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Tell me about All-clad....

I am considering purchasing All-clad cookware. Because I heard "it's the best!"
Please provide me with your comments and personal experiences using All-clad.

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  1. I have All Clad LTD. Prior to that I had a few pieces of the old (and IMO vastly superior to their current product) Calphalon Commercial cookware purchased after college. The Calphalon was great, served me for ten years, and still used as backups. In terms of heat responsiveness and even heat distribution, I was amazed at the increase in performance when I first started using the AC LTD. I've never used better cookware, and that inlcudes even more expensive French copper cookaware.

    The All Clad has been noticably superior. All Clad Stainless is dishwasher safe, but the LTD is not. OTOH, the LTD has a thicker interior layer of aluminum, so it's performance is somewhat better. FWIW, I also think the LTD is more attractive if displayed in the open.

    Some people maintain that All Clad is not worth its cost, and that's a valid if very subjective point. It also is not best for every use. You should still have a good and well seasoned cast iron frying pan and an enamaled cast iron French Oven, but for most jobs requiring a saucepan, frypan or saute pan, I truly believe that it is the best in the world--whether it justifies its cost, however, is up to the indvidual.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sam Harmon

      Is it difficult to clean the outside of the LTD set?

      1. re: eusbmsc

        Not difficult at all. Liquid cleanser and a scrub pad do the trick for day-to-day use. Every so often, you might get some baked on grease or just want to brighten up the pans, then reach for the Barkeep's Friend scouring powder. A quick scrubbing session will have them looking like new in no time. The anodized aluminum exterior is EXTREMELY hard and durable. You can't really do it damage with scrubbing. I have seen a white discoloration of the exterior in some secondhand pieces, but I suspect oven cleaner was used on these pieces.

    2. I have All-Clad and would buy it again. We considered the Stainless Steel version but ended up with the Master Chef because it was cheaper. The MC has a brushed exterior and we didn't care about the shiny (though pretty) exterior. We gave my in-laws the stainless steel calphalon before we bought ours and I like the All-Clad better. It feels indestructible, holds heat well. Pricey but lasts. I agree w/ Sam Harmon about having some kind of frying pan that is non-stick. I can't make a decent omelette in our All-Clad w/out using too much oil.

      6 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        Chowser, I have mostly MC line of All-clad and I would fight anyone that would try to take it away from me. Its not cheap, but given the proper care, it will last a lifetime. I have used it at work, and the abuse it will take and still do the job is incredible.
        Its very heavy and very conductive, but the slope of the fry pans is perfect and I rarely need to use a Teflon coated pan. All-Clad can occasionally be found at restaurant supply house for 10-15% off retail, and you can also but it at restaurant auctions.

        Don't bother buying All-Clad stock pots, as they are too expensive and the stock pot doesn't need to be that heavy to do the job well.

        My favorite pieces are the fry pans, saut├ęs, and the sauciers. The chefs pans are nice, as are the straight-sided sauce pans.
        All-clad baking pans are a waste of money.

        1. re: Kelli2006

          You don't have problems with omelettes/eggs sticking to the frying pan w/out a lot of oil? I finally gave up and bought nonstick--not teflon, though. We got ours a long time ago, can't remember what we paid but it was a special deal for a set and then we picked up the odd piece here and there that we needed. I use the stock pot all the time, though! I love how heavy duty it is and that it goes from stove top to oven. I can't compare it to another, though. I've thought about getting a saucier but it's not multi-functional as the other pieces. Someone gave me a Calphalon one but it's nonstick and you're not supposed to use wire whisks on it. Why would they make a saucier that you can't use a wire whisk on?

          1. re: chowser

            Chowswer, The ability to cook w/o nonstick is seasoning, heat control and a pan with no hot spots. I have 2 Teflon pans, but they are inexpensive commercial Wearever pans, and they are only used for eggs and rarely for that. I have heard good reports about Sitram cybernox non-stick pans, but I haven't used 1 personally. All-Clad is using a Excalibur Teflon coating process that makes them much more abrasion resistant than most pans, but I don't like the health risks associated with Teflon.

