When you find that your cooking skills have moved from ‘discovering’ to ‘mastering’, you are faced with a decision. And, no, I don’t mean changing your life to work 16 hours a day as a chef. I am talking about buying a high-end, quality set of cookware that will last a lifetime.
Spending a huge amount of money on cookware is a decision that is not taken lightly. You need to be sure that you are getting value for money, buying a product that is highly rated, and has the full support of the manufacturer for years to come.
The D5 All-Clad Collection ticks all these boxes and more. This exclusive set is in a league of its own and offers superior performance in the kitchen.
Why are they so expensive and what makes them so special? Let’s get a bit scientific. Bonded metal technology has been around for decades. It is used in industries ranging from automotive to aerospace. And, it is the key component in All-Clad cookware. The D5 range uses an innovative combination of bonded metal layers that offer superior heat retention and evenness of distribution.
Let’s look at the famous cladding construction …
What is Multi-Ply, 5-Ply, Bonded, and Full-Clad?
All these terms refer to the same thing when it comes to All-Clad. Your everyday cookware is probably made of a single layer of tin, stainless steel, or aluminum. While this does allow you to cook dinner, the multi-layer construction of the D5 All-Clad Collection offers a superior cooking experience.
The number 5 refers to the 5 layers that make up the walls of the pots and pans. This wall is 2.6mm thick and it is heavy. This manufacturing process is costly, technically complex, and dramatically increases the price you will pay.
2 types of metal are used in the layers –
Aluminum – Is known as an excellent heat conductor.
Stainless steel – Is used extensively in making cookware. It is non-toxic, rust-proof, corrosion-resistant, and durable. It won’t react with acids or alkalis in the food, making it ultra-safe. Stainless steel is dent-proof, scratch-proof, and easy to clean.
By bonding these metals into layers, D5 offers you the best features of each in one product.
The D5 construction
This consists of 5 layers –
- An induction stainless steel exterior. This layer defines the look of the product and comes in a choice of polished or brushed. It also has a magnetic component that makes it compatible with induction cooktops.
- A layer of aluminum for heat retention and conduction.
- A stainless steel core adds strength and aids the even distribution of heat.
- The second layer of aluminum for heat retention and conduction.
- An inner layer of food-grade 18/10 stainless steel. This is the layer that comes into contact with the food. Some D5 fry pans have an additional nonstick coating on the cooking surface. While stainless steel is the choice of professional chefs, I do enjoy a nonstick surface from time to time. It is great for a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon, and nonstick is so fast and easy to clean.
If you look at the rim around the edge of a D5 pot, you can see the different layers bonded together, so you know that this is for real and not just a marketing story.
Let’s look at the features of D5 All-Clad cookware
When buying expensive cookware, I do expect to have a range of features that outdo a cheaper pot or pan from my local store. Here is my take on the main features of the D5 Collection.
I want my cookware to look good, especially if I am paying loads of hard-earned cash for it. The D5 range is made of stainless steel that offers a shiny, smooth, polished chrome exterior.
It also comes in a choice of a vintage-inspired brushed surface which is very attractive and ideal for adding a touch of class to any kitchen. The brushing process creates a surface that is slightly rougher and has a matte sheen. Your decision is purely a matter of taste, both are high-class and snazzy-looking.
D5 All-Clad can be used on all stovetops ranging from gas to electric, radiant, and halogen. They are ideal for induction cooktops as the outer layer contains the magnetic surface needed for induction cooking. This process does not use direct heat or coils. It relies on magnetic iron atoms in the material that are stimulated to absorb heat.
Heating up and heat retention
D5 cookware heats up fast and retains heat. Best of all, it heats up evenly across the cooking surface. I am sure you have all experienced the disaster of a cheap pan, where food in the middle burns while the edges are still raw. Not what you want when the guests are seated and waiting to be fed.
The manufacturer recommends using a low to medium heat when cooking, regardless of the type of stovetop. The unique construction of multiple layers is specifically designed to retain heat and the cookware does not need high heat to warm up.
Superior heat retention is ideal for keeping food warm after you have finished cooking, but before you are ready to serve.
Because the construction has 5 layers, you may find that the pot heats up slightly slower than a 3-layer or 2-layer pot. If you are a fanatic, you will probably notice this specifically on induction stovetops. These are designed for high-speed heating and a 5-layer pot will take fractionally longer to heat up.
