Cook's Illustrated Rates Rachael Ray's Cookware Set as 'Not Recommended'

The latest Cook's Illustrated tested cookware sets (reg. required), and they gave the Rachael Ray 10-Piece Stainless Cookware Set (don't buy at Amazon) a big ol' thumbs down — the set is the only one in their "Not Recommended" category.

In what can only be a case of form-over-function, the review calls the dorky-looking, bubbly pear-shaped pieces "particularly problematic," and then drops the hammer, in the matter-of-fact Cook's Illustrated kind of way:

Bulging pan sides set atop comparatively small disk bottoms guaranteed that flames would reach past its protective three layers to scorch food touching the thin metal of the overhanging sides. In fry pans, high sides made it harder to reach under delicate food with a spatula and encouraged steaming rather than browning. Pans were lightweight and handles became very hot despite silicone grips.

Even worse, looking at the specifications, the rubber handles are only safe up to 400 degrees, making the pans even more useless.

Cook's Illustrated isn't a fan of buying sets, instead recommending an alternative list of individual pieces — but if you had to buy a set, which would they recommend? The All-Clad Stainless Stainless Steel Cookware Ten-Piece Set ($699.95, buy at Amazon) got the highest marks, and the "Best Buy" was awarded to an eight-piece Tramontina 8-Piece 18/10 Stainless Steel TriPly-Clad Cookware Set, a Walmart exclusive that sells for astoundingly low price of $144.97.

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