Triple-ply construction with copper layer for superior conduction with aluminum core and stainless steel interior. Riveted steel handles stay cool during use. Covers offer a tight fit. Includes two skillets, two saucepans, and saute pan.
Lids are opaque. Somewhat heavy. Handwashing recommended.
Aluminum core for even heat distribution. Ceramic coating prevents scratches. Glass lids for simmering. Two frying pans and saucepans, stockpot, steamer, cookie sheet, and a variety of baking and bread pans.
While it looks and acts like copper, it's not true copper.
Three-ply construction wraps aluminum core with conductive real copper exterior and stainless steel cooking surfaces. Glass lids allow you to track progress of food. Hammered exterior looks aesthetically pleasing.
Glass lids can't withstand more than 350 degrees.
Copper core takes advantage of copper's superior conduction and even heating. Aluminum and stainless steel layers aid heat distribution and durability. Induction compatible. Includes skillets, saucepans, stock pot and saute pan.
Pricey. Copper doesn't show except for a slim ring.
Four saucepans and two frying pans. Three-ply copper/stainless steel/aluminum construction. Hammered copper exterior regulates heat and resists warping. Stainless steel finish for food safety.
Although an Italian company, not made in Italy.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Copper cookware is, in many ways, the dream set for a serious cook. It’s a top performer in the kitchen for a reason: Copper is one of the most conductive metals we know, making it ideal for transferring heat. In cooking, copper heats up faster, requires less heat to get hot, distributes heat more evenly and cools down faster than any other material. Recipes that involve precise and even heating, like risotto, caramel, French sauces and egg dishes, benefit from copper’s sensitivity.
Don’t be confused by the inexpensive “copper” products you may see advertised. These nonstick pans are usually made of aluminum and coated with a ceramic or synthetic nonstick material. They are then painted a copper color.
Copper reacts readily with a variety of compounds, including those found in cooking. For this reason, copper cookware often features a surface of a different metal, such as shiny and non-reactive tin or strong and sturdy stainless steel.
While true copper cookware, made mostly of copper with a lining of tin or steel, is a chef’s ideal, there are other ways of using copper that don't involve a mere coat of paint. For example, copper cladding sheathes a piece of mostly steel or aluminum cookware in copper. Copper core cookware wraps copper in layers of aluminum and stainless steel.
Copper cookware is expensive — there’s no getting around it. But many people consider it an investment worth making. We think the Mauviel 12-Piece Cookware Set is the best copper cookware set you can find. If you want some of the benefits of copper at a more affordable price, consider the Cuisinart Copper Collection Cookware Set.
When looking for quality copper cookware, look to Mauviel. This French company based in Normandy has been making copper cookware for almost 200 years. Their saucepans, sugar pans and mixing bowls grace some of the finest professional and private kitchens in the world.
Mauviel’s 12-piece cookware set is made of 2 millimeters of copper with an interior cooking surface of stainless steel. Heavy bronze handles offer impressive beauty and heft. The set includes three long-handled saucepans of 1.8, 2.6 and 3.3 quarts; 7.9-inch and 10.2-inch fry pans; 3.3-quart straight-sided and 3.7-quart curved-sided saute pans; and a 6.1-quart stew pan. You get matching copper lids for all but the fry pans.
It’s a splurge of a set, but the quality and pedigree are unquestionable. Like most high-end cookware, these pieces should not go in the dishwasher. Mauviel also recommends avoiding the highest heat settings when using these pieces on the stovetop.
It might seem odd for a top brand like Cuisinart to be in the best budget category, but when it comes to copper cookware, the Cuisinart Copper Collection set holds its own on the stovetop, bringing that gorgeous warm glow of copper to your kitchen at an affordable cost. An example of copper-clad cookware, the Cuisinart set’s three-ply construction sandwiches a core of lightweight aluminum between a cooking layer of resistant stainless steel and an exterior of real copper, taking advantage of copper’s quick and even heat distribution.
The set includes a 2.5-quart saucepan, a 4-quart saute pan with a helper handle, a 6-quart stock pot and 8- and 10-inch skillets with hollow stainless steel handles to stay cool during use. The stainless steel lids fit into the pots and pans to create a moisture-preserving seal. All pieces are oven-safe to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another French company with nearly 200 years of experience is de Buyer, with its factories in the Vosges region of eastern France. This line of classic copper cookware boasts true copper construction with food-safe linings of stainless steel. The eight-piece set includes large 9.5- and 11-inch fry pans, 1.9- and 3.5-quart saucepans with lids and a 5.7-quart lidded stew pan, all with long, arched handles made of cast iron.
Cast iron is copper’s opposite when it comes to cooking: slow to heat and slow to cool. A copper pan will get nice and hot long before its cast iron handle does. The set’s lids are also copper and steel, matching the saucepans and stew pan.
Like other high-end cookware, this de Buyer set must be washed by hand. All the pieces are oven-safe and work with gas and electric cooktops.
