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Heritage Steel Cookware Review: Stainless Steel Cookware Made in USA

By trk

Last Updated: June 23, 2023

American made cookware, cookware, cookware made in USA, top quality cookware

Heritage Steel cookware is an American-made brand that's not as well known as All-Clad, but has some impressive features, including 5 thick plies and a cookware surface made from 316Ti stainless steel (like Saladmaster, but considerably less expensive). 

Our Heritage Steel Cookware review takes a look at this brand to find out how it stacks up against All-Clad, Saladmaster, and other high-end stainless steel cookware. Find out if this brand is a good fit for your kitchen.

Our Heritage Steel Recommendation

Heritage Steel is excellent quality cookware completely made in the USA. The prices run similar to All-Clad and the lifetime warranty ensures these pans will last just as long. The sets have good pieces and the cookware is a pleasure to use. Overall, a top quality brand. Highly recommended.

See Heritage Steel Cookware on Amazon

Go to Heritage Steel website

Heritage Steel Cookware at a Glance

Heritage Steel Cookware with Hammer Stahl Knives

Heritage Steel makes just one line of clad stainless cookware, but they have several pieces, including skillets, sauce pans, sauciérs, stock pots, woks, roundeaus, deep sauté pans (an excellent piece!), and sauteuses. Most pieces are available in different sizes, and many are available with lids (lids can also be bought separately).

Heritage Steel also makes a slow cooker bast that works with some of the cookware pieces (more on this below).




-316Ti cooking surface

-439 magnetic stainless exterior

-Variable wall thickness 2.3-2.8mm (due to thickness of heating core).


-Stainless, made in USA

-Some flat, some domed, depending on piece.


-Heritage Steel does not make nonstick pans of any type. 

Induction Compatibility:

-Yes: all Heritage Steel pans are induction compatible.

Oven Safe to:



-Limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.

Made In:

-All pieces and lids are made in the USA (some raw materials can be imported).

Available Pieces:

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About Heritage Steel

Heritage Steel is a family-owned business located in Clarksville, Tennessee. It began as Vollrath's consumer cookware division back in 1974. In 1982, it was purchased by Donald Henn and renamed New Era. The Henns still own New Era today but it has recently been re-named Heritage Steel. For many years New Era made several brands of cookware, including many brands of waterless cookware. They also manufactured many other private brands in their factory. Today, it looks like they're only making Heritage Steel cookware and no longer producing their waterless brands, although they still sell replacement parts for them.

New Era developed a number of clad cookware innovations. They introduced one of the first lines of induction cookware in 1985; they developed a 7-ply, surgical stainless (and induction compatible) design in 1987, and in 1990 they invented the "whistle system" used on many brands of waterless cookware to notify you when food has reached cooking temperature. 

Heritage Steel acquired the Hammer Stahl cutlery company in 2008 and continues to make high quality German steel Hammer Stahl knives. 

New Era used the 7-ply design on their Hammer Stahl cookware, introduced to the market in 2013, as well as on many of their waterless brands. Hammer Stahl cookware was phased out a few years ago, and today Heritage Steel's design is 5-ply with three inner layers of aluminum (more details on this below). 

In 2007, Heritage Steel (still New Era at this point) moved operations to a new facility that is "environmentally friendly and efficient, using a state-of-the-art chemical-free washing system." It's one of the cleanest cookware manufacturing plants in the world.

Heritage Steel clad stainless cookware and Hammer Stahl knives are their main products today. 

You can read more about Heritage Steel cookware on their website.

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About Clad Stainless Steel Cookware

Heritage Steel 5-ply diagram

Clad stainless steel cookware has stainless steel on the exterior and cooking surface, with internal layers of aluminum and/or copper. These different metals are fused together under great pressure--"clad"--to act as one.

Clad cookware gives you the stability and non-reactivity of stainless steel for the cooking surface, plus the rapid, even heat distribution of aluminum and/or copper. 

Most clad cookware has an external layer of magnetic steel to make the cookware induction compatible. Magnetic steel is typically used only on the outside because it is not as corrosion resistant as non-magnetic steel. 

Clad stainless steel cookware can have as few as three plies--stainless-aluminum-stainless--up to 5 or even 7 plies, with internal layers of aluminum, copper, or more stainless steel.

