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If I’ve learned one thing from the years I’ve spent reviewing cookware, it’s that the best performing brands are typically the most expensive.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
At least that’s what Chip Malt and Jake Kalick, the founders of Made In, believe.
Made In launched in 2016 with the goal of making premium cookware accessible not only to professional chefs but to the casual home cook too.
Their major selling point—premium cookware at half the price of premium brands.
But, are these endorsements legitimate? Or, does Made In have really savvy Marketing and PR teams?
In this in-depth review of Made In, I give you an up-close look at their lauded 5-ply stainless steel cookware.
After testing it for several weeks, I’m here to tell you the good, the bad, and everything in between.
By the end, you’ll have all the important details to decide whether Made In is the right cookware brand for you.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Use these links to navigate the review:
- Made In’s Story
- Product Offerings
- Construction and Materials
- Heating Test Results
- Cooking Performance
- What Others Are Saying
- FAQs About Made In Cookware
- Bottom Line: Should You Buy Made In Cookware?
Made In’s Story
Before I jump into the details of the cookware, it’s important to understand Made In as a company, and what makes them unique.
Made In debuted its cookware offerings in 2016 and, although a newcomer to the industry, the brand is fast becoming a contender with proven brands like All-Clad (check out my comparison of Made In vs. All-Clad), Calphalon, and Tramontina.
Just a few years after its launch, chefs at Michelin-star restaurants, including Alinea in Chicago and Le Bernardin in New York City, are using Made In cookware. Not too shabby.
At the helm are childhood friends, Chip Malt and Jake Kalick. Kalick brings a 100-year family history in kitchen supplies to the brand.
Malt and Kalick recognized a major problem in the cookware industry; high-quality cookware is too expensive, which makes it inaccessible to most home cooks.
They created Made In to solve this problem.
Instead of selling through retailers like most cookware brands, Made In sells its products exclusively on their website, which is attractive and easy to navigate.
This direct-to-consumer business model is a growing trend across many industries and for a good reason. By cutting out the middlemen, Made In can offer significantly lower prices for an equally, if not better, product.
To be clear, Made In is less expensive than most premium cookware, but it’s not cheap. Compared to top echelon brands like All-Clad and Calphalon, it’s a less expensive, though formidable alternative.
If you browse Made In’s website, you’ll notice how transparent they are about their products and processes.
You quickly learn that they source their metal from suppliers in Kentucky and Pennsylvania, and their non-stick coating from Illinois.
You’ll also learn that they partner with family-owned manufacturers in the United States, Italy, and France who have been making cookware for decades, and, in some cases, centuries.
They also have an active blog, Beyond the Burner, where you can find helpful tips like How to Clean a Wok, A Guide to Seasoning Carbon Steel Pans, and How to Prevent Damage to Your Stainless Steel Pans.
Made In is a modern cookware company attempting to disrupt this slowly evolving industry by offering excellent quality, affordable prices, and an enjoyable shopping experience.
This all sounds great, but can they deliver on these promises? Let’s take a look.
In this review, I focus primarily on Made In stainless steel, fully-clad cookware since it’s their most popular product line.
However, in this section, I provide a quick overview of all the products they offer so you get an idea of your options.
Unlike some brands that make everything you could ever need in your kitchen, Made In keeps it simple. They offer four product categories:
- Stainless Clad Cookware
- Kitchen Knives
- Carbon Steel Cookware
- Kitchen Accessories
Stainless Clad Cookware
The stainless steel, 5-ply cookware is sold in kits (a.k.a. sets) or as individual pieces.
The kit concept focuses on a person’s needs. From the amateur chef to a seasoned gourmet, there is a suitable kit to match your needs.
