Cuisinart’s 77 Chef’s Classic Cookware sets get great reviews. Whether you are a serious cook or someone who just appreciates turning out healthy, flavorful food, this series is an excellent choice at very modest prices. Here is some detailed information that will show you why so many owners love these sets.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry (ATSDR) of the US Dept. of Health and Human Services has placed aluminum in its toxic category of top 200 harmful toxins.
Thus food cooked directly on aluminum cookware as well as non stick cookware, is at risk for these substances leaching into food. This danger does not extend to the tri ply construction of stainless steel cookware since the aluminum is encased between two outer layers of stainless steel.
Stainless steel is pleasant to cook with, however users who are new to this method of cooking may find that food tends to stick to the pan if the pan is not heated properly.
Sticking is a primary complaint of owners who aren’t happy with stainless steel sets. Sticking can happen with all cookware made of this material; it is not limited to a specific price rage.
The solution is to take a little time to learn how to cook with it, knowing how much heat to use and when to add your ingredients to the pot.
Bottom and Sides
- 1 Bottom and Sides
- 2 Handles
- 3 Lids
- 4 Weight (Thickness)
- 5 Brushed or Mirror (Polished) Aluminum
- 6 Rims
- 7 What’s Included
- 8 Description of Cookware
- 9 Compatibility
- 10 Pros
- 11 Cons
- 12 Warranty
- 13 Consumer Ratings
- 14 Price
How well stainless steel cooks has a lot to do with its construction. The bottom of the pots and pans is what comes into contact with the heating element so the material used here plays an important role in its quality.
The cookware in the Cuisinart 77 Chef’s Classic series is comprised of three layers–two of stainless steel and one of aluminum. Stainless steel is not a good conductor of heat.
That’s why either aluminum or copper is sandwiched between the outer and bottom layers because those metals do distribute heat well.
This three layer process is called tri ply, 3 ply or clad. With the addition of aluminum, food cooks evenly and uniformly. In some Cuisinart sets like the MCP 12N, the clad construction goes up the sides, too. and makes even heat distribution very thorough throughout the cookware.
Despite the fact that the the tri ply layering does not extend to the sides on the Chef’s Classic line, most owners say they are very happy with the way their food cooks and the way it heats up fast.
The handles have rivets which are small pieces of metal that fasten the pot to the handle. They stay cool when used on the top of the stove. The handles that are placed on top of the lids are shaped like an arch.
I have a friend who has a different set of Cuisinart cookware with these same handles and swears by them for being cool during cooking and easy to grasp. The top handles have enough room to comfortably fit your fingers under them and lift without your knuckles touching the lid which is good
because these top handles can get hot. The 3 quart saucepan has a “helper” handle on the opposite side of the long handle. A very convenient design to have when the pan is full and heavy and you need to carry it from one place to another. It’s also a good aid when pouring food into another container because it gives you better control.
There are very similar items in the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic series. They vary mostly in number of pieces, quantity of food and whether they have glass or stainless lids.
The lids in the Cuisinart 77-11G are tempered glass. Some customers like glass lids because you don’t have to lift the lid in order to see your food while it cooks.
This is true, but sometimes the glass fills with condensation which prevents a clear view of the contents. A steam vent would have lessened this problem by allowing some steam to escape, but these lids don’t have a vent.
Tempered glass lids are toughened to withstand high heat temperature and breakage so they are safe to go inside the oven up to 350 degrees. It’s sometimes referred to as safety glass because it is very hard to break.
You find this glass in cars and bulletproof windows. Stainless steel lids have the same properties as the stainless in the handles. All of the lids in the other Cuisinart 77 Chef’s Classic series have stainless steel lids. It’s really a matter of preference in choosing glass lids over stainless steel lids.
The lids in all of the lines fit tightly and keep heat and moisture inside. The tri ply layering allows water to boil quickly. This eliminates the need for large amounts of water when cooking.
So the combination of quick heating water and low quantity of water needed means your food is not drowning in liquids and losing valuable nutrients. The tight lids keep the low amount of moisture needed inside the pan further enhancing the nutritional value of the food.