The D5 range comes with stainless steel lids that have matching stainless steel handles. For safety, the handles are riveted to the lids and will never come loose. The rivets are treated to prevent corrosion so you will never find unappealing rust covering the joints. The lids fit firmly onto the body and effectively trap heat and moisture. Some lids are interchangeable with the same size pots and pans in the set, which is a useful feature to have.
D5 lids are safe for oven use. The handles are comfortable to hold and have space for your fingers even when you are wearing oven gloves. While the lid handles do not get too hot on the stove, they will be very hot when your pan or pot comes out of the oven.
Uncomfortable handles can be a deal-breaker for me. When it comes to the D5 range, the handles are great. They are wider and sturdier than the D3 range and offer a far more comfortable grip. They also have a handy thumb-stop at the end of the longer handles that keeps them from slipping out of your hands.
Similar to the handles on the lids, the pot and pan handles are securely riveted to the body. For show-off purposes, the All-Clad logo is engraved onto the handles of the D5 range.
Flared rims are a handy feature that prevents unnecessary dripping of moisture onto your countertops and stovetops. All the pieces in the D5 range have flared rims. This really is a high-end requirement, but at this price, I want it all.
Rounded cooking surfaces
Cheap pots are a no-go for me when it comes to nasty seams that I can never get clean. Food particles accumulate in the grooves and no matter how hard you scrub, they don’t budge. This is not only distasteful but is also very unhealthy. D5 All-Clad pots and pans have a rounded inner cooking surface with no seams. Scraping food off is easy using a soft spatula.
Weight of pots
When you buy D5 All-Clad, you are buying pots and pans that are heavy. The weight is due to the 5-layer construction that creates wall 2.6mm thick. This should be a consideration for people who have arthritis or weak hands. Picking up heavy pots will become an issue that you do not want to struggle with.
If you do not have a physical limitation, picking up a heavy pot does give a great feeling of value and professionalism. D5 pots and pans are not made to store food in the fridge. The weight can certainly crack the shelves. You will have to empty the contents into a suitable container for storage.
D5 is essentially a stainless steel choice. This is the preferred option for professional cooks worldwide. Stainless steel is non-corrosive, rust-proof, and durable. If you enjoy a nonstick surface for pancakes, crepes, or scrambled eggs, you can get D5 cookware with nonstick surfaces. This is an additional inner layer made up of 3 layers of PFOA-free nonstick coating that ensure the effortless release of food and easy clean-up.
Cookware with nonstick surfaces does require extra attention when cleaning. Items should not be put into the dishwasher, and should never be washed with steel wool, oven cleaners, bleach, or abrasive pads. Do not use metal utensils when cooking in a nonstick pot. Plastic, silicon, or wood utensils are better choices as they will not damage the nonstick surface.
Although the manufacturer states that D5 Collection is dishwasher safe, I would not risk putting such expensive cookware into a dishwasher. I only wash them by hand using a mild dishwashing liquid. The nonstick items cannot be put into a dishwasher as this will eventually damage the nonstick coating.
As a quick guide, here are my ratings for the D5 All-Clad Collection.
Overall Rating: 4.6
This is a high-end product but it does come with a hefty price tag.
Dishwashing is an option, but I would hand wash and hand dry. This does take more time and effort.
The D5 Collection is made to last. If treated with care, it will last for a lifetime.
Even heating: 4.8
The 5-ply layers are built for extremely good even heating. Use a low to medium heat on your stovetop. You will never have uneven heat spots when you cook with D5 pots and pans.
Handling and ease of use: 4.4
The handles of the D5 range are ultra-comfortable. They are wide and sturdy and do not get hot when used on a stovetop. The cookware is heavier than your average set. This may be a concern for some people.
D5 All-Clad is very expensive. If you want a classy range of cookware for home, it may be more cost-effective to look at the less expensive D3 range.
D5 product options
The D5 Collection offers a comprehensive selection of sets in both the Polished Finish and the Brushed Finish. Set sizes range from 2-pieces to 7, 10, and 15-pieces. You can also buy individual items as Open Stock.