Also, clad cookware can be fully clad or disc-clad (also called bottom-clad or impact bonded). Full cladding extends throughout the cookware, all the way up the sides, as this Heritage Steel diagram shows: 

Heritage Steel construction diagram

Disc-clad cookware has a clad base welded to stainless steel sides; it has a "seam" around the bottom where the disc meets the sides that makes it easy to spot:

Disc Clad sauce pan with seam callout

All Heritage Steel cookware is fully clad, so we won't talk more about disc-cladding.

5-ply cookware has become popular in recent years, and many people assume it's automatically better than tri-ply. However, the number of plies isn't nearly as important as the thickness and configuration of the plies. For example, tri-ply cookware that's 3mm thick is going to perform better than 5-ply cookware that's 2.7mm thick (we talk more about this below in the Heating Performance section). And cookware with internal plies of aluminum is going to perform better than cookware with internal layer(s) of stainless steel, with faster, more even heating. (Other people disagree with us on this, but this is what our testing has shown.)

There can be huge discrepancies in quality of clad stainless steel cookware. To buy good quality clad cookware, you need to know:

  • The overall thickness of the walls (typically 10-20% stainless steel, 80-90% heating core)
  • The cladding configuration (internal layers should be aluminum and/or copper)
  • The quality of the stainless steel used (there is a huge difference in quality even among "surgical" stainless steels used in cookware manufacturing, particularly between American steel and overseas steel).

This review provides the information you need about Heritage Steel cookware, and also basic information about how to buy clad stainless steel cookware in general. 

Overall, clad stainless cookware is considered the most versatile and durable cookware made today. It is the choice of most professional chefs and also discerning home cooks, especially those who want to avoid the toxins and environmental issues seen in nonstick cookware

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How Heritage Steel Cookware Is Different from Other Clad Stainless Steel Brands

Heritage Steel cookware has some distinct features that set it apart from other brands of clad stainless steel cookware (including All-Clad).

316Ti and 439 Stainless Steel

The first big difference between Heritage Steel and most brands of clad stainless cookware (including All-Clad) is the steel they use. Most brands use a 304 grade, either 18/8 or 18/10, for the cooking surface and 409 or 430 magnetic stainless on the exterior (for induction compatibility). These are considered excellent quality "surgical" stainless steels and are highly resistant to corrosion. 

Heritage Steel uses 316Ti stainless steel for the cooking surface and 439 magnetic stainless on the exterior. Both are considered higher grades than the standard 304, 409, or 430 used on most other clad stainless cookware brands, meaning they are more corrosion resistant. 

316Ti contains titanium and molybdenum, which makes the steel "20 times more resistant to corrosion and pitting from chloride solutions that occur when cooking with salt directly in the pan." In other words, Heritage Steel cookware won't get those salt stains that you see on other stainless steel cookware (little white freckles on the cooking surface). 

439 is the highest grade of magnetic stainless steel, also strengthened with titanium. Its corrosion resistance is comparable to 304 stainless steel. This is impressive, and will also result in more durable cookware.

This is not to say that other high quality stainless cookware brands aren't highly resistant to corrosion, because they are. But Heritage Steel goes the extra mile by using even more corrosion resistant steel than you'll see on most other cookware brands. The only other brand we know that uses 316Ti is Saladmaster, which will cost hundreds more than Heritage Steel.

One important point: Many people think 316Ti contains less nickel and chromium than 304 and so won't leach. However, 316Ti contains the same amounts of nickel and chromium as 304 stainless, and will likely leach them at about the same rate. This is a separate issue from corrosion resistance, but is related, particularly if you're concerned about these chemicals leaching into your food (although even with small amounts of chromium and nickel leaching, stainless steel cookware is one of the safest choices you can make).

All Parts Made in the USA

Heritage Steel makes all parts of their cookware in the US, including lids.

All-Clad now makes their lids in China, as well as their nonstick cookware, appliances, and utensils. They even make some of their clad stainless cookware in China now (e.g., anything with disc-cladding is probably made in China).

Being made in China is not necessarily an indicator of poor quality, and there are a few brands of Chinese-made clad stainless that we really like. However, it is important to many buyers that they are getting an American-made product. If this is important to you, Heritage Steel is the clear choice over All-Clad.

Variable Wall Thickness

Variable wall thickness means that different cookware pieces have different thicknesses. Heritage Steel uses 2.8mm thick clad stainless for their skillets and 2.3mm thick clad stainless for sauce pans, stock pots, and other pieces.

