Are you shopping for new stainless steel cookware and wondering if Heritage Steel is worth buying?
It has a high-end look and competes with the likes of All-Clad, but is it right for you?
In this Heritage Steel cookware review, you’ll get the facts about its design, material, construction, how it performs, how much it costs, and how it stacks up against the competition.
You’ll also learn the downsides and get answers to the top questions about the brand.
Use the following links to navigate the review:
- Materials and Construction
- Heritage Steel vs. the Competition
- Heritage Steel Cookware FAQs
- Bottom Line: Is Heritage Steel Cookware Worth Buying?
Heritage Steel isn’t like most cookware brands that offer stainless steel as part of a more extensive product lineup. With Heritage, stainless steel is the only offering. It has a classic look and an uncomplicated design.
Heritage Steel offers stainless steel pots and pans of many sizes and shapes. You’ll find skillets, saute pans, sauce pans, stock pots, woks — anything you’d need to make a variety of meals.
In this review, you’ll see the 12-inch fry pan up close. It’s a great representation of the brand and a versatile cookware piece.
The cookware features a classic polished stainless steel exterior. The bottom is smooth, which is ideal for glass cooktops because it won’t leave scratches.
However, this cookware is compatible with any cooktop. The titanium-strengthened 439 stainless steel on the exterior is magnetic, making it perfect for induction cooking.
The brand logo is etched into the center of the pan. You’ll also see the origins of the pan, skillet size, and a mention of the 316Ti steel they use for the pan’s interior.
The pan’s interior features a brushed stainless steel finish. Unlike Demeyere’s rivetless design, Heritage Steel handles are riveted to the base, and the rivets are exposed on the cooking surface.
Grease and debris collect around the rivets, so you’ll need to clean them well.
The rims are flared for drip-free pouring, and the rim style makes it easy to cook delicate food like crepes and omelets.
The skillet features a polished, stainless steel stay-cool handle. The hollow handle, made up of five different parts, is ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your hand.
The long handle on the skillets and saucepans have rounded edges and a curved underside with a flat top. There is a hole on the end of the handle for hanging the cookware.
The shorter handles on stock pots and saute pans also feature a rounded profile, providing a comfortable grip.
The handles on the lids are similar. They have a trapezoid shape with rounded corners and a large enough loop to pick them up with an oven mitt or bulky oven gloves.
All lids are made from stainless steel and feature stainless steel handles. Most are flat and fit snugly onto pots and pans. Others, like the ones on the woks, the paella pan, and French skillet, are domed.
Heritage Steel cookware is fully-clad and is made of 5 layers:
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- 316Ti stainless steel interior
- 1145 pure aluminum
- 3004 aluminum
- 1145 pure aluminum
- 439 stainless steel exterior
Let’s break down each layer.
Most quality stainless cookware brands use 18/10 steel on the interior, but Heritage Steel does things differently.
The interior layer of Heritage Steel pans is an upgraded surface called 316Ti. It’s a more durable and less reactive alloy. The 316Ti interior is significant because it’s 20 times more corrosion-resistant than 18/10 steel and less prone to pitting from dissolved salt.
The 316Ti alloy is more difficult to source and costs more than 18/10 steel. It is made up of 18% chromium, 10-14% nickel, and features titanium and molybdenum to resist corrosion.
Next, Heritage uses a tri-layer aluminum core.
The first layer of 1145 pure aluminum acts as a bonding layer that provides even heating. The second, made of 3004 aluminum, reinforces the heat conductivity to provide efficient heating. The third is another layer of pure aluminum that bonds to the exterior.
Depending on the piece of cookware, such as a skillet or stock pot, Heritage alternates the thickness of the aluminum layers to support more efficient cooking.
Finally, the bottom layer is made from titanium-strengthened 439 stainless steel. It’s induction-compatible steel that’s durable and corrosion-resistant.
I’ve been testing the Heritage Steel 12-inch frying pan for several months. From salmon and steak to vegetable stir fry and eggs, I’ve put this pan to work. I’ve used it to sear, saute, fry, boil, broil, and braise. I used it in the oven and on gas, electric, and induction cooktops.
Overall, the performance is solid. But there are a few pros and cons that stick out.
On the positive side, Heritage Steel cookware is sturdy but not too heavy. It’s well-balanced cookware — light enough to shake and flip ingredients while sauteing but hefty enough to avoid warping or denting.
Although the pan heats up slower than thinner pans I’ve reviewed, it distributes heat evenly and holds its temperature steady when cold ingredients are added.
As you can see below, the Heritage Steel pan does a great job crisping salmon skin and searing the flesh side.
It can be tricky to cook delicate food with stainless steel, but this pan did an excellent job frying eggs. However, you need to follow the proper cooking techniques to prevent sticking (watch this video for tips)
Since the 5-ply body is thick, you won’t accidentally burn your food if you set the heat too high. It heats gradually and gives you time to react.
Heritage Steel cookware is oven-safe up to 800°F — far higher than typical cookware (most stainless steel pans are oven-safe up to 500°F).