Ready for grown-up cookware? Have limited space? Not sure where to begin? Try The Starter Kit. It’s a five-piece set that includes three of Made In’s most popular pieces in stainless steel:
- 10-inch Frying Pan
- 2-qt. Saucepan with Lid
- 6-qt. Stock Pot with Lid
Ready to elevate your cooking game? Try The Sous Chef Kit, an 11-piece best-selling collection that offers stainless steel and non-stick cookware:
- 10-inch Frying Pan
- 10-inch Non-Stick Frying Pan
- 12-inch Frying Pan
- 2-qt. Saucepan with Lid
- 4-qt. Saucepan with Lid
- 3.5-qt. Sauté Pan with Lid
- 8-qt. Stockpot with Lid
And for those who are looking for a kit to replace mismatched cookware pieces or just moving into a new home, consider The Executive Chef Kit. It’s a 15-piece kit that includes stainless steel, non-stick, and the increasingly popular blue carbon steel pan:
- 12-inch Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan
- 12-inch Non-Stick Frying Pan
- 12-inch Frying Pan
- 10-inch Non-Stick Frying Pan
- 10-inch Frying Pan
- 2-qt. Saucepan with Lid
- 3-qt. Saucier with Lid
- 3.5-qt. Sauté Pan with Lid
- 6-qt. Stock Pot with Lid
- 8-qt. Stock Pot with Lid
Carbon Steel Cookware
Made In also offers a Carbon Steel Kit, which includes 10 and 12-inch frying pans, a wok, and a can of seasoning wax.
Carbon steel has the rugged look and non-stick functionality of cast iron with the precise heat control of stainless steel. It’s oven-safe up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, perfect for putting a crispy sear on meat.
If you’re interested in Made In carbon steel cookware, I recently published an in-depth review of it where I break down its design, performance, durability, pros, cons, and much more.
In addition to pots and pans, Made In also makes high-quality knives, including chef’s knives, knife sets, paring and utility knives, and butcher blocks.
You can personalize their knives by engraving names or messages on the blade.
These fully-forged knives are made with X50CrMoV15 steel, which is ultra-durable and holds a sharp edge for long periods. It’s the same material used to make all Wusthof knives (see our review of Wusthof).
Lastly, they come in a red, black, or white handle, which is comfortable and attractive.
Made In has a few kitchen accessories designed to complement the primary product lines. Perhaps the most innovative item is the universal lid for frying pans and woks that doubles as a trivet.
There’s no better way to explain the design of Made In stainless clad cookware than to show you.
I’ll use the 12-inch Stainless Steel Frying Pan to tell the story. Let’s start with the packaging.
I use and test a lot of cookware products, and I have to say that I am impressed with how the Made In cookware is packaged. It’s not bland like most brands; it’s fun. The 12-inch frying pan comes in a bright red box, a color often related to passion, food, appetite, and excitement.
If Made In seeks to wake up a new generation to the fun of cooking, I think this packaging is an excellent introduction to the friendly tone of the brand.
The packaging includes a personal note presenting the cookware to the new owner and adds statements like “Say hi to your fry,” and calling the cookware “Blameless Stainless.”
Here’s a closer look at the message Made In writes inside the box.
The 18/10 stainless steel, nonreactive interior has an ultra-smooth starburst pattern, designed for optimal searing and sautéing, but also to reduce sticking.
The pan features flared rims that are ideal for drip-free pouring. The sloped sides are designed for better evaporation to reduce pan sauces, while the curved walls make it easy to flip, rotate, or agitate food in the skillet during cooking.
The brushed stainless steel exterior is induction-compatible and features a circular pattern that emanates from the center of the pan.
If you flip the pan over, you’ll find an etching of the pan type, pan size, brand name, and a Made In the USA tag.
How many high-quality cookware brands have artist-inspired etchings on the bottoms of its pans? For a limited time, the art of Will Bryant graces the pans, which furth recognizes Made In as a hip, new-age brand with a down-to-earth tone, made for the people.
The ergonomic, stainless steel handle is curved upward from the pan with a small bump on the bottom side to prevent your hand from sliding too close to the heat.
Although you can’t tell by holding it, the handle is hollow. They designed it this way to more effectively disperse heat so that the handles stay cool while providing stability on all types of cooktops.
The long handle is double bolted to the pan with the Made In logo centered.
The Frying Pan Silicone Universal Lid will fit all Made In frying pans and the Blue Carbon Steel Wok.
It’s an electric blue accessory that doubles as a trivet, has a stainless steel core encased in heat resistant silicone.
