Buyer’s Guide Updated February, 2020
If you’ve never cooked with the best copper cookware before, once you try it, you’ll never go back to nonstick pans again. With traditional Teflon pans, the biggest problem is their heating efficiency. You can often end up with food that’s unevenly cooked, or even worse, the lining will begin to chip off into your food after just six months of use.
Cooper cookware is often used in professional kitchens because it heats up quickly and has a reputation for cooking food evenly, so you’ll enjoy perfect results, each and every time.
So, why don’t more people use copper cookware? People are often sold on the lower price of Teflon pots and pans, but unfortunately, nonstick cookware isn’t known for its longer lifespan. Copper cookware is durable, easy to use, and easier to maintain. But is copper cookware safe to use? These days, copper cookware is sold with a type of durable lining, so the copper doesn’t actually make any direct contact with your food.
This cookware is also often displayed in kitchens because it’s so aesthetically pleasing.
We decided to check out some of the top sets of copper cookware on the market and review the five best copper cookware sets that received positive feedback from the pros and home cooks. Each of these sets is designed to withstand everyday use, unlike competing nonstick cookware sets.
With copper, you’ll get beautiful cookware that can last for decades.
Finding the Top Copper Cookware Sets
When searching for the best copper cookware sets we paid attention to how each set rated with both pro chefs and home cooks. If you’re not a big foodie or an amateur chef, then you may not care quite as much about the durability of the cookware set, compared to the chef looking to add some new pots and pans to his or her kitchen. What you will care about is heating efficiency, whether or not a set is easy to clean, and of course, the price.
We’ve included sets that will work with any budget. Some are a little on the pricey side, but they also have a reputation for lasting more than a decade.
Keep in mind that many types of copper cookware are not dishwasher safe, but if you’re tired of throwing out unevenly cooked food or burning your main course, then these sets are totally worth the higher price tag.
Most of the sets we looked at consist of eight to ten pieces, so they’re perfect if you’re looking for a large new set that can replace your worn out nonstick cookware.
Each set is also display-worthy. So, if you want to add a touch of class and elegance to your home kitchen, you’ll love the sets we’ve chosen.
Now, we’ll begin by introducing our top pick, an eight-piece set by Matfer, a French cookware company that’s been in business for hundreds of years.
Best Copper Cookware Set-Matfer Bourgeat Copper Cookware Set
This top-selling copper cookware set is made by one of the leading cookware manufacturers in France. The elegant cookware is not only attractive, it’s also incredibly heat efficient, easy to use, and designed with durability in mind. This is a large eight-piece set that comes with all the basic pots and pans the serious chef needs. This set received plenty of positive feedback from both pro chefs and home cooks alike, thanks to the cookware’s reputation for evenly cooking food in just a fraction of the time compared to traditional nonstick cookware.
Chef-Quality-Mauviel M’heritage Copper Cookware Set
This Mauviel cookware set includes eight pieces of stainless-steel lined copper cookware that’s pro quality but also perfect for home use. The lining of the pots and pans makes the cookware low-maintenance, while also improving its overall durability. Each of the pots and pans consists of a thick two-and-a-half-millimeter copper exterior that works to improve heating efficiency, so you’ll enjoy evenly cooked food every time.
Most Durable-Lagostina Martellata Tri-ply Hammered Copper Cookware Set
This tri-ply copper cookware set is priced affordably and provides impressive heating capabilities, similar to traditional copper cookware. The exterior of the set is made out of two and a half millimeters of copper, with stainless-steel lining and an aluminum core. A great, budget-friendly option, this cookware set is durable, easy to clean and maintain, and available at a price that’s affordable.
Budget-Friendly-Cuisinart Tri-Ply Cooper Cookware Set
This large ten-piece copper cookware set by Cuisinart is another popular tri-ply set we decided to review, simply because it received a lot of positive feedback from consumers. It’s incredibly durable and features a stainless-steel interior, aluminum core, and the traditional copper exterior that works to heat up food quickly and efficiently. The set comes with all the cookware you need to cook a large meal, is easy to clean and maintain, and is covered by a great product warranty.
Best Tri-ply Copper Cookware-Concord Ceramic Coated Copper Cookware Set
This tri-ply cookware set features an innovative ceramic lining instead of tin or stainless-steel. The ceramic lining acts as a nonstick surface, so cleanup will be a breeze. The exterior is made out of copper, with an aluminum core for ultimate heating efficiency.
While this set may not be restaurant quality, it can easily withstand normal daily use.
This is a great buy for home cooks on a tight budget, and it comes with all the pieces you’ll need to handle a larger meal.
Copper Cookware Buying Guide
Most professional chefs use the best copper cookware because it features excellent heat transmission, or for the simple fact that it excels when it comes to temperature changes. But this cookware isn’t just for the pros anymore.
