stainless cookware market. 

Thanks for reading!

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Caraway Clad Stainless Steel Review Pinterest

About the Author

The Rational Kitchen (TRK) is a collaborative effort, but the founder, editor, and writer of most of our articles is Melanie Johnson, an avid cook, kitchenware expert, and technical communications specialist for more than 20 years. Her love of cooking and the frustrating lack of good information about kitchen products led her to create The Rational Kitchen. TRK's mission is to help people make the best decisions they can when buying kitchen gear. 

When not working on product reviews, Melanie enjoys reading, playing with her dog Ruby, vintage video games, and spending time outdoors and with her family.

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