The universal lid can withstand up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and is suitable for use on cooktops and in ovens. It has a hanging loop on one end perfect for pot rack storage.
Their stockpots, saucepans, and saute pans also come with standard stainless steel lids, which are sleek, attractive, and lock in moisture.
Construction and Materials
Made In negotiates directly with manufacturers to source and secure all raw materials. They control the quality standards at every turn and work with family-owned companies to manufacture the cookware in the U.S., France, and Italy.
Made In’s Stainless Clad cookware has 5-ply bonded construction. This type of construction is also referred to as cladding.
Cladded cookware is the result of layering and bonding metals to maximize durability, heat control and retention, and corrosion resistance.
Multi-clad cookware is praised for its even heating not just from the bottom up, but at every point in the pan, simultaneously. Cladding delivers a “surround-sound” of heat.
Made In has five layers of thick metal, including two exterior layers of American-made 18/10 stainless steel, which is exceptionally durable and highly resistant to oxidation, and three core layers of heavy gauge aluminum, which provides optimal heat conduction.
Here’s an illustration from Made In’s website that depicts the layering and construction of their cookware.
In general, the thicker cookware distributes heat more evenly and retains heat longer than thinner cookware. The walls of most premium cookware are 2.3mm, but Made In takes it a step further; the walls of their cookware are 2.7mm thick.
Made In frying pans have some weight to them, so when food is added, you may find that they require two hands for transport or manipulation. The best-selling 12-inch Stainless Clad frying pan weighs 3.2 pounds.
Heating Test Results
I used a 12-inch, 5-ply stainless steel frying pan to test Made In’s ability to heat quickly, distribute heat evenly, and hold heat. In this section, I share with you the results of my test.
Quick, Even Heating
I poured two cups of water into a room temperature pan to see how fast Made In would bring the water to a boil. After selecting the highest heat setting on the cooktop, it took 2 minutes and 33 seconds to begin boiling, and it hit a roaring boil at 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
Just to keep it interesting, I ran the same test using an All-Clad D3 12-inch frying pan (view on Amazon).
All-Clad took 3 mins and 18 seconds to start boiling. By 3 minutes and 42 seconds, the water had reached a rolling boil.
The D3 is a 3-ply bonded pan, as opposed to Made In’s 5-ply bonded pan used in this test.
I concluded that the extra heat-conductive aluminum layers contributed to Made In’s faster boiling times.
As I watched the water prepare to boil, I noticed that the bubbles in the Made In pan were even across the entire pan.
Evenly distributed bubbles indicate even heat distribution. If the distribution of heat wasn’t uniform, the formation of bubbles would have been haphazard or concentrated in certain spots.
Finally, I tested heat retention by pouring out the hot water and setting the Made In pan on the counter. At 5 minutes, the pan was still moderately warm. At 10 minutes, it was slightly warm. And, at 15 minutes, the heat was gone, and the pan was cool to the touch.
With excellent heat retention in a pan, you can turn off the cooktop and still get residual cooking as you finish a meal. It also helps keep food warm as you prepare to plate and serve your meal.
Most importantly, a pan with excellent heat retention won’t cool down when you slap a cold piece of meat on the cooking surface.
We know that Made In cookware can heat up quickly and evenly, but how well does it cook actual food?
The short answer; Made In cookware performs really well in the kitchen.
I’ve used the Made In 12-inch frying pan to cook chicken, pork, vegetables, sauces; you name it. Every meal has come out as I expected.
Here’s a look at a pork chop I recently seared on the stove and finished in the oven.
And, this is a chicken breast I recently cooked entirely on the stove.
In all honesty, I’m yet to be even slightly disappointed in the cooking performance. The pan sits flat on the stove, heats evenly, and the handle stays nice and cool.
I’ve tested dozens of brands, including high-end names like All-Clad, Calphalon, and Demeyere; Made In can hold its own against any of them.
Stainless steel pans are notorious for staining and being tough to clean, but I am surprised to say; that hasn’t been the case with Made In. For the most part, 30 seconds of rinsing and a firm scrub does the job.
One warning—when you cook with Made In, set the burner no higher than slightly above medium.