Not only are copper pots and pans beautiful to look at, they can allow even the novice to cook the perfect meal. They’re also ideal for those delicate, complex recipes that require strict temperatures.
The only real downside to this type of cookware is the amount of maintenance that’s required. You’ll need to use some serious elbow grease in order to avoid corrosion and keep your pots shining and looking new.
But copper cookware comes with plenty of advantages too. Like we briefly touched on earlier, it can quickly adapt and react to temperature changes and it transmits heat rapidly. This means there will be no hot spots, which translates to evenly cooked food. Because of this, copper pots and pans give the cook more control over temperatures, unlike stainless-steel cookware.
Because copper is so quick to react to changes in temperatures, you’ll also have to avoid leaving your food in these pots and pans once they’re cooked to perfection.
When you’re shopping for new copper cookware, you’ll have different styles to choose from. Copper cookware isn’t always made out of pure copper. When you’re searching for the perfect set, make sure you check that the set consists of at least ninety percent copper and it’s not just a stainless-steel pot with a thin copper coating on the bottom. This type of pot won’t offer the same type of impressive heat conductivity that a pot with a higher copper content can.
Other types of copper pots you’ll find include the following:
Clad Bonded Copper Cookware
Cookware with a copper core is considered thermally sensitive, which means it will heat up quickly. Clad bonded means that the copper core is located between layers that are made out of two different types of metals. The addition of the copper core makes the cookware more durable and stable.
Basically, with this option, you can enjoy all the benefits of a traditional copper pot or pan, but it won’t require the same level of high maintenance that traditional copper cookware does.
Tri-ply cookware features a stainless-steel interior, a copper exterior, and a core made out of aluminum. This type of cookware is very durable. The aluminum core heats up evenly, while the copper exterior causes the cookware to heat up quickly. The stainless-steel interior will allow the user to prepare almost any type of dish without the fear of damaging the surface.
Many copper pots and pans are coated in tin, which is added in order to prevent direct contact between the copper and food. If the copper cookware has a tin coating this means you can also leave food in the pot or pan to cool. One downside to this style of copper cookware is that over time, the tin will change color.
Copper pots and pans that are coated in ceramic will not affect the copper’s ability to conduct heat, the coating simply makes the pots and pans much easier to clean.
Care and Maintenance
- Copper is very scratch sensitive since it’s a very soft material. Since most high-end types of copper cookware are made by hand, don’t be surprised if some of the pots and pans have slight imperfections.
- When the cookware is not in use, it must be stored in a dry place.
- Caring for the cookware can require the use of a special polish that’s usually available from the manufacturer. This is what protects the exterior of the pots and pans and allows it to have a spotless, shiny surface.
- Copper cookware can be washed in the traditional manner, using a gentle detergent. The cookware should be cleaned with a soft sponge only.
- Tin-plated copper cookware should also only be cleaned with a soft sponge, as an abrasive scrubbing pad can damage the delicate tin coating.
- Pans with a stainless-steel interior can be scrubbed gently.
- Obviously, copper cookware should never be placed in the dishwasher and should always be dried by hand immediately after washing in order to avoid spots.
Stainless-steel Versus Tin Lined Cookware
Since copper is classified as a reactive metal, most types of copper cookware are lined with stainless-steel or tin.
Tin offers non-stick properties and is a great heat conductor, however, if it’s used beyond four hundred and fifty degrees it will start to melt. Tin is also very prone to scratching, so you’ll need to use wooden utensils in order to avoid scratching the pot’s delicate interior. Copper cookware that’s lined with tin will need to be periodically re-tinned once wear and tear become visible. The upside is that re-tinning the interior of your cookware basically makes it like new, but for some, this added expense can be a deal breaker, especially for the cook on a tight budget.
Stainless-steel is a more convenient option because it’s much more durable than tin. It won’t flake or bubble at high temperatures and it can easily handle a heavy-duty scrubbing.
On the other hand, this type of metal has a rougher texture, so it must be seasoned regularly in order to create a non-stick surface. Keep in mind, if the interior of stainless-steel lined copper pots become deeply scratched or pitted there is no way to repair the surface, instead, you’ll have to replace the entire piece. But considering how durable stainless-steel is, most cooks tend to choose copper cookware with this type of lining over tin.
The quality of copper tends to vary from brand to brand. If you intend on using your copper daily, knowing exactly what to look for can help you find the perfect set and one that can handle heavy use. If you know how to properly care for copper pots and pans, they can last for generations
One of the most important factors to consider as you shop is thickness.
When you’re ordering a large set of cookware, don’t assume that all of the pieces have the same thickness level.
You can easily find out how thick each piece of cookware is by checking out the product’s spec sheet.