            My smallest stock pot is 12 quarts and my largest is 20, and there is no oven in the world that they will fit into anyhow. Personally, I cannot think of a recipe that would require the use of a stock pot to be placed in a oven.

            You mentioned that your Caphalon saucier is nonstick, but its it anodized, or is it Teflon coated? There is no problem with using a metal whisk in a anodized pan, and you can use a metal whisk in Teflon with a light touch on occasion. I have a small Dumeyere copper pan, but I rarely use it as I find it temperamental and somewhat impractical.

            1. re: Kelli2006

              I finally bought an anodized frying pan for eggs. I kept trying to make it work with the all clad but it would either stick or be almost deep fried (not quite but pretty close). The saucier is anodized also. I'm pretty sure the directions said not to use a wire whisk on it. I'll have to look online to see--thanks for the heads up. I've been tempted to get a silicon one just for that. My stock pot isn't that large, just enough for stews for a good sized family. I use it in place of a dutch oven. Brown the meat in it, add vegetables, etc. and then pop in the oven. I did try baking the no knead bread in it. The lid turned a funny color--oh well.

              1. re: chowser

                Chowser, I found this at the Calphalon website,
                You may use metal whisks, spoons, spatulas and other non-sharp metal utensils. They will not harm the hard-anodized surface. HOWEVER, do not use sharp instruments or appliances such as electric mixers to cut, chop, or whip foods in any pan. Such use can scratch the pan, especially when it's heated. (All metals become softer when heated.)

                1. re: Kelli2006

                  Good to know! Thanks for checking for me! Saves me a search.

      2. I first bought an All-Clad 'set' - copper exterior. I suggest avoiding the copper coated - high maintenance and not worth the constant polishing required. However I stand by my All-Clad as I purchased several pieces since - all stainless steel for the low maintenance. All pieces perform quite well.

        If you treat the purchase as an investment, think about how many more expensive things you purchase in your lifetime and how long they last. You will probably buy a new car before you would buy new cookware. Hence, the price is worth it.

        To defray the cost, look for a Pottery Barn/William Sonoma outlet store (depending on where you are). I bought nearly all my stainless at their outlet at about 40% off the retail. Some were seconds with little scratches on the exterior surface, but not noticeable and not performancing-affecting.

        I've cooked with a friend's Kitchen Aid cookware. The slope of the handle made it difficult to manage saute pans and lifting sauce pans. All-Clad ergonomics are much better. Check that out before making any investment. How does it feel to lift, carry and handle?

        If I could afford it, I would invest in a few pieces of French copperware. They are incredibly heavy pieces, but are fantastic for cooking (e.g. saucier and saute).

        1. In terms of the different lines within All Clad, I would strongly recommend MC2 (or Master Chef 2) over Stainless or LTD. I have the stainless and the shiny exteriors are impossible to keep clean. MC2 is, i believe, the cheapest of the three and has the thickest aluminum core, which means the best performance, althought hey are slightly heavier.

          1. I have one All-clad saute pan. I love it. It works perfectly! Good saute, allows for good fond. Heats evenly. It's a dream to cook with.

            1. I have lots of stainless All-clad and think they're worth every cent. You can find them cheaper on e-bay. I never use my French copper pots because of the difficulty cleaning them.

              1. All Clad is never a wrong choice for all the reasons stated above. Great performance.

                I have yet to find ANY pan that doesn't stain on the bottom. I have LTD (black exterior) and am always wrestling with keeping it clean. But the same is true for my other stainless steel pans too.

                My suggestion is to purchase All Clad for pans that are your "performance" pans (saute, sauce, fry pans and the like). These are the pans that you need for precise control and heat distribution. For large pots (4 quart or more), I would suggest hitting a restaurant supply store and getting a commercial grade heavy-bottomed pan that is a workhorse and will cost much less. This is also true for non-stick. You can find great non-stick pans at any restaurant supply that are extremely durable, perform well and cost a lot less than a brand name pan.

