What do copper and cooking have in common? Well, as a matter of a fact, they have quite a long history together. Copper was the first metal humans began to work with, somewhere around 11,000 years ago. Of course, it took a few centuries until copper started to become part of kitchenware. Once they discovered how to hammer it and make it into pots or bowls, people began using it more and more.
The most important feature of copper cookware is how well it distributes heat. Being twice as good as aluminum in conducting heat, it makes a great first impression. And once we tell you it is ten times more conductive than stainless steel, you may want to jump to buying. One thing you should know is that high-quality copper cookware is not budget-friendly. Known as one of the most expensive materials, copper finds its place in exquisite spots. Such as the kitchens of fancy restaurants or the ones of real cooking aficionados.
Quick pick: Best Copper Cookware Sets
|Product||Number of Pieces||Lining||Warranty||What We Liked Most|
|Gotham Steel Cookware + Bakeware Set||20||ceramic||10 years||most complete and versatile set for cooking and baking|
|NutriChef Stackable Pots and Pans||14||ceramic||1 year||great variety of utensils included; nesting design for space saving|
|Copper Chef Non-Stick Cookware Set||12||ceramic||60 days||square design for extra-cooking space; budget-friendly set|
|KUTIME 11pcs Cookware Set||11||ceramic||1 year||eye-catching look; great value for price|
|Epicurious Copper Cookware Set||11||teflon||lifetime limited||professional-grade cookware, made to last|
Today’s article aims to expand your cooking horizons. Check out below the benefits and quirks of such stylish cookware and our quick buying guide. We want you to have a well-informed perspective, so we also prepared a top five best copper cookware sets. We sprinkle some maintenance tips in the end, so you are fully prepared to make the most of your copper pans and pots. If your curiosity is simmering already, let’s get started.
Reasons To Buy Copper Cookware
If you see copper cookware, chances are you will fall in love with its appearance. There is a certain glow that turns mesmerizing the more you look at a copper pan or pot. If you are skeptical about it, just take a peek at the products we review below and you might have a change of hearts. So, a first glance reason to consider copper cookware is their aesthetic value. Properly cared for, these pieces can turn into real treasures as they go from new to more vintage.
For the practical souls out there, yes, there is more to copper than just its looks. In terms of performance, this material is hard to beat in conducting heat. Its uniqueness stands in how fast it adapts to the environment factors. That is, it can heat up in a matter of seconds but also cool down just as fast. If you are into cooking, then you will recognize the potential in this instantly. Copper cookware is a great candidate for cooking to perfection fish or seafood. Delicate sauces, caramel or chocolate also find their ideal match in copper pots. Overcooking or too much heat exposure are no risks in this case. The copper will not retain heat once you take it off the fire and its temperature drops rapidly. That is exactly what you need for a sauce that can get ruined from too much heat.
Last but not least, investing in a copper cookware set is a lifetime decision. Durable and offering a great cooking performance, copper also ages beautifully. The patina it develops over time can give a glimpse of your cooking journey. But you can also use special cleaning products, to maintain its initial shine. Both ways, you know your copper pots and pans will last you for a very long time.
Less Appealing Aspects Of Copper Cookware
As you can expect, we are not planning to sugarcoat copper cookware. Therefore, we list here some of the aspects that you should keep in mind before jumping to purchase. Whether some will tone down your enthusiasm or not, we leave that for you to decide.
First thing on the list of drawbacks for copper is its reactivity. Acidic ingredients such as vinegar or tomatoes can interact with the copper. Leached copper in small amounts may not be a big worry, but over time, it becomes toxic. There is a fix for this, however. These days, most copper cookware comes with a lining, whether it is tin, stainless steel or silver.
Tin lining is the most traditional one, a simple and inexpensive fix. The best part is that beyond being non-reactive, tin is also great as a non-stick layer. You can rely on it to cook quickly, safely and without seasoning. The downsides to tin-lined copper cookware are the tendency to worn out and the low melting point. In time, the tin lining can worn out and is rather sensitive to scratching if you use metal tools. As for the melting point, this is around 450°F (230° C). That is why you should avoid preheating your pan, using it on very high heat or leaving it unattended. An additional cost that can derive from this is the need to renew the tin lining of your pots and pans at some point.