The perfect thickness is two and a half millimeters. The thickness of copper cookware matters for a couple of reasons:
- Copper that’s thicker can deliver more durability and structure without the need for additional support
- Pots and pans with a thicker base will not warp, even under extreme temperatures.
Most higher-priced copper cookware sets will feature a copper thickness of the recommended two and a half millimeters. Anything thicker really isn’t necessary and it won’t even provide much of a difference in terms of performance. Pots and pans thicker than three millimeters will take much longer to cool and heat.
The price of the cookware is often influenced by the thickness, which is why many manufacturers no longer make this type of cookware over three millimeters thick.
Regardless of whether you’re buying a crepe pan, saucepan, or skillet, stick with cookware that’s two and a half millimeters thick.
If you’ve looked online for a new set of copper pots and pans you may have noticed that there are four common types of handles to choose from:
Stainless-steel or cast-iron handles are often found on heavy copper pots. Since the pitted material can provide a better grip, cast-iron is preferred. Cast-iron’s poor thermal conductivity allows it to remain cooler to the touch. Plus, it’s also oven safe.
Stainless-steel is slick, offering no grip adhesion, although it’s oven safe and considered a hardy material.
Thin pieces of copper cookware will feature bronze or brass handles. While both types of metals are very attractive, they can quickly become discolored and tend to break easily. Both also become very hot to the touch, quickly.
High-quality cookware will feature copper rivets. This design prevents cool spots on the rim of the pan. However, because copper is expensive, some manufacturers will use steel or iron rivets instead.
Copper Cookware Dos and Don’ts
- Gather all of your ingredients and supplies before you turn on the stove. As you know by now, copper cookware heats up rapidly so there will be little time for you to run back to the fridge or kitchen cabinet if you want to avoid burning your dish.
- Make sure you use the right type of utensils for copper cookware. We recommend silicone or wooden utensils, both of which will not scratch the interior of your copper pots and pans if they are lined with tin.
- Never preheat your copper pots and pans. Because this type of cookware heats up so quickly, there’s really no need to preheat.
- Never use extremely high temperatures. Copper cookware does best with medium-high temperatures.
Keep Your Cookware Looking New
Using copper cookware doesn’t just make your kitchen look more stylish, the cookware also lends you a much-needed helping hand when you’re cooking, resulting in uniformly cooked food. As a cook, you’ll have greater control over the cooking process because you don’t have to worry about scalding food or hot spots.
Because it’s so efficient with heat, you don’t have to preheat your pans or use a high flame. Simply set the heat to medium-high, allowing the pan to handle the rest of the work.
If you go overboard and crank up the heat, discoloration can occur. In the event this happens, with a bit of elbow grease and the right type of copper cleaning product, you can easily have your pot or pan looking new again.
Many novice cooks mistakenly believe that caring for copper is difficult, but this type of cookware is built to last.
Follow these simple care and maintenance tips to keep your new cookware in great shape:
The pots and pans should be washed by hand and dried immediately after. After you have cleaned them using warm soapy water, dry each piece thoroughly. Any water left on the cookware can tarnish the exterior.
If you find any tarnished spots, handle them promptly by buffing them out using a mild abrasive.
To do, cut a lemon in half. Sprinkle half of the lemon with table salt and rub the tarnished spot using circular motions. If this method doesn’t work, for more power add some cornstarch using equal parts cornstarch and salt and enough lemon juice to create a thick paste. Apply the paste to the tarnished spot using a soft cloth. Allow the past to sit for five minutes, then rinse off with warm soapy water.
Avoid using expensive copper polish which can be too abrasive.
Baking soda is another option. Mix equal portions of lemon juice and baking soda, using a soft cloth to rub away the tarnish.
Copper pots can also be polished with a little white vinegar. Soak a soft cloth in white vinegar and rub the surface of the pan using circular motions.
If the above methods aren’t effective, use tomato paste, the acid in tomatoes works wonderfully on tarnished copper pots and pans. Cover the surface of the pan with tomato paste and let the pan sit for twenty minutes, then rinse the pan with warm water.
Unless the interior of the copper pot is flaking, exposing the copper underneath, copper cookware that’s naturally patinaed is perfectly safe to cook with. However, if the lining is worn through you must send it off to a pro to have it re-tinned.
As you can see, there are several benefits that come with using copper cookware. We hope our guide has taught you more about this popular cookware, and what you should look for in terms of handle design, thickness, and lining when you’re shopping for a new set.
Our reviews are designed to help you to narrow down your choices and educate you on what to look for in regard to quality cookware that will last. If you’re an amateur cook and you’d like to learn some handy kitchen tricks, you may also want to read our article on cooking tips for beginners, which discusses how to take your cooking skills up a notch.
Now that you know more about how this style of cookware works, what features to look for, and what you can expect in terms of performance you can find the best copper cookware set that can meet your cooking needs and work with your budget.