My biggest complaint about Heritage Steel is the handles. They look and feel great and stay cool on the stove, but my hand slipped several times as I poured liquids or transferred food onto a plate due to the round design.
If your hands are wet, greasy, or you’re wearing an oven mitt, it’s challenging to get a firm grip.
All-Clad handles are cup-shaped, allowing you to press your thumb into the indentation and have complete control. I prefer these handles because they’re safer and more functional.
Besides the handles, my only other complaint is the rainbow stains, also referred to as heat tint. When you overheat stainless steel cookware, trace amounts of chromium in the steel create a thick oxidized layer that reflects light at a different wavelength, resulting in a splotchy rainbow stain.
Although heat tint is common and unavoidable with most stainless steel cookware brands, I noticed it more on the Heritage Steel pan. You can remedy the issue by pouring diluted white vinegar on the spot and giving the pan a good scrub, but it’s still an unsightly annoyance.
Overall, Heritage Steel performs as you expect premium, made-in-the-USA cookware to perform. Although it takes longer to heat up than other pans, it heats evenly, retains heat well, and delivers consistent results.
After experiencing Heritage Steel’s heat conduction and retention in the kitchen, I wanted to learn how it performs versus the competition.
To find out, I conducted two simple tests.
First, I poured two cups of cold water into the Heritage Steel pan and placed the pan on the stove on high. While it was heating, I noticed the bubbles were slightly more concentrated at the edges.
Although this can sometimes indicate poor heat conduction, I haven’t noticed any hot or cold spots in real-world testing.
After one minute and 59 seconds, the water began to bubble, and it came to a full boil after three minutes and 15 seconds.
I repeated this test with several other cookware brands to see how Heritage Steel stacks up. As you can see in the results below, Heritage Steel was one of the slowest to boil the water.
|Pan||Time to First Bubbles||Time to Boil|
|Made In fry pan||1 minute and 40 seconds||2 minutes and 21 seconds|
|Misen fry pan||1 minute and 50 seconds||2 minutes and 25 seconds|
|Anolon fry pan||1 minute and 55 seconds||2 minutes and 27 seconds|
|Zwilling fry pan||1 minute and 45 seconds||2 minutes and 31 seconds|
|T-fal fry pan||1 minute and 50 seconds||2 minutes and 32 seconds|
|Gotham Steel fry pan||1 minute and 58 seconds||2 minutes and 32 seconds|
|Rachael Ray fry pan||1 minute and 47 seconds||2 minutes and 36 seconds|
|Calphalon fry pan||1 minute and 45 seconds||2 minutes and 40 seconds|
|Hestan fry pan||1 minute and 52 seconds||2 minutes and 47 seconds|
|GreenLife pan||2 minutes and 11 seconds||2 minutes and 47 seconds|
|Circulon fry pan||2 minutes and 7 seconds||2 minutes and 55 seconds|
|All-Clad skillet||1 minute and 55 seconds||2 minutes and 55 seconds|
|Demeyere Industry fry pan||2 minutes and 3 seconds||3 minutes and 10 seconds|
|Ballarini fry pan||2 minutes and 15 seconds||3 minutes and 12 seconds|
|Heritage Steel fry pan||1 minutes and 59 seconds||3 minutes and 15 seconds|
|Demeyere Atlantis fry pan||2 minutes and 11 seconds||3 minutes and 25 seconds|
Cookware that heats fast is more convenient for boiling and quick meals, but it also requires you to pay closer attention and monitor the temperature closely. So, there are pros and cons, and the right pan depends on your cooking style.
After the water boiled, I removed the pan from the stove and set it on the counter to cool. After five minutes, the water temperature was 120°F.
After ten minutes, the water was 98°F.
I repeated this test with several other pans. The results below show that Heritage Steel retains heat well, especially in after the first five minutes.
|Pan||Temperature After 5 Minutes||Temperature After 10 Minutes|
|Demeyere Atlantis fry pan||122.0°F||106.3°F|
|Made In fry pan||121.1°F||106.6°F|
|Misen fry pan||118.6°F||103.4°F|
|Zwilling fry pan||121.1°F||103.0°F|
|Rachael Ray fry pan||126.3°F||102.7°F|
|Circulon fry pan||133.3°F||102.0°F|
|Demeyere Industry fry pan||115.2°F||96.6°F|
|Calphalon fry pan||112.8°F||101.1°F|
|Ballarini fry pan||120°F||99.9°F|
|Hestan fry pan||114°F||98°F|
|GreenLife fry pan||119°F||95°F|
|Gotham Steel fry pan||113°F||95°F|
|Anolon fry pan||112.7°F||90.9°F|
|T-fal fry pan||108.7°F||88.0°F|
Heat retention is essential for searing meat. You want a pan that stays hot when cold proteins are added. If the temperature drops, the food will cook unevenly, and a golden-brown crust won’t form.
The construction, sourcing of materials, and manufacturing in the United States contribute to the cost. Overall, It’s a high-quality stainless steel cookware brand that is reasonably priced.
The final cost is based on several factors, such as the piece of cookware you want, where you buy it, and whether it is on sale.
