We Review Made In Cookware—The Best Balance Of Quality & Price
Instagram-worthy cookware is everywhere these days; I’ve found myself ready to hit “buy” on several of them thanks to their cute colors and appealing advertising. But, as someone who’s used non-stick pans for the past decade, I know firsthand how much they’re prone to scratches and damage. A product can be made with sustainable materials, yes, but I think the real sustainability lies in how much use we can get out of it.
When Made In began showing up on my feeds more frequently, their notable ads caught my eye. There was no over-Pinterestification of these pans; instead, the focus was on quality, longevity, and testimonials from chefs and home cooks alike who use Made In products.
Founded in 2017 by childhood friends Jake Kalick and Chip Malt, Made In’s mission is to bring restaurant-quality cookware into everyday kitchens. Kalick comes from a long lineage of restaurant suppliers, which means the brand has maintained deep connections with the finest craftspeople and suppliers in the industry. Made In’s stainless steel collection is produced here in the US and France, while the bakeware, knives, and carbon steel pieces are made using local materials in France.
To put it simply: Made In knows what quality cookware looks like and also partners with craftspeople who are the best in the biz. I had the opportunity to test products from each of the brand’s bestselling collections: stainless steel, non stick, carbon steel, and cast iron. Here are the details:
What I tested:
- Stainless clad saucier ($149)
- Blue carbon steel wok ($99 currently)
- Stainless steel non stick frying pan ($129)
- Enameled cast iron dutch oven ($199)
- 8-inch chef knife ($119)
I’ve been using these Made In products for three months, and I have to say I’m delighted. Read on for more info about each product and what I thought!
The two quart saucier
The saucepan size is a staple in my household. Our previous one rarely saw storage—it was either in use, waiting to be washed, or drying on the rack. So when I tested Made In’s saucier, I was thrilled to find it was dishwasher-safe!
First of all, it’s helpful to know that there is a difference between sauciers and saucepans, which have in the curved vs flat sides respectively. The curved sauciers are good for dishes that need consistent stirring or for finishing pasta in its sauce and getting an even distribution. Perpendicular-edge saucepans are great for quick heating thanks to the fully flat bottom, so are a good fit for reducing stocks and cooking grains. You learn something new every day, right?
This mighty little saucier is an expert task-switcher. I haven’t made any saucier-specific dishes in this one, but I’ve successfully made soft-boiled eggs, barley, rice, and more (even the occasional exhausted day mac and cheese.) The rolled lip at the top is designed to make pouring easier, which resulted in less mess than usual, and the whole piece cleans up quickly without lasting residue. I especially like the lightweight lid; it doesn’t have the air vent I’m used to, but it’s easy enough to balance across the top when I need to release some steam.
A couple of thoughts on this one; the stay-cool handle works as long as you don’t grab too close to the pan (rookie mistake, that one’s on me). I also hadn’t fully anticipated how small two quarts really is. I have my eye on adding the four-quart size saucepan ($139) to my kitchen rotation so I can cook multiple elements simultaneously.
The 12.5″ wok
My parents have had the same wok for well over thirty years, and I’ve been envious of its quality ever since my cheap Target wok’s handle fell off. Not ideal! Made In’s wok came packaged with a protective canvas bag and is a sight to behold (am I the only one who thinks woks are one of the most elegant cookware items?) It’s on the heavier side, which is something I’d say about many of Made In’s pans, but I am also used to flimsy, unreliable cookware.
To test out this wok, I made this crispy tofu I’ve been thinking about since I shared it in The Daily Good a few months ago. I’m wary of frying anything, thanks to many summers working alongside flippant fry cooks at Sonic Drive-In, but this wok made it so easy. The heat was even and consistent, the handle stayed cool (as long as you don’t grab too close to the heat), and any splash was well-contained thanks to the generous size of the wok.
The heat was even and consistent, the handle stayed cool (as long as you don’t grab too close to the heat), and any splash was well-contained thanks to the generous size of the wok.
I was able to easily pour out the oil after I was done and transferred in the next batch of ingredients without any burns or blisters. That sizzle when I incorporated everything together…there’s nothing like it. When I cleaned up after, the wok did have darker and lighter marks on it, but that’s how my parents’ wok looks, and I think it’s generally a part of the seasoning lifecycle of the pan.
You can get this wok for $99 at the time of writing, but the regular price is $139. I think it’s a deal either way, as I know how much use I’ll get out of this pan, and I know it’ll last me a lifetime.
The 10″ frying pan
My previous cookware had a nonstick coating, which was significantly scratched in less than a year of use (I still kept using it despite the warnings not to). The coating on Made In’s nonstick frying pan is 100% nontoxic and made without PFOAS, according to the brand, which is nice to know given the increased awareness around the materials we’re using in our homes. I especially like that the brand doesn’t try to sell you on “ceramic” coating, which isn’t the natural material you think it would be.