Each piece is solidly built and reviews refer to the pots and pans as being anywhere from medium heavy to heavy. I love the weight of this line. To me, the pots and pans aren’t so heavy that when food is added, it feels like more than I want to lift. But they are heavy enough to be of very good quality.
Heavy stainless steel cookware is ideal for ensuring even heating and keeping food from burning. The number one selling stainless steel cookware brand is known for its very heavy weight, in fact, some reviewers feel it is too heavy. So with this series you get the benefit of great quality cookware without a hefty price.
Brushed or Mirror (Polished) Aluminum
The insides and outsides are made of mirror (polished) 18/10 stainless steel. The shiny reflective appearance of stainless initially sparks interest in purchasing this type of cookware.
The material can sometimes lose its shiny appearance, though, due to constant use of very high heat leaving what looks like a rainbow embedded into the metal.
This can be removed by heating vinegar in the pans or using Bar Keepers Friend which so many owners of stainless steel products swear by.
The rims are smooth and tapered which makes pouring liquids from one pot to another very easy. The liquid seems to flow to one spot which keeps it from splattering as you pour. This cuts down on puddles of liquid on the counter and avoids the necessity of cleaning up splatter.
The 77 series is varied and complete. There is a combination of pots and pans that would make a good buying choice for any size family. The distinguishing factors among them are the number and types of pieces included.
The Cuisinart 77-11G, for example, has glass lids for cooks who like to see their food as it cooks. For more information on glass lids, see the section above. The other sets in the series have stainless steel lids.
Handles are all stainless steel. The pots and pans also vary in the amount of food they hold. Here is a rundown on what is included in each line:
Cusinart 77-7 (7 PIeces)
1.5 quart saucepan with lid, 3 quart saucepan with lid, 8 quart stockpot with lid, 10 inch skillet (frying pan).
This set is basic. It covers the items any kitchen would need for any meal. It would be good for a single person or a starter set for a small family or to supplement a set you already own.
Cuisinart 77-10 (10 Pieces)
1.5 quart saucepan with lid, 3 quart saucepan with lid, 3.5 saute pan with lid, 8 quart stockpot with lid, 8 inch skillet (frying pan), 10 inch skillet (frying pan).
With two saucepans and two skillets, this would work for typical family meals. You have the saucepans for cooking two vegetables at once and the 10 inch skillet which could hold four or so pieces of meat.
But you also have the saute pan to put in use for your meats. The smaller 8 inch skillet is good for omelets or smaller portions of scrambled eggs.
Cusinart 77-11G (11 Pieces)
1.5 quart saucepan with lid, 2.5 quart saucepan with lid, 3 quart saute pan with lid, 9 quart stockpot with lid, 8 inch skillet (frying pan), 10 inch skillet (frying pan), steamer insert (18 cm) with lid.
The 11 piece set is very similar to the 10 piece and is good for a medium size family. You get a bonus in the steamer insert which is a great convenience to have when you like to steam your vegetables to retain as many nutrients as possible.
Cuisinart 77-14 (14 Pieces)
1.5 quart saucepan with lid, 3 quart saucepan with lid, 4 quart saute pan with lid, 9 quart stockpot with lid, 8 inch skillet (frying pan), 10 inch skillet (frying pan) with cover, steamer insert (20 cm) with lid, pasta insert (24 cm).
Similar to the 11 piece with additional bonuses. You have one saucepan that is he same size as the one in the 14 piece, but the second saucepan is larger and holds more food. You get the steamer insert, too, but it is larger than the one in the 77-11G set.
The included pasta insert saves time when cooking pasta as well as any type of food that you will need to strain. It’s like a built-in colander that you lift out of the pot and carry to the sink, no need to carry the whole pot or grab a separate colander.