This is great, well-thought-out design, as skillets need that thickness for both durability and performance, and pieces meant for use with liquids do not. 

Varied thickness also keeps pieces like sauce pans and sauce lighter, which most people prefer.

You see this variable thickness only in top stainless brands like Demeyere and in high-end copper cookware. All-Clad, as well as most other clad cookware makers, use the same thickness on all of their pieces.

(Also, if all pieces are the same thickness, then skillet performance tends to suffer rather than the other way around.)

No Nonstick Options

We love this about Heritage Steel: they do not make any nonstick pans. 

This is a conscious choice on their part. They don't believe in nonstick because it doesn't last, and other than food not sticking, it isn't very useful cookware. You can read more about their non-nonstick philosophy on their website.

Cookware makers that claim to offer a lifetime warranty on all their cookware are being deceptive if they offer nonstick pans. Heritage Steel doesn't want to make pans that don't last, so they don't sell nonstick; it's that simple.

They also offer a wealth of information about how to use stainless steel so it doesn't stick. We have featured much of this information in other articles here on our site, too. It's all good stuff (so please don't buy nonstick cookware).

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How to Buy Cookware (The 5 Most Important Features)

If you've read any of our other articles, you know we include this section in nearly all of our cookware reviews. If you have this information, you're more likely to buy cookware that you will love and which will serve your needs for many years to come.

The important features are heating performance, durability, safety/stability, design, and value.

Heating Performance

Heating performance is the most important aspect of cookware. This is a complex subject, so much so that many books have been written about it. However, there are just three factors about heating you need to know to buy cookware: thermal conductivity, heat retention, and mass. 

Thermal Conductivity

Thermal conductivity refers to how evenly and quickly a pan heats. A pan with good thermal conductivity will have fast, even heat distribution, with minimal hot and cold spots.

Good thermal conductivity also means a pan responds quickly to heat changes. 

For most tasks and most cooks, thermal conductivity is the most important aspect of cookware. That is, cooks want cookware that heats evenly and responds quickly to changes in temperature. 

Copper and aluminum have high thermal conductivity ratings. Clad cookware lined with a good amount of aluminum and/or copper will also have good thermal conductivity. 

Heat Retention/Capacity

Heat retention, also called heat capacity, measures how long a pan hangs onto heat after the heat source has been removed. This is especially important for deep frying and high heat searing because temperature crashes mean not getting optimal results.

Cast iron and carbon steel have the highest heat retention of all cookware. They are nearly identical materials, but because cast iron is usually thicker--i.e, it has more mass--it has higher heat retention than carbon steel. 


Thermal conductivity and heat retention are essentially opposite properties. If a material has excellent thermal conductivity, it has poor heat retention. If a material has excellent heat retention, it has poor thermal conductivity. 

For example, cast iron, with its excellent heat retention, heats slowly and unevenly, meaning its thermal conductivity isn't great. However, if you give cast iron (or carbon steel) enough time to heat through, the heat evens out and its poor thermal conductivity isn't a big issue, especially if you're using for a task that needs excellent heat retention.

Conversely, aluminum and copper are both quite responsive to changes in temperature, which means they have fairly poor heat retention.

However: If a copper or aluminum pan has enough mass, it will have good heat retention, in some cases enough to even compete with cast iron (such as the Demeyere Proline skillet, with almost 4mm of aluminum).

No, copper and aluminum won't have quite the heat retention of cast iron, but if the pans are thick and heavy, they will have enough that you can achieve a nice sear on a steak.

For this reason, the role of mass in cookware performance is as important to consider as thermal conductivity and heat retention.


Cookware's mass matters because it affects both thermal conductivity and heat retention. The thicker and heavier cookware is, the better the thermal conductivity and heat retention. Thicker, heavier cookware takes longer to heat through (because, more mass), but once heated through, heat distribution tends to be very even. This is true especially for copper and aluminum (or clad) cookware, but true for other types of cookware, as well.

Thicker, heavier cookware also has better heat retention, regardless of the material. Thus, thick copper will hang onto heat better than thin copper; if thick enough, it will have better heat retention than even some carbon steel or cast iron. 

Mass is easiest to measure by cookware's thickness, which is why we always give the wall thickness of clad stainless steel cookware. Wall thickness is also the easiest way to compare performance of different brands of cookware. 