A more common version of lining is stainless steel. This brings extra durability to your copper cookware. However, you probably know by now how sticky a stainless steel cooking surface can become. So prepare to use lots of seasoning in this case. Extreme cases, where the stainless lining would break from the copper shell, are hard to fix. These are not very common, but if they happen, you will most likely need a new pan/pot.
Other options out there include copper cookware lined with nickel or silver. Story goes, silver is an impressive heat conductor (better than copper even). And it also performs well as a non-stick layer. Less appealing is how expensive this combination can be. Not for the faint of heart (and budget).
And since we mention this, we should draw attention to how exquisite copper cookware can be. Compared to other materials, copper may ask for a special budget, so to say. It is a high-quality option, with great performance and looks. But it does not tick the box for affordable. Most often, buyers are just really into the idea of having a copper cookware collection. So, if you plan to get yourself a set, prepare to proudly display it at home or in a restaurant.
Finally, copper cookware also requires special maintenance. You have to avoid using metallic utensils or scrubbing it too much. Prone to scratching and tarnishing, this type of cookware will ask for some elbow grease. Get ready to dedicate some time to gently clean it manually, to prolong its gleaming shine.
Quick Buying Guide For Copper Cookware
If you read this far, you are then determined to give copper cookware a chance to impress you. And to make sure you make a great choice, according to your needs, we put together some guidelines.
To pick the best copper cookware sets out there, here is what you should look for.
The average pans and pots have somewhere between 2.5 and 3 millimeters in thickness. This is usually considered ideal for the best results in cooking. A thinner layer is prone to warping or denting. On the other side, any pot or pan thicker than 3 mm may take longer to heat up and create hot spots. Check the specs to make sure your chosen set has this average, desired thickness.
As we mentioned before, among the most common types of lining, you will find stainless steel and tin. There are also copper and ceramic or silver mixes available, great as non-stick options. The revolutionary tri-ply combines stainless steel, copper and an aluminum core. You may, however, find copper vessels that are not lined at all. These include jam pots or mixing bowls. In the case of jam pots, copper’s reactivity is not a concern. The sugar used in making the jam prevents the fruity acid from interacting with the metal. The mixing bowls do not require lining if you only use them to beat egg whites inside. The copper can help keep the integrity of the foam you need for your delicate recipes. In choosing the right lining for you, consider the frequency of use for your copper cookware. This, as well as the type of recipes you plan to cook in it should help you decide what will give better results.
Purely a matter of personal taste, that is how we see the appearance of your chosen copper cookware. You can pick a smooth finish, in a matte or shiny version, for a modern vibe. Or you can opt for a hammered appearance, which brings a rustic touch to the pieces. The finish does not impact in any way the quality of the cookware. In the past, hammering had the purpose of making the copper stronger. But nowadays, it is a simple decoration done by machines.
When you pick your favorite copper cookware set, take a look at what comes in the package. Opt for a versatile combination of pieces, that can cover your cooking needs as much as possible. Compare the accessories included as well, to get the most advantageous option. From handle to… top of the lid, your copper cookware set should be worth every penny.
Our 2021 Top Five Best Copper Cookware Sets
By now, you know the greatest strength of copper cookware. You learned more on how to pick the most appropriate one for your needs. It is time to put theory aside and cut to the chase. Here comes our 2021 selection of the best copper cookware sets. Our top five picks, carefully analyzed, to give you an idea of what you can find on the market.
Get your kitchen fully equipped with the Gotham Steel Cookware + Bakeware Set. Fulfill all your fantasies of cooking or baking with ease. This collection includes 20 versatile pieces, like stock pots, skillets or baking pans. The cooking surface comes with an award winning coating, for a non-stick effect. The Ti-Cerama layer ensures you can easily take out any dish, making it a breeze to use and clean. Feel free to even use metal utensils in these pots and pans, they are ultra-durable.
- lightweight design
- versatile, practical collection for cooking and baking
- dishwasher safe
- cool-touch handles
- ceramic coating (PFOA-free, non-stick)
- 10 years warranty.
- not suitable for induction stovetops
- some reviews indicate the non-stick coating fades away quickly.
If you plan to display your copper cookware collection, get some matching utensils. The NutriChef Stackable Pots and Pans Set saves you the trouble. Next to a balanced variety of pots and pans with lids, you also get some useful tools. A slotted spatula, a pasta server and a soup ladle are all included. Their stylish design blends in perfectly with the set, but they have practical value. The whole collection has a stackable design, to help you save space in your cabinets.
