Wolfgang Puck Cookware Reviews: A Solid Celebrity-Endorsed Set?

Written by Peter Allen on . Posted in Cookware

To me, a celebrity endorsement is a BAD thing. Unless it’s a very specific pairing of chef and product, having a celebrity chef’s name on something means that it’s not particularly high quality. Professional chefs don’t look for products with the names of TV stars on them. Instead, they look for inexpensive, durable, and reliable products that will get the job done day after day.

So where does Wolfgang Puck cookware stand?

Truthfully, my biggest problem with Wolfgang Puck’s cookware lines isn’t how well they’re made or the design choices made by the manufacturer. Instead, my issue is how darn hard it is to get a hold of a set. As of writing these reviews, Wolfgang Puck cookware is sold out just about everywhere. While it’s pretty easy to find a store page that claims to offer a set or two, it’s simply not in stock anywhere that I can find. The sole exception seems to be a couple of very old Amazon listings that are quite highly overpriced.

So what does this mean? Well, for starters, it means you should double-check this for yourself. Simply follow the links to any of the products on this page and see what the prices are and how many units are in stock. If things have changed and the sets aren’t ridiculously expensive with very low quantity, keep on reading to find out whether or not they’re worth buying.

On the other hand, if they’re still crazy expensive with low stock, don’t bother! Poke around our other pages to find high-quality cookware that you can pick up for far less money. I’d personally suggest Kirkland and Cuisinart for lower-cost stainless steel cookware or brands like Demeyere and All-Clad for higher-end stuff. If you’d like non-stick, my suggestion would be to pick up something cheap from a brand like T-Fal or Circulon, but feel free to poke around and look at more expensive options, too!

 

In general, Wolfgang Pucks’ sets are fairly well designed. They’re mostly made from durable materials with a plethora of carefully chosen features that make cooking with them a breeze. Unfortunately, they have a few flaws that make them far less likely to hold up in your kitchen than a more expensive set (or even a more carefully constructed set at a similar price point). That said, they’re still quite good for the money as long as you can catch them at their original price.

 

So without further ado, here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about Wolfgang Puck’s best cookware sets.

Wolfgang Puck Cookware Reviews:

* Wolfgang Puck 15-piece cookware set

This stainless steel set is made with convenience, not durability, in mind. It’s made from two layers of stainless steel with an aluminum disk in the base for quicker and more even heating.

The lids on each pot and pan are made from tempered glass and come with built-in strainers on the sides that spin to cover pour spouts built right into the pans. The handles connect to the pots with a special “y-like” design that minimizes heat distribution, meaning that the handles will stay fairly cool for shorter cooking jobs. Most importantly, however, the selection of pieces in this 15-piece set is quite good.

 

How good?

You get a 1-quart saucepan with a normal lid, 2 and 3-quart saucepans with pouring spouts and colander covers, an 8-quart stock pot, a 10″ frying pan, an 11″ casserole dish with a lid, and a big, deep 12″ pan for cooking large dishes and reducing sauces. The other pieces that round out the set include two spoons and a slotted spatula for turning over your food.

 

To me, this selection is nearly perfect. Wolfgang Puck (or whoever makes these) has included all of the essentials for cooking in my kitchen. There’s a pan for eggs, a big stockpot for stocks, spaghetti, and even occasional deep frying, while the colander-included saucepans make normal dinner dishes like pasta a breeze. If I could force every cookware manufacturer to make their 15-piece sets exactly like this I probably would. The only thing I’d like to see included in this set that isn’t is a steamer insert, and you can usually get those on their own for pretty cheap.

 

Okay, so what about the features?

Let’s start with the lids. The tempered glass lids are slightly odd in that there are no steam vents visible along the top of the lids. While you might think that this contributes to lots of rattling noises when you boil, this is not the case. In order to let steam escape, all you need to do is line the holes along the colander portion of the lid up with the pour spout on your saucepan and watch the steam come pouring out at full speed. If you want, you can even rotate the lids to cover some or all of the holes to modify the pressure inside of each pot and pan. While these aren’t pressure cookers, you can definitely get some pretty neat results by modifying how steam flows out of your hot pots.

 

As far as material goes, the most important thing for casual home chefs is that this set has a stainless steel cooking surface. This means that it takes a bit of practice, effort, and attention to keep food from sticking. Experienced chefs all around the world will tell you that with the right amount of cooking fat and proper temperature control you can easily cook sticky foods like raw chicken or even eggs.

You also get the nice advantage of being able to sear foods properly. With most non-stick pans, you don’t get the little bits of food that stick to the pan and enable you to make delicious pan sauces. Another advantage comes from the ability of these pans to withstand heat. While you may have trouble keeping food from sticking on high heat, you won’t damage your pan. With non-stick pans, however, you risk serious danger to your non-stick coating at high cooking temperatures, and you can even release toxic gases.

