Few things can make a chef envious more effectively than a great set of copper cookware. Finding good copper pots, pans and skillets can be surprisingly difficult, especially if you happen to be on a tight budget.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you find the best copper cookware for you, along with a handful of recommendations.
The Pros and Cons of Using Copper Cookware
Copper cookware looks great hanging from the kitchen cupboards, but if you love to cook, then the real reason to buy copper cookware is performance.
Few metals are more conductive than copper, which means that copper cookware offers superior heat distribution. Unlike other pots, kettle and pans that can develop hot spots and burn your food, copper cookware heats evenly throughout, so you can be certain that your food will do the same.
That's one reason why copper cookware is so useful for making sauces: You can simply set the temperature and walk away without worrying about the sauce burning.
Additionally, the superior conductivity of copper cookware means that the metal changes temperatures very quickly, so you have precise control over the amount of heat. This makes it ideal for searing or braising, and it also means that you ultimately use less energy to cook your meal.
Copper cookware is much lighter than cast iron, another favorite of foodies everywhere, so it's much easier to handle and lift into an overhead cupboard. However, it is also heavy enough that you won't have to worry about accidentally knocking it off your stove.
Cast iron cookware is heavier. But if you you need more versatile cookware, you can read more about cast iron in this article best cast iron dutch oven. Its outstanding features is that you can make many foods, such as broths and sauces.
Of course, there are a few drawbacks to using copper cookware. The main issue for home chefs is that copper cookware requires much more maintenance than most other pots and pans, largely due to the reactive nature of copper.
If you are worried about maintaining cookware, best nonstick cookware may be you need. It provides you with both nutrition and convenience. Aslo, the price tags that vary a lot helps it suit many people's purse.
For one thing, it requires regular polishing in order to prevent corrosion, even if your copper cookware is meant to be little more than a decoration. It can't be washed in the dishwasher, and you must hand dry it immediately after washing or run the risk of letting your pots and pans turn spotty.
However, the biggest drawback for most people is the price tag. Good copper cookware is expensive, so while copper pots and pans may be essential tools for a professional chef, the price tag is simply too much for many amateur cooks.
Things to Look for to Find the Best Copper Cookware
1- What Kind of Lining
When you begin your search for the best copper cookware, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, you should consider what kind of lining is going to work for you.
The most common linings are made from tin or stainless steel, and some copper cookware has no lining at all. For most people, a tin or stainless steel lining is going to be the best bet as either one will keep the copper from chemically reacting with your food.
Personally, I prefer to use copper cookware with a tin lining, partly because it conducts heat nearly as well as copper does and also because it is naturally nonstick. Of course, tin is a relatively soft metal, so it requires a bit more care than stainless steel does.
It wears out eventually, but most home chefs can get at least a couple of decades of use from their tin-lined cookware before it is necessary to replace or re-tin it.
Stainless steel linings are the most common, and there are some good reasons for that. Stainless steel is much sturdier, and many chefs appreciate that it is much more low maintenance than other materials, especially when it comes time to clean it.
It may not have tin's nonstick ability, but you can feel free to scrape away any stuck on food with your metal utensils or even steel wool.
You don't have to worry about rust or tarnish with stainless steel either. Because you'll have to spent a fair bit of time polishing the copper exterior of your cookware, it's nice to know that you don't have to worry much about the interior.
2- Thickness of the Copper
However, the most important thing to watch for when searching out the best copper cookware is the thickness of the copper. Good copper cookware will have at least 2 millimeters of copper, but 2.5 millimeters is ideal.
Anything less than 2 millimeters most likely means compromised performance and durability, so it's best to avoid cookware with thinner layers of copper unless you simply cannot afford the higher-quality pieces.
To help you get started on your search, here are five recommendations:
*Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
When it comes to copper cookware, Matfer Bourgeat is one of the most trusted brands in the world for good reason. You would be hard pressed to find a higher-quality copper cookware set than this 8-piece Matfer Bourgeat collection, which includes a 9.5-inch casserole dish, a 7-inch saucepan, a 9.5-inch flared sauté pan, and an 11-inch brazier, all with accompanying lids.
Each piece in the set features 2.5-millimeter red copper for ideal heat conductivity as well as a lining made from 18/10 polished stainless steel.
This copper cookware also boasts counterbalanced cast iron handles with strong, heavy rivets. This set does come with a pretty hefty price tag, but if you are a serious chef, you might find that this professional-quality copper cookware is worth every penny.
Editor's Rating: 95/100
- The 2.5-millimeter copper construction guarantees even heating and unmatched temperature control.
- The 18/10 polished stainless steel lining is durable and easy to clean.
- Each pan features sturdy, counterbalanced cast iron handles and heavy rivets.
- It's some of the best copper cookware in the world, but the price reflects that.
