If you truly love cooking, then you shouldn’t cut corners when it comes to your cookware. High quality pots and pans make the difference between having a perfectly cooked meal and an okay meal. Copper cookware is some of the best there is. Many of the top chefs in the world use pots and pans that are partially or even entirely copper, and here’s why.
Why Copper is Great for Cooking with
First of all, copper conducts heat very well. It heats up very quickly and evenly compared to other metals. Compared to iron, it conducts heat roughly four times better with a thermal conductivity of 400 W/mK (watts per meter kelvin) against iron’s 80 W/mK. It’s double the second best conductor, which is aluminum at 200 W/mK.
Copper also cools down more quickly, so when you reduce the heat on the stove, it will respond faster. All parts of the pan will heat up to the same temperature if it’s made out of copper. It’s the best metal for controlling the temperature of your cooking surface. Candy makers use it because of how responsive it is to heat, how even it heats up, and how quickly it cools down.
Is it Safe to Cook on a Pure Copper Surface?
Copper is a reactive metal. That means that it causes a chemical reaction when certain ingredients come in contact with it, especially at high temperatures. To name a few, tomatoes, vinegar and onions react with the metal, resulting in a bad taste. The effects can also cause nausea or an upset stomach. Reactive ingredients like the ones listed above will discolor your pot or skillet and make it appear dirty. For non-reactive foods, the metal in pure form is perfectly safe and will not make you sick.
Copper Lined Cookware is Good for Reactive and Nonreactive Foods
Most products on the market are not actually made completely out of copper. It’s a heavy metal that is more expensive than steel or nickel, so only a portion of the pot or skillet is actually pure. Copper core and bottom units are common. That will help a lot with even heat distribution, but not so much with warming up and cooling off faster. It’s important to check how much you’re actually getting. You can measure this according to thickness. For the oven, a thin layer is just fine, but for the stovetop, you’ll want to get something with a thickness of around 2.5mm if possible.
Stainless steel is a good liner for the interior of the piece. It’s totally non-reactive, easy to clean, and non-stick if seasoned properly before first used. Nickel is not as good, but with a bit of oil it performs fine. If your lining gets nicked and the metal is exposed, it’s best not to use it with acidic or reactive foods, or replace it entirely.
How to Clean Copper Pots and Pans
Copper gets tarnished over time and can even start to look green. It’s not always easy to get the green oxidation residue off. If you want it to shine and look like new again, you’ll have to use a special cleaner. You can buy one at the store, or use a variety of home methods. The two best ways are with salt and lemon, or salt and vinegar. The salt granules provide a course material to scrub away at the surface, while the acid in the lemon or vinegar creates a reaction to loosen up any grime or residue so it can be wiped away.
What is the Red Copper Pan?
First of all, it is indeed non-stick material that is free from PFOAs and PTFE. You can use it to cook eggs or whatever else you want and it will work very well in the beginning. It heats up quickly and evenly. There is no oil needed at first. But, its nonstick coating will diminish over time and eventually it will be like normal. If you know that going in and you plan on using it rarely, it might be fine for you.
It’s advertised as dishwasher safe, but on the package it recommends to hand wash with warm water using a mild dish soap and towel dry. The stay-cool handle is metal and heats up as well. It does not stay cool. Metal utensils cannot be used otherwise you will scratch the coating. It’s advertised as being durable enough for any kind of utensil. Really, you should never use metal utensils for coated cookware anyway, but that’s beside the point.
It must be seasoned with a thin layer of vegetable oil, and then placed inside an oven that has been preheated to 300 degrees for 20 minutes. After cooling, it should be wiped clean with a towel. The process has to be repeated twice a year or if it ever becomes less sticky. This may help but after months of heavy use it won’t do a whole lot anymore. It is good that the product is oven safe up to 500 degrees though. Overall, the red copper pan is okay, but plenty of false advertising and a lot of unwarranted hype makes it just mediocre.
- Nonstick coating works great out of the box
- Oven safe
- Even and fast heating
- Easy to clean
- Needs to be hand washed regardless of the ad
- Handle isn’t actually stay-cool
- Scratches easily even though the ad claims otherwise
- Coating eventually starts to wear
How About Copper Chef Cookware?
The copper chef square pan includes a tempered glass lid, a four-piece plastic utensil set, a fry basket, a steamer tray, and a recipe book. The recipe book has plenty of good recipes to try out with your new kitchenware. The pan’s stainless steel handles are totally oven safe up to 800 degrees, so it’s good for baking all kinds of dishes.
