We weren't really in the market for a new cookware set, but when we saw the Rachael Ray Anodized Nonstick 12-piece cookware set clearance-priced at Walmart for $54, we grabbed the last one off the shelf. Including tax it was just under $60 which brought the price down to $5 for each piece, and we figured any brand-name cookware set was worth at least that much.
There are a dozen or more Rachael Ray cookware sets on the market (Anodized II, Cucina, Stainless Steel, etc.) and it was difficult to figure out which buyer reviews and which specifications applied to which cookware set, so here's a quick overview of the specs for the Rachael Ray Anodized 12-piece cookware set.
The 12-piece cookware set includes six pots and pans along with two cookie sheets, totaling eight pieces. The four lids count as the final four pieces. The Rachael Ray Anodized 12-piece set consists of:
The Rachael Ray cookware is marketed and distributed by the Meyer Corporation of California, but the cookware is made in China. Meyer also markets cookware for other celebrity chefs and brands such as Cake Boss, Paula Deen, Ruffoni, SilverStone, BonJour, Circulon, Anolon, and Farberware.
This Rachael Ray cookware set isn't dishwasher safe but so far they've been really easy to clean because of the nonstick surface. According to the instructions and some of the reviews on Amazon, if food gets crusted onto the surface, boil a mixture of water and vinegar in the pan to dislodge the food particles. For any stains, make a paste of baking soda and water or a mild solution of water and lemon juice, then scrub with a non-abrasive pad such as Scotch-Brite. It was suggested to use using silicon utensils so the nonstick coating wouldn't get scratched, but we've used plastic utensils and even wooden spoons to stir the food, although we're very careful when stirring. The nonstick coating works really well and so far all we've needed is a sponge to clean the cookware.
Almost all the reviews on Amazon, Walmart, and Kohl's were either one star or five stars, with slightly more five star ratings than one star ratings. There were very few two, three, or four star reviews. The pros were: the look (color), and ease of cleaning the nonstick coating. The cons were: scratches easily, not dishwasher safe, and light weight which some said made the pans feel cheap. We agree with the pro comments; and for the cons: we haven't noticed any scratching yet, we don't have a dishwasher so that's a moot point for us, and the weight didn't seem unduly light or cheap with the exception of the stockpot.
We decided to weigh a couple of the pieces and compare them to our Calphalon pots and pans. We don't have a Calphalon 2-quart saucepan, so we used a Bialetti saucepan. The images below show the weight comparisons for the Rachael Ray 2-quart saucepan, the 10" skillet and the 6-quart stockpot.
To begin, the image below shows a Bialetti 2-quart saucepan weight vs. the Rachael Ray 2-quart saucepan weight. The Bialetti saucepan is shorter and wider, but the Rachael Ray saucepan is comparable in weight.
The image below shows a Calphalon 10" Omelet Pan (which is our favorite go-to skillet) vs. the Rachael Ray 10" skillet. Surprisingly (to us), the Rachael Ray 10" skillet is comparable in weight.
The final comparison shown below is the Calphalon 5-quart chili pot vs. the Rachael Ray 6-quart stockpot. There's over a two pound difference in weight, but this comparison isn't totally fair because the Calphalon chili pot shown is about 12 years old and the newer Calphalon chili pots (Amazon) are made of brushed aluminum which is much lighter in weight, and they have a nonstick interior. If we replace the old Calphalon chili pot with the newer version, we'll update the image.
The hard enamel 12-piece cookware set we bought is one of the older Rachael Ray cookware sets, which is probably why it was clearance priced. It's still available at many retailers such as Walmart, Kohl's, Macy's, etc. and the list price is $149, but the Internet price is almost always lower. You can probably find it on Amazon, and Amazon also carries many of the newer Rachael Ray cookware sets such as the Anodized II which is similar to the Anodized version but is dishwasher safe, and Amazon has the popular Cucina cookware set which can be used on induction cooktops and is dishwasher safe, as well as the Rachael Ray Stainless Steel cookware set which also can be used on induction cooktops and is dishwasher safe.
The Calphalon cookware we have is terrific and has lasted many years, but it's expensive to replace. We didn't expect the Rachael Ray cookware to measure up to Calphalon, but the set was affordable (especially at clearance price) and should last for several years, giving our Calphalon pans a much needed break. The nonstick coating is easy to clean and we can cut down the amount of oil we would normally use to make things like fried eggs or pancakes. We haven't had the set very long so may change our assessment in a few months, but for now we're very happy with the cookware set and have no regrets with our purchase.