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Copper is very fashionable right now, particularly in cookware. As a component metal in cookware, it’s extremely responsive to heat changes. It is almost twice as conductive as aluminum and 10 times more conductive than stainless steel. That responsiveness and conductivity make copper cookware perfect for cooking foods where heat regulation is important. Due to its luxurious look, copper is often used on the exterior of the cookware, either as a thin decorative layer or as a thicker, functional layer, particularly on the bottom of the pan.
Exposed copper develops a patina with age, but it can be returned to the previous shiny look using special cleaning products or some lemon juice and salt. While pure copper is seldom used when it will be in contact with food, there are a few specialty pots that are made entirely from copper. There are also many copper-colored pans that offer the look of copper at a lower price point, and without requiring the care that pure copper does.
Whatever you're looking for, read on—we've found the best copper cookware that will fit your needs.
Best Frying Pan Set: Copper Chef Round Pan 3 Pack
Easy to use and care for
Retains and distributes heat well
Not actually made of copper
No lids included
The three-piece set from Copper Chef includes an 8-inch frying pan, a 10-inch frying pan, and a 12-inch frying pan. It ensures you’ll always have the right size whether you’re cooking eggs for two or pancakes for the family.
The pans are made from aluminum, so they’re very lightweight and easy to handle. They have a proprietary Cerami-Tech outer coating, while the interior has a copper-colored nonstick ceramic coating. Our product tester finds the nonstick coating is extremely effective and praises the set's "lovely, shimmery shade of light copper"—though she notes that it lacks the same style and elegance of true copper cookware. A stainless steel bottom plate means that the pans heat evenly and can be used on induction cooktops. The handles are riveted on for security.
These pans should be seasoned before use but are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. The pans are heatproof to 850 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can use them in the oven, as well as on the stove.
Construction: Aluminum with copper-colored nonstick coating | Sizes Included: 8, 10, and 12-inch pan | Oven Safe: Up to 850 degrees | Induction-Ready: Yes | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
"This cookware diffused heat quickly and evenly with all the dishes I tried, with no noticeable hot spots." — Tierney McAfee, Product Tester
Best Cookware Set: Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper 10-Piece Cookware Set
Retains and distributes heat well
Versatile in use
Steep price point
Requires special care
Copper cookware is stylish, but hammered copper cookware takes it to a whole new level, with an artisan look that is distinctive and classy. Lagostina has a wonderful hammered cookware set that is sure to look great in your kitchen.
The cookware has a thick aluminum core for efficient heat distribution and a stainless steel interior. The lids are also stainless steel. Besides being beautiful, the hammered copper exterior offers excellent heat control. Our product tester also loves that the handles are designed to be comfortable to hold while they stay cool on the stove.
The cookware is oven- and broiler-safe to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. It is compatible with all stove types, except induction.
Construction: Aluminum core, copper exterior | Pieces Included: 8 and 10-inch skillets, 2 and 3-quart saucepans, 3-quart sauté pan, 6-quart stockpot plus lids | Oven Safe: Up to 500 degrees | Induction-Ready: No | Dishwasher Safe: No
"I love the style so much that we plan to put them on display in our kitchen on a wall-mounted rack." — Tierney McAfee, Product Tester
Best Square Pan: Red Copper Square Pan 5 Piece Set
Nonstick, scratch-resistant interior
Large and deep
Easy to clean
Outside color may scratch off
Red Copper's Square Pan comes with extras that make it even more useful: a vented and tempered glass lid, a fry basket, and a steamer/roaster rack. The 4-inch high sides help reduce splattering and let you use it to cook sauces or when deep frying.
The interior is a copper-infused ceramic that is nonstick, scratch-resistant, and oven safe to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can use it in the oven and under the broiler. A helper handle makes it easy to move and empty the pan, even when it’s full. The pan should be seasoned before use. While it is dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended.
Positive reviews highlight the pan's depth and high sides, which help prevent splattering. Many customers also rave about how easy the pan is to clean.