To summarize: thick, heavy cookware will perform better than thin, lightweight cookware. So for the best heating performance, you should buy the heaviest cookware you can handle. (It will also be more durable.)

Heritage Steel Heating Performance (How's It Cook?)

Heritage Steel skillet with egg

Heritage Steel performed well in our tests. We were able to make eggs, fish, burgers, chicken breasts, and even sear steaks, with excellent results. 

We tested the heat conductivity and heat retention by boiling water in the skillet and measuring how long it took to come to a boil as well as how long it took for the water to cool off. These tests aren't completely scientific, so we won't share the "data" we found. Suffice to say that the Heritage Steel skillet heats quickly and evenly and is a joy to use. The heat retention is slightly longer than All-Clad's D3 skillet, by almost a minute.

Most cooks should be very happy with the performance of Heritage Steel cookware (though we do recommend cast iron for optimal steak searing). 


Durability means that the cookware will stand up to abuse in the kitchen--high heat, cooking oil, dishwashers, scraping with utensils, and more--and last for decades without losing any of its features.

Most cooks value durability and want cookware that will last for a long time. 

Clad stainless cookware is one of the most durable types of cookware on the market. You have to buy wisely because the quality of steel can vary, particularly among less expensive brands. If you buy a good brand of clad stainless cookware--like Heritage Steel--it will last for several decades. 

Safety and Stability (Non-Reactivity)

Of course, safety is the most important concern when buying cookware. We list it third only because you can assume that any cookware we recommend is a safe choice.

When we look at safety, what we're really looking at is stability, or non-reactivity. Stability means that the cooking surface is non-reactive and won't rust, corrode, affect the flavor of food, or--most importantly--leach toxins, making it a safe, clean choice.

It's true that stainless steel will leach very tiny amounts of nickel, chromium, and iron. None of these are toxic to people, particularly in the minute amounts release by cookware.

Nearly all types of cookware leach some chemicals, but stainless steel is one of the safest, most stable materials you can choose.

Heritage Steel's 316Ti is even more corrosion resistant than the very popular 304 grade, particularly when it comes to salt, but it has the same nickel and chromium content as 304 and is likely to leach them at an equal rate (i.e., very little, and none in amounts that are unsafe).

For more information, see our Guide to Safe, Non-Toxic Cookware.


This section covers a number of features that affect your daily use experience, including pan shape, handle shape, weight, lids, and ease of cleaning.

Note that "good" vs. "bad" design is really about personal preference. What one person loves someone else might hate. It's important to look at as many features as possible before buying because cookware can be good quality, but wrong for you. 

Pan Shape: Skillets

Heritage Steel skillet with callouts 2

Heritage Steel skillets have a good basic shape. The sides are a little more sloped than we like, resulting in a smallish flat cooking surface. This is a small complaint, though, as the pans have a very basic shape that you'll find on many brands of skillets.

We love that the Heritage Steel skillets are thicker than their sauce pans and stock pots (which don't need the extra weight). At 2.8mm thick, they are 0.2mm thicker than All-Clad skillets. You may not think this is a lot but the result is better thermal conductivity as well as slightly better heat retention. 

Our testing proved this: Heritage Steel skillets heated more evenly than All-Clad and held onto heat for close to a minute longer (as tested by boiling water). These differences may seem small, but in daily cooking you will appreciate the better performance.

Pan Shape: Sauce Pans and Sauciérs

Heritage Steel sauce pan

Heritage Steel 3-quart sauce pan.

Heritage Steel sauciér

Heritage Steel 3-quart sauciér.

Sauce pans and sauciérs can be used interchangeably, but sauce pans are better for cooking with liquids like making soup or boiling pasta, and sauciérs are designed for making sauces that require whisking and reducing.

Heritage Steel sauce pans and sauciérs both have a pretty standard shape: the sauce pans have straight sides, while the sauciérs have curved bottoms for ease of whisking. The sauciér has shallower sides which helps with reducing sauces; the sauce pans are deeper, which is good for cooking liquids (less sloshing and spilling). 

Because of the low sides of the sauciér, we recommend the sauce pan for general use. You should get a sauciér only if you frequently make sauces that require whisking and reduction (e.g., bechamel, caramels, etc.).

Heritage Steel cookware sets come with the sauce pan(s). The sauciér is an open stock piece you have to buy separately. 

Handles and Helper Handles

Heritage Steel Skillet Handle

Heritage Steel skillet handle.

