Why Should You Use Copper Bottom Cookware?

 

All-Clad 2-qt. Copper Core Sauce PanI’ve spent most of my cooking life using sub-par pots and pans. Sure, they get the job done well enough, but I definitely haven’t been using top rated cookware sets.

I started looking at taking a step or two up the cookware ladder from my Teflon coated set to some copper coated stainless steel cookware.

I’m going to be focusing more on the copper side here. If you want to know a little more about stainless steel I get into that in my 18/10 flatware article.

copper cookware

Mauviel 2.7-qt. Sugar Sauce Pan with Copper HandleYou won’t find much pure copper cookware on the market, and for good reason. Imagine you’ve just taken a bite of a moist piece of chicken breast, perfectly seasoned the way you like it. Now reach into your change jar and lick a penny (don’t really do this).

Acidic foods draw out this metallic taste in cooper, so solid copper cookware is generally designed for specific foods or tasks like cooking creams or making custards.

“Copper Cookware” can mean two things: tin, aluminum, or stainless steel kitchen cookware with a copper core (a layer of metal in between other layers of non-copper); or with a copper exterior (outside layer or just the bottom of the cookware is copper).

The main reason I considered using a copper bottom frying pan was because copper disperses heat fast. And THAT helps cook food fast and keep the surface heat even.

copper cookware care

Before any use what-so-ever, the copper will be brilliant and shiny, like the first new pennies of the year. However, like pennies, as copper cookware spends more time being subjected to heat and air it will turn a darker brown from oxidation.

In general, you can clean copper with soap and water and any non-abrasive cloth or sponge. Just that by itself won’t keep the copper polished though. For that you’re going to need a more specific cleaner like Bar Keepers Friend, Brasso, Radiance, or you could even create a homemade copper cleaner.

copper cookware sets

I’m kind of an all or nothing type of guy. If I’m going to get something that belongs in a set, I shoot for the set. At least the bare minimum set…I don’t need to go crazy and get a full set of catering pots and pans.

This might seem like basic information, but at minimum a set of cookware should include a frying pan, a saucepan, a saute pan, and a stock pot. Could you get away with just having two of those? Probably. But in an ideal and minimal world, I shoot for having those four.

Technically, this would be considered a 7-piece set because there would be 3 lids.


copper bottom cookware reviews

You know who makes copper bottomed cookware? A lot of places.

Based on the 7-piece copper cookware set, I’ve tried to compile some of the research I’ve done on brands, keeping it nice and simple.

all clad copper cookware

All Clad is one of the top brands. One I’ve really looked at in depth.

The All Clad Cop R Chef line is a copper plated cookware set, and they have their Copper Core line: copper core with stainless steel interior and exterior.
General price: $730 for the Cop R Chef 7-piece set
$900 for the Copper Core 7-piece set

baumalu copper cookware

Baumalu cookware is made in France in an interesting way, they are tinned by hand. These copper pots and pans are lined with tin instead of stainless steel (to better maintain an even heat). The lining or “tinning” is done by hand with a hammering process.

This hammered copper cookware will have visual imperfections that Baumalu feels gives their cookware character.

General price: $400 for a 4-piece set (no saute pan, and only one lid)

belgique copper bottom cookware

I had heard a while back that Belgique cookware had a popular set at Macy’s. They don’t seem to have it any more. This cookware set had mixed reviews, but also looked like there is an in depth “first cleaning” process that some people were ignoring.

General price: $250 for a USED 14-piece set

bourgeat copper cookware

Or, more officially Matfer-Bourgeat. These are handmade, high-quality copper pots and pans. The Bourgeat cookware set uses a combination of a few elements: copper exterior, stainless steel interior, and riveted cast iron handles. All of the hand making care that goes into these is going to cost.

General price: $1500-$2000 for an 8-piece set

mauviel copper cookware

Mauviel cookware has been around since 1830! They have an assortment of product collections to choose from. The one thing that stays constant in the Mauviel M’heritage copper & stainless steel cookware sets is that they all have a copper exterior and stainless steel interior.

The difference in their copper collections is the type of handle they use: stainless steel, cast iron, or bronze. There may be something about each of these metals than helps the cooking process, but Mauviel is open about offering different handle types to provide “an aesthetic difference that meets the style for each cook.”

Like Baumalu, they too use the hammering process in some of their pieces.

General price: $1000-$1500 for a 7-piece set

If you’ve made it this far, you are really interested in copper core and copper bottom pots and pans. You might also be sweating a little as the prices I list get higher and higher. For this reason I’ve added a couple more brands.

paula deen copper bottom cookware

Paula Deen is known mostly for being the star of Paula’s Home Cooking on the Food Network. Gray hair, tan skin, big smile, warm heart, cooks everything with a lot of butter. If you weren’t sure before, those descriptions should have at least made you go “Oh! Okay, her.” Because of her popularity, and the ease of finding her products everywhere, I decided to take a closer look.

Paula Deen is very personable on her show and has a lot of fans. Does she cook a lot? Yes. Does she know the skill and science behind making a high quality copper cookware set? Probably not. But some business-minded person somewhere put two and two together and realized that her name on anything related to cooking would sell.

Her Paula Deen Signature stainless steel 12-piece set will probably do okay, depending on your needs. The nice thing is that it is dishwasher safe cookware.

One potential red flag: the handles are made of phenolic, plastic that is resistant to high heat. But only to about 350 degrees (F). So if you were planning on cooking something at high temperature in the oven, not the set for you.

General price: $150 for a 12-piece set

revere copper bottom cookware

Lastly, I wanted to look into Revere. Why? I own one copper bottom sauce pan. It is a Revere.

Similar to the Paula Deen cookware set, Revere copper bottom cookware is stainless steel with a copper bottom, and a plastic handle.

My sauce pan is very lightweight and seems a little thin, but I’ve had it a long time and the handle isn’t wobbily or loose. What attracted me to this pan in the first place?

General price: $60 for a 7-piece set

These are just a handful of brands, some of the better ones and a couple of the cheap ones. Overall, you should be looking into copper bottom pots and pans if you want an even cooking heat and a little more rustic look to your cookware set.

 

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