                I am also partial to cast iron pans (like Lodge). When they are properly seasoned and maintained, they are practically non-stick and do a great job of holding heat for things like frying chicken, latkes, etc. and go easily from stovetop to oven. I also have a large cast-iron griddle that spans two burners and is great for making pancakes, eggs, bacon or anything else that needs a lot of space. The flip side is a grill pan and (with raised ribs) that is great for making steaks and veggies with perfect grill marks.

                3 Replies
                1. re: rdean

                  How do you season your cast iron? I recently bought some pans and seasoned them but I do not know whether I messed-up -they are not non stick!

                  1. re: Displaced California Foodie

                    To really season a pan well takes a long time, and you also need to be careful not to cook acidic foods (tomatoes, beans, stuff with vinegar, etc.) in them, at least until it's very, very well seasoned. See the other thread on here about using soap in cast iron (don't!) - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                    You'll want to use liberal amounts of oil when cooking in it at first. Deep frying food in your pan, and baking corn bread in it are both good stuff to help season it. And after you use it, put a light coating of oil on and heat the pan for a bit, then wipe off the excess oil.

                    The Lodge pre-seasoned cast iron is great... they really do a pretty good job of getting it started for you. I wanted to do it myself, but I kind of regret not getting the pre-seasoned one.

                    Back to the original thread - the Sitram cookware is a good deal, and seems excellent quality so far (I just got a saucepan of theirs).

                    1. re: Displaced California Foodie

                      I am glad you said that. There is a common misconception that well seasoned cast iron, a la grandma's iron skillet, is non-stick. Not. It is certainly more non-stick than, say MC2, but way more sticky than your cheapie, supermarket type of non-stick skillet. The forte of your iron cookware is quickly browning protein (steak, chops, veal milanese) while keeping the interior of the meat nice and moist.

                  2. Gorgeous stuff but overkill if you don't have a gas cooktop. The cladding on the sides is virtually useless if you cook on an electric (or even, I'm guessing, a magnetic induction) range: food doesn't usually burn or stick to the sides of pans because the heat comes only from the bottom -- you don't have flames licking the sides like you do on a powerful gas burner -- meaning only bottom cladding is necessary.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: carswell

                      In expensive, or decent, cookware the aluminum core will go up the sides to the top of the pan, making for even heat distribution. I cook on a restaurant stove and only with small pots and pans will you have flames licking up the sides. But that has little to do with heating the food in the pan.

                      1. re: andreas

                        Not all expensive or decent cookware has cladding up the sides. My Cuisinart pans (the original French line, not the current Korean-made knockoffs) were as expensive as All-Clad when I bought them many years ago, and some French copperware makes All-Clad look downright affordable. I've cooked with All-Clad pans and my pans (stainless with copper and aluminum cladding on the base) on electric ranges and various gas ranges, including a professional-level Garland and a DCS with an 18K-BTU burner, and find that All-Clad offers absolutely no advantage on an electric range. On the gas range, however, especially on the 18K burner, hot spots tended to form on the sides of many non-All-Clad pans, including an 11-inch skillet.

                      2. re: carswell

                        Nay nay, for me at least. Food usually sticks to the sides at its "height." Like, if your recipe makes the pot half-full, there is usually (for me, anyway) a ring around that half point.

                      3. I absolutely LOVE my All Clad set of pots and pans. I got the set (Stainless) as an xmas gift about 7 or 8 years ago and they look almost as good today as they did when I got them. And yes, I use them almost every day and put them in the dishwasher. They are expensive, but a worthwhile investment, IMO.
                        If cost is an issue, right now should be the perfect time to buy. Department stores often have sales and bonus pieces available at xmas time. My set came with a hanging rack and and square, ridged, grill pan (one of my favorite pieces).

                        1. AllClad makes several lines in two thicknesses. The Stainless and Cop-R-Chef have 2 mm. aluminum cores and should be avoided. The MasterChef and LTD lines have 4 mm. cores and are worth having.

                          http://cookwarenmore.com/home/index.cfm has full quality irregulars at good prices.