Heritage Steel 4qt Sauce Pot

Heritage Steel 4-quart pot (short handles).

The handles on Heritage Steel cookware are great: the long handles are hollow, which keeps them cool to the touch (though they will eventually get hot on a gas cooktop), and also keeps the weight lighter. The handle rises just slightly above the top of the pan and provides excellent leverage (not too high and not too low). 

On larger Heritage Steel pieces--anything larger than 3 quarts--they use two short handles. This makes their larger pans easier to handle (and another example of great design).

Helper handles are small handles opposite the long handle to help you maneuver a full, heavy pan: 

Helper handle callout

They are typically found on larger pieces (4 quart sauce pans, 12-inch skillet, and for some reason on most sauté pans). As we said, Heritage Steel uses two short handles rather than a long handle and a helper handle on their larger pots, which is a nice solution that allows for easy handling (see image above of a Heritage Steel 4-quart pot with two short handles).

Unfortunately, the Heritage Steel 12-inch skillet does not have a helper handle. This is a big pan, and would benefit from a helper handle. Since this is a safety issue, we consider it a fairly significant drawback, especially since this pan is about half a pound heavier than the All-Clad 12-inch skillet (which does have a helper handle).


As we said earlier, you should buy the heaviest cookware that you can comfortably handle. Heavy cookware will perform better and last longer than light cookware.

This is especially true for clad stainless skillets, which need a thick layer(s) of aluminum to perform well and also to not warp. 

Heritage Steel's skillets are thicker (2.8mm) than All-Clad D3 and D5 (2.6mm) and are therefore heavier. To compare, the 12-inch Heritage Steel skillet weighs just over 3 pounds, while the All-Clad D3 12-inch skillet weighs 2 pounds, 11 ounces. 

This isn't a huge difference, and it may not affect your buying decision, but the greater thickness and weight of the Heritage Steel skillet will result in more even heating and better heat retention, as well as increased durability.

Heritage Steel sauce pans and stock pots are thinner than the skillets. They do not require the weight that a skillet does, so Heritage Steel uses a thinner steel (2.3mm). This makes them lighter than other brands' sauce pans and stock pots of the same size. 


Heritage Steel 10 piece cookware set

Heritage Steel 10pc set: all flat lids.

Heritage Steel shallow wok:French skillet with domed lid

Heritage Steel French skillet: domed lid.

All Heritage Steel lids are stainless steel, which we prefer to glass (it's lighter, more durable, and tends to be a mark of higher end cookware). Heritage Steel manufactures their lids in the USA (unlike All-Clad, which now imports them from China).

Most Heritage Steel lids are flat, but some pieces have domed lids. Domed lids offer more room, but they also take up more storage space, so be sure you want the domed lids before buying those pieces. 

As shown in the images above, all pieces in the cookware sets have flat lids, but the more specialized pieces such as the French skillet and wok have domed lids.

Ease of Cleaning

Ease of cleaning is a nice feature in cookware, and it's the only reason why nonstick cookware is so popular. However, all cookware is easy to clean when used correctly. (Yes, really.)

Clad stainless cookware has a bit of a reputation for being sticky and hard to clean. But that's only because people aren't using the right methods for cooking with it. If you follow a few simple rules, stainless cookware is actually easy to clean.

How to keep stainless cookware easy to clean: Use low heat, heat the cooking oil before adding food, and allow food to release naturally before attempting to move it. Doing this will help keep your stainless pans easy to clean. The Heritage Steel website has a whole section on stainless cooking techniques to help you learn how to use your stainless pan without sticking.

You can also use a method called the Leidenfrost Effect, a temperature-dependent "trick" that allows you to cook on stainless even without oil and have the pan remain nonstick. 

Free yourself of the notion that you have to use nonstick cookware if you hate washing dishes. It's simply not true. Once you understand how to use stainless steel, you will never need another nonstick pan (not even for eggs).


Rather than just looking at cost, we like to look at cost-per-year-of-use. So for example, if you spend $100 on a set of cookware that lasts for 5 years, you are paying $25 per year of use (a common scenario for nonstick cookware). 

If you spend $500 on a set of cookware that lasts for 30 years, you are paying about $16.60 per year of use. And for clad stainless cookware with a lifetime warranty, 30 years is a low estimate of how long it will last.

Heritage Steel cookware is a high-end brand. It competes with All-Clad, Viking, and Demeyere (links go to our reviews). It is not low budget cookware by any means--but its cost-per-year-of-use is low because it will last a lifetime.

