Finding a Stainless steel cookware set that is known for great quality, is healthy and safe, gets great reviews and is from a very popular cookware brand, warrants detailed attention. The Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12 Piece Cookware Set meets all of these criteria.The Cuisinart brand was founded in America in 1971 and has been making cooking products of all types since then. Julia Child and James Beard, well-known culinary chefs, were instrumental in making the Cuisinart brand popular in America.
Stainless steel is great for cooking and preferred by many well-known chefs, but it does not conduct heat well by itself. That’s why either aluminum or copper is sandwiched between the layers so that heat is distributed throughout and food cooks evenly.
This layering is sometimes referred to as tri ply, 3-ply and clad core. The MCP-12 N set has an aluminum core which heats and cools quickly. Cuisinart refers to it as Heat Surround Technology.
Well why not just buy aluminum pans instead? Because its chemicals can leach into your food during cooking. So, stainless is healthier overall but doesn’t cook well on its own. This is why those who cook a lot eventually make their way to stainless.
If you are new to cooking with this type of metal, you should be aware that food tends to stick to the pans if not heated correctly, but this can be a problem with stainless steel cookware at all price levels. Once you learn how to adjust your heat, the sticking issue no longer becomes a problem.
When you use stainless steel cookware, you escape the leaching of harmful chemicals in your food associated with popular non stick cookware.It is safe and foods don’t react to the metal, altering its flavor.
Owners are pleased with this cookware set. They leave very high ratings in their reviews online. They give it great scores for quality and compare it to the most expensive brand on the market. They also say their set lasts for years.
If you are a serious cook and you are looking for professional cookware or maybe you want to replace your non stick cooking utensils, or you just feel it’s time to get rid of those mix-match pots and pans you have around the house, this is a great set to own.
Bottom and Sides
The bottoms are a multi clad construction of mirror stainless steel on the inside, aluminum center and brushed stainless exterior. The aluminum enables food to cook evenly.
With the MCP-12N cookware, the tri ply construction isn’t added just on the bottom but extends up the sides as well. This increases the overall heating quality.
Usually this feature is reserved for the most expensive cooking utensils and is actually found in one of the most expensive stainless steel cookware sets on the market–All Clad. So the MCP-12N rates right up there with the best.
18/10 Stainless Steel
These numbers are stamped on many cookware sets. They refer to the amount of chromium and nickel found in stainless steel. The18 figure refers to chromium; it helps protect from rust.
The 10 figure refers to Nickel which protects against corrosion. This method of designation is becoming outdated as newer technology and forms of cooking become popular such as induction cooktops.
This set, like others that are safe for induction cooking, cannot have its nickel content as high as 10 because it would not be magnetic. Cookware must be magnetic in order to be compatible with induction cooktops. Thus, the interior of the set is 18/10 as well as the handles and lids, but the exterior is not. It is 0. This means that the low level of nickel can make the pans more susceptible to pitting but not the interior.
Handles are solid stainless steel which means they do not have the tri-ply layering. This would be unnecessary since the addition of aluminum is to ensure that food heats evenly. Obviously this doesn’t apply to handles. They are about 8 inches long and are riveted with a small piece of metal to connect the handle to the pot.
A big plus is that they stay cool when cooking. In many cookware sets, the handles become so hot that a potholder is needed to touch them. Cuisinart has a special name for their handles– they refer to them as the Cool Grip Handle.
Cuisinart’s N series is their newer line. Handles in this series are more ergonomic and comfortable. They are slightly curved making them feel like the weight of the pots and pan is evenly distributed and doesn’t feel as heavy as they would if the handles were completely flat.
All the pots and pans have long handles except for the steamer and the 8 quart stock pot which have two round handles on each side. The 3 1/2 quart saute pan has both a long handle and a helper round handle for optimum ease and portability.
The lids are stainless steel and can be heated in the oven up to 500 degrees. This is good for consumers who prefer not to use glass lids for fear of shattering. With glass lids, though, you can see your food as it cooks without having to lift the lid.
The handles on top of the lids are raised in an arch; this helps keep your hand from touching the top of the lid which can get hot.
There are seven pots/pans but only 5 lids. However the lids are configured so that there is one that will fit each pot and pan in the set. Reviewers say the lids have deep ridges that allow them to fit nice and tight. This seals in flavors and nutrients for healthier cooking.
Most reviews online say the pots and pans are heavy. A nice feature because heavier pots conduct heat better. Top notch cookware made from this metal is usually heavy.
The new N series has a new handle design that helps distribute the weight so that it feels more manageable. However, this may not be the right choice for someone suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis in their arms and hands. Obviously when filled with food, the weight increases.