The chart below shows the current prices of popular Heritage Steel pots, pans, and sets on Amazon. Click or tap a price to learn more about each item.
|Heritage Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set||Amazon|
|Heritage Steel 12-Inch Fry Pan||Amazon|
|Heritage Steel 2-Quart Saucepan||Amazon|
|Heritage Steel 4-Quart Sauté Pan||Amazon|
|Heritage Steel 13.5-Inch Wok||Amazon|
|Heritage Steel 8-Quart Stock Pot||Amazon|
|Heritage Steel 13.5-Inch Shallow Wok||Amazon|
|Heritage Steel 2-Quart Saucepan||Amazon|
|Heritage Steel 13.5-Inch French Skillet||Amazon|
Heritage Steel cookware has plenty of positives, but there are also downsides. Here are the main issues I’ve uncovered from testing and research:
Rounded handles — The rounded handles look great and feel comfortable, but it isn’t easy to get a firm grip. When you pick up the pan and tilt it to pour liquids or slide ingredients onto a plate, your hand will slip and rotate. This issue is more noticeable when your hands are oily, or you’re using an oven mitt.
Warping — The cookware I tested had no flaws, but some reviews mentioned that the cookware warped quickly or showed signs of wrapping right out of the box. It’s possible to warp fully-clad cookware, but if you gradually heat it and avoid drastic temperature shifts (like placing a hot pan in cold water), you minimize the risk significantly.
Staining and sticking food — To be fair, these issues are common with stainless steel, no matter the brand. Stuck on food can lead to hard-to-clean stains. You can minimize food from sticking by ensuring your pan is adequately heated before adding food, using a small amount of oil or butter, and allowing food to develop a sear before moving it.
Heat tint — After using the Heritage Steel pan for a week, I noticed a splotchy rainbow-colored stain on the bottom. This stain, also known as heat tint, is common on stainless steel pans, but I noticed it more prominently with Heritage Steel.
Lightweight feel — Heritage Steel pans are lighter than stainless-clad offerings from brands like All-Clad or Demeyere. For example, the 5-ply 12-inch Heritage skillet weighs 2.9 pounds. All-Clad’s D5 (5-ply) 12-inch skillet is 4 pounds. Demeyere’s Industry and Atlantis 11-inch skillets weigh more than Heritage at 3.3 and 5.2 pounds, respectively. Some cooks prefer lightweight cookware because it’s easier to work with, while others prefer heavier, sturdier cookware.
No non-stick options — Heritage Steel offers one stainless steel cookware collection, and none of the pots or pans have a non-stick coating. So, if you prefer the convenience of non-stick, you’ll have to buy another brand. Other brands, such as Made In, offer complete sets that include stainless steel and non-stick pans.
Here are answers to the top questions people ask about Heritage Steel cookware.
Stainless steel cookware is safe and non-toxic to most people. Only people allergic to nickel or other metals will want to avoid using stainless steel cookware.
Heritage uses 316Ti steel on its cooking surface. It’s an alloy with proven resistance to pitting and corrosion. Therefore, the core aluminum layers are protected and cannot leach into food.
Yes, it is dishwasher safe, but hand washing is recommended.
Yes, all Heritage Steel cookware is induction-compatible.
Heritage Steel cookware is made in Clarksville, Tennessee.
While the company has been known as Heritage Steel since 2013, the roots of the business started over 40 years ago, and it was originally known as New Era Cookware.
This family-owned business was created through the partnership of cookware enthusiast Donald Henn and cookware manufacturer John Martelli.
Heritage Steel offers a lifetime warranty. The company will replace any item that fails in materials or workmanship at no cost to you. To be eligible for a warranty claim, you must register your cookware within 30 days of purchase.
The business offers a 30-day return policy. The cookware must be unused and in its original packaging.
Not frequently, but we track the prices (along with dozens of other brands) and will email you when it goes on sale. Sign up for our free newsletter to get notified.
Bottom Line: Is Heritage Steel Cookware Worth Buying?
Now that you know the facts about Heritage Steel cookware, it’s time to decide if it’s the right brand for your kitchen.
Before I provide my recommendation, let’s quickly recap the main points.
You should buy Heritage Steel cookware if:
- You want American-made cookware produced by expert craftsmen.
- You prefer a classic and no-frills design.
- You like the idea of having stainless steel cookware strengthened with titanium.
- You want cookware with superior heat retention, which is ideal for searing meat.
- You want cookware with a high oven-safe temperature ( up to 800°F).
You should not buy Heritage Steel cookware if:
- You want colorful cookware with a choice of designs.
- You prefer the convenience of non-stick cookware.
- You want cookware with a rivet-free interior.
- You prefer glass lids.
- You want responsive cookware that heats fast.
Bottom line — Heritage Steel cookware is American-made, sturdy, and durable. And based on my testing, it performs similarly to high-end brands like All-Clad and Demeyere. Although it heats up slower than the competition, it retains heat well and cooks evenly and consistently.
If you’re in the market for high-quality stainless steel cookware at a fair price, Heritage Steel is an excellent option.
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