                          That said, you pay a lot for AllClad's advertising and nameplate. There's a great, very long series of discussions on eGullet on the best pots and pans at various price levels. See

                          In summary, other makers put out equal or better quality for lower prices. The best are Paderno Grand Gourmet and the Sitram Profisiere and Catering lines. (Avoid the Sitram Cybernox ("nonstick") line, though). The place to go is Bridge. http://bridgekitchenware.com/home.cfm They stock the best and will give you unbiased advice. I've gotten a number of Sitram and Paderno items from them and wouldn't use anything else.

                          If you decide to get some copperware, go with Mauviel. Tin linings are fragile, and stainless steel is 99-44/100% as good, so stainless is what to get. Once again there are two lines. 2.5 mm. thickness is considerably better than 2.0 mm., and the prices are the same or very close. 2 mm. ware has a rolled-out rim and light brass handles. 2.5 mm. has a straight rim and heavy cast iron handles. See http://www.metrokitchen.com/mauviel/

                          On a couple of birthdays, I've treated myself to Mauviel items, a 10" frying pan and a sauteuse evasee, and they're amazing. I got them at Zabar's, which has somewhat lower prices than Bridge, though nothing is remotely cheap.

                          Sometimes super-cheap is best. I have 10" and 12" Lodge cast iron skillets that were around $20 each and are irreplaceable. For cooking pasta, a $20 speckled enamel stockpot from a hardware store is perfect. A Teflon-coated frying pan is essential, but the coating on even the most expensive ones lasts only about a year. T-Fal makes perfectly decent ones, cheap enough it's throw out the old and bring in the new as necessary. For 25 years, I've roasted chickens in a thick aluminum uncoated WearEver skillet that cost around $30 on the Bowrey.

                          6 Replies
                            1. re: KRS

                              Wired, I have a non-stick coated KitchenAid pan that is 3 years old and shows no signs of wear whatsoever. Here's why:
                              1. Always wash and dry coated pans by hand. Never use a dishwasher if you want the coating to last.
                              2. Don't stack non-stick pans without a pad between each pan. (I use old hot pads.)
                              3. Use wooden tools and no metal spatulas.
                              Unlike any other non-stick I have found, the KitchenAid pan browns perfectly and cooks evenly. It's a joy to use and should last for many years to come.

                              1. re: KRS

                                Why avoid the Sitram Cybernox/ Doesn't it offer nonstick without Teflon???

                                1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                  I'm not sure why KRS said to avoid it, but I can tell you that the Cybernox is not nonstick, but 'stick-resistant'. Sitram advertises it as such, they don't say it's as good as Teflon. From what I've read, it's somewhere between Teflon and regular stainless for stick-resistance.

                                  1. re: Buckethead

                                    Thanks..it still seems quite a heavy pan, not cheaply constructed at all..but anything is better than teflon, and this should create a fond I would think...

                                    1. re: Buckethead

                                      The advice comes from the eGullet threads. As I recall, the problems were that it doesn't produce a good fond and that the nonstick coating wasn't effective.

                                2. I love mine and would definitely buy more.

                                  Dont pay full price. I got most of mine from Cookware and More or from Wms Sonoma outlet or Amazon which has obscene deals sometimes.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                    Definitely love my Stainless All Clad set. My mom bought me a large set for X-mas about 8 years ago and have since added several new pieces...a 16 qt (ouch! expensive) stock pot, the Emerilware/all clad 6qt saute pot, the emerilware/all clad 14" non-stick fry pan, and a few more.

                                    Don't forget to buy the large and regular sized Stainless All Clad roasting pans.

                                    I love my French made Sitram Cybernox non-teflon non-stick 10.25" fry pan. Also love my Swiss Diamond non-stick 8", and my 9" blue steel crepe pan.

                                    Also check out Amazon.com for the "used" cookware. I bought two Mario Batali Enameled Cast Iron pots that were in brand new condition. They're likely not used...they may contain a minor swirl or tiny scratch barely visible.

                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                      williams Sonoma has an outlet???
                                      Where is it?

                                      1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                        There used to be an WS outlet at the Brimms outlet mall In Nevada, on your way from CA to Vegas, but I dont know if its still there.

