The best copper cookware you can buy
- Whether you're a cooking enthusiast, a chef, or a short-order cook, you deserve high-quality copper cookware that responds quickly to heat, accommodates culinary masterpieces as well as simple dishes, and enhances your kitchen's decor.
- Copper cookware can be an expensive yet rewarding investment, so when researching different sets for your kitchen, you'll want to consider a variety of criteria.
- Our top pick is the Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper 10-Piece Cookware Set. It regulates and distributes heat well with its stainless-steel interior, aluminum core, and copper exterior.
Copper cookware is considered by many as "the fancy sports car of the cookware world," according to professional cook and culinary writer Daniel Gritzer of Serious Eats. Like a fancy sports car, though, copper cookware is pricey. Nonetheless, the high price tag begets excellent thermal conductivity, providing benefits like:
- Efficiency in heating up: Copper heats up faster than stainless steel and aluminum do, enabling you to warm up ingredients in a hurry as well as save time and energy (no need to crank up the flame!).
- Uniform heat distribution across the vessel's surface: This quality minimizes unequal temperatures and hot spots that lead to uneven cooking and burned/stuck-on food.
- Rapid response to temperature changes: As Serious Eats notes, this serves you well when cooking fish, seafood, sauces, caramel, and chocolate.
- Precision in control over cooking temperatures: This is especially useful when handling delicate ingredients and using an electric stove.
Finally, who can deny the gorgeous glamour of copper cookware that brings warmth to any kitchen? But its beauty comes with a price: more work. Like a fancy sports car, copper cookware can be high-maintenance in care. First, it's not dishwasher safe, so you need to wash all pieces by hand. Secondly, you must dry off any pieces right after washing them in order to prevent spotting or discoloration from water drops. Finally, in order to maintain copper cookware's lovely sheen, you need to polish it regularly to stave off corrosion.
Also, copper reacts chemically with acidic ingredients (tomato sauce, lemon juice, wine, vinegar) and alkaline (whole fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts), dissolves, and then leaches into whatever food is being cooked, resulting in copper toxicity; symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Therefore, stick to copper cookware lined with an unscratched, nonreactive metal (like aluminum or stainless steel but not tin or nickel).Copper cookware can be an expensive yet rewarding investment, so when researching different sets for your kitchen, consider the following criteria:
- Construction: Types of lined copper cookware include copper core (a thick layer of copper sandwiched between different metals), clad (bonded metal layers, e.g., an aluminum-stainless steel-copper composition), and copper bottom (with non-copper metals for the pieces' side and bottom interior surfaces and then copper for the bottom's exterior surface).
- Thickness: Look for copper cookware between 2.5 and 3 millimeters in thickness. Choosing something as thin as 2 millimeters is okay, but Serious Eats notes that anything lower will not perform well in the kitchen. A thickness greater than 3 millimeters makes the copper less responsive to heat and temperature changes. Consumer Reports advises that heavy-gauge copper with a thickness of 1/16 inch to 1/8 inch holds up best over time.
- Durability: You want pieces that stand up to repeat use and washes. Luckily, most pieces we selected carry a lifetime warranty.
- Finish: In addition to a lustrous (shiny) vs. brushed (matte) surface, you can choose between a smooth finish and a hammered finished for decorative purposes.
- Number of pieces: You may want to stick with what you need, just the basics. On the other hand, numerous different pieces accommodate a greater variety of recipes to make, either one at a time or simultaneously.
- Price: If a price seems high, just be aware of how many pieces the copper cookware set contains (and if that makes it worth it). And don't forget the potential savings in energy and time copper cookware offers. If the price seems low, question how much copper is actually used in or the quality of the pieces.
Here are the best copper cookware sets you can buy:
- The best overall copper cookware set: Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper 10-Piece Cookware Set
- The best high-end copper-cookware set: Matfer Bourgeat 8-Piece Bourgeat Copper Cookware Set
- The best middle-range copper cookware set: Calphalon Tri-Ply Copper 10-Piece Cookware Set
- The best luxurious copper cookware set: Mauviel M'heritage 9-Piece 2.5mm Copper Cookware Set
- The best budget copper cookware set: T-fal Ultimate Stainless Steel Copper Bottom 13-Piece Cookware Set
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