If you have the budget for good quality clad cookware, Heritage Steel should certainly be on your short list.

Heritage Steel has a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects. They will replace defective pieces free of charge. 

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see heritage steel cookware at amazon

see heritage steel cookware at heritage steel site

Is Heritage Steel Better than All-Clad?

We already discussed many of these factors, but we repeat them here so you can compare Heritage Steel to All-Clad in more detail.

Price: If you compare Heritage Steel to All-Clad, set prices are similar; a 10-piece set of Heritage Steel goes for about the same as a 10-piece set of All-Clad D5 (and Heritage Steel is more durable and will heat faster and more evenly than D5). The 10-piece set of Heritage Steel is about $100 more than the 10-piece set of All-Clad D3. (The pieces in the sets are different, so you should also look at which set has the pieces you want--more on that below in Buying Options.)

Though set prices are similar, prices on individual pieces can vary quite a bit, as the chart below shows. We use All-Clad D3 for comparison as it is the closest in performance to Heritage Steel. All-Clad D5 prices will be higher.

Here's a comparison of some of the most popular pieces of each brand (prices are approximate and may be subject to change).

Heritage Steel Item/App. Price

All-Clad D3 Item/App. Price

10.5-inch skillet: $80/$130 w/lid

10-inch skillet: $130/$99 w/lid

12-inch skillet: $99/lid not available

12-inch skillet: $190/$122 w/lid

3-quart sauce pan: $160

3-quart sauce pan: $120

8-quart stock pot: $280

8-quart stock pot: $365

For a comparison of the D3/D5 All-Clad lines, see our article All-Clad D3 Vs. D5: Which Is Better?

Country of Origin: Both All-Clad and Heritage Steel cookware is made in the USA. However, All-Clad makes only their clad stainless pieces in the US. Everything else is now made in China.

This includes nonstick cookware, appliances, utensils, and the stainless lids for their clad stainless cookware. In fact, All-Clad is even making some of their stainless cookware in China now, such as this disc-clad stock pot.

Heritage Steel makes all their cookware here in the US, including lids. Though some of their raw materials may be purchased overseas, all of their cookware is designed and assembled here, including the lids. 

If country-of-origin is important to you and you want to buy American-made products, Heritage Steel wins over All-Clad.

Overall Quality: All-Clad is top notch cookware and will definitely last a lifetime, so it's hard to say that Heritage Steel is even better. However, the 316Ti stainless as well and the 439 magnetic stainless are both more corrosion resistant than the 304 (18/10) and 430 steels used on All-Clad. While both companies make highly durable cookware, Heritage Steel edges out All-Clad in this category, too. 

We also like that the Heritage Steel pans are made in different thicknesses, so you get a heavy pan where you need it (in your skillet) and lighter cookware where you don't need it (sauce pans and stock pots). Only a few cookware makers do this, and those that do tend to have put a lot of thought into design and functionality. 

We can't say that Heritage Steel is better than All-Clad, but it is certainly as good as All-Clad. It all depends on what you're looking for.

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Is Heritage Steel Better than Saladmaster?

If you compare Heritage Steel to Saladmaster, another cookware brand that uses 316Ti for the cooking surface, Heritage Steel costs a fraction of what you'll pay for Saladmaster. Yet the 316Ti cooking surface on Heritage Steel should provide an identical--or very similar--cooking experience to Saladmaster.

(Saladmaster fans may disagree, but our testing shows this to be true.)

Also, we much prefer the stainless handles on Heritage Steel to Saladmaster's plastic handles. They'll last longer and they look better. 

Saladmaster's direct marketing--you have to buy through a rep who comes to your house and gives a demonstration, which makes it harder to compare to other brands--is also off-putting to some people (including us). In fact, this is how they get away with charging the crazy high prices they charge.

read more in our saladmaster review



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Heritage Steel Cookware Pros and Cons

  • Excellent quality 
  • 316Ti/439 stainless, some of the highest quality steels seen in cookware
  • Varied thickness on different pieces for maximum performance
  • Oven safe to 800F
  • Slow cooker base so you can use some pieces as crockpot
  • Completely made in USA
  • Many buying options and a wide selection of pieces
  • No nonstick pieces.
  • Expensive (prices similar to All-Clad)
  • No helper handle on 12-inch skillet
  • No lid available for 12-inch skillet
  • Some reviewers complain of loose rivets* and warping.*

*We did not have either of these issues in the pans we tested.