The hammered copper exterior of Viking Culinary’s 10-piece set calls to mind vintage copper bowls and vessels, where hammering by hand added strength to the soft pure metal. The three-ply cookware doesn’t need added strength with its aluminum core and surgical stainless steel cooking surfaces, but the hammered copper cladding gives it a striking visual appeal.
This set offers 8- and 10-inch skillets, a lidded saute pan, 2.25- and 3-quart lidded saucepans and a big 8-quart stock pot. The set’s lids are made of glass, trading the ability to withstand high temps for the opportunity to watch your food as it cooks. Hand-washing is required. Notably, high stovetop temperatures will discolor the copper shell.
This set from All-Clad doesn’t look like it belongs on this list at first glance, but inside its layers of aluminum and tarnish-resistant stainless steel is a conductive and nimble copper core. With five layers of metal, each piece is designed to conduct an even heat throughout its surface. Having stainless steel on the outside allows this set to work on induction cooktops, which otherwise wouldn’t work with copper and copper-clad cookware.
This premium-priced set includes 8- and 10-inch fry pans, 2- and 3-quart lidded saucepans, a 5-quart lidded saucepan and a lidded 8-quart stock pot. Each piece (including the lid) is oven- and broiler-safe, and All-Clad’s mirror finish helps reduce how much food sticks. Hand-washing is recommended.
Italy-based company Lagostina has been making cookware since the early 1900s. Its Martellata hammered copper cookware is made of three-ply metal with a hammer-finish copper exterior, an aluminum core and a stainless steel cooking surface. Graceful handles of cast stainless steel and lids of polished steel, along with the decorative hammered copper exterior, give this set a lot of visual appeal for a much lower cost than other copper cookware sets.
You get 8- and 10-inch skillets, 2- and 3-quart lidded saucepans, a 3-quart lidded saute pan and a 6-quart lidded stockpot. As is typical for copper exteriors, avoid putting these in the dishwasher, and note that they won’t work on induction cooktops.
Matfer Bourgeat is a brand you’re bound to see whenever you shop for high-end cooking and kitchen products. Matfer was founded in France in 1814, making it over 200 years old. Its eight-piece copper cookware set is among the most expensive on our list, but its heritage and quality are well-known with an ideal copper thickness of 2.5 millimeters around a food-safe cooking surface of stainless steel.
The Matfer Bourgeat set comprises a 5 3/4-quart casserole pan, 2 5/8-quart sauce pan, 2 3/4-quart flared sauce pan and 5 1/4-quart saute pan, all with matching copper-and-steel lids. The set’s handles are made of dark cast iron for heat resistance and heft. This set should be washed by hand, and it works on most heat sources, except induction.
Copper pots and pans come in a variety of weights and thicknesses. So, what build is optimal? None other than Julia Child weighed in on the subject in “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” proclaiming her preference for 1/8-inch (3.175 mm) copper. Most modern copper cookware comes in thickness ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 millimeters. Thicker copper allows for better heat retention, but going thinner provides greater temperature control. Any pan in this range will sit securely on a burner and can be lifted easily with one hand.
If you decide to outfit your kitchen with copper, it’s important to maintain the cookware and make your investment last. Be prepared to polish your pots and pans often (even if you haven’t used them since the last time) to prevent corrosion. They’re also not dishwasher-safe and must be thoroughly dried by hand before you put them away.
Keep the following tips in mind when caring for your cookware:
A. Genuine copper cookware is more expensive than most other kinds of cookware. The more copper is used in the construction, the pricier a set will be. Copper-clad cookware ranges from $300 to $600 a set, while a copper-core set in stainless steel and small copper sets cost between $1,000 and $1,500.
Full-featured sets from historic brands, with all the heritage and craftsmanship that come with them, cost at least $2,000 and range into the $3,000 to $4,000 level and above.
A. Absolutely. The liquid in whatever you’re cooking will keep the pot or pan cool enough to prevent damage, even at high heat.
A. Generally, no. Induction relies on magnetism, and copper is not magnetic the way iron and steel are. However, copper pans with iron or steel bottoms can be used over an induction burner.
A. It’s generally not safe to cook on an unlined copper pot or pan. Copper is highly reactive and will leach into most foods it comes into contact with. Over time, this may lead to copper toxicity and copper poisoning.
The exceptions are jam pots and sugar pans, where the sugar content prevents a lot of copper leaching, and egg white bowls, where the copper actually chemically helps stabilize the egg whites.
A. You can polish copper cookware using a dedicated commercial polish for that type of metal. There is also a popular home remedy you can try. Start by sprinkling a generous amount of salt onto the pot or pan. Next, pour white wine vinegar on the salt — you’ll immediately see a chemical reaction. After a few seconds, sprinkle on some more salt. Then, scrub the copper with a sponge soaked in more white wine vinegar.
Once you are happy with the shine, rinse the pot or pan with water to remove all the salt and vinegar.
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