360 Cookware is a high-end brand that specializes in “vapor cooking” and sustainable manufacturing.
But is it worth the high price?
In this 360 Cookware review, I’ll help you answer that question by exploring its design, performance, and how it stacks up against comparable brands.
I also break down its downsides and answer the most frequently asked questions about the brand.
So, if you’re considering 360 Cookware but need an in-depth and unbiased review to help you decide, keep reading.
Use the links below to navigate the review:
- What Is 360 Cookware’s Vapor Technology?
- 360 Cookware vs. The Competition
- FAQs About 360 Cookware
- Bottom Line: Should You Buy 360 Cookware?
What Is 360 Cookware’s Vapor Technology?
360 Cookware’s main selling point is its vapor technology. But what does that mean?
In short, the 360 Cookware lids are designed to form a tight seal so that moisture (i.e., vapor) can’t escape, similar to a pressure cooker.
The vacuum-sealed lids create an environment where steam from natural juices continuously circulates, cooking the food without additional water or oil.
This process is also known as “waterless cooking.”
This video shows you how it works, but I’ll quickly highlight the steps below.
Preparing the Pan
If cooking a dish with meat, you’ll first warm up the pan using medium heat. To test the heat, 360 Cookware recommends flicking a few drops of water into the interior of the cookware. It is ready when water beads and disperses quickly across the pan’s surface. If starting with vegetables, you do not need to preheat the pan.
Adding the Food
Place meat in a properly preheated pan. Put the lid on, and keep the heat on medium. There is no need for high heat cooking.
If you’re cooking vegetables, place them in a room-temperature pan. Rinse the vegetables and drain the excess water. Put the cookware on the burner and turn on medium heat before placing the lid on top.
Engaging the Vacuum Seal
After a few minutes of cooking on medium heat, you will see steam (vapors) escaping from the sides of the lid. When that happens, you use the handle to spin the lid.
The spinning motion, in part, is where 360 Cookware gets its name. As it rotates, the vacuum seal is engaged.
The name also comes from the fact that 360 Cookware acts as a mini oven. The vapor technology cooks the food from all sides (or 360 degrees), much like an oven.
As the food cooks, the natural juices trapped inside the cookware bastes the food, keeping it moist and flavorful.
Once the seal is engaged, you can set the heat to low. When food is finished cooking, simply remove the lid.
Benefits of Vapor Cooking
Vapor cooking uses the natural juices of food instead of adding water or other liquids. It locks in moisture and heat to produce juicy, nutrient-rich food.
- Water: There is no need to add water for certain meats and produce. Some recipes may call for minimal water. For example, you can hard boil eggs only using a damp paper towel in the bottom of a 360 Cookware pot.
- Calories: With most recipes, there is no need to add butter or oil.
- Energy: This cooking method requires low to medium heat. You’ll use less energy, whether cooking with electricity or gas.
- Time: According to 360 Cookware, this cooking method is faster than traditional methods like boiling or frying because of the concentrated heat from the locked-in vapor.
To be clear, you can still use traditional cooking methods with 360 Cookware, but you can also engage in vapor cooking.
The allure of 360 Cookware rests in the versatility of its use. You can use it for traditional stovetop cooking, vapor cooking, and it’s oven-safe up to 500°F.
Yet, it is lacking when it comes to versatility in design. There is only one collection, so you don’t get a choice of construction, materials, colors, finishes, or cookware types, such as non-stick or enameled cast iron.
Let’s take a close look at the design of 360 Cookware, so you know exactly what you’re getting.
The cookware’s base is fully-clad stainless steel with three layers bonded together for increased durability, heat conduction, and heat retention.
The aluminum core is encased in stainless steel.
The outside layer is T-400 series stainless steel. The low nickel and high carbon content make it magnetic, ideal for interaction with induction cooktops. This type of steel is also resistant to wear and corrosion.
The exterior features a mirror finish, requiring regular cleaning and polishing to keep it looking its best.
It’s so shiny that you can see your reflection, almost as clearly as with a mirror.
While I appreciate the classy look of the polished finish, fingerprints, scratches, and minor imperfections are more noticeable.
The interior is made from 18/8 stainless steel, named for its 18% chromium and 8% nickel makeup. It’s surgical-grade steel known as T-304.