- includes useful, stylish accessories
- ceramic nonstick surface
- stackable design for space saving
- appealing look ( hard-anodized lacquer exterior)
- durable design (three layers of copper, heat-resistant exterior, ceramic interior)
- cast iron handles with silicone grip (cool to the touch)
- dishwasher safe
- pans and pots are suitable for any cooktop (except for the saucepan).
- only one year warranty
- different color for the exterior (not a copper shade)
- saucepan not suitable for induction cooktops.
The Copper Chef Non-Stick Cookware Set proves the perfect shape may not be what you had in mind. Surprising, yet highly effective in offering more cooking space, these square pans rock. Use them confidently for frying eggs or baking yummy desserts. You get up to 25% more cooking surface and more depth. Plus, the Cerami-Tech non-stick coating helps you clean things up fast. This set is also versatile and with an appealing design. So you can use it on the stovetop or oven and then, set it on the table.
- square design for more cooking surface
- professional Cerami-Tech nonstick coating ( PTFE & PFOA free)
- versatile pans (suitable for stovetops/oven/table serving)
- extender ring for more cooking capacity on the 11-inch casserole pan
- steamer tray
- stainless steel induction plate (rapid heating)
- induction compatible pans
- budget friendly set.
- only some components are dishwasher safe
- ambiguous warranty conditions
- short warranty period
- complaints on the low resistance of the non-stick coating.
The cooking future looks brighter with the KUTIME 11pcs Cookware Set. These shiny-finished pots and pans will look great in your kitchen. Affordable and providing a good performance, this set can become your favorite cookware. It has a premium ceramic coating, for a healthy, safe, non-stick cooking experience. Use these special pans for sauces, sautées and more. Easy to use and clean, they are also compatible with all stovetops.
- versatile set, covering all your cooking needs (11 pieces)
- premium ceramic coating (PTFE/PFOA/lead/cadmium free)
- three-layer bottom for faster heating
- compatible with all cooktops
- safe bakelite handles (anti-warping, cool to touch)
- complaints regarding missing pieces or screws
- at delivery, uninstalled handles (require installing).
Get the gleaming look of copper cookware, in a sturdy stainless steel structure. For all your cooking wishes, there is always a way. The Epicurious Aluminum Copper Cookware Set offers you the best of both worlds. Catchy design, even heat distribution and durability are all part of the package. This 11-piece set may not be all about copper, but it will help you cook like a pro. Made of heavy gauge aluminum and stainless steel, these pieces are hard to match. And to make a really strong impression, they come in a variety of colors, including copper.
- efficient, versatile design
- heavy-gauge aluminum structure (for even heat distribution)
- teflon layer (non-stick cooking surface)
- rimmed tempered glass lids
- suitable for all stovetops
- lifetime warranty
- safe for metal utensil use.
- not made of copper
- not dishwasher safe (according to some users)
- exterior colored coating prone to flaking.
Maintenance Tips For Your Copper Cookware
We mentioned copper cookware is not one of the easiest to clean. To aid you in the process, we collected some practical advice that will allow you to keep it shiny and spotless. Read below on how to use and protect your copper cookware sets.
- Keep all your ingredients nearby.
You know copper heats up fast, so if you have to run to the fridge often, you risk burning your food.
- Use the appropriate tools.
Avoid metal tool, pick silicone or wooden utensils instead. These will prevent any unwanted damage to tin-lined cookware.
- Use a medium heat setting.
Given its high responsivity to heat, your copper cookware needs just a little dab to get hot. So you should not get it exposed to strong flames or your food might get burnt and your pan can start losing color.
- Clean it often and with care.
Use gentle movements and cleaning products. For tarnished pots, rely on lemon juice, vinegar or baking soda to help you remove the stains. Make sure to clean and dry your copper cookware as soon as you finish cooking, to avoid food remains to get dry.
Popular, good looking and with an impressive performance, copper cookware can easily impress. And thanks to the latest products, even its maintenance is less of a hassle. We hope today’s article helped you get a clearer idea of how you could benefit from adding it to your kitchen. Get cooking like a pro with the best copper cookware sets. And let us know in the comments what do you love using your copper cookware for.