Contrary to the title, this product has 0% copper. It has a PFOA/PTFE-free ceramic interior coating with an aluminum core and a stainless steel induction plate on the bottom. The coating cannot withstand any metal utensil use at all otherwise it will be scratched. The coated ceramic surface works perfectly well out of the box with no butter or oil, but fades over time. Olive oil or oil spray can’t be used at all. Also, before being washed or coming in contact with water, it should be completely cooled down to prevent warping.
All that said, this product holds true to its claims except for the durability of the coating, which, unfortunately, is the whole point. If you use it sparsely and treat it well, this is a good tool to have around the kitchen. If you’re looking for something to be your go-to option for the majority of your food making, this product might not be durable enough to stand the test of time.
- Induction plate works well for even heat distribution
- Does not require butter or oil
- Oven safe
- Includes a variety of extras
- Ceramic coating is easy to scratch
- Eventually food may start to stick
Best Copper Cookware Sets on the Market Today
Below are the best sets available for purchase online. You’ll find that each of them is fine quality, durable, and built to stand the test of time.
Matfer 915901 8 Piece Bourgeat Copper Cookware Set
The set includes a 9 1/2-inch casserole pan, a 7 1/8-inch sauce pan, a 9 1/2-inch flared sauté pan and 11-inch brazier, all with lids. As can be expected, this collection has excellent heat distribution, and is easy to clean after cooking. With such an evenly heated surface to make food on and high quality stainless steel, meals come out great from the Bourgeat Copper Cookware Set.
- Copper material 2.5mm thick
- Stainless steel interior
- Well balanced with a cast iron handle with extra heavy rivets
- Cooks very evenly with great results
- Premium price tag
- Limited warranty
Mauviel M’heritage M250B 5-piece 2.5mm Copper Cookware Set with Bronze Handles
The material is 2.5mm thick for very even heat disbursal. It is made up of a 90% copper and 10% stainless steel. The stainless steel interior is very durable and works extremely well for preparing any kind of dish. The collection includes a 1.9-quart saucepan, a 3.2-quart sauté pan and a 10-inch skillet. All come with a matching lid except for the skillet. The set comes with a lifetime warranty, so you can rest assured that your investment will be worth it. The Mauviel M’heritage M250B 5-piece collection is an excellent choice, and is just as good as the 8 Piece Bourgeat collection.
- 2.5mm thickness, 90% copper
- Sturdy stainless steel interior
- Classy bronze handles
- Lifetime guarantee
- Premium pricing
Amoretti Brothers Hammered Copper Cookware, 7 Piece Set – Bronze Handles
The inner lining used in this collection is double-layered tin. The collection includes a 1.3-quart sauce pan, a 4.3-quart sauté pan, a 5.4-quart sauce pan, and a 3-quart frying pan. All pieces include a lid but the frying pan. This is a high quality, elegant set that complements any dinner with its extravagant hand-crafted design.
- Beautiful design
- Hand-crafted pieces
- 2mm thickness
- Double-layered tin interior
- Limited warranty
- Premium price
Lagostina Q554SA64 Martellata Tri-ply Hammered Stainless Steel Copper Oven Safe Cookware Set, 10-Piece
This set features a totally nonreactive stainless steel interior lining and an aluminum core. It’s oven safe up 500 degrees, and has stay-cool handles. It includes an 8-inch skillet, a 10-inch skillet, a 2-quart saucepan with a matching lid, a 3-quart saucepan with a lid, a 3-quart deep sauté pan with a lid, and a 6-quart stockpot with a lid. A lifetime warranty guarantees that you will always have this set to use.
- Excellent value
- 2.5mm thick
- Hammered design helps with heat retention and control
- Oven safe
- Lifetime warranty
- Aluminum core; a copper core provides more temperature control
Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set
The collection includes a 1-1/4 quart saucepan with a lid, a 2-1/2 quart saucepan with a lid, a 6-1/2 quart stockpot with a lid, an 8-inch French skillet, a 10-1/2-inch French skillet, and a 3 quart sauté pan with a lid. The handles are pure stainless steel with thick, durable rivets. This set is a steal for the price. If you’re constricted by a tight budget but need some high grade cookware, this is definitely a great choice.
- Great value for money
- Attractive ‘tulip’ design
- Ideal for induction stovetops
- Lifetime limited warranty
- Only the core and a portion of bottom are copper
The first three collections are considered to be some of the best commercially available options in the world. If you can’t afford those, either of the remaining two are the closest you’re going to get to gourmet chef quality kitchenware without spending a considerable amount of money. Regardless of which of these sets you choose, you will end up with excellent quality pots and skillets to make your meals even better.