The brushed stainless steel on the interior offers some contrast against the brilliance of the polished exterior.
The pan walls are thicker than most comparable fully-clad pans — .11 inches thick to be exact. For comparison, All-Clad’s D3 walls measure .09 inches, and Made In Cookware is just over .10 inches.
Wall thickness is central to the design of 360 Cookware. The company maintains that the number of layers in cladded cookware is not as significant as the gauge (thickness) of the walls.
Because of the thickness, 360 Cookware retains heat remarkably well. Therefore, you can cook on low to medium heat and still get an excellent result.
The interior features a flared rim that makes it easy to pour liquids and allows the domed lids to sink into the cookware.
The ergonomic handles are polished stainless steel and riveted to the cookware. And there’s a hanging loop at the end for convenient storage on a hanging pot rack.
The handles have a long divot on top and finger guides on the bottom for a secure grip.
Some brands’ pots and pans feature round handles that rotate in your hand as you pour, which can be dangerous. Others have flatter handles that are safer but less comfortable.
360 Cookware handles balance the two nicely — a rounded bottom for comfort with a flat top and ridges for functionality.
Though the inside of the handles is hollow to disperse heat, they get hot (especially the lid handles), so it’s a good practice to wear a heat-safe mitt or glove.
The short helper handles (opposite the long handle) have a slight, upward angle and offer enough space to grip even if you are using pot holders or an oven mitt. They feature finger guides on the underside for a better grip.
360 Cookware lids are what make waterless cooking possible.
They feature a dome shape and recess into the cookware to capture and distribute moisture.
Once vapor begins to escape from under the lid, the spinning action engages a suction that seals the pan and locks in moisture.
If you turn off the burner and let the cookware cool, the lids can be difficult to remove. You’ll have to heat the pan on medium for a few minutes for the seal to release.
As stated previously, the lid handles can get extremely hot because the domed lid captures the steam from the cooking food. Always use a heat-resistant mitt or glove when removing the lid.
I’ve been testing 360 Cookware for several months. I’ve used it for searing and roasting meat, sauteing vegetables, simmering sauces, and, of course, vapor cooking.
So, how does it perform?
When you pick it up, you’ll immediately notice the heft. It’s thick, heavy cookware that won’t dent or warp easily.
While I appreciate how solid the cookware feels, the handles are hollow, and the weight is concentrated at the base. That makes the cookware feel a bit unbalanced and unwieldy.
Its weight makes it feel more like cast iron than stainless steel.
To give you some perspective, the 360 Cookware 3.5-quart sauté pan weighs 7 pounds. Cast iron skillets that size weigh around 8 pounds.
A typical 3.5-quart stainless steel saute pan weighs between 3 and 5 pounds — one of the most popular All-Clad pans weighs 4 pounds.
The point is, 360 Cookware is heavy compared to other brands.
Due to 360 Cookware’s thick walls, it takes a few extra minutes to heat up fully. However, once it’s heated, it retains heat exceptionally well.
And since it retains heat so well, it puts an even sear on meat. Thinner cookware cools down when you place a cold piece of meat on it, resulting in uneven cooking. But with 360 Cookware, the pan stays hot, creating a nice crust and sealing in the juices.
But where it really stands out is with vapor cooking. The lids seal in steam and keep food incredibly moist. It performs like a Dutch oven or pressure cooker by creating a continuous basting effect.
I tried vapor cooking with All-Clad, Misen, and Made In cookware, but the lids allowed too much steam to escape. The way 360 Cookware lids lock onto the pot or pan is truly unique.
One warning: you need to research the proper techniques before attempting vapor cooking.
The first time I tested it, I burned the food and scorched the pan, and it was a mess to clean.
It’s a simple process, but if the heat is too high or the food doesn’t contain enough natural moisture, you’ll burn the pan and ruin the meal.
Fortunately, 360 Cookware provides recipes and instructional videos on utilizing its vapor technology properly. I highly recommend educating yourself before getting started.
Overall, 360 Cookware is highly versatile and performs comparably to top-end brands. But it excels at waterless, vapor cooking due to its air-tight lids.
360 Cookware vs. The Competition
I put every cookware brand that I review through a set of tests to measure its heat conduction and retention.