Made In transfers heat so efficiently that if the temperature is above medium, you’ll burn your food and scorch the pan.
I learned this lesson the first time I tested the pan. I set the burner to high, let it heat for a minute, and added oil. The oil nearly burned within 15 seconds.
No product is perfect, and Made In cookware is no exception.
Although my opinion on Made In is overwhelmingly positive, there are a few downsides to call-out.
Lack of Options: Made In doesn’t provide many options. While more established brands offer several stainless steel collections with different materials, designs, and features, Made In only has one stainless steel collection. If you prefer cookware with a more reactive copper core or a more lightweight tri-ply construction, you’ll have to consider another brand. Made In is still a young company and could be building out new offerings, but, for now, your options are limited.
Unforgiving: Aluminum conducts heat quickly and evenly; it’s why Made In stainless steel cookware is built with a thick triple-layer aluminum core. The downside of this thick aluminum core is that, sometimes, it heats up and reacts to temperature changes so quickly that you end up burning your food. In other words, it’s less forgiving than the average pan. Once you get the hang of it and learn about cooking with stainless steel, you shouldn’t have any issues.
Shallow Sidewalls: Overall, I love the design of Made In pans. It’s aesthetically pleasing and functional. But I have one minor complaint; the sidewalls of the frying pans have too shallow of a slope. This design, plus the flared rims, makes it easy to slide food onto a plate, but it also makes it easier to spill. Okay, I realize I might be nit-picking here, but it’s worth noting if you’re someone who obsesses over a clean kitchen.
Unproven: By all indications, Made In cookware is exceptionally durable and reliable. It’s made with the highest quality steel, double-riveted steel handles, and can handle much higher temperatures than most brands (800 degrees in the oven!). When you buy a set, you can expect it to last a very long time. However, since they’ve only been in business since 2016, not enough time has gone by to prove that it will.
What Others Are Saying
In just a few years, Made In has received praise from home chefs, professional chefs, and even top consumer authorities like Consumer Reports and Good Housekeeping.
Here’s a snapshot of how the product is being received.
- Consumer Reports named Made In’s Stainless Clad Starter Kit one of the Best Cookware Sets of 2020.
- Good Housekeeping features Made In’s Starter Kit one of 7 Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets to Buy in 2020, According to Kitchen Experts. It was named the Best Stainless Steel Cookware for Beginners
- Made In named the Favorite Overall of Best Direct-To-Consumer Cookware by CNET.
- Made In Universal Lid named one of the 50 Best Inventions of 2018 by Time Magazine.
- Made In made the list of the Top 100 Startups by CNBC.
- Made In Cookware is used in several Michelin-star restaurants, including Alinea and Le Bernardin. It’s also used by Tom Colicchio, the celebrity chef-owner of Crafted Hospitality and Top Chef Judge.
The Made In site has several thousand 5-star reviews for the brand. An astounding 95% of reviewers rated the product as excellent (5 stars).
Made In’s reviews are captured by a third-party (Judge.me) and verified by purchases to ensure data authenticity.
As I read through the reviews, I noticed some common themes.
Satisfied shoppers gave the cookware praise for the look and feel, durability, and cooking performance.
People used descriptions like “sturdy” and “well-made.”
Some of the most reviewed products are the Stainless Clad and Blue Carbon Steel cookware. There are also praises for Made In’s customer service.
Some reviewers complain about the weight of the pans, notably the Blue Carbon Steel.
Reviews of three stars or less also complained about cleaning the pans.
Of the nearly 4,000 reviews on the site, roughly 1% had something negative to say.
FAQs About Made In Cookware
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Made In cookware in general:
Yes, the stainless clad cookware is oven-safe to 800 degrees Fahrenheit, carbon steel is oven-safe up to 1200, and non-stick is oven-safe up to 500. The universal lid is oven safe up to 400.
Yes, all Made In cookware is induction-compatible and safe for use on all other cooktops.
Yes, the stainless steel and non-stick pans are dishwasher-safe, but I strongly suggest hand washing in warm water with a mild detergent and a long-handled nylon brush with flexible bristles. You need to handwash the carbon steel cookware.