 

Ultimately, whether this is a downside or not will be up to you and your cooking preferences. I prefer stainless steel for many dishes, including most meats. I’m an experienced chef, however, and I’m totally willing to devote a little extra time and a few fattening inclusions to keep food from sticking to my pans. If you’re not as experienced or you’re on a diet with no room for added oil or butter, consider getting a non-stick set instead of this stainless one.

 

Not all stainless steel pans are identical, however, and this set has one important difference that separates it from your standard multi-clad line. Many modern pots and pans are made from three layers of material: a cooking surface of (usually non-magnetic) stainless, an inner core of aluminum, and an outer layer of (usually magnetic) stainless. This particular set utilizes this technique on the bottom of the pan. The sides, however, are made entirely of stainless.

 

This changes the thermal handling of the pots and pans somewhat. You see, aluminum is usually used in order to help heat spread throughout the pot and pan quickly and evenly. It turns out that steel is a pretty bad conductor of heat, at least compared to aluminum, so including a core of aluminum helps the heat from your burner get to both your food and the edges of the pan in a timely manner. The aluminum makes no contact with your food at all — it’s totally encapsulated in steel.

 

With this line, however, the aluminum is limited to a disk in the bottom of each pot and pan. There’s no aluminum in the sides. This means that the walls of your pots and pans will get hot very slowly, if at all. For some dishes, this isn’t a big deal at all. With any recipe that requires you to fill up your pots or boil water, however, you’ll notice that things that don’t actually touch the bottom don’t cook very fast. This is definitely not a huge downside by any means, but it’s definitely a thing that some people will notice.

 

I mentioned at the top of this review that this cookware set isn’t the most durable thing in the world. The reason? The rivets. The pots and pans in this set are connected to their handles by metal rivets. While these will look nice and shiny when you take these pots and pans out of the box, they don’t always hold up very well. One of the biggest advantages of stainless steel cookware sets like this one is that they hold up practically forever. That advantage goes away when the rivets corrode and decay during normal use.

 

To be clear, this isn’t necessarily something that WILL happen to your cookware set. It is, however, something that multiple consumers have reported happening to their pots and pans with less than a year of use. This problem seems to occur with multiple Wolfgang Puck lines, too, indicating that it’s the result of poor material choices across the entire brand.

 

So should you buy this set?

To me, the answer isn’t clear. The original list price is low enough and the quality is high enough that I wouldn’t mind picking it up, even if the rivets only last two or three years. If it’s difficult to get your hands on a set, however, or you can only find it at inflated prices then it most definitely is NOT worth buying. See the top of this article for some ideas for other cookware brands you should check out instead.

* Wolfgang Puck 19-Piece Stainless Steel

If you’re looking for a bigger 18-piece set, this 19-piece collection has everything you need and more. It’s got a generous selection of pieces in both stainless and non-stick, meaning you don’t have to worry about picking up items like egg pans on their own.

 

So what do you get with this set? It comes with an 8″ omelet pan (stainless steel), a 10″ non-stick square grill pan, and a 13″ skillet with a matching glass lid. The pots include a 1.5-quart saucepan with a colander lid, a 2-quart saucier with a glass lid, a 3-quart soup pot with a lid, and a 4-quart “essential” pot for larger dishes. Rounding things out, you also get a 9-quart stockpot and lid for big dishes like stock (for pho) and spaghetti.

 

The remaining pieces include a 12″ whisk, a ladle with a strainer, a spoon, a fork, tongs, and a spatula. Astute readers may notice that this 19-piece set includes three more pieces of silverware than the 15 piece set above. As a result, be mindful of the price comparison. If getting the above set and a square non-stick pan is cheaper than buying this large 19-piece set, consider that option instead.

 

This set is made from stainless steel with a mirror finish and comes with attractive tempered glass lids. It’s certainly nicer to look at than the set above, although it’s not necessarily any nicer to cook on. I wasn’t able to find any information about the inclusion of aluminum in these pots and pans, which means that it’s likely there’s an aluminum disk in the base and nothing more. In other words, they’re probably the same as the set above.

 

There are two big differences between these two sets. First, this set has fewer colander lids than the set above, which is a pretty big downside in my opinion. I’m a pretty big fan of any design feature that makes cooking easier and less messy, so the fact that this set is a step backward is a serious strike against it.

 

The second difference is the inclusion of a 10″ non-stick frying pan. The pan comes with grill-like indentations to help put grill marks in your steak, which is NOT a thing you want. This is because non-stick doesn’t handle heat very well, so you shouldn’t be cooking steak in your grill pan at high temperatures. Instead, the grill indentations will simply make it a bit harder to flip things like eggs, which are the things you DO want to be cooking in your non-stick pan.

 

In my opinion, these two differences make this set a bust. I’d much rather get the above set and a non-stick pan that’s flat on the bottom, even if it’s a little bit more money overall. You’re free to disagree, of course — it’s your kitchen, after all! If you think you’ll save a lot of money by choosing this set instead, feel free to buy it. It’s perfectly serviceable and will look very pretty while making many delicious meals.