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Buying Options

Heritage Steel has a number of good buying options, including sets and open stock (individual) pieces.

If you're looking for a set, we recommend the 8 piece core set: all usable pieces and nothing you don't need.

5 Piece Essentials Set ($400)

Heritage Steel 5 Piece Essentials Set

See 5 Piece Essentials Set on Amazon

See 5 Piece Essentials Set at Heritage Steel

About $400

The 5 piece Essentials set includes:

  • 10.5-inch skillet
  • 3-quart sauce pan with lid
  • 4-quart sauté pan with lid.

These are all useful pieces. The 10.5-inch skillet is average, but the 3-quart sauce pan and 4-quart sauté are both excellent. The sauté pan lid will fit the 10-inch skillet.

see heritage steel 5 Piece Essentials set:

Amazon buy button

*8 Piece Core Set ($700--Recommended)

Heritage Steel 8 Piece Core Set

See 8 Piece Core Set on Amazon

See 8 Piece Core Set at Heritage Steel

About $700

The 8 piece Core set includes:

  • 10.5-inch skillet
  • 12-inch skillet
  • 3-quart sauce pan with lid
  • 4-quart sauté pan with lid
  • 8-quart stock pot with lid.

We love that this set has a 12-inch skillet. Most cookware sets include 8-in and 10-in skillets and you have to buy their giant sets to get the 12-inch, or buy it separately. This big skillet is infinitely more useful (for most cooks) than the tiny 8-inch pan, especially if you are cooking for more than two people, entertain often, or do meal prepping.

This 8 piece Core set is our favorite and the one we recommend: it has excellent pieces that most cooks will love, in (we think) better sizes than you'll find in the 7-piece or 10-piece sets from All-Clad.

One complaint is that there is no lid in the set that will fit the 12-inch skillet, and as far as we can tell, Heritage Steel does not make one. So if you need a lid for the large skillet, you'll have to buy one separately

see heritage steel 8 piece core set (recommended!):

Amazon buy button

10 Piece Set ($800)

Heritage Steel 10 piece cookware set

See the 10 Piece set on Amazon

See the 10 piece set at Heritage Steel

About $800

The 10 piece set includes:

  • 10.5-inch skillet with lid
  • 1.5-quart sauté pan with lid
  • 3-quart sauce pan with lid
  • 4-quart sauté pan with lid
  • 8-quart stock pot with lid.

This set has only one skillet, and we love that it comes with a lid, but one skillet--especially a mid-sized one--may not be enough for most cooks (most cookware sets this size come with at least two skillets).

Also, the 1.5-quart sauté pan is small, and you'll probably use it more like a tiny sauce pan than a sauté pan.

The 4-quart sauté pan is a great piece, which you can use as another skillet if you need to. But most cooks need at least two skillets in different sizes and at least two sauce pans in different sizes. It's a little odd that this set has two sauté pans, but only one skillet and one sauce pan.

see heritage steel 10 piece set:

Amazon buy button

14 Piece Gourmand Set ($1300)

Heritage Steel 14 Piece Gourmand Set

See 14 piece Gourmand set at Heritage Steel

About $1300

The 14 piece set includes:

  • 3-quart sauce pan with lid
  • 3-quart saucier with lid
  • 10.5-inch skillet
  • 12-inch skillet
  • 4-quart sauté pan with lid
  • 5-quart sauce pot
  • 8-quart stock pot with lid
  • 8-quart rondeau with lid
  • 13.5-inch paella pan.

This is a huge set, and you may not use all these pieces. The 5-quart sauce pot and paella pan should have lids and don't (though some of the other lids will fit, as shown in the photo). The two large skillets are nice, and the 8-quart rondeau is a great piece.

see heritage steel 14 piece gourmand set:

Open Stock (Individual Pieces)

See Heritage Steel pieces on Amazon

See Heritage Steel pieces at Heritage Steel

Heritage Steel has a good selection of open stock pieces available, including all the pieces you'll find in their sets plus many other pieces like sauciérs, stock pots, woks, roundeaus, deep sauté pans (an excellent piece!), and sauteuses. 

You can see the entire collection at Heritage Steel, though pieces are often sold out. You will find better prices (usually) on Amazon: note that even though not all the pieces show up on the main Amazon page (the link above), most of them are listed on individual pages--so most of the pieces are on Amazon, you just have to drill down for them.

