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All-Clad MC2 vs D5 (2021): What’s The Difference?

Investing in high-quality and premium cookware might seem frivolous, especially when you consider other expenses at home. But putting your money’s worth on the right kitchen tools will save you more money in the long run. Now, All-Clad is one of the more popular brands when it comes to cookware. The company is behind innovative multi-ply pots and pans known for their durability and craftsmanship, including the MC2 and D5.

The All-Clad MC2 set — which stands for the Master Chef 2 — builds on the success of its predecessor and offers an impressive lineup of cookware essential. The All-Clad D5 brushed collection, on the other hand, boasts a five-layer construction for a truly pro-grade cooking experience. But for the casual user, which one is the better? If you’re curious to know which cookware set you should invest your money in, read our comparison below.

All-Clad MC2 vs D5 Comparison Chart

ModelAll-Clad MC2 Stainless Steel Cookware SetAll-Clad D5 Brushed Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Best Selling SetAmazon productAmazon product
PriceAmazon productAmazon product
Layers3-ply construction5-ply construction
Material18/10 stainless steel, aluminum18/10 stainless steel, aluminum
Flared RimsYesYes
Heat Resistant HandlesYesYes
Oven SafeUp to 600ºFUp to 600ºF
Heat ConductionGoodExcellent
CompatibilityGas, electric, inductionGas, electric, induction
Set Inclusions8″ and 10″ fry pans
2 Qt. & 3.5 Qt. sauce pans with lids
3 Qt. sauté pan with lid
4 Qt. sauté pan with lid
12″ Chef pan with lid
8 Qt. stockpot with lid
8” & 10” fry pans
1.5 Qt. & 3 Qt. sauce pans with lids
3 Qt. sauté pan with lid
8 Qt. stockpot with lid
WarrantyLimited lifetimeLimited lifetime

Design and Construction

The All-Clad MC2 and D5 are well-built cookware collections that boast of bonded construction and excellent craftsmanship.

All-Clad’s MC2 and D5 boast of the company’s bonded construction method.

Both the All-Clad MC2 and D5 are good-looking cookware sets that brandish the company’s innovative multi-ply construction. This building method is characterized by bonding together layers of stainless steel with a more highly conductive material. In the case of the MC2 and D5, the material is aluminum. The result is highly versatile yet low-maintenance cookware that typically lasts for years.

The main difference between the MC2 and D5, however, is in the number of layers bonded. All-Clad’s MC2 uses three layers while the D5 is, as its name suggests, made of five. The extra aluminum and stainless steel cores give the D5 collection added durability and improved heat conduction. You can certainly expect these pots and pans to take on the wear and tear of everyday use.

But although they differ in the layers used for the bonded construction, the MC2 and D5 share many of the same features, too. Both cookware sets sport a brushed stainless steel exterior. It’s this finish that lends these All-Clad collections a refined and professional-looking appearance. Plus, it’s much easier to clean. The polished stainless steel interior, on the other hand, lends these pans a stick-resistant cooking surface as well.

All-Clad shares that their bonded cookware are handcrafted at their Pennsylvania factory. You can see this workmanship in the details of the MC2 and D5. Both collections sport flared edges for drip-free pouring. Meanwhile, their heat-resistant handles are kept securely in place with stainless steel rivets. Like the rims, the handles are flared, too, for a more comfortable grip.

Cookware Set

All-Clad’s best-selling MC2 collection is the 14-piece set while the D5’s top-seller would be its 10-piece collection.

With the MC2, you get an extra sauté pan and a Chef’s pan, too.

The All-Clad MC2 and D5 lineup are both available either as individual pieces or as a cookware set. The MC2, however, typically comes as a 14-piece collection. This includes 8- and 10-inch fry pans, 2- and 3.5-quart saucepans, a 3-quart sauté pan, a 4-quart sauté pan, an 8-quart stockpot, and a 12-inch chef pan. Except for the fry pans, all pieces come with stainless steel lids.

Meanwhile, the All-Clad D5 is available as 5-, 7-, 10-, or 14-piece sets. But it’s the 10-piece option that remains the most popular. This particular set includes 8- and 10-inch fry pans, 1.5-quart and 3-quart saucepans with lids, a 3-quart sauté pan with a lid, and an 8-quart stockpot with a lid. If you need more wares for cooking, the 14-piece set adds a 5.5-quart Dutch oven and 12-quart stockpot into the mix.