Construction: Aluminum core, copper-infused ceramic finish | Pieces Included: 10-inch pan, fry basket, steamer rack, and glass lid | Oven Safe: Up to 500 degrees | Induction-Ready: No | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, but hand washing is recommended
Best Jam Pot: Mauviel Copper Jam Pan with Bronze Handles
Durable, heavy-duty construction
Doesn’t react with fruit acids or sugar
Only suitable for cooking high-sugar foods
Traditional jam pots are made from copper, like this 17.3-quart copper pan by Mauviel. The copper conducts heat efficiently, and the unlined interior doesn’t react with fruit acids or sugar. It’s perfect for turning excess or nearly-too-ripe crops of stone fruits or citrus into large batches of jams and jellies, as well as making candies like toffee and caramel.
Mauviel has been making quality copper cookware in France for 170 years. This sturdy pan has bronze side handles with copper rivets for secure transport on and off the stovetop. Hand washing is recommended to ensure it gives you years of delicious jams. Customers give this jam pot high marks because nothing burns or sticks to the bottom. Plus, they love that it's heavy-duty and beautifully crafted.
Construction: 1.2 mm-gauge copper | Size: 15-inch unlined copper pot | Oven Safe: Up to 500 degrees | Induction-Ready: No | Dishwasher Safe: No
Best Saucepan: Gotham Steel Copper Covered Saucepan
Sturdy but not too heavy
Nonstick coating performs well
Easy to clean
Lid and handle may get hot
This attractive and affordable 3-quart saucepot has a copper-colored T-Cerama coating inside that releases food easily, no matter if you’re cooking rice or melting sugar to make candy, along with an elegant dark gray exterior. The coating is scratch-resistant and metal utensil-safe, so you can grab any spoon without worrying about damaging the pot. Several reviewers like that the pot is heavy-duty enough not to warp when heated, while its light weight makes it easy to maneuver.
The long handle is riveted on for safety and has a hanging hole on the end so it can hang on a pegboard or rack. The lid is glass, so it’s easy to monitor the cooking without letting the heat out. The pot is oven safe to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and the pot and lid are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning when cooking is done.
Construction: Aluminum base, titanium-ceramic coating | Pieces Included: 3-quart saucepan with lid, also available in 2, 5, and 7-quart options | Oven Safe: Up to 500 degrees | Induction-Ready: No | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Best for Sugar: Mauviel M'Passion Sugar Saucepan
Heats up quickly and evenly
Easy temperature control ideal for sugar work
Beautiful, simple design
Only right-handed pouring spout
Made specifically for sugar work, this 1.9-quart saucepan is made entirely from copper for ultimate heat control. It heats evenly so the sugar will melt evenly with no hot spots or burning, and it’s reactive to heat changes so the temperature can be controlled easily. Customers gave this specially designed saucepan positive reviews for its easy temperature control and how quickly it heats up, though they warn that because of its all-copper construction, the body and handle can get very hot.
The distinctive conical copper handle offers a secure grip and is attached to the body with copper rivets for security. A pouring spout on one side makes it simple to pour scalding hot syrup safely and accurately. Not just for sugar, this can be used for making small amounts of jam or other sweet sauces. This pan should be hand washed.
Construction: 2 mm-gauge copper | Sizes: 1.9-quart unlined copper pot, also available in 0.8-, 1.3-, 2.6-, 3.7-quart options | Oven Safe: Up to 680 degrees | Induction-Ready: Needs adapter disc | Dishwasher Safe: No
Best Stock Pot: All-Clad Copper C4508 C4 8 Qt. Stockpot with Lid
Heats quickly and evenly
Oven- and broiler-safe to 600 degrees
This extra-large 8-quart stockpot has an attractive copper exterior and copper layers bonded with copper for excellent heat control. The layers extend all the way to the rim of the pot for even heating all around, along with perfect heat transfer from pot to food. The pot heats quickly to high temperatures for perfect searing and browning before lowering the temperature for low-and-slow braising or stews. When it’s time for roasting or baking, the pot is oven and broiler safe to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, so there’s no need to worry about using it in a home oven at the highest heat.
