Known for its versatility and rustic aesthetic, copper cookware brings both high functionality and an eye-catching look to any kitchen. Experienced chefs love copper cookware because it is an excellent conductor of heat, enabling precise temperature control and even heat distribution.
Copper cookware comes at a high price but is meant to last a lifetime, such as this high-quality Matfer Bourgeat 8-Piece Copper Cookware Set. There are also worthy copper-coated sets for those on a budget, as well as plenty of options in between that vary in size, cost and functionality.
Copper cookware is an expensive investment, in part because it’s time-consuming to fabricate. Copper is durable, light and easy to take care of while also offering impressive heat retention and temperature control. With proper care, copper cookware can last a long time, but the initial upfront cost is daunting for some.
In addition to its beneficial cooking properties, cooks love the farmhouse look of copper. For those who can’t afford to invest in a set, copper-coated cookware is a viable alternative when it comes to aesthetics. These have a layer of copper laid over a core of aluminum or stainless steel. So you get that copper feel but compromise on longevity and heating properties.
Copper is no small financial investment. It also requires proper care and maintenance. Copper should be regularly polished in order to prevent corrosion. Commercial copper polishes are readily available, but they can also be made easily at home by mixing salt with an acidic product like vinegar.
Copper cookware cannot go in the dishwasher and must be washed by hand. Before putting away copper cookware, it will need to be thoroughly dried to avoid tarnishing.
Copper cookware almost exclusively features a lining of either tin or steel, as copper is highly reactive. Tin linings are more affordable but lack longevity. Steel linings cost more upfront but will be more durable. Both should be washed by hand with warm water and gentle soap. Only use silicone or wooden utensils to avoid scratching.
Most copper cookware features a thickness ranging from 1.5-2.5 millimeters. While the thinner end of the spectrum allows for better temperature control, thicker copper retains heat better.
Copper cookware sets comprise anywhere from 3-10 pieces. When determining the ideal number of pots and pans, consider how often you cook and who you’re cooking for. Most kitchens are well served by two fry pans, two sauce pots and a stockpot. Some sets provide more coverage with additional sauté pans.
Lids will be included in the set for pots and pans and count toward the piece total of any cookware set; a 10-piece set may include six pots and pans along with lids for four of the items.
Seek out cookware that boasts flared rims on the pots and pans. This structural feature makes it easier to pour contents out without drips or spills.
The handles of copper cookware are often made of stainless steel or cast iron and are attached with heavy-duty rivets. Handles tend to match the lids and may stay cool when placed in the oven. Most handles will feature a hole at the end to allow for easy hanging.
Copper cookware sets can run up to and over $1,000 depending on the number of pieces included. However, those coated in copper, with either aluminum or stainless steel cores, will be cheaper, costing only a few hundred dollars in most cases.
A. Anything that requires precise temperature control is best supported by copper cookware. Particularly items that need a consistent temperature over time, like risotto, will benefit from copper products. These are also great for delicate items such as eggs as they maintain temperature and resist burning foods.
A. Most copper cookware will be safe to use in the oven, though they will likely have a heat threshold that shouldn't be exceeded, typically around 425 degrees. Generally, copper cookware cannot be used on an induction stovetop, but there are some accessories, such as metal disks, that can be acquired to make them compatible.
What you need to know: High-quality, professional-grade copper cookware that requires a steep investment for its impressive aesthetic and durability.
What you’ll love: Stunning set that features 2.5 millimeters of copper layered with stainless steel that allows precise control. Cast-iron riveted handles are sturdy and comfortable.
What you should consider: Expensive. Rather heavy.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: Budget-friendly stainless-steel set coated in copper that’s ideal for casual cooks interested in the rustic look.
What you’ll love: Comprehensive set featuring 11 pieces, including a steamer insert and large sauté pan. Durable riveted handles. Oven safe to 400 degrees
What you should consider: Lacks longevity. Copper may scratch over time.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: From a trusted name in quality cookware, this hammered copper set boasts a stunning exterior and even heat distribution
What you’ll love: Aluminum core surrounded by stainless steel and coated in hammered copper provides precise temperature control. Features flared edges and riveted stainless steel handles. Includes elegant stainless steel lids.
What you should consider: Some foods may stick to the surface. Pricey for copper-coated cookware.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Anthony Marcusa writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.