                                        1. re: Rm33

                                          Thanks...but since Williams Sonoma is headquatered here in San Francisco...I was HOPING that the outlet would be somewhat closer...Oh well!!!

                                        2. re: ChowFun_derek

                                          The outlet store would either be under the Pottery Barn or William Sonoma name (most likely the former). WS owns PB. Check your outlet malls (perhaps Gilroy in the Bay Area?). I was living in the DC area and found an outlet store in a Virginia town about 30 minutes outside the district.

                                          1. re: SanseiDesigns

                                            Do you mean Potomac Mills? I don't think they have any kitchen outlets anymore. They don't have much of any kind of outlets anymore.

                                        3. re: C. Hamster

                                          All Clad is great. They are right- there are good deals to be had via Ebay, Amazon etc.

                                        4. Cleaning around the rivets is kind of a pain. Other than that, I like the All Clad pans I have pretty well. I got a chef's pan with a copper core, which was expensive, but nice. I'd probably go with Sitram, if I could go back in time.

                                          1. All-clad is a decent pan (the pan part--see below), but there are many others as well. No manufacturer makes the best pot/pan for all applications. One guy's saute may be best, while some other guy's non-stick frypan may be best, etc. It takes work to ferret this stuff out, plus some trial and error. A lot also depends on how and what you cook. You might spring for access to Cook's Illustrated's website and review their ratings over the years. They are generally high on AC, but not always.

                                            My take on AC is different. While the pans themselves are generally OK, the handles suck, and I will never buy another AC pan for that reason (also because you can certainly get as good for less, particularly professional kitchenware). Why the handle? Do you ever watch actual restaurant cooks cooking, for example on food TV shows? If so, you may have noticed they seldom use a spatula to mix or flip things, but rather just give the pan a jerk to accomplish it. Much quicker and better. They also typically pick up the pan and turn it to empty it onto the plate--they don't shovel things out with a spoon. If you cook large quantities, and you have adequate wrists, you will find yourself doing the same things. With AC, the skinny little handles won't let you do those things--you literally can't get a grip, and you are forced to use spatulas and spoons for everything, which drives me up a wall. But that's just me.

                                            Volrath has a line of excellent frypans called "Tribute" that come with a soft handle cover called gatorgrip that is the exact opposite of the AC as far as gripability is concerned. They are priced fairly, are SS with an aluminum core, and available on-line or at restaurant supply stores. They are oven-proof, and the pans come with or without non-stick. Not "beautiful" but very functional.

                                            Just MHO. Take it FWIW

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: johnb

                                              I'm with you on the poor handle design. For me, it's a deal-breaker.

                                              I retired my AC SS pans after about six months of use because I found the handles so annoying.

                                              Plenty of alternatives out ther with same construction and more functional handles.

                                            2. I have a lot of All Clad Master Chef 1 and 2 and a stainless steel piece. My answer would be depends on what you want to do with it. My biggest complaint is the way certain foods stick to the pan and don't let go. If you're just doing a quick saute or frying an egg, this might be a problem. If you're doing stuff where sear, you want a fond and deglaze, then All Clads are great, I've never seen many things perform better. The say the best tool is the one you reach for. I don't reach for my AC when cooking a fried egg, a $7 non-stick piece of crap will do the job. If I'm searing off a steak, finishing it in the oven, and making a pan sauce then All Clads are my choice. All Clad roasting pans are also tops. (if I'm browning meat then braising it, Le Creuset what I'll reach for but that's not what the OP asked :) )

                                              1. I am looking for good alternatives to "non-stick" cookware because I want to rid my kitchen of aluminum.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Displaced California Foodie

                                                  Well seasoned cast iron can be better than Teflon, if you are careful with heat control and use proper technique.
                                                  I have All-Clads MC line and it is stainless lined aluminum pans and I don't have a problem with aluminum in my diet.
                                                  Calphalon's anodized pans are extremely non-reactive and safe to used with any food.