* Wolfgang Puck 12 Piece Hard Anodized

Amazon doesn’t currently carry any Wolfgang Puck non-stick lines (or cookware pieces at all, as far as I can tell). This darker 13-piece stainless steel set is the closest thing I can find. It’s made from quite striking dark, polished steel. Overall, it’s quite similar to the set above with the exception of the pieces included.

 

So what do you get? This set comes with an 8-quart stockpot, a 5-quart “essentials” pan, a 3-quart saucepan with a lid, a 2-quart saucepan with a colander lid, an 11″ saute pan and 10″ roasting rack, 8″ and 10″ frying pans, and a 12.5″ lid that’s designed to go with any of the larger pieces.

 

This set is made with the same stainless steel construction as the two other sets on this page. It’s still got aluminum cores in the bases only, meaning that it’s not quite as nice as a fully multi-clad set from a brand like All-Clad or Cuisinart. Just like the other two stainless steel sets on this page, this set is NOT totally worry-free when it comes to cooking and cleaning. You’ll have to use fat, manage your temperatures, and have a bit of patience to cook on these pots and pans.

 

The advantage of stainless is that it has no expiration date. While you’d be lucky to get a Teflon pan to last for more than 5 years, these pots and pans can hold up for many, many years of normal home use. Unfortunately, due to the problems that other Wolfgang Puck products have had with their rivets, I’m not sure how far I’d trust this particular set.

 

The moral of the story?

If it’s on sale, go for it. If it’s expensive, however, especially when compared to the Cuisinart Multi-Clad Pro line, you should use caution and make sure you know what you’re getting into. Consider your options carefully and make sure that you’ll still be okay with buying this line if the handles fall off after five years or so. If the answer is yes, it’ll be a wonderful set, no matter what. You’ll love the dark burnished exteriors and durable stainless steel construction. If the answer is no, however, you might want to choose a more reliable brand.

* Wolfgang Puck Dutch Oven

This unique cast iron set has an enameled dutch oven and an enameled skillet that serves a second purpose as the lid to the cast iron pot. It’s a brilliant design feature that effectively gives you two pieces of cookware for the price of one. The price of this item is quite reasonable when you consider that you’re getting both a skillet and an oven.

 

As far as quality goes, I haven’t seen any customer reports that indicate you’ll have any problems. Cast iron and enamel are quite durable, meaning that you’ll have this product in your kitchen for many years as long as you don’t chip it. While enameled dutch ovens aren’t quite as easy to clean as Teflon pots and pans, they’re still quite light on the cleanup.

 

Before you buy, of course, make sure that you know what you’re really getting into. These cast iron pieces are heavy, heat very slowly, and are totally unsuitable for cooking a wide variety of recipes. I would never fry an egg or make pancakes in the included skillet, for example. These products should be used in two circumstances: when you’re cooking something over low heat for a very long time, and when you need to get a pan really hot to sear the outside of a steak or another piece of meat. If you’re not doing one of those two things I’m a firm believer that you should be using a different pot or pan.

 

If you are doing those things, however, this colorful Wolfgang Puck dutch oven and cast iron frying pan is a pretty solid choice. It’s fairly affordable, especially considering you get two pieces of cookware in the set. I’m definitely a fan!

* Wolfgang Puck Cast Iron

Just like the dutch oven above, this set of two cast-iron frying pans is a specialty item that you probably don’t want to use for everyday cooking. The cast iron in these pans heats up very slowly. It has the same two advantages as the enameled set above: first, the heat sticks around for a while, making it great for low-temperature slow cooking, and second, the cast iron can be heated to very, very high temperatures, making it the ideal cooking surface for searing steaks and the like.

 

This cast iron set is pre-seasoned, meaning you can cook with it right out of the box. Be sure to do a bit of research into seasoning cast iron, however, as you’ll probably need to use soap to clean these pans eventually. When you do, you’ll need to re-season them with your choice of oil. While this process is time-consuming, it’s not particularly difficult. All you need to do is heat up the pan with a bit of oil in it and repeat!

 

The price of these two cast iron skillets is quite reasonable. If you’re looking for a set of pre-seasoned cast iron cookware that you can use right out of the box, this is a pretty solid set to choose. You’ll even get Wolfgang Puck’s handsome face on the box!

Wolfgang Puck Pots and Pans — A Solid Choice?

There are three things that keep me from being a big fan of Wolfgang Puck’s large cookware sets: the availability, the price, and the rivets. It’s entirely possible that the rivet issue has been totally fixed, however, and you may very well be able to find his sets on sale quite affordably at times. If this is the case, a handy slew of design features including colander lids and stay-cool handles make WP’s cookware sets fairly competitive with brands like Circulon and Cuisinart.

 

As far as individual pieces go, however, I’m a pretty big fan of Wolfgang Puck’s cast iron options. His affordable sets are great for any kitchen that’s in need of some cast iron, whether it’s in the form of frying pans, a dutch oven, or both. Be sure to check out these options for your kitchen.

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Peter Allen

Peter Allen

Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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