If you’re like me and love browsing pictures of lovely houses in decorating magazines for inspiration, you’ve probably already seen a lot of kitchens with gorgeous cookware in the pot racks. Most of those are actually copper cookware because there’s no denying the beauty of shining copper pans.
Aside from their aesthetic value though, copper pots and pans are also popular because of their superior heat conductivity. Copper is the best metallic conductor, apart from silver and gold, so it appears to be the most effective material to use for cooking. But how do you actually choose the best copper cookware on the market today?
How to Choose the Best Copper Cookware - Table of Contents
Top 5 Best Copper Cookware 2017
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Since copper seems to be the preferred cookware for a huge number of professional chefs and cooking school instructors, there must be good reasons why, right?
I did extensive research on this and here the results:
Copper conducts heat very well
The primary reason why professionals are so inclined to use copper is its high sensitivity to heat elements. With other cooking wares, getting them heated up at a temperature that’s good for cooking can take quite a long time, because of their lower conductivity to heat. If you compare copper to the material of other cookware, they will all pale in comparison to how fast copper absorbs heat. For example, copper boasts a thermal conductivity of 400 watts per meter kelvin difference versus iron's 80.
Unless you have silver pots and pans (and how many of us can actually afford them?), copper can be your go-to guy.
Let’s say, for instance, you’re in a hurry and need to cook quickly. You need to sauté garlic and onions in butter and you put the temperature higher than usual to cook faster. If you’re using an ordinary stainless iron pan, you’d have to be extra mindful so you don’t burn your garlic, onions, and butter and have them sticking to the bottom of your pan.
On the other hand, using a quality copper pan (as long as you’re temperature is not cranked up excessively high), it’s actually quite hard to burn anything or get it to stick on your pan.
Copper distributes heat evenly all throughout its body
Since copper is a good conductor of heat, it has the ability to spread out the heat it receives to the entire pan evenly. Unlike with other cookware, specific hot spots are non-existent with copper-made ones. Since, next to silver and gold, copper is one of the best conductors, the heat energy effortlessly travels to all parts of the pan with an even distribution of temperature.
This can be really advantageous for people who cook multiple dishes at the same time, or are trying to juggle cooking with other chores. It can be really helpful for multi-taskers (and aren’t we all multi-tasking these days so that we can do so much and maximize our time) because there’s really no need to keep on hovering over your pots or pans, making sure that nothing gets burned and ends up getting thrown away. Having an even temperature control while your dishes are being cooked minimizes the risks of burning.
As this is the case, there’s no more need to worry about uneven heating, about some parts of your dish getting burned on one side while the other parts are still barely cooked, about having to constantly shift the cookware from one side to another.
Think about steaming dairy products like milk. If you’re using a pot with an unequal heat distribution, you are actually hard-pressed to keep on stirring. If you pause for even a few seconds, this can easily lead to scalded milk or gooey parts.
Also, the problem of having your dish sticking to your pan isn’t applicable to copper cookware of good quality. Sticking, apparently, is often a result of uneven heat in the pan (hot spots). Since temperature fluctuations don’t happen when you’re using copper cookware, sticking incidents are leslikely to happen.
Copper adjusts to changes in temperature fast
Another reason why copper cookware is a good choice for cooking is its ability to adapt to temperature changes very quickly.
Not only does it heat up fast, it can also cool down quickly once heat temperature is lowered or turned off. This ability to change temperature immediately is really essential when you’re preparing entrées that burn easily or are rather delicate in composition. There are times when a few more seconds of a certain high level in heat can make something overcooked or ruined.
Unless you’re cooking a dish like sizzlers, you’d want to make sure that when you’re cooking stuff which are sensitive to temperature, you have full control in lowering or increasing temperature whenever there’s a need to and that your pan/pot adapts to the changes fast enough.
Copper Cookware can be safer to use compared to non-stick cookware
Although copper alone is linked to potential toxicity because of its material components, it can be a safer option as long as it is lined with materials like tin and stainless steel.
Another good thing about this is the fact that products exist that you can use to protect the lining or to lengthen it’s life span. As long as the lining is intact, you are safe from any potential risk of getting your food in direct contact with copper.