Cooking Performance

The All-Clad D5 pans heat faster, and are more durable, than the MC2.

Here’s a look at D5 saucepans and sauté pans in action.

All-Clad’s MC2 and D5 cookware sets are a welcome addition to any kitchen. Thanks to their unique, multi-ply bonded construction, the pots and pans are impressive when it comes to thermal conduction. This is true even in low or medium heat settings. MC2 and D5 cookware sets will still heat quickly yet retain for quite a while, making them energy efficient wares as well.

With the extra aluminum core, however, D5 pans will heat faster. But if you opt for the MC2, you’re still guaranteed there will be no hot spots as you cook. The lids on both MC2 and D5 cookware sets seal quite nicely, too. They’re not transparent, however, so you’ll have to lift them up quite often to check on your food.

The excellent heat conductivity of the All-Clad MC2 and D5 sauté pans are perfect for searing chicken and sautéing vegetables. They also fare quite nicely when browning ground beef and shallow-frying fritters. You will get larger saucepans with the standard 14-piece MC2 set compared to D5’s 10-piece collection. Nonetheless, both lineups boast of wares that evenly distribute the heat across the base and sides.

There are a few drawbacks, however, with these cookware sets. The side handles on stockpots, for instance, get hot quickly. As expected, the same goes with their stainless steel lids. The long handles on the fry pans, sauté pans, and Chef pan are much easier to handle. But the area where the handle is riveted to the pan can trap food and particles, too.

Care and Maintenance

All-Clad pans are designed to last a lifetime and to be easy to clean. Storing them, however, is a different story.

All-Clad’s brushed steel plans are easy to care for.

The All-Clad MC2 and D5 sets are easy to care for. They are, after all, built to last. These pots and pans are dishwasher safe but can be just as safely cleaned by hand if you follow the care instructions. The polished interior of the wares also tends to act like a non-stick cooking surface. This means you shouldn’t be too worried about trying to scrape off stuck or leftover ingredients.

Keep in mind, however, that All-Clad does not market them as non-stick cookware. If you want this added feature, you can opt for the All-Clad D5 non-stick set instead.

Users have shared that the brushed exterior on MC2 and D5 pans are prone to scratches over time. But this is inevitable given the material used, and it shouldn’t have any detrimental effect on your cookware’s performance anyway. If you do want to minimize scrapes and grazes on your All-Clad pans, opt for the bamboo, wooden, or silicone utensils when cooking.

Storing these cookware sets, however, maybe a different story. The MC2 and D5 have long handles that may require you to do some re-arranging of the cupboards. The stock pots are quite big, too. So if you’re planning to use these pans regularly, we recommend getting a cookware organizer.


The All-Clad MC2 is a great option if you’re starting to take your cooking seriously. But if you’re ready to invest in something top-of-the-line, the D5 is the way to go.

Amazon product

When it comes to cookware sets, you simply cannot go wrong with All-Clad’s stainless steel collections. These premium pots and pans are built exceptionally well. In fact, All-Clad is so confident in their craftsmanship that they’ve included a lifetime warranty on both the MC2 and D5.

Now, if you’ve finally decided to take cooking seriously, then the All-Clad MC2 cookware set is a great first step towards enhancing your cooking experience. The MC2 doesn’t boast of a 5-ply construction the way the D5 does, but you do get pans that are just as durable and reliable.

For those with deep pockets, however, it’s hard to resist the impressive construction of the All-Clad D5. The extra two layers in this collection’s pans really make a difference in terms of heat conduction. So if you want pans that heat fast so you can cook fast and efficiently, then the top-of-the-line D5 cookware set is for you.


📌 Is the All-Clad D5 Stainless Steel cookware set worth it?

All-Clad’s D5 is a premium cookware set that comes with a premium price tag. Its performance and durability, however, means you’ll save money with it in the long run.

📌 What can I cook using the All-Clad MC2 Chef’s pan?

The All-Clad MC2 Chef’s pan is ideal for reducing stock, thickening sauces, and sautéing or steaming vegetables.

📌 What’s the main difference between the All-Clad MC2 and D5?

The All-Clad MC2 has 3-ply construction with an aluminum core. The All-Clad D5, on the other hand, makes use of a 5-ply construction, adding an extra steel and aluminum core layer in the bonding process.

📌 Should you get the All-Clad D5 cookware set?

Although the All-Clad D5 is popularly bought as a set, you can also purchase individual pieces. This is recommended for users who want to test a pot or pan before investing in an entire collection.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.