To test out this frying pan, I made my cooking nemesis: overeasy eggs. No matter how many tutorials I watch, I struggle to keep them consistent. Sadly, I can’t say that Made In’s frying pan solved my problems, at least aesthetically. The color, taste, and texture of my eggs were all on point—they just weren’t pretty and didn’t slide gracefully off the pan as I always see in commercials. We’ve made various pasta dishes in this pan too, though, and I love how easy the surface is to clean!
Ultimately, I think I’d opt for one of Made In’s stainless steel options for a frying pan since I’m not great at maintaining Non Stick pans. The product itself is lovely—it’s made in the USA, has great construction, and offers easy and consistent heating. But as to whether this pan in particular will last me my entire life, I’m not sure.
The 5.5 quart dutch oven
My family used Lodge cast iron dutch ovens every night on our summer camping trips, sometimes stacking them on top of one another with coals sandwiched between them. Yet, I never had one of my own until now.
Made In’s dutch oven is a robust and flexible addition to my kitchen. We’ve made several dishes in the dutch oven, including my favorite chicken chili and a heavenly apple crisp. I especially like how evenly it distributes heat and how the light interior finish helps me get a good look at how the colors of my dish are developing.
I can’t wait to make a slow-cooked pot roast in this dutch oven to really get a feel for how the brand’s proprietary “Cloud Cover” lid works. Essentially, there are little bumps on the underside of the lid capture that moisture and send it right back into your dish, preserving both flavor and moisture.
Made In’s dutch oven is half the price of Le Creuset, but still maintains the French-made tradition and quality.
Made In’s dutch oven is also only $199, compared to the same size from Le Creuset at $420. So, half the price, but still maintaining the French-made tradition and quality. If this investment isn’t on your radar right now, you can find even more affordable pieces on sites like shopgoodwill.com and eBay (keep an eye out for good condition and be wary of fakes).
The chef’s knife (8”)
When I got married nearly a decade ago, we received this $20 set of six brightly-colored knives off of our Amazon registry—a major upgrade from the flimsy steak knife I used through college. Now, though, the grip is wearing from the plastic handles, and my sharpening efforts are beginning to show reduced returns.
The Made In chef’s knife came packaged like it came straight from a skilled and proud craftsperson—minimal, gleaming in its newness. The brand notes that it is “full tang and fully forged,” which means the steel extends from the blade and into the handle so it won’t break out of a flimsy handle. After using this chef’s knife for a couple of months, I can happily say it makes cooking way more enjoyable. It cuts smoothly, feels sturdy, and has a nice weight to it that helps me balance speed and pressure.
After using this chef’s knife for a couple of months, I can happily say it makes cooking way more enjoyable. It cuts smoothly, feels sturdy, and has a nice weight to it that helps me balance speed and pressure.
While $119 for one knife is way more than my old Farberware set, I’m really excited to care for this knife for many years to come. (I have a honing rod for small blade adjustments at home but plan on finding a nearby place to sharpen it for me, like a Sur La Table or Williams-Sonoma. Here’s a full guide to caring for your knives!)
The last note I’ll make about this knife is that this baby is SHARP. For all my YouTube-refined knife skills, I still cut my finger on day one or two. I haven’t had any more mishaps, but it’s worth noting that if you’re used to dull knives, this will have a learning curve! Just move slowly and mindfully.
Overall, this cookware is a huge win. While it’ll run you a higher cost than some of the cutesy cookware sets on the market, I don’t think I’ll have to replace any of these pieces anytime soon. I will keep a sharp eye (and a wooden spoon) on the Non Stick pan to ensure it doesn’t get damaged, but that’s my only hesitation.
Skip the trending pots and pans, and invest in a set from Made In—your kitchen will thank you.
- Made In is professional quality cookware at prices that are more accessible for the everyday home cook, and the pieces are made in the US and France with premium manufacturers. The cookware is also nontoxic and comes in a wide range of materials based on your cooking preferences.
- My favorite pieces were the chef’s knife and the wok—both are extremely standout and I am so excited to add them to my kitchen rotation. I also tested the nonstick frying pan, cast iron dutch oven, and stainless steel saucier and found them all to be high quality and much better than any “cheap” cookware I’ve ever used from Amazon or Target. I absolutely recommend this brand!
- The cookware can be a little heavy, and not all of it is dishwasher safe! Just be sure to check weights and wash instruction if you want to make sure they fit your cooking needs.
- Made In cookware can also be purchased in bundles for additional cost savings, and thanks to its durability, the cost per use feels on-par with some of the more “Instagram-popular” cookware brands out on the market.
Emily Torres is the Editorial Director at The Good Trade. Born and raised in Indiana, she studied Creative Writing and Business at Indiana University. You can usually find her in her colorful Los Angeles apartment journaling, caring for her rabbits and cat, or gaming.