Cuisinart 77-17 (17 Pieces)
1.5 quart saucepan with lid, 2 quart saucepan with lid, 3 quart saucepan with lid, 4 quart saute pan with lid, 9 quart stockpot with lid, 8 inch skillet (frying pan), 10 inch skillet (frying pan), 12 inch skillet (frying pan) with cover, steamer insert (20 cm) with lid, pasta insert (24 cm).
Very good choice for a large family. In this case you get 3 saucepans instead of the usual 2. The steamer insert and pasta insert are bonuses, and the 77-17 has one additional skillet–a 12 inch size. With this size skillet (frying pan) you can cook several pieces of meat at one time. This is the most varied set in the Cuisinart Chef’s 77 Classic series.
Description of Cookware
Saucepans are versatile tools every cook should have. They’re used for cooking vegetables, sauces, grains and anything else that comprises a liquid base.
Stockpots have a somewhat exotic description. They are used to make stock which is the base for soups and sauces. Sauces differ from broth in that broth has no bones in it whereas stock can include bones. It is designed to simmer for long periods of time so it should be sturdy and of good quality.
Saute Pans and Skillets
Technically a saute pan is one with straight sides and a larger cooking service. A skillet is similar but it has slanted sides. A skillet is more commonly referred to as a frying pan and sometimes a frypan.
It has a slightly smaller surface area than a saute pan. Both pans are suitable for the same kinds of tasks. It’s a matter of personal preference. You may like being able to move your food around a little easier if using a skillet or you may not notice the difference.
Vegetables lose some of their nutrients when cooked too long. Steaming vegetables takes a small amount of liquid and time so less healthy nutrients are lost. Three of the Chef’s Classic sets include a separate steamer insert with lid.
Pasta inserts are good for lifting pasta out of the pot to drain without having to take the whole pot to the sink. They’re not limited to draining pasta, they can be used when cooking stock to lift the vegetables, bones or anything else out of the pot without the necessity of carrying the whole pot.
All of the pots and pans are safe for use with gas stoves, electric stoves and glass and ceramic cooktops but are NOT for use with induction cooktops. They can be used inside ovens up to 500 degrees for the steel portions.
The manufacturer’s recommendation for the glass lids in the 77-11 G line is 350 degrees. Everything is is dishwasher safe; however, if you want to give your set a little bit more care, hand washing is fine, too.
One of the things I like about using stainless steel cookware is that you aren’t limited to plastic and wooden spoons, forks and spatulas as you are when using non stick cookware. That’s because stainless steel does not flake–a bonus for preventing toxic chemicals from getting into the food.
- Tri ply, clad layers on bottom
- Reputable brand name and company
- Very good reviews
- Food cooks evenly
- Long handles stay cool
- Saucepan has a helper handle that makes pan easy to carry
- Not limited to use of plastic and wood utensils like spoons and spatulas
- Safe for gas stoves, electric stoves and glass cooktops
- Glass lids allow you to monitor food while it is cooking
- Stainless steel is healthy and safe
- Glass lids can only be heated in the oven up to 350 degrees
- No individual lids for skillets except the 12 inch size in the 77-17 set
The Chef’s Classic series is warranted against workmanship and defects under normal use for the lifetime of the original purchaser. The warranty does not cover misuse and abuse including overheating. Scratches, stains, discoloration of exterior and internal surfaces that do not affect performance function are not covered.
The overall quality of this cookware line is very good. Reviews online are positive and owners love the number of pieces they can get from a reputable brand at a reasonable price.
Reviewers who love to cook like the fact that the handles stay cool and are comfortable making the pots and pans easy to pick up and move about. They also like the way the food cooks evenly, doesn’t burn and the items are easy to wash.
If you are looking for a good quality set of stainless steel cookware that gets good reviews without buying expensive sets like All Clad, these sets are a good buy. There are enough pieces in the series line to be able to choose the right number of pieces that would best fit your family size.
Budget wise, these are very good buys for the quality that you get. You should be able to find just the right cookware for your budget. They are perfect for anyone from the novice cook to the more serious chef. They make great gifts for newlyweds, new homeowners or someone who just wants to upgrade their pots and pans to premium quality.