In instances when the lining was actually damaged – like when abrasive cleaning materials were used or if a sharp object scratched it – you can have the lining easily repaired. There are even instructions on the Internet on how you can do the re-tinning yourself!
This is something that I really like about it. For safety purposes, I’ve had a lot of my non-stick pots and pans (and money) thrown away once their synthetic polymer coating (Teflon) wears off because it’s apparently dangerous.
Now, since I’m already almost sold to switching to this kind of kitchenware, I’ve searched and scoured the web for five of the best copper cookware on the market this year (2017). Based on the information I’ve discovered and have discussed above, what I’m primarily looking at now for quality copper cookware is:
- The thickness of the copper material
- The kind of lining it has
Top 5 Best Copper Cookware Reviews
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So if you’re as interested about this as I am, you can take a look at what I have found to save you time. I’ve even included in detail their pros and cons so it will be easier for you to make an informed decision. Here they are:
Most copper cookware I’ve seen while searching only had thin coatings of copper on them. But this one by Matfer appears to be really impressive because its copper material is 2.5mm thick. I’ve seen a lot of copper cookware in my search, and it is very rare to find something as thick as this. Because of this thickness, the cookware can immediately adapt to whatever the temperature input is.
Its 2.5mm copper is strategically positioned between highly polished stainless steel. It also carries with it a stainless steel interior that is hard wearing and is reported to last a really long time.There would be no need for re-tinning of the lining for many years to come, which is not the case with other lower quality copper cookware. Having this in mind could possibly give you the assurance that it will be safe for cooking for years down the line because its surface lining is sturdy.
However, you’ll know that this quality easily translates to a handsome price as well. Nonetheless, if you have the budget and would like to make a good investment in a cookware that will last long, this could be a good choice for you. Considering the fact that you might not need constant re-tinning, the investment may actually be well worth it.
This 8-piece set comes with an 11-inch brazier pot, a 9.5-inch casserole pot, a 7-inch sauce pan, and a 9.5-inch flared sauté pan. They all come with their own matching lids.
- It has a 2.5mm-thick copper component which is good because it is more reactive to temperature input compared to other copper cookware that has thinner copper materials.
- It has a 1/10mm of 18/10 polished stainless which will not wear easily, so you might be able to use it for many years ahead without having a need to re-tin.
- Its polished stainless material allows for easy cleaning and makes the cookware very safe to use.
- It has cast iron handles with heavy-duty rivets that make the copper cookware very sturdy and safe for maneuvering.
- Its polished look is consistent from the interior to the exterior, so if you are looking for something that will look beautiful in your kitchen, this might be a good choice.
- It is not for the budget-conscious.
- It is not dishwasher safe.
The All-Clad 600822 SS Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set has a 5-ply construction composed of stainless steel, aluminum, and copper core that supposedly make it very durable with warp-free strength. Because of its thick copper center, it has the ability to distribute heat fast and evenly. Its 18/10 stainless steel lining is also posed to provide superior stick resistance and easy maintenance.
The handles used in this set are riveted stainless steel with venting and are contoured for the purpose of getting a comfortable grip.
This set comes with 2-quart and 3-quart covered sauce pans, 3-quart covered sauté pan, 8-inch and 10-inch fry pans, and an 8-quart covered stockpot.
- This is still in the expensive range, but is rather less expensive than the Matfer set we reviewed earlier.
- It has a 5-ply bond, which is said to be good for cooking any dish because it excels in precise temperature control.
- Its 18/10 highly-polished stainless steel interior finish is great because it won’t allow copper to react with your food, which is a good safety feature.
- It is oven and broiler-safe up to 600 F.
- It is optimized for induction.
- It is dish-washer safe.
- It is made in the USA.
- There is no mention of how thick the copper core is (although if you refer to the many reviews it has, it appears to heat fast and evenly)
- It is still in the higher-priced range of copper cookware.
I found this to be best for the mid-range budget. You know how good quality copper-ware can be quite costly considering all the possibly good things about it? If you’re really not set to break the bank, it’s a relief that there’s another option available, right?