For the first test, I poured two cups of cold water into a 360 Cookware pan. Then, I placed it on the stove and turned the burner to the highest setting.
My goal was to see how quickly the pan boiled the water.
After two minutes and 30 seconds, the first bubbles appeared, but it took three minutes and 24 seconds for the water to come to a complete boil.
I conducted the same test with several other cookware brands. As you can see in the results below, 360 Cookware took the longest to boil the water.
|Pan||Time to First Bubbles||Time to Boil|
|Made In||1 minute and 40 seconds||2 minutes and 21 seconds|
|Misen||1 minute and 50 seconds||2 minutes and 25 seconds|
|Anolon||1 minute and 55 seconds||2 minutes and 27 seconds|
|Rachael Ray||1 minute and 47 seconds||2 minutes and 36 seconds|
|Hestan||1 minute and 52 seconds||2 minutes and 47 seconds|
|Circulon||2 minutes and 7 seconds||2 minutes and 55 seconds|
|Calphalon||1 minute and 45 seconds||2 minutes and 40 seconds|
|All-Clad||1 minute and 55 seconds||2 minutes and 55 seconds|
|360 Cookware||2 minutes and 30 seconds||3 minutes and 24 seconds|
Heating slowly is not always a bad thing, but it means that the cookware is less responsive to temperature changes, which can be a challenge with certain recipes that require more control.
As the water boiled, the bubbles were concentrated around the edges of the pan.
Ideally, you want the bubbles to be even across the cooking surface. When the bubbles are more prominent in one part of the pan, it usually indicates the presence of hot and cold spots.
Keep in mind, when cooking with 360 Cookware, I haven’t noticed any signs of uneven heat distribution. But these test results show there could be an issue.
The second test is designed to measure heat retention. After the water began boiling, I removed the pan from the heat and placed it on the counter.
After five minutes, the water in the pan measured 119°F.
After 10 minutes, the water was 93°F.
How does this compare to the competition? As you’ll see below, 360 Cookware’s heat retention was strong initially, but the pan lost significant heat between five and ten minutes.
|Pan||Temperature After Five Minutes||Temperature After Ten Minutes|
360 Cookware is not cheap. In fact, it’s one of the more expensive brands I’ve reviewed. And, since there’s only one cookware collection, there are no lower-cost options.
Manufacturing the cookware in the US and sourcing premium US-based materials drives up the price.
It’s comparably priced with high-end brands like All-Clad and Hestan and more expensive than brands like Anolon, Calphalon, and Made In.
While there are many perks to using 360 Cookware, there are several downsides to consider.
Variety is lacking with this brand. You get a choice of one collection of 3-ply stainless clad cookware with an aluminum core. If you want construction or design options, you won’t find them with 360 Cookware.
If you’re looking for a bargain buy, this is not it. 360 Cookware is high-end and comparable to brands like All-Clad and Calphalon. The brand is sourced and made in the United States and uses premium materials. These factors command a high price tag.
These pots and pans are heavy. Yes, the thick walls hold heat well, but they also add to the cookware’s heft. Plus, they get heavier with food.
Some people might find them cumbersome to pick up or maneuver while cooking — especially if you like to flip food or tilt a pan to pour juices over meat.
Next, the lid handles get extremely hot. Some brands have handles with heat-resistant grips giving you more protection when removing them while cooking. With 360 Cookware, you always need to wear a heat-resistant glove or use potholders before touching the lid.
The domed lids don’t translate into a sleek, modern look. The design is more focused on function than style.
Finally, the lid can get stuck on the pot if you allow the cookware to cool before uncovering it. You can remove the lid by reheating it on medium for a few minutes.
Unlike most cookware, there’s no brand logo engraved into the handles. “360Cookware.com” is printed on the bottom, but the handles are bare and, in my opinion, generic-looking.
Typically the brand’s name or logo is engraved into the base of the handle and sometimes on the side helper handles.
360 Cookware launched in 2010. Cookware like this is an investment, so you want proof that it’ll last for several decades. Given its construction and materials, it should last a long time — but only time will tell.
And since it is still new, 360 Cookware reviews are limited. Therefore, you have less feedback available from other home chefs to help solidify your purchase decision.