Made In works with family-owned cookware manufacturing businesses in the U.S., France, and Italy. The stainless steel and non-stick cookware is made in the United States and Italy, and the carbon steel cookware and knives are made in France.
The only place you can buy Made In cookware is on their website. It’s not available in stores or other online retailers.
High-grade silicone, plastic, or wooden tools are preferred, but the cookware is designed to stand up to any utensil.
If you use it as directed, you shouldn’t have an issue. But, just like any other multi-clad stainless steel pan, it can warp if you expose it to extreme temperature changes. Never place a hot pan into a sink filled with cold water or let cold water run over a hot pan.
Yes, Made In offers a limited lifetime warranty that covers defects in materials and craftsmanship under regular use.
Made In keeps their prices low by cutting out the middleman and selling directly to customers on their website. You can view all pricing for all products on their website.
You can return stainless steel cookware, non-stick cookware, knives, and universal lids within 45 days of the delivery for a full refund.
The same goes for the carbon steel cookware, as long as you haven’t used it yet.
If you’ve already used the carbon steel cookware, you can return it within 45 days of delivery for a full store credit.
You can read the full return policy here.
No! Shipping is 100% free within the continental United States.
Bottom Line: Should You Buy Made In Cookware?
I’ve reviewed dozens of cookware brands over the years, and Made In is undoubtedly one of the most unique.
Its quality, performance, and design is comparable to premium brands like All-Clad, Demeyere, and Calphalon. But, its price is similar to a mid-tier brand you can pick up at any department store.
Their direct-to-consumer business model and modern, helpful, and fun approach to cookware is a refreshing change that the industry needed.
But, despite all that, no brand is right for everyone.
So, the question is: should you buy Made In cookware?
Here’s my recommendation:
You should buy Made In cookware if:
- You want premium, 5-ply stainless clad cookware that is elegantly designed and performs on par with the most established brands in the world.
- You’re willing to invest in high-quality cookware that will last, but you’re not ready to spend thousands on a set.
- You want cookware that heats up quickly and distributes heat evenly.
- You prefer the chic look of a brushed stainless steel exterior over a shiny polished exterior.
- You understand basic cooking techniques and how to approach cooking with 5-ply cookware (don’t turn the stove too far past medium).
- You like to start meals on the stove and finish them in the oven, and you don’t ever want to worry about exceeding the maximum oven-safe temperature (Made In is safe up to 800 degrees).
- You want to use the cookware that Michelin star chefs use.
If this sounds like you, check out Made In’s website where you can read hundreds of other reviews and see the current prices.
You should NOT buy Made In cookware if:
- You prefer a brand with a long, proven track record.
- Your on a really tight budget (Made In cookware is less expensive than other premium brands, but it’s not cheap).
- You’re the type of shopper that needs to hold a product before you buy it (Made In cookware is only available on their website).
- You easily get distracted while cooking (Made In heats up fast and reacts to changes in temperature quickly).
- You need lots of options (Made In currently only offers one stainless steel collection).
If this sounds more like you, you might want to consider other brands. Although you’ll pay much more, some other great options are All-Clad and Calphalon (see my comparison).
Tell us your thoughts on Made In cookware!
Have you tried Made In cookware? If yes, let us know what you think about it in the comments below.
If you found this review helpful, you should also check out:
- All-Clad vs. Made In: The Ultimate Cookware Comparison
- Made In Carbon Steel Cookware (In-Depth Review)
- All-Clad vs. Calphalon: Non-Stick and Stainless Cookware Compared
- All-Clad vs. Cuisinart: How Does Their Cookware Compare?
- All-Clad C4 Copper vs. Copper Core: How Do They Compare?
- All-Clad D5 vs. Copper Core: How Do They Compare?
- All-Clad HA1 vs. B1: Which All-Clad Non-Stick Collection Is Better?
- Is All-Clad Cookware Worth the High Price? An In-Depth Review
- All-Clad vs. Tramontina: Which Cookware Is Better?
- All-Clad vs. Viking: How Does Their Cookware Compare?
- 5 Cheaper Alternatives to All-Clad Cookware