The Lagostina's Martellata Tri-Ply Hammered 10-Piece Copper Cookware Set is mainly made from premium stainless steel, but each of the ten pieces actually does have a hammered copper exterior with a thick heat-radiating aluminum core that facilitates for an efficient heat distribution, better heat control, and heat retention.
Another thing that seems appealing to me is the fact that it does not require heavy maintenance. If you’re a busy person like I am, having one less thing to maintain is absolutely welcome. It is even oven and broiler safe for up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s also metal-utensil safe.
This set has of a 10-inch skillet, an 8-inch skillet, a 6-quart stockpot, a 3-quart saucepan, a 2-quart saucepan, a 3-quart sauté pan, and it also has lids for all of these with the exception of the skillets.
- It is not as pricey as the other good options.
- Its stainless steel interior and aluminum core allows for better heat absorption and efficient heat distribution.
- Its hammered copper exterior makes it really beautiful, but more than that – it facilitates for better heat control and retention.
- It has a nice and heavy bottom for good balance, but not too heavy, and was found to still be quite comfortable to lift even when flipping.
- It comes with a lifetime warranty.
- Its thin copper exterior will seem subpar in terms of performance compared to other options that have a thicker copper material.
For those who are really on a tight budget, the Cooksmark Ceranano 10-piece Copper Finish Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set could be an alternative option. This set has a heavy gauge forged aluminum construction that also claims to provide warp resistance and even heat distribution.
It has a non-stick coating that is trademarked as Terralon, which is supposedly healthy and eco-friendly – free from PFOA, PTFE, lead, and cadmium. It also has premium-grade riveted stainless steel handles that provide a comfortable grip.
The only reasonit is considered to be among the copper cookware lines is because of its copper finish which is said to be durable and highly scratch-resistant.
- This is a very affordable 10-piece copper cookware set, so if you are not looking to splurge, this might be something you can consider.
- It is suitable to use for all stove tops (except induction).
- It is dishwasher safe.
- It is oven safe for up to 392 degrees Fahrenheit.
- It will not perform as well as the cookware sets that have copper as a main material. Since its copper component only serves as a coating, you can imagine that this will not be thick enough to facilitate the same kind of fast and even heat distribution of its better counterparts.
- It does not have the nice heavy balance of the more expensive copper cookware sets.
The Bourgeat 13 Piece Copper Cookware Set is the most expensive set in this list, but it comes with more pieces than the rest, so if you’re looking for a bigger set, this could be something you should look at.
It has a 1. 2-1/2mm pure red copper sandwiched to 1/10mm of 18/10 polished stainless. Apparently, this is the only line that polishes their copper both on the interior and the exterior.
Having a polished interior makes way for less sticking, not to mention that it also has stainless lining. It also has drip-proof rims that prevents sauce from running down the sides of the pan – something that isn’t seen in the other cookware sets we reviewed. Also, the lids that come with this set are drop-in, which means that they fit like a glove.
- Can be a good for those who are looking for a set with more pieces.
- Its copper is polished both on the inside and the outside.
- It comes with drip-proof rims preventing sauce-spills on the sides.
- It has a stainless steel lining.
- It has handles that are counter-balanced cast iron with extra rivets for a comfortable grip.
- It is extremely expensive.
- There havn’t been a considerable number of reviews on it yet.
If you are looking for a high-end and high-quality copper cookware set to really experience the benefits of cooking with copper, then the All-Clad 600822 SS Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set is clearly the best choice.
This is because it has all the functions and features that you’d expect from a copper cookware performance – great heat conductivity, even distribution of heat, quick adaptability to temperature changes, and has a durable stainless steel lining that can make cooking safe for many years to come.
Not to mention that it also looks so beautiful – which is one of the reasons why copper cookware is so appealing. Not only will it make your kitchen look fantastic, it might also take the cooking experience to a whole higher level, if we believe all the rave reviews about it.
While the other expensive options are also good, this one comes out better because it has features that others do not – like it being dishwasher, oven, and broiler-safe. It’s actually even cheaper than the other high-priced options in this list. So if you have the budget and want to make the investment, then this is something you should highly consider buying.
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