To be fair, this is a common complaint about stainless steel cookware and not unique to 360 Cookware. Food will stick if you cook on high heat or don’t use enough oil at the right time.
You can easily scorch or burn food if you’re not careful. It also helps to know proper cooking techniques to reduce sticking on stainless steel.
This cookware requires polishing to maintain its brilliance. You may also need a stainless steel cleaner like Bar Keepers Friend.
FAQs About 360 Cookware
Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about 360 Cookware:
360 Cookware employs strict quality control procedures on each piece. The cookware starts as a flat piece of boned steel and aluminum. It’s then punched into shape by a machine to form the pan. The mirror finish is produced with sandblasting techniques, ensuring a chemical-free process. This quick video gives you a behind the scene look at 360 Cookware’s production process.
You can cook all kinds of meat, vegetables, eggs, rice, beans, and even pasta. However, extra-lean foods such as fish require water, oil, or non-stick cooking spray. Check out the 360 Cookware Use and Care Guide for more information.
It’s manufacturing that uses eco-friendly and sustainable processes in making cookware and running the factory. Americraft’s (owner of 360 Cookware) factory uses no chemicals, no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and filters its air and water. In fact, the operation is so sustainable that it doesn’t require any EPA permits.
If the lid is stuck on the cookware, simply place it on a burner on medium heat for a few minutes to break the seal. If the lid is on a flat surface, lay a warm towel over it for a few minutes to reduce the suction. Note: never lay a lid face down on a glass stove; it could damage the glass.
Yes, it’s oven and broiler-safe up to 500°F.
Yes, the lids are also oven-safe up to 500°F.
While 360 Cookware is dishwasher-safe, hand washing with warm soapy water and a scrubbing sponge is recommended. For stubborn stains, you can use stainless steel cleaners, such as Bar Keepers Friend or Bon Ami.
Yes. 360 Cookware is compatible with all cooktops, including induction.
360 Cookware offers a limited lifetime warranty, covering defects in materials and craftsmanship. If your cookware is destroyed in a fire, natural disaster, or it’s stolen, the company will replace it for 50% off.
Bottom Line: Should You Buy 360 Cookware?
360 Cookware sets itself apart with its green manufacturing process and a design that enables vapor cooking.
It’s an intriguing cookware brand, but is it worth the high price?
Here is my recommendation:
You should buy 360 Cookware if:
- You’re looking for premium, fully-clad cookware made in the USA.
- You want to support a business that utilizes eco-friendly manufacturing processes.
- You’re intrigued by vapor cooking.
- You prefer stainless steel cooking with a mirror finish (instead of a brushed finish) and don’t mind the extra cleaning and polishing to keep it looking good.
- You prefer heavy cookware with thick walls.
- You want to save energy by cooking on low to medium heat.
- You like the idea of being able to bake a cake on a cooktop.
- You have the budget to invest in high-quality cookware.
You should NOT buy 360 Cookware if:
- You prefer a choice of collections with different designs and constructions.
- You need lightweight cookware that’s easy to lift and handle.
- You like to show off cookware that has a sleek, modern look.
- You want cookware that heats up and responds to temperature changes quickly.
- You frequently use the broiler or make recipes that require oven temperatures exceeding 500°F.
- You’re on a budget and don’t care whether the cookware is made in the USA.
Bottom Line — 360 Cookware’s main feature is its tight-fitting domed lid that enables vapor cooking. Yes, you can use it for all the standard cooking techniques, but you’re paying a premium for its unique waterless cooking ability.
If you’re not planning to use it for vapor cooking, it might not be worth the high price. Instead, consider brands like Made In and Misen.
Both offer cookware that performs better (according to my tests), features a more modern look, and costs less.
If you’re intrigued by the idea of vapor cooking, or you’ve tried it already with other pans and loved the result, 360 Cookware is one of the top brands to consider. I recommend buying one pan and testing it before going all-in on a set.
- All-Clad vs. 360 Cookware: 11 Key Differences
- The Definitive Guide to the Best Cookware Brands
- All-Clad vs. Made In: The Ultimate Cookware Comparison
- Is Made In Cookware Any Good? An In-Depth and Unbiased Review
- 5 Cheaper Alternatives to All-Clad Cookware
- Is All-Clad Cookware Worth the High Price? An In-Depth Review