- Some chefs may find that the set does not include enough pieces to cook a wide range of dishes.
If you are looking for a complete set of copper saucepans, then Mauviel's M'heritage line is an excellent option.
Featuring 2.5-millimeter copper construction, linings made from 18/10 stainless steel, and polished bronze handles with stainless steel rivets, these high-quality pans offer outstanding temperature control so that you'll never have to worry about burning a sauce again.
The set includes a total of four saucepans complete with lids with capacities of 1.9 quarts, 2.7 quarts, 3.2 quarts and 6.4 quarts. The set also comes with a 10-inch skillet, so it can handle almost all of your stovetop cooking needs whether you plan to make sauce, soup or just an omelet.
These French-made pans are built to last, which is why Mauviel offers a lifetime warranty on the whole set.
Editor's Rating: 91/100
- The 2.5-millimeter copper construction is perfect for temperature control and even heat distribution.
- Saucepans come in four different sizes, so you'll always have the right one on hand.
- The set is built to last a lifetime and comes with a lifetime warranty.
- These pots and pans are likely too expensive for most home chefs.
- The stainless steel is not nonstick.
If you love cooking, then do yourself a favor and make sure that you have at least one tin-lined piece of copper cookware in your arsenal. For that one piece, it would be hard to do much better than Sertodo Copper's Alicante 15-inch Hammered Copper Paella Pan.
You'll have a lot of fun with this particular piece of copper cookware as you can prepare and serve a wide variety of dishes that are perfect for parties, and it will look great while fulfilling any task.
The hammered copper exterior is gorgeous, and it is crafted from pure 14-gauge copper that is 100 percent recycled.
Moreover, the tin lining means that it is naturally nonstick, and this pan includes a sturdy, stainless steel handle that will stay cool as you cook and serve your meal.
Editor's Rating: 89/100
- Great for preparing and serving a variety of dishes, including paella, sauces, omelet or crepes
- 100 percent recycled 14-gauge copper exterior
- Handcrafted with a beautiful hammer polish
- Handle made from low-conductivity stainless steel to stay cool
- The tin lining requires more care than stainless steel.
- The copper thickness is not specified by the manufacturer of the pan.
If you try out a tin-lined piece of cookware and find that it works for you, or if you're already familiar with the wonders of working with a tin-lined pot or pan, then you may want to invest in a cookware set like the seven-piece hammered copper cookware offering from Amoretti Brothers.
This package includes a 1.3-quart saucepan, a 5.4-quart saucepan, a 4.3-quart sauté pan, and a 3-quart frying pan, and lids for the sauce and sauté pans.
Each piece features 2-millimeter-thick copper that is hand hammered for a beautiful finish, and the pans also include a double layer of tin that will last longer than many other tin linings.
The handles are handcrafted from bronze and fastened on with strong rivets for strength and secure handling.
This is truly a copper cookware set capable of delivering on both aesthetics and performance.
Editor's Rating: 84/100
- Hand-hammered finish and signature lids make this copper cookware set a beautiful addition to any kitchen.
- Double layer of tin ensures that the lining will last for years.
- Polished bronze handles add to this set's pleasing appearance.
- 2-millimeter copper exterior is slightly thinner than ideal.
- Ornate handles may be difficult to polish regularly.
While thick copper cookware is ideal, it is possible to enjoy some of the benefits of cooking with copper without breaking the bank. If you are a more budget-conscious chef, then Lagostina's Martellata Tri-Ply Hammered 10-Piece Copper Cookware Set might be right for you.
This set is made primarily from stainless steel, but each piece does have a hammered copper exterior and an aluminum core to aid with heat distribution and temperature control.
The other upside is that this set requires a bit less maintenance than other copper cookware sets. You can feel free to use metal utensils, and it will even hold up in temperatures up to 500 degrees.
The set is composed of an 8-inch skillet, a 10-inch skillet, a 2-quart saucepan, a 3-quart saucepan, a 3-quart sauté pan and a 6-quart stockpot as well as lids for everything but the skillets.
Editor's Rating: 80/100
- Copper exterior combined with aluminum core for quick and even heating
- Hammered copper exterior to look beautiful in your kitchen
- Durable, stay-cool handles built to last a lifetime
- Much less expensive than traditional copper cookware
- Thin copper exterior will not match performance of cookware with thicker copper.
Although you can't go wrong with any of the copper cookware listed above, the 8-piece set from Matfer Bourgeat is one of the best investments that any chef could make.
Not only does this one package include a casserole dish, a saucepan, a flared saucepan and a brazier, but each individual piece is crafted to the highest standard.
The combination of the 2.5-millimeter layer of copper and the high-quality stainless steel liner guarantees outstanding cooking performance as well as the potential for this cookware set to last a lifetime with proper care.
What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments, or send this guide to a friend who needs help finding the best copper cookware.