                                                  Sitram's cybernox technology is very promising, but I have yet to meet anyone who has actually made the purchase and used it in real world conditions.

                                                  I feel that much of the need for Teflon pans can be attributed to overly thin S-S pans and improper heat control.

                                                    1. re: panoz

                                                      The inner cooking surface of any All-Clad pans is stainless steel. The outer surface can vary from brushed aluminum(MC), polished stainless, anodized aluminum(LTD) and copper, but the inner surface is always the same.

                                                    2. re: Displaced California Foodie

                                                      Sorry, friend, ain't no such thing. All teflon sort of non-stick is aluminum. I have sometimes thought, why can't they make non-stick pure copper cookware? But no one makes it. www.fantes.com has a nice selection of tin-lined thick copper pots and pans which are the ultimate cookware, but they are no more non-stick than, say, MC2.

                                                      If you do find such things, please post it here? I would be very interested.

                                                    3. Yes, expensive.
                                                      Have some pieces for thirty-five years.
                                                      Never had a problem with them.
                                                      Have some with copper on cooking surface, aluminum and stainless, all work well.
                                                      Newer pieces are less heavy, more well balanced.
                                                      With Le Crueset, some of the best around.
                                                      All heat evenly.

                                                      1. I bought my first AC "Masterchef" pots in the mid-seventies. In the '80's the rivets started loosening up (aluminum), and AC replaced everything I had. These have lived thru use by my wife (burning milk and soup) and my kids (beating on them like drums, and collecting salamanders. They clean up like a dream, even if I need to soak them for a time to remove the singel milk protein. I've sold off the non-stick versions and returned to cast-iron for the general skillet use and griddle, now that the nest is empty. But the saute pans, sauce pots, soup pots, battered though they may be (Masterchef has aluminum exterior), my son asked if he could take some to his new home in LA....

                                                        1. I, too, love my AC. I have many pieces of SS All Clad. I chose the SS over the others because of the easy care required. They are dishwasher safe which was very important to me. And if anything spiils over and burns on the exterior, Bar Keepers Friend cleans it right up. Some of my pieces are 8 years old and yet look brand new!

                                                          1. cleI have owned AC Master Chef brushed aluminum exterior, aluminum core, stainless interior for over 25 years. I have used these pans over the copper ones I bought in France. i don't like the handles because they get hot and I like to toss instead of stir. But, I just use a dish towel to hold them. Also, they work the best on my heavy duty gas top. When I want to clean around the handles I soak them in dishwasher soap and boiling water and it works beautifully. I don't use these pans exclusively but they are used on a daily basis and you would never guess their age.

                                                            1. Many cooks, many opinions. One brief anecdote will explain why I love AC: One night, as I was doing far too much multi-tasking in the kitchen (while caring for two small children, among other things), I placed one of my AC pots on the stove to heat water for pasta. However, I neglected to fill the pan with water, and for about fifteen minutes the pan sat on the gas stovetop with the flame on high. This would spell the end of the road for many a pan, and maybe the end of the kitchen as well.....you can imagine my surprise when I took the top off the AC pan and found a godawful black color at the bottom. BUT once I let it cool, I was able to clean out the black discoloration without any damage whatsoever to the coloring, the shape, or the performance of the pan itself. That was seven years ago and I've used the same pan an average of five times per week since, without any problem whatsoever. Perhaps other pans would work as well, I don't know, but I'm sure glad I made the purchase of my AC! I've never regretted it.

                                                              1. The one piece that everyone seems to love is the All Clad dutch oven (which I believe they call a stockpot). Since this piece has small side handles, it's not an issue as to whether you might find their long handle uncomfortable.

                                                                I use this piece several times a week. Love how it cleans up so well in the dishwasher (the Stainless exterior finish), and still looks like new after many years of use. I'd say that is a great starting point for any cookware collection.

                                                                1. They have replaced 3 pieces I own through lifetime warranty coverage due to manufacturer defects.

                                                                  They stand behind the product with no questions asked.

                                                                  1. 4yi- Williams-sonoma is currently selling the 4 quart essential pan for a hundred dollars. One followed me home.