The interior, handles, and lid are stainless steel for an attractive accent next to the copper. Over time, the copper will darken, but that doesn’t affect the cooking performance. While some cooks admire the dark patina, it’s easy to polish it and return its original shine.
Construction: 4-ply bonded stainless steel and copper | Pieces Included: 8-quart stockpot with lid | Oven Safe: Up to 600 degrees | Induction-Ready: No | Dishwasher Safe: No
Best Large Sauté: Made In Copper Saucier
Conducts heat beautifully
Oven safe to 800 degrees
Small frying and sauté pans are fine when you’re cooking eggs or flipping a stir fry, but a large, shallow cooker is great for all sorts of one-pot meals and more. This pan by Made In is composed of 90 percent copper and 10 percent stainless steel, offering the superior heat conduction you'd expect from a restaurant-quality pan. Its versatile shape lends itself well to making risotto or braising meats, as well as creating sauces and soups.
It has a 9-inch cooking diameter with 4.9-inch walls, tall enough to prevent splattering when frying and sauteing. You can transfer this pan from the stove to the oven, as it can withstand temperatures up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit. The 5.2-quart capacity is large enough to cook food for the family or a party, and the copper exterior adds a touch of elegance to the kitchen.
Construction: 90 percent copper and 10 percent stainless steel | Pieces Included: 5.2-quart sauté pan with lid | Oven Safe: Up to 800 degrees | Induction-Ready: No | Dishwasher Safe: No
If you're looking to try out a copper pan for the first time, we recommend the Copper Chef Round Pan 3-Pack for ease of use and care (view at Amazon). If you're looking for a full set to replace your current cookware, we recommend the Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper 18/10 Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set as a fantastic upgrade.
What to Look For in Copper Cookware
The thickness of your copper cookware can have a noticeable effect on how quickly and efficiently it heats up. Aim for around 2.5 to 3 millimeters. Thinner than 2 millimeters may cause the copper to heat more slowly and less evenly. Plus, thin copper cookware is more likely to warp and dent.
Copper cookware is usually lined with either tin or stainless steel. Stainless steel, while not very effective at conducting heat, is more durable than tin and is easy to clean. Tin, however, heats more quickly than stainless steel, thus decreasing the risk of "delaminating" (the lining separating from the copper). Tin is also non-reactive and relatively nonstick but requires special maintenance because of its delicate nature. While unlined or bare copper cooking vessels are rare, there are some available designed for specific jobs, such as jam pots and mixing bowls for beating egg whites.
Copper cooking vessels are typically available with either a hammered or smooth finish. The type of finish you should go for is a matter of aesthetic taste and what each brand has available; it does not dictate the quality of the cookware. While in the past hammering copper was done to strengthen the metal, today it's done by machines for decorative purposes. Hammered copper cookware is usually high-shine, and smooth finishes are available in either matte or shiny versions.
What is multi-ply copper cookware?
Multi-ply (also known as tri-ply, 5-ply, and 7-ply) cookware has been crafted by bonding together multiple layers of metal with each "ply" (layer) serving a different purpose. Multi-ply copper cookware usually involves copper sandwiched between layers of stainless steel where the copper acts as a responsive heat conductor, and the steel gives the pan durability and a non-reactive cooking surface.
Does copper cookware stick?
It will depend on what the cookware is lined with. If the pan features a stainless steel interior, it will stick as much as any stainless steel pan would.
How do you clean copper cookware?
Most copper cookware is not dishwasher safe. The dishwasher can often cause stains and discoloration to copper, so it's best to hand wash your copper pieces and dry them with a soft cloth. Some copper pieces will develop a patina over time, which gives them a rustic, lived-in appearance. If you prefer shiny copper, you'll have to give them a little extra attention.
Is copper cookware oven safe?
Many higher-end copper pieces are oven-safe and can be used under the broiler, as well. If you want to be totally sure, check with the manufacturer's guide to see the exact heat threshold for your pots and pans before putting them into the oven.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats
Cookbook author Donna Currie was gifted her first set of pots and pans as a child, when her mom’s new cookware came with a miniature, fully functional set. Since then, she graduated to full-size cookware, researching and testing a wide variety of brands for The Spruce Eats to find the best.