Brushed or Mirror (Polished) Aluminum
The insides are made of mirror stainless steel which is shiny and beautiful. This type of metal doesn’t alter the flavor of foods so your food retains its natural flavor.
The exteriors are brushed. Brushed refers to a finish that is dull as opposed to shiny and the surface has faint lines etched into it. Brushed is an attractive design. Some consumers deliberately create this design manually on their cookware.
It is possible for some discoloring to occur on the insides of the utensils as the result of using very high heat when cooking. This gives the surface a rainbow-like appearance. You can restore the original shiny appearance by using a product called Bar Keepers Friend. Alternately, you can clean the pan with vinegar.
Rims are smooth and tapered which means they are narrower at one end. The way they are shaped helps prevent spilling when you want to pour food from pots and pans into another container without it splashing.
You can use the pots and pans on gas stoves, electric stoves, glass and Induction cooktop stoves. The lids, handles and cookware, itself, are safe to use in ovens up to 500 degrees. Pans are safe for use under a broiler as well.
Unlike non stick cookware, you aren’t limited to wooden or plastic utensils when using this metal, you can use any type of spoon, fork or spatula on stainless pots and pans. This includes plastic, wood, bamboo or even stainless steel.
Everything is dishwasher safe but some owners prefer to hand wash for extra special care.
Cuisinart MCP-12N 12pc Set – What’s Included
Cuisinart is an American company now owned by Conair, the company known for its hair products. The items are made in China.
This set, the Cuisinart MCP 12-N is an updated version of the Cuisinart MCP 12. There is very little difference between the two. The newer version has what some reviews refer to as a more professional looking handle. The handle is slightly more comfortable to grasp than the older style.
The pieces included are a good variety. Saucepans are generally used a lot by cooks and the 3 quart saucepan should equals to about 12 cups of liquid. This size should fit the needs of most average size families. The 1 1/2 quart saucepan is rather small, but the 8 quart stock pot should hold enough food for larger families.
The following items are included in both sets:
- 1 1/2 quart saucepan with lid
- 3 quart saucepan with lid
- Vegetable steamer insert with lid
- 8 inch open skillet also called a frying pan and fry pan
- 10 inch open skillet also known as a frying pan and fry pan
- 3 1/2 quart covered saute pan with helper handle. This means a long handle plus a rounded handle on the opposite side
- 8 quart covered stockpot
A steamer pot is Included and fits into the 3 quart saucepan. The steamer allows you to steam vegetables without using a separate steamer insert. Steaming is very healthy since it retains valuable nutrients that other cooking methods, like pressure cooking and boiling, destroy.
A separate steamer pot is much more versatile than a simple steamer insert. Steamer inserts need to be a size close to the measurements of the pot and they don’t hold as much food as a dedicated steamer. You can use the pot to heat tortillas and breads and warm leftover food without destroying nutrients. The included steamer pot is not tri ply like the rest of the items.
- Clad, Tri ply core on bottoms and sides
- Heavy weight for overall even cooking results
- Quality comparable to the most expensive brand
- Handles do not get hot
- Drip free pouring
- Very popular brand
- Dishwasher safe
- Safe for electric and gas ovens, glass and induction cooktops
- No plastic parts that could melt
- No coating that could cause flaking
- No individual lid for each item, but lids are interchangeable
- Heavy weight may be a problem for some
Cuisinart MCP-12N Cookware Consumer Ratings
The set is very popular. Owners say they chose it after researching other brands. To some, price was the deciding factor. They believe it is as good in quality and design as the more expensive All Clad brand.
Some of the reviewers have owned the All Clad brand and are in a position to make comparisons between the two. These consumers are confident about the Cuisinart brand to deliver excellent quality.
Cuisinart MCP-12N Stainless Steel Price
The Cuisinart MCP 12-N MulticladPro falls in the moderate price range for the number of pieces included. The addition of the steamer pot, though, could be a sticking point for buyers who may feel an inexpensive steamer insert works just fine. They would prefer another saucepan or frying pan instead. And some buyers may prefer to have glass lids so that they can see food without lifting the lid.
I feel it is an excellent value for its overall 3 ply clad construction that extends to the sides of the pots and pans and also for the reputation of the Cuisinart company. It’s a very good value for the serious cook who wants the best cookware at a minimum price.
Moms who enjoy cooking would appreciate this set as a gift. Makes a great wedding gift, too. And for those who are concerned about the health dangers of non stick cookware, this set is well worth the price in order to avoid harmful chemicals leaching into food.