The main features of the sets are
- Polished stainless steel finish and brushed stainless steel finish
- Compatible with all stovetops, including induction
- PFOA-free nonstick covering on certain items
- Oven safe up to 600°F for stainless steel
- Oven safe up to 500°F for nonstick surfaces
- Stainless steel lids with riveted handles
- Securely riveted stainless steel handles
- Engineered and manufactured in the USA
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
Let’s look at some of the D5 Collections
2-piece Fry Pan Sets
- 8 inch fry pan
- 10 inch fry pan
- 8.5 inch fry pan
- 10.5 inch fry pan
Both these sets are very useful and allow you to have the ease and convenience of nonstick and the classic cooking of stainless steel.
The set includes
- 10 inch frying pan
- 4 quart sauce pan with lid
- 3 quart sauté pan with lid
- 8 quart stock with lid
Ideal for a large family and a cook who wants a choice of larger-sized items.
10-piece Nonstick Set
The set includes
- 8 inch nonstick frying pan
- 10 inch nonstick frying pan
- 2 quart nonstick sauce pan with lid
- 4 quart nonstick sauce pan with lid
- 3 quart nonstick sauté pan with lid
- 8 quart nonstick stockpot with lid
This large set offers all items with a nonstick surface. This may not suit home cooks who want to be able to use a stainless steel pan to deglaze and create a delicious sauce.
15-piece Polished Set
The set includes
- 10 inch frying pan
- 12 inch frying pan
- 2 quart sauce pan with lid
- 3 quart steamer set with insert and lid
- 3 quart sauté pan with lid
- 6 quart sauté pan with lid
- 4-quart soup pot with lid
- 8 quart stockpot with lid
An expensive set that is possibly too large for an average home. If you love entertaining and throwing talked-about dinner parties, this is for you.
D5 Open Stock
D5 Open Stock offers additional items that you can add to your collection. These include sauce pans, fry pans, soup pots, sauté pans, and nonstick fry pans. Make a list and get friends and family to top your collection up on special occasions.
D5 Cookware Set Pros to consider –
- Iconic brand name
- High-quality cladding of 5 layers
- Made to last a lifetime
- PFOA-free nonstick coating on some items
- Rounded design for easy cleaning
- Oven and broiler-safe up to 600°F
- Made in the USA
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
D5 Cookware Set Cons to consider
- Very high price
- Stainless steel handles can get hot when put in the oven
- Cookware is heavy
The D5 Cookware Range is a quality choice. It costs on average about 20% more than the D3 range and is about 20% less expensive than the Copper Core Collection. This is a costly purchase and should be considered a lifelong investment.
D5 All-Clad is ideal for serious cooks who want an iconic brand name, high-end construction, a great choice of different-sized pots and pans, and a show-off look. If you have a designer kitchen and the budget – go for it.
If you love All-Clad but want to start slower, the D3 Collection is just as awesome and is less pricey.
Are the pots nonstick?
This range offers both stainless steel and nonstick cooking surfaces. Check out the set combinations to see which suits you best.
How do I prevent sticking when cooking on a stainless steel surface?
Preheat your pan on low or medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Tap the upper edge of your pan to test the temperature. If it is too hot, remove it from the heat. Pour 2 to 3 teaspoons of oil into the pan. Add your ingredients, making sure that you hear an even sizzling sound. If you hear a crackling sound, your pan is too hot. Don’t stir the food to start. This will allow the natural sugars to caramelize and lift the food naturally off the surface. Experiment until you get it right and then show off your frying, braising, sautéing, and simmering skills.
Does salt damage the cookware?
Raw salt may cause pitting. This appears in the form of small dull-looking dots on the stainless steel interior. Salt pitting does not affect the performance of the cookware but only its appearance. Do not pour raw salt onto hot, dry surfaces. Only add salt when your liquid starts to boil. This will prevent pitting.
What warranty does it carry?
D5 All-Clad comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when it comes to stovetop heat, oven heat, and cleaning. If you don’t, your warranty will not be honored.
Are they oven-safe?
Yes, they are. Pots and pans can be put into an oven up to 600°F. The stainless steel handles will get hot, so have a pair of oven gloves close by. You can also consider buying the All-Clad Grip Cookware Set. It is made of flexible silicone that does not absorb heat and will protect your hands at all times.
Is D5 All-Clad made in China?
No, D5 All-Clad is not ‘Made in China’. The D5 Collection is engineered, bonded, and assembled in the USA.