For example, if you want the sauciér, click over to the sauce pan page. If you want the 8-quart family sauté pan (an excellent, versatile piece!), click over to the sauté pan page; this page also has the sauteuses and rondeaus (which are essentially short-handles sauté pans in various sizes).

See all heritage steel pieces:

Amazon buy button

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Final Thoughts and Recommendations

Heritage Steel Featured Image

Heritage Steel is an American company that makes all their cookware in the USA. The quality is excellent and they have several good options as well as a large variety of open stock (individual) pieces. They use higher quality stainless steel than that found on most other brands, including All-Clad.

Our favorite set is the 8 piece Core set, which has two large skillets plus other excellent pieces.

Overall, we like this brand and highly recommend it. 

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Hi! Just wondering how does this brand compare to 360 cookware when it comes leaching chemicals from the metal?

    Is this considered surgical steel?

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Natalie, Heritage Steel is 316Ti which means the steel contains a small amount of titanium that improves its ability to resist salt corrosion slightly over 18/8 steel used in 360 (we just posted a review for 360 last week if you want to learn more). Both 316Ti and 304T (18/8) are considered “surgical steel”. Surgical steel is a marketing term and really just means that the steel has good anti-corrosive properties.

      Both types will leach small amounts of nickel and chromium when new, but the amounts are extremely tiny and not toxic. If you’re cooking for someone with a nickel allergy, we recommend Hestan NanoBond, which is a completely safe and inert cooking surface (but pretty expensive). See our review: https://therationalkitchen.com/hestan-cookware-review/

      Or you can read more about Hestan in our article about safe cookware: https://therationalkitchen.com/how-to-buy-safe-cookware/

      The only stainless that won’t leach any nickel at all is nickel-free stainless (18/0), which you can find in cheaper brands of cookware like HomiChef. 18/0 is a 400 Grade and I believe is still considered “surgical” steel even though it is much less corrosion-resistant than the types that contain nickel.

      I hope that answers your questions. We like both brands and think they’re both great options. I prefer the looks of Heritage, but I recommend you go with the brand that has the best pieces for your cooking style.

  2. I have a Saladmaster 5-qt. pot (dutch oven style) that I got second hand about 12 years ago. I love it, BUT the stainless steel handle that you fit the plastic handle onto on each side — one side broke off! So I am now cooking with just one handle on the pot. It's liveable, but I found that to be very disappointing that the STEEL part fell off (and this was NOT because of abusing the pan, though I cannot say it never fell to the ground at any time, as I AM a bit of a clutz!).

    I have the Heritage Steel 5-ply 5-qt. "sautee pan" and it's a bit heavy, but other than wishing it were a little lighter, and preferring a domed lid, I love it.

    What I want to know is: what difference in quality is there between the previous maker's 7-ply cookware and Heritage Steel's current 5-ply cookware? I know they continued with the 7-ply only for a very short time and wonder why and what it means to those who cook with it.

    AND THANK YOU for clarifying about the nickel leaching and amount it leaches. I did not know that!

    1. Hi Michele, It’s hard to tell you the exact differences between Saladmaster and any other brand because of how Saladmaster is sold. We have not been able to get our hands on a Saladmaster pan to really give it a thorough testing. But having said that, we can say pretty definitively that Saladmaster is high quality cookware because it could not demand the price it gets if it weren’t.

      We can also say that Heritage Steel, which we have tested, is very high quality cookware. You commented on the weight, but weight is one of the most distinguishing marks of good quality clad stainless cookware. We are confident that Heritage Steel is comparable in quality and cooking performance to Saladmaster. We think it’s better, because of the stainless steel handles and the transparency in marketing that Saladmaster lacks.

      We’re confused as to which brand you are asking about the discontinued 7-ply. If Heritage Steel, it’s simply because they lost their supplier of the 7-ply steel, which is a shame because it was exceptionally great cookware (similar to Demeyere). The 5-ply is almost as good, though, and you will much prefer the lighter weight of it.

      As for your Saladmaster pot, you may be able to get it replaced if you contact Saladmaster. They have a pretty good reputation for replacing defective pieces. They might not even care that you bought it secondhand (but you don’t have to mention it just in case).

      I hope this answers your questions. If not, please let me know and we